Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – August 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Updated August 2019. Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? You are eligible to open a small business credit card, which keeps your personal and business expenses separate. If you are not a corporation or LLC, you can apply as a sole proprietorship, with your name as the business name and your Social Security number as the Tax ID number. I did this for years successfully before incorporating my business.

Small business credit cards are offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to try out a new card. Below are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for (or have applied for already). Recent changes:

  • Business United – limited-time 100k offer.
  • Business Delta – offers ended.
  • Business Southwest Performance – new card w/ 80k offer.
  • Business Hawaiian – improved 75k offer.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for personal cards. Notice that small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000 towards flexible travel!) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

  • 80,000 Rapid Rewards points (redeemable for $1,200+ in Wanna Getaway airfare) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Consumer Card and go for the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • $195 annual fee + 9,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

United Explorer Business Card

  • Up to 100,000 United miles: 50,000 after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months + another 50,000 after $25,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip).
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

  • 75,000 American Airlines miles after $5,000 in purchases in first the 5 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

  • 70,000 Delta Skymiles after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after a Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/2/19. See link for details.
  • 70,000 Skymiles are worth at least $700 in Delta airfare with “Pay with Miles” option.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Honorable mention: 80k offer on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points (redeemable for $900+ in Wanna Getaway airfare) after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Consumer Card and go for the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • $99 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

American Express Plum Card

  • $600 cash back. Earn a $200 statement credit after each $10,000 you spend in purchases, up to $30,000, within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 1.5% early pay discount on all purchases which stacks on top of the bonus above.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $250.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Mastercard (Barclaycard)

  • Up to 70,000 Hawaiian miles. Earn 60,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, and an additional 10,000 miles after a purchase is made on an employee card. See link for details.
  • One-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and the Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 2% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card

  • 50,000 bonus miles after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. 50,000 miles is redeemable for $500 towards travel. See link for details.
  • Flat 2X miles per dollar on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

  • 75,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free night award upon card anniversary (worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points). Earn an additional Free Night Award after spending $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Annual fee is $125.

Wells Fargo Business Platinum Card

  • $500 cash back bonus after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent, OR earn 1 point on every $1 spent + 1,000 bonus points when company spend is $1,000+ in any monthly billing period.
  • No annual fee.

Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card (Bank of America)

  • 40,000 Alaska miles + Companion Fare Voucher after $2,000 in purchase within 90 days. See link for details.
  • Companion fare voucher is “Buy one ticket, get one for $99 taxes and fees” ($99 fare taxes and fees from just $22).
  • Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • $50 annual fee for company, $25 per card.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – August 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Updated August 2019. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would personally apply for right now, if I didn’t already have most of them. Notable changes:

  • IHG – limited-time 125k offer.
  • Delta – offer ended.
  • Hawaiian – 60k offer ending soon.
  • Amtrak – improved offer.
  • Hilton Surpass – limited-time offer.
  • Barclays AA card – improved 60k offer.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. 3X on Travel and Dining, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Card

  • 125,000 IHG Rewards club points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 40,000 IHG points).
  • $89 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • 60,000 bonus miles after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember when using your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

BofA Amtrak Guest Rewards Card

  • 40,000 bonus points and $100 statement credit after $2,500 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 40,000 Amtrak points can be redeemed for over $1,000 in Amtrak train fare.
  • Complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass at account opening.
  • $79 annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

  • 130,000 Hilton Honors points + free weekend night certificate after $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • Additional free Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • Free Honors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • $95 annual fee.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after any purchase in the first 90 days and paying the $99 annual fee. See link for details.
  • $99 Companion certificate offer. Earn a certificate good for 1 guest at $99 ( taxes and fees) after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in the first 90 days.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $99 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

  • 60,000 points (worth $750 towards travel booked at ThankYou.com) after $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points for every $1 spent on travel including gas stations.
  • Must not have gotten bonus from or closed a Citi Rewards+, ThankYou Preferred, Premier, or Prestige card in the past 24 months.
  • $95 annual fee.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

  • 50,000 miles (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2% cash back on ALL purchases. Plus earn 10X miles at Hotels.com through January 2020.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier Card Review: 125,000 Bonus Points Limited-Time Offer

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Updated with 125k limited-time offer. The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card is the IHG hotel co-branded card that includes special IHG perks like a free night award every year you keep the card. Right now, there is a limited-time 125,000 IHG point bonus offer + increased purchase rewards for the first year. Here are the highlights:

  • 125,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Free Night award after each account anniversary year at eligible IHG hotels worldwide. Valid at IHG Hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points or less. Plus, enjoy a free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.
  • Earn 40 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel for the first 12 months – after that, 25X points.
  • Earn 4X points on all other purchases for the first 12 months – after that, 2X points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
  • Platinum Elite status as long as you remain a Premier card member.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $89 annual fee.

