Chase

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I originally published this post a couple weeks ago but have updated it today (8/16/16) to reflect the latest news.

There were rumors flying around the internet about a new premium travel credit card to be released by Chase on August 21, 2016 called the Sapphire Reserve. The rumors now look to be confirmed.

Doctor of Credit has published screenshots of what bankers have already been told about the new card. Frequent Miler also said his own banker confirmed existence of the Sapphire Reserve. Then yesterday, The Points Guy reported that Chase confirmed it with them directly (and Chase officially tweeted it).

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Here’s the sign up offer.

  • $450 Annual Fee
  • 100K Ultimate Rewards Sign-up Bonus for spending $4,000 within three months of opening the card
  • $300.00 Annual Airline Credit
  • Access to 900+ lounges worldwide (Priority Pass Select)
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards directly on airfare (any airlines) for a value of 1.5 cents each
  • 3X Points Travel
  • 3X Points Dining (Yes, 3X for Dining!)
  • $100 Global Entry Free credit
  • Visa Infinite

A move like this from Chase makes a lot of sense from a competitive standpoint. Chase is the only big issuing bank that doesn’t have a premium credit card. By premium, I mean a card with a large annual fee that is (depending on the type of traveler and spender you are) often justified by large benefits, like:

How the Rumored Sapphire Reserve Stacks Up to the Competition

The annual fee projection is the standard $450 that other premium cards charge, so no surprise there.

The minimum spending requirement is $4,000 for the massive 100k Ultimate Reward sign-up bonus, which is also on par with the competition. It goes without saying that the sign-up bonus is competitive. We value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each which would make that bonus worth a staggering $2,000. How long that inflated sign-up bonus will last until they match the going market rate is up for debate, but I can’t see it lasting for too long when the Citi Prestige® Card and Amex Platinum cards offer 40k to 50k bonuses in their own point currencies.

The Airline Credits are competitively higher ($100 higher than Amex’s, and $50 higher than Citi’s). More on that below.

Priority Pass Select membership grants access to over 900 lounges worldwide and is a standard premium card benefit.

A direct redemption rate on all airlines of 1.5 cents per Ultimate Reward is one of the most competitive aspects of the Reserve’s offer. The Prestige offers a less valuable rate for redeeming ThankYou Points directly (1.33 cents with the current offer, and that changes to 1.25 cents as of July 23, 2017). Membership Rewards earned from the Platinum cards have a direct redemption rate of a meager 1 cent each.

A 3x category bonus for spend on travel is good– same as the Prestige’s and better than Amex’s premium cards.

A 3x category bonus on dining is exceptional and perhaps the most standout item on the benefit list, at least from a long term perspective. No other directly competitive card offers 3x for dining.

You can get up to $100 reimbursed on your card statement for the Global Entry Fee or TSA Pre® . This is a standard benefit offered by premium credit cards, so again, Chase is right on par with the competition in this aspect.

The Visa Infinite program’s benefits are all luxury travel related. Doctor of Credit describes them in detail here. No other premium card is a part of the Visa Infinite program, but the Prestige offers the fourth hotel night free benefit and the Amex Platinum grants Hilton Gold status.

$600 in Airline Credit Before 2nd Annual Fee = $150 in free Airline Credit

Assuming the Airline Credit would be available on a calendar year basis (like the Citi Prestige), then the annual fee would be more than made up for in the first year of card membership because you could get $600 in Airline Credit before the second annual fee hits.

For example, if you signed up for the Sapphire Reserve in October 2016, you’d have until the end of December 2016 to use the first calendar year’s $300 credit. Then between January 2017 and October 2017 you’d have another $300 credit to spend before the annual fee hits for the second year of card membership.

That means you’d come out $150 on top (in airline credits) before the second annual fee is collected after subtracting the first annual fee from the total amount of airline credit you can earn in a year of card membership:

($600 Airline Credit – $450 Annual Fee = $150 free Airline Credit)

Of course, if you don’t spend that much on cash tickets for flights/award taxes & fees/in-flight purchases/airline gift cards/etc, then you probably shouldn’t even be considering a premium card like this, as that is what mainly justifies paying at least one annual fee.

Remember, This is a Chase Card

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Photo by Mike Mozart

Will the Chase 5/24 rule apply to this rumored premium card? Well, we thought so.

But there were early application links floating around yesterday (now dead), and Interestingly, this reddit.com/r/churning survey has data points from people that applied. The majority of applicants were over the 5/24 limit, and of those people, the majority were approved anyway.

