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Excellent 3X Categories, $300 Bonus, & No Annual Fee: Wells Fargo Propel Amex Review

All sorts of cards are getting my attention with my impending sub-5/24 status looming near.

After I get the Chase cards I want (Ink Business Preferred and Freedom Unlimited are current frontrunners), I’ll turn to other banks, like Wells Fargo and Capital One.

High on the list: the Wells Fargo Propel Amex (learn more here). This card has:

  • A sign-up bonus of 30,000 bonus points (worth $300 in cash back, travel, gift cards, or other rewards) after completing minimum spending requirements
  • Really good 3X bonus categories
  • NO annual fee
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your wireless bill with the card

While I usually prefer cards that earn points toward award travel, there’s a lot going for this cashback card – especially considering it’s free to keep long-term. It’s a strong card for active lifestyles, and for peeps who don’t want to pay an annual fee.

Wells Fargo Propel Amex review,

Eat out, order in, travel, unwind… the Wells Fargo Propel Amex earns 3% cashback in some of the best bonus categories and has NO annual fee

Let’s take stock!

Wells Fargo Propel Amex Review – A hidden gem with no annual fee

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American Airlines Cards Officially Useless – I’m Closing Mine in May 2019

American Airlines has a case of “too big for their britches,” as we say down south. They think they’re Delta – they’re not. They think their co-branded credits cards are too beneficial – so they’re cutting the best benefit.

As of May 1st, 2019, NONE of the American Airlines credit cards (from Barclays or Citi) will have a 10% rebate on redeemed miles, which was good for up to 100,000 redeemed miles per year (so you could get back 10,000 miles).

I maxed this out every year – and rarely use other benefits of the cards. I don’t check bags. Priority boarding is great, but whatever. I don’t buy airplane food.

And I get better earning rates with ultra-premium cards for all the bonus categories.

In a couple of months, I’m closing my American Airlines cards. Unless Citi wants to give me a big retention offer to keep one a while longer.

american airlines cards

*eyeroll emoji* These are not meaningful to me

Even worse – Citi isn’t adding anything to make up for this loss (Barclays is at least trying). Sorry, but spending $20,000 to get a stupid $125 discount isn’t a tradeoff.

Bye bye, AA cards

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9 Easiest Signup Bonuses to Earn (7 Under $500, 2 With a Single Purchase!)

This one’s for peeps who think they can’t earn signup bonuses because the minimum spending requirements are too dang high.

When you think about, spending $3,000 (the usual spending requirement) is, of course, $1,000 per month for 3 months – or $250 per week. These cards tend to have the highest bonuses.

The problem with bank marketing is they throw out huge numbers and scare people off. But when you break it down, it appears way more manageable.

In any regard, there are plenty of cards with much lower minimum spending requirements. And some of them are genuine keepers!

cards with low spending requirements

Or rather, they look high – but most of them aren’t that bad once you break it down

Let’s look at 10 of the easiest signup bonuses you can earn.

10 cards with low spending requirements

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6 Cards to Consider If You’re LOL/24 (No Chase on This List!)

There’s zero doubt Chase cards are the best to get first. Their products have high sign-up offers, excellent ongoing benefits, and strong category bonuses.

But… Chase shutdowns are increasing – even if you haven’t opened a Chase card in recent past. And, they have aspirations to use their 5/24 rule for ALL their cards. (Which is ridiculous, especially for the co-branded cards because you want people to actually get them, right?)

best cards over 5/24

I’ll have to accept this was the last Chase card I might ever get 🙁

I just earned 100,000 British Airways Avios points on the Chase British Airways card. But between shutdowns and 5/24… I might be done with Chase for a while.

I regret not ever having the Chase Freedom Unlimited for everyday non-bonus spending. Although with my current cards, I should be good for lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards with organic spending.

Anyhoo, I’ve been thinking of card options if you’re helplessly over 5/24, or just don’t want to mess with Chase any more.

