1. Do this now: Register for Radisson Rewards Americas’ promotion for 3,000 bonus points per night at Radisson family hotels in the Americas through December 15, 2022.
  2. The Rakuten 2% back or 2x Membership Rewards on Safeway purchases had new conditions added yesterday: Maximum $20 back per transaction, and a maximum of 10 transactions are eligible. If you were hitting it hard, double check that you’re not at the limit already before going again.
  3. AA has a bunch of lame deals celebrating its 35 year partnership with Citi, but two of them are mildly interesting (you can use your browser’s developer tools to see the upcoming deals before they’re unhidden):

    – 535 bonus AA miles when spending $135 through the shopping portal with a Citi AA card (hello giftcards.com)
    – 350 bonus miles for redeeming a SimplyMiles card linked offer between Friday and October 7

    Loyalty points for those of us chasing status, you ask? I don’t know for sure, but my guess is the 535 bonus miles won’t count but the 350 will.
  4. Simon’s volume site has 52% off of Visa and Mastercard gift cards through Sunday using promo code SEP22FALL52. They’re Metabank gift cards so have a liquidation plan.

A sampling of the Citi+AA marketing team’s other great promotional work.

Kroger fuel points are an integral part of the bulk gift card reselling market, perhaps more-so in 2022 than any other year. They’ve boosted that bulk market even further by running nearly non-stop 4x fuel points promotions on third party gift cards, including one that started on Wednesday and runs through Tuesday, September 20.

As we discussed in August though, something is rotten in the state of Denmark Kroger: The company is actively targeting suspected fuel points resellers and has seemingly shut down more accounts in the last couple of months than in the entire prior history of the program. It’s gotten so bad that I know of a single individual that had fuel points accounts worth over $10,000 frozen without recourse.

Without further ado, here’s a Q&A session that I held with my alter-ego to address questions that have been swirling around various groups and chat forums:

Q: What’s the trigger for an account that’s shutdown?
A: Datapoints are literally all over the place, and as of now we don’t really have a great idea.

Q: What does a shutdown look like?
A: At the pump when trying to redeem points, you see the message: “Invalid Loyalty ID”

Q: Can my fuel points account be unfrozen?
A: So far, I’ve not heard of a single success story or workaround

Q: How widespread is the shutdown risk?
A: It seems to be a minority of fuel points reseller accounts that are affected, but there’s a big “but”

Q: What’s the big “but”?
A: I’m so glad you asked. Even though it’s a minority of accounts that are shutdown, when a one of reseller’s accounts is shutdown, often so are a bunch of other accounts held by the same reseller

Q: How can I protect myself going forward?
A: I’d say three things:

Q: Should I cut the fuel points game out?
A: I don’t think so, just be careful and follow my usual manufactured spend advice: never have more outstanding than you’re willing to lose if everything goes wrong

Have a nice weekend friends!

Just be careful, and you too can still be the Kroger fuel points GOAT.

  1. Southwest will now let you buy an earlier boarding position during online check-in, which pairs well with the annual fee reimbursements from the Southwest Personal Priority orSouthwest Business Performance credit cards. (Thanks to Brian M via MEAB slack)
  2. The Capital One Venture card is now showing a targeted 100,000 mile sign up bonus through the pre-qualification tool. The bonus requires $10,000 in spend in the first six months. (Thanks to stillwaters23)
  3. A gentle reminder that the current best Chase Sapphire Reserve offer is 70,000 Ultimate Rewards as long as you have a Chase account, or 60,000 Ultimate Rewards if not.

    Background: everyone seems to be excited that the Reserve’s referral program is back with 10,000 Ultimate Rewards per referral and a maximum of five referrals per year, but the referral bonus is currently only a 50,000 Ultimate Rewards, so those referrals should only be for your enemies I guess. (UPDATE: Reader Doug notes that his referral offer is 60,000 Ultimate Rewards, so for non-Chase account holders a referral may be a wash)
  4. Stephen at GC Galore notes that Kroger is having another 4x fuel points sale on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards from Friday through Sunday. At this point I’m nearly speechless on the subject, and I suppose it’s time to be surprised if there isn’t an upcoming weekend 4x fuel points sale.