Bottom Line

Rumor had it that Chase is set to release a premium travel credit card called the Sapphire Reserve on August 21, and we now have all the reason needed to believe those rumors as true. It will be Chase’s first premium travel credit card and will compete with the likes of the Citi Prestige® Card and the Platinum Card® from American Express.

Chase’s existing Sapphire Preferred card is consistently on our Top 10 list of best travel credit cards. It comes with 55,000 Ultimate Rewards after a $4,000 minimum spending requirement and adding one authorized user, as well as 2x category bonuses on travel and dining expenses. While I can not directly link to the Sapphire Preferred’s current 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 Sapphire Reserve will undoubtedly make the Top 10 cut as the Sapphire Preferred’s sexier older sister.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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.

The normal offer for the Ink Plus card by Chase 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.

Below is a breakdown of the sign-up offer.

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. Although you should take note that, while minimal, currency conversion fees tend to be higher on Visas than MasterCards (and the Ink Plus is a Visa).

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

Chase Application/Approval Rules

Applications for all Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards are being denied if the applicant has applied for 5+ credit cards–personal or business–in the last two years from any issuing bank. This has been labeled the 5/24 Rule.

That is why for the reasons presented in this post, the Ink Plus is one of the first three cards I recommend you get if you can get a business card.

Bottom Line

I think the Ink Plus by Chase is the best business credit card out there that offers travel rewards– especially if your business is still growing and doesn’t have a lot expenses because you’ll get a lot out of its valuable sign-up 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. If none of those points apply to you, then I would seriously consider the Ink Plus.

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

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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The US Open begins August 29 in Flushing, New York. Chase customers can register here to reserve a free spot at Chase’s Lounge for access to air-conditioning and complimentary snacks and beverages during the world class tennis matches.

To be clear, you still have to purchase tickets to the US Open– this free reservation at the Chase Lounge is solely for entrance to the lounge. But with temperatures in New York climbing that time of year and pricey drinks, a lounge with air conditioning and refreshments would no doubt be appreciated. Just make sure you register ahead of time as spots are limited.

How to Get a Free Spot in the Chase Lounge

1. Register here by inputting the Chase customer service number in the New User Login boxes. That’s the only verification of being a chase customer that is needed.

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2. You’ll be given 19 different time slots to choose from. You can reserve spots for up to four people total in any session that has availability. The four spots don’t all have to be reserved for the same time, you can spread them across different sessions (or even book a spot for yourself in four different sessions if you wish).

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FYI, Mark Jackson commented on this One Mile At a Time Post that last year the Chase Lounge was only serving alcoholic beverages during the evening sessions.

3. You should receive a confirmation that looks like this once you pick your sessions. The first bullet point in the confirmation suggests printing or taking a screenshot to facilitate an easier check-in process when you arrive.

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4. If you want to change your reservation at any point, you must do it at least 24 hours prior to the event.

Here are the full terms & conditions (click to enlarge).

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SPG Moments Packages for US Open Tickets

SPG Moments offer one-of-a-kind musical, sporting, or cultural experiences to Starwood Preferred Guest members.

While you should normally save your Starpoints for transferring to an airline partner, SPG occasionally offers incredible value through Moments by SPG. In December of 2014, Scott won two tickets to a Capital Cities concert in Buenos Aires that came with a chance to meet the band and a cocktail reception for only 6,000 SPG Starpoints through an SPG Moments auction.

SPG is offering Moments by SPG packages for the US Open as Starwood is a sponsor.

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Most of the bidding for these packages start at above 50,000 Starpoints (which I value at 2.5 cents each, so more than $1,250). But if you’re a big tennis fan, one of these packages could be worth it to you. Before buying one of these packages, just make sure to compare the cash price of the ticket outright out with your valuation of the amount of Starpoints required to make sure you’re getting a deal.

A lof of the prime US Open tickets are already sold out, so in that case an SPG Moments package could be very appealing for you tennis fans that didn’t plan ahead.

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Arthur Ashe Stadium, Photo by slgckgc

Bottom Line

Register here to reserve a free spot at Chase’s Lounge at the 2016 US Open in New York. You can also bid on an SPG Moments package for US Open tickets using Starpoints.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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Do you have the Chase Freedom card? Book a car rental or hotel with it in July and get 10% cash back or 10 Ultimate Rewards per dollar (if you have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus).

