1. Do this now: Register for Wyndham’s promotion for stays booked by August 31 and completed by September 3. The maximum bonus for the promotion is 15,000 points total, and can be earned by:

    – 2 night stays: 7,500 bonus points
    – 3 night stays: 12,500 bonus points
    – 4+ night stays: 15,000 bonus points

    Vacasa bookings don’t count, and existing bookings don’t either so you’ll have to rebook anything already planned.
  2. Chase Offers has a few card linked gameable offers:

    – 10% back on $50+ at Southwest on up to $400 in spend
    – 10% back on $100+ at Four Points by Sheraton on up to $570 in spend through July 1

    I’ll personally be spending 30 seconds today to remember the loss of Starwood and its SPG program to Marriott, in case you were wondering.
  3. Virgin Atlantic devalued partner ANA business class awards to Japan:

    – West Coast to Japan: From 45,000 points to 52,500 points
    – Central or Eastern US to Japan: From 47,500 points to 60,000 points
    – Hawaii, Indonesia, or India to Japan: From 35,000 to 37,500

    Inflation affects cash prices for hotels and airlines; that typically means it’s going to affect points prices too since your earning is often based on cash spend, which inflates. So, minor devaluations like this can be expected every few years as normal course of business. Of course major devaluations don’t get to hide under the inflation blanket.
  4. Chase’s Memorial Day weekend surprise is that targeted mailers for a $1,500 sign-up bonus after spending $10,000 on the Ink Business Premier have resurfaced after a winter hiatus. If you didn’t get a mailer, the offer is also available in branch by talking to a friendly business banker, and the targeting criteria for in-branch is much looser.

    These will probably appear this week in the “Just for you” section of the Chase app and website too in case you didn’t get a mailer and don’t want to go in branch because going in branch is hard. (Thanks to DDG)

Have a nice holiday friends!

The other version of a Memorial Day surprise.

It’s a roller coaster today friends.

  1. Cardless has launched its co-branded Avianca Lifemiles cards. Both are third party American Express cards which are typically interesting in their own rite, and both give you Star Alliance Silver which isn’t even good for a free checked bag. Both Elite also gives you a complimentary Lifemiles+ Lite subscription which gets you a 10% rebate on award bookings. The cards:

    – 40,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 90 days
    – 2x on groceries and restaurants
    – $99 annual fee

    Lifemiles Elite:
    – 60,000 miles after $4,500 spend in 90 days
    – 40,000 more miles after another $20,500 spend in the first year
    – 2x on groceries on restaurants (with a negligible bonus at times)
    – $249 annual fee

    Unless you have special American Express shenanigans, both of these cards should probably be a pass. Just get an American Express, Capital One, or Citi card with better benefits and earning potential that can transfer to Lifemiles instead.
  2. Chase has targeted mailers and in-branch business bank offers for 120,000 Ultimate Rewards on the Chase Ink Unlimited card. Typically these targeted mailers and in-branch offers bypass 5/24 and work up to 8/24.

    Side note for those of you who don’t concern yourselves with social constructs like account longevity: You can also often buy mailers on ebay.
  3. Southwest has a companion pass promotion that’s a little too specific:

    Register for the promotion
    – Book two one-ways or one trip by tomorrow night, but they can’t be 100% points bookings
    – Travel to and from Hawaii in June or July
    – Earn a companion pass valid from October 5 to November 15

    Existing bookings don’t count, and the companion pass travel period is rather lame too. In other Southwest news, yes you can find Southwest on Google Flights now, and yes every blogger out there will right no fewer than one articles about it, even though if you’re a regular Google Flights user you’d discover it yourself really quickly. Hooray for capitalism right?
  4. Giftcards.com is currently 2.5x on the AA shopping portal, and 2x on other major airline portals.

    These are Pathward gift cards.

A MEAB reader prepares for today’s post; picture snapped before disappointment set in.

  1. American Express’s promotion for 10x on dining for up to $25,000 in three months for the referrer after referring someone else to AmEx ends on Wednesday. To make this last a little longer, remember AmEx referral hacks:

    – One 10x bonus per account number
    – Referral links saved before Wednesday will have the 10x bonus attached even if the referred applies for the card after Wednesday This didn’t work
    – If the referred is denied on first application but later approved after reconsideration, the 10x bonus will activate for the referrer, even after the expiration

    Combine several of the above to extend 10x even further, and remember you can always chat with American Express to confirm that a referral bonus is attached after three days.
  2. Giftcards.com has new codes for 10% off of $100 Visa egift cards. Codes to try:


    These codes don’t appear on major shopping portals so probably won’t payout, but you miss all the shots you don’t take. If you’re having tracking issues with this site, see this post and also note that all Safari desktop transactions may also currently not track with giftcards.com.

