Phone In Offers

The glory days of adding up to 99 American Express employee cards are in the rear view mirror and at this point every known call in offer has been nerfed. There are still bonuses to be had, but instead of a maximum of 1,980,000 Membership Rewards or $19,800 in statement credits, the best offers are now topped out at 495,000 Membership Rewards or at $4,950 in credits.

First, here are the current statement credit offers:

  • Hilton Business card: $50 in statement credits for spending $1,000 per employee
  • Marriott Business card: $50 in statement credits for spending $1,000 per employee
  • Lowe’s Business card: $50 in statement credits for spending $1,000 per employee

And, there are points offers for cards too:

  • Delta Platinum or Reserve Business card: 5,000 SkyMiles for spending $1,000 per employee
  • Blue Business Plus: 5,000 Membership Rewards for spending $2,000 per employee
  • Business Green: 5,000 Membership Rewards for spending $2,000 per employee
  • Business Gold: 5,000 Membership Rewards for spending $2,000 per employee
  • Business Platinum: 5,000 Membership Rewards for spending $2,000 per employee

Of course these bonuses stack with normal category spend bonuses, so the normal 4x earning at gas stations on the Business Gold card while spending up to $2,000 at with an employee card will net 6.5 Membership Rewards per dollar.

To get these offers, you have to call the number on the back of your card, speak to a customer service representative, then ask if there are offers for adding employee cards to your account.

Online Offers

There were public links for 20,000 Membership Rewards after $4,000 in spend on an employee card with a limit of five cards to the Business Green, Business Gold, and Business Platinum last fall. The offer terms list an expiration of March 30, 2022. But, terms aren’t always enforced, right?

There are multiple private reports and now a public report sharing that online offers for adding up to five employee cards on the Business Platinum or Business Gold card continue to work, even if you added the employees after March 30 and also met the spend after March 30. So, if you want to take a (relatively safe) gamble, you can try your luck at these links:

Good luck!

Looking at past American Express employee call in offers in the rear view mirror.

Points earning at American Express is exceeding plaid speed. Here’s what we know so far:

The Offers

Sometimes things are available at only when you know to call in and ask about them as we learned with the 99 employee card offers. This time it’s business card sign-up bonuses though, and they’re big:

  • 180,000 Membership Rewards for a Business Gold card with $20,000 spend in six months
  • 250,000 Membership Rewards for a Business Platinum card with with $30,000 spend in six months

Both may also offer 10,000 additional points for adding an employee card and spending $1,000 in six months. To see if you’re eligible, call (855) 531-3491 and navigate your way through the phone tree to reach a customer service representative, then ask about the offer you’re interested in. You’ll have to specifically mention the 180,000 or 250,000 Membership Rewards bonus as appropriate. (Thanks to FM for background)

Notes

What we know about the offers:

  • They don’t seem to have lifetime language
  • You may not be eligible for a bonus even if the rep sees the offer
  • You’ll get a popup before submitting the final application if you’re not eligible
  • You probably have to specifically call out the bonus to get the representative to acknowledge the offer

Hacking the Offers

We can always level up our game a notch, right? Here are a few ways:

  • You can be approved for both of these on the same day, so don’t be afraid to try for both
  • You can quadruple dip the $200 Dell Business Platinum credit with a single annual fee, getting it for Jan-Jun 2022, Jul-Dec 2022, Jan-Jun 2023, and Jul-Dec 2023 (annual fees can be refunded up to 30 days after posting)
  • After a couple of weeks, you’ll probably be eligible for a call in offer for adding employee cards, each with a 5,000 Membership Rewards bonus for $2,000 in spend up to 99 employee cards or 495,000 additional Membership Rewards in total
  • Bonus categories and offers stack, so if you can manufacture spend in shipping or gas with employee cards you can earn 6.5x Membership Rewards per dollar
  • You can probably get a retention offer after 2-3 months, but then you’re locked in for another 12 months and another annual fee if you want to stay out of the penalty box

No word yet on whether these cards bypass the 11 or 12 charge card limit, but you can bet I’m going to try.

This guy closed his American Express Business Gold card three months after a retention offer. Don’t be like him.

Introduction

Brex, a purveyor of business bank accounts, has been a great rewards making machine for both sign-up bonuses and for certain types of manufactured spend; it’s also uniquely suited for churning companies in low-fee incorporation states in order to scale sign-up bonuses, like the current 75,000 points after spending $1,000 (sponsored by TravelBank) bonus. I know many found use with Brex accounts for making your own “direct deposits”, and for fee-free wires too.