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The Deal

  • Offer is valid for purchases made July 1 – July 31, 2016
  • 10x is only valid on up to $2,500 in purchases
  • To qualify, must be a car rental or hotel reservation booked through ChaseUltimateRewards.com
  • Travel does not have to be completed within July, you can rent a car or reserve a hotel room for whenever

Although the promotion is for 10% cash back, you can actually earn 10 Ultimate Rewards per dollar if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card since there is a second way of redeeming the Ultimate Rewards: transfer them to your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account and from there to airline miles or hotel points. I call this the Freedom Two Step.
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I value Ultimate Rewards at two cents each, so by completing the Freedom Two Step with Ultimate Rewards earned on your Freedom through this promotion, you would essentially be getting twice as good of a rebate than if you didn’t move the points over to your Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus.

Don’t Forget to Compare Potential Award Earnings

If you spent the full amount on your Freedom that you can earn 10x Ultimate Rewards on, $2,500, that would be like earning 25,000 Ultimate Rewards (worth about $500) if you have the ability to transfer those points to a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus account. While this might sound like a stellar deal right off the bat (and don’t get me wrong, it is a good deal), you need to compare potential award earnings through other sources.

First of all, you most likely will not earn points from the hotel or car rental’s loyalty program if you book through ChaseUltimateRewards.com (since it would be through a third party).

And if you have a Citi Prestige® Card, you could book your hotel or car rental on that for 3x ThankYou Points on top of the points you would normally earn from the hotel or car rental’s loyalty program. You could also take advantage of the fourth night free benefit if you plan on staying at least four nights.

Finally, Rocketmiles is worth a look. They are currently running an AAdvantage promotion for first time users that guarantees at least a 5k mile bonus on top of what you would normally earn for booking a hotel through the site.

Bottom Line

You can earn 10% cash back (or 10x Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent) by putting car rentals or hotel nights on your Freedom card for the entire month of July.  This could be a great deal for you depending on the opportunity cost.

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

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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Update 6/29/2016: These increased sign-up bonuses end TOMORROW, June 30, 2016! You have two days left to take advantage! 

The United MileagePlus Explorer Card is currently offering a limited time sign-up bonus offer targeted to United MileagePlus account holders:

  • 70k bonus miles after spending $3,000 in your first three months as a cardmember + 5k miles for adding an authorized user + $50 statement credit after first purchase (annual $95 not waived first year). You’ll also earn at least 3k miles from 1x spending to unlock the sign-up bonus, so that’s at least 78k miles.

There is also a limited time offer on United’s website (if you’re signed in to your MileagePlus account):

  • 50k bonus miles after spending $3,000 in your first three months as a cardmember + 5k miles for adding an authorized user. Annual $95 fee not waived first year. You’ll also earn at least 3k miles from 1x spending to unlock the sign-up bonus, so that’s at least 58k miles.

This is the normal offer through Chase’s website:

  • 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account + 5,000 miles for adding an authorized user + 1k miles from 1x spending to unlock the sign-up bonus  = at least 36k miles

How to Check if You’re Targeted for 70k

  1. Log in to your United MileagePlus account on United.com’s homepage.
  2. Click this link.

Card Benefits

  • Either a 30k, 50k, or 70k mile sign-up bonus
  • 5k mile bonus for adding an authorized user**
  • 10k mile bonus when you spend $25,000 in net purchases each year
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets purchased from United
  • Earn 1 mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • $50 statement credit after first purchase (only being seen as a benefit with the 70k targeted offer)
  • Free first checked bag for cardmember and one companion on United flights purchased with Explorer Card
  • Priority boarding
  • No fees on foreign transactions
  • EMV chip provides more security and global acceptance
  • 2 United Club passes per year
  • Annual fee is $95 for the 70k targeted offer, as well as the 50k offer on United’s website– it is not waived the first year of card membership. For the public offer through Chase’s website, the annual fee is waived the first year and is $95 thereafter.
  • Cardholders get more United award space than non-cardholders

**Add an authorized user to the account during the application for an easy 5k mile bonus– this applies to all offers, targeted and public. The extra card will be sent to you, so you can always decide not to give it to the authorized user. The authorized user will not be precluded from opening his own account with a 50k mile bonus later. You will receive the 5k miles after one purchase is made on the authorized user’s card.

Data Points of Targeted Offers

When I sign in to my United MileagePlus account, I see a sign-up bonus offer of 50k miles after spending $3,000 within three months of opening the account (+5k after adding an authorized user):

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Multiple Doctor of Credit readers have reported receiving a 70k mile offer (like this one posted by reader Red) for spending $3,000 within three months of opening the account (+5k after adding an authorized user):

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Why Collect United Miles

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Star Alliance Members

As I explained in the Basics of United MileagePlus, United is one of my favorite mileage programs because:

  • United miles can book flights on all 27 Star Alliance members, the biggest alliance with the best award space worldwide.
  • United doesn’t collect fuel surcharges.
  • United has great prices on economy awards and reasonable prices on awards in its own fully flat bed BusinessFirst and Global First products that I’ve flown many times and found very comfortable each time.

