EDITOR’S NOTE: If you missed Saturday’s social engineering guest post by dawnzerly because my mailer chose the wrong post to send, you can find and read it here. Ok, I guess even if you didn’t miss it you can still find and read it there.

  1. Do this now: Register for Choice Hotels’ Summer promotion for a top up of up to 8,000 bonus points after a two night stay between today and August 5. Yes, the landing page headline says $50 gift card, but no, that’s not actually what you’ll get. (Thanks to Dave for the updated link)
  2. E*Trade, the Taco Bell of brokerages, has a tiered brokerage bonus of up to $5,000 that can be satisfied by ACATS of an existing brokerage account without selling existing stock. You need to open a new E*Trade brokerage account and ACATS transfer or fund within 60 days, then hold it there for another 60, and use promo code REWARD24 when opening the account. Be sure to close existing E*TRADE accounts first for a bigger bonus.

    You’ve got to hold the funds at E*Trade for six months, but then you can ACATS back out to your preferred broker. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. American Express has a targeted employee card online for 5,000 Membership Rewards after $2,000 spend for up to five employees at this link. The blogosphere seems to have collectively forgot about it and assumes this link is new, which is at best a half truth. The POID is K4IY:9880.

    I bring it up here because you can only get the offer five times per business card, and if you’ve you’ve had another five cards that already bonused with this POID or with any POID that starts with K4IY like this one from March, you won’t get this bonus.
  4. While we’re on the topic of American Express employee cards, phone-in offers for adding up to 99 employee cards are still available on both co-brand cards and Membership Rewards earning cards. Most of them are some form of:

    – Spend $1,000 get 5,000 points
    – Spend $2,000 get 5,000 points
    – Spend $2,000 get $50 statement credit

    These still work for up to 99 employees per account, and are a nice power-up if you’re spending to hit status on Delta, Marriott, or Hilton cards anyway. What’s the catch? You have to pick up the phone and make a call, sorry.

Happy Monday!

An E*Trade brokerage account, but as food.

First some churning news:

  1. Kroger’s online gift card store seems to have changed its gift card supplier to Pathward. Up until a couple of weeks ago you could buy both physical and virtual Mastercards and Visas issued by US Bank at Kroger’s online store, and as of at least yesterday, they sell only Pathward virtual Visas. The fee is $5.95 per card and they still earn fuel points.

    I didn’t expect May to end with a #bonvoyed from Kroger, but here we are.
  2. Holding Chase deposit accounts has a complex relationship with churning:

    They help unlock cards when you’re brand new
    They can lead to credit card bans quickly and unexpectedly

    Given the first bullet point, new churners may be interested in a $750 business checking bonus with Chase that requires funding $30,000 within 30 days, holding for another 60, and completing five transactions (five back-to-back Amazon debit card loads will do). The $30,000 deposit will help with card approvals too, just be sure to close the account before you dive in too deep.
  3. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards other than Amazon on Friday only. The third party gift card resale market is still soft from Pepper Rewards, but it’s already starting to recover and we expect Pepper to send the gravy train crashing into a mountain next week.

And some airline news:

  1. AA tried to eliminate mileage earning and Loyalty Points earning on tickets booked through non-preferred travel agencies, and that was most recently supposed to start with tickets booked in July. CEO Robert Isom, fresh from bingeing to the Tortured Poets Department, said “So Long London” to that plan and to the Vasu Raja, the executive that spearheaded many recent AA changes that haven’t, uhh, paid off.

    They’ve also lowered 2024 revenue guidance due to weakened domestic demand, (cough I wonder why).
  2. Southwest quietly raised the price of EarlyBird check-in to between $15 and $99, and the price of at-airport upgraded boarding to between $30 and $149. This begs the question, why ever fly Southwest without elite status when there’s another option? (Thanks to DDG)
  3. Breeze Airways expanded its route network with flights from seven Eastern US destinations to San Diego, CA. Apparently this launched a week ago but I missed it, so when news is late to me, I guess it’s late to you too. Sorry not sorry.

Happy Thursday friends!

Kroger also silently replaced their ground pork. Does this count as #bonvoyed too?