Here are the 7 best!

Best cards over 5/24 and/or done with Chase

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Why I Bought a Car With Credit Cards

Also see: 

I’m targeting late April/early May to be out of NYC and in Dallas full-time.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a silver Subaru Forester. Buying a house and moving to Dallas meant I’d need to buy a car sooner or later.

The budget I had in mind was $6,000 for everything. Tax, title, registration, base price of the vehicle, everything.

I knew car prices tend to rise as it gets warmer, so when I found a great deal on the car I wanted in late February, I went ahead and snagged it.

My new cahhh

My new cahhh. I named him Clyde

Oh! And I wanted to pay for it in full. No financing.

Just an in-shape, reliable used car whose only expenses were maintenance, insurance, and gas. Boom.

Buying a car with credit cards

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What’s with all the crap promotions lately?

As I look out onto the barren fields where credit card crops once grew, I mourn the loss of Chase (with the 5/24 rule). Of Citi (when they shut down so many peeps’ accounts). And definitely of AMEX (1 bonus per lifetime? Um, OK). Barclays and Bank of America are both one-card wonders (Arrival for sign-up bonus and Alaska Visa, respectively).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve received a lot of terrible offers lately. Here are the best of the worst.

AMEX

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Loving Citi More Than Ever – Time to Cancel Other Cards?

The credit card landscape is shifting fast:

  • Chase will apply the 5/24 to all its cards starting in April 2016, including co-branded and business cards
  • Citi has been shutting peeps down for usage they don’t like (multiples of any 1 card, money order payments, etc.)
  • Barclays had a good product with the Arrival Plus card, then butchered it. That was pretty much the only good card they had
  • US Bank is useless
  • Bank of America is only good for the Alaska Visa
  • Wells Fargo is a cantankerous little beast
  • There are a few other niche cards, like the Fidelity Visa and BBVA NBA card, worth looking into, but not many

Card offers come and go. Benefits change. Mergers happen and shake things up. Revenue-based elite status throws a wrench into points-earning calculations.

asd

Could ThankYou become the go-to?

Lately, I’ve been using my Citi cards for most of big purchases. And my trusty Chase Sapphire Preferred for dining.

Non-bonused spend goes on the Fidelity AMEX (I still have the AMEX version). And that’s pretty much it. All the other cards I have are for niche benefits or very specific spending (Chase Hyatt Visa, for example).

Recently, I went ahead and canceled the Chase British Airways Visa.

RIP

Bye, you useless thing

And downgraded my US Bank Club Carlson Visa Signature to the no annual fee version just to keep the credit line and history intact (here’s my recent offer to increase my credit line in exchange for 250 Club Carlson Gold points).

Poor AMEX

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Barclaycard Aviator Downgrade Offer + Q1 Bonus Points at Supermarkets

RIP, Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®.

As part of closing on my house, I had to ax this card (I’ll explain why in another post). But, before the boot, I downgraded the card from the Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard® (with an $89 annual fee) to the regular ol’ “Aviator card” (with no annual fee), and got it in the mail just in time to say goodbye.

You are lost and gone forever, oh my darlin', Clementine

You are lost and gone forever, oh my darlin’, Clementine

Here are 2 offers I got that might be helpful to some folks. One you have to call to receive, the other is targeted – so be on the lookout if you’re interested.

Downgrade offer

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Earn Triple Miles With Barclays Aviator Cards (Targeted Offer, Just OK)

I got a targeted email offer today on my Barclaycard AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®. It’s not earth-shattering or anything but thought I’d share because it does require registration.

The email subject is “Finish the year strong and earn bonus rewards.”

Triple miles in some pretty good categories

Triple miles in some pretty good categories

It’s worth registering for if you’re targeted.

Deets

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Upgrade Barclays Red Aviator to Silver Automatically Online

Also see:

If you’re interested in upgrading your Barclays Red Aviator card (not open to new applicants), it might be possible to do so directly in online banking.

