New Wave of Shutdowns by American Express

I have been saying for a couple of years now that playing games with American Express is just not worth it. Amex can be very nice to you if you play by their rules. But as soon as you start to venture into gaming territory, that is when things will not go well for you at some point.

New shutdowns by American Express

There appears to be another round of shutdowns by American Express going on.

We don’t know exactly why these shutdowns are occurring but there seem to be some common trends.

One of the biggest trends is people doing self referrals. This means that they were generating a referral link from one of their own cards and then applying for a new card using that referral link.

We have known that this is a risky tactic for a little while and I have been warning people to proceed with caution from the very beginning. As of now, I would avoid this method at all costs unless you want to take a major risk of losing your points. 

Other potential risks for getting shut down involved buying gift cards to hit your minimum spend requirements. For example, if you have purchased Visa gift cards to get your minimum spend, you could be at risk for a shutdown.

Banks are clamping down

I have heard rumors that some issuers are now going to greater things to systematically identify gamers. Things are not like they were in 2015, when it truly was still the wild west out there for the rewards. 

Nowadays, many of the tricks that people are relying on come with huge risks of getting shutdown and are easily discovered by banks. 

My advice is to just acquire credit cards at reasonable pace.

A reasonable pace to me just means leaving a few months (3+) between credit card applications.

You should also avoid things like purchasing gift cards to hit minimum spend requirements, applying for cards with suspicious links (links that don’t look like they were intended to be used by the public), self referrals, and canceling cards within one year of use.

Basically, if you encounter a way to make a quick come up by doing things like jumping on multiple promotions/offers, buying gift cards when the terms exclude them, etc., that could potentially be grounds for a shutdown in the future.

Going into 2020 and beyond, you do not want to mess with American Express!

And honestly now that we have a better bonus categories with cards like the Gold card, Platinum, and even now the Green Card, there are more ways to earn points organically.

Sure things won’t be quite as lucrative but I would rather have fewer points but no risk of getting shutdown. You can read about the shutdowns in this thread.

Will the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K Bonus Ever Come Back?

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve launched in 2016, it offered an outstanding 100,000 point sign-up bonus. Pretty soon this intro sign-up bonus was cut in half down to the present 50,000 offer. But a lot of folks still wonder if the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus offer will return. Here’s my take.

Interested in finding out the hottest travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out! 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus: Gone for good?

It’s not uncommon for banks to offer exceptional bonuses when products launch in order to attract more customers. In this instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve was intended to attract people (especially millennials) to Chase and the 100K bonus was a perfect way to accomplish that.

Still, even though the 100K offer attracted a lot of attention, I don’t see Chase bringing back the Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus anytime soon for a number of reasons.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

The Reserve was almost too popular

The Sapphire Reserve was a much bigger hit than Chase ever anticipated and it took a toll on profits.

In fact, Chase was so worried about the profitability of the card that they started making budget cuts in the hundreds of millions. Part of this resulted from smarter consumers who didn’t run up big balances, but I think the 100,000 sign-up bonus also played a large role in cutting into the profits.

I think Chase knew what it was doing for the long-term, but it might have realized that it almost bit off more than it could chew by offering 100K bonuses to the masses. For now, though, Chase has a lot of new customers and Chase is probably going to be content with focusing on cultivating those relationships rather than setting off Round 2 of the Reserve frenzy.

Chase has “taken notice”

Chase has taken notice that people love to hit the sign-up bonuses on their Sapphire cards.

This is why Chase no longer allows folks to earn more than one Sapphire bonus within two years. That could  cut the other way and mean a higher bonus for one Sapphire card since it means people wouldn’t be able to double-dip on two Sapphire cards.

However, I think it’s more of a general indicator that Chase is tightening things up. Remember, Chase also cut down on double-dipping on the travel credit by switching it to anniversary year. It just seems Chase is more into cutting back right now than showering more folks with points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase knows you love their Sapphire cards!

People are keeping their Reserve cards

With more people keeping their Sapphire Reserves than expected, I think the incentive to drive the bonus back up to 100K just isn’t there any more. Chase knows people love the Reserve even without 100,000 points dangled in front of them.

Little movement on the Chase Sapphire Preferred

We’ve seen the Chase Sapphire Preferred jump between 40,000 and 50,000 but beyond some targeted offers, nothing else. Unlike the co-branded cards that constantly are in flux, it seems Chase is comfortable keeping bonuses for their house cards within a very limited range.

