1. SideShowBob233 was the first to let me know that American Express is sending out new targeted links on its no annual fee business cards:

    Blue Business Plus: 50,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 spend in 12 months plus 10,000 additional Membership Rewards for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in 12 months
    Blue Business Cash: $500 statement credit after $15,000 spend in 12 months plus an additional $100 statement credit for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in 12 months

    Each of these is effectively a 2x everywhere card for the first $50,000 in spend each calendar year.
  2. Juno, formerly known as OnJuno, is known for a few things: (1) high interest rates even on dollar backed crypto like USDC, (2) big cash back boosts on its debit card, and (3) schizophrenia. Since yesterday they’ve been sounding an alarm that their crypto holdings partner may be “bad news bears”, a high-finance technical term. If you’re holding crypto at Juno, their recommendation is to get it out and I think that’s prudent advice.

    In theory their US cash deposit accounts are unaffected because they’re held at Evolve Bank and they’re FDIC insured, but you may want to consider whether those accounts may also be problematic. Side note: I had a professor that used the term problematic at least a dozen times during each lecture, and I still shudder whenever I see it.
  3. Look for email with the subject “A message from Southwest CEO Bob Jordan” and be sure to search your spam folders too. That email has a link for adding 25,000 Rapid Rewards points to your account. (Thanks to Brian M)

    Reports are that people who booked a flight during the meltdown but cancelled it and never flew are also getting emails, and some who had flights largely unaffected are also getting the emails.
  4. Chase has new targeted Q1 bonuses on cards in both its cobrand and Chase branded portfolio. The easiest way to check is to visit chase.com/mybonus and input each of your cards (or build automation to do that periodically if you’re so inclined). Most of the offers are 5x or 5% back on up to $1,500 in spend in gas, grocery, and internet purchases starting on January 15. Some lower point value cards like Marriott and IHG are giving 7x on the same categories.
  5. Visible has a bring your own device (BYOD) promotion for unlimited service including tethering at $15 per month for a year using promo code 15OFF12. You’ll also earn a portal bonus as long as you maintain service for 60 days. Currently TopCashBack is the best at $63, but AA loyalty point hunters may like portal instead.

    Since I haven’t said it for a while, remember that cell phone burners should probably be part of your travel hacking strategy.
A teddy bear holding a heart with the text "We've Held Your $1.1M"

A bad news bear. Also, apologies in advance if this image is problematic.

  1. Do this now: Register for Hilton’s Q1 promo for 1,000 bonus points per stay and double points on all spend associated with a folio including room fees for stays through April 30, 2023.
  2. Staples has a fee free $200 Visa gift card promotion running Sunday through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction. These are Metabanks so have a liquidation plan before you load up; there are plays out there, both online and in person.
  3. Apparently Turkish Airline’s promotion for 30% off of economy and business class awards for travel through May 2023 excluding U.S. Cities isn’t actually excluding U.S. Cities because programming is hard, so book quickly if you have any United or other Star Alliance travel planned before it’s fixed. UPDATE: DDG provides an example of SEA-FCO pricing at 30% off, but CitizenKane notes via MEAB slack that there’s a separate promo for SEA and maybe there’s no actual bug here. (Thanks to DDG)
  4. Reader Mark wrote in to let me know that Bitmo, which is continuing it’s slow death spiral via rocket launch into the ocean, is issuing gift cards for redeemed points if you email support and wait for a few weeks for them to come through. I’d still stay away from their new company HungryFriend (in this instance I think they’re the hungry friend).
  5. American Express has a 30% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic miles through December 29. Award sweet spots:

    – Business class on Delta to Europe
    – Business class and first class to Japan on ANA

    Unfortunately there’s no current transfer bonus to Virgin Galactic, but if there were maybe Bitmo would have had a better shot.

Have a nice weekend!

The rocket Bitmo used to launch its company to the moon; spoiler alert, it missed.

