1. Check your Chase credit cards at chase.com/mybonus/ for targeted spend offers for Q2. Offers have been reported on both business and personal cards for:

    – 5x for up to $1,500 in spend at grocery and gas stations
    – 5x for up to $1,500 in spend at grocery, gas stations
    – 5% back for up to $200 in spend at gas stations

    If the website gives a strange error, try incognito mode. (Thanks to this thread at reddit)
  2. Check your Point.app debit card for a targeted offer for $10 back on $10+ in spend by this evening. The email subject to look for is “Get $10 in points on your next purchase“.

    There are still increased $150 “golden ticket” referral opportunities floating around for new referrals, and those expire today. Unfortunately most referrers have a limit of one to three golden ticket referrals so they can be hard to chase down but they do still exist.
  3. You can get one year of Alaska and American Airlines lounge access (even when flying those airlines domestically) for 49 euros through Royal Air Maroc’s new status match promotion, and the matched oneworld status lasts through the end of March 2023.

    Register for a Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer account (no, that spelling is not a typo)
    – Apply for a status match at safarflyerstatusmatch.com (also not a typo)

    What’s the catch? There’s always a catch, right? Well, unfortunately yes. The Safar Flyer website is buggy and often doesn’t work when registering a new account. The annoying workaround is to call them at (800) 344-6726, select option 3 at the main menu, and then hope you win agent roulette and find one that’s willing to create an account over the phone. As a bonus, you’ll get to hear repeatedly about their Magic Universe (not a typo) program for children while on hold. (Thanks to manageroftheyear)
  4. Check your Citi Merchant Offers for:

    – $10 back on Uber, valid for up to four uses through the end of April
    – $10 back on Uber Eats, valid for up to four uses through the end of April

    (Thanks to Raymond via the MEAB Slack)
Royal Air Maroc’s Magic Universe. You know, for kids.

Let’s start with a quick reminder: You have only today and tomorrow to knock out any Q1 5x bonus spend and any end-of-month credits, especially omnipresent with American Express “premium” cards (you know, the premium cards that offer Walmart+ credits).

With that housekeeping out of the way, we’ve got an airline centric-ish day:

  1. Use promo code SAVE20NOW at Southwest.com through tomorrow evening for 20% off of point redemptions for award travel through May 25. Unfortunately you won’t be able to take advantage of this discount with the Southwest changes trick because mass schedule changes have already happened through June.
  2. Alaska has partnered with Air Tahiti Nui. The major change for travel hackers is the ability to redeem the good Air Tahiti Nui availability on the fifth freedom LAX to Paris route, and Alaska mileage earning on Air Tahiti Nui paid flights.

    I guess this makes it easier to French Polynesia with Alaska miles too.
  3. American Airlines will start expiring miles on Friday. It’s a good time to check your AAdvantage accounts to make sure you’re not going to let Toby win lose miles in your account.

    Note that although I’m sure AA didn’t really intend for this trick to work, you can currently book an award ticket and then cancel it the next day with AA’s free award cancel policy to extend your miles. There are other tricks for extending your miles in this Flyertalk thread too.
  4. There’s a new bonus iteration on the American Express Personal Platinum “add an authorized user, spend $2,000 in six months, earn 20,000 Membership Rewards” bonus offer. Because the offer code is different than past variants, it will almost certainly post even if you’ve done (many) of these in the past. (Thanks to SideShowBob233)

Happy Wednesday!

Exclusive: Screenshots extracted from the AA Head of Loyalty’s phone may explain AA’s punitive mileage expiration policy.

We’ve got a grab-bag for today:

  1. The Bilt credit card is now wide-open for applications, and based on coverage in the space it’s likely paying a big affiliate commission for new applications too. My affiliate relationship-less opinion:

    – Hyatt, AA, and FlyingBlue are great travel partners
    – It’s easy to earn 50,000 points by paying P2 $50,000 per year in rent via a check
    – No annual fee
    – 3x on dining is easy to game
    – The lack of sign-up bonus is lame (I’d expect to get at least $750 out of a sign-up bonus typically)

    If I weren’t shooting to be under 5/24 I’d have gotten this card a long time ago, and I’d expect that I’d already be shutdown too. That said the jury is still out on how quickly Bilt will bring down the axe.
  2. American Express has targeted more accounts for:

    20,000 or 30,000 Membership Rewards for enrolling in Pay-over-Time (thanks to sctrader)
    – 90,000 Membership Rewards for a no-lifetime language (NLL) Business Gold card, check for a pop up on your dashboard for other accounts

    (Thanks to sctrader and churnandburn58 for the first reports of each, respectively)
  3. Citi’s banking division is emulating Will Smith by slapping the credit card division in the face after being told it wasn’t good enough: They’ve got retention offers for checking accounts through their automated chat system for between $50 and $200 based on your account type. To enroll:

    – Log into your bank account at citi.com
    – Click “How can we help?”
    – Type “close account”
    – Choose “Checking” in the dialog and hit next

    The bonus comes as a statement credit after you make a purchase with your debit card of at least the offer amount.
Citi’s banking division is sick of playing second fiddle to the credit card division.

Let’s start with a correction from Friday’s post: There’s still a phone-in offer for up to 495,000 SkyMiles on existing business Delta American Express cards. I can only assume this is because something happened to the IT person in charge of turning this off when the other versions of the offer were discontinued. I’d guess this week is very much the last shot at this offer, so if you’re going take advantage of it make time to call today.

With that out of the way, here’s your Monday update:

  1. United TravelBank $100 credits from January Clear promotion posted on Friday for me, and for others too. If you were reticent to take advantage of the current 15,000 MileagePlus miles promotion because nothing had posted, perhaps it’s time to reconsider that position now.

    Exchanging a possibly redundant $179 AmEx credit for 15,000 miles isn’t the worst idea in the world.
  2. Marriott’s has a promotion running for 100,000 Bonvoy points and a free Westin Heavily Bed. To enter, open the Bonvoy app, scroll down to “Featured Offers”, then click “Win with Westin”. It’s worth entering just for for the fact that you can say “I #bonvoyed Bonvoy” to win friends and influence people. EDIT: Reader Justmeha sent a direct link for entering the contest.
  3. A site update: I’ve moved to a different email service for the daily newsletter that’s a little less janky and is also easier to customize. Please let me know if you see anything weird with the service over the next week.

Happy Monday!

This crash was spotted just outside the American Express IT campus last week. Perhaps that’s why the Delta business offers are still around?

Employee Card Bonuses

First, let’s start with a bit of sad news: The various American Express sky-high bonus offers for 1.98 million Membership Rewards, $19,800 in statement credits or, 495,000 Delta SkyMiles on business cards (EDIT: the 495,000 SkyMiles offer still exists according to multiple sources!) for adding 99 employees all seem to be nerfed as badly as Russia’s ability to trade with US Dollars. The small bright side is that the offers still exist, but are limited to a bonus for up to 5 employee cards as of around Monday.

(In case you missed it and don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, from fall of last year all the way up to the past weekend you could call American Express’s customer service team for your Membership Rewards earning or co-brand business cards and ask, “are there any spend offers for adding employees to this card account?” The answer was almost always yes, and the offer was almost always a per-employee card bonus for up to 99 cards.)

Employee Card AmEx Offers

Now let’s parlay that into some happy news for those of us with stacks of employee cards on our desks: Employee cards can have their own American Express online account, and American Express offers like the current $80 off of $200 at JetBlue offer exist on employee accounts too. They’re treated as completely separate from the main account’s offers as long as the employee cardholder is a different person than the main accountholder.

So if you’re sad that you’ve burned through the employee card bonanza, consider setting up online profiles for each employee and maximizing your offers as a small morale booster. (Just think of all the blue colored corn chips you could eat with 99 JetBlue $80 discount offers. Also, consider your heart and probably don’t actually eat all of those chips.)

Pictured: Results from a governmental case study on excessive consumption of blue corn tortilla chips.

Let’s wander through a few loyalty programs today:

  1. ITA Airways has a status match promotion running through April 15. The status is good through mid-April 2023 and recognized by the SkyTeam alliance. The major benefits of SkyTeam Elite status are free checked bags and preferred seating access on SkyTeam carriers like Delta, and SkyTeam Elite Plus members also get lounge access (including a guest) when flying internationally too.
  2. IHG is running an award sale for 20% off of stays through May 25, provided you book by April 5.

