Credit Card Bonuses: Latest News, Blues, and a Tightened Noose

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I’m in Brazil now. Rio → São Luís → Santo Amaro → Rio. The output will be limited for the next 10 days.

Credit card bonuses: the news

Both AMEX SPG cards, personal and business, now have new sign-up bonuses. The Personal card is 75,000 and the Business 100,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 and $5,000 respectively in 3 months. Basically, that’s like the old AMEX SPG cards with 25,000 and 33,300 SPG points. Not bad, but nothing to write home about.

AMEX Delta Gold and Platinum 60,000 and 70,000-point offers are back too, until September 19. No, you’re not eligible if you’ve been around the block; the standard AMEX once-in-your-lifetime restriction still applies.

The Chase IHG card has a new $50 statement credit and elevated 105,000-point bonus (vs. the old 85,000 offer) after a $3,000 spend and adding an authorized user in 3 months.

Barclays added 10,000 miles to its AAdvantage card offer: 60,000 miles after the first purchase.

My Best credit card pages have been updated

Do you know why my credit card pages are the best in the blogging world? Not because they are aesthetically pleasing (LOL) and not because there are no affiliate links, but because I never try to list EVERY FREAKING SIGN-UP BONUS out there. I have my standards.

I don’t bother with a credit card if it doesn’t bring at least $400 to the table

Which means that a card with a $400 bonus and $95 annual fee is dead to me. Dead, I tells ya!

Although I’m not quite sure that my standards are going to withstand the pressure of these troubling times.

Sigh!

Credit card bonuses: moving to the blues

The final results of my latest app-o-Rama are in and they are the WORST RESULTS in my entire churning “career.”

In the course of the last few weeks I applied for the following cards:

  • American Express Hilton Honors Business 125,000 points
  • American Express Business Platinum 75,000 points $5K/3mths (targeted, no “lifetime” language)
  • First Bank Best Western Business: 48,000 (+32,000 after a crazy spend) points
  • First Bank Best Western Personal: 50,000 + 20,000 points
  • Synchrony Cathay Pacific 35,000 + 30,000 points (targeted)
  • Barclays Wyndham Rewards: 45,000 points
  • Chase Ritz Carlton: 2 free nights plus Gold status

   My preliminary results:

Approved:

  • American Express Hilton Honors Business
  • American Express Business Platinum
  • First Bank Best Western Business
  • First Bank Best Western Personal
  • Synchrony Cathay Pacific with a $300 credit line!

Denied for too many accounts in 24 months:

  • Chase Ritz Carlton
  • Barclays Wyndham Rewards

   Reconsideration Results

  • Barclays Wyndham Rewards: failed after 3 reconsideration calls
  • Synchrony Cathay Pacific: closed after 3 failed attempts to increase the credit line
  • Chase Ritz Carlton: denied after 1 reconsideration attempt

NB. I decided not to push for the Ritz Carlton reconsideration and to focus on getting the new Luxury SPG card when it becomes available.

So I’m getting 4 new cards out of 7. What’s a big deal? Nothing if something like this has ever happened before. There used to be times when I was able to overturn over 90% of my denials. And no, I couldn’t be any more dramatic, thank you very much…

There are reports that even BoA Alaska Business Card’s churning is getting more restrictive. Come on, that’s a 30,000-mile card with an annual fee we’re talking about!

Is this hobby a newbie territory now?

Yes! If you are a newbie, your time is now. I mean, it’s been now for at least the last 8 years, but it’s come to the point when you seriously need to try if you want to start saving megabucks on your travel expenses. Banks want you badly; they don’t want us veterans; they hope to hook you on free travel so you start borrowing from them at 15% interest. Well, take free travel and other benefits and say #thanksbutnothanks to high-interest credit card loans.