There’s really no competition

I don’t think the competition provides an incentive for a higher offer, either.

The Citi Prestige doesn’t even have a sign-up bonus half of the time. The standard offer for the Platinum Card is 100,000 and while higher targeted/Incognito offers go out, I still think the Reserve is mostly targeted toward a different segment of society from the Platinum Card (although the markets are likely converging).

And finally no other premium card out there whether it be the Aspire, Ritz-Carlton Card, Altitude Reserve, etc. seem to pose enough of a threat to force the Reserve to up its bonus.

November 2018 update: We’ve seen new cards with great earning on dining enter the market recently and now the Citi Prestige is set to be re-vamped in 2019. This might mean the Sapphire Reserve comes with stronger benefits at some point in the future.

So what will we see?

I think if anything we’ll probably see targeted offers come out from time to time with higher bonuses.

These targeted offers could be for 60,000, 70,000 or who knows… maybe even 100,000. But these offers will probably be limited to a select few via in-branch pre-approvals or through mailers but I don’t think we’ll see a public 100K offer for the Reserve anytime soon.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Is the 50,000 bonus worth it?

Despite the fact that the current bonus is 1/2 the offer originally offered, it’s still a great sign-up bonus.

Even without a sign-up bonus, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the easiest credit cards to justify holding onto for the long-term. This is due to its 3X on dining and travel, $300 travel credit, primary rental car coverage, lounge access, exceptional protections, and redemptions at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal. It’s just a beast of a credit card.

The current 50,000 bonus is just the cherry on top as far I’m concerned. And 50,000 points is still a bonus worth at least $750 and likely over $1,000 if you transfer to the right partners.

Should I wait for the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus to return?

I honestly think waiting around for a bonus with a low chance of returning would not be smart.

The Sapphire Reserve is subject to the Chase 5/24 Rule, so waiting for the 100K offer to return would mean not applying for many credit cards for a long time (although you could stick to some business credit cards).

But you could spend the next two to three years waiting for something that’s never going to happen. Considering how lucrative the Reserve is with a 50K offer, I think that if you’re interested in the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you should just apply for it now.

Plus, you can always use Chase refer a friend to net an additional 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after you get approved!

Are there other Chase 100,000 point sign-up bonuses?

Chase has been known to offer a 100K bonus for the Chase Ink Preferred but it’s been on a limited basis and usually you need to have a business with substantial revenue to get the offer (but not always).

Read more about the Chase Ink Preferred 100K offer here.

Final word

I would love to be wrong about all of this but every indication is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve 100K bonus is not going to come back anytime soon. And if it does, it will likely be in the form of a targeted offer or be a different offer decreased to something much lower. For those reasons, I don’t think you should try to wait it out because it’s just not likely to happen anytime soon.

Amex Green Card is Here (It Looks Good!)

We have known about a refresh coming to the American Express Green Card for a while and that refresh is finally here!

The card does not have all of the perks that I anticipated but the perks are still pretty solid in my opinion (especially for travel).

This is also a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on earning more Membership Rewards, as the card has a new welcome bonus. 

Welcome bonus

The American Express Green Card will come with 30,000 Membership Rewards when you spend $2,000 in the first three months. Also, you can get $100 in statement credits toward any purchases made with Away (luggage) in your first three months (Offer ends 1/15/2020). 

30,000 Membership Rewards is a pretty decent bonus. It would have been nice to see this bonus up at 40,000 or 50,000 points. However, the Green Card has always historically had a low bonus (or no bonus at all) so 30,000 points for this card is not bad.

Some have reported success with higher Incognito offers but that did not work for me. Referral links are also reportedly higher. 

Suitcases for Away start at $225 and you can find amenity bags for under $100. 

Note: the welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or previous versions of the American Express Green Card. No surprise there. 

Bonus categories

  • 3X on travel
  • 3X on dining

3X travel is a huge bonus category for American Express.

Up to this point, there has been no American Express product that offers a good multiplier of bonus points on general travel costs.

Now, just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn triple the points on general travel with the American Express Green Card (you just won’t get all of the same travel protections). 

Earning triple the points on dining is also very nice. Personally, I will stick to using my American Express Gold Card to earn 4X on dining. But if you don’t want to get the Gold card (with its $250 dollars annual fee) this is a pretty good option.

CLEAR membership

The American Express Green Card will offer you $100 per year in statement credits for CLEAR (the regular price for CLEAR is $179 a year).

If you are not familiar with that service, basically it allows you to bypass the security lines at airports in different venues such as stadiums.

