5

The Chase Freedom earns 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on categories that rotate quarterly.Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 4.45.50 AM

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 4.45.19 AM

At least that’s how it is marketed, but in fact, the card earns points that can be converted to cash back or can be converted, through a process I call the Freedom Two Step, to much more valuable airline miles and hotel points.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.38.01 AMThe basic idea is that while the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards do not transfer to airline and hotel partners, if you have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, you can transfer the points to those cards’ accounts, and from there to airlines and hotels.

I’ll explain that idea in detail and, more importantly, explain why you want to transfer your Freedom’s rewards to airlines and hotels.

What You Need to Perform the Freedom Two Step

  1. A Chase Freedom
  2. A Sapphire Preferred or an Ink Plus

What the Freedom Is

The Chase Freedom is a cash back card with a twist. It offers:

  • $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months
  • 5% cash back on your first $1,500 in purchases in bonus categories that rotate quarterly
  • 1% cash back on all other spending with no limit
  • no annual fee

The twist is that you actually earn Ultimate Rewards points that you can instantly redeem for cash back at a rate of 1 cent each. So the sign up bonus is actually 15,000 Ultimate Rewards. The 5% cash back is really 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar. And the 1% cash back is really 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar.

These Ultimate Rewards can only be redeemed for cash or cash-like things at a maximum rate of 1 cent per point.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 4.18.37 AM

This whole post is about doing better than 1 cent per Ultimate Reward.

While I can not directly link to the current Freedom offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

What the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus Are

The Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus are cards that earn Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred directly to airline miles or hotel points in programs including United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, and more.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Why You Need a Freedom and One of the Other Two Cards

If you have a Freedom and either a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus, you can transfer your Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account inside your chase.com account. Then you can transfer Ultimate Rewards from your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account to airline miles or hotel points. That’s the Freedom Two Step.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.38.01 AM

Here is exactly how to complete those two transfers.

Sign into your Freedom account on chase.com and click on the Ultimate Rewards balance on the right side of your screen.

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 3.59.18 PM
I’m at zero because I already transferred!

Click Manage Ultimate Rewards and Combine Points.

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 3.59.45 PM

Enter your Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred’s credit card number, and how many points you want to transfer.

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 4.00.10 PM

From your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account, you can transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, and many more airlines and hotels.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 7.02.42 PM

Why Do the Freedom Two Step

Ultimate Rewards are very easy to earn with the Freedom. There’s the big sign up bonus of 15,000 points for a card with no annual fee, and the 5x rotating categories. However, Ultimate Rewards in your Freedom account are worth at most 1 cent each.

Transferring points to airline miles or hotel points should allow you to get far more than 1 cent of value from those same Ultimate Rewards.

Once your Ultimate Rewards are transferred to airline miles, they become those miles, subject to that airline’s award chart and rules. And if you know how to use frequent flyer miles well, you will get way more than 1 cent of value from them.

Examples of Good Transfers

For instance, you can use 57,500 United miles for a one way trip in a flat bed from the United States to Europe, or 40,000 United miles for a one way trip in Thai First Class from Bangkok to Sydney with a free hourlong Thai massage before the flight.

Southwest Rapid Rewards are worth about 1.4 cents toward any Southwest flight with no blackouts. You can do better with other transfer partners, but that’s still 40% better than redeeming the Ultimate Rewards for cash back at 1 cent each.

For only 45,000 Korean miles, you can fly roundtrip from the United States mainland to Hawaii in Delta First Class. Or you can book amazing Korean First Class for as cheap as 45,000 miles.

Free nights at Hyatts worldwide start at 5,000 points.

Award flights with British Airways Avios start at 4,500 miles one way, and Boston to Ireland or the west coast to Hawaii is only 12,500 miles one way.

You can fly Singapore Suites Class for only 57,375 miles to Europe, or use 30,000 miles for a United First Class flight to Hawaii.

As you can see, transfers offer the opportunity to do way better than 1 cent per Ultimate Reward.

