membership rewards

Tag Archives for membership rewards.

The Best 2X Card for Non-Bonus Spending Now Has a 10,000 Point Welcome Offer

To start, the Blue Business Plus Amex is a small business card. But Amex is known to be generous with small business card approvals, so long as you have a for-profit venture, or are aiming to make a profit.

This card got instant “workhorse” classification. And it’s been a stalwart companion in my wallet since the day I got it.

amex blue business plus 10,000

MVP status, this one

When it launched in Summer 2017, there was a brief welcome offer for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points. But when that faded, it went to nothing.

Now a welcome offer of 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points is available. But I think this card is good enough to get even without a bonus!

About the Blue Business Plus Amex Read More

My $100 Haul of Free Mercedes-Benz Gear (The Card With This Perk Is Going Away!)

I’ve been meaning to write about this year’s edition of $100 in free Mercedes-Benz stuff (last year’s haul is here). I still have my glasses and water bottle, but lost the coffee cup to the TSA gods at LaGuardia. :/ (I now use a HydroFlask to transport coffee to the airport.)

I dusted off my certificate and headed to my local Mercedes-Benz dealership.

amex mercedes benz certificate

Thanks for the free jacket, water bottle, and keychain, Amex!

I ended up getting a nice fleece-lined windbreaker worth $89, a water bottle, and a keychain. Total cost: $0!

You get one of these $100 certificates every year with the Amex Platinum Mercedes-Benz card. But, as I just found out from Nick at Frequent Miler, it’s going away in January 2019. If you’ve never had it, get it while you can!

This year’s $100 Amex Mercedes Benz Certificate

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Hacking Uber: Earn Points, Cashback, and Credits Every Time You Ride 🚙

To disclaim up front, I have a difficult relationship with Uber. I don’t like how they treat their drivers, women in particular, and their company culture seems… toxic. For the longest time, you couldn’t even tip your driver, which is why I preferred Lyft.

However, I’ve been riding Uber more lately because they make it so easy to stack multiple offers when you ride.

earn points with uber

Oh, Uber. I am “getting there”

And, I’m hopeful they’re slowly but surely turning things around.

With Lyft, you can only earn 3X Delta miles – and 30 JetBlue points on airport trips. Which, meh.

I’d rather earn cashback and Drop points, use travel credits, and get Uber credits for shopping around town. And many times you can stack these deals. You know I love a good stack!

1. Easy win: $1 from Ibotta every time you ride

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Blue Business Plus Amex: New Card for Plastiq Payments?

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I’ve come out of my slough of despair (kinda slash not really) following the news that Citi AT&T Access More cards won’t earn 3X on rent and mortgage payments starting July 22nd, 2017. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve trick stopped working, too – although I’ve heard you can still make payments with it for 1X (AKA it does NOT code as travel).

In the midst of all this, Amex came out with a brand new card: the Blue Business Plus (learn more here). And it holds some promise for payments with Plastiq. Of course, the numbers aren’t as good as they once were. But you can earn 2X on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year on the card.

Blue Business Plus Amex

Newest card

I got the card last week. And starting next month, it will be my go-to for Plastiq payments. Because I still want the points.

Here’s a look at how it works, by the numbers.

About the Blue Business Plus Amex

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PSA: Use Your $100 Mercedes-Benz Certificate (and What I Got With Mine)

Lots of folks got the 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards point offer on the Amex Mercedes-Benz card earlier this year (including me).

If that’s you, you should’ve received a certificate in the mail for $100 toward “genuine Mercedes-Benz parts and accessories.”

I frequently pass a M-B dealership in Dallas, and one weekend afternoon, I decided to pop in and see what I could get.

So here goes!

My experience redeeming the $100 certificate

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Just Booked a Trip for Next Weekend in 10 Minutes (Instant Transfers Save the Day!)