This is a relatively new card, but please note the following:

This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.

This offer is for the new “IHG Club Premier” card, so this language means that if you have the older and different “IHG Club Select” card, you can still apply for this card and get the sign-up bonus.

What can you get with IHG points? The best redemption value for IHG points is for free hotel nights. The other options offer significantly less value. While the points don’t translate directly to a dollar value, but overall you should expect around 0.60 cents of value per point, which would make 125,000 IHG points worth an estimated $750 value. You can perform the calculations for hotels that fit your needs. I tried a bunch of other various combinations and got between 0.5 cents and 0.8 cents per point equivalent value.

(IHG points are worth less than other points like Hyatt or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but you get a lot more of them with this bonus!)

IHG stands for Intercontinental Hotel Group which has over 5,000 hotels including the following brands:

  • Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Kimpton
  • Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Hotel Indigo
  • EVEN Hotels

IHG Rewards Club puts out a new list of PointBreaks hotels every few months where you can redeem a hotel night for only 5,000 to 15,00 points. There are some nice hotels on the list, but the locations are very specific and few people are sufficiently flexible with their travel to constantly take advantage of these deals. However, you could get value of over 1 cent per IHG point with a hotel on this list.

IHG points expire after 24 months of inactivity, so if you keep up your activity then you can save up these free nights for later. Chase Ultimate Rewards points also convert to IHG points.

Total of 40x points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG during the first 12 months. This is part of the new sign-up promotion as well. Here’s how this breaks down: Earn 25X points per $1 spent as an IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardmember + 10X points per $1 spent from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member + 5X points per $1 spent from IHG® with Platinum Elite Status, a benefit of this card = total of 40X points total at 5,400+ IHG® hotels & resorts during the first 12 months on this card.

Total of 25x points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG. Here’s how this breaks down: Earn 10X points per $1 spent as an IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Cardmember + 10X points per $1 spent from IHG® for being an IHG® Rewards Club Member + 5X points per $1 spent from IHG® with Platinum Elite Status, a benefit of this card = total of 25X points total at 5,400+ IHG® hotels & resorts.

The 4X points on all other purchases for the first 12 months is intriguing. If you use the valuation of $0.60 per IHG points, that would mean you are earning an estimated 2.4 cents per $1 spent (2.4% value back towards IHG hotel stays). There is limited flexibility as you only earn IHG points, but this might be a good value for some folks.

After the first year, I would book my IHG nights on this card, but not my everyday purchases on an ongoing basis.

  • 10 IHG points total per $1 spent at IHG properties.
  • 2 IHG points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • 1 IHG point per $1 spent on all other card purchases

I would consider keeping this card if you can use the anniversary night certificate with the 40,000 point maximum value. You should be able to get $89 value out of it as long as you need a hotel night. Stay must be completed within 12 months from date of issue.

Bottom line. The Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier credit card has a current sign-up bonus boost of 125,000 total IHG points (previously only 80k) + increased purchase rewards during the first 12 months. As with most of these co-branded cards, the best value is obtained if you can redeem for IHG hotel nights.

The total first-year value is well over $500, so I will be adding this limited-time offer to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

United Explorer Business Card Review – 100,000 Bonus Miles Limited-Time Offer

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Updated with 100k limited-time offer. The United Explorer Business Card is the co-branded business credit card between Chase and United Airlines, and it offers unique perks for regular United customers including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Right now, there is also a limited-time offer of up to 100,000 bonus United miles for high spenders:

  • 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Additional 50,000 bonus United miles after spending $25,000 total within the first 6 months your account is open.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Two one-time United Club passes each year ($100+ value)
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Priority boarding for you and companions on the same reservation on United-operated flights.
  • 2X miles at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores.
  • 2X miles on United purchases and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

This product is available to you if you do not have this Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this Card in the past 24 months.

However, you CAN get this card if you had the consumer version of the United Explorer in the past 24 months (or have one now).