Southwest’s economy lie-flat seating is easier to get with early boarding.

  1. Amtrak is running an award sale through Thursday for travel through September 30, excluding Labor Day weekend. Many routes are 40% off though some are closer to a 25-30% discount.
  2. American Express has a “targeted” sign-up bonus on its personal Gold card for 100,000 Membership Rewards points after $4,000 in spend. To be “targeted”, try this link on different operating systems, browsers, in incognito mode, and even even a different IP address until the offer appears. (UPDATE: Corrected link, thanks to Shashank)
  3. You can buy 2,000 AA miles for $9.99 by signing up for Homer through the AA portal and cancelling after one month (just set a reminder in your phone). There’s apparently an AmEx offer for $9 back on Homer purchases too. Note that I wouldn’t normally post a deal this small, but the AA Loyalty Points that you’ll earn pushes this slightly above the line. (Thanks to Frequent Miler)
  4. Juno (formerly OnJuno) has been paying 6% on USDC crypto holdings since early this year, which made it one of the best backdoor interest bearing accounts available. On Friday they sent a note that the interest rate is falling ever so slightly to 0% on September 1, which makes the platform largely useless as a place to park money.

    The company also announced in the same message that they’ve raised a Series A financing round. When FinTech companies raise more money, profitable promotions usually come our way, so stay tuned.
A garbage can with the stenciled message: "GARBAGE ONLY NO TRASH"

Juno’s nuanced march to 0% interest rates.

  1. The IHG flash sale from a week and a half ago is back, most properties are again pricing at about half off for award redemptions. In related news, Holiday Inn Express stays continue to be dubious at best as far as I’m concerned.
  2. Kroger has $10 off of $150 or more in Visa and Mastercard gift cards online using promo code DEALDAYS2022 through August 30.
  3. As of this writing, Dell is 10x at Rakuten or 11% cash back at TopCashBack, which makes it a great time to burn your second half 2022 Business Platinum $200 Dell credits. (Thanks to Miles)
  4. Kroger is having another 4x fuel points promotion on third party gift cards Friday through Tuesday. Clearly the person who builds Starbucks stores across the street from other Starbucks stores has moved on to Kroger IT.
  5. The Albert debit card has a targeted offer of $500 for enabling direct deposit and receiving $500 or more in direct deposits for 90 days. To see if you’re eligible, open the Albert app and look for a promotional banner. Note that Albert has a $150 bonus for both the referrer and referred, but no sign-up bonus directly; so be sure to use a referral for new accounts. (Thanks to Nate via MEAB slack)

The mastermind behind this mess is now evidently working at Kroger.

Let’s jump right into it this week:

  1. American Express has another no-lifetime language (NLL) 170,000 Membership Rewards after $15,000 spend in three months Business Platinum link. This seems to be without a pop-up for just about everyone provided that you’re under 10 AmEx charge cards. There’s mixed success of getting multiple using this link and distinct businesses too.
  2. Target’s RedCard sign-up bonus of $80 ($40 online and $40 in-store) for a debit or credit card is back, and remains churnable provided that you wait 10 business days between closing an account and opening a new one. But, this is interesting for other reasons beyond the sign up bonus that justify going for the credit card version too.
  3. IHG has a flash sale and/or broken-IT issue that’s causing many award stays to price at half of their normal cost. Rough pricing:

    – Kimpton: 45,000 points
    – Regent / InterContinental: 35,000-45,000 points
    – Indigo: 30,000 points
    – Crowne Plaza: 25,000 points
    – Holiday Inn / Holiday Inn Express: – 20,000 points

    You can easily buy points at 0.5 cents per point through this evening, and with a few hoops you can always buy them near this price-point with dummy bookings. Now all that’s left to debate is whether there’s such a thing as a Holiday Inn Express that’s worth $100 in points per night. (Thanks to strayersong via VFTW)

You knew this was coming, right? With the IHG sale, you can experience the bright and spacious Holiday Inn Express Lubbock South for only 20,000 points (regular nightly rate: $92)

Fall promotions are finally ramping-up, starting with the following:

  1. Do this now: Register for Hyatt’s new Q3 promotion for 20% back on award stays at Hyatt Independent Collection hotels between July 5 and September 5, up to 30,000 points back.
  2. Kroger is running another promotion for 4x fuel points on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercard gift cards through July 12.