View from the Wing reported that Barclays was slowly rolling out the upgrades, and listed some reasons why you may NOT want to upgrade the card.

To Upgrade or to Not Upgrade, That Is the Question

Me, I’m not gonna do it.

Because I have 10,000 American miles coming my way when I pay the annual fee again.

Here’s how you can tell:

Click "View Rewards"

Click “View Rewards”

And then…

Click "How my rewards work"

Click “How my rewards work”

There, you’ll see something to this effect:

I only get one round of 10K. But others get 10K EVERY cardmember year. They should NOT upgrade to Aviator Silver

I only get one round of 10K. But others get 10K EVERY cardmember year. They should NOT upgrade to Aviator Silver

I’ll get the 10,000 AA miles once and then consider upgrading to Aviator Silver.

But if you don’t see such language, you might consider making the upgrade now.

Check your account

In my account, the offer was on the right side, under Barclaycard extras:

Click to start, then 2 more clicks to upgrade to Aviator Silver!

Click to start, then 2 more clicks to upgrade to Aviator Silver!

It just says, “Upgrade your Account Benefits.”

When I clicked through, I was invited to upgrade to Aviator Silver.

Click "Tell me more" to proceed

Click “Tell me more” to proceed

After I clicked, I got a long list of details. Including that the upgrade would happen on August 7, 2015.

Page 1 of details

Page 1 of details

Page 2 of details

Page 2 of details

If I’d clicked “Yes, I accept,” the card would’ve been upgraded and the annual fee charged on November 30, 2015.

Should you do it?

I’m holding off to get my 10,000 AA anniversary miles. But if I didn’t have that coming, I’d definitely be tempted by this offer.

When you upgrade, you get:

  • 3X AA miles on AA flights
  • 2X AA miles on hotels and car rentals
  • 1X AA mile everywhere else
  • 5,000 EQMs when you spend $20,000 annually (can get up to 10,000 EQMs)
  • $99 companion certificate when you spend $30,000 annually
  • Free Global Entry (as a statement credit)

So this card is really only worth it if you have a lot of paid flights on American Airlines. Or if you want the opportunity to “buy” EQMs instead of fly to attain/retain status each year. Hey, 10,000 EQMs is 2 round-trip transcons! 

$195 is pretty hefty for an annual fee. But no other card earns 3X AA miles, which are extremely valuable (for now). If you can met the various spending thresholds, EQMs are very valuable, too. And the $99 companion cert if a nice bonus – if you can actually use it.

So it’s a personal decision for a niche crowd. Also consider this card is not available to new applicants. So if you can get it now, go for it.

Bottom line

Barclays is finally loosening the requirements to upgrade from Aviator Red to Silver. I was able to do it in 2 clicks directly in my online banking.

This is great news for a select set of people to whom this card caters.

But if you can wring the benefits out of it, like the EQMs, 3X AA miles, and $99 companion certificate, it would be well worth the $195 annual fee.

Do you have the option to upgrade? If you do… will you?

DTMFA: Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Still a good card?

Also see: 

So torn. Always kinda have been.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus. I’ve always wondered what it was, in the sense that it was a bit of an enigma.

In the crosshairs

In the crosshairs

I got this card in May 2013. The annual fee was waived for the 1st year.

I got a retention offer the 2nd year.

I just paid the $89 annual fee about a month ago. I want to cancel this card. But it has 1 good use left in it…

Is is worth it?

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Is the Fidelity Amex the best cashback card in the universe?

<3

<3

Sorry for the hyperbole slash clickbait-y title. I thought I was being on trend.

But seriously, I love this card. I’m close to being obsessed with it:

We all love our points and miles. But I’ve been reading about straight cashback cards for a sec now, and the poor Fidelity Amex always gets swept under the rug.

Well no longer. This card is a gem. It has so much going for it. And it might just be the ace in the back pocket of cashback cards, which by default makes it the best cashback card in the universe.

Let me extoll the ways

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