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, Uber/Lyft drivers, or other one-person business owners. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

Note that Chase has an unofficial rule that they will most likely deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

The good news is that small business cards from Chase hardly ever show up on personal credit reports, so getting this card in itself won’t affect your future 5/24 eligibility. This it makes a “free” application if you are already eligible.

This card is very focused on rewarding you for being a United customer. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The fee is usually $30 per person, each way, so that this how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on.

Expanded award availability. You earn United miles for all your purchases (double miles on restaurants and hotel stays), but then they also make it easier for you to redeem those miles on Saver level tickets with no blackout dates. Expanded award seat availability is another of the top perks from this card, and it is actually a significant difference. Saver Award ticket redemptions start at 12,500 miles one-way within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Another unique feature of this card is that it offers primary coverage on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. On many other cards, this coverage is offered as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance has been exhausted.

Bottom line. The United Explorer Business card offers valuable perks for folks that fly United even just once or twice a year. The card provides lounge passes, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and inflight discounts. There are bonus categories to earn more miles, and special expanded award seat inventory for credit card holders to make it easier to actually redeem those miles for flights. Right now, there is a 100,000 mile limited-time offer.

I have added this card to the Top 10 Best Small Business Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Updated. American Express and Delta Airlines have various credit cards that offer special perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and the ability to earn Delta Skymiles with card purchases. However, as you can only get the welcome bonuses once on each of these cards per person per lifetime (each card is considered different!), I recommend waiting until a limited-time offer to maximize your benefit. Right now, it is not a limited-time offer. Here are the current offers:

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • 30,000 bonus Delta miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase on the new card within first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 30,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $300 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • 35,000 bonus Delta miles and 5,000 MQMs after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase on the new card within first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 annual fee.

BUSINESS Card Versions

Gold Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • 30,000 bonus Delta miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase on the new card within first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • 35,000 bonus Delta miles and 5,000 MQMs after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase on the new card within first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 Annual Fee.

Delta Reserve for BUSINESS Credit Card

  • 40,000 bonus Delta miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus Delta miles after you reach $30,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in the calendar year.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® access. Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $450 Annual Fee.

Every card above also offers 2X miles on direct Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. You get 2 miles for every dollar spent directly with Delta. This includes flights booked on Delta.com, seat upgrades, Sky Club membership or day passes, Delta Vacations packages, or in-flight food/entertainment purchases like food, beverages, and entertainment.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards Credit Card: 40,000 Points + $100 Statement Credit Offer

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

The Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card currently has a limited-time offer that can get you over $1,000 value in Amtrak train fare. If the link doesn’t load, visit Amtrak.com and start booking any reservation. Then go back and reload the application link. Note that the offer on the Amtrak.com front page does not include the $100 statement credit. Improved link found via DoC. Here are the highlights:

  • 40,000 bonus points and $100 statement credit after you make $2,500 or more in purchases on your new card within 90 days of account opening.
  • Complimentary Companion Coupon, One-Class Upgrade and a Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass for access to ClubAcela, Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge, or First class lounges upon account opening.
  • 3 points per $1 spent with Amtrak
  • 2 points per $1 spent on other qualifying travel purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get a 5% Amtrak Guest Rewards point rebate when you book your Amtrak redemption travel.
  • 1,000 Tier Qualifying Points (TQPs) every time you make at least $5,000 in purchases in a calendar year, up to 4,000 TQPs
  • There’s no limit to how many points you can earn and you can redeem them when you want since your points will not expire as long as your card account is open.
  • No foreign transaction fees†
  • $79 annual fee.

This offer is not going to be attractive for everyone, but it can be very valuable if you either enjoy recreational train travel or if you can use it for your commuting needs.

Amtrak points are worth about 2.6 to 2.9 cents per points towards Amtrak train fare. That means 40,000 points is worth over $1,000 in Amtrak train fare. Amtrak redemptions are variable and directly-linked to the cash cost, so you can use points on basically any ticket. In addition, the $100 statement credit more than offsets the $79 annual fee.

The best value is for train fare, but Amtrak points do transfer to certain other hotel programs, although some require elite status in those programs. You can also redeem for various gift cards at a rate of 10,000 points = $100 gift card. So 40,000 points would get you $400 in gift cards to CVS, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Starbucks, etc.

You could take the train across the entire country! There is an 18-hour Capitol Limited overnight train from Washington D.C. to Chicago in a “Superliner Bedroom” with a private bathroom.