Bottom Line

If you have a Chase Freedom and a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus, you can turn points earned on the freedom into airline miles or hotel points through the Freedom Two Step.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 12.38.01 AM

Just transfer Ultimate Rewards from the Freedom to the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus and from there to the airline or hotel. This is a fantastic way to get more than 1 cent of value per point earned on your Freedom, whose points cannot be directly transferred to airline miles or hotel points.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

14

Chase already automatically denies applications for Chase-branded personal cards (ie Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Slate) if you have opened five new credit cards of any type from any bank in the last 24 months.

Soon, Chase will automatically deny applications for all Chase-issued credit cards (ie United Explorer, British Airways, Ink Plus) if you have opened five new credit cards of any type from any bank in the last 24 months.

Doctor of Credit says:

  • Currently, once past 5/24, [Scott: five credit cards opened in 24 months] you can not get Freedom, Sapphire, or Slate. You can get all other cards.
  • At some point in March, the INK cards will be restricted as well. We can still get personal and business co-branded cards.
  • At some point in April, all Chase credit cards will be included in the rule, and those past 5/24 won’t be approved for anything.

This development is based on a source of Doctor of Credit. I have no information beyond what Doctor of Credit has said above. While I can’t guarantee this will happen, I am living my life as if it will happen based on Doctor of Credit’s past record of expertise on matters related to credit cards.

  • Why is Chase doing this?
  • What’s the new best strategy to open Chase cards?

Starting in June 2015, Chase began to deny applications for its proprietary personal cards–the best of which are the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom–by people who had recently opened too many credit card accounts. Presumably Chase did this because if you open a card for its bonus and then cancel the card without becoming a multi-year customer, you are an unprofitable customer. If you have opened several cards recently, you’re obviously more likely to be a person who just gets a bonus and then closes a card.

Presumably after eight months of testing, Chase found that their new rules increased profits, so they want to roll it out to all of their credit card portfolio.

Current Rules to Be Approved for Chase-Issued Cards

If you are applying for a Chase-branded personal credit card (ie Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Slate), and you have 5+ new card accounts in the last two years, you will be denied.

If you are applying for a co-branded airline or hotel card from Chase (ie United, Southwest, Amtrak, British Airways) or business card, old rules for approval apply. A Chase rep told one redditor about this distinction explicitly.

  • There is no maximum number of new accounts you can have open and still be approved.
  • If you get a “pending” response to your application and call reconsideration, the agent may say you have too much credit from Chase or too many cards open in which case you can get the new card approved by moving credit lines or closing an old card.

You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24 month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be several months after you got the card). Do not apply for the new card again until 24 months from your last bonus on that card. Also, if you still have your old card, you are ineligible for the bonus, so cancel it before re-applying.

What’s Changing

The current rules for Chase-branded personal cards will soon apply to co-branded personal cards and all Chase-issued business cards. Doctor of Credit estimated March and April for when those rules will take effect.

New Best Practices for Chase Cards

Been in milesphere a while

If you are a person who has opened a lot of rewards cards, try to get Chase-issued co-branded personal cards and Chase-issued business cards now before the new rules come into effect.

I’ve gotten more than 20 cards in the last two years. I should get another Ink Plus soon. I’ll never have the chance again because I can’t imagine a two-year period in which I have fewer than five new accounts. There are just way too many good card offers out there.

Since I can’t get new ones, I’ll hold onto my Freedom and last Ink Plus. My Freedom has no annual fee, and I occasionally use it for its 5x categories. My Ink Plus has a $95 annual fee, but I occasionally use it for its 5x categories. Furthermore Freedom points are only worth a penny without an Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred; with one, though, you can transfer Freedom’s points to the Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred and from there to airline miles or hotel points.

New to miles

Everyone should have a Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus for their big sign up bonuses, generous category bonuses, and transferability to top programs like United, Hyatt, British Airways, Southwest, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Korean, and more. If you’re new to earning frequent flyer miles, these should be the first cards you get even though they are not at the top of my Top Ten List because if you don’t get them early in your card-opening lifetime, you’ll never be able to get them.

Bottom Line

Terrible news from Chase: you will soon be denied for all Chase cards like if you have 5+ other new credit card accounts in the last two years.

This would be truly catastrophic if it spread to other banks.

