1. Delta and Hertz have strengthened their partnership, and you know it’s serious because they paid for a stock photo in the press release. The takeaway is that if you’re a Delta Medallion and you rent with Hertz, consider ensuring that your SkyMiles number is linked to your Hertz profile because the earnings rate on Hertz spend is somewhat compelling for higher tiers:

    – Diamond: 8 SkyMiles per dollar
    – Platinum: 7 SkyMiles per dollar
    – Gold: 6 SkyMiles per dollar
    – Silver: 5 SkyMiles per dollar
    – General: 4 SkyMiles per dollar

    If you have Delta elite status, the linkage will also grant you Hertz President’s Circle (Diamond or Platinum) or Five Star status.
  2. The American Express Business Platinum card now has a public 170,000 Membership Rewards offer displaying under the right circumstances. As usual, if you don’t see the offer on the first round try:

    – Using an incognito browser
    – Connecting to a VPN
    – Switching to another browser
    – Switching between desktop and mobile
    – Hitting the link from a search engine after searching for “amex business platinum”
    – Crying

    This link does have lifetime language, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the pop-up. If you’re approved and have spend capacity, maybe lob in an app for another Business Platinum at a different link because reasons. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. There’s an IHG status challenge promotion open to everyone for paid stays between tomorrow and April 30. The status lasts through the end of 2024. You’ll earn status based on the number of nights:

    – Gold: 2 nights
    – Platinum: 5 nights

    IHG status isn’t super-compelling, but I’d register in case you end up at an IHG property anyway.
  4. I apologize in advance for the vagueness but here we go: If you’ve been using a product from four letter FinTech company to pay a four letter credit union through an intermediary, watch for a mass of charge reversals and refunds for payments sent last week, and double check that anything that should have been refunded actually was because the four letter FinTech doesn’t always handle refunds properly. If you don’t keep track, you’ll almost certainly lose some refund money in the ether. 🪦

Happy Tuesday!

IHG’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lubbock Central has an unpublished elite benefit: no broken car windows (by the hotel staff). Unfortunately this member didn’t have status.
  1. Hilton has targeted status extensions for current elite members, most requiring a single night stay in the next two months for status extension through March of 2024. You can check to see if you’re eligible at one of the following links:

    Diamond
    Gold
    Silver

    Thanks to AirDreamer2 who initially posted the UK variant of this promotion.
  2. DoC notes that there’s now a public landing page for the targeted $200 sign-up bonus after $1,000 in spend for the Synchrony Venmo credit card.

    Normally I wouldn’t care about a $200 sign-up bonus from a second tier bank, but Synchrony is special because reasons which makes this card interesting, even more so with any sign-up bonus.
  3. United has a promotion running through tomorrow for $75 off of round-trip flights to Europe, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dubai, or Amman in Economy or $250 off of round-trip flights in Business Class. When booking using promo code VACAYABROAD for the discount, which sounds to me like something Rory Culkin would say. The code covers travel between February 1 and May 17.
  4. MEAB Public Service Announcement: I’ve gotten a continuous stream of reports about 99 employee card offers on various American Express business cards since mid-last year; the party’s still on friends.

Happy Wednesday!

A passenger models the complimentary international economy United Amenity kit.

  1. Office Depot / OfficeMax has $15 back on $300 or more Visa Metabank gift cards through Saturday, and this version of the deal is probably even more hackable unlike the Mastercard variant last week. To maximize:

    – Link your cards to Dosh (which now has a reduced its minimum cash out balance to $25)
    – Try for multiple transactions, back to back
    – Buy the Everywhere variety of cards, as long as its not the Movies, Golf, or Fuel variety for easier in-person liquidation

    Note: There was a report that the Everywhere cards weren’t working as part of the promotion yesterday, so double check before you finish checkout.
  2. If you’re a T-Mobile customer, login to your account and then check this link to see if you’ve been targeted to add another phone line to your account for no additional monthly service fee, though there is a one-time $35 activation fee.

    Holding a free additional phone number long-term has plenty of lasting value for at many services.
  3. Marriott has been sending physical mailers for double qualifying elite nights or a bonus 10 elite nights after one stay through March 31. Apparently the mailers direct you to this link, so if elite status at Marriott is interesting you can check directly to see if you’re targeted. (Thanks to DDG)
  4. Delta now allows Platinum and Diamond elites to apply regional and global upgrade certificates online during booking, but only for new bookings.

