Warning: There’s a lot of math in today’s post, but don’t worry, it’s the easy kind that doesn’t cause my P2 to break out in hives.

  1. PenFed has a $750 new savings account bonus for depositing $50,000 by the end of the year and holding it through April 30, 2024. The account earns 3% APR, and the bonus is effectively another 6% 4.5 APR. Last I checked, 3%+6% 4.5 = a good savings rate for cash. (Thanks to DoC, and Anthony)
  2. The American Express Business Platinum card has heightened bonuses via referral, now up to 25,000 Membership Rewards for the referrer and 150,000 Membership Rewards for the referred.

    Obviously 150,000+25,000 is less than the current sporadic offer of 190,000 Membership Rewards, but the referral offer is much less likely to give a pop-up. (Thanks to Gasongasoff)
  3. Capital One Shopping has a targeted $50 or $75 referral bonus for both the referrer and referee available, for a total of $100 or $150 in bonuses. A couple of reminders:

    – You don’t have to have a Capital One account to use Capital One Shopping
    – After approximately $1,000 cash back you should switch to a new account

    So, I guess connect the dots on this one.
  4. Based on news headlines in the space, affiliate credit card bloggers evidently have new access to a new Alaska Airlines Visa 60,000 mile sign-up bonus. As a friendly reminder, VPN into Southern California and use a link that has an embedded Google referral for a 70,000 mile offer if you’re going for the card, and probably go for some business cards at the same time too.
  5. Citi has a new targeted offer by email for a $30 statement credit with $350 or more in hotel spend through December 20. Check your inbox for the subject: “[NAME], Activate your offer today and start earning now!”
  6. Qatar Avios has a 25% bonus for incoming bank point transfers through November 30. For most of us, bank points with Qatar as a transfer partner means Citi or American Express.

    Typically these bonuses post in a week, but the T&C gives them 45 days of wiggle room.

Happy Tuesday!

Ok, this one might actually be hive inducing, sorry.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card has mid-month offers for online spend by December 14. Reported offers, and this stacks with other offers sent at the beginning of the month for spend at utilities:

    – $40 off of $600 in spend
    – $50 off of $750 in spend
    – $80 off of $800 in spend
    – 200,000 Shop Your Way Points for $600 in spend
    – 7,500 ThankYou Points for $750 in spend
    – 12,000 ThankYou Points ofr $800 in spend

    (Thanks to irieriley, David 99, Greyo, Dave 37, Fish, Bryan G, and Charlie)
  2. Chase Ultimate Rewards has a 25% transfer bonus to JetBlue through January 20, 2024, which for the right redemptions beats booking with a Sapphire Reserve through the Chase travel portal at a fixed 1.5 cents per point, but make sure to run the numbers first.

    Side note: if you’re paying close attention to the arbitrage opportunity for the JetBlue/Spirit anti-trust case and want to collaborate, please reach out to me.
  3. The American Express Business Platinum card has a targeted 190,000 Membership Rewards bonus link that’s been floating around for a few weeks and various ways to pull up that version of the offerhave come and gone and have had limited success. There seems to be a new repeatable way to pull it up: Open the application page from Dallas, TX. Geographic targeting has been more prominent over the last year, and it may be worth getting a VPN with multiple city endpoints as part of your churning toolkit.
  4. American Express offers has a targeted promotion for 17,500 Membership Rewards after $700 or more in spend at Princess Cruise Lines through February 15, 2024. Lately it seems like we might need to say ‘gamers gonna cruise’ instead of ‘gamers gonna game’? (Thanks to Rich)
  5. The Capital One Spark Cash Plus Select business card, which probably is missing at least three words in its title because clearly the marketing team is slacking, has a $750 sign-up bonus with $6,000 spend in three months. The card has no annual fee, but earns only 1.5% cash back on spend, which I guess means those three missing words should be “sock drawer bound”.

The NordVPN Dallas, TX datacenter.

By accident this is the fourth Quad in a row. Inception? Irony? Incompetence? I’m not sure.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, an Unsung Hero, has started sending its next round of targeted offers. As of this writing we’ve seen:

    – 5% back on all spend up to $100 back per month for September, October, November and December (a total of $400 back)
    – $60 back after four $75 or larger purchases per month for September, October, and November (a total of $180 back)

    I expect that we’ll see a few other variants over the weekend too. (Thanks to BB_Pcola and Jacob M)
  2. DDG reports that the American Express Business Platinum 190,000 Membership Rewards sign up bonus after $15,000 in spend in three months is available by phone, and also includes a bonus 10,000 Membership Rewards for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in the same timeframe.