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

15

The Chase Ink Plus business credit card is offering 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. During this offer, the annual fee of $95 is NOT waived the first year.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.27.40 PM

 

The normal offer is 50,000 points after spending $5,000. Normally the annual fee is waived, so this offer is for 10,000 extra points at a cost of 95 extra dollars.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after $5,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses:  5x at office supply stores and on cable TV, landline, cell phone, and internet bills on first $50k spending in 5x categories per year; 2x at gas stations and on hotels booked directly through a hotel on first $50k spending in 2x categories per year
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Can be transferred to 6 airline miles and 4 hotel points or used like cash toward the purchase of any flight at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. I value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each, and I would not use them like cash toward the purchase of a flight. I would mainly transfer them to United miles.
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $95 annual fee

Sign Up Bonus

The Chase Ink Plus business credit card is offering 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. No end date is known for this sign up bonus.

Ultimate Rewards have two primary uses.

  1. Use them like cash to purchase any flight on any airline with no blackouts at a rate of 1.25 cents each. Please don’t use your points like this.
  2. Transfer them to miles or points with 10 travel partners. This is the best way to use them.

Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to:

Category Bonuses

The Chase Ink Plus offers 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cable TV, landline, cell phone, and internet bills on the first $50k in spending in 5x categories per year.

Office supply stores sell a lot of gift cards, so you can greatly expand the reach of the 5x categories.

The card also offers 2x at gas stations and on hotels booked directly through a hotel on the first $50k spending in 2x categories per year.

Can You Get a Business Card?

The Chase Ink Plus is a Business Card. Here is some information about getting Business Cards. I noticed that I got approved more easily for business cards when my business had revenue, and I estimated I’d spend at least $1,000 per month on my new card.

Fees

The Chase Ink Plus has no foreign transaction fees. It also has chip technology for global acceptance, so it’s a great card for overseas travel.

The card has has a $95 annual fee that is not waived.

Chase Application/Approval Rules

Applications for Chase’s personal cards that earn Ultimate Rewards–Freedom and Sapphire (Preferred)–are being denied if the applicant has applied for 5+ credit cards–personal or business–in the last two years.

Applications for the Ink MAY be approved even if you have more than 5+ applications for other cards in the last two years, but your chances are low and go down if you call Chase’s reconsideration line after your application. Just wait for a final decision before calling reconsideration.

Bottom Line

The Ink Plus was already my favorite business card because of its sign up bonus, category bonuses, and transfer partners. That was with a 50,000 Ultimate Reward bonus. For the next few weeks (I’m guessing based on the length of past 60,000 point bonuses), it has a 60,000 Ultimate Reward bonus.

This card is not for everyone. It isn’t for you if you spend more money when you pay with a credit card than when you pay with cash. It isn’t for you if you don’t pay your cards in full each month. It isn’t for you if you can’t meet the minimum spending requirement.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

As of 8 PM ET on August 27, transfers from Ultimate Rewards to Korean are back.

Transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean Air SkyPass miles are “temporarily unavailable” according to Chase’s website.Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 1.21.53 PM

The transfers were also temporarily unavailable from November 2014 until January 2015. In that instance, Chase communicated that the problem was temporary and Korean signaled transfers would return in January, which they eventually did.

I’ve reached out to Chase to see if we can get a timeline on just how temporary this problem will be. I will update this post if I hear back.

Normally Chase points transfer instantly 1:1 to Korean miles. In the absence of Chase transferability, your only transfer option to get Korean miles is the new SPG/Korean partnership. SPG points transfer 1:1 to Korean miles, and every 20,000 Starpoints transferred triggers a 5,000 Korean mile bonus. Because of this partnership, I’ve written a few posts recently about Korean miles:

HT View from the Wing

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

38

Chase is now denying applications for the Sapphire Preferred, Slate, and Freedom if you have five or more new credit card accounts total from any banks in the last two years.

This change does not affect your ability to be approved for other Chase personal cards that are co-branded with banks and hotels like the United, Marriott, Southwest, or British Airways cards or any Chase business cards.

  • What do we know about Chase’s new churning rules?
  • How do we know it?
  • What’s the new best strategy to open Chase cards?

