1. Do this now: Register for your United MilePlay targeted promotion.

    I got “book and take a trip in a premium seat 1 time to get 5,000 bonus award miles” through September 13. Sounds great at first, but the fare must be $500 so it’s not that great.
  2. Do this now (if you didn’t yesterday because I bungled the link): Register for targeted AA promotions for miles or loyalty points. My offer was 5,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after two paid flights in any cabin in August or September.
  3. You’ve heard of Bilt, right? They are to credit cards what Marriott Bonvoy is to Loyalty Programs; sure there’s value to be had, but you have to wade through plenty of sludge and grime to find it. A few choice examples:

    They’re actively seeking to bonvoy manufactured spenders
    They’ve recently removed valuable transfer partners
    They shutdown a bunch of their users, but didn’t actually, it was just an accident

    Well, they’ve found another way to #bonvoy their early adopters and presumably biggest fans: At the end of the year, they’re closing cards opened in 2021 and early 2022 issued under Evolve Bank, which, side note, leaked customers’ private data for funzies. Don’t worry though, they say if you apply by the end of August they’ll give you 10,000 bonus points, so it’s all cool right? No, not right. At least you can lock all of your credit reports, apply and get denied, and still earn 10,000 points. (Thanks to pizza42bob)
  4. Staples stores have fee free $200 Mastercard gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction.

    These are Pathward gift cards.
  5. Chase’s no annual fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points and a 50,000 point free night certificate after $2,000 spend in three months.

    I think there’s a niche for this card, specifically if you don’t spend many nights in Marriott Hotels but occasionally need them when nothing else is available. I fit this bill, but very much nothing else has to be available.
  6. Chime has a $301 or $318 portal sign-up bonus for new customers that apply through the end of the month and have two direct deposits (or “direct deposits”) of $200+ in 30 days. (Thanks to FM)

Have a nice weekend friends!

Better alternative to Marriott Courtyard: No $39 parking fee and no $59 resort fee on free night stays.

  1. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s promotion for double points at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels through October 15, up to 25,000 total bonus points.
  2. Do this now: Register for targeted American Airlines promotions for bonus miles or loyalty points (EDIT: Fixed link). My singular offer was 5,000 bonus AAdvantage miles after two paid flights in any cabin in August or September.
  3. IHG seems to have devalued its points at most properties, with awards now pricing between 0.45 cents per point and 0.55 cents per point as compared to cash rates, though the bright side (?) is that redemptions seem to top out at 500,000 points per night. I’m still able to find outsized value around major holidays in major cities, but the chicken is pretty far gone from the coop.

    This actually happened a few days ago and I’ve been waiting to hear more experimentation from the community, but coverage has been weak at best; probably due to the Big Point lobby’s tentacles in mainstream media, or something.
  4. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercards, excluding Amazon. The promotion runs tomorrow only.

    Often single day or single weekend promotions at Kroger have weird coding, so always be probing.
  5. Alaska Airlines released its July Global Escapes promotional cities, which give discounts for travel to or from several cities between October 1 and January 31, 2025 in economy or premium economy only. This month’s promotional cities: Guadalajara, Athens, Muscat, Taipei, Rome, and Delhi.

How the Big Point lobby operates.

  1. Southwest has 40% off of fares to and from Hawaii booked by tomorrow night for both paid and award travel from August 13 through December 17 with promo code HAWAII40. Of course there are blackout dates around Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Also SNA airport is excluded because it’s too convenient.

    Side note, do you know why I’m not in marketing? The real reason is I don’t enjoy it, but the fun reason is I’d refuse to release a promo like this without the promo code being HAWAIIFIVE0, on principle.
  2. Alaska Airlines has a paid and award fare sale for travel between August 20 and November 30, booked by tomorrow night. Some sweet spots:

    – West coast to and from Hawaii for 7,500 miles
    – Short haul to and from Mexico for 4,000 miles
    – Transcontinental flights for 10,000 miles

    They’re calling this “Autumn’s on sale!” Not bad I guess, at least they didn’t call it the “Alaska 1282 blow-out sale!”
  3. JetBlue has 25% off of all non-Mint, non-transatlantic fares booked today for travel from September 7 through November 20 with promo code FALL.

    Incidentally, they’re calling this one “Get the fall rolling”, which again, I’m not in marketing, but an airline talking about making things fall feels like, uhh, a choice.
  4. WeBull has a new account brokerage bonus for 2% of net transferred portfolio value in July for up to $5,000,000 in assets. Bonuses will be paid half on July 31, 2025, and the other half on July 31. 2026.