However, do not collect United miles to use in luxurious First Class on its partners’ flights. Since United introduced a separate, higher-priced award chart for premium cabin awards on its partners, these flights are a terrible deal.

Chase Matches

Chase is the best about matching people who have applied for and been approved for inferior offers to the best available offer. You can always send a Secure Message through chase.com to ask to be matched to a better offer on a card you have. In my experience, Chase will only match you if you were approved within 90 days of your Secure Message. Your experiences may vary. Share them in the comments.

Doctor of Credit reported that people who applied with lower sign-up offers within the last 90 days and are now targeted for the 70k offer have had success matching by sending screenshots of the higher offer to Chase.

Eligibility

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). Read more about issuing bank rules for approvals and new bonuses here.

The Chase 5/24 rule (that your application will be denied if you’ve opened five credit cards from any institution within the last 24 months) applies to the official public offer for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card, and I think it might also apply to targeted offers– see comment below this post. Let us know in the comments if you have any experience with the 5/24 rule in regards to these targeted offers.

Bottom Line

Check to see if you’re targeted for one of these inflated sign-up bonus offers for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card by signing into your MileagePlus Account on United.com and then clicking this link. You could earn up to 78,000 United miles for spending $3,000 within three months of the account opening and adding an authorized user.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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I have a friend who, after about five months off from applying for any new cards, decided to give it another go recently. He is writing a series for MileValue on his experience. Below is Part 2: applying for the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase, as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Business credit cards by Bank of America. Read Part 1 if you haven’t, where he explains how he decided on those cards. Take it away, buddy:

In Part 1 of my story, I explained to you why I decided to apply for the following cards:

  • the Ink Plus by Chase
  • the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card by Bank of America

To put it simply, I decided on applying for the Ink Plus and the British Airways cards as a last ditch effort–to see if I could slip them in before the Chase 5/24 rule completely solidifies. People on FlyerTalk have been reporting lots of denials and some approvals, so I wanted to give it a shot. Might as well, since I don’t plan on taking any two year breaks from this hobby any time soon and the longer I wait, the less likely I am to be approved.

The Alaska cards I decided on because I didn’t want to add a ton of required spend to the $7,000 I would need to put out for the Chase card bonuses. I found a link to apply for the personal card in this Flyertalk thread that offers 25,000 miles just for signing up, and the business card’s official public offer only requires one purchase to earn the 25,000 mile bonus.

Read on to find out what happened when I applied.

Applying for the Chase Cards

I started with the Chase cards, the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature, and received the same response.

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Both applications would require further review. Buzz kill. All things considered, 90% of me was expecting this response, so I couldn’t be too disappointed.

I immediately returned to the FlyerTalk thread I found about applying for Chase cards, in search of the reconsideration phone number as it is standard practice to call when you receive this type of pending application response from a bank. But as I was skimming through the wiki at the top of the thread, I came across the following statement:

“It may be better to avoid calling Chase unless your application is denied. Many recent calls on pending applications led to denials, and many people report having success letting applications work their way through the system. Be patient. Time is on your side; increasingly, Chase [customer service representatives] are not.”

I found this to be interesting and also make sense, so I heeded the advice and didn’t call the reconsideration line.

Applying for the Bank of America Cards

Next up was the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card, which I was auto-approved for!

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The final application was for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. Perhaps it was because I filled out the application just minutes after I had applied for the business card, I’m not sure, but I received another “we can’t give you a decision right now” pop-up:

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The FlyerTalk thread that discusses the application process for the Alaska cards does not advise against calling Bank of America’s reconsideration line like the Chase thread did, so I called 1-866-811-4108 to discuss my application with a Bank of America representative.

I am accustomed to this conversation as I have had it multiple times before. I always start out with the same line:

“Hello, I recently applied for your ____________ card and was told that more time was needed to review my application. I am calling to see if there is any information I can provide you with that would help speed along that process.”

I always strive to sound extra friendly. The reps on the other end have never ask me more than surface level questions that I already answered on the credit card application.

And that’s exactly how this call to Bank of America reconsideration went. The rep asked me who I worked for and what I did for a living, to which I answered briefly and truthfully. And that was it. He congratulated me on approval, and let me know that I would get my card in the mail in the next seven to ten business days.

The 25,000 miles from opening the personal card have already hit my Alaska Mileage Plan account, and the other 25,000 from the business card will hit shortly, once I purchase something with it and this month’s statement closes.

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Waiting Out Chase

In the next post, I’ll have Chase’s decisions about my applications for the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature. Dun…dun…dun…cliffhanger!