  1. BravoPay, now maybe known as Famigo depending on where you look, has increased fees for accounts created after September of this year to 10% + merchant processing fees, or about 13% all in. The good news is that using the app instead of the website currently works for the lower fee structure even on new accounts. (Thanks to Ben via MEAB slack)
  2. The major airline portals including Scrooge McDuck Delta have bonuses for downloading their browser extension and making a $25 purchase by December 11, and of course you can repeat this with P2, P3, … P(N-1) (for math inclined readers, N-1 isn’t a typo; Sorry, I don’t make the rules). These offers used to contain language requiring you to keep the extension installed for 30 days, but that’s now absent. Links:

    Alaska: 1,000 bonus miles
    AA: 1,000 bonus miles
    Delta McDuck: 1,000 bonus miles
    Southwest: 1,500 bonus miles
    United: 1,000 bonus miles

    If you don’t have any actual purchases, happy cards at giftcards.com have a good resale rate.
  3. Reader Dean was the first to let me know that the Discover debit card is now behaving like a BlueBird or Serve card at Walmart in that it allows for fee-free “cash” loads at registers (who remembers action code 70?). The limits are $1,000 per rolling 24 hours and $20,000 per calendar month. Unfortunately Discover checking isn’t currently accepting new applications, so as Bill reminds us, reread yesterday’s post.
  4. The Barclays AA Aviator Red Mastercard is currently available with 60,000 AA miles after a single purchase and the annual fee is waived for the first year. Of course, spending $67,000 on this card for some Hyatt elites could mean nearly two years of AA Executive Platinum status too. (Thanks to DoC)

Delta’s newest airplane and captain pose for an upcoming SkyMiles devaluation poster.

  1. Check your Chase Offers and Bank Of America Deals for 15% back at US Hyatt properties through December 10, up to $37.95 back.
  2. Do this now: Register for an Enterprise Car Rental elite status extension through February 2024 with any car rented in 2022 (even cars rented earlier in the year before registration). You’ll also get double points through January 21, 2023.
  3. Office Depot/OfficeMax has $100 gift cards on sale for $95.95 after activation fee, limit two per account. These are Metabanks and won’t get special office supply coding when buying online because they’re fulfilled by GiftCardMall. As a no extra fee bonus though, you get to solve some annoying cartoon captchas during redemption.
  4. Wyndham’s shopping portal is offering triple points through December 29. According to the language on the site, the 3x is already baked in to the displayed rate, so don’t expect to earn more than you see. (Thanks to FM)
  5. Staples has physical $25 Uber gift cards for sale at a 20% discount and it seems that no-one is enforcing any quantity limits during purchase so go nuts.
  6. American Express has a 15% transfer bonus to Avianca LifeMiles running through December 7 in addition to last week’s 25% transfer bonus to FlyingBlue. Sweet spots with the program generally involved geographically challenged routing rules, but their award chart is in general good for many redemptions.
  7. Xbox gift cards are back in stock at Dell, so liquidate second half 2022 American Express Business Platinum while you can. To avoid burning a Dell account, keep the number of transactions involving a gift card to five per year per account.
  8. Seats.aero, a community driven mainstay for close-in Star Alliance award alerts, now searches AA award space too. (Thanks to levelniner)

GiftCardMall’s devious captcha system. At least we can eliminate the pineapple I guess?

It’s a good-news, bad-news Thursday it seems. Let’s start with the bad so we can leave on a positive note:

The Bad

  1. Dell has stopped selling Xbox gift cards, which are a mainstay for cashing out American Express Dell Business Platinum credits after reselling the gift cards, or for loading a cash balance at Microsoft to buy an expensive laptop. It’s also been reported that orders placed Friday and later are either:

    – Not being charged, but being fulfilled
    – Being cancelled

    If you’re in the first camp expect Dell to come back in three to six months and ask you to pay up long after your AmEx Dell $200 credit expires.
  2. Stephen at GC Galore has been investigating Bitmo and reports that not only have they likely silently closed shop and aren’t redeeming card purchases any more, they’ve launched a new company called HungryFriend that seems to be a direct copy of the Bitmo code. So, prolly stay away from HungryFriend going forward.

The Good

  1. American Express has a 25% bonus for Membership Rewards transfers to AirFrance / KLM FlyingBlue. Sweet spots:

    Promo awards
    – Economy flights in Europe
    – Business class on SkyTeam to and from Europe
  2. H-E-B Grocery stores have a promotion for 20% off of several $100 third party gift cards, including a few popular brands for resale like Kohl’s, Adidas, and Macy’s with clipped digital coupon. There are reports that the discounts aren’t always coding correctly (in favor of the buyer), so try a few different combinations and see what you find.
  3. Kroger has another 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards running for the next couple of weeks through December 6. Fortunately, enterprising third party gift card resellers still have utility in the fuel points side of the game too.

Happy Thursday friends!

The Dell website with a gaping Xbox hole.

Note: If you’re an email subscriber, you may have missed yesterday’s post because the plugin I’m using and daylight savings time changes don’t go well together. I believe it’s working properly now though.