The now obsolete process of trying to get a Delta agent to correctly apply a RUC to a booking.

  1. Giftcards.com has a promotional code for 10% off of Visa e-gift cards using promo code VISAHOLIDAY or HOLIDAYVISA, limit $20 off per order. Remember to go through a shopping portal, and apropos of nothing, giftcards.com has an order limit of $2,000 per rolling 48 hours for electronic gift cards. UPDATE: Thanks for MaryBeth for the updated code.
  2. US Bank announced a new partnership with Amazon for paying with Flexperks points (notably when enrolling, you can choose to turn payment with points off by default, which is a nice enhancement from similar integrations with other banks). It’s interesting because:

    – This will probably be another source of “Get 40% off when using at least one [bank reward currency] deals”, so I’d preemptively link a US Bank card to prepare.
    – The redemption value is 1 cent per point, which is higher than Chase or AmEx at Amazon
  3. The Daily Churn’s most recent episode talks about ways to open a Morgan Stanley account for the hackable Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card now that the Access Investing route has died. The episode outlines multiple ways do to it, but the simplest way is:

    – Open a Premium Savings Account with $25,000, which earns 3.25% APY, or $812.50 per year
    Apply for the card after a couple of days
  4. BankAmeriDeals and Chase Offers both have a card linked offer for 15% back at IHG Hotels, up to $69 total cash back. Typically breaking the correlation isn’t necessary for non-AmEx offers. (Thanks to DoC)
  5. AA has elite status changes coming for 2023. For travel hackers, the big news is:

    – Shopping portal bonus boosts after different loyalty points thresholds
    – The removal of the need for 30 AA segments flown for choice awards

    Yes, I manufactured AA status in 2022 and I will continue to do so in 2023.

Pictured: The noise I sifted through to figure out exactly what AA is up to.

  1. There’s a short window to book Emirates economy and business class awards with Aeroplan miles at a lower than normal rate and with no fuel surcharges. In a few weeks they’ll be publishing an Emirates specific award chart with higher cost, and some unspecified time after that the cost will get even higher, so now is a decent time to lock in any awards. (Thanks to VFTW)
  2. JetBlue is revamping its frequent flyer plan for 2023 and adding new status tiers. There’s a lot of “blah blah blah” in here, but there’s also a nugget for gamers: top tier status will include six Mint upgrade certificates and four Blade helicopter airport transfers in New York, and you can earn top tier status completely with manufactured spend on a co-branded JetBlue card, much like with AA and with Delta. To compare:

    – Delta Diamond: $250,000 co-branded credit card spend and earning 125,000 MQM (gaming is possible with AmEx shanigans)
    – AA Executive Platinum: $200,000 co-branded credit card spend (gaming is very possible with portals and SimplyMiles)
    – JetBlue Mosaic 4: $250,000 co-branded credit card spend
  3. British Airways has added a way to pay more Avios and less cash for surcharges with the poorly named “Reward Flight Saver” tier for award redemptions. Travel hackers should note that this is probably a bad deal on flights leaving the UK, but may be a decent deal on flights to the UK which have higher surcharges.

Yesterday’s JetBlue press release.

  1. Bank of America has increased sign-up bonuses in their mobile app:

    – Business Travel Rewards: 50,000 points after $3,000 spend
    – Platinum Plus: $300 after $3,000 spend
    – Customized Cash: $500 after $3,000 spend
    – Unlimited Cash: $500 after $3,000 spend

    Most of these come in both Visa or Mastercard flavors, and definitely don’t forget about Bank of America shenanigans if and when you apply. (Thanks to cardhelp2)
  2. If you have Hyatt Explorist or Globalist status, you can register for a targeted four months of AA status, provided you link your accounts by December 12 and register by December 28 on your AAdvantage profile’s promotions page. You’ll get:

    – Explorist members: AAdvantage Platinum (equivalent to most airlines’ Gold / 50k status)
    – Globalist members: AAdvantage Platinum Pro (equivalent to most airlines’ Platinum / 75k status)

    To maintain the status for the next elite year, Explorists need to earn 25,000 points and Globalists need to earn 42,000 points within the four month window. Both can earn Executive Platinum status by earning 67,000 points in those months. Likely the easiest non-shenanigan way to earn loyalty points is 3x at giftcards.com and buy with an AA credit card for another 1x.