    To check, dial American Express’s Small Business team at (855) 531-3491 and ask about different offers available, and note that they may not give you the best offer on the first try so keep asking if there are other offers available until you’ve exhausted the list.
  3. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion running over Labor Day weekend on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercards.

    Secondary markets continue to be running overdrive partially due to the time of year, but also partially due to new end-users entering the market. If you’re working with one, make sure they’re assuming liability for closed accounts within a business day.
  4. Safeway, Albertsons, and Vons family Just4U stores have 6x points on Google Play gift cards through Tuesday. The travel angle is that Just4U rewards can be exchanged for Alaska Airlines miles with some trickery.

    The best redemption is 7 rewards for 1,200 MilagePlan miles, which works out to $116.66 in Google Play cards. You can scale this to an extent, but as a friendly reminder of how strange, weird, and purposefully obtuse this program can be, you’re limited to 22 rewards (2,200 Just4U points) converted to 3,500 MileagePlan miles per week.

The Just4U program workflow, illustrated.

We’re going rapid-fire today:

1. There’s a coupon for $10 cash-back off of a $25 purchase at Walgreens in Google Pay. Clip it, link your credit cards to Google Pay in the mobile app, then go to Walgreens and use your linked card. Technically you can buy anything $25 or more to trigger the deal, but the provably correct choices are: (a) $25 worth of Peanut M&Ms, or (b) a $25 Steam gift card for resale. (thanks to DoC)

2. Reportedly, American Express is sending postal mailers for Business Platinum cards in the mail with a sign-up bonus of 190,000 Membership Rewards points. I haven’t heard of anyone receiving these mailers first-hand yet, but I have to assume that one of you has one or will get one shortly. Keep your eyes out!

3. The Citi Custom Cash card has had an in-branch $300 bonus after spending $1,000 for several months, but you can now get that online at Credit Karma of all places. This card is a souped up Chase Freedom or DiscoverIT card, you get 5x on up to $500 spend per month in whichever category you spend those most money on rather than worrying about rotating categories.

I have a Custom Cash card that I converted from an AT&T Access (less) card with a huge credit line. Too bad I can’t reallocate that credit line to another Citi card that I want to spend more than $500 / month on. It’s pure, unadulterated, wasted Citi credit capacity today.

4. Alaska Airlines has a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) plus taxes and fees (PTAF) sale running for bookings made today on travel between January 5th and March 9th using promo code STARBUCKS. It almost didn’t make the cut for this post because:

  • It ends right before Spring Break
  • It excludes travel on:
    • Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays on some routes
    • Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays on some routes
    • Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays on the other routes
    • Sundays through Saturdays on dates between February 18 and February 28

Confused? I think they’re trying to make the BOGO-PTAF deal a BOGO-PTAF-PITA deal.

The “L” in “L Walker” stood for “less” in my case.

The Past

In recent history, American Express had interesting Q4 referral bonuses released in October that stacked with regular year-round referral bonuses:

  • 2020: +3x on all purchases, uncapped
  • 2021: +4x on all purchases on $25,000 in spend
  • 2022: +4x on transit and travel on $20,000 in spend

There’s a definite trend and it’s clearly headed in the wrong direction. Which brings us to now: The current October 2023 Q4 referral bonus is +0x on all spend, uncapped.

That is, American Express seems to have decided it was too generous on the last versions and hasn’t yet released a Q4 promo for referrals, and probably won’t at this point.

The New Hotness

Rather than a referral bonus, American Express’s October 2023 surprise is a new set of offers for adding employee cards by phone to a primary business account. We’ve seen two variants, and both variants have been seen on the Blue Business Plus, the Business Green, the Business Gold, and the Business Platinum:

  • 7,000 Membership Rewards on $4,000 spend in six months per employee card
  • 15,000 Membership Rewards on $4,000 spend in six months per employee card

Each of these is good for up to 99 employee cards, which if maximized turns into 1.485 million Membership Rewards in addition to the base rewards earned for $396,000 in spend.

It’s likely that the Plum card has the offer too, but the Venn diagram intersection of churners and Plum cards is about the same as the Venn diagram of satisfied customers and the Baymont Wyndham in Lubbock: virtually non-existent.

Happy Monday friends!

