1. The American Express Business Green card’s public sign-up bonus no longer includes a waived first year’s annual fee as of yesterday. Parts_Unknown_ notes that referral links still include a waived annual fee for the first year, and indeed that’s how it’s working for me. There are two ways to squirrel this away in case you might want a Business Green in the next several months:

    – Generate an email referral link from your AmEx Dashboard today, then save it for the future
    – Apply for the card now (especially if you’re not eligible) by referral link, then reconsider after a denial within 60 days

    The Business Green is the Kieran Culkin of credit cards (for those playing at home).
  2. Do this now: Register for IHG’s Q1 promotion, 2,000 bonus points for every two nights stayed between February 9 and April 14.
  3. Do this now: Register for targeted Marriott Q1 promotions. Links we’ve seen so far:

    2,000 bonus points per night and double elite night credits for stays February 7 though April 23
    2,000 bonus points after one stay that includes a Friday or Saturday, and 3,000 after a second

    You may have better luck if you login to your Marriott account first, and if neither link works check the “Promotions” tab in your Marriott account. (Thanks to VFTW)
  4. Simon online has a code for 35% off of purchase fees for Visa and Mastercard gift cards. These are Metabank Pathward gift cards, generally speaking.

The Courtyard Lubbock’s beautiful three hole golf course could earn you an extra 2,000 Bonvoy points, which should cover the cost of a golf tee.

  1. Today is the last day for 2022 Q4 estimated taxes. The best service to use with a credit card from a fee perspective is payUSAtax at 1.85%. If you have issues with checkout, you can use PayPal from the payUSAtax website to get around them.

    You’re allowed to use each payment processor twice per form per taxpayer, and I used this on two different cards to hit minimum spend for sign-up bonuses.
  2. CashApp has a card linked boost for 8% off of samsclub.com orders, up to $20 cash back per day. You can do this every day for the next two weeks, and stack with a shopping portal too. CashApp supports loads with a debit card so a little experimenting there may give you yet another boost. Favorite options:

    Visa gift cards
    Mastercard gift cards
    Disney gift cards

    Sam’s doesn’t sell Tesla gift cards, but those are already discounted by more than 8% with a different kind of boost. CashApp referrals earn both the referral and the referee $5, so make sure to reach out to a friend for a referral if you don’t already have the app.
  3. Chase and BankAmeriDeals both have targeted card-linked offers for 5% back up to $60 at United 10% back up to $45 at Alaska, and you don’t even need to break the correlation to get these to work with refunds. (Thanks to DoC)

The Sam’s Club Tesla vehicle charging system.

  1. The Citi Shop Your Way Rewards card has been sending out new targeted spending offers, and yes, they stack with other offers also sent this month. The spend bonuses apply to online purchases made through February 14. We’ve seen:

    – $30 statement credit after spending $500 or more
    – 7,500 ThankYou Points after spending $750 or more (Thanks to Santosh)
    – 150,000 Shop Your Way Points after spending $1,000 or more (Thanks to Zach)
  2. US Mobile, a Verizon MVNO, has a phone number port-in deal for 100 free days of cell service including 15GB of data per month. This is a great place to park a burner number or to bring a new one online, or more than one if you want to go MEAB style. To unlock the full 100 days, turn on auto-pay but make sure to shut it off before 100 days is up.
  3. Do this now (if you hold a Chase United credit card): Register for a targeted spending bonus for up to $1,500 in spend on:

    – 4x on United purchases
    – 4x on hotel stays
    – 2x on travel

    The bonus runs through February 28. (Thanks to hanibals20)
  4. OfficeDepot / Office Max has a deal for $15 back on $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards running through Saturday. Don’t forget to link your cards to Dosh, and try and get multiple transactions through at the same time. There’s also a Chase card linked offer for another $10 back.

    These are Metabank cards which don’t work everywhere for liquidation, so make sure you have an outlet before you go ham. (Thanks to DoC)

Pictured: Buying a stack of Metabank gift cards without a liquidation plan.

  1. US Bank has a new $400 business checking sign-up bonus with promo code AF49ZCB running through January 9. Requirements for the bonus:

    – Deposit $3,000 within 30 days
    – Maintain at least a $3,000 balance for 60 days
    – Create an online login
    – Complete five qualifying transactions, like maybe five $1 debit reloads at Amazon

    On the last round I wasn’t able to open an account without human intervention, but I was able to do it via a relatively quick zoom appointment. (Thanks to DoC)
  2. Citi is sending Q1 targeted spend offers via both email and physical mailers, and registration is required. Offers vary, but we’ve seen 5x spend in some combination of gas stations, electronics stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores. The spend caps are low at $500 in total spend 🤏.
  3. The mostly churnable Target Redcard sign-up bonus of $40 off of online purchases and another $40 off of in-store purchases is back through January 14. There have been several recent reports of some representatives not wanting to close the card for another churn; if you encounter that, HUCA.