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I’ll never forget the thrill and uncertainty of booking my first award ticket. I thought I’d show up to the airport and be turned away for not paying (or something like that). Can a flight really cost ~$11 when you book with… points?

That was a few years ago. But there’s still something so novel about booking award trips. Some of them are planned in advance, like my upcoming trip to Hawaii. And some are aspirational or in the future, like the Brussels Airlines flights I booked with Etihad miles.

Mmm, love the high desert

Love the high desert!

Long story short, I needed to spend a couple of days in New Mexico to get some work done there. Looking at my upcoming weekends:

  • Next one was open
  • After that, Austin for work
  • Labor Day weekend – nothing available with points
  • Hawaii

4 weekends = a month of plans. I started poking around and realized, holy crap, I’m gonna book this trip for next weekend!

Finding flights

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Imagining a New Premium Chase Card

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There were rumors on Reddit that Chase is putting together a new premium credit card with a high annual fee a la AMEX Platinum and Citi Prestige.

Moreover, on that same link, there’s another rumor that Chase is planning an overhaul to its Ultimate Rewards program to make it less lucrative.

While I don’t believe Chase would mess with Ultimate Rewards any time soon (because they need to compete with AMEX and Citi’s transferable points programs), I do think Chase is ripe for a new ultra-premium credit card offering.

I thought it’d be fun to imagine what that card might look like. And what features it would need to have for Chase to remain a viable competitor in the premium credit card space.

A new Chase card?

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United Miles Versus Singapore Miles: Which Star Alliance Partner Awards Are Cheaper With Each Program

I’m getting more into Citi’s ThankYou program recently (because Citi ThankYou points are so easy to earn).

And while I can’t totally abandon Ultimate Rewards (for access to United Airlines, British Airways, and Hyatt), I’ve been thinking of award flights where collecting Citi ThankYou points instead of Ultimate Rewards might actually make more sense.

Why Singapore Airlines miles?

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Swapping AMEX for Citi: Bye Platinum, Hello Prestige? And Bye, EveryDay Preferred, Hello ThankYou Premier?

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And, bye EveryDay Preferred, hello ThankYou Premier?

Recently, I’ve seriously been pondering why it is I hang on to my AMEX cards.

I’ve had at least 2 since 2012, and haven’t accumulated enough points to actually do much.

Membership Rewards… meh.

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Booking Dublin: A Change of Plans

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Major change of plans is more like it.

Thanks to The Points Guy, I caught wind that an award I’d long had my eye on, BOS-DUB in business class on Aer Lingus, was widely available for booking with Avios points.

The good news: it still is.

I immediately transferred over some Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards (I love combining them when I can and British Airways is perfect for that – so is Singpore) to my British Airways account, and called in to book my dates.

Get 'em while they're hot!

Get ’em while they’re hot!

Throughout April and May, and possibly into the summer months, award availability is peppered here and there.

Business class award availability on Aer Lingus

Business class award availability on Aer Lingus (Click to enlarge)

That screen shot was taken just now. There are still some flights out there.

The best way to book this is by checking availability on the United website, then by calling British Airways to book over the phone.

I called them post Avios-hack (to change a different set of flights), and my hold time was less than 5 minutes. In fact, I was all booked and set up with flights in under 15 minutes (pre-Avios hack).

If you’re interested in booking, you have either one month or when availability runs out, beginning today. The Avios program is changing on April 28th, and this particular award will go from 50K round-trip in business to 75K, which is a pretty staggering change.

I’ve been interested in experiencing Aer Lingus business class, and visiting Ireland, for a very long time, so it’s all very serendipitous.

But what about the Delta flights?

Of course I had a pretty severe schedule change with Delta.

The mighty schedule change

The mighty schedule change

I was willing to get down to DC to take advantage of an awesome fare that Delta had earlier this year. I was even thinking I could spend a day or two in DC, maybe catch the tail-end of the cherry blossoms. But when the Aer Lingus award availability came around, I was then willing to get myself to Boston, and am now thinking of spending a day there instead.

