Two roundups in a row? What can I say, it’s that kind of weak I guess. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger, or something.

1. AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue has a widely targeted 30% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards. This, combined with the Flying Blue promo rewards can really turn into some great business class redemptions to Europe. Look for an email with the subject “Convert your American Express Membership Rewards® points now to earn 30% more Miles!” The one in my inbox had a link, but the link just takes you to the American Express page to transfer Membership Rewards to Flying Blue so I won’t post it here.

I’ve gotten great value out of the program in the past, and I will be taking advantage of this offer to a small extent, especially because transferred miles will now extend mileage expiration for other transferred miles.

2. This week’s fee free $200 Visa Gift Card sale expires at Staples tomorrow night, but don’t worry, another one starts on Sunday, but this time with fee free $200 Mastercard Gift Cards, limit 5 per customer or per transaction, depending on how your store rolls. I’m going to pass on this one because the stack of gift cards on my desk is growing uncomfortably large right now, especially considering that the closest Staples translates into 25 minutes in the car each way for me.

Side note that you didn’t ask about and don’t really care about either: I miss the OfficeDepot/Office Max sales quite a bit because there’s one of those about 5 minutes away on foot from my house.

3. American Express has another round of 20,000 Membership Rewards Authorized User bonuses going out for the Personal Platinum card. Use this link to see if you’re targeted. (thanks to Fryes)

4. Kroger has another 4x Fuel Points promotion running today through Sunday, and the BestBuy market is hot with the release of pre-orders for the Nintendo Switch OLED version. It’s going to be a productive weekend, especially if Kroger’s IT starts awarding 6x again.

Have a great weekend, and if you have ideas on cashing out some stupid Equinox credits, hit me up!

Frankly, I just don’t see the appeal of the Nintendo Switch, but when BestBuy gift card demand soars, roll with it.

1. Register here for your MileagePlay bonus offer from United. My offer was for 7,900 bonus miles for booking a premium seat fare that costs at least $350 in the next 78 days. Meh, I guess I won’t be getting 7,900 more miles from United this time. I do have about $1,800 in TravelBank credit for unloading my American Express Platinum airline reimbursements, but I’m not going to blow $350+ of it just for the punishment of flying in a United domestic “first class” seat, prolly on a CRJ-700 with a broken tray table.

2. If you have an American Express Marriott Bonvoy card, register here for 6x on several spend categories, up to $1,666 spend per category:

  • US Gas Stations (am I the only one who finds the “US” restriction strange?)
  • Airline tickets booked directly with the carrier
  • Car rentals
  • Transit (Uber Eats should count accidentally as I read it)

Out of all of those, I’d be only mildly interested in the Gas Stations because 3 x $500 Visa Gift Cards at 7-11 or Speedway would be easy and quick. That said, I was #bonvoyed and told I was not eligible when I tried to register.

3. Login to American Express, then try the following links for huge sign-up offers that are frankly really big, but you have to be targeted to be eligible (when I clicked apply on each, I wasn’t targeted which isn’t a surprise given my eleven American Express charge cards (thanks to DoC and DDG):

4. Check your non-Platinum flavored American Express cards for an offer for $179 off of Clear Membership. Watch out though, the hack for two Clear memberships for the price of one it won’t work out for the AmEx offer but does still work for the Platinum. (thanks to jerseyguy195)

5. If your Kroger fuel points account was locked in the 4x shenanigans, visit the Kroger website and print out an image of your loyalty barcode — you’ll be able to scan that at the pump and bypass the lock.

A depiction of my last United tray table geometry in First Class, though mine was worse than pictured.

I bet you thought the title was going to be WednesdAAy, right? I gotta mix it up sometimes, sorry.

