The reaction to yesterday’s budgeting post was next-level. Thanks to everyone who wrote in! Today’s post is a biggie, so buckle up:

  1. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys promotion for 3,000 bonus points for each three qualifying nights up to seven times, valid for nights between October 6 and November 30.

    If you have a Chase Hyatt credit card, there’s an additional 1,000 bonus points for every three nights at certain properties with the same promotion, but the properties are mostly outside of the US.
  2. Do this now: Register for Marriott’s Go Your Way promotion for 1,500 bonus Bonvoy points for every three paid nights between September 12 and December 6.
  3. Do this now: Register for Choice’s More Destinations, More Adventures promotion for 8,000 bonus points for every two paid stays completed by November 6.
  4. Southwest’s next schedule extension for travel between April 9 and June 3, 2024 happens tomorrow, and covers both some spring break travel and Memorial Day weekend. (Thanks to the legendary Brian M, who keeps a closer tab on Southwest than Herb Kelleher did)
  5. The Capital One VentureX Business 150,000 points sign-up bonus after $30,000 spend in three months is now available online. The $395 annual fee is not waived the first year but does include an easily redeemable $300 travel credit.

    For the math challenged, you’ll earn 7x on $30,000 in spend which is hard to beat for big spenders. (Thanks to DDG)
  6. Southwest’s Rapid Rewards shopping portal has 2,000 bonus points when spending $400 in cumulative purchases through September 18. Fortunately, as a collective society we once again we know how to easily earn these kinds of bonuses.

    With the fees you’ll pay for two $250 egift cards, you’ll be effectively buying 3,000 Rapid Rewards points at 0.396 cents per point, minus whatever value you’ll earn for spending $500 on your credit card. Of course there’s a Citi Merchant offer for 3% back that gives even more upside. (Thanks to FM)
  7. There’s a new fast-track to Hyatt Globalist status for higher level AA elites. Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elites will earn Globalist(-lite) with 20 nights within 90 days of registration, and you must register by November 12.

    With a little grit, or dare I say, true grit, you can earn Globalist(-lite) in exchange for 70,000 Ultimate Rewards utilizing this promotion.

Happy Wednesday!

An avid churner navigates today’s post from the comfort of home.

In no particular order:

  1. Office Depot/OfficeMax stores have $15 off of $300 or more in Mastercard gift card purchases. Sometimes these scale differently than you’d expect. Don’t forget to link your cards to Dosh while you’re at it and check for Chase Offers too.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards.
  2. Capital One has increased sign-up bonuses on two of its no-annual fee business cards:

    $750: Spark Cash Select after $6,000 in spend in three months
    50,000 miles: Spark Miles Select after $4,500 in spend in three months

    Both are weak earners for ongoing spend with 1.5% cash back or 1.5 miles per dollar respectively, and both will be reported to your personal credit report even though they’re business cards. (Thanks to HelpMeBuildCredit)
  3. American Express has been showing offers on your Account Dashboard to upgrade Business Gold and Business Green cards to a Business Platinum. So far we’ve seen:

    – 180,000 Membership Rewards after $10,000 spend in six months
    – 140,000 Membership Rewards after $10,000 spend in six months

    DDG dug up a generic link for the 140,000 variant that’s worth a shot, but we haven’t seen a 180,000 generic link yet. If the link doesn’t work and you’ve got multiple cards under the same login, you may want to move that card to its own login and try again.
  4. Do this now: Register for 3x Hyatt points at Hyatt Vacation Club stays through November 21.

Happy Monday!

Sorry guys, I checked and there isn’t a Hyatt Vacation Club in Lubbock, even post “clap back”. Also, commas, am I right?

  1. Staples has fee free $200 Mastercard gift cards starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit five per transaction.

    These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, so have a liquidation plan in place.
  2. The Barclays Lufthansa Miles & More Mastercard credit card has an 80,000 mile sign-up bonus after $3,000 in spend in 90 days. The card sucks for ongoing spend at 1x and isn’t worth your time unless you want easy access to Swiss Air First Class. For that, you’ll need 182,000 miles each way for the US and Europe and Miles & More status, either via match or direct earn. So, it’s actually quite useful for aspirational travel but otherwise skip it.

    Don’t forget that it’s possible to clown around with Barclays to an extent. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. Barclays has two other increased sign-up bonuses which have more general applicability:

    JetBlue Plus 75,000 bonus miles after $1,000 spend in 90 days
    Hawaiian 70,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend in 90 days

    If you have existing Barclays cards, it’s best to ramp up spending for a few months on them in anticipation of applying for new cards.
  4. The Target Redcard $40 online plus $40 in-store churnable sign-up bonus has died. The new iterations are for $50 off either online or in-store but not both, and churning restrictions have increased to between 60 and 90 days.