  1. Chase has increased bonuses in-branch for the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards:

    – Sapphire Reserve: 75,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 spend in three months
    – Sapphire Preferred: 75,000 Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in three months plus 10,000 more after $2,000 more in six months

    A couple of notes:

    A modified double dip is possible in branch if you’re a good social engineer
    – Online or referral variants of these offers will probably show in May
    I still prefer the Ink Preferred‘s 100,000 points for lots of reasons, and you can get a referral from a friend for that bonus. I do think this card pairs well with a Sapphire Reserve.
  2. BankAmeriDeals has double cash back on some of its card linked offers through May 10. It’s likely worth a dive to see what gameable offers are on your account.
  3. AirFrance and KLM’s FlyingBlue program has a paid status match promotion for several countries. The USA isn’t one of them, but if you can finagle your way into a Canadian address you can play ball for:

    – $79 Canadian for Silver
    – $199 Canadian for Gold
    – $399 Canadian for Platinum

    Why might you care? The answer: free checked bags on SkyTeam flights, lounge access on international SkyTeam flights, and Platinum members have the ability to book La Premier award tickets. So I guess, do you have relatives in Canada that you could virtually move in with, eh?
  4. US Bank has a $800 bonus for opening a business checking account with promo code Q2AFL24, depositing $25,000 within 30 days, and maintaining that balance for 60 days. The effective APR is 19.4%, so probably worth your time unless you’re focusing on the velocity of money. The current terms specify that the business can’t have had an account in the last 12 months to be eligible.

Happy Monday!

Post BankAmeriDeals dive.

  1. Citi ThankYou Points has a 50% transfer bonus to Accor ALL Rewards through May 11 for Premier, Prestige, and AT&T Access More card holders, making it a 1:0.75 transfer ratio. With points worth slightly more than 2 cents each for hotel redemptions, this transfer bonus means effectively a 1.5 cent per point ThankYou Point value. EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, the word “point” appeared way too many times in that sentence. Sorry not sorry though, it couldn’t be helped, or at least I didn’t want it to be helped. The writing was already on point.

    Accor Hotels are effectively the European equivalent of Hyatt, though top tier status isn’t as nice. (Thanks to Emily)
  2. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard has new mid-month offers that stack with other offers:

    – $70 statement credit after $750 or more in online purchases
    – $50 statement credit after $750 or more in online purchases
    – $30 statement credit after five online purchases of $100 or more
    – 10,000 ThankYou Points after $1,000 or more in online purchases
    – 200,000 Shop Your Way Points after $750 or more in online purchases
    – 250,000 Shop Your Way Points after $1,000 or more in online purchases

    This card continues to be the best earning no-annual fee card that exists. (Thanks to Jacob M, DC Domer, Roberto, and Mike C)
  3. American Express Offers has an offer for a $200 statement credit with $750 or more in spend at Hyatt’s Secrets resorts by July 14. Gift cards at the front desk continue to be an option to bank this discount for the future.
  4. The Daily Churn discussed a nice RobinHood Brokerage 3% bonus on transferred assets in January. I’ve never posted the deal given the way that RobinHood treated many of us last year, including:

    – threats to liquidate our positions forcibly
    – accounts shutdown and frozen assets
    – blocking ACATS and ACH transfers out of our accounts after demanding that we transfer assets out

    What was our sin? We used the promoted feature of loading funds to our accounts with a debit card, but they retroactively decided they didn’t like that, even if you only loaded once. Why post now then? I’ve heard some excitement over the E*Trade existing user transfer bonus worth up to $6,000, and I want you to know that if you’re considering that, RobinHood may be a better option; but also they’re a terrible company. A wise man once told me “if you’re going to take advantage of a deal, it might as well a terrible person paying the bonus”, so I guess here we are.

Pictured: RobinHood executive breaks into house and takes candy from sleeping child.