Say what you will, but at least the Baymont Wyndham offers a choice of room scent.

July is apparently a good news and bad news sort of month. For example in the apparently not-a-joke competitive sphere of competition eating Joey Chestnut won a 16th hot dog eating contest on Tuesday, but to win he had to eat 62 hot dogs so there’s that.

In our world we’ve got a bit of bad news too:

But, there’s good news:

  • Rakuten will have 10x back at Dell (and probably Saks) on Monday, so you’ve got time to strategize your American Express credit liquidation
  • The IHG credit card’s sign-up bonus has bumped to 140,000 points and a $100 statement credit at IHG properties after $3,000 spend in three months
  • The Barclays Wyndham Business card has a targeted offer for 5,000 bonus points:

    – 1,000 bonus points per month for any purchase in June, July, and August
    – 2,000 additional points for $3,000 in spend or more over all three months

    Yes, we’re past June, so really this is a 4,000 bonus point offer going forward. Look for an email from [email protected] to see if you’re targeted. (Thanks to Welcome Offer)
  • American Express sign-up bonuses do eventually post

Have a nice weekend!

Another good news / bad news situation.

  1. Kroger is having another 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards Friday through Sunday.

    Digital coupon for third party gift cards
    Digital coupon for fixed value Visa and Mastercards

    The fuel points market isn’t as high as it was in the roaring 2021s, but it continues to adapt and recover nicely. Good fuel points brokers are assuming shutdown risk immediately or within 24 hours, so choose wisely my friends. (Thanks to GCG)
  2. I don’t cover things that I think aren’t worth your time, which is why you won’t see anything about $2,500 sign-up bonus for a bank account that requires $200,000 in new funds to be locked up for 90 days and pays 0.15% in interest; it just doesn’t make sense to waste time reading about something like that when you can easily earn 4-6% on those funds with existing savings or money market accounts.

    This philosophy means I almost never talk about Bilt, but I’m going to make an exception today because 2x everywhere for Hyatt points is definitely above the line: The first of every month is “rent day”, and you earn 2x on general spend on the Bilt Mastercard for up to $10,000 on rent day. Unfortunately today doesn’t coincide with the Kroger 4x promotion, but I guess you can’t win ’em all.
  3. Do this now: Register for Wyndham’s summer promotion for stays through September 5 booked by August 31:

    – 5,000 bonus points on two night stays
    – 10,000 bonus points on three night stays
    – 15,000 bonus points on four night stays (or longer)

    Wyndham cardholders can earn a bonus twice, non-card holders once.
  4. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card, once a Sears co-branded card, has a new targeted spending bonus:

    – 90,000 Shop Your Way points for $300 in travel spend, once per month for each month between June and December for a total of 630,000 points (!)

    Sears famously didn’t win them all either. (Thanks to birt)

Sears showing that you can’t win them all in the most Sears way possible. (Thanks to Kyle for the picture)

  1. Hy-Vee Grocery has Meijer style promotion running through November 15 for $10 back on each $150 or more in Mastercard gift cards. It’s Meijer style because a single $500 gift card earns 3x$10 back for a total cost including activation fee of $475.95.

    If you have an easy liquidation path, this is one of those deals that’s good enough that a trip to Hy-Vee territory may even make sense (and let’s face it, who hasn’t wanted to see Ashwaubenon, WI?). If you do it in the next three days, you can also stop at nearby Meijer stores for $10 in Meijer rewards for $150 or more in Visa gift cards. (Thanks to Justin via MEAB slack for pointing me to GC Galore and testing that the total cost was indeed $475.95)

  2. Kroger online is running a promotion for a $10 Kroger gift card and 4x fuel points with the purchase of a $100 Delta Air Lines gift card. As long as you can use the fuel points and the gift card this is somewhere between a 15% and 24% discount depending on your gas tank size. Unfortunately it’s limit one per order so it’s tedious to scale, but you can do it in-between Hy-Vee purchases I guess.
  3. Do this now (if you’re an American Express Hilton cardholder): Register for 1,000 bonus points for each $500 spent (targeted), up to $5,000 in spend.
  4. Barclay’s has added transfer partners for points earned on the Arrival Plus card, but unless you’re locked out of every other bank or have a major JAL award sweet spot, it’s not worth your time because the transfer ratios are frankly awful. Citi, American Express, Chase, and Capital One are all better options.

Some call this spot in Ashwaubenon the (-1)th wonder of the world.