    There’s one of the new, $50 promotions going through August 19 for both the credit and the debit card, and there might be utility in a $50 RedCard credit card sign-up bonus.
  5. Do this now: Sign-in to your Marriott account and then check your promotions page for targeted Q3 promotions. We’ve seen:

    – 6,000 bonus points after two stays, 7,500 more points after three, and 9,000 more points after four stays
    – 7,500 bonus points after a single stay and 15,000 more points after a second stay
    – 3,000 bonus points for your fist stay, 2,000 more for your second, and 5,000 more for your third
    – 2,000 bonus points after a single stay that includes a Friday or Saturday night, and 3,000 more points after another

    These are for stays through November 15. (Thanks to SideshowBob233 and DDG)

The spending ramp for easy Barlcays card approvals.

  1. Staples stores have fee free $200 Mastercard gift cards Sunday through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction. If you get an experienced cashier at Staples (lol), you can probably talk them in to multiple transactions back to back.

    BravoPay is a relatively bullet-proof but expensive liquidation option for these, just try and keep your daily transaction volume small. Of course other options exist too.
  2. For approximately the last year, we’ve seen reports that Chase Ink Preferred cards can be approved past 5/24 about every month. Well, this month’s report has arrived. I hesitate to write about these because I truly believe nothing is different than it has been all year, but since it keeps coming up, here’s my understanding of the rules:

    Ink Preferred mailers sent via USPS with a promotion code bypass 5/24 consistently
    – Ink Preferred online applications with offers of 90,000 points or more bypass 5/24 if you’ve got a good relationship with Chase but aren’t above 8/24
    – Ink Preferred in-branch applications bypass 5/24 if you’ve got a good relationship with Chase

    I don’t believe Chase has different rules for different people, unlike American Express.
  3. Mileage rates for AA have dropped significantly at Rocketmiles, but higher rates are still available at AdvantageHotels by Rocketmiles, because corporate America 🙄. AA boosted hotel stays are typically most interesting if you play the Loyalty Points game, and even more so if you currently have elite status and an AAdvantage card because the offers are 5-6x higher. (Thanks to Gary at VFTW)

What an experienced cashier at Staples looks like.

  1. Hyatt’s partnership with MGM is ending on September 30. Why might you care?

    If you don’t go to Vegas: It’s been a really cheap way to manufacture Hyatt Globalist status (but there are still other opportunities)
    If you go to Vegas: Look into Caesar’s status leveraged with the Wyndham Business card

    You still have until Thursday to status match Hyatt to MGM or vice-versa for status through early 2024.
  2. Do this now (if you hold a Hyatt credit card): Register for Hyatt’s newest Q3 promotion, 20% back on award stays at hotels in the Independent Collection between July 11 and September 17.
  3. The Southwest Premier Business card has an increased sign-up bonus through August 28 for:

    – 60,000 points after $3,000 spend in three months
    – 60,000 points after another $12,000 spend in nine months
    – A companion pass after $15,000 total spend

    For the math challenged, $15,000 spend will earn 120,000 bonus points. This card won’t affect 5/24. Incidentally, if you apply for this card on the last day and call Chase to push your statement close date back, you’ve got a good shot at stretching the companion pass out through February 2025.
  4. Dell is now 15x at Rakuten and 5x at AA, so you can try again if your Monday orders were cancelled.

Math challenged just means you find different loopholes.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, the goat of Unsung Heroes, has new targeted offers for 10% back at home improvement stores good once per month for May, June, and July. Offers vary, but we’ve seen:

    – 10% back on $600 or more in home improvement spend, limit $70 back (MEAB)
    – 5% back on $800 or more in home improvement spend, limit $80 back (Tyler)
    – 150,000 Shop Your Way points on $1,000 or more in home improvement spend (birt)
    – 7,000 Thank You points on $600 or more in home improvement spend (TV)

    Look, I’m not here to sell you credit cards and whether or not you apply or are approved I make exactly the same, $0, so understand this comes for a sincere place: If you don’t have this card, why not? It has no annual fee pays you between $1,600 and $2,400 a year with minimal effort.
  2. American Express has a card linked offer for 7,500 additional Membership Rewards with a $500 Delta gift card purchase.
  3. Marriott has a promotion for 40,000 bonus points on paid stays at Marriott Homes and Villas through September 9, but stays must be booked by Wednesday evening. There’s some noise about this one in the bloggersphere and while it’s a decent promotion and is better than the normal Marriott yardstick, at best this is worth about $220 so don’t go out of your way to stay at one of the few Homes and Villas properties just for this.
  4. Target has its regular promotion for $40 back online and $40 back in store for a new RedCard debit or credit card through May 27. Both versions are churnable, and the credit card might be more valuable than you think. Current datapoints suggest you’ve got to wait 10-15 business days between applications for auto-approval.
  5. Southwest has 30% off of round-trip paid fares for the next two weekends only using promo code 30OFF.