Unfortunately, last week a wave of shutdowns came. According to the founder, Brex closed all company accounts for companies that hadn’t received an investment (VC, Angel, crypto, etc.). Based on my data points, they closed:

  • All sole proprietorships
  • All single member LLCs

I haven’t yet heard of a closure for a multi-member LLC, whether or not the company has received an investment, or for an S-corporation or C-corporation. I know first hand of an LLC that definitely never received an investment and didn’t get the axe too. It was also multi-member, which further leads me to believe that business structure is the current criteria for shutdowns. (UPDATE: Data-points have started to roll-in for non-single member LLCs too, but the ratio of single member LLC shutdowns to non is about 10:1. So far, all non-single member LLC shutdowns used the original OMAT 100,000 link, not a later link, so it’s looking like that may be another criteria)

The shutdowns and new policies give us two options to make lemonade with Brex’s lemons:

What to do with Closed Accounts

Relay financial will offer you a $150 sign-up bonus with a $1 or more deposit into a new account, provided you forward your Brex cancelation email [email protected] after opening a new account. I’m going to do this for each business I have that that was impacted.

How to Move Forward with Brex After a Shutdown

So far it seems like a multi-member LLC is going to be eligible for a Brex account, especially if it looks like the company has received an investment. I don’t currently believe Brex is validating investments directly, but in case that changes I’d make sure your company is listed on Crunchbase before opening your new Brex accounts.

Good luck friends!

I was today years old when I learned that charcoal lemonade was a thing, and that people choose to make it. First, gross. Second, maybe offer a glass to Brex when you sign up for your next account to let them know how you care.

The $189 Clear credit has rapidly diminishing returns for those of us with more than a handful of Platinum cards, especially after P1, P2, and Pn have memberships. So, what are we to do after everyone already has it?

There’s a good option, and even without Platinum cards it could be interesting if you’ve got the current American Express offer for a statement credit of 50% for up to $189 at Clear on another card:

So, we can effectively trade a $189 Clear credit for 10,000-15,000 United MileagePlus miles, which is probably worth at least $400 according to out of touch some loonies on the interwebs (but in all seriousness, miles are worth zero until you spend them, and you’re not going to get more than 1.6 cents per MileagePlus mile worth of value as a loose rule when you do spend them.)

How do we scale? Just sign-up multiple times, but based on experience from past deals:

  • You are limited to one promotion per MileagePlus account, but surely you control more than one of those, right?
  • You don’t have to sign up with real info other than a valid MileagePlus number and matching name
  • You don’t have to go to the airport to finish registration despite the terms and conditions stating otherwise

What about that AmEx offer? In that case, you’re trading $94.50 for 10,000-15,000 MileagePlus miles (and an extra $94.50 worth of rewards from AmEx spend). That’s probably still a decent deal.

Good luck!

Travel blogger valuation of a cup of lemonade.

Some of our favorite banks like Chase and AmEx allow you convert one credit card to another within the same card family (like converting a Delta Reserve to a Delta Gold) at any time. Other banks are a little more zany and will let you do just about anything as long as you talk to the right person, like Bank of America which will let you convert a Virgin Atlantic Mastercard to a Customized Cash Rewards Visa.

Let’s discuss some of the reasons a churner may want to do this:

Annual Fees

All of the banks mentioned above will prorate your annual fee when you convert a card to another card. You may want to do this if:

  • You forget to close a card within the annual fee refund grace period, and you don’t want the card anymore. So, you downgrade to a no-annual fee version for a prorated refund (and maybe then close the card after that posts)
  • You used all the yearly credits for a card, like the Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit, so you downgrade as soon as your credits post for a pro-rated refund
  • You don’t want to reset the average age of the accounts on your credit report, but you don’t want to pay a particular annual fee any more either

Of course for next level gaming, you can downgrade an annual fee card with travel credits and simultaneously upgrade another no-annual fee to the card with travel credits and double-dip for the same net annual fee, but that may ultimately be a risky move.

Getting Upgrade Offers

American Express in particular has card upgrade bonuses all the time, sometimes as quickly as an hour after downgrading a card. For example, last year I downgraded a Business Platinum to a Business Gold, and then upgraded it to a Business Platinum for 90,000 Membership Rewards the next day.

Bypassing Card Limits

Some banks have card limits preventing you from holding more than one of a particular card, and maybe you’d really like to have two of them. Card conversion is often a workaround. For example, what if the Chase Freedom Flex’s application terms & conditions limit you to one card? Easy, convert another Ultimate Rewards earning card to a Freedom Flex and you’ll bypass the limit.

Caveats

American Express rules for downgrading cards are perhaps better understood than any other major banks’ internal rules, however the advice there is likely good for keeping your accounts in good standing at any bank:

  • Keep a card open for a minimum of 12 months after opening
  • Never downgrade a card to a lower annual fee within 12 months of opening or upgrading

Good luck!

Converting the Amazon Prime credit card to trash.

Yesterday’s post spurred plenty of questions, discussion, and further digging. Sam at HelpMeBuildCredit.com started by letting me know about other heightened offers from Barclays, and I heard from many of you about their rules. Let’s go over both:

  1. The JetBlue Business Card has an offer for:

    – 80,000 TrueBlue points and a $99 statement credit after spending $2,000 in 90 days

    The card has a $99 annual fee which is effectively erased by the statement credit. As with yesterday’s Barclay AA card offer, this one is probably a “get the sign-up bonus, sock-drawer, then cancel or get a retention offer after your one year anniversary” card. That said, I know a few of you like to keep it and spend $50,000 a year for Mosaic status.
  2. The Hawaiian Business Mastercard has an offer for:

    – 80,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles and a $99 statement credit after spending $2,000 in 90 days

    This card also has a $99 annual fee effectively erased by the statement credit. This is also a sock-drawer and cancel after a year card.

