1. Last week two Hilton no-lifetime language offers surfaced on Hilton personal cards, and DDG notes that there’s now one for the Hilton Aspire personal card too.

    Hilton Aspire (NLL, new): 175,000 points after $6,000 spend in six months
    – Hilton Surpass NLL: 130,000 points + Free Night Certificate after $3,000 spend in six months
    – Hilton Honors NLL: 70,000 points + Free Night Certificate after $2,000 spend in six months

    Remember that contrary to churning wisdom, AmEx NLL links don’t govern whether or not you’re going to get a bonus. Instead, the pop-up does. NLL links are special though because they’re less likely to give a pop-up. Also note that sometimes you can get around a pop-up with trickery, but only sometimes.
  2. Alaska Air has a paid and award fare sale through Monday, and there are some gems:

    – Transcon flights pricing at 9k miles
    – Short-haul to Mexico pricing at 4.5k miles
    – Hawaii flights pricing at 9k miles

    There’s lots of space available August through October, and some availability in November before Thanksgiving.
  3. American Express has targeted offers for opening new business checking accounts through July 31. Both require the funds to be deposited within 30 days and held for another 60. You also need five eligible transactions, which for me means five scheduled ACHs of $1.00:

    50,000 Membership Rewards: $7,500 deposit
    70,000 Membership Rewards: $15,000 deposit

    There are two common fallacies that many churners share: (1) Raisin day doesn’t exist, and (2) there’s no way to get this bonus multiple times. (Thanks to DoC)

The Raisin Day lobby has a point.

Opinions lie somewhere on a spectrum in daily life for just about any subject. For example, you’ll find people that tell you the best Mexican food restaurant is Taco Bell, and you’ll of course find plenty of other people with the (correct) opposite opinion. EDITOR’S NOTE: I tried to link to sources for the opposite opinion, but there were so many that it literally broke the internet so I had to revert the links.

In churning, a divisive range of opinions formed about how much sharing is good; all the way from “any sharing will kill any deal” to “everything should be shared so everyone can benefit” and everything in-between. I’ve seen counter examples to sharing absolutism on both ends and I think both viewpoints are wrong. A few examples:

  • “Any sharing will kill any deal”: Obviously this isn’t true. Buying money orders at Walmart has been around since the early 2010s, and buyer’s groups have been around even longer. Both are alive and well despite massive publicity and volume
  • “Everything should be shared so everyone can benefit”: Avianca LifeMiles learned about award chart soft-spots and cabotage through a travel blogger’s DOT complaint and killed plenty of its sweet spots right after; the same thing happened with Emirates redemption on Alaska after too much online press.

There’s a goldilocks zone with most subjective opinions where too much of something is bad, too little of the same thing is bad, but some is just right. What sharing size is right for churning? That depends on the audience’s size, composition, and the topic at hand. If you think I’m not in the goldilocks zone with this blog’s content, please let me know because I’m certain I can always improve.

Tying this back to where we started: While in general the goldilocks zone is somewhere in the middle, sometimes the absolutists on one side are correct: Taco Bell isn’t the best Mexican restaurant (don’t say you never learned valuable life lessons at MEAB).

Exhibit A: A Taco Bell Mexican pizza.

  1. Do this now: Register for Wyndham’s promotion for stays booked by August 31 and completed by September 3. The maximum bonus for the promotion is 15,000 points total, and can be earned by:

    – 2 night stays: 7,500 bonus points
    – 3 night stays: 12,500 bonus points
    – 4+ night stays: 15,000 bonus points

    Vacasa bookings don’t count, and existing bookings don’t either so you’ll have to rebook anything already planned.
  2. Chase Offers has a few card linked gameable offers:

    – 10% back on $50+ at Southwest on up to $400 in spend
    – 10% back on $100+ at Four Points by Sheraton on up to $570 in spend through July 1

    I’ll personally be spending 30 seconds today to remember the loss of Starwood and its SPG program to Marriott, in case you were wondering.
  3. Virgin Atlantic devalued partner ANA business class awards to Japan:

    – West Coast to Japan: From 45,000 points to 52,500 points
    – Central or Eastern US to Japan: From 47,500 points to 60,000 points
    – Hawaii, Indonesia, or India to Japan: From 35,000 to 37,500

    Inflation affects cash prices for hotels and airlines; that typically means it’s going to affect points prices too since your earning is often based on cash spend, which inflates. So, minor devaluations like this can be expected every few years as normal course of business. Of course major devaluations don’t get to hide under the inflation blanket.
  4. Chase’s Memorial Day weekend surprise is that targeted mailers for a $1,500 sign-up bonus after spending $10,000 on the Ink Business Premier have resurfaced after a winter hiatus. If you didn’t get a mailer, the offer is also available in branch by talking to a friendly business banker, and the targeting criteria for in-branch is much looser.