    SIPC insurance limits are $500,000 per account in case you have reservations about the longevity of a brokerage that chooses to turn the noun “bull” into a verb, seemingly on purpose. (Thanks to DoC)

After the “Get the fall rolling” sale, JetBlue prepares its next sale: “New England on fire”

  1. Office Depot/OfficeMax stores have $15 off of $300 or more in Visa gift cards through Saturday. For best results:

    – Even multiples of $300 typically have the best percentage discount
    – Link your credit cards to Dosh
    – Try for multiple transactions, back-to-back
    – There are different versions of cards with different activation fees

    These are Pathward gift cards.
  2. Do this now: Register for 2x points on Marriott Homes & Villas stays booked by July 26 for three night or longer stays through the end of 2024.
  3. Two Incomm gift card sites have fee-free gift cards through the end of July:

    TheGiftCardShop fee-free Visas with promo code 100GIFT
    MasterCardGiftCard: fee-free Mastercards with promo code SUMMER2024 or 100MCGIFT

    These are Vanilla/Incomm gift cards. Liquidation of the e-gift card variants has become rather cumbersome, and the physical card versions are only slightly better. Each store has a $10,000 per rolling 24 hour limit.
  4. Chase Offers has new Marriott offers for spend through August 15. The good news? Each brand has its own offer. The bad news? Each brand has its own offer. The offers:

    – 10% at Sheraton on $100+, up to $57 back
    – 10% back at Fairfield on $100+, up to $38 back
    – 10% back at TownPlace on $100+, up to $57 back
    – 10% back at Westin on $100+, up to $57 back
    – 10% back on Autograph Collection on $100+, up to $62 back
    – 10% back at SpringHill Suites on $100+, up to $43 back
    – 10% back at AC Hotels, up to $57 back

    All of these are more-or-less gameable, and the most above-board way to game them is to pick up a gift card at the front desk. If you go that route though, call ahead and make sure they have gift cards in stock.

Marriott CEO reacts to bookings growth at seven of its brands, but not sure why growth stops after August 15.

  1. Multiple reports including this one confirm that Chase is matching last week’s increased Ink Preferred sign-up bonus of 120,000 Ultimate Rewards on referred cards, which means in two player mode the effective bonus is 160,000 Ultimate Rewards:

    – 40,000 points for the referrer
    – 100,000 points for the sign-up bonus after $8,000 spend in three months
    – 20,000 points for a matched sign-up bonus via Chase Secure Message

    Of course if you’re in two player mode, each player can refer the other and based on a weird academic discipline called “math”, 2 * 160,000 = 320,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
  2. British Airways devalued short-haul flight redemptions on AA and Alaska metal. A couple of notes:

    – Alaska’s MileagePlan award prices were already cheaper for short haul
    – Etihad awards are cheaper for short haul on AA
    – Other Avios currencies like Qatar and Finnair have lower prices
    – You can freely transfer Avois between programs

    So yes, this kinda sucks, but there are plenty of workarounds. Never blindly accept award pricing in oneWorld. Can’t we just get back to fake travel blogger rage until the next British Airways Visa card heightened bonus comes out and move on?
  3. There are two brokerage bonuses that may be worth your time:

    TastyTrade: up to $5,000 but only for new customers
    Schwab: up to $6,000 for new and existing customers

    Brokerage bonuses are typically easy if you have retirement (or non-retirement) assets in the stock market, because you can ACATS transfer your existing portfolio to meet the requirements without a taxable event (but of course, I’m not a tax advisor and no one should ever take my advice about anything, literally ever, instead consult with an accountant from a weird academic discipline called “finance”).
  4. Meijer has a couple of promotions running through Saturday:

    – A clippable digital coupon $10 off of $150+ in Mastercard gift cards
    – An automatic 10,000 MPerks points with $100 or more in Choice gift cards

    Often the clippable coupons can be reloaded after each purchase on the same MPerks account, but I don’t know if that’ll work this time. In case it doesn’t, based on a weird academic discipline called “Information Technology”, it’s possible to have multiple email addresses and thus multiple MPerks accounts. (Thanks to GCG)

A credit card offer from a weird, non-academic discipline called churning.


The Coase theorem, winner of the just made up MEAB award for “best theorem with the most obtuse Wikipedia description possible” award, says essentially that the value of something can be measured by what you’d have to pay someone to give it up. (Editor’s note: Take a couple of minutes and read the first paragraph of the linked Wikipedia article, wowza that’s bad!)


Let’s illustrate with America’s favorite fruit, bananas. How much are bananas worth in your life? Would you give them up forever if I paid you $1? What if I paid you $10,000, or maybe even $40,000? The smallest number that causes you to swear off bananas forever is, according to the Coase theorem, their total worth.

Making it Real

When assessing how risky a manufactured spend stunt is, the Coase theorem gives a concrete way to assess whether or not one should attempt the stunt, knowing that it might lead to a bank shutdown.

Let’s say, for funzies, that there’s an opportunity to earn 7-8x transferrable points for a cost of ~3%, with effectively unlimited capacity (yes, this has happened, and yes, more than once; no, sorry, I can’t share a play like that right now). If a manufactured spender went as hard as possible with 8x earn on 3% cost, most banks or credit unions would axe that account within weeks or months, and the relationship with that bank would likely also be fried for at least 7-10 years if not forever.

So, can that manufactured spender earn enough in weeks or months to make the play worth frying the relationship? If yes, LFG I guess.

A Case Study

What’s MEAB’s Coase theorem valuation for a few things?

Have a nice weekend friends!

Honorary MEAB award for Wikimedia, Inc.