You could then take the 3-day, 2-night trip on the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco. Enjoy the views as you cut through both the Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

Bottom line. The Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card currently has a limited-time offer that can get you over $1,000 value in Amtrak train fare.

I do not receive a commission for this card. The potential value is high, but I don’t know if it is too niche to include in my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers. I feel that the percentage of people taking some sort of flight is much higher than those taking an Amtrak train. Am I wrong?

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Equifax Data Breach Settlement: Free Credit Monitoring vs. Reduced Claim

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Update. As many of you correctly pointed out, only $31 million was allotted to the $125 alternative payment if you opted out of the free credit monitoring. The FTC has provided an update encouraging people to pick the free monitoring:

I thought I could choose $125 instead of free credit monitoring. What happened?

The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming. Millions of people have visited this site in just the first week. Because the total amount available for these alternative payments is $31 million, each person who takes the money option is going to get a very small amount. Nowhere near the $125 they could have gotten if there hadn’t been such an enormous number of claims filed.

The free credit monitoring provides a much better value, and everyone whose information was exposed can take advantage of it. If your information was exposed in the data breach, and you file a valid claim before the deadline, you are guaranteed at least four years of free monitoring at all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and $1,000,000 of identity theft insurance, among other benefits. The market value of this product is hundreds of dollars per year.

You can still choose the cash option on the claim form, but you will be disappointed with the amount you receive and you won’t get the free credit monitoring.

My perspective is that data breaches are happening all the time. (Capital One was breached just this week.) All of them just say “oh my, we’re sorry, here’s some free credit monitoring”. I’ve probably got about 8 different credit monitoring services going on right now, and I’m sure more will be offered shortly. I do NOT value their free monitoring at some “retail value” of hundreds of dollars. You may feel differently. I think that people should be rightly angry if they end up with a few bucks in the end, which hopefully will spur further change and make future penalties more severe. If all these companies care about is money, then isn’t a huge cash penalty a better deterrent to lazy security practices?

Original post:

Equifax has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 48 out of 50 states over their huge data breach that was discovered in 2017. You can find full details at FTC.gov, where you can confirm the official claim website. You can check your eligibility at this lookup tool. You will need to provide your last name and last 6 digits of SSN.

First, you can get up to 10 years of free credit monitoring or $125 if you decide not to enroll because you already have credit monitoring. No supporting documentation necessary. I am already using these free daily credit monitoring services and they have been working well for me, so I am definitely filing a claim for the cash payment of $125. However, some people may prefer the monitoring. You can file a claim for every person in your household that is 18 or older.

Next, you can be compensated for the time you spent dealing with the claim, at a rate of $25 per hour up to 20 hours. Supporting documentation requirements vary as follows:

  • If you submit a claim for 10 hours or less, you must describe the actions you took and the time you spent doing those things.
  • If you claim more than 10 hours, you must describe the actions you took AND provide documents that show identity theft, fraud, or other misuse of your information.

If you are the type of person that read this website, you probably did spend at least some amount of time dealing with the data breach. For me, these activities mostly happened near the time the breach was discovered in September 2017.

  • You might have spent time reading press releases and news articles about the data breach and how it might impact your financial life and how to avoid identity theft.
  • You might have spent time reading official websites about all of the many differences between a credit freeze and fraud alert.
  • You might have spent time on the phone or online in order to place and/or removing those credit freezes and fraud alerts.
  • Finally, you probably checked all of your credit reports from all three credit bureaus, probably multiple times, in order to make sure there was no fraudulent activity.

For example, if you spent 5 hours doing this total, you can file a claim for an additional $125 (5 times $25) by listing and attesting to your activities but without having to provide physical documentation.

You can also file claims for direct expenses that you paid as a result of the breach (supporting documentation required), including:

  • Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
  • The cost of freezing or unfreezing your credit report
  • The cost of credit monitoring
  • Fees you paid to professionals like an accountant or attorney
  • Other expenses like notary fees, document shipping fees and postage, mileage, and phone charges

As with many such settlements, the final amounts may be reduced depending on the number of people who make a claim.