  1. There are a few shopping portal bonuses for the new year, but only some airline portals have recovered from their drunken New Year’s stupor:

    AA: 1,000 bonus miles after $400 in cumulative spend through January 17
    United: 1,000 bonus miles after $300 in cumulative spend through January 17

    I’ll be knocking both of these out with giftcards.com. If you’re doing the same, double check in 15 days that the orders have tracked and open a case if not. The AA portal in particular has had widespread tracking issues since December with giftcards.com.
  2. American Express has a business checking account sign-up bonus for 50,000 Membership Rewards running through March 31. Bonus requirements:

    – $5,000 deposit in 30 days
    – $5,000 average balance after depositing for 60 days
    – 5 transactions within 60 days

    These are limit one per business and one per login, so to scale you may need more of each. The account earns a 1.30% interest rate, so you’re losing approximately 370 basis points, or $36, as compared to a high yield savings account over two months.
  3. Breeze Airways has a promotion for 35% off of roundtrip fares with promo code GETFRESH booked by Friday for travel from January 15 to May 22.

    If you want a Breeze Airways line in your travel log, what better reason could there be to fly from Provo, Utah to San Bernardino, CA? That’s right, none.
  4. Chase Offers and BankAmeriDeals have 10% back on Hyatt Place properties on between $100 and $400 in spend through March 3. The catch? Hyatt Place. Notably for reader Dean who is overnighting in Lubbock later this week, Hyatt Place Lubbock isn’t excluded.

    Gaming one of these offers won’t exclude the other. The most above board way to game is to pick up a gift card at the Hyatt Place front desk for resale or future use, but make sure to call and check that they’re sold at the property before you make a trip. (Thanks to DoC)
  5. American Express Offers has offers for both Marriott and Hyatt:

    – $250 statement credit with $1,000 in spend at Marriott Homes & Villas through April 15
    – $100 statement credit with $500 in spend at Hyatt Canadian properties through April 30

    Gaming with gift cards? Ibid. Gaming in other ways? Possible. (Thanks to Jen T and GetFreeCash)

November’s Hyatt Place Lubbock fires may have scorched their gift card supply, so call ahead!

You know how most of you get an extra hour this weekend? Well, there’s plenty to fill it:

  1. Capital One has an interesting bank bonus for a high-yield savings account:

    – $20,000: $300 bonus
    – $50,000: $750 bonus
    – $100,000: $1,500 bonus

    You must fund the account within 15 days, and hold it for 105 days after. The APR is currently 4.30% so the opportunity cost of holding funds is much lower than most recent bank bonuses.
  2. AirFrance and KLM’s FlyingBlue has released discounted promo award cities for travel through April 30, 2024 booked by this month. New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Dallas, San Jose, and Raleigh/Durham are this month’s US cities included in the promotion.
  3. The Gift Card Shop has 100% off of purchase fees for custom designed Visa gift cards through November 8 with code CUSTOMHOLIDAY23.

    These are InComm gift cards. (Thanks to SideShowBob233)
  4. MasterCardGiftCard.com has 50% off of purchase fees for orders over $150 through November 16 with code SHOPEARLY2023.

    These are InComm gift cards; is there an echo in here? (Thanks to SideShowBob233)
  5. Citi ThankYou Points has a couple of has transfer bonuses:

    25% to Avianca LifeMiles through tomorrow night
    30% to Qatar Avios through November 10, posted by Qatar within 45 days

    Both of these programs have sweet spots, google is your friend for some of them.
  6. The major airline shopping portals have new holiday spend bonuses:

    – AA: 4,000 miles with $1,600 in spend through November 17
    – Alaska: 1,500 miles with $650 in spend through November 17
    – Delta 2,000 miles with $1,000 in spend through November 17
    – Southwest: 4,000 points with $1,000 in spend through November 22
    – United: 5,000 miles with $1,200 in spend through November 20

    It’s possible to hit all of these bonuses with giftcards.com assuming that you have a good liquidation channel.
  7. Kroger.com has 5% off of physical Visa and Mastercard gift cards ordered online through November 15 using promo code FALLFRENZY23.

    These are US Bank gifts, the purchase won’t code as grocery, and will earn fuel points. (Thanks to GCG)
  8. Citi has been sending personal and business AA card holders offers for additional bonus miles for making at least one purchase in the next three billing periods:

    – 500 miles for the first statement
    – 1,000 miles for the second statement
    – 1,500 miles for the third statement
    – 2,000 miles in addition to the above for all three statements

    (Thanks to Justmeha and MVC)
  9. American Express has increased its business checking account sign-up bonus to 50,000 Membership Rewards, or $550 with the Schwab Platinum cash out. To be eligible, you’ll need to open an account by December 12 and:

    – Deposit $5,000 within 30 days
    – Maintain at least a $5,000 balance for the following 60 days
    – Make five transactions within the first 60 days

    ACHs and debit card activity both count as qualifying transactions. (Thanks to DoC)

Have a nice daylight savings weekend! (Unless you’re in Arizona, then, well, good luck.)