    These will probably appear this week in the “Just for you” section of the Chase app and website too in case you didn’t get a mailer and don’t want to go in branch because going in branch is hard. (Thanks to DDG)

Have a nice holiday friends!

The other version of a Memorial Day surprise.

  1. American Express Hilton co-brand cards have new heightened offers, some of which include a free night certificate:

    Hilton Honors NLL: 70,000 points + Free Night Certificate after $2,000 spend in six months
    Hilton Surpass NLL: 130,000 points + Free Night Certificate after $3,000 spend in six months
    Hilton Aspire: 175,000 points after $6,000 spend in six months (all time high is 180,000)
    – Hilton Business: 175,000 points after $8,000 spend in six months (all time high is 180,000)

    The no-lifetime language (NLL) variants of these cards with free night certificates are great offers, especially the Surpass provided you can maximize its credits. Note that applying through Hilton’s site gives different pop-up behavior for me with the lifetime language links.
  2. Staples has fee free $200 Visa gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction.

    These are Pathward gift cards.
  3. H-E-B stores have a $15 H-E-B gift card with a $100 Lowes or Home Depot gift card (or Dairy Queen if you’re not into the whole eating actual food thing), limit one per brand through Tuesday.

    If only there were a way to have multiple email addresses for multiple H-E-B accounts, but alas, science hasn’t worked that one out yet. (Thanks to GCG)
  4. The American Express Marriott Business card has a heightened sign-up bonus of five free night certificates for up to 50,000 points each after $8,000 spend in six months. This offer has lifetime language.

    I’d also consider this a great offer for this product but a mid offer at best when you consider bonuses available on non-Marriott cards. Just take a look at what some of your favorite Marriott hotel award redemptions cost on a given night to see what I mean (you’ll need need to check the ‘Use Points/Awards’ box). Spoiler alert: the Courtyard Lubbock Downtown’s lowest rate in June is 91,000 points, during one of the hottest months of the year. #bonvoyed (Thanks to TaifaStars)
  5. Martin’s and Giant Foods have 12x points on Gift of Choice gift cards through Thursday, some of which can be converted to Home Depot gift cards for bulk resale. Stop & Shop has an 8x deal for the same cards too. (Thanks to GCG)

Have a nice weekend friends!

Marriott Courtyard Lubbock’s elite welcome card.

It’s a roller coaster today friends.

  1. Cardless has launched its co-branded Avianca Lifemiles cards. Both are third party American Express cards which are typically interesting in their own rite, and both give you Star Alliance Silver which isn’t even good for a free checked bag. Both Elite also gives you a complimentary Lifemiles+ Lite subscription which gets you a 10% rebate on award bookings. The cards:

    – 40,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 90 days
    – 2x on groceries and restaurants
    – $99 annual fee

    Lifemiles Elite:
    – 60,000 miles after $4,500 spend in 90 days
    – 40,000 more miles after another $20,500 spend in the first year
    – 2x on groceries on restaurants (with a negligible bonus at times)
    – $249 annual fee

    Unless you have special American Express shenanigans, both of these cards should probably be a pass. Just get an American Express, Capital One, or Citi card with better benefits and earning potential that can transfer to Lifemiles instead.
  2. Chase has targeted mailers and in-branch business bank offers for 120,000 Ultimate Rewards on the Chase Ink Unlimited card. Typically these targeted mailers and in-branch offers bypass 5/24 and work up to 8/24.

    Side note for those of you who don’t concern yourselves with social constructs like account longevity: You can also often buy mailers on ebay.
  3. Southwest has a companion pass promotion that’s a little too specific:

    Register for the promotion
    – Book two one-ways or one trip by tomorrow night, but they can’t be 100% points bookings
    – Travel to and from Hawaii in June or July
    – Earn a companion pass valid from October 5 to November 15

    Existing bookings don’t count, and the companion pass travel period is rather lame too. In other Southwest news, yes you can find Southwest on Google Flights now, and yes every blogger out there will right no fewer than one articles about it, even though if you’re a regular Google Flights user you’d discover it yourself really quickly. Hooray for capitalism right?
  4. Giftcards.com is currently 2.5x on the AA shopping portal, and 2x on other major airline portals.

    These are Pathward gift cards.

A MEAB reader prepares for today’s post; picture snapped before disappointment set in.