And, a few things that came up in the last day:

  • Q: Can I have multiple versions of the same Barclays card?
    A: No
  • Q: Do I have to close a card to apply for it again?
    A: Yes
  • Q: Will Barlcays offer to match a retention bonus if you recently opened a card?
    A: Sometimes, YMMV
  • Q: Do I really have to wait six months between closing a particular card and opening the same card again?
    A: Probably, YMMV
  • Q: Does Barclays care about credit line cycling?
    A: They don’t seem to care on business cards as long as it’s 2-3x per month, they’re stricter on personal cards
  • Q: Barclays doesn’t care about anonymous bill payments.
    A: That’s not a question

And finally, I’ve been told that Barclays may not enforce 6/24 at all on personal cards — if you have a datapoint related to that I’d appreciate it if you let me know.

Happy Wednesday friends!

Against all odds, Barclays comes back for another post.

Barclays has heightened sign-up bonuses on several of their cards rolling out this week:

  1. The Barclays AAdvantage World Elite Business Mastercard (editors note: just typing that card name made my eyes glaze over, and its 15 trademarks almost made me ditch this post entirely) has an interesting new sign-up bonus:

    – 80,000 AA miles and a $95 statement credit after spending $2,000 in 90 days

    This is effectively a free 80,000 miles for $2,000 in spend in the first year after the $95 annual fee is offset by the statement credit, and it might be interesting beyond the sign-up bonus if you’re playing the AA LoyaltyPoints game. If you’re not, sock drawer it after hitting $2,000 in spend and close it in after a year.
  2. The Barclays Wyndham Business Visa card (editors note: I’m not typing the whole credit card name after the above fiasco) also has an interesting sign-up bonus:

    – 65,000 Wyndham points after spending $1,000 in 90 days
    – 10,000 additional points for making a single purchase on an employee card

    This one doesn’t have a statement credit to offset the $95 annual fee unfortunately, but if you can manufacture spend at gas stations it’s probably worth holding long term even with the fee.

Now, because we’re gamers, let’s talk about gaming:

  • Barclays will combine hard credit card pulls for applications made on the same business day, and you can be approved for up to three cards a day
  • If you have an existing Barclays credit card, spend a lot, pay off your balance, and then apply to boost your approval odds.
  • You can churn Barclays cards, but you typically need to wait six months between churns
  • Barclays has a 6/24 rule that’s usually enforced (you’ll probably be denied for a card if you’ve had 6 new accounts on your credit report in the last 24 months), but big spend on existing Barclays cards can bypass the rule

Just redeem those AA miles on partner airlines if you can. Unless you’re in to the whole “regulated garbage” things that is.

PayPal Key was supposed to die on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, but Saturday marks the actual date of death according to the county coroner’s office. I hope you got an extra $25,000 in daily spend after the publicized last use date and if not, take a note for the future that deals don’t always die when they’re supposed to die.

With that out of the way:

  1. As a followup to last week’s American Express Employee Card Offers post, I’ve now received three separate reports of second batches of 5 employee cards posting a bonus after the bonuses posted for the first batch of 5.

    The obvious takeaway is to call and add 5 more employee cards every day until you’ve got the limit of 99 total employee cards, assuming you’ve got the spend capacity to support it. (Thanks to Jay, Rob, and GlockLT4)
  2. Office Depot/OfficeMax (can we please drop one of those two names yet?) has $25 back in rewards for spending $100 on Happy or Giving Good gift cards through May 7. Don’t forget to link your credit card to Dosh for an extra 2% back, don’t forget to create multiple rewards accounts and multiple Dosh accounts to scale as desired, and do note that rewards typically take a few days to show up in your account.

    Frankly this is a much better deal for me than the typical Visa / Mastercard fee free deals t because you can buy a Happy or Giving Good card that converts to Home Depot and sell for 90-92% of face value, putting you ahead by a nice percentage while still getting an office supply store spend bonus and without dealing with a pesky money order. (Thanks to GC Galore)
  3. Meijer has $50 back in Meijer rewards for buying $500 in gift cards through May 7 for most third party brands (or you can break this up into $5 off of $50 increments if you like pointless extra work). I’d focus on Home Depot and BestBuy gift cards as the best for resale value, scale with multiple MPerks accounts, and double check the excluded brand list if you want a different gift card.

    You can’t buy gift cards with MPerks rewards to create an infinite loop, but you can buy frozen pizza so there’s that.

Frozen pizza from Meijer can protect you from dealing with this abomination, or if this is your cup of tea, I guess you should buy Pizza Hut gift cards? Just don’t tell me about it.