1. American Express Offers has a targeted card linked offer for a $800 statement credit after spending $35,000 up to three times. This obviously pairs well with hitting spend on 99 employee card phone-in offers. (Thanks to SideShowBob233)
  2. Chase Offers and BankAmeriDeals have a new offer for 10% back on Alaska Airlines airfare of $50 or more booked by June 12, max $45 cash back. 

    The most above board way to game this is to book a non-basic economy airfare, wait 24 hours, and refund it to your Alaska wallet, but gamers gonna game.
  3. Discover has 15% off of gift card redemptions with cash-back balance through the end of June. In general Discover IT’s 5% cash back is worth more than 5% with games as laid out here, and the gameing is even better with Uber.
  4. AirFrance and KLM’s FlyingBlue June Promo awards just dropped exactly like movie theater stock this week. US to Europe promo award flight cities have economy awards starting at 15,000 points to and from:

    – Boston
    – Washington DC
    – Houston
    – New York (JFK)
    – Phoenix
    – Seattle

    I’m also seeing sporadic availability for business class redemptions to Europe at 50,000 miles from Phoenix and Seattle, the two cities on the list that I checked.
  5. Avianca LifeMiles has a 15% incoming transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards points through June 30. The terms give them 24 hours to post the bonus miles, but they’ve been coming more quickly in practice.

    LifeMiles still has great sweet spots for Business Class flights from the US to Europe for certain city pairs, and for general weirdness on most routings. One of my personal favorites is to throw an economy flight that I’m not planning on taking onto the end of a business class ticket to reduce the cost of the redemption.
  6. The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card currently has a targeted relatively mediocre bonus of 70,000 MileagePlus miles after $3,000 spend in three months, but the first year’s annual fee is waived in the current iteration of the offer. You may need to go through a United booking flow or try different browsers to see the offer. The all-time high for this card was 100,000 miles.

    Why bring it up? If you think you might want it, either wait until this is available via referral which will likely be in the next week, or wait until the next time 100,000 mile rolls around unless you have a specific need for this card (like for XN availability). Don’t jump yet just because lots of bloggers are talking about it.
  7. Emirates reduced the cost of many of its economy award redemptions. The catch? You’re still flying economy.

By popular request, BankAmeriGuy makes another appearance to celebrate today’s Alaska BankAmeriDeal.

  1. Citi ThankYou Points has a 25% transfer bonus to Avianca Lifemiles through April 13.

    Avianca has a quirky award chart with plenty of hacks, but my favorite easy hack is to tack an economy flight on to the end of a one way itinerary to make the whole thing price lower. (Thanks to TheSultan1)
  2. American Express Offers has a new offer for a $300 statement credit after $2,000 spend through June 16.

    Note that if you have to cancel one of these tickets because reasons, Virgin Atlantic can be hard to deal with and may require multiple phone calls to chase it down. (Thanks to TeddyH)
  3. Kroger stores have a 4x fuel points promotion running tomorrow through April 2 on third party gift cards. If you use this as an opportunity for AmEx manufactured spend, find a way to separate your purchases from even dollar amounts, especially those around $500, $1,000, etc. (Thanks to Will)
  4. Do this now: Register for your targeted United MileagePlay offer. This one wasn’t the usual “Spend X on overpriced domestic first and get Y miles”, but was instead:

    – 400 miles for making a purchase with MileagePlusX
    – 400 miles for dining with MileagePlus dining

    I won’t be bothering with either for what is effectively $4.40. Hopefully you get something more exciting. (Thanks to FM)
  5. Air Canada has a 15% off paid fare sale for international flights from Canada and also for flights from the US to Canada with promo code PZEEXY91 for travel through December 13 booked by April. (Thanks to DansDeals)

Have a nice Tuesday!

A promo that unfortunately didn’t make the cut.

Sometimes there’s a news story that sends travel bloggers to the word vomit factory to write pages and pages when there’s really just one thing to say, and this week’s factory tour is courtesy of American Express and that they’re now offering a free, limited-partner Point.me search for cardholders by visiting amex.point.me. And yes, I’m writing about it too so I’m no better, welcome to the word vomit factory my friends!

Anyway, there are a few reasons you probably shouldn’t care much about this new development, and I say this as a paid Point.me user with full access (not just a normie with specific access to Membership Rewards transfer partners):

  • Point.me is really slow and inflexible, and the AmEx version has poor coverage
  • PointsYeah is a free alternative that’s more flexible and much, much faster
  • Seats.aero will cache award results for quick lookup and is a great compliment to PointsYeah

Of course, there’s always more to the story, so let’s visit caveat city:

  • American Express’s point.me version has no coverage beyond Membership Rewards partners
  • PointsYeah has better coverage than the AmEx point.me
  • Point.me with a paid subscription has the best coverage, notably including Aeroplan and Southwest
  • Neither Point.me nor PointsYeah will show you Delta 15% off award discounts
  • Neither Point.me, Seats.aero, nor PointsYeah will show United XN expanded access and discounts
  • None of the tools will show you cheaper FlyingBlue awards found by searching different partners
  • PointsYeah easily lets you filter for things like maximum fuel surcharge or maximum trip duration
  • Award alerts in PointsYeah and Seats.aero are top notch
  • Award alerts in point.me are, uhh, non-existent

So yes, we have another tool to use courtesy of AmEx, but also it’s like having a Fisher Price hammer when you’re building a cabinet.