Starting last month, Chase began to deny applications for its proprietary personal cards–the best of which are the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom–by people who have recently opened too many credit card accounts. Presumably Chase is doing this because if you open a card for its bonus and then cancel the card without becoming a multi-year customer, you are an unprofitable customer. If you have opened several cards recently, you’re obviously more likely to be a person who just gets a bonus and then closes a card.

We know this because there are dozens of reports of denied applications for this stated reason since May on FlyerTalk, reddit, and a Doctor of Credit thread. Based on those reports, I’ll sketch out the rules as best as we can tell them, since Chase doesn’t post these rules anywhere. I’ll also suggest your new optimal credit card strategy based on whether you’re new to the frequent flyer milesphere or whether you’ve been around for a while.

New Rules to Be Approved for a Chase Credit Card

If you are applying for a Chase-branded personal credit card (ie Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Slate), and you have 5+ new card accounts in the last two years, you will be denied. I’m using the more widely accepted 5+ number even though at least one person reports being denied with only 4 new accounts in the last two years.

If you are applying for a co-branded airline or hotel card from Chase (ie United, Southwest, Amtrak, British Airways) or business card, old rules for approval apply. A Chase rep told one redditor about this distinction explicitly.

  • There is no maximum number of new accounts you can have open and still be approved.
  • If you get a “pending” response to your application and call reconsideration, the agent may say you have too much credit from Chase or too many cards open in which case you can get the new card approved by moving credit lines or closing an old card.

You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months. This 24 month clock starts when you got the last bonus (which may be several months after you got the card). Do not apply for the new card again until 24 months from your last bonus on that card. Also, if you still have your old card, you are ineligible for the bonus, so cancel it before re-applying.

New Best Practices

Chase now has the strictest approval policy for some of its best cards.

Everyone should have a Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus for their big sign up bonuses, generous category bonuses, and transferability to top programs like United, Hyatt, British Airways, Southwest, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Korean, and more. If you’re new to earning frequent flyer miles, these should be the first cards you get even though they are not at the top of my Top Ten List because if you don’t get them early in your card-opening lifetime, you’ll never be able to get them.

But what if you’ve been in the miles world for a while?

I’ve gotten more than 20 cards in the last two years. I was planning on getting a Sapphire Preferred again soon because it has been long enough since I closed my last one that I could get the bonus again. But with the new rule, I’d be rejected, so I won’t apply. In fact, I won’t apply for a new Sapphire Preferred again because I can’t imagine a two-year period in which I have fewer than five new accounts. There are just way too many good card offers out there.

Since I can’t get new ones, I’ll hold onto my Freedom and Ink Plus. My Freedom has no annual fee, and I occasionally use it for its 5x categories. My Ink Plus has a $95 annual fee, but I occasionally use it for its 5x categories. Furthermore Freedom points are only worth a penny without an Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred; with one, though, you can transfer Freedom’s points to the Ink Plus or Sapphire Preferred and from there to airline miles or hotel points.

I can and will continue to open co-branded cards offered by Chase. I just opened a United personal and business card for 50k miles each a few months ago. In the future, I’ll look at British Airways and Southwest cards.

Bottom Line

Terrible news from Chase: you will be denied for a new Chase card like the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, or Slate if you have 5+ other new credit card accounts in the last two years.

This change doesn’t affect Chase co-branded airlines and hotel cards like the United or Marriott cards or business cards like Ink Plus.

This would be truly catastrophic if it spread to Chase co-branded cards, Chase business cards, or other banks.

Full Chase application rules (FlyerTalk wiki)

Hat Tip Doctor of Credit

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

The Chase Ink Plus, one of the best business cards on the market, has long offered new applicants no annual fee for the first 12 months, then a $95 annual fee.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 3.15.49 PM

Today I noticed two other offers on the Ink Plus being split tested by Chase (and there may be more.) By repeatedly going to the Ink Plus’ page in a Chrome Incognito browser, I got three different offers.

They were:

  • $0 annual fee for first twelve months, then $95 (current standard offer)
  • $95 annual fee (ie not waived for first 12 months)
  • $0 annual fee for first twelve months, then $150 (ie a bigger annual fee)

As far as I could tell, only the annual fee varied. Every other aspect of the offer was the same.