Status Matches

Hyatt & AA have had a strange partnership for a few years, and now you can leverage each to get reduced requirements for status at the other by September 30th. Just make sure you delay registration until a couple of days before travel to give your self as much time as possible to finish the challenges. To take advantage of them, link your Hyatt and AAdvantage accounts if needed, then:

  • Register here for an AA 90 day status challenge if you have any Hyatt status at all. My status offer:
    • Gold for 6,000 paid flown miles or 7 segments, and $700 EQD spend
    • Platinum for 12,000 paid flown miles or 14 segments, and $1,500 EQD spend
    • Platinum Pro for 18,000 paid flown miles or 21 segments, and $2,300 EQD spend
  • Register here for a Hyatt 90 day status challenge if you have any AA status at all. Everyone gets:
    • Explorist for 10 nights
    • Globalist for 20 nights

Now, let’s turn off the blogger/bloggee relationship and just talk about this like friends:

  • AA Gold status is really like Silver at any other airline, it’s good for a free checked bag and the ability to pick the second worst seat instead of the worst seat on the plane.
  • If you want upgrades when flying AA, Platinum Pro or above is pretty much the only way you have a real chance, the others will just be dashed hopes and dreams, which sounds a lot like AA.
  • Hyatt Explorist isn’t worth much at all either. It will get you a couple of bottles of water if you’re lucky, and you’ll get a 2:00 PM checkout, but spoiler alert — if you ask nicely, you can almost always get a 2:00 PM checkout anyway so, enjoy your water I guess?
  • Hyatt Globalist is worth it if you travel a lot and use it. One of my dirty, shameful secrets is that I’ve been top tier at Hyatt for 9 years, and I don’t plan on letting that change anytime soon.

AAdvatange Reduced Mileage Awards

These have always been a great deal for Citi AA cardholders, and like any great deal, it dies. AA is killing off reduced milage awards on October 1, 2021. See if you can eek any value out of this if you still have a Citi AA card, but keep the next point in mind.

AA Sticks it to Flight Attendants

AA made a deal with many of its flight attendants to take either one or two year leaves of absence during the height of the pandemic, but now they’re making their flight attendants come back early because they’re anticipating huge staffing shortages during the holidays this year. As you think about those holiday plans, make sure you’re going in eyes wide open to make sure you’re not left strAAnded (I couldn’t help it) by a crew shortage at AA; I expect we’ll run into holiday problems, especially at smaller outstAAtions.

With AA staffing shortages, who will be there to tow AA’s planes to the gate after they slide off of the runway?

1. Bookmark this link for accessing your American Express offers. This link is magical because you can see more than 100 offers per card, and offers show up here that didn’t show up elsewhere. (Thanks to DoC)

2. Yun let me know that the Visible deal is even better now: you now get a month for $5 when you sign up with a referral link, so you can now get $30 cash back, a $100 Mastercard, and a burner cell phone number for a total cost of $30 out of pocket when using a Visible Party. Don’t forget to use a virtual account number and follow these tips for a smoother deal.

3. I’m still toying with various options on the American Express Platinum entertainment credit, but this one may interest some of you: Get a free Echo Dot when you sign up for Sirius/XM for three months at $15 per month, which will be completely wiped away by the lame entertainment credit. I’d scale this with different email addresses as needed, other than I don’t want an Echo Dot. (Thanks to Fryes)

4. The Point debit card has a new offer for 5x at Amazon which is certainly ok but not the 10x that they had a couple of weeks ago, though still useful. This one runs through August 8 and is good for up to $1,000 in spend. I’ll probably just reload my Amazon balance on this round. They’ve also got 5x at Whole Foods, though at that level it’s definitely not worth a separate trip for me. There’s also 5x at Costco, which is worth thinking about, but just barely.

If you don’t have the Point card and you want one, make sure you sign up for it through a referral for a bonus. As far as I know the $250 referral bonus ended last Friday but hopefully I’m wrong and just don’t have that offer within my inner circle. As always, I’d rather you find a friend and use their referral, but if you don’t have another good option feel free to reach out to me for the $100 version.

Shia Labeouf holding a set of rings wearing a purple Unicorn shirt.
The conjuring of the American Express Offers magic link.

Historically the time around the fourth of July is a great time for manufactured spend, and this July has been no different. There are quite a few manufactured spend deals to keep you busy this week:

1. Meijer’s MPerks has $10 off of $150 or more in Mastercard gift cards. I’m nowhere near a Meijer so I don’t have direct experience with these, but Larry let me know that they carry gift cards issued by either Metabank or Sunrise; both are easy enough to unload, but do avoid Kroger and Walmart with the Metabanks.

