1. American Express is sending out no-lifetime language (NLL) links with a new targeted campaign, and they’re adding another bonus on top of the 30,000 Membership Rewards bonus for signing up for a business checking account at the same time. Check for an email from AmEx or a popup when you login to your dashboard, or try the generic NLL links:

    Business Gold:
    + 90,000 after $10,000 in spend in three months
    + 5,000 after adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in three months
    + 40,000 when opening a business account and maintaining a $5,000 balance and making five transactions
    Business Platinum:
    + 150,000 after $15,000 in spend in three months
    + 5,000 after adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in three months
    + 50,000 when opening a business account and maintaining a $5,000 balance and making five transactions

    Thanks to Russ for setting me straight on the mechanics of this offer.
  2. The AA shopping portal has a promotion for 500 bonus miles after $200 or more in cumulative spend through March 13. Giftcards.com is still absent from the airline portals, leaving several of you wandering down a street crowing “Buhler? Buhler!”.

    Take the lack of giftcards.com on AA’s portal as an opportunity to explore other potential sources of miles and loyalty points though, always be probing.
  3. Chase’s Ink Unlimited and Cash cards have a 40,000 Ultimate Rewards referral bonus, and Chase’s annual referral earning limit limit has increased to 200,000 Ultimate Rewards per account.

    Make sure this referral is P1 to P2 or similar if you’re doing it — the sign-up bonus for the referee is 15,000 points lower than than the best public offer, but the two of you together will still come out ahead by 25,000 points with the referral. (Thanks to FM).
  4. Southwest has new targeted more accounts for its status earning promotions, look for email from Southwest with the subject “[Name], wanna get status faster?” or check your account page. To qualify, flights must be booked and flown between March 1 and May 31. The offers I got:

    – 2x tier qualifying points on all paid flights
    – 1 segment per flight, 10% of redemption cost in tier qualifying points on award tickets
    – 3,000 tier qualifying points for every $5,000 in credit card spend

    Note that we talked about this on Thursday of last week, but back then neither I nor P2 was targeted for any of these and now we both are, so it looks like Southwest has increased the eligible audience.

A random sampling of people newly targeted for Southwest’s elite status promotion.

Editor’s Note: I’ll be traveling through the end of February and be largely unresponsive in normal channels, please expect delays.

  1. Staples has a fee free $200 Mastercard gift card sale running through Saturday, limit eight per transaction.

    Your weekly reminder: these are Metabank Pathward gift cards and as a result can be hard to liquidate. Having a plan in place is even more important lately because either Pathward or BlackHawk Network is placing restrictions on regular liquidation methods. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  2. Southwest’s shopping portal has a bonus of 1,000 Rapid Rewards points for $300 or more in cumulative spend through March 8, or in case $300 is too rich for your blood, you get 500 bonus points for $100 in cumulative spend.

    Side note: They’ve tagged this promotion as “Winter Deals”, which while technically correct, seems to violate my sense of the impending warmer weather and the lack of desire to acknowledge the current cold front.
  3. Chase Offers has a promotion for 15% back on up to $38 for domestic Hyatt stays. I couldn’t find this one personally so can’t confirm the terms. (Thanks to DoC)
  4. Meijer MPerks has $10 off of $150 or more in Mastercard gift cards through Saturday, limit one per MPerks account. How do we scale? More MPerks accounts, duh. Just don’t forget to clip the digital coupon.

Happy Monday!

Southwest’s motivation for naming their bonus points promotion “Winter Deals”.