Here’s the non-waived annual fee offer.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 3.03.09 PM

Here’s the $150 annual fee (waived year one) offer.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 3.03.56 PM

Clicking the Pricing & Terms link brought up this page, which confirmed the annual fee of $150.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 3.04.10 PM

You can access that page by clicking this link.

Companies split test offers all the time. If Chase finds that people sign up for the worse offers at the same rate as the better offer, they’ll surely switch to a worse offer as a profit-maximizing company. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

In the meantime, if you go through an affiliate link to get the Ink Plus, you will get the best offer of $0 annual fee for 12 months, then $95. Affiliate links are not being split-tested to my knowledge.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

7

The Chase Freedom is offering 20,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months. This is double the normal sign up bonus.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.18.59 PM

It is also offering up to 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for existing cardholders who refer their friends to the Freedom.

I have the Freedom. The sign up bonus is puny, but the card has no annual fee, and has 5x bonus categories that rotate every quarter. I got it to hold forever and to maximize the 5x category each quarter to the tune of 30,000 Ultimate Rewards per year.

  • How can you maximize category bonuses with the Freedom?
  • What card do you also have to have to maximize the value of a Freedom?
  • How can you sign up for the 20k offer while getting another 5k bonus points for someone else?
  • How can you get your referral link into this post?
------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

3

Chase Freedom is offering 5% cash back at amazon.com, zappos.com, and dozens of department stores from October 1 – December 31, 2014. You must activate those category bonuses, and you can do so now.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 11.19.01 PM(It’s too late to activate the 5x at gas stations and Kohl’s that runs through September 30. If you haven’t hit $1,500 in spending yet, hurry.)

The Freedom markets itself as a cash back card, but it actually earns Ultimate Rewards that do NOT transfer to airline or hotel partners like United and Hyatt.

You can, however, transfer the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to your Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold account or your spouse’s. From there, you can transfer the Ultimate Rewards to a dozen incredible airline and hotel partners like United and Hyatt.

That means that if you play this right, you can earn 5x United miles per dollar at amazon.com, zappos.com, and select department stores for the fourth quarter of the year.

  • How can you register for the Freedom 5x categories?
  • How can you indirectly transfer the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards to airline miles and hotel points?
  • Why is transferring the points more valuable than cash back?
  • Who are the Ultimate Rewards partners?
  • What department stores will earn 5x? Which are excluded?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

All links have been removed because this list is outdated. Click here for the current list of top credit cards for travel.

Whether you’re looking for free luxury hotel stays, first class flights, flights home to see family, or big rewards on gas or groceries, there are some fantastic credit card bonuses out there.

I’m writing this post from Raleigh, North Carolina near the end of a six-week world tour that would have been completely impossible without miles and points earned from credit cards.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 6.53.53 PM

My trip is taking advantage of American Airlines miles, Starpoints, Ultimate Rewards, Lufthansa miles, and Arrival miles, all of which I got from credit cards.

How can you earn rewards for the trip of your dreams? What are the best credit card offers for March 2014?

1. Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard

With recent devaluations to the United and Delta award charts, American Airlines miles are the most valuable miles for now.

American Airlines miles are the undisputed best miles for ultra-luxury redemptions, and the miles are valuable for trips to Asia, South America, Europe, and Australia. On my current trip, I spent 67,500 American Airlines miles for a First Class redemption from New York City to Singapore with 23 hours in Macau along the way.

Citi offers the American Airlines Executive Card with 100,000 bonus miles after spending $10k in the first three months.

Beyond the sign up bonus, the other huge benefit that cardholders get is free lounge access in Admirals Clubs.

Beyond the huge minimum spending requirement, the other big drawback is a $450 annual fee. In the first year, this is partially offset by $200 in statement credits on your first $200 in purchases on the card.

More Info: Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard

2. Ink Plus and Ink Bold

The Inks are business cards with 50,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonuses after spending $5k in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Amtrak, and more.

The Inks earn 5x points on internet, phone, and cell phone bills; 5x points on purchases at office supply stores; 2x points on hotels and gas; and 1x points on everything else.

The Inks have no annual fee the first 12 months, $95 thereafter.