Today’s items include a strange gem or two:

  1. Two US carriers are running fare sales, and it’s worth checking existing travel to see if you can get a partial refund:

    Alaska to and from ski resort cities, book by Friday
    Southwest on Tuesday and Wednesday flights, book by tomorrow evening

    The Alaska sale gets you free skiing at a few ski resorts too by showing your boarding pass. Of course in a world of refundable fares, someone didn’t think too hard about how gamers gonna game.
  2. Qatar Avios has a transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points and several other programs. This one is oddly tiered:

    – 20% bonus for transfers of 29,999 ThankYou Points or less
    – 30% bonus for transfers of 30,000 ThankYou Points or more

    Qatar Avios are great for business class to and from Europe, but for other cases you can transfer them to Iberia, Aer Lingus, or British Airways Avios at avios.com for other sweet spots.
  3. There’s a $100 sign-up bonus for opening a Q.ai brokerage account and funding with $100. Reportedly bonuses will post within a day typically, but take screenshots of the offer during sign-up in case they don’t. (Thanks to DoC)
  4. Office Depot has $15 off of $300 or more in Mastercard gift card purchases through Saturday. Remember, these are Metabanks, and Visa and Mastercard aren’t the same. (Thanks to ChurningTatum)

Another strange gem.

  1. Miles discovered a new variety of Target Redcards, the Target Redcard Reloadable. It’s mildly interesting for the $40 + $40 sign-up bonus, but probably more interesting for shenanigans other reasons in the same vein as the Target Redcard Credit Card.

    So far it appears to be a Serve/BlueBird like product on the Visa network. It also appears that anyone that has a Serve or BlueBird gets denied during application, so ymmv. (Thanks to Miles via MEAB slack)
  2. AA’s partner card-linked program SimplyMiles and Citi Merchant Offers are again conspiring to help you earn loyalty points for getting luke warm food delivered or for a first class car ride to the airport in the back seat of a 2003 Chrysler Sebring. The offers:

    – 465 AA miles on a $25 Uber Eats order, one time (this earns loyalty points)
    – 235 AA miles on a $15 Uber ride, one time (this earns loyalty points)
    – $10 back on a $25 Uber Eats, one to three times
    – $5, $10, or $15 back on a $15 Uber ride, one to three times

    The SimplyMiles offers mention that taxes and fees are excluded, so make sure the base cost meets the threshold in case they actually enforce that.
  3. Do this now: Decide which of these you like better: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hilton, and then link your Lyft account to the appropriate one:

    Alaska: 2x miles per dollar spent at Lyft through December 31, then 1x
    Delta: 2x miles per dollar spent at Lyft on airport rides, 1x otherwise
    Hilton: 3x points per dollar on most Lyft rides, 2x on shared Lyft rides

    Personally I’d just link to Alaska and be done with it.
  4. Southwest has 30% off of flights booked by today to and from Hawaii for travel from December 1 through March 8 of next year using promo code GOHAWAII. Double check existing bookings, and make sure to pack a meal when you fly unless a bowl of stale pretzels and some off-colored crackers float your boat.
  5. Capital One has announced its November mileage transfer bonuses:

    – 20% bonus to British Airways (use for short haul AA flights or transfer to Qatar Avois for business class redemptions)
    – 20% bonus to Accor hotels (don’t use)
  6. Astra Finance, a popular tool for manufacturing direct deposits, will stop working on December 16. (Thanks to ChurnChurnChurn)

After a car-wash and some duct tape, your Uber Eats driver will deliver your cold Whopper in two hours or less; but most importantly, it’ll be delivered in style.

  1. Do this now: Register for Q4’s 5x spend on rotating category cards at Chase and Discover.

    Chase’s Freedom and Freedom Flex, 5x at PayPal and Walmart
    Discover IT: 5% back at Amazon and on digital wallet purchases

    The US Bank Cash+ and Citi Dividend registration links haven’t yet updated for Q4.
  2. Do this now (too): Register for Cathay Pacific’s incoming mileage transfer bonus for mileage transfers from credit card flexible currencies through November 12. Registering gets you two things:

    – A 10% bonus on transfers of less than 30,000 miles, or 15% on larger transfers
    – Resets expiration on miles in your account earned prior to 2020

    In October 2021, there was an American Express Membership Rewards 20% transfer bonus to Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles. If that or something similar from Citi or Capital One appears I’ll be making a large transfer into the program. (Thanks to FM)
  3. Simon’s volume site has 65% off of purchase fees through tomorrow on both Visa and Mastercard gift cards using promo SUPER22SAVE65. These are Metabanks so have a liquidation plan, like, I don’t know, using one of the satellite registers at Walmart for something other than a money order.

A satellite cash register, I guess?