Finally, starting in 2020, all US consumers can get 6 free credit reports per year for 7 years from the Equifax website. That’s in addition to the one free Equifax report ( your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can sign up for an email reminder if you want.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Hilton American Express Cards Limited-Time Offers – Up to 130,000 Hilton Points Each

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

hiltonamex18

Hilton Hotels has two American Express consumer cards, a no annual fee and a $95 annual fee version (with more perks of course). There is also a business card version. Right now, the consumer cards have a limited-time increase to their welcome offer, from 90,000 to 130,000 points + free weekend night. (Offers have been 50k and 100k in the past.) Each person can only get one welcome offer, per card in your entire lifetime, so it’s best to apply during one of these temporary bump-ups. (You could get all three of these welcome offers separately, but only one per card per person per lifetime.)

What are Hilton Honor points worth? The best value is from booking free hotel nights or using their “Points & Money” option where you pay with a combination of Hilton points and cash. Hilton has some really nice properties, but the value varies from hotel to hotel. I just ran a search and for the same 60,000 Hilton points, I could book rooms that cost $320 or $532 cash. I’ve seen some valuations around 0.6 cents per point, which I think is fair on average, but I would be more conservative at 0.5 cents a point. That would make 90,000 points = $450 value and 130,000 points = $650 value towards Hilton hotel stays.

The good part of Hilton points is that they have so many different hotel brands, from business-class DoubleTree to luxury Waldorf Astoria. Hilton also lets you transfer and pool points with other with other family or household members. As long as you keep them active (once every 12 months), I do like to keep some around. These credit cards are good at creating activity, but here’s another tip on how to keep Hilton points active.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night reward after you $4,000 in purchases within first 4 months.
  • Earn an additional Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • 12X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton Honors points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Honors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • Spend $40,000 in a calendar year on this card and get Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

(This offer is for first-time Surpass cardmembers only, and not eligible for those who previously had an Ascend Card.)

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • 90,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 7X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 5X Hilton Honors points on purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Honors Silver status (5th standard reward night free, 2 bottles of water in your room).
  • Spend $20,000 in a calendar year on this card and get Honors Gold status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases in the same calendar year.
  • 12X Hilton Honors points on purchases at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio.
  • 6X Hilton Honors points on Select Business & Travel Purchases (ex. U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines)
  • 3X Hilton Honors points for all other eligible purchases.
  • Free upgrade to Honors Gold status (free breakfast, room upgrades based on availability, 5th standard reward night free).
  • 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • $95 annual fee.

Bottom line. Hilton American Express cards offer regular Hilton customers a good opportunity to earn additional points towards free Hilton hotel stays as well as additional perks like status upgrades. The best time to apply for a Hilton co-branded American Express card is during a limited-time increase to their welcome offers. This is because American Express has changed their policy to only allow each person to get a welcome bonus once per card per lifetime.

During the limited-time offer, I will be adding the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card with a total net estimated first-year value of over $600 to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

American Express Blue Business Cash Card: 2% Cash Back on First $50,000 in Purchases, No Annual Fee

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

The American Express Blue Business Cash Card is a new business rewards card that earns 2% cash back on up to $50,000 of purchases per calendar year (then back down to 1% after that) and no annual fee. There is also a 0% intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (variable rate after intro period). This card replaces the SimplyCash Plus card, which has been discontinued and is no longer open to new applicants.

This is a solid offer for small business owners who want a simple-yet-competitive rewards credit card. If your business purchases don’t exceed $50,000 within each calendar year, this card provides flat 2% cash back and no annual fee. (Many other 2% cash back cards charge an annual fee.) In addition, your cash back is automatically credited to your statement as a statement credit, so you don’t have to remember to redeem anything. Easy. Automatic. I would say the only drawback is that there is no welcome offer.

My primary small business card for day-to-day spending is the sibling Blue Business Plus Card from American Express (my review), which offers 2X Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year and no annual fee. I prefer earning the double Membership Rewards points per dollar over 2% cash back because I regularly redeem each MR point for more than 1 cent per point of value. I enjoy the flexibility of having some Membership Rewards in my back pocket to convert to miles, points, etc, and I like not having to pay an annual fee.

If you don’t expect to get at least 1 cent per mile value by converting to airline miles or hotel points, then this card is better.

Business credit card eligibility. Many people aren’t aware that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. Any individual can be a small business. Perhaps you sell items on eBay, Craiglist, or Etsy. Maybe you do some graphic design, web design, freelancing and/or consulting. If you received a 1099-MISC tax form and filled out a Schedule C, that means you have business income, you pay self-employment taxes, and you’re a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

This card will require you to personally guarantee that you’ll pay them back what you charge on the card, which means they’ll check your personal credit score like any other consumer card. However, as the card is a business card, American Express won’t have it show up on your personal credit report, so it won’t change things like your credit limits, average account age, or credit utilization ratio.