Final Words by Scott

Curious as to how his luck turns out with the dreaded Chase 5/24 rule? I am. Tune in next time to see the results!

If you want to apply for the British Airways Visa Signature,  Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, or the Ink Plus (all mentioned in this post) please consider doing so through the links below. I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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I have a friend who, after about five months off from applying for any new cards, decided to give it another go recently. He is writing a series for MileValue on his experience. Below is Part 1, where he decides on a new round of credit cards: the Ink Plus and the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase, as well as the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature and Business credit cards by Bank of America. Take it away, buddy:

I travel often, and for me to keep my expenses down and maintain the lifestyle that I want, I sign up for credit cards that earn me a lot of rewards that I can cash in for basically free flights. I imagine many of you are like me, to some degree.

I tend to apply for credit cards in batches, all on the same day. This is because I subscribe to the school of thought that if I apply all at once, the banks won’t see what each other are doing as all of the credit inquiries are being processed at the same time. Whether I apply all on the same day or spread out over time, I know the affect on my credit score will be more or less the same. I choose to apply in batches because I think it improves my chances of being approved for multiple cards in a short span of time.

My last round of applications were done in this manner, all on Christmas Eve of 2015. What greater present could I give myself than a bunch of free travel? I applied for five different cards, and my credit score (expectedly) took a dip. This ain’t my first rodeo, so I didn’t panic.

One of the perks I really appreciate about my Citi Prestige® Card is that I can check my real FICO score,  so I monitored it on citi.com

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… and also expectedly, after a few months, my score bounced right back up.

So I started researching what cards would best suit my travel needs, considering what cards I had gotten before and what cards I currently have compared with the latest and best offers. Scott’s articles about issuing banks rules for approvals and new bonuses and the Top 10 Travel Credit Cards both really helped with the research.

I decided to set my sights on:

  • the Ink Plus by Chase
  • the British Airways Visa Signature by Chase
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card by Bank of America
  • the Alaska Airlines Visa Business card by Bank of America

How did I reach that conclusion?

Thoughts on The Current State of Chase Credit Cards

Unless you stumbled upon this blog post by accident, there’s a good chance you already know what the Chase 5/24 rule is. In a nutshell, the rule is that if you have opened any five credit cards, not just Chase cards, within the last 24 months, then your Chase application will be denied.

About a year ago, Chase started enforcing this dreaded rule to the purely Chase-branded personal cards, i.e. the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Slate. Then there were rumors that in March of this year, this 5/24 rule would also start applying to Chase’s Ink cards, and in April, to the remainder of the personal and business co-branded cards.

chase screenshot

I was really bummed about that news since I have certainly opened more than five cards in the last two years, and the Chase cards offer some of the best sign-up bonuses and perks out of any of the travel cards out there.

I looked on FlyerTalk to see if the rumors were true. The reports I read on this FlyerTalk thread about applying for Chase cards were mixed– many denials but still some approvals. What was clear was that the longer I waited, the less chance I would have of getting any Chase cards as more people (with five or more cards opened in the last two years) were seeing more denials as time passed. I saw my options as either:

A) Apply now and risk the denials to see if I can slip in before the 5/24 rule solidifies

B) Go two years without any new card applications, and then go after the Chase cards I want

Option B was not appealing in the least as I travel often and burn through miles pretty steadily. I decided the risk of a denial was worth the possibility of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards and 50,000 Avios.

My spending power isn’t greater than the $7,000 in three months required to unlock the sign-up bonuses on the Ink Plus and British Airways Visa Signature (assuming I am approved), so in my mind that left only two more options for this round of applications: the Alaska Airlines cards, personal and business versions.

Thoughts on the Current State of Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

The Alaska Airlines cards are known in the miles community as an easy way to keep a stream of valuable miles coming in without any serious spending required.

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Prior to May 2016, the public offer for the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card did not require any spending whatsoever– you received the 25,000 mile bonus after simply signing up and paying the $75 annual fee. The Alaska Airlines Visa Business card has always (and still does) require just one purchase to earn the 25,000 mile bonus, and also has a $75 annual fee.

Now the public offer for the personal card is a sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within three months of opening the account, which is still quite a low spending requirement, but I didn’t want to add even $1,000 to the $7,000 I would need to spend to earn the bonuses on the Chase cards as a I don’t think I’ll have that kind of spending capacity. So I looked to FlyerTalk in hopes of finding an old link with the 25,000 mile bonus in exchange for the $75 annual fee. I found one here at the top of this thread that is still active: Alaska Airlines card offers, Personal & Business, 25K and up.