I called Delta and explained that I had a schedule change of over 4 hours, and that those times no longer work for me – could I please cancel and get a refund? They immediately canceled the ticket and said to expect a refund in 5-7 business days. Awesome. So those are done.

It was a great deal, but then again, so is the Avios redemption on Aer Lingus, and even more so now that it’s time-sensitive.

The 2 round-trip flights would’ve been over $10,000 had I paid for them. Instead, I got nearly 11 cents per point of value by booking with Avios. An incredible deal – get on it if you can!

BOS-DUB on Aer Lingus business class

BOS-DUB on Aer Lingus business class

Getting to Boston

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My Experience Getting the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

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This was my first Amex experience where I was NOT instantly approved. In fact, I was straight up DENIED for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card.

I didn’t take a screen shot of the “denied” decision page because I was kind of shocked and didn’t think to do it. But yes, it said I would receive a letter in the mail… and all that yada yada.

This was to be my sixth Amex card, and the fourth issued directly from Amex (I have the Platinum Card, the Premier Rewards Gold, and Delta Platinum SkyMiles cards). Recently, I’ve been thinking of closing the PRG and/or Delta card because I really don’t use them all that much. I’d need to spend at least $30K on the PRG to make it worthwhile, and you all know how I feel about Delta by now.

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Just got the American Express EveryDay Preferred Card

Yes, another one (following the recent Kohl’s card).

The Amex EveryDay cards weren’t supposed to be live until April 2nd, but for whatever reason, they went ahead and released them early. I’ve been considering dumping one (or two) of my Amex cards after getting screwed out of Membership Rewards bonuses multiple times which caused me to wish Amex to DIAF.

I’ve decided to give them another chance due to this long overdue and solid entry into the premium card market, which pits them directly against my beloved Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which I just decided to keep for another year.

About the Amex EveryDay Preferred card

This card is truly set up to be an “everyday” card for daily spend. Their marketing people are geniuses. The card earns full Membership Rewards point which are fully transferable to 17 air and hotel partners. The signup bonus is a modest 15,000 Amex Membership points at the time of writing, which, who knows, maybe I’ll actually get this time.

I’m not using the Premier Rewards Gold card as much as I thought I would. Yes, it earns 3 points/dollar for airfare, but the other categories really aren’t much to write home about. The card is truly only worth keeping if you spend $30K in a year, which earns you a bonus 15,000 points.

So I’m glad they’ve put out a new card with a new new points earning structure:

  • 3x at grocery stores
  • 2x at gas stations
  • 1x everywhere else

That’s all fine and good. The kicker is that you get 50% more points if you use the card 30 times or more in a month. And you can track your progress on the mobile app and website. This forces you to constantly interact with the product to make sure you get the bonus each month. How smart is that?! I know I will be checking to make sure I get that bonus. It brings the spend categories to:

  • 4.5x at grocery stores
  • 3x at gas stations
  • 1.5 everywhere else

That is a wonderful earning structure.

By following our axiom of getting 2 cents of value out of every point or mile, we will effectively get this rate of return:

  • 9% back at grocery stores
  • 6% back at gas stations
  • 3% back everywhere else

That gives this card the best rate of return for travel in the industry. And yet, I don’t see it, personally, as a competitor to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The CSP’s big categories are 2x points (4% cash back) at restaurants and on travel purchases, which makes these two cards unlikely complements of each other. Between the new Amex EveryDay Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, I’ve got a solid earning strategy for daily spend. But, the Barclay Arrival card is STILL valid thanks to its ease of earning, great shopping portal, free TripIt Pro, and really cool online community.

Bottom line

Overall, this is a very, very good thing and a welcome addition to the credit card market. The more, the merrier in this case.

I will be sure to post more thoughts as I begin to use and interact with the card and the app. But for now, very glad I got this one. It holds a lot of potential.