Happy Tuesday!

American Express tools to help with award searches: present and future.

Often the weekend recap on Monday is quieter, but that’s definitely not the case today.

  1. It was only a few short days ago that I said I would speculatively transfer Membership Rewards to Etihad Guest if I was targeted. Capital One obviously heard me and said “let me help you out MEAB” with a tiered transfer bonus:

    – Transfer 1,000 – 10,000 miles: 20% bonus
    – Transfer 11,000 – 50,000 miles: 30% bonus
    – Transfer 51,000 or more miles: 40% bonus

    The bonus is per transaction and not cumulative, and runs through the end of the month. (Thanks to justmeha)
  2. The Motley Fool again has an increased 7,400 AA miles for $99+ spent through the AAdvantage eShopping portal. We care this time because like our hopes and aspirations, the AA loyalty points spending calendar reset on March 1.
  3. The Citi AA Platinum Select personal card has an increased 75,000 AA mileage bonus after $3,500 spend in four months, and the annual fee is waived for the first year. The sign-up bonus doesn’t earn loyalty points, but all spend on the card does.
  4. On Wednesday, MEAB briefly hinted about American Express shutdowns. The total number of shutdowns was small, there’s plenty we still don’t know, the dust still hasn’t settled, and we don’t know if it’s done. Even so, we do know a few things that are easily summarized as:

    – Some shutdowns involved a particular type of spend gaming
    – Some shutdowns involved a few rather heavy hitters that weren’t doing that gaming

    Most of the rampant speculation on public facing sites that I’ve seen is either partially or totally refuted by the datapoints that we do have, so I guess, just don’t believe everything you read on the internet, even if you believe you have 99 reasons to do so.
  5. Office Depot/OfficeMax stores have a promotion for $15 off of $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards running through Saturday, limit ten. (Thanks to DoC)
  6. The American Express Hilton Aspire card has an increased sign-up bonus of 175,000 points and a free night certificate after $6,000 in spend in six months. This offer is also available by referral, so make sure to grab one from P2 or a friend and make their day. Yes, the other Hilton personal cards also have an increased bonus, but without the free-night certificate they’re a big yawn.
  7. The Bank of America AirFrance KLM FlyingBlue Mastercard has a heightened sign-up bonus of 70,000 bonus points, $100 statement credit, and 100 XP after $3,000 spend in 90 days. The offer is presented during the checkout flow when you make a dummy booking on the US AirFrance or KLM website, and the $89 annual fee is not waived for the first year. (Thanks to Don)
  8. Some Wyndham news:

    The business card has a new 100,000 point sign-up bonus after $15,000 spend in one year, and this one is a keeper for gas station spend
    The personal earner plus card also has a 100,000 point sign-up bonus after $2,000 spend in six months, and is probably only worth keeping for the first year
    Vacasa redemptions will have a new pricing structure at 15,000 points or 30,000 points per night per bedroom starting on March 26, and the cash price determines the point price ($250 / bedroom / night or less is 15,000 points, $500 / bedroom / night or less is 30,000 points)
  9. There’s a 250,000 Membership Rewards American Express Business Platinum link with lifetime language available through the AmEx random number generator, and it seems extra pop-upie too. To see it, try some combination of:

    – Connecting to a VPN in Dallas or Denver
    – Trying incognito mode
    – Searching for “American Express Business Platinum” in various search engines
    – Waiting for a 190,000 points offer to expire and automatically reload

    The bonus requires $15,000 spend in three months.

Phew!

Our hopes and aspirations on March 1, 2024.

  1. American Express has new, heightened bonuses available via the Random Number Generator™ (which can be played by trying different browsers, going incognito, using a mobile device, hitting the landing page through a search engine, or by tossing cheese up into the air between each keystroke). The offers:

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

    There are variations of these offers available via referral with slightly higher spend requirements of $10,000 in three months too, and are those are much better for the referrer. (Thanks to robdajewels)
  2. American Express Membership Rewards has a targeted 20% transfer bonus to Etihad Guest miles through April 4. I wasn’t targeted, but this program is a sleeper program and one of the only ones I’d transfer a few miles into speculatively.
  3. Two airline shopping portal have new spend bonuses:

    Southwest: 1,000 Rapid Rewards after $300 or more in spend through March 18
    AA: 500 AAdvantage miles after $150 or more in spend through March 11

    In other non-news, giftcards.com remains available on major shopping portals.
  4. Turkish Miles and Smiles has a 20% rebate on award tickets booked on Turkish metal booked by August 31 for tickets booked by the mileage account holder. Tickets booked before yesterday won’t qualify though.