I already have two Alaska cards, one personal and one business card, but all evidence I read still points to the Alaska Airlines credit cards as being churnable. I decided to proceed with applying for two more (one each of the personal and business cards).

Preparing for My Applications

I learned from reading Scott’s primer about the Alaska cards that calling into Bank of America to lower the credit limits on my existing Alaska cards would smoothen the process of applying for two more. The logic behind that makes sense to me– it reduces Bank of America’s exposure to risk– so I called customer service (1.800.732.9194) to complete the process. The representatives didn’t ask many questions, just did as they were told.

As for the Chase cards, I had no preparations to make. After waiting a week to make sure the credit limit decreases on my existing Alaska cards were official, I was ready to start the application process.

Final Words by Scott

Stay tuned for more follow up posts to see how his applications turn out.

If you want to apply for the British Airways Visa Signature,  Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, or the Ink Plus (all mentioned in this post) please consider doing so through the links below. I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one the best travel cards on the market at the moment. It ranks #4 out my Top 10 Travel Credit Cards for May 2016.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 55,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in spending in the first three months and adding an authorized user on the card
  • Category Bonuses: 2x on travel and restaurants
  • Value of Ultimate Rewards: Worth 1.25 cents toward the purchase of any cash ticket OR can be transferred to any of these six airlines and four hotels for higher value:
    • British Airways
    • Korean Air
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Southwest Airlines
    • United Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • Hyatt Gold Passport
    • IHG
    • Marriott Rewards
    • Ritz-Carlton Reward
  • Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first 12 months, $95 per year afterwards

There are 10 reasons why I am a fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  

1. You will earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards for the sign-up bonus.

2. You will earn 5,000 Ultimate Rewards after adding an authorized user.

3. Ultimate Rewards transfer to a variety of airline frequent flyer programs that employ three different types miles.

4. You can get that sign-up bonus again after a little more than 24 months.*

5. It makes your Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited card MUCH more valuable

6. Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic to fly to Europe for only 17,500 miles!

7. The card is accepted globally with no foreign transaction fees.

8. No annual fee collected the first year.

9. Baggage delay insurance

10. A live human being picks up the phone when you call Sapphire Preferred’s customer service.

Top 10 Reasons to Get the Sapphire Preferred

1. You will earn at least 54,000 Ultimate Rewards with the sign-up bonus and the spending it takes to unlock it. 

I value Ultimate Rewards at 2 cents each, so to me 54,000 Ultimate Rewards are worth $1,080.

You will more than likely earn even more than that if any of your spending is in restaurants or on travel, since those categories earn 2x for ever dollar spent.

2. You will earn 5,000 Ultimate Rewards after adding an authorized user. 

Definitely do this. The authorized user does NOT get a credit check. The authorized user is NOT disqualified from opening their own Sapphire Preferred and getting their own sign up bonus. The extra card is sent to you, and need not ever be used to earn you the 5,000 points. That brings the my sign-up bonus valuation to $1,180:

 $1,080 + (5000 x .02) = $1,180

Not to mention your authorized user can help you reach that minimum spending requirement much faster than you could on your own.

3. Ultimate Rewards transfer to a variety of airline frequent flyer programs that employ three different types miles.

Out of the airline transfer partners’ frequent flyer programs, four use region-based miles, one uses distance-based miles, and one uses airline points. You can read more about the different types of miles here.

It’s important to diversify across the types of miles because they all have different strengths. You want to have the best mile for the job, and you want to use the types of miles in concert.
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4. You can get that sign-up bonus again every 24 months.*

You can 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 up to three months after you got the card).

5. It makes your Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited card MUCH more valuable.

The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited are marketed as cash back cards. The Freedom earns 5x spending on rotating category bonuses (as well as 1x on normal sepdning) and the Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5x on all spending. 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.

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The 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. Having a Sapphire Preferred turns the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited into the most valuable cards for non-bonused spending. No other cards come close to offering 1.5 United/Korean/Singapore/BA/Southwest/Hyatt miles or points per dollar (Freedom Unlimited) or definitely not 5 United/Korean/Singapore/BA/Southwest/Hyatt miles or points per dollar on non-bonused spending.

6. Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic to fly to Europe for only 17,500 miles

You can fly Virgin Atlantic economy from Atlanta, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, or Detroit to London for 17,500 miles and $134.60 in taxes and fees (yes, there are fuel surcharges).

Using American Airlines miles, United miles, or Delta miles, the same flight would cost you 30,000 miles. I think it is worth saving 12,500 miles for $129 in fuel surcharges. That’s like buying miles for 1 cent each.