    Updated software at some Target registers also means the credit card version isn’t quite as useful as it once was.
  4. PayUSATax has lowered its fees for paying taxes with a card:

    – 1.85% for credit card payments
    – $2.20 for debit card payments

    You’ve got just under two weeks to pay Q4 2022 estimated taxes too, and you’re allowed two payments per processor per SSN.
  5. American Express Membership Rewards has a 20% transfer bonus to Hawaiian Airlines miles. Sweet spots:

    – Intra-Hawaii flights
    – Flights to Hawaii from the east coast in all classes of service

    Award space with Hawaiian is hard to come by, so be wary.

A penguin-unicorn hybrid standing in front of Santa’s obelisk of light, seen together approximately as often as Hawaiian airlines releases business class award seats.

  1. Giftcards.com’s promo code HOLIDAYVISA continues to work for $10 back on on $100 or more in virtual Visa gift cards, limit $2,000 per 48 hours. When properly executed this deal gets nearly 10% off, credit card points, and a portal spend rebate too, which makes it easy to eat the costs expensive liquidation options and still come out way ahead.

    When improperly executed like the last purchase I made, you forget to enter the code and then connect your palm to your face. (It’s not currently advertised, but VISAHOLIDAY and XMASVISA codes may also work too. Just make sure to enter them in the promo code box.)
  2. Staples has fee free Visa gift cards on sale Sunday through the following Saturday limit five per transaction. There’s a catch this time though: this sale is only for $100 cards and not the usual $200s, so #bonvoyed. Personally I’d focus on the Office Depot/OfficeMax sale that ends tomorrow instead, because although the net cost of acquisition is the same, processing time and in-store time is effectively doubled for $100 cards for the same total spend. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  3. Most airlines have a no change-fee waiver across half or more of the United States in place thanks to yet another bomb cyclone storm. If you’re traveling in the next 24 to 48 hours, you may want to take advantage of the waivers and see if you can switch to a better itinerary so you’re not connecting on a redeye flight to meet Danny in Lubbock, TX on your layover.
  4. Don’t forget that for some reason I can’t place my finger on, Monday December 26 is a federal banking holiday, so ACHs, wires, and credit card payments won’t clear until Tuesday.

Have a nice holiday weekend, and safe travels! I hope you end up somewhere sunny like I will (travel demigods willing).

The probable reason for the federal banking holiday on Monday.

As I’m sure you’re all quite aware, 2022 is turning into either a pumpkin or into a potato in the next week and a half (depending on your preferred metaphor), and that means you’re nearly out of time for finishing off annual spend thresholds, bonuses, and credits. So, mind the following gaps:

  1. Spend through any of your remaining American Express, Chase Ritz Carlton, Bank of America, or PenFed Pathfinder airline fee credits, and consult this post for ideas if you’re not sure how to use them. If United TravelBank is your preferred method, do it today because last year TravelBank went offline in the last week of December and it could happen again this year.
  2. Liquidate American Express credits at Uber Eats or Uber, and remember that your December Uber Cash balance is bigger than other months if you have a Platinum card (or 11).
  3. Check for any annual fees that posted and call the bank for a retention offer, or just chat online if it’s is American Express. I usually say something like: “I’m thinking of closing this card because of its high annual fee, but before I decide what to do I was wondering if there are any retention offers or spend bonuses.” If you get an offer, don’t forget to add: “Are there any other offers available?” Sometimes there are better offers if you keep asking.