Bottom line. The American Express Blue Business Cash Card is a new small business card that earns a flat 2% cash back on ALL purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year with no annual fee. This is a high cash back percentage, and your rewards are automatically credited on the next monthly statement, so you don’t have to remember to redeem anything.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Our Family Travel Award Redemptions 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

I’m not a Instagram travel blogger and I’ll never visit every country in the world, but I do earn enough points from navigating the top credit card offers to fund a big chunk of our annual travel each year. We are a family of five including a toddler, so we redeem for domestic economy class tickets to see grandparents instead of business class seats to an over-water Maldives bungalow. We also travel in peak times due to school schedules, so it’s harder to hunt for high value opportunities. I used to worry about this, but now we just earn ’em and burn ’em.

We are heading to Kauai later this month, which included these redemptions:

Economy flights to Hawaii – 15,000 to 40,000 American miles roundtrip each
The actual redemption amount will vary based on dates and times. The interisland flights are 7,500 miles each way (both AA/Hawaiian), and Mainland US to Hawaii are 20,000 miles each way.

You can earn American Airlines miles from multiple credit cards, as there are versions from both Citi and Barclaycard. Sometimes one offer is much better than the other, right now both are solid. Marriott/SPG points also transfer over to American miles. The cards will also let us get free checked bags and priority boarding, saving us more money.

Grand Hyatt Kauai – 25,000 Hyatt points per night
I’m excited to visit what is consistently rated the best resort in Kauai for the first time. You can earn Hyatt points from multiple credit cards as well. There is the Chase World of Hyatt card, and Ultimate Rewards also transfer over on a 1:1 basis instantly to Hyatt. That means the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited all earn points that can lead to a nice resort in Hawaii. (I also got a ton of points from the Ink Business Preferred for small businesses.)

Transferring some Chase points over let me top off the account to reach exactly the number of points needed. Redeeming with Hyatt points also includes all taxes and let me avoid the daily $35/resort fee. Here’s a screenshot showing that the total cash cost for our stay would have been $701 per night (2.8 cents per Hyatt point) after adding in the resort fee:

(I’m also getting 10% of my redeemed points back from this promo, so in the end I’ll be getting more than 3 cents per Hyatt point.)

For the holidays, we are heading to visit family in Austin, Texas:

Economy flights to Austin – 20,000 British Airlines Avios roundtrip each
The flights are actually on American as well, just using Avios. While far from my best Avios redemption, it worked out as British Airways allows you to “household” an account. We had a previous trip so a lot of miles were spread across the kids’ accounts, and this feature lets us pool the points and use them all up. For example, what if you had 18,000 points in five different accounts and the award you wanted was 100,000 points? Avios lets you pool them together, and you could transfer over some American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards points to top things off.

Besides past flights, our main source of Avios points was the Chase British Airways card.

SpringHill Suites Austin – 14,000 Marriott points per night
No free scuba lessons or water slides here. This is just a nice suite hotel so that we can fit all five of us in comfort. There is a solid free buffet breakfast, and it’s close to family (and a Rudy’s BBQ).

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The Texan’s Food Pyramid

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Marriott also has credit cards from both Chase and American Express that can provide lots of points-earning opportunities.

Both my wife and I apply for a few new cards each year, but we don’t go past that much anymore. Our basic idea is to try out one card at a time. Sometimes the perks are pleasantly much better than expected, and other times they are harder to use than expected.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

British Airways Visa Signature Credit Card Review: 100,000 Point Bonus

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

The British Airways Visa Signature Card is a co-branded travel card (issued by Chase) has brought back their bonus offer of up to 100,000 total Avios points with a split spending hurdle. Here are the highlights:

  • 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 50,000 additional bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 on your purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • Earn 3 Avios for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 Avios for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee.

The Avios reward chart is now based on how far you want to travel in terms of miles. So what can you do with all those points?

Redeem awards domestically on partner American Airlines. Within the US, it’s usually easiest to find flights on partner American Airlines. There are no fuel surcharges when booking with American. Seating availability will be limited, but if you are flexible there is decent inventory.

