American Airlines finally change their refund policies for the better - if you book your revenue or award tickets at least 2 days prior to departure you can cancel them within 24-hours without penalty.
You can now activate your 5% cashback on Chase Freedom for the Q3 - up to $1500 in combined purchases in Restaurants and Movie Theaters from July 1st to September 30st.
Keep in mind that if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card your Chase Freedom points can be combined with the CSR account. This way in case you are not planning to transfer to the airline partners you are effectively earning 7.5% cashback in restaurants and movie theaters.
Chase has updated its terms and conditions to state that for the applications made on or after May 21st the $300 travel credit will be based on cardmember year, which means you can only get this credit once before the next year annual fee is billed. If you are organized you can still get the 2nd credit by taking advantage of their policy of reimbursing you the annual fee if you cancel the card up to 30 days after the fee was billed. Currently the travel credit is calculated based on the calendar year, so you can get it twice (or even 3 times if you timed your application very carefully at the end of last year). Yet another negative change from Chase after recently reducing the sign-up bonus for the card from 100K to 50K.
IHG has been offering this every May for the last couple of years and if you compare to cash rates on the weekends there are some bargains to be found. For example, Holiday Inn Aruba will only cost you 17.5K IHG points. During our stay there we were upgraded to the top floor corner room with ocean views just for having the Chase IHG credit card. You must book until May 7th and the promotion is only valid for stays from May 1st to June 30th. You can check out the list of properties and book your stays here.
On June 1st, Amex Business Platinum Cards pay with points 50% rebate will be reduced to 35% with an annual cap of 500,000 Membership rewards points. Everyone who got the card between October 5th 2016 and June 1st 2017 will still have the uncapped 50% rebate benefit for 1 year from opening the card (including upgrades from other cards into Business Platinum).
Hilton finally allows you to pool your points for free with up to 10 other people, a pretty useful feature when you have friends or family who do not use their points. To pool just click here and fill out the form. The are yearly limits on the number of points but these should not be an issue to the most of you: you can receive up to a total of 2 million points and you can share up to 500,000 points. The current offer for the Hilton HHonors card with no annual fee is 80,000 points after 2K spend in the first 3 months. In the past year we have used Hilton points to stay in the Seychelles (70K-80K per night), Moorea (70K-80K per night) and Barbados (50K per night).
Until April 15th, 2017 you will get 400 fee-free dollars if you use our Plastiq link to sign up. We have used Plastiq several times to meet the minimum spending requirements.They will send a paper check on your behalf to pretty much any company or individual for a flat 2.5% fee and occasionally run promotions to lock into lower fees. We do not speculatively buy miles and points at 2.5 cents so we do not use them with regular 2.5% fee unless we are trying to reach a minimum spending requirement. It takes 5-7 business days to deliver the payment and they accept Amex, MasterCard and Visa.
Delta again devalued some of the award prices for its routes. Just as the last several times there was no formal announcement but this time the changes are only for the partner airlines. We have not tried every single destination but it seems that increase to awards to/from North America is ~20%. If you wanted to book a flight using one of Delta partners see if you can add a short-haul leg on Delta to be able to use the old chart.
There are increased sign-up bonuses on SPG, Hilton and Platinum cards, and lots of talk around application rules and strategy. For people who are just starting out in this hobby this is a lot of information to process. Several blogs covering Amex applications have incorrect facts so we thought it would be good to summarize everything important in one place.
United Shopping Portal is offering up to 1000 bonus points for your purchases until April 14th. Promotions like this is usually the only time we use the Airline shopping malls, we stick with the regular cashback websites otherwise.