One of my favorite sayings is “there’s always somebody hitting a deal harder than you”. Of course logically this can’t be true because there’s a heaviest hitter for everything, but it’s right for all but one of everyone so it’s close enough, the same way that in physics, π = 3 is close enough for most estimates and assuming the shape of a cow is roughly spherical is usually good enough.

I’d like to offer a corollary to the heavy hitter hypothesis:

There’s always a better version of deal than the one you’re hitting.

You can sometimes find these deals by stacking things in a line, like by earning 2% for buying something with a Citi Double Cash and earning additional spread by paying your bill using a spread on a payment service or by getting even trickier. Other times, you can find these deals at your local credit union; they may offer a grocery card that earns better than an American Express Personal Gold card, which would be enough at face value. Bot sometimes the credit union also lets you pay your bill with a HELOC, and lets you pay your HELOC with a profitable bill pay service, and maybe has a transfer bonus too.

Always be probing!

There’s always better pizza than the one you’re eating too. Not pictured: Literally any other pizza.

  1. Citi ThankYou Points has a 50% transfer bonus to Turkish Miles&Smiles through June 15. The best use of this program since the Spring devaluation has been for travel on Turkish metal, but there’s still plenty of other opportunity with a 50% bonus, like flying to Hawaii or Alaska on United in coach for 10,000 miles in coach, or 15,000 miles.

    What’s the catch this time? Finding partner award space on United metal is currently a bit like finding a $100 bill on a street – it’s not like it’s never happened, but I don’t like your odds. (Thanks to OK-Anywhere6998)
  2. Discover, in a move that shows it’s still proud to be in last place in the major card networks, has a $100 referral bonus for both the referrer and the referred on its quarterly bonused IT card. The referred also gets one year of double cash back paid out in a lump sum. (Thanks to DDG)
  3. As of May 4th, the Chase Modified Double Dip is double dog dead. I’d hoped we’d find a workaround, but that seems unlikely at this point.

    The MEAB preferred double dip of a Sapphire card combined with an Ink Preferred card is still alive and well.

Have a nice Tuesday friends!

Another May 4th double dip.

  1. American Express’s promotion for 10x on dining for up to $25,000 in three months for the referrer after referring someone else to AmEx ends on Wednesday. To make this last a little longer, remember AmEx referral hacks:

    – One 10x bonus per account number
    – Referral links saved before Wednesday will have the 10x bonus attached even if the referred applies for the card after Wednesday This didn’t work
    – If the referred is denied on first application but later approved after reconsideration, the 10x bonus will activate for the referrer, even after the expiration

    Combine several of the above to extend 10x even further, and remember you can always chat with American Express to confirm that a referral bonus is attached after three days.
  2. Giftcards.com has new codes for 10% off of $100 Visa egift cards. Codes to try:


    These codes don’t appear on major shopping portals so probably won’t payout, but you miss all the shots you don’t take. If you’re having tracking issues with this site, see this post and also note that all Safari desktop transactions may also currently not track with giftcards.com.

    These are Pathward cards. Several online liquidation channels for these dried up in the last couple of weeks, but there’s always a play and there’s always Kiva as a last resort if you don’t have other options.
  3. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard sent out mid-month offers late last week, we’ve seen:

    – 200,000 Shop Your Way Rewards points for $750+ in online shopping
    – 250,000 Shop Your Way Rewards points for $1,000+ in online shopping
    – $70 statement credit for $1,000+ in online shopping
    – $50 statement credit for $750+ in online shopping
    – 10,000 ThankYou Points with $1,000+ in online shopping

    (Thanks to MVC, Brandon F, irieriley, and Brooke)
  4. Giant, Stop & Shop, and Martins stores have 10x points on Uber and airbnb gift cards through Thursday, limit $2,000 per account. Of course with Pepper Rewards you can get effectively the same deal from home, but probably only for a couple more weeks.
  5. American Express offers has $300 back on $750 or more at Holland America through August 31. (Thanks to FM)
  6. In case you’re wondering how bad the Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) airlines are doing at meeting the current traveling public’s needs, two pieces of news will tell you: (1) On Friday Frontier eliminated change fees on non-basic economy tickets and added Euro-Business style blocked middle seats on some tickets. Then this weekend, (2) Spirit eliminated both change fees and cancellation fees on all tickets.

    Of course, you could look at Frontier’s earnings or Spirit’s earnings for Q1 2024 earnings and see it in number form. [Spoiler alert] They’re both great at losing money, and they’re both good at using accounting tricks to make the losses look less grave.

ULCC post-COVID economic models in a nutshell.