Apropos of nothing, how many email addresses do you have?

2. Chase Ink cards have a targeted offer for 5x on up to $10,000 spend on shipping and home improvement stores. Check the following links which were easily reverse engineered based on the simple URL pattern:

Also apropos of nothing, did you know that Lowe’s sells Visa and Mastercard gift cards?

3. Kroger finally fixed their fuel points issue on Friday and they didn’t take back any of the extra fuel points that were awarded. How is this related to manufactured spend though? Easy. The 4x fuel points on gift cards is still running through tomorrow.

4. Staples has fee free Visa Gift Cards going again through Saturday. It’s limit of 5 per customer, but usually that really means 5 per transaction. If you’re going to go to Staples and take the time to run-in, you might as well try for two transactions to minimize your time out and about — the worst that happens is they tell you no.

Pictured: Kroger’s fuel points transaction server, which has been patched and is no longer awarding an extra 2x.

If you’ve read any credit card churning forum or blog in the last 24 hours, you’ve almost certainly heard about the Citi Premier 80,000 point bonus. It’s elevated and fine on the face of it, but nothing to go bananas over so don’t needlessly get sucked in to the hype machine. If you’re going to go for it though, don’t forget that you can get multiple ThankYou Point card sign up bonuses back-to-back even though it seems like you can’t on the face of it. The Citi Terms and Conditions are tricky, but the following points are relevant:

  • You aren’t eligible for the bonus if you’ve received a bonus in the last 24 months
  • You aren’t eligible for the bonus if you’ve closed a ThankYou Points card in the last 24 months

Do you see the wiggle room between those two bullets? It’s there, and it works. The trick is that you can apply for multiple Citi cards, (the Premier and the Prestige, for example), just don’t hit the spend threshold for the bonus points on any of the cards until after you’ve been approved for all of them. Then, you can hit the spend threshold on each and get the bonus on each.

Side note: Astute readers will note that I mentioned the Citi Prestige, which is apparently discontinued for new account holders. But, don’t believe everything you’ve read on the internet, you can still apply for it through a Zombie link! (Thanks to David for the link.)

So, if you’re eligible and you think the deal is good at 80,000 points, why not shoot for 210,000 points for two Premiers and a Prestige? Or if you’re gutsy, 260,000 points for two Premiers or two Prestiges? Or some other combo, potentially including other cards? Just keep in mind that Citi will auto-deny your application if you have more than one approval every eight days, but there’s always reconsideration (or, just wait eight days between applications). Thanks to Cari for the clarification.

PS: There are other Citi hacks, just “look into history to learn more” as the muppets say.

A rube goldberg style complex chain-reaction machine
The delicate inner workings of the credit card hype machine

1. Register here for Hyatt Bonus Journeys. You’ll earn 3x Hyatt points on stays of at least two nights when you checkout between July 20 and September 15. Don’t procrastinate just because you think you may not be traveling. Register anyway in case something happens.

2. The new AmEx Platinum changes are being probed and a nice hack has already surfaced: United and Delta frequent flyer members get discounted Clear membership of $119 even with no status, and you can add a Player 2 for an extra $60 which happens to exactly equal the $179 credit. So, your one Platinum credit is good for at least two people with almost no work.

Side note: It’s against the T&Cs to sell the Clear credit (I assume it is anyway), but you can almost certainly cash them out with a quick post on your Facebook page saying something like “I’m selling one year Clear membership for two people for $125.”

I’m on vacation and have been since Friday afternoon, and I’m punch drunk on California beach vibes so I went experimental today. Without further ado, here’s my review of the new American Express Platinum card changes, in haiku form.

Huge annual fee
is unjustifiable
find another card

Clear reimbursement
could save 55 minutes per year
if you are lucky

Equinox credit
useful in almost no cities
use YouTube instead

One lifetime bonus?
terms and conditions are lies
bonus will come

New York Times is saved
by entertainment credit
otherwise no-one pays

Fine Hotels and Resorts
credit does not earn you status
better than nothing

Air incidentals
credit was hard to abuse
but was worth real cash

Lounge access is great
until you realize that
many cards grant it

Will not renew
personal cards will be golds
business cards will cease

Vacation vibe vibes.