Note: I’ve been on a disconnected vacation for a little over a week and I’m traveling home today. If you wrote me, I will get back to you soon. Normal posts will resume tomorrow.

Getting $50 for Three Months from Point

The Point debit card is giving a point for each dollar of “direct deposit”sent into your account in March, April, and May, up to 5,000 points per month. You also need to spend $100 on the debit card each month to be eligible.

Of course direct deposit can always be emulated. For the best luck:

  • ACH from a business account
  • Ideally, use a business account that lets you add an ACH memo when sending
  • Set the ACH memo to “Payroll”

I’d set up a $5,000 transfer to my Point account, wait three days to avoid the appearance of ACH kiting, then set up another $5,000 transfer back out. Even better, schedule all three months now and you can largely forget about it.

As always with Point, use a referral link if you sign up for the card because the public offer is smaller than the referral offer of $100 after spending $50.

Happy Monday!

ACH kiting is serious business, friends.

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation this week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

You’ll find a litany of negative commentary about Delta SkyMiles from just about every blogger (including me) and in every travel forum out there (and with good cause):

  • You’ll pay nearly twice as much for a business class seat to Europe or Asia using SkyMiles as you might with other major US and international currencies
  • One-way international trips booked within three months have punitive up-charges
  • The cost for international premium-cabin redemptions goes up twice a year or so just because they can

That said, SkyMiles are a valuable currency and are part of a wholistic travel strategy. They pair very well with AA miles, Alaska miles, United miles, and Southwest points as part of a complete travel hacking breakfast toolkit. While I wouldn’t recommend that you hoard them, I would recommend keeping some nearby because:

  • They’ve got a floor value of around a penny per point via pay with miles, which isn’t the case with the other major legacy airlines
  • Delta regularly has 5,000 mile fares for domestic short-haul
  • Delta runs decent award sales, sometimes to Mexico or the Caribbean for 11,000 miles round-trip
  • Delta’s award cancelation policies are great for non-basic economy fares
  • If you’re taking a positioning flight as part of a bigger trip, on average Delta will get you there without delays more often than any other carrier
  • In 2022 you’ll earn MQD and MQM for elite status on award tickets too

Happy weekend!

Delta is part of a complete travel-hacking breakfast toolkit.

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation this week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

Unlike most credit card issuers that deal checking accounts and mortgages, American Express’s main business is cards and it shows: They consistently have the highest sign-up bonus offers, weird authorized user offers, $19,000+ cash back offers, and of course coupon book offers galore. Let’s focus on the first of those today, sign-up bonuses.

When you visit American Express’s website to look at card options, they offer different sign-up bonuses based on:

  • Your browser (Chrome, Brave, Safari, Edge)
  • Your operating system (Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, iOS)
  • How you got to the site (direct, google, bing, baidu)
  • Your browser’s cookies (incognito)
  • Where you’re coming from (mobile network, residential, business)
  • Whether you clicked on an ad
  • When you visit
  • Maybe a dice roll?

If you systematically vary each of the above, you’ll almost certainly find a different sign-up offer. In my quick tests, I was able to see sign-up bonus offers for the American Express Business Platinum card of between 110,000 and 150,000 Membership Rewards by switching my browser and visiting incognito through a search engine on a particular week. But then the next week, no matter which option I chose, the minimum offer for the same card was 110,000 and the maximum was 120,000 Membership Rewards.

What’s the takeaway? When it’s time for a new American Express card, make sure you try several different methods to get the best sign-up bonus. This is true of both Membership Rewards earning cards and co-branded cards like Delta, Hilton, and Marriot AmEx cards. And a final note: never assume that a link from an article will be the best offer. Experiment!

Breaking: The American Express algorithm for sign-up bonuses.

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation this week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

There’s a deal that’s been floating around the travel hacking and churning underground since fall, and while it’s a bit fragile for public consumption, I have no doubt a handful of you are taking advantage of it to generate real cash-back (especially Patreons). One of the problems with the play though is that volume eventually gets you shutdown, and because the deal involves a real bank, it’s natural to assume that a shutdown applies to a person and not just to that account.

You can see where this is going from a mile away, right? Sometimes a shutdown is only tied to a particular account login, and all you need to get going again is another login. There’s rarely harm in trying to open a new account after you’ve been shutdown, so don’t be afraid to probe. You might end up with a new account and new spend limits.

This image should really be the site’s mascot. Anyone wanna print up a few mousepads?

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation this week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

1. Citi has a 15% discount on Apple gift card ThankYou Point redemptions and the spot rate for Apple gift card resale rates is in the 91-93% range, so there’s a spread to push your redemption value up by about 8% (100% / 85% * 93%). In other words, you’ll be getting about 1.08 cents per point by using Apple gift cards as a middle-currency.