  1. There are a few shopping portal bonuses for cumulative spend through February 13:

    1,000 miles at United for $25 in spend for Chase United cardholders (EDIT: New customers only)
    500 miles at United for $25 in spend for non-cardholders (EDIT: New customers only)
    500 miles at American for $200 in spend
    500 miles at Alaska for $150 in spend

    Sadly giftcards.com is still absent from these portals.
  2. US Bank has a $500 business checking account bonus running through March 31 with promo code Q1BUS23. Requirements:

    – Deposit $3,000 within 30 days and maintain it for at least 60 days
    – Enroll in online banking

    US Bank is an exception to the rule about holding deposit accounts at bank accounts with interesting credit cards. Typically you can churn these as long as your account has been closed for at least six months.
  3. Office Depot/OfficeMax has 20% back in rewards for Happy and Choice gift cards through Saturday, limit $100 in rewards per account. Some of these convert to high value bulk gift cards, and rates are high for Q1.
  4. Do this now: Register for Best Western’s new promotion, 8,000 bonus points for stays two nights or longer through May 7, with a limit of 16,000 bonus points during the promotion.

    If you end up at a Best Western and there’s another option near where you’re going, I’m sorry. If there’s not, I’m sure it’ll be a great stay 😅.

Just another Friday night at the Best Western Plus in Muskogee, Lubbock’s sister city.

  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. The original MEAB Unsung Hero, the Citi/Sears Shop Your Way Rewards Mastercard has a higher, choose-your-own adventure style sign-up bonus: the current heightened $225 after $1,500 in spend and 10% off of your first purchase with the card at Raise. (Thanks to Miles)
  2. Meijer MPerks has a digital coupon for a $10 Meijer gift card with $100 or more in Happy Cards, Choice Cards, or One4All Cards. Many of these can be converted to gift cards with resale rates well above 90%; just remember that the post-Christmas gift card cash out by buying electronics to ship to buyer’s groups is going to be hard for a couple of months.

    On the flip side, $10 will buy a whole lot of unsold discount Christmas candy at Meijer so hooray for your dentist.
  3. China reopens for tourist travel on January 8th. My spot checks showed very little in the way of paid or award routes between the US and China, but I expect that’ll change rapidly over the next couple of weeks, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a trip to China.
  4. Giftcards.com has vanished from most shopping portals, though it’s notably still present on Capital One Shopping, which is open to anyone whether or not you hold a Capital One card. This has happened in the past, so I don’t expect it to be a long-term outage but 🤷‍♀️. (Thanks to irieriley)

Brach’s discount Christmas taffy, also known as “dentist’s yacht maker”.

  1. Giftcards.com continues to award 5% off of virtual Visa gift cards with the promo code CYBERSAVE. It’s supposed to end today but often these keep going well beyond their stated expiration (and just as often they expire well before their stated expiration, because reasons). Make sure you bounce through a shopping portal first, and you may be luckier than you realize if your order is canceled.
  2. The Aegean Airlines free miles game has been kicking around since Friday, but it’s become quite a bit more interesting in the last 24 hours: many new accounts are seeing high mileage awards in the 20,000 miles or above range. Why is this useful? Two reasons:

    – 25,000 miles is enough for a roundtrip economy flight on United Airlines or Air Canada between any two North American cities
    – 90,000 miles is enough for a roundtrip business class flight on United Airlines or Air Canada between North America and Europe
  3. Reader H wrote in to let me know that American Express gift cards are fee-free using promo code HOLIDAY2022 (including gift cards well into the 5 figure range). There are two uses for this that I see:

    – Shift minimum spend
    – In conjunction with AmEx offers at amexgiftcards.com
  4. A new Kroger 4x fuel points promotion starts today (in theory), and presumably includes online gift card purchases too. They’re also selling several travel gift cards at a net discount, and you’ll earn at least 2x and possibly 4x fuel rewards on these purchases:

    – Uber: Buy a $200 gift card and get a bonus $25 Kroger gift card
    – Delta: Buy a $100 gift card and get a bonus $10 Kroger gift card
    – Airbnb: Buy a $200 gift card and get a bonus $25 Kroger gift card

    If you buy all three of these and use approximately 15 gallons when you fill your car, the fuel points are worth about $30. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  5. According to Doctor of Credit, Office Depot/OfficeMax stores have a promotion for $15 off of $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards. If this promotion is like other recent variants you may even be able to do better than $15.

A manufactured spender readies for the holiday grind on a United flight to Lubbock, TX booked with Aegean miles.

  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?