  1. A Chase Ink Preferred 120,000 Ultimate Rewards after $8,000 in purchases in three months link surfaced yesterday. This link is a business banker link, which means it’s got a good shot of bypassing 5/24 up to 8/24.

    I like to get one of these cards every three months when I’m below 5/24, or 8/24 as the case may be. (Thanks to here)
  2. Do this now (if you hold a Chase Aeroplan card): Register for 40% bonus points on up to $40,000 in spend between July 14 and July 17. Bonus multipliers will boost on this promotion too, which should tell you a lot about how Chase’s current interchange gross revenue looks. (Thanks to Miles)
  3. American Express Offers has a few new Hilton offers, all expiring September 30:

    – $50 off $200 or more
    – $60 off $200 or more
    – $180 off of $750 or more at specific properties in the US, Mexico, Anguilla, or French Polynesia
    – $250 off of $1,250 or more at specific properties in the US, Mexico, Anguilla, or French Polynesia
    – 5 bonus points per dollar at Hilton on up to $5,000 spend

    They’ve added new language to subvert gaming, but it’s really just a roadmap for how to game.
  4. American Express Offers also has a targeted offer for $100 off of $500 or more at Wyndham properties through the end of October. Interestingly, this one lacks a gaming roadmap.
  5. Chase Private Client has a $3,000 bonus for opening a new account through July 24 and bringing $500,000 in new funds. Normally it’s a terrible, horrible, very bad idea to have a Chase deposit account unless you’re just starting out, but US Credit Card Guide notes that a full service brokerage account with JP Morgan still qualifies for the bonus.

    Thanks to the Volcker Rule and Dodd-Frank, there’s good separation between JP Morgan investing accounts and Chase Consumer and Small Business cards, so the normal risk associated with deposit accounts doesn’t apply, and you can happily ACATS transfer assets into a full service brokerage for the bonus without actually selling any investments.

Have a nice weekend friends!

The weeds leading to being ok with collecting a $3,000 bonus from Chase.

  1. The US Bank Triple Cash Rewards card has a $750 sign-up bonus after $6,000 spend in 180 days. The card has no-annual fee, or a negative annual fee if you’re a gamer. A few US Bank notes:

    – Hard pulls with US Bank will be combined in the same day
    – Different businesses can get the same card on the same day
    – The Leverage card pairs well with this one, and also has a $750 bonus

    For more about US Bank gaming, see this article.
  2. The American Express Schwab 1.1 cents per Membership Rewards point cash-out will be limited to the first million points per year starting October 1. Afterward, points will be cashed out at 0.8 cents each.

    You’ll still, as of this writing, have uncapped cash-out with the Morgan Stanley Platinum card at 1.0 cents, and American Express’s Business Checking cash-out is also at 1.0 cents each. Of course, brokers gonna broke and bypass the whole system. Mini #rant brewing for the near future. (Thanks to DDG and jnjustice)
  3. Do this now (if you hold a United credit card): Check for a targeted spend bonus for spend through July 30. Offers include TravelBank credit, PQPs, and miles.
  4. Do this now (if you hold United or Marriott status): Register for Marriott and United’s reciprocal earning promotion for stays or premium cabin flights:

    Marriott registration link (For Ambassador, Titanium, or Unobtainium status)
    United registration link (For Gold, Platinum, 1K, Global Services, or Moon Walkers)

    If you haven’t linked your United status to Marriott, you can link here, and vice-versa here. (Thanks to FM)
  5. The AirFrance / KLM FlyingBlue program has promo awards from the US to Europe in the following cities through the end of July: Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, and Raleigh Durham. There’s wide economy availability for the promotion, and spotty 50,000 point business class availability too.
  6. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, the Larry Bird of credit cards, sent a few targeted offers:

    – 10% statement credit on up to $1,000 in travel and entertainment, monthly in 2024
    – $150 statement credit with $1,000-$1,999 in spend or $250 with $2,000+ at gas, grocery, and restaurants, monthly in 2024

    These offers stack together and with other ongoing offers from the card. If you maximized just these two, you’ve got [launches massively parallel calculation on a supercomputer] $2,100 in statement credits on a no-annual fee card. If your favorite credit card blogger never talks bout this card, ask yourself “why not?” (Thanks to Tyler, Jay, and Fish)
  7. Virgin Atlantic devalued its transatlantic business class Delta partner awards in two ways, first with approximately $1,000 in new surcharges and second, an increase of up to 55% mileage redemption cost with the introduction of a new variable award chart.
  8. The Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Visa card has been unveiled in the US:

    – 40,000 bonus miles after $3,000 spend in 90 days
    – 2x on dining, groceries, entertainment, and hotels
    – $99 annual fee, not waived the first year.

    I think the card is only interesting because it is issued by First Electronic Bank. When a bank you’ve never heard of issues a card, it’s usually a green light for shenanigans because (1) their systems are different than big bank systems, (2) smaller banks usually have interesting payment methods, and (3), if you’re shutdown by First Electronic Bank, literally who cares?

Warning sign posted at First Electric Bank’s headquarters isn’t the least bit creepy, why would you say that?