    The rebated miles expire at the end of 2025, regardless of the other mileage expiration dates or activity.

An child suffers the unfortunate side effect of the American Express Random Number Generator™ game.

  1. Do this now: Register for Wyndham’s new promo, 7,500 bonus points for two nights stayed through May 13. You can earn the bonus up to a whopping two times, for a total of *checks supercomputer* 15,000 bonus points. (Thanks to FM)
  2. Putting a nice bow on one of the worst Februaries on record for devaluations, shutdowns, and general #bonvoyness, ANA is devaluing its award chart for tickets booked on or after April 18.

    For better or worse, this is inevitable as the paid price of tickets increases with inflation and with spend based mileage earning, so eventually the mileage program will necessarily bow to inflation too. You can plan for that though.
  3. Bilt has a new benefit: FlyingBlue Gold status for Bilt Platinum members who activate a status match, which requires 10,000 points transferred to FlyingBlue during the activation. This will be a recurring Bilt yearly benefit, at least until they decide that its not.

    The main benefits of FlyingBlue Gold are lounge access on international SkyTeam airline tickets like Delta, and for free checked bags on the same airlines. You no longer get access to book La Premier awards with Gold status though, so the value is marginal at best.
  4. Kroger has a 4x fuel points promotion on sports betting gift cards through March 19, which as far as I’m aware is a new type of fuel points promotion.

    Sports books provide a good outlet for manufactured spend volume in states that allow it, but it comes with a big set of gotchas too. Typical plays involve mainline arbitrage across multiple sites and playing through all funds at least once. (Thanks to GCG)

MEAB running super-computer simulations for maximizing point earning.

Today’s news items dropped into a nice list neatly, a little too neatly for comfort frankly:

  1. Southwest has an award and paid flight sale with promo code SPLASH through tomorrow night for travel from March 19 to May 22. There are a few blackout dates, but my existing bookings had a roughly 50% rate of being included in the fare sale.

    What everyone seems to forget to mention when these fare sales drop is that you’re still flying Southwest and the discount better be big as a result. This is extra acute to me with six flights in the last 30 days on Southwest.
  2. Hyatt has announced its annual award chart recategorization.

    You have through March 26 to book at the old rates. If you book a property that goes down in price after March 26, your points will probably be automatically refunded.
  3. American Express Membership Rewards has a targeted15% transfer bonus to Avianca Lifemiles through March 15. Sweet spots:

    – Star Alliance business or first class from the US to Europe and Africa
    – Short haul domestic first class
    – Flights to and from the Caribbean in cattle class Southwest class economy

    This transfer bonus is mid at best unless you were going to book something anyway.
  4. American Express offers has two new sort-of gamable offers:

    – $200 statement credit on $1,000+ at about three dozen properties through May 15
    – $100 back on $500+ in Alaska flights booked through AmexTravel.com through May 26

    Gaming on the first one is typical, on the second probably is only really doable by refunding the right type of your fare to an Alaska wallet.
  5. The Motley Fool has an increased AA eShopping portal sign-up bonus of 6,700 miles for a $99 subscription, bigger than what it was on January 17 too. An American Express Offers $50 off of $99 is still around through May 15 too.

    Combined, the two promotions mean you’re buying 6,700 AA miles at for a net cost of $49, or 0.73 cents per mile. It’s untested as far as I know, but you probably can’t do this again on the same AA eShopping account as the one used in January. (Special thanks to David)

The laundry equivalent of today’s news items coming neatly packaged out of the box.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The feedback I’ve gotten for guest post Saturday has been resoundingly positive. I’ve got a few posts left to publish, but I’m running low. If you’re interested in a guest post, please reach out!

  1. Office Depot / OfficeMax stores have $15 off of $300 or more in Visa gift cards through Saturday, and this one has a limit of 10. As usual:

    – Link your credit cards to Dosh
    – Try for multiple transactions, back-to-back
    – Try for scale in a single transaction, it usually works out
    – Don’t forget about your monthly American Express Business Gold credits

    These are Pathward gift cards which often have a $480 per five minute transaction limit for liquidation at popular in-person liquidation spots.
  2. Citi ThankYou Points has a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic through March 16. These miles are generally best used on Delta or ANA metal.
  3. The new American Express Delta card Resy credits turn out to be relatively easy to game in most big cities: buying anything at a restaurant listed on Resy whether or not your make a reservation, including gift cards, will trigger the monthly credit according to dozens of data points.

    More good news too: Some hotels eligible for Delta Stays credits now offer sanitized rooms!

Happy Monday!

It’s technically even possible to find a hotel that’s completely covered by the Delta Stay credit and includes a sanitized room.