    Conventional wisdom says that buying points rarely makes sense (and I have plenty of thoughts on that for another day) — but IHG is often an exception to that rule. You’ll often find that buying points using the cash+points trick if needed and redeeming them will save you 25-50% off of cash rates at nicer properties; just don’t expect a huge discount at the Holiday Inn Express in Lubbock, Texas.
  3. Qatar Airways joined the Avios program, and to celebrate they’re currently offering 2,000 2,500 (thanks to just meer for the correction) Avios for signing up for Privilege Club with code FLYQR3. You can transfer these to British Airways Avios (or Iberia Avios) where there’s a nice economy award chart for short-haul flights (redemptions start at 4,500 miles outside of the US and 7,500 miles inside the US on AA or Alaska.) That means this bonus is:

    – 55.5% of an economy short haul ticket redemption outside the US
    – 33.3% of an economy short haul ticket redemption inside the US

    Not bad. (Thanks to crowd79)
  4. Point.app has a new streak for a 1,000 bonus points after making a purchase five days in a row before March 31, provided the sum of the purchases is at least $50. Debbit is a good way to knock these out with automation, and combine this with other Point store boosts when possible.

    If you don’t have the Point debit card yet and want to get one, ask around for someone that can refer you for a sign-up bonus of $150 after spending $200. The public sign-up bonus is either $10 or non-existent depending on how their IT is behaving, so do seek a referral.

    MEAB Note: Normally 1,000 points (worth $10) would be below the threshold for showing up on the site, but in this instance the referral bump to $150 pushed it above the line. Was that the right call? Ehh, I’m not so sure but here we are. At least it’s at the bottom.
I can say with certainty that taking a picture of a shark without protective gear in open waters isn’t the right call.

It’s time for a companion article to Wednesday Wisdom: Shutdowns Aren’t Always Shutdowns. But this time we’re focusing on deal limits. Specifically, deals often have language like:

  • Limit $200 per month
  • Limit one per customer
  • Limit $50 per transaction
  • Only valid once per month

Never take those limits at face value. For over a month there’s been a profitable play with language similar to the above and the stated limits are actually stated suggestions. Keep in mind that experimenting could net you a few thousand dollars and just take a couple of minutes of your time. Remember ABP: Always Be Probing.

Am I being intentionally obtuse? Unfortunately yes and I apologize for not sharing more on this one right now, but we’ll give a recap at some point in the future to help find similar deals. Good luck!

A store as empty as the direct information in this post.

Let’s talk today about what’s going on with our collective zeitgeist: Getting $10 off at Amazon when using $0.01 in Discover Cashback rewards PayPal Key has been officially made redundant by its corporate overlords; the is product going away on either April 20 or April 21 depending on which PayPal communication you believe.

I’m not sure that there’s ever a good time to get bad news like this, but it hurts even more coming just a few short days after the zigening. Let’s discuss.

Background

PayPal Key was launched in late 2020 as a weird attempt by PayPal to get into the middle of your credit card transactions for data harvesting and product stickiness. It gives you a virtual card number to use in place of your credit card and you can choose which credit card you want to actually be charged when your Key is used. Of course gamers are going to game, and it was quickly discovered that:

  • PayPal Key generated virtual card numbers with one of two BINs: 558158 or 520593
  • Companies like FinTechs, payment processors, tax processors, rent collections, and others often treated one or both of these BINs as debit card BINs

Why is that useful? Fees vary greatly for processing credit cards as compared debit cards. In extreme cases, debit cards might be 0% while credit cards have a 3.5% or higher surcharge.

What I’m Doing Now

There are definitely still plays out there that work, like the more-or-less-public plays for Public.app funding and rent payments. There are naturally several non-public plays too. One of the obvious responses to this news is to hit all of your plays as hard as possible while you still can. Before doing that though, consider the potential collateral damage of turning your PayPal Key shenanigans up to 11:

  • Your whole PayPal account could be shut down
  • Your underlying credit card(s) may be shut down from cycling or bust-out risk
  • The service you’re hitting may shut you down, locking you out of future plays

My initial instinct was to go as big as possible on my PayPal Key plays between now and the end of April, but I’ve tempered some of that enthusiasm to try and find a middle ground that keeps my cards and accounts alive while maximizing PayPal Key before it dies. I’d encourage you to do the same.

Let’s hope we all find the right middle ground so that we’re alive when the next deal surfaces!

PayPal’s Executive staff taking care of its P&L statement.