The Ink Bold is exactly the same as the Ink Plus except the Plus is a credit card and the Bold is a charge card. That means the Bold must be paid off in full each month, while you can run a balance on the Plus. Because of this difference, I have gotten both for the same business.

I used Ultimate Rewards (transferred to Hyatt points) to book the Grand Hyatt Macau and Ultimate Rewards (transferred to United miles) to book my Slovenia to North Carolina flights.

3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® is another great card for families that travel in economy without much flexibility, since Arrival miles can be used to book any flight on any airline with no blackouts. Miles can also be redeemed for any hotel or other travel expense.

This card comes with 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

With this card you can book any flight on any airline at any time, or any hotel, or rental car, then redeem your miles for a statement credit equal to the cost.

In other words, the 40,000 miles could be used on any $400 flight without the need to find award space. You would even earn miles for flying the flight, since the airline will see it as a cash ticket!

Plus you get a 10% rebate after every redemption for travel, so after redeeming the 40,000 miles for $400 in travel, you get 4,000 miles back, worth $40 more dollars.

I have used my Arrival miles on this trip to book a motel and domestic flights like a $150 trip from Raleigh to Tampa that would have been a poor value with traditional miles.

This card earns 2 miles per dollar, which is 2.28 cents back toward travel, on all purchases.

This card fills the gaps in a miles strategy because the rewards are perfect for cheap domestic flights or hotels that otherwise would be bad redemptions with traditional airline miles and hotel points.

There is no annual fee the first year, $89 thereafter.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

4. Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a personal card that earns 40k Ultimate Rewards after spending $3k in 3 months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Amtrak, and more.

You also get 5k bonus points for adding an authorized user while applying, so I think of this as a 45k bonus point card. (Adding an authorized user does not prevent that person from getting the card at the same time or in the future as a primary account holder and getting the full sign up bonus.)

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more.

The other big bonus is a 7% annual points dividend each January on all the points (other than the sign up bonus) earned in the previous calendar year.

The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

5. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express offers 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5k in the first six months. Starpoints are the most valuable and the most flexible points in the world. I laid out their many uses in my Starwood Preferred Guest Primer.

  • The miles transfer at a 20k-Starpoints-to-25k-miles ratio to American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, British Airways, and about 20 more airlines.
  • Free hotel nights start at 2k points.
  • Nights & Flights packages allow you to redeem Starpoints for five free hotel nights plus 50k miles with the airline of your choice.
  • Cash & Points stays let you stretch your Starpoints over more redemptions.

Because of the value and flexibilities, the Starwood card is one of the three cards I recommend to big spenders.

 

The card has no annual fee the first year, then $65.

Terms and restrictions apply.

Application Link: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Tip: You can get the personal card described above and the business version at the same time for another 25k bonus Starpoints after spending $5k in the first six months.

I recently transferred 20k Starpoints to US Airways miles to book a dream trip to the World Cup for June 2014.

6. Citi ThankYou Premier Rewards Card

For people who want domestic or economy flights, traditional airline miles are often a poor value. For those flights, cards that earn flexible points that can be redeemed for any flight with no blackouts are often the better deal. The Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card earns those super flexible points.

The card has no annual fee the first year, then $125.

 

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card

I just got my Citi ThankYou Premier Rewards card this month, and I have not had a chance to use the rewards yet.

7. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

The Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card is the best card for giving you free luxury hotel nights. The card comes with two free weekend nights at Hiltons worldwide after spending $2,500 in the first four months. The free nights are best spent at top-tier Hiltons and Conrads that can go for $500 or more per night.

This card is perfect to get aspirational stays at top tier properties like the Conrad Koh Samui that goes for 95,000 Hilton points per night and costs more than $1k per night.

The card also comes with Hilton Gold Status, so you can enjoy free internet and breakfast on those stays.

The card earns 10x points on Hilton stays, 5x on airlines and car rentals, and 3x on all other purchases.

There card has no foreign transaction fee. The annual fee is $95.

Application Link: Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

8. Frontier World MasterCard

The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard® comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in the first 90 days.

The 40,000 bonus miles are enough for two roundtrips anywhere in the US that Frontier flies, including Alaska.