    American Express specific note: If you accept a retention offer, plan on keeping that card for 12 months to avoid getting popups that deny credit card bonuses in the future.
  4. Spend through your $10 monthly wireless credits on each of your Business Platinum cards.
  5. Spend any $10 American Express Personal Gold dining credits. My go to is the local coffee shop for a coffee and a crepe which jumps just north of $10 on GrubHub. Buying physical gift cards at a ShakeShack or Cheesecake Factory is another option.
  6. Cancel any cell phone burner accounts that you’re done with (and for which you didn’t use a virtual credit card number that already expired).
  7. Finish off any Q4 5x bonused spend on Chase Freedom cards, Discover IT cards, US Bank Cash+ cards, Citi Custom Cash cards, or similar, and don’t forget the emu farm option.
  8. Book any American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (or The Hotel Collection) stays with your $200 Platinum credit for upcoming travel next year, even if it’s speculative. Historically American Express’s systems lose some of their memory after the calendar turns; it’s not guaranteed but it’s worth a shot at gaming.
  9. Use your Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit with a refundable travel booking if needed. Yes, this credit is now tied to cardmember year instead of calendar year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t knock it out now if you haven’t already done so.
  10.  Use any American Express Saks $50 credits, but make sure you activate the benefit first. My preferred method is to stop by a physical Saks store and buy gift cards to resell at approximately 83% of face value, but if that’s not a good option for you, Agile.Travel put together a nice list of options for things to buy last year and it’s largely still relevant.
  11. Spend or sell any American Express Clear credits, or gift them to a friend.
  12. Check for any credit card spend bonuses that you may want to hit before the end of the year, like:

    – World of Hyatt Visa free night certificate after $15,000 spend
    – American Express Hilton Surpass and Honors Business free night certificate after $15,000 spend
    – American Express Hilton Aspire and Honors Business second free night certificate after $60,000 spend
    – American Express Delta Platinum MQM boosts after $25,000 and $50,000 spend
    – American Express Delta Reserve MQM boosts after $30,000, $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000 spend
    – British Airways Visa companion ticket after $50,000 spend
    – JetBlue Visa Mosaic status after $50,000 spend
    – AA status with Loyalty Points

Happy Tuesday!

A January 1, 2023 portrait of 2022.

  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. Lowe’s is running an in-store promotion for a bonus $10 Lowe’s egift card with each $150 Visa gift card purchase through Wednesday. Current resale rates for $10 Lowe’s gift cards are somewhere around 86%, which means the deal is profitable even without credit card rewards. To maximize:

    – Link your cards to JetBlue’s TrueBlue Shopping for an extra 3x
    – Don’t redeem more than three egift cards per email address
    – Buy the Everywhere variety of cards for lower fees, and generally easier liquidation

    Reader Jim generally likes to remind me that not all of the Everywhere cards are easier to liquidate, in particular stay away from Movies Everywhere and Golf Everywhere unless you have a niche play.
  2. Chase has new targeted spending offers for many cards for spend through February 28, 2023. You’ll need to register first (the links were shamelessly stolen from Doctor of Credit, but reformatted):

    – Ink: 15,000 bonus points after $15,000 in spend
    – Ink: 5,000 bonus points after $5,000 in spend
    – Hyatt: 5,000 bonus points after $5,000 in spend
    – United: 5,000 bonus points after $5,000 in spend
    – Southwest: 5,000 bonus points after $5,000 in spend
    – IHG: 5,000 bonus points after $5,000 in spend

    It’s worth checking chase.com/mybonus for other cards too, especially Freedoms and Sapphires.
  3. Do this now (if you have a Chase Hyatt card): Register for Hyatt’s promotion for 1,000 bonus points for every two-night or longer stay at a Hyatt Place or Hyatt House through March 5. (Thanks to FM)

    Side note: Congrats for those of you status running at Category 1 Hyatt Places, and condolences for those of you actually staying at Category 1 Hyatt Places.
  4. Staples has fee-free $200 Mastercard gift cards from Sunday through the following Saturday, limit eight per transaction. They’re Metabanks, so have a liquidation plan in place.
  5. Check for a few interesting card linked offers, all of which are hackable:

    – 15% back at Sheraton up to $33 back (Chase / Bank of America)
    – $40 back on $200 or more at Dell (American Express)
    – $50 or $60 back at Delta, perhaps to or from a specific destination, ymmv (American Express)

    Breaking the correlation is typically necessary with American Express offer hacks, but not with the others.
  6. Because the Capital One Shopping portal hasn’t changed enough, new language has been added for giftcards.com purchases noting that there’s a $2,000 per purchase limit on rewards, which makes the Capital One Shopping portal consistent in terminology with other portals. To celebrate the new language (I guess), there’s a targeted 10% back on giftcards.com either through email, the mobile app, or desktop site, just make sure you’re signed in to see if you’re targeted.

I regret to inform you that the Lubbock Staples is now closed, so their weekend frenzy is cancelled. Apparently Lubbock does have a weekly Mugshot Monday so residents have something else to look forward to instead, I guess.