If you have TSA Pre-Check, this will save you tons of time during rush hour at airports. I would recommend that you read our review here if you need to find out more.

This is a huge perk if you ask me (unless you don’t care for CLEAR of course). 

LGA Terminal C CLEAR TSA Pre-Check

$100 for LoungeBuddy

You will get $100 in annual credits for LoungeBuddy. 

This is a really interesting benefit for the American Express Green Card. LoungeBuddy is a way for you to get access to various airport lounges. Not every airport has a relationship with LoungeBuddy but for those that do you might be paying anywhere from $25-$50+ for lounge access. 

So this credit gives you 2 to 4 visits per year covered (again prices can vary widely). 

For anybody without Priority Pass this could be a great way to get airport lounge access when you need it. However, I already have the Platinum Card and so I don’t think this lounge benefit would do much for me. 

Annual fee

The annual fee is $150 and is not waived the first year. Given the trends that American Express has been doing over the past couple of years, it is no surprise to see the fee increased. 

With $200 worth of statement credits for CLEAR and airport lounge access, this fee can easily be offset with the two of them.

For me personally, I would only use the $100 CLEAR credit. That would leave me with about $50 in annual fee costs I would need to offset. That would not be very hard to do with 3X on travel/dining, so this could easily be a keeper card. 

For example, if I spent $1,000 on travel and earned 3,000 MR, that would be $54 worth of MR (based on 1.8 cent valuation). Combine that with only one $100 credit and the entire fee is offset. 

Final word

Overall, I think the American Express Green Card is a decently strong travel card. There is now a way to earn triple points on travel expenses with this card and I really like the statement credits for CLEAR. The credits for LoungeBuddy are great too it is just that I already have so many lounge memberships that I don’t know I would be using it. 

Perfect Timing for the Southwest Companion Pass!

The Southwest Companion Pass is arguably one of the most valuable travel perks that you can earn via credit card rewards. But getting this perk is all about timing. Luckily, right now is one of the best times to go for the Southwest Companion Pass, especially since these offers are likely to go down on October the 16th! 

Offers no longer available!

Southwest Companion Pass

With the Southwest Companion Pass, a companion can fly with you for free for up to two calendar years on both award flights and cash fares. This pass can be worth more than $3,000 depending on how you utilize it, so it’s a tremendously valuable perk (read more about the pass here).

The Southwest Companion Pass works on a calendar-year basis and that’s why it makes sense to pick it up at the beginning of the year, as early as possible so you can use it for as close to 24 months as possible.

Earning the 110,000 Rapid Rewards needed for the Companion Pass isn’t easy because it requires a lot of flying but it’s very doable when you rely on credit cards to get you there.

In order to get to 110,000 Rapid Rewards via credit cards, you need time your applications so that you’re going for the highest sign-up bonuses. And you want to do this at the end of a year or at the very beginning of a year to maximize the time that you’ll have the pass.

It’s not always possible to time your apps this way but right now it’s possible to do this and that’s why it’s a perfect time to go for the pass.

Here’s the thing though — you nee to make sure you don’t hit your minimum spend until after your December 2019 statement closes because you need your Rapid Rewards to hit for 2020. Some people get confused about closing dates, due dates, etc., so I usually recommend for people to go the safe route. 

The safe route is to wait until January 1, 2020 to hit your minimum spend. You could meet some of your minimum spend before that but just don’t hit 100% of it before then if you want to be 1,000% sure you’re timing this right. 

Three months from today would be January 14, 2020, so you’d have until then to hit your minimum spend (sometimes you might have until 115 days but don’t rely on that).

Southwest cards policy

Chase recently changed its policy for approving Chase Southwest credit cards. Now you can no longer pick up two personal Southwest cards. This was a major bummer but it wasn’t a complete loss because it’s still possible to get the personal and the business card, which can get you the Companion Pass.

Two things to note: 

  • I would put at least 30 days (preferably 60) between applying for the business and the personal card
  • Both cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule.

Southwest business credit cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

If you’re able to go for a Southwest business card, I’d go for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, which offers a whopping 80,000 Rapid Rewards after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

That puts you in great position to earn the Companion Pass and it’s honestly one of the best welcome bonuses we’ve ever seen. 

You’ll also get: 

  • 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • Inflight WiFi Credits
  • A-List credits 
  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Fee Credit
  • Employee cards added at no additional cost
  • $199 Annual Fee

Southwest Premier Business Card

The Southwest Premier Business Card is offering 60,000 Rapid Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months after account opening.