With the Ultimate Rewards you earn from the sign-up bonus + spending to get the sign-up bonus + adding an authorized user (59,000), you could fly to London three times and still have miles left over.

7. The card is accepted globally with no foreign transaction fees.

The Sapphire Preferred’s chip technology provides added security so you can feel safe trotting around the globe with it. And you won’t pay any pesky foreign transaction fees that can really kill the value of your awards (on many cards these fees amount to 3% of every transaction– yikes!).

When you travel as much as I do, cards with foreign transaction fees get very little to no love. And all those foreign frequent flyer programs you transfer your points to to book awards? You need a card like the Sapphire Preferred to put the taxes and fees on, unless you want to pay 3% on top.

8. No annual fee collected the first year.

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year that your account is open. Most cards with as many perks as the Sapphire Preferred do not waive the annual fee.

9. Baggage delay insurance

This screenshot is from the Sapphire Preferred’s Featured Benefits page:
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That is stellar travel protection, offering a nice silver lining to an otherwise aggravating situation. I don’t have any personal experience with this but I did meet someone traveling in Argentina who held a Sapphire Preferred card. She was without her luggage for about a week, but an extra $100 in her budget every day made for some quality souvenirs and a good time shopping.

10. A live human being picks up the phone when you call Sapphire Preferred’s customer service.

Every Sapphire Preferred card has a customer service phone number on the back. When you call, you are not put through 19 prompts and transfers until you reach an actual (helpful) human being. A short recording plays that informs you the call will be recorded, and then a person that speaks English natively picks up. This is something that all companies–not just credit cards–could learn from in these days of never ending menus to get to a person who can solve your problem.

*Chase 5/24 Rule 

I put an asterisk by reason #4 because of a rule Chase enforces that must be considered before you apply for their cards, whether it’s for the first time or as a repeat. Make sure you haven’t opened five credit cards (any cards from any bank) within the last 24 months, or your application for the Sapphire Preferred will be denied. This is called the Chase 5/24 rule.  If you can’t remember if you’ve opened five cards in the last two years, check by requesting a credit report from one of the three national credit bureaus:

The dates in which you opened and closed accounts should be listed on all of them. You are entitled to one free credit report from each bureau per year.

Bottom Line

I am a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred for numerous reasons–the high value and diversified reward earning potential, lack of foreign transaction fees and impressive customer service are just a few.

What do you love about your Chase Sapphire Preferred?

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.)

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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If you’re just getting into the miles hobby or coming back after a break, it’s important to realize that there is an order in which to apply for credit cards that can help you maximize your award earning potential. Applying at random not only slows your award earning efficiency but can also result in unnecessary denials (and wastes of hard credit inquiries that affect your credit score), thanks to bank rules and sign-up bonus conditions.

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Where I’ve been through May 2016. You can do it too if you collect awards wisely!

There are numerous institutions that issue travel credit cards, but I’m going to talk about five them, as they issue the majority of cards that are worth signing up for:

  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • American Express
  • Barclaycard
  • Bank of America

This is the order I suggest applying for credit cards in:

  1. Look at all the cards offered by Chase, and pick up to five that you want.
  2. If there are five that interest you, get them all.
  3. If there are less than five Chase cards you want (we’ll call the number of Chase cards you want “X”), apply for 5-X Citi cards that interest you, and then X Chase cards.
  4. Over the course of time, apply for other Citi cards, Barclaycards, and Bank of America cards. At the same time, keep an eye out for the highest sign-up bonuses available from American Express cards and apply for them when you see them.
  5. Consider stopping or slowing down for 24+ months in order to re-up on Chase cards at some point.

The Best Order for Card Applications Step-by-Step

1. Look at all the cards offered by Chase, and pick up to five that you want. 

Chase has some of the best travel cards out there with incredible sign-up offers. If you have gotten any five credit cards total from any banks within the last 24 months, all Chase cards will be off limits to you– this is called the Chase 5/24 Rule.

The rule previously only applied to Chase branded cards specifically (like the Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Slate) but now it also applies to their co-branded and business cards (United Explorer, British Airways, Ink Plus).

2. If there are five Chase cards that interest you, get them all.

You can be approved for multiple Chase cards on the same day. I know people who have been approved for two personal and one business card from Chase on their first-ever credit card applications.

3. If there are less than five Chase cards you want (we’ll call the number of Chase cards you want “X”), apply for 5-X Citi cards that interest you, and then apply for X Chase cards. 

Citi has a rule that sign-up bonuses on their cards are not available for a second time until 24 months after the original card was either opened or closed. By applying for the Citi cards you want first (ONLY if you want less than five Chase cards) you will start that 24 month clock sooner, therefore allowing you to get these Citi cards for a second time more quickly than you otherwise could. I would pick the ones you most want to repeat with the highest sign-up bonuses.