All I can tell you is this: do not get distracted by lousy cards with lousy bonuses. Apply for the best offers. The way more and more banks are looking into your 24-month application history is troubling on very many levels. Say “no” to lousy $100-$200-$300 bonuses. You do, however, have my blessing to apply for this magnificent bonus so you can tell your future grandchildren all about it — in every morbid detail.

More News

American Express has come back with a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic. I say grab it for incredible savings on Delta, ANA, South African, and New Zealand Airways. I’ve updated 2 of my last-year posts when the previous bonus was in effect.

There is another AMEX transfer bonus – 25% to JetBlue. It’s quite decent, and can give you around 1.4-1.7x in value, but pick the Virgin bonus for long hauls in Business or First.

Forgive me for not-covering NON-NEWS

Since no one is reading only one blog, I don’t cover things that wouldn’t interest me personally. So Citi Prestige is being discontinued… wait, not being discontinued… wait again, perhaps it will, or… wait a minute, it won’t? Seriously, we’ll get there when we get there. All these speculations – they’re not even funny.

AMEX adding “freeze your card?” Consider me among those ignoramuses who don’t give a shit. Discover has been doing it for years, and, seriously, this measure saves money and protects the banks, not you, no matter how hard they spin it! You’re already protected by the “Fair Credit Billing Act,” at least against the direct financial losses.

I equally don’t care (and neither should you) about the presumed public departure of the AMEX Business Platinum 100,000-points offer, for which you need to spend $25K. $25K? Seriously?

This is not a stab at other bloggers who feel like they have to blog several times a day. In my opinion, a blog post should be either substantive or entertaining, or, preferably, both. But you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right? It’s just that I’m not into covering every bank/travel-related topic in the universe, so there!

Choose your battles wisely, be it a sign-up bonus or reading material.

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8 Responses to Credit Card Bonuses: Latest News, Blues, and a Tightened Noose

  1. Ms.Sunshine says:

    Hey Andy,

    You’re back after a long hiatus!!
    What’s your opinion on when it’s best to apply for a new CC after canceling it for each bank?
    I was denied Barclay’s AA 60k. I didn’t even bother calling a recon line after checking my application’s status online (too many CC’s). I was probably too hasty on this. I got it in Dec’16 and canceled in Nov’17.
    But I also think that Barclay’s would deny any CC to me even if I’ve never applied for it (example, Wynham CC).

    BofA denied me Alaskan personal CC, but luckily I got a business CC. I think soon we’ll need to be less choosy and be happy with $200 after spending $1k?
    It feels like that I’ll need to stop applying for a least a year or 18 months and then try again some of the banks.

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Hi Ms Sunshine,

      I have a feeling reinforced by reports I see on Flyertalk and other blogs that Barclays is closely trailing Chase, and that it’s interested in your 2-year history. I was told so by all 3 analysts when I called for reconcideration. 2 years seems to be a magic number for them. I would advise to apply for measly $200. Better make a 2-year break and then apply for some killer cards instead (can’t believe I’ve just said that) 🙁

  2. Too Nashty says:

    Good call on the virgin bonus flying delta. Saved me flying United biz home from japan. Those URs are damn hard to come by these days… you gotta hop on that Morgan Stanley Amex plat while you can still slip through the cracks…cats out of the bag now.

  3. The Masked Poster says:

    Andy, I appreciate seeing some real info here, which is something not readily found among the various blogs. I have a question about Hyatt Free Nights, and being limited to a maximum of category 4 hotels. Is there a way to combine my free night with either additional points or cash, so I can stay at a higher category resort?

    • Andy Shuman says:

      Thanks for posting! From what I understand, no, you can’t use a free night Hyatt certificate at a higher cat. hotel. Even with a copay or more points.

      • The Masked Poster says:

        Thanks for trying, Andy, but I was hoping you’d be able to think up something more positive. I’d think Hyatt might be more open in ways to make money. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to settle for the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California, a couple hours from home base. Another option would be to make a reservation far out, hoping Hyatt might make a change before then. Hope springs eternal.

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