You’ll also get:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 6,000 anniversary points
  • Earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points each calendar year

Southwest personal credit cards

There are multiple offers out for the Southwest personal cards. These are offers for 60,000 miles but they do require more spend than usual.

You’ll be able to earn the full 60,000 Rapid Rewards after you spend $12,000 within your first year. $12,000 in a year is very easy to do. However, you don’t want to take a full year to hit that spend requirement because remember the Companion Pass is only good for two calendar years.

Since you can get 80,000 Rapid Rewards with a Southwest business card, all you need to do is hit the $1,000 spend for 40,000 Rapid Rewards and you’ll have enough for the Companion Pass. This is smartest way to go about getting the Companion Pass and would only require $6,000 in total spend. 

Here are the offers:

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card

  • 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 
  • Additional 20,000 after spending $12,000 within your first year.

You’ll also get:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • 3,000 anniversary points

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

  • 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Additional 20,000 after spending $12,000 within your first year.

You’ll also get:

  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 6,000 anniversary points
  • Earn 1,500 Tier-Qualifying Points for every $10,000 in purchases, up to 15,000 Tier-Qualifying Points each calendar year

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

  • 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Additional 20,000 after spending $12,000 within your first year.

You’ll also get:

  • Bonus spending:
    • 2X Rapid Rewards on Southwest purchases
    • 2X Rapid Rewards on hotel and car rental partner purchases.
    • 1X Rapid Rewards on all other purchases
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit
  • 7,500 anniversary points each year
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list Status
  • $149 annual fee applied to your first billing statement

Final word

Now is a great time to go for the Companion Pass due to the time of the year and the credit card bonuses. With just two offers you can easily hit 110,000+ Rapid Rewards. However, make sure you follow the application rules when pursuing the Companion Pass and don’t hit your minimum spend until the time is right.

Citi Business Platinum Select Card 75K Offer [2019]

The Citi Business Platinum Select Card is now offering a great new welcome offer. With this new offer you can earn 75,000 miles! This is a fantastic offer if you’re looking for AA miles and while I don’t receive any sort of commission for this card, I’d recommend it for people trying to rack up AA miles. I’ll break down the offer below.

The offer

  • Earn 75,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first five months 
  • $99 annual fee (waived the first year)

The 75K offer has expired!

It’s worth noting that you get five months to reach the minimum spend for this card (most offers only give you three or four months), so you only need to spend $1,000 per month which should be very doable for a lot of people.  

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

How far can the miles take you?

75,000 AA miles could cover a one-way business class ticket all the way to the Maldives on partners like Etihad or Qatar. If you want to get an idea on how to maximize AA miles then check out my article on AA sweet spots here

Additional perks to applying 

What I really like about this card is that it does not report to your personal credit report. So if you are under 5/24, you can pick up this card without burning a 5/24 slot. 

Also, if you’re just looking to give your personal credit report a rest, this can be a good option since the account won’t show up and bring down your average age of accounts. 

Note the 48 month application rule that applies: 

American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have received a new account bonus for a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® account in the past 48 months.

You can use this bonus to get to the Maldives in business class.

Other options to consider 

The Chase Ink Business Cash or Chase Ink Business Preferred both offer more flexible points with better value (Chase Ultimate Rewards). Both of those cards come with great offers right now, especially the Chase Ink Preferred at 80,000 points after meeting the minimum spend ($5,000 in the first three months of account opening). 

Plus, you could always transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways and use them for AA flights which isn’t a bad deal for shorter flights.

Additional perks 

The Citi Business Platinum Select Card also comes with some additional perks you might be interested in. 

Bonus earning

  • 2X on AA purchases 
  • 2X on telecom, cable/satellite
  • 2X on car rentals and gas

If you’re wanting to maximize points via spend with a business card then the Chase Ink cards mentioned above could be a much better fit since you could earn higher rewards on telecom, cable/satellite, and rental cars. You could also look into cards like the Amex Business Gold Card which has some fantastic bonus categories at 4X!  

First checked bag free

First checked bag free for you and up to 4 companions on eligible bags when traveling on domestic itineraries operated by American Airlines.  For this benefit to apply, the card account must be open 7 days prior to air travel AND the reservation must include the Signing Individual’s AAdvantage number 7 days prior to air travel.

Companion Certificate

Companion Certificate good for 1 guest at $99, issued each year after your account anniversary after spending $30,000 or more on eligible purchases (taxes and fees apply). This is only good for roundtrip domestic economy fares and  you will pay a $99 companion ticket fee plus $21.60 to $43.20 in government taxes and fees, depending on itinerary.

