And, gee, what a slow, slow week it was!
Chase IHG 80,000
The bad news is, the Chase IHG 80,000-point credit card offer that has been around forever is no more. The best IHG offer right now is for 70,000 points, and it’s available until March 31st. Yes, I know. I’m weeping too. I was going to cancel and apply for this card during my next AOR, but now, I’m not so sure. It’s amazing what a difference of 10,000 points can do to one’s psyche. Check my Free Stays section for the updated link.
Citi AA 50,000
The good news is, the Citi AA cards now have lower spending requirements–$2,000 in three months down from $3,000. Am I the only one who feels that Citi is sending a confusing message here? On one hand, they draconize (my word!) the rules by using all kinds of restricting language in some of those links. How many different links with different terms does one credit card company need–for crying out loud?
If this is not your first Citibank American Airlines card you’re going to apply for, do yourself a favor and check this Flyertalk Wiki first to find out which applications are likelier to work for you and which aren’t. In short, the older links with higher $3,000 spending requirements don’t have the same restrictive language as the newer links, and might give you a better chance at getting approved. Check my Free Flights section for all the updated links.
Free Money: Is It Old News? Maybe Not.
The lack of really good deals has forced me into trying to re-evaluate some older deals that I’ve known about for years, but never taken seriously. One that caught my eye on Slickdeals today was the Better Balance Rewards Card from the Bank of America. I remembered reading a g.eat write-up on this card last year from Rapid Travel Chai, but at that time it didn’t register. Today, however, it got me thinking (which is a good thing, and I should try it more often). The main, and, I’m afraid, the only feature of this card is its quarterly $25 bonus that they give you for using your credit responsibly. Simply put, pay more than the minimum due each and every month and you get $100 a year.
It is not hard to fully automate the whole thing with bill payments and credit card payments. You can really set it and forget it, just like what I do with my BoA Spirit card, which I also have to charge every cycle–otherwise I’ll lose those precious Free Spirit miles in three months (yeah, go ahead and laugh, see if I care). But again, these payments are so easy to automate that it’s really a non-issue. The reason why this card didn’t click for me last year was that I didn’t have a BoA credit card at the moment to downgrade. And I didn’t feel like getting a hard inquiry for $100 a year. Please!
Since then, however, I’ve applied for more BoA cards, so I could safely incorporate this one in one of my app-o-Ramas, but, I’ve kept forgetting about it until now.
So, why am I coming back to this card? Well, right now, I have five BoA cards, three of which I can safely close or convert. My wife has two, one of which she can safely close, as well. Do you see where I’m going with this?
If my wife and I downgrade our no longer needed BoA cards into the Better Balance Rewards Cards, that’s four of them right now. And $400 a year in free money for doing absolutely nothing sounds really interesting to me.
But wait, there is more!
If you have a qualifying BoA account, you will get $5 more per quarter. While $400 a year in free money ain’t bad, $480 is even better!
In fact, it is possible to make this deal even sweeter, since there is a $100 BoA new account bonus from BoA right now, but it involves three $2,000 direct deposits within 90 days. And, from what I understand (might be wrong, though) you can’t trick them. It’s payroll only, so screw that.
The good news, however, is that they have savings accounts with a $5 monthly fee, which is waived if you maintain a $300 monthly balance. That’s not too bad.
The more important question is how long they would allow me (or you) to play this little game and to what extent. I intent to keep applying for BoA Alaska cards for me and my wife, so it will be interesting to see how many cards they would allow us to convert into this product and more importantly what their level of tolerance is. As of now, they don’t seem to have any restrictions on how many Better Balance Rewards Cards we can carry, but I tend to walk on the safe side. Of course, that means I am losing out sometimes, but on the other hand, I have never been banned from anything.
So what would BoA consider abuse, I wonder. Does anyone know?
Of course, these questions might be moot. No issuer will allow you to have an unlimited number of credit cards, so, at some point, you will have to start closing cards or you wouldn’t be able to apply for new ones. And when you do accumulate a lot of their credit card products, a single manual review from an overzealous (or simply doing her job, LOL) analyst can unravel the whole thing.
In any case, I’m going for it. How about you?
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