Travel Credit Cards News — January 2017: Amtrak 30K, Southwest 60K, Fairmont, & Ritz Carlton Ghost Links

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Travel Credit Cards News I’m in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, flying tomorrow to Siem Reap for the second time in the last 2 years. I rarely visit the same “wonder of the world” twice, having made only one exception so far — Iguazu Falls. With Siem Reap I wasn’t sure until the last minute. I thought of flying to Thailand, Vietnam, or Sri Lanka instead, but the temples of Angkor are drawing me in. And besides, I only have 3 days till my flight to Singapore on the 21st, and 3 days are perfect for Siem Reap. So, that’s that. Trip reports are coming.

For now, though, let’s play a little game called “DID YOU KNOW?”

So, did you know that…

BOFA AMTRAK 30,000-POINT OFFER IS STILL AVAILABLE 

There is a new link for the 30,000-mile Bank of America Amtrak offer, courtesy physixfan of Reddit. Copy the link address and open it in a new window if it doesn’t open the easy way.

Despite all the bad things Amtrak did to the program, 30,000 miles are still worth a lot if you use Amtrak even on a semi-regular basis or if you want to spend the whole bonus with a big bang. Even today 30,000 miles can get you a roomette for 2 on the Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco, and that ride can be worth around $900. Here are the details.

  • $1,000 in 90 days
  • Free Companion Coupon
  • Free Lounge Pass
  • 5% redemption rebate
  • $79 annual fee, not waived

While you’re at it, grab a no-fee Amtrak card with a 15,000-mile bonus (instead of 12,000), too. BofA will combine the inquiries and you will combine the miles. Consider it buying 45,000 Amtrak miles for $79.

THERE IS A 60,000-POINT SOUTHWEST BUSINESS CREDIT CARD OFFER

If you are flying under Chase’s 5/24 radar, you can easily make a Companion Pass now with a 50,000-point personal card and this new offer. Details:

  • $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • $99 annual fee, not waived

The Direct Link

THE KING OF KINGS OF TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS HAS SLASHED ITS BONUS IN HALF

The biggest news of 2017 so far was the end of the 100,000-point Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus. Gee, it’s almost like I predicted this just yesterday, although it was 3 weeks ago.

Chase simply can’t sustain this level of benefits long-term. They will be devalued. How is Chase going to lure people into paying $450 for the card year after year while reducing the benefits? Analysts don’t seem to be fooled either, even before taking into account that the devaluation is inevitable. 

You can still get the 100,000-point bonus in a Chase branch until March 11, so, go and get it if you are under 5/24, sucker! 🙂

Kidding. I’m just jealous.

You might get 2 JetBlue 10% redemption rebates if you hold two JetBlue cards

Per this Reddit thread, you can get 20% back after redeeming your points if you have a personal (my affilliate link) and business JetBlue cards. It makes perfect sense, actually, since each card offers a 10% rebate, so there is no reason why it shouldn’t work. Each card comes with a $99 annual fee, so this 10% rebate can ease the pain a little. This is how the OP describes this:

One of the advertised features of the JetBlue Plus and Biz cards is that you get a 10% points rebate on redemptions. I just traveled on award tickets (two round trips, one me and one for companion), and I got a 20% rebate on both, and I think it’s because I have both cards.

If that’s right, considering that each card gives 5,000 points annually, and costs $99 per year, it’s more like you’re getting 12,000 points annually when you use those 10,000 points. If you go by the common wisdom of each point being worth 1.4 cents, that’s worth $168, meaning the total bottom line to keep both cards is $30 ($198 – $168).

I personally value TruBlue points more than 1.4X, and it’s not impossible to get insane values out of it, although you’d have to go out of your way (like flying to Cuba) in order to get them. In addition, JetBlue is really my favorite domestic/Caribbean carrier due to the legroom space, so if I weren’t a die-hard free agent I’d easily make a compelling case for keeping both cards long term.

THE CHASE FAIRMONT CREDIT CARD IS NO MORE. BUT … YES, IT IS

… Per the good Doctor, there are still a couple of lingering 2-free-nights links. Get it if you want it, because we all know how it ends.

And speaking of non-happy endings, TBB is concerned that AccorHotels (which has acquired Fairmont) is going to throw away his hard-earned Lifetime Platinum status. George is an easygoing guy — me, I would’ve been royally pissed, blood pressure and all, if my paid-for elite status was threatened. Let’s just hope it’s not going to be the case. And let’s hope Accor is at least considering working on a new amazing credit card deal, because, hey, this ain’t Europe! Woo us. Please.

AND SPEAKING OF OFFERS THAT ARE KIND OF UNDEAD

The Chase Ritz Carlton 3-night bonus has been enhanced into a 2-night bonus, but the old 3-night link is still around somewhere … or wait, Here It Is. Courtesy of Reddit. And this card is not part of the Chase 5/24 onslaught.

Before you rush to apply, though, keep in mind that the infamous VISA Infinite $100 flight discount has been stealthily diluted. The VISA Infinite website has quietly removed all airfares under $100, having made it impossible to take advantage of the discount using the lowest fares you can find elsewhere.

Look, I get it, they are in business; they want to make money; they are not philanthropists, and so on, so forth. But nothing has prevented Ritz Carlton from reaching out to their cardholders and announcing the change, especially that there is still a value proposition in this benefit. Instead, they’ve chosen the stealth option hoping no one would notice. I’ve had the Ritz Carlton card for the last two years, but I’m not renewing it again.

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