2. Visible is at $50 cash-back or 5,000 Membership Rewards points on Rakuten as of this writing. With a Ting SIM card and Visible’s $50 back on bring-your-own-device, you can get a new burner phone number for shenanigans and get paid to do it.

3. The Point debit card currently has 5x on Walmart up to $1,000 in spend in both February and March, which makes this $100 back on $2,000 in money orders spread over a couple of months. (In the past money order purchases have triggered Walmart spend bonuses, so likely that’ll be the case again.)

As usual, if you don’t have the Point card and you’re considering getting one, use a referral link to sign up because the sign-up bonus is much higher than the public link at $100 back after spending $50.

Happy Tuesday!

A Tuesday triple threat for reader @BlueCat: a peanut-butter, cheese, and canadian bacon omelette. Yummy I guess?

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation this week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

1. The Point debit card has 100x points (100% back) on payments to Hulu until March 20. Unfortunately the limit is $20. If you’re interested in the card, make sure you sign up through a referral link because otherwise the sign-up bonus is awful.

Related: The “one week only” sign-up bonus of $100 after spending $50 when applying through a referral link was extended through February 27, 2022, shocking absolutely no one. If you haven’t referred P2 for a Point app, that’s $100 for you and $100 for P2 for a $99 annual fee, so now is a good time to do it.

2. DDG reports that American Express Business Platinum offers are being widely mailed out across the US via USPS. The offers are for 150,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 in spend within three months, and another 10,000 Membership Rewards for adding an employee card and spending another $1,000 within three months. These are no-lifetime language (NLL) offers to boot.

With AmEx physical mailers, it’s safe to use one for anyone at your address regardless of who the offer is addressed to.

Apropos of nothing, isn’t Your Name, Jr. a new hire at your company? No reason.

3. US Bank is sending targeted offers via email for 2,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user to your account and making a purchase. It was seen on an Altitude Reserve but could be on other cards as well. (Thanks to g2525)

Your Name, Jr.‘s employee ID photo.

Note: I’ll be on a mostly disconnected vacation next week, and while I’m still planning on posting M-F, expect slower than normal responses from me. If you do write a note though I will get back to you.

1. Check here for a targeted MilePlay offer from United. I was targeted for nothing on this round, but several offers have been seen for between 5,000 and 20,000 miles for taking one or more trips, sometimes in a premium cabin, sometimes one-way, and sometimes round-trip.

Of course there’s always the United offer for a complimentary delay out of SFO, no registration required, available to everyone.

2. In case you missed it like I did, last week Robert at Milenomics wrote that JetBlue now has a public policy for extending Travel Bank credits that expire between February 2020 and September 29, 2022. The extension will last through October 1, 2022. A Twitter direct message is likely the easiest way on this one.

3. Bank of America has an increased sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles on the Virgin Atlantic Mastercard after spending $2,000 in three months, and another 20,000 miles for jumping through some modest hoops. The annual fee is $90 and is not waived for the first year.

Of course because this is Bank of America, you can play a few games and end up with two or three of these cards with just a single hard pull if you’ve got a BoA checking account and you’re at or below 7/12. Two of these bonuses are enough for a round-trip to Japan in ANA First Class (110,000-120,000 points). UPDATE: Reader @nutella noted that the BoA Virgin Atlantic card is 7/12, not 5/24.

Happy weekend!

A churner preparing to navigate Bank of America card approval standards.

I guess I should expect this because rare things happen closely together more often than not, but everything today is targeted. I blame Poisson.

1. Check your account dashboard for your American Express Green and Gold cards for a pop up offering either a new Business Platinum card with a 150,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus, or for a new Business Gold card with a 90,000 point sign up bonus. These are no-lifetime language (NLL) cards so you should be eligible for the sign-up bonus regardless of your current or past card portfolio. (Although they won’t bypass the 2 Platinum cards in 90 days rule, or the 3 credit cards in 30 days rule either. Thanks to Jim for the note.)

2. Check your Chase offers for 10% back at BestBuy online or in-store up to $250 in spend. Of course I’d buy a BestBuy gift card online through an obscure portal and sell the card, but I wasn’t targeted so here we are.

3. Reader @nutella shared a targeted upgrade link for 5,000 Rapid Rewards for upgrading a personal Southwest Plus Visa card to the Southwest Priority Visa card and making a single purchase by April 30. This is the first I’ve ever seen of a Chase upgrade offer like this. Now, we just need them to push the upgrade offers into the six figure points range like AmEx.

4. Reader Matthias shared that there’s a highly targeted discount at Simon for 50% off of Visa and Mastercard purchase fees with promotional code 22HAPPY50. There’s also a targeted code for 100% off of American Express gift card purchase fees with code FEB22AMEX100. Now, we just need a 22LOL150 to surface I guess.

5. Reader SideshowBob233 shared a landing page for targeted no-lifetime language American Express Delta cards. You can check eligibility here with your SkyMiles number and last name.