    Major fuel points buyers have been largely silent on capacity for this round, partially because it’s the end of the month (and points expire the month after they’re earned) and partially because the market has become saturated. I expect that on Friday we’ll see additional buying capacity but not at the volume that we’ve seen in the past. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  3. PayPal has another credit card variant, and this time it’s issued by WebBank instead of Synchrony so there are likely shenanigans ready to play. This card is a 2% cash back everywhere Mastercard with no annual fee, so a rival to the Citi Double Cash, only if you get shutdown here you might lose PayPal too.
  4. Check each of your personal Chase credit cards at chase.com/mybonus for additional spending bonuses on grocery, gas, and home improvement. Offers have been reported for:

    – An additional 5x on up to $1,500 in spend (Hyatt, Marriott, United, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Southwest cards)
    – An additional 7x on up to $1,500 in spend (IHG)
    – An additional 10x on up to $1,500 in spend at Starbucks(Sapphire Preferred, Freedom Flex)

    Eligibility starts on July 1 and runs through September 30, and it stacks with other bonused spend. (credit here)

Happy Wednesday!

Leaked: Kroger’s future promotion, brought to you by the same team that delivered 4x fuel points for effectively three months straight.

  1. As reported by some weirdo on the internet known for being apocryphal yet this time with a trustworthy source (DC Domer via MEAB slack), the glitch affecting Membership Rewards cash outs and partner transfers was resolved yesterday afternoon. 🎉 
  2. Southwest has run its first major schedule change for flights from early September through early November, though the number of impacted flights is smaller than is typical which could mean there will be another round of changes, or it could mean Southwest is changing the way it rolls out schedule updates.

    If you have flights booked in that window, now is a good time to see if you’re affected and rebook if the updates don’t work for you. Southwest allows you to change to any other flight between the same city pairs ± two weeks when a schedule change affects your itinerary. (Thanks to Brian M via MEAB slack)
  3. Do this now: Register for Q3 spending categories on major 5%/5x rotating category cards:

    Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex: Gas, car rentals, movies, and some entertainment (Disney parks included)
    Citi Dividend: Gas and home improvement
    Discover IT: PayPal and Restaurants
    US Bank Cash+: Utilities and electronic stores are probably best
    Bank of America Cash Rewards: Gas and online shopping are probably best

    Expect ideas on manufactured spend for these categories soon.
  4. American Express has been sending out new Pay-over-Time 20,000 or 30,000 point offers every week for over a month. Not everyone that’s eligible receives an email or mailer because American Express, but fortunately it’s easy to check via these links:

    Link 1
    Link 2
    Link 3
    Link 4
    Link 5
    Link 6

    It doesn’t take a super-hacker to see the patterns in those links, so I suppose it’s really easy to look for alternate links that aren’t yet known. (Thanks to DoC, reddit, and my inbox for these links)
  5. Kroger has a 4x fuel points sale on third party gift cards and fixed value Visa and Mastercards running from today through Sunday. Unfortunately the fuel points resale market prices continues to drop, and this sale won’t help it recover. I think we’ll see depressed fuel points and gift card prices through at least mid-July as a result

    There’s also widespread reporting that Kroger has started to shutdown accounts that were created with the anonaddy.com service, so I guess be careful and remember that only you can prevent wildfires.

It may seem like the US Forest Service is being literal, but in reality they’re referring to Kroger burner accounts.