  • Los Angeles to Honolulu, Hawaii using only 26,000 Avios points roundtrip. I ran a quote in Fall and it cost $659 broken down to $621 fare and only $38 in taxes. So in this case you could save $621 in exchange for 26,000 points, which is 2.4 cents per point. You can also do JFK to LAX for 25k points roundtrip. (Avios chart updated 5/30/19.)
  • Shorter-distance flights can be a good deal as well. Roundtrip from Chicago to New York City is only 18,000 Avios points + about $30 in taxes. Charlotte, NC to New York City is only 12,000 Avios roundtrip. Los Angeles to Las Vegas is also 12,000 Avios roundtrip. Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon is 18,000 Avios roundtrip.

Finding partner awards on BA.com is better than is was in the past, so try it first. Type in your to/from cities within the US, choose to book flights with Avios points, and then click to include partners:

If you have the flexibility, you can also search for additional dates for more available seats. You may find more space going business class in the US.

Use the American Airlines AA.com website and look for “MileSAAver” awards. Record the exact flight dates and numbers, and then call at British Airways at 1-800-452-1201 to book them. If you can’t find the same flight on BA.com, they should waive the phone book fee (they did for me). Don’t be discouraged if you have to use this method, especially if you aren’t flying nonstop. Also, call back and talk with a different agent if they aren’t helpful initially.

Beware of fuel surcharges on British Airways flights. Don’t use Avios for a economy British Airways flight from USA to Europe, because you’ll still be subject to taxes and fees on award redemptions, which are often half the entire cost of the ticket. I ran a quick search for a random New York City (JFK) to London (LHR) flight that cost $1,050, the taxes and fees alone were $650. You can get the $400 “fare” for 40,000 Avios points, but that’s only 1 cent a point value.

Note the following language:

This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.

Bottom line. The British Airways Visa credit card has a new bonus structure of up to 100,000 Avios, split into two spending requirements for 50,000 each. 100,000 Avios is nearly enough for 4 economy tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii (or West Coast to NYC) roundtrip on American or Alaska Airlines (104,000 Avios). In addition, for every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll also earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Which Airline Miles Are Easiest To Redeem For Economy Awards? 2019

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Thank you for your support.

Cashing in your frequent flier miles for a free flight can be hit or miss, especially around a holiday. Which airlines are the most generous with making seats available? Each year, consulting firm IdeaWorks tries to run a fair comparison of all the major airlines to keep them honest. This WSJ article (paywall?) discusses their process:

In March, IdeaWorks searched for two award seats together on various travel dates between June and October on each airline’s busiest routes. Seats have to be available at the airline’s lowest everyday price—typically 25,000 miles round trip for a domestic coach ticket. The company made nearly 4,000 queries.

Below are the rankings of the 6 major US airlines. It is important to remember that this ranking focuses on domestic economy tickets only (no business class or international flights). The article does also rank international airlines on availability from a related metric.

For 2019, the most improved airline is United Airlines, while the worst decline goes to Delta. Not surprisingly, United claims this was totally on purpose because that’s what customers want and they are all about that… Meanwhile Delta suggested that the change was simply a result of more demand because their program is so popular. Shrug.

If you fly a lot on United, you can get significantly expanded award availability with the Chase United Explorer card. Add in the free checked bag for you and a companion, and the perks can easily offset the annual fee.

Southwest and JetBlue remain on top at close to 100% availability, but that is a bit misleading since both of their points are revenue-linked with no blackout dates. For example, 25,000 Southwest points will buy you basically any “Wanna Get Away” ticket that costs up to about $375. So the results are really just saying that Southwest’s busiest routes almost always have a flight that costs under ~$375. JetBlue is only 98% because some of their flights are just over the price threshold. I wonder if they included flights to Hawaii, now that Southwest flies there?

I have come to appreciate the simplicity of Southwest’s structure, especially now that I primarily shop for multiple economy tickets. For example, you can reliably value their credit card bonuses of 40,000 points = $600 in Wanna Get Away airfare, and 80,000 points = $1,200 of Wanna Get Away airfare. I can buy five seats on the same flight, no problem. Others prefer the traditional, more complex structure because it offered the skilled person the chance to get outsized value, like a $3,000 ticket for 50,000 points.

Airlines make a huge percentage of their revenue from selling these airline miles, which they create out of thin air both for actual flying and specifically for credit card users. This also means they have an incentive to create “miles inflation” such that each mile is worth less and less over time. I like this annual WSJ survey because it shows that someone is paying attention and calling them out publicly, at least on seat availability.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Datenfluss.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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