Happy Monday!

The yardstick to beat for Marriott Bonvoy’s promotions. This time they did too!

Note: I’m in the process of moving and I’ll be slow to respond this week, apologies if your message goes unanswered for more time than normal.

  1. IHG has 15% off of award bookings for IHG credit card holders and elite members for stays of one to three nights through May 12, but you’ve got to book by tomorrow. As a reminder, you can often (or always) buy points at 0.5 cents per point too.
  2. Southwest has a promotional Companion Pass that requires registration and booking two one-way flights or a round-trip by tomorrow night for travel through May 24. The catch? Well the companion pass is only valid between August 15 and September 30. The other catch? Flights booked prior to registration don’t count. The other other catch? Well, you’re flying Southwest.

    Oh, there’s another other other catch: The Companion Pass is only valid for paid flights.
  3. American Express offers has $100 back on $500 or more in Conrad, LXR, and Waldorf Astoria charges. You can break the correlation and make this one work without actually staying at one of these properties (or ordering a bagel, coffee, or yogurt at the hotel restaurant which will also cost approximately $500).
  4. United Airlines has a 15% discount on paid travel through June 28 using promo code UASKIES. You’ve got to book by the end of April, and Easter and the Friday before Memorial Day are excluded.

    In the most United behavior possible, the code had been working on and off all day yesterday. Will it be working when you read this, or an hour after you read this? Maybe. Will your United flight depart on time? I think it’s about the same probability as the code working.
  5. FM notes that Chase offers has a 15% statement credit at Thompson hotels up to $37.95 back and a 10% statement credit at Hyatt Regency properties in the US up to $25.30 back. Neither requires breaking the correlation because Chase offers are easier to game.

Sears hops on the Tuesday promotion frenzy bandwagon.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard, an original MEAB Unsung Hero, now allows for points redemption to Visa e-gift cards at the same redemption rate as other gift cards, making this the new best points cash-out option and making the card even more valuable.
  2. Lowe’s has an in-store promotion for a $15 Lowe’s gift card with the purchase of a $200 Mastercard gift card. The Mastercards are Pathward and have an activation fee of $5.95 to $7.95 depending on the variety, and the resale rates on the Lowe’s card are between 82% and 84% making this a profitable deal without considering credit card rewards.

    There’s a limit of two per $15 Lowe’s cards per email address, but someone told me it’s possible to get more than one email address. I know, sounds weird right?
  3. Fake Points Travel Blogger notes that the Bilt credit card company (Bilt Technologies, Inc) is suing another company also named Bilt (technically BILT, Inc) over trademark infringement for a mobile app that’s existed longer than credit card company, and that lawsuit spawned a counter-suit. Also revealed in court filings is that since its inception, the credit card Bilt has made a total of $41.4 million in revenue through January of this year.

    The action item on this one? Start thinking up new names for the Bilt rewards program and share them around your circles. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.
  4. Reader Kevin was the first to let me know that there’s good (?) news to go along with yesterday’s bad news that Walmart has $3.74 load fees BlueBird cards: You can now load BlueBird cards at Family Dollar fee-free, just like with Serve cards.
  5. You’d better sit down for this, because I think you’re going to be blown away, err, wait. The opposite actually:

    Staples will be selling fee free $200 Visa gift cards in-store starting Sunday and running through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction. As usual, try for multiple transactions back-to-back to minimize the time spent in a 12,000 square foot store manned by two employees, one of whom is in the back room watching TikTok.
  6. American Express’s Delta co-brand cards have increased sign up bonuses:

    Personal Gold: 75,000 SkyMiles after $2,000 spend in six months
    – Personal Platinum: 75,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM after $5,000 spend in six months
    – Personal Reserve: 100,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQM after $5,000 spend in six months

    AmEx used their random number generator with these offers so if you don’t see them, switch browsers, go incognito, connect to a VPN, try mobile, yell at Richard Kerr between lawsuits, or something similar until you do see them. (Thanks to rep-swe)

Have a nice weekend!

The real surprise isn’t Staples, it’s what’s at the bottom of the slide.