Frontier has a great route network in the continental US, Alaska, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean. Award space is wide open on these routes, and award prices are dirt cheap at 10k miles each way in the US, including to Alaska, and 15k each way internationally.

I recommend getting the card now because I have never seen a higher sign up bonus on it.

The card has a $69 annual fee.

Application Link: The Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®

9. Blue Cash Preferred

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 100 Reward Dollars, redeemable for a $100 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.

The card offers an unbeatable 6% cash back in the form of statement credits on your first $6,000 annually at grocery stores (then 1% back). And it offers 3% back at US gas stations and select US department stores.

Plus, get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period. I wrote more about this benefit here.

 

  • Get 100 Reward Dollars, redeemable for a $100 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
  • Plus, get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period.
  • As an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.

The card has a $75 annual fee.

Application Link:Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

10. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card is a personal card that offers 25k bonus Membership Rewards after spending $2k in the first three months.

The Premier Rewards Gold card is AMEX’s best personal card for earning Membership Rewards. Beyond the big sign up bonus:

  • Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Fast: 3X points for flights booked with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • You can transfer points to over 20 frequent traveler programs or use points for gift cards at popular stores.
  • Use your Card for retail, dining, travel or groceries, then go online and use points towards your eligible charges.
  • As an added bonus, you can get 15,000 points after you spend $30,000 in purchases on the Card in one year.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.

Membership Rewards themselves are very valuable and flexible since they transfer to airlines in all three global alliances, plus unaffiliated airlines like Frontier and Hawaiian.

I used Membership Rewards to book myself a flight in Singapore Suites on this trip.

The card has no annual fee the first year, then $175.

Application Link: American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Activate your Chase Freedom 5% cash back categories for 2014 to earn 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations, movie theaters, and Starbucks until March 31.

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 6.08.58 PM

Each quarter, you can earn 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar on your first $1,500 in the bonus categories as long you register your Freedom card. Max out the $1,500 each quarter, and you’ll earn 30,000 Ultimate Rewards.

That’s on top of the current sign up bonus of 10,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in three months on the card.

All these Ultimate Rewards on the Freedom can be redeemed for 1 cent cash back, so 50,000 Ultimate Rewards would be $500. Or the Freedom’s Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed at a much, much better rate.

How?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

27

 

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

———————————————————————————

There is currently an offer for 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $3k in three months on a new Chase Sapphire Preferred. Plus you can get 5k more points by adding an authorized user.

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 12.20.48 AM

This is one of the absolute best personal card offers on the market, so I would recommend folks jump on this offer before it disappears, which may be very soon, if they’re in the market for a new rewards card.

Where can you apply? What else is different about the offer?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

16

The Chase Hyatt Credit Card no longer has an annual fee the first year, a $75 savings.

The Hyatt card has my 11th favorite sign up bonus from Chase, but it’s a solid card to hold forever, and one that I have. The big draw is the sign up bonus of two free nights at almost any Hyatt worldwide after spending $1,000 in the first three months. In fact, I just booked my two free nights today.

What 10 Chase cards have better sign up bonuses? What are the other perks and drawbacks of the card? Where did I use my free nights?

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

2

Register now for the Chase Freedom’s fourth quarter category bonuses. From now through December 31, 2013, you’ll earn 5x Ultimate Rewards per dollar on purchases at amazon.com and these department stores.

Every quarter, the Freedom has a new category or categories in which you can get 5x Ultimate Rewards up to $1,500 spent. Maximize the category throughout the year for 30,000 Ultimate Rewards.

The Ultimate Rewards earned on a Freedom are not transferable to airlines or hotels. That’s why to get maximum value from a Freedom, you need to have a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus. Transfer the Ultimate Rewards from your Freedom to one of those cards, and then you can transfer them 1:1 to United, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Amtrak, and more.

The Chase Freedom comes with 10,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $500 in the first three months.

The Freedom has no annual fee.

A few weeks ago I wrote that Chase is offering folks 5,000 Ultimate Rewards to refer the Freedom to their friends. Here’s my referral link–and one from a loyal MileValue reader–to earn me or him 5,000 Ultimate Rewards if you get a Freedom:

 

------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Follow Me