    Of course there are always shenanigany ways to earn Loyalty Points for probers.
  3. Do this now: Register for Best Western’s bonus 10,000 points per stay for all stays through February 5 booked by December 4. Sorry if you end up at a Best Western though.
  4. United has coach award flight deals to Europe, Asia, and Australia for 30% off if you hold elite status, a Chase United card, or both. Book by December 2 for travel between January 9, 2023 and March 21, 2023.

“Man prepares for shenanigans” – In real-life sepia.

  1. VanillaGift.com has 50% off of Visa gift card purchase fees using promo code 50HOLIDAY22. You may want to note this code in a log somewhere, because codes at that site sometimes live for nearly a year after their intended lifespan, and definitely don’t use an American Express card here. (MSN Flyer)
  2. Watch for Chase Ink Preferred physical mailers sent to your address that direct you to chase.com/GetInkPreferred with a referral code. The sign-up bonus using these mailers is 100,000 Ultimate Rewards after $15,000 in spend in three months. An anonymous contributor told me that they may bypass 5/24, and I applied after one came in the mail for me late last week; I was approved well past 5/24 🎉.
  3. Staples has $200 fee free Mastercard gift cards in store through Saturday, limit eight. Remember to try for multiple transactions back-to-back to maximize your time, and also remember that these are Metabank cards so have a plan in place.
  4. Chase is running a few transfer bonuses for Ultimate Rewards partners starting tomorrow and running through the end of November:

    – Aeroplan: 30%, or 40% under certain circumstances*
    – Virgin Atlantic: 30%
    – Marriott Bonvoy: 40%

    The first two of these are great and the last one is a terrible deal in most cases (book stays through the travel portal instead or cash out via Pay Yourself Back and buy Bonvoy points directly for better value).

    * Miles notes that the Chase Aeroplan card is supposed to give 10% back when you transfer 50,000 miles or more, up to 250,000 back per year.
  5. If holding United Airlines Silver status through the end of February 2023 is interesting to you, you can get it free for by downloading the Bilt mobile app, registering for an account if needed, and then:

    – Open the app
    – Navigate to the “Rent Day” tab
    – Click “Learn more” under “Unlock United Airlines Premier Status”

    Is this worth anything? Not much, but something: You may get an economy plus upgrade for you and companions at 24 hours prior to flight departure if there’s one available, and there’s a chance roughly equivalent to winning the lottery on the same day that you’re struck by lightning that you’ll get an upgrade to first class. The most likely benefit is really that you’ll get an extra four miles per dollar on paid tickets and a free checked bag.
  6. The Target Redcard $80 ($40 in-store and $40 online) sign-up bonus is back through December 10, which is long enough that you should be able to get it at least twice. See this article for why you should care.

Proof that a first class upgrade as a United Silver can happen.

  1. According to an American Express Aspire Hilton credit card statement shared by Kyle (K), the COVID-era policy that Hilton Free Night Certificates are valid for any night, not just weekend nights, is now permanent.
  2. Office Depot OfficeMax stores have $15 off of $300 or more in Visa gift cards through Saturday. As usual:

    – Try for multiple transactions back-to-back to optimize your time
    – Link your credit cards to Dosh
    – Add a pen, paperclips, or some other item to your transaction for Dosh longevity
    – Buy the “Everywhere” cards for a lower fee and usually easier in-person liquidation

    These are Metabank gift cards, have a liquidation plan in place before buying a bunch. (Thanks to DoC)
  3. Staples has fee-free $200 Visa gift cards, limit eight per transaction. If you encounter staff that wants to limit you to fewer than eight, pull up the linked add and show them the bottom of page 9.
  4. Marriott is running a lame promotion through Thursday in classic Marriott fashion, and of course they’re also pushing it like it’s the best deal in travel. It’s largely forgettable, but some properties are offering discounts on cash bookings and others on award bookings, so double check anything you’ve got on the books for price drops. (Thanks to VFTW)
  5. IHG has an interesting fast track to elite status offer, registration required:

    – Stay two nights before December 23 for Gold status
    – Stay three more nights before December 31 for Platinum status

    This is very easy, low-hanging fruit for Platinum status, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to earn it either because, well, let’s say Holiday Inn Express.

Marriott’s special Oktoberfest promotional meal, also available through Thursday.