    These are Pathward cards. Several online liquidation channels for these dried up in the last couple of weeks, but there’s always a play and there’s always Kiva as a last resort if you don’t have other options.
  3. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard sent out mid-month offers late last week, we’ve seen:

    – 200,000 Shop Your Way Rewards points for $750+ in online shopping
    – 250,000 Shop Your Way Rewards points for $1,000+ in online shopping
    – $70 statement credit for $1,000+ in online shopping
    – $50 statement credit for $750+ in online shopping
    – 10,000 ThankYou Points with $1,000+ in online shopping

    (Thanks to MVC, Brandon F, irieriley, and Brooke)
  4. Giant, Stop & Shop, and Martins stores have 10x points on Uber and airbnb gift cards through Thursday, limit $2,000 per account. Of course with Pepper Rewards you can get effectively the same deal from home, but probably only for a couple more weeks.
  5. American Express offers has $300 back on $750 or more at Holland America through August 31. (Thanks to FM)
  6. In case you’re wondering how bad the Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) airlines are doing at meeting the current traveling public’s needs, two pieces of news will tell you: (1) On Friday Frontier eliminated change fees on non-basic economy tickets and added Euro-Business style blocked middle seats on some tickets. Then this weekend, (2) Spirit eliminated both change fees and cancellation fees on all tickets.

    Of course, you could look at Frontier’s earnings or Spirit’s earnings for Q1 2024 earnings and see it in number form. [Spoiler alert] They’re both great at losing money, and they’re both good at using accounting tricks to make the losses look less grave.

ULCC post-COVID economic models in a nutshell.

  1. American Express offers has a new card linked offer for $75 back or 7,500 SkyMiles on $200+ in cumulative Delta airfare purchased by August 15. So far these have only been seen on Delta co-branded cards.

    Delta makes this offer easier to game than most airlines.
  2. Do this now: Register for 3x United miles at IHG properties through August 31 for stays booked by June 30 for up to 15,000 earned miles.

    IHG points convert to United miles at 2 miles per dollar normally, which means 6x under this promotion.
  3. Kroger.com has 5% off of most third party e-gift cards with promo code MAYMADNESS through Saturday, including travel favorites like Delta, Uber, and airbnb. You’ll also earn 4x fuel points on these purchases.

    1,000 fuel points is worth between $15 and $25 on average, though you can get up to $35 in value. The Daily Churn has a great episode on maximizing Kroger fuel points. So, you can think of those as an additional ~7% off on average.
  4. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion today only on third party gift cards excluding Amazon. Pepper Rewards continues to depress the market, but there’s a growing sentiment with several data-points suggesting that Pepper’s insanity will end before June does.
  5. Staples purportedly has fee free $200 Mastercard gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit five per transaction. I can’t actually find this offer in the weekly ad so double check before buying, but they did run the promotion last year for the same week so it’s likely real. (Thanks to GCG)
  6. The American Express Morgan Stanley Platinum card has a 125,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus after $8,000 spend in six months, which matches the previous high offer for this card. There are a few reasons to care about this card, principally:

    – It’s historically been more churnable than other Platinums
    – It offers an authorized user Platinum card with no additional fee, including lounge access

    You need a Morgan Stanley account to be eligible. Current accounts that should qualify include Platinum Cash+, AAA, Access Investing, or a company retirement account.

Have a nice weekend friends!

Good news on two fronts for Lubbock Holiday Inn guests: (1) It’s not the worst Holiday Inn, and (2) you’ll earn 3x United miles.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card, the no-annual fee relic from the Sears era, has sent new, beginning of the month targeted spend offers. We’ve seen:

    – $250 back on $1,200 or more in home improvement purchases once a month through July
    – 5% back on up to $2,000 spend per month on travel and entertainment through the December

    I used to consider this card an Unsung Hero, but it’s time to call it just a Sung Hero, I guess? (Thanks to Grayo and birt)
  2. Do this now (if you hold a Chase Sapphire card): Register for targeted bonus Ultimate Rewards points for booking through the Chase travel portal.
  3. There several new transfer bonuses:

    Chase Ultimate Rewards 30% bonus to Virgin Atlantic through June 15
    Chase Ultimate Rewards 40% bonus to Marriott Bonvoy through June 15 (still a poor deal most of the time)
    AmEx Membership Rewards 20% bonus to Aeromexico through May 31 (can be a good deal, mostly for economy)
    Qatar Avios 30% bonus when transferring from Citi ThankYou Points through May 31

  4. United has devalued partner business class awards in Europe and Asia, with award redemption costs increasing between 33% and 200% depending on carrier and route.