$30,000 is a lot of spend for a discounted companion certificate of $99 so I’m not sure that I’d be too excited about this option. I guess it could be valuable for an expensive economy flight around the US but you could put $30,000 towards two Hilton Ascend cards and earn two free nights which could be worth much more than an economy ticket (less the fees). 

Preferred boarding

Preferred boarding for you and up to 4 companions on your reservation when traveling on itineraries operated by American Airlines. You will board after Priority boarding is complete, but before the rest of economy (Main Cabin) boarding. 

For this benefit to apply, the card account must be open 7 days prior to air travel AND the reservation must include the Signing Individual’s American Airlines AAdvantage number 7 days prior to air travel.

Inflight savings

Receive 25% inflight savings on food and beverages when you use your card on American Airlines operated flights.

Eligible purchases include the inflight purchase of food and beverages on American Airlines operated flights when purchased using the card account. Savings does NOT apply to any other inflight purchases, such as wireless internet access or inflight entertainment.

Final word 

Overall, this is a compelling offer at 75,000 miles. If you’re in the market for AA miles then you should definitely consider this card, especially since it doesn’t report to your personal credit report. But if you’re still at the stage of trying to seek out the most valuable travel rewards credit cards then you’ll want to consider alternative options which will set you up with more flexible rewards that will be easier to use and that come with better bonus earning potential. 

Big Amex Changes Coming (Trip delay, Trip cancellation, etc)

Offers contained within this article maybe expired.

We just witnessed Citi drop an entire suite of valuable credit card benefits and protections like it was nothing. And now, it looks like American Express is trying to shake things up with some of the benefits and protections they offer.

American Express is adding trip cancellation/interruption and trip delay to several cards but they also are dropping/changing some benefits that have been really valuable in the past. These new changes will come into effect January 1, 2020, and here’s what you need to know about the new changes.

Trip cancellation & interruption

Some premium cards like the Platinum Cards, Aspire, Brilliant, etc. are getting trip cancellation & interruption.

With the new trip cancellation, if you book a roundtrip flight entirely with your eligible Amex card and the flight is canceled for a “covered reason,” which would include events like: inclement weather, terrorist action, call to jury, sudden illness, etc., up to $10,000 per trip, with a maximum of up to $20,000 per eligible account for each consecutive 12-month period.

This $10,000 limit is up there with the Chase Sapphire Reserve so this is very competitive. The thing that is “interesting” about the protection is that it only applies to roundtrips. Apparently Amex will define a roundtrip as “travel to one or more destinations that begins and ends in the original city of departure.” (For people like myself who often take a lot of one-way flights on large trips this benefit might be useless at times.)

You’ll need to pay for the entire cost of the trip with your card (but you can trigger the protection when paying taxes/fees on award tickets or by using Pay With Points).

Inclement weather is covered with trip cancellation & interruption.

Trip Delay Coverage

The trip delay coverage will be offered in two different levels, with the most premium cards getting better coverage.

For the premium cards like the Platinum, if your roundtrip is delayed by six hours due to a covered reason then you’ll be able to get expenses covered such as meals and lodging reimbursed for up to $500 per trip. Six hours for trip delay isn’t bad at all and the $500 limit per trip is very competitive. Again, the same restrictions for roundtrips apply so this will be useless for many trips for many “round the world trip” folks.

For the middle tier cards they will get protection after a delay of 12 hours and be reimbursed up to $300 per trip. This will include cards like the American Express Gold Card. This is much weaker protection. While some cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred have 12 hour limits, they also offer $500 per trip.

Trip delay protection is critical for overnight delays.

Huge for the Platinum

These changes are huge for the Platinum Card from American Express. That card has a host of benefits but the 5X earnings on airfare has always been one of the most interesting perks. The problem was that it didn’t come with built-in travel coverage for cancellations and delays.

But now it’s going to offer pretty solid versions of those perks which will make it much easier to use the Platinum Card on airfare (unless you travel the way I do). Click here to learn how to apply. 

Even with these new perks there are still some protections missing that I’d like to see. For example, there is still no baggage delay insurance which is one of my most used protections. Other protections like emergency medical or dental coverage would be nice too but I don’t think those are deal breakers.

So while these new benefits are great for cards like the Platinum Card and a big upgrade, American Express is still playing catch-up to Chase in the benefits department when it comes to travel