How daylight savings was invented, except for zonies.

Let’s start with a few reminders based on the current talk of the churning town, and why it might be all noise:

  1. American Express keeps adding restrictions and changing its language about sign-up bonuses on various cards, and it makes people stress out. Yes we’re all language lawyers, but when it comes to sign-up bonuses with American Express, ignore the terms and conditions about eligibility and instead pray to the pop-up gods.
  2. Chase keeps having big checking and savings account sign-up bonuses, but it continues to be a very risky play for a churner. The MEAB way: Just ignore Chase banking bonuses and move on unless you don’t care about the Chase credit card portfolio.
  3. The Chase United Business MileagePlus card has a 75,000 mile sign-up bonus with $5,000 in spend in three months. The $99 annual fee is waived the first year, which is I guess why people are excited. On the other hand, the Chase Ink Cash has a 90,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus and 40,000 point referral bonus with no-annual fee ever, and in conjunction with a a Sapphire or Ink Preferred card you can transfer those 90,000/130,000 Ultimate Rewards to United.

    I guess if you value two United Club passes for crackers and cheese cubes along with a free checked bag over 55,000 Ultimate Rewards, maybe it makes sense? I don’t get it but here we are.

And now for a couple of news items:

  1. Staples.com sells gift cards and while some of them are processed by BlackHawk, some of them are not, like this one. Those that aren’t do work for the American Express Business Gold card $20 monthly offiice supply credit.
  2. The Capital One Venture X card has a 90,000 point sign-up bonus after $4,000 in spend in three months, which is 10,000 points below the all-time high. It now has a 40,000 point referral bonus on many accounts though, so in two-player mode you can turn this into 130,000 points.

    This card has a $395 annual-fee and a less-gamable-than-it-used-to-be $300 credit for booking through the Capital One travel portal.
  3. The Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard has an increased sign-up bonus of $200 after $500 spend in three months and an additional 5x at gas and grocery on up to $12,000 spend in 12 months. (If you maximize both, this is effectively an 80,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus on a card that also awards 3x at pharmacies.)

    The $0 annual-fee either is or isn’t waived the first year, your choice.

Happy Monday!

Another “talk of the town” that I’m not meant to understand.

  1. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion Happy, Choice, dining, digital content, and digital subscription gift cards. The interesting ones for a manufactured spender are the Happy and Choice cards, which can be converted to popular bulk-resale brands like BestBuy and Home Depot. Currently the resale markets are seeing:

    – Bulk gift card volume slowing
    – Fuel point demand that feels insatiable

    This promotion runs through October 17. (Thanks to GCG)
  2. WeBull has a tiered sign-up bonus for opening a new account and transferring stocks or cash through October 30. They’ll pay transfer fees of up to $100 and a bonus based on the incoming asset values. The interesting tiers:

    – $100,000 account value: $1,200 bonus
    – $500,000 account value: $3,000 bonus
    – $1,000,000 account value: $5,000 bonus

    I like these a lot because you can typically ACATS transfer an existing retirement or brokerage account over without actually selling or buying stocks, which your money can continue to be invested as-is without a tax impact, but with a cash-bonus kick. This one excludes IRA transfers though. (Thanks to Welcome Offer)
  3. Office Depot/OfficeMax has a promotion for $15 back on $300 or more in Visa gift cards in-store running through Saturday, limit 10. As usual:

    – Try for multiple transactions back-to-back
    – Look at the Everywhere cards for lower fees if you can liquidate them
    – Link your credit cards to Dosh
    – Look for a Chase Offer for 8-10% back at Office Depot
    – Multiple sets in a single transaction may work out nicely

    And new for this promotion, make sure you’ve enrolled any American Express Business Gold cards for their new monthly $20 office supply store statement credit. (Thanks to DoC)

This A-CAT’S asset transfer won’t count for the sign-up bonus. Trust me.