    As I said last week, at this point it basically never makes sense to earn a United mile directly because AmEx’s 35% points rebate and Chase’s 1.5 cents per point travel will often beat the award redemption cost on United, and you’ll earn miles for those flights too because they’re technically not award tickets. Most of the time you should probably focus your spend elsewhere and transfer in flexible currencies only if it makes immediate sense.
  5. There are two new shopping portal bonuses:

    – Delta SkyMiles: 500 bonus miles for $100 or more in spend through May 3
    – Alaska MileagePlan: 1,000 bonus miles for $400 or more in spend through May 8

    Giftcards.com is present on both, though as of April 12 tracking for that store has been the shopping portal equivalent of mail order furniture: Sometimes more intervention than you’d hope for is required.
  6. The personal version of the Barclays Hawaiian Airlines credit card has an increased sign-up bonus of 70,000 miles after $2,000 spend in 90 days. The bonus amount matches the now defunct business card offer, but that one only needed a single purchase. You can have both, but Hawaiian miles are of dubious value unless you’ve got a specific use case in mind. (Thanks to HMBC)

There’s a workaround for mail order furniture that you don’t want to assemble. Who wants to share the shopping portal equivalent?

  1. Two no-annual fee American Express credit cards have increased sign-up bonuses:

    Blue Business Plus: 50,000 Membership Rewards after $8,000 spend in three months
    Blue Business Cash: $500 after $8,000 spend in three months

    You may have to play browser bingo, incognito blackjack, device keno, VPN baccarat, search engine roulette, or wear a two-toed sloth mask to see the increased offer. (Thanks to pizza42bob)
  2. Do this now: Register for an extra bonus for the upcoming Avianca Lifemiles American Express card issued by Cardless. . If you register before card-launch and get the card when it launches, you’ll get 5,000 or 10,000 additional bonus Lifemiles after meeting the sign-up bonus, depending on which card you apply for.

    This is an exact replica of the Qatar Airways Visa waitlist from a couple of weeks ago, but perhaps interesting in a different way because it’s a third party American Express.
  3. Do this now: Register for Best Western’s Summer promotion for 2,000 bonus points per night on up to 50 nights. This is valid for stays through September 2, and booked by Sunday. You’ve got to rebook existing reservations to be eligible too, because Best Western technically hates its customers.
  4. Kroger stores have 4x fuel points on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards through May 14. I expect that Amazon gift cards are still excluded and will only earn 2x, but the terms aren’t available as of this writing.

    Pepper Rewards continues to keep most bulk gift card brand resale rates low, but fuel points rates have soared. I expect that to continue throughout this promotion too.
  5. In case you’re wondering what the travel outlook is like for Summer, the busiest sustained travel period of the year, the major low cost carriers (not to be confused with the ULCCs) are running Summer fare sales:

    Alaska, paid fares for for travel between May 21 and June 12 booked by tomorrow night
    Southwest, for travel between May 12 and November 20 booked by May 9
    JetBlue, for summer travel (dates unclear)

    The JetBlue sale in particular seems great on certain days; I’m seeing transcontinental Mint flights including flights in the new Mint cabin for about $600, and transcontinental economy fares at around $120.

A churner demonstrates the technique for pulling up heightened American Express offers.

  1. Hyatt sent targeted spending bonuses via email and in-app pop-up yesterday. Offers reported:

    – 1,000 – 1,500 bonus points for night multiples, up to 15-30 nights total
    – 20% back on award stays, up to 150,000 points spent / 30,000 points back
    – double or triple elite nights on up to five or ten nights
    – a free night certificate after a two or three night stay
    – double or triple points on up to 30,000 points earned

    Note that many of these require registration by June 6 and have a 90 day window for the promotion runtime, so it probably only makes sense to register the day before your first stay, as long as that’s before June 6. There is a collection of links here, but if you’re not targeted they won’t work.
  2. Southwest’s schedule is now open through March 5, 2025. On an related news item, if you book and board a Southwest flight, you’ll be flying Southwest so know what you’re getting yourself into. (Are they perfectly fine? I mean, mostly – but that’s not high praise.)
  3. The American Express Business Platinum card has a new 300,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus after $20,000 spend in three months. To find it, you may need to try all the gyrations:

    – Go incognito
    – Try different browsers, like Brave, Qikfox, Firefox, or Edge
    – Try both desktop and mobile devices
    – Connect to a VPN in various cities
    – Burn an old green employee card in effigy

    (Thanks to Heather)
  4. American Express has a new version of the Delta Reserve and Delta Reserve Business card that’s partially made out of the airframe of an old 747. Existing cardholders can request that version of the card by using the app’s “replace card” functionality, and if you’re not an existing card holder but you really want one, you can get one with AmEx and still be on good terms by either:

    – Applying for a new card, never hitting the sign-up bonus, and closing it within 30 days for no annual fee
    – Upgrading an existing card to a Delta Reserve without an upgrade bonus, getting the 747 card, then downgrading back to your existing card

    Of course if you care enough to run through all of this just for a card made out of an alloy that partially once had metal from a 747’s airframe, you’re an avgeek. Sorry, not sorry.
  5. Kroger online has 5% off of Visa and Mastercards with promo code SPRING24. I was only able to get this to work with physical gift cards, but I could get 10 total cards in a single order with the promotion applied.

    These are US Bank cards, and you’ll earn fuel points for the purchase too. It won’t code as grocery though.
  6. Staples stores have fee free $200 Visa gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction.

    These are Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place.
  7. Kroger stores have 4x fuel points promotion on fixed value Visa and Mastercards and third party gift cards, but this one is today only. (Thanks to GCG)
  8. Ramp Capital’s corporate charge card program has launched travel partner points transfers with a transfer ratio of 1 ramp point = 0.667 mile. Like the card’s flat 1.5x points per dollar earning structure, the travel partners are completely uninspired. I only bring it up today because reading a couple of sentences about it here will save you from reading a couple of pages about it on a dozen other blogs only to figure out that it’s probably not worth your time. (Thanks to sammyph200)

Have a nice weekend!

The room where it happened: Ramp Capital’s inspiration room for finding airline transfer partners.

The Bad

  1. The Hyatt and Mr & Mrs Smith integration is live, but pricing is tied to cash price and at absolute best is only 1.4 cents per point and usually much less, so a Chase Sapphire Reserve booking at 1.5 cents per point will beat direct redemptions in most cases.

    Globalists won’t get free breakfast, enumerated upgrade benefits, or (probably) free parking. You will get elite night credits when booking direct though.
  2. United has devalued partner awards in international first on Lufthansa and ANA metal. For some redemptions, 1.5 cents per point with a Chase Sapphire Reserve is a better deal than transferring points to United, just like with Hyatt and Mr & Mrs SMith. At this point you should never transfer miles to United speculatively, and probably never put any spend on your United cards either. We’re approaching, or possibly have already arrived at, the heat death of the MileagePlus program. The changes:

    – Lufthansa First: From 121,000 miles to 140,000-154,000 miles
    – ANA First: From 121,000 miles to 242,000 miles

    You can still book these flights with Avianca LifeMiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (which currently has an AmEx transfer bonus), or Air Canada AeroPlan points at a much more reasonable rate.

The OK

  1. Breeze Airways has 35% off of round trip fares using promo code SNAPSHOT for travel through October 1 booked today.

    Today’s edition of Breeze Airways Route Bingo is: [drumroll] Provo UT-Grand Junction CO!
  2. American Express has an increased 175,000 point bonus after $8,000 spend in six months on the Hilton Business card which may require trying different browsers, navigating through a search engine, going incognito, or trying both mobile and desktop to find.
  3. I loathe writing about Bilt because of the absolute stranglehold they have on the big travel blog landscape, and because they know how to time everything to make sure there’s something to write about every week to feed the content monster. Alas, sometimes they do have good deals: the rule buster here is a free Blade Helicopter flight for Platinum members on your choice of two routes:

    – Monaco airport to or from Nice airport
    – Newark airport to or from JFK airport

    Logistically, this works by booking directly through the Bilt Rewards app on the ‘Blade’ tab, and you’re presented with the option to apply your free flight during the booking flow.

Have a nice Thursday friends!

Does this count as “The Bad” or “The OK”? I think that depends on the next Bilt Rent Day.