Citi’s rule is as follows: You can be approved for no more than one card in a week or two Citi cards in a 65-day period. If you want three Citi cards, get them on Days 1, 9, and 66. This is the timeline that has worked best for other people.

Say you want two Citi and three Chase cards, get one Citi and three Chase cards on Day 1 and one Citi card on Day 9.

4. Over the course of time, apply for other Citi cards, Barclaycards, and Bank of America cards. At the same time, keep an eye out for the highest sign-up bonuses available for American Express cards and apply for them when you see them.

Here are American Express’ rules to consider:

  • You can only get the bonus on a American Express personal card or business card once per lifetime (with the exception of a possible targeted offer). This is why you should choose which offer you sign up with carefully. The American Express Platinum personal card and American Express Platinum Card Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz are separate cards, so you can get the bonus on each.
  • You are limited to holding four American Express credit cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit (Amex Gold, Everyday, Delta, and SPG are credit cards.)
  • Separately, you are limited to holding four American Express charge cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. (Amex Platinum is a charge card).

Here are Barclaycard’s rules and other tips to consider:

  • Applicants with zero Barclaycards may be able to get several at once.
  • Applicants who have a Barclaycard will not be approved for another for at least six months since the last Barclaycard application.
  • Barclaycard will deny people for having too many Barclaycards, not enough spending on existing Barclaycards, too much credit with Barclaycard, or too many accounts with other banks.

Here are Bank of America’s rules and other tips to consider:

  • As for the Alaska Airlines personal and business cards (the only Bank of America cards worth getting), you can get as many as you’d like at one time.
  • I usually get one of each every 91 days, but people have gotten multiple at once or waited less time between applications.

Putting these rules together, it is important to snipe Amex offers. You should always be on the lookout for very short term offers with huge bonuses like the 100,000 point offer on the Amex Platinum that lasted just hours. When these bonuses appear, jump on them. When Amex cards have their “normal” bonuses, skip them in favor of normal or elevated bonuses from Bank of America and Barclaycard.

5. Consider stopping or slowing down for 24+ months in order to re-up on Chase cards at some point.

Remember that pesky Chase 5/24 Rule? If you stop collecting cards for a 24 month period, then it stops applying to you. However there is another Chase rule that comes into play here if you want to open a repeat Chase card: You can only get the bonus on the same Chase card once every 24 months, and this 24-month clock starts when you received the last bonus (which may be several months after you opened the account). So the actual waiting period before you can get a repeat sign-up bonus is 24 months plus the amount of time it took you get the bonus the previous time.

Whether you should stop getting new cards to reset your Chase clock is just a math problem. How many points in future sign up bonuses will stopping unlock for you (and how much are they worth?) versus how many are you giving up during your hiatus (and how much are they worth?)

Which Travel Credit Cards are the Best Right Now?

Listed below are the top three cards out of my top 10 choices for travel credit cards at the moment. Note that I update this post monthly, so these are my top three choices as of May 2016.

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Chase Ink Plus card

Until May 15, 2016, the Ink Plus is a business card that offers 70,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Singapore, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more.

The Ink Plus earns 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 annual fee is $95, and it is NOT waived for the first year during this 70,000 point promotion.

Unfortunately you can only apply for the 70,000 point offer in a Chase branch. There is a similar offer with a 60,000 bonus point offer you can apply for online.

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.)

Platinum Card from American Express

Until June 22, 2016, the Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz comes with 75,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, Singapore, and British Airways.

The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status.

For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card.

Landing Page: Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

The “regular” Platinum card is worse than this offer because it has a smaller sign-up bonus and only a $25 lower annual fee.

Citi Prestige Card

For a limited time, the Citi Prestige® Card comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Read my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

Resources for Beginners

Bottom Line

Choose the order in which you apply for travel credit cards carefully as it makes a serious impact on your award earning potential over the course of a lifetime. Apply for five Chase cards if there are five that interest you. If you want less than five Chase cards, apply for Citi cards first, but not so many that it would put you over a total of five cards when counting your desired Chase cards. Then move on to collecting other Citi, Barclaycard, Bank of America, and American Express cards, remembering to cherry pick the highest sign-bonuses for American Express since, publicly, you can only get one sign-up bonus per American Express card per lifetime.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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13

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I’m at zero because I already transferred!

Click Manage Ultimate Rewards and Combine Points.

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

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

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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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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20

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.

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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.

 

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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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

 

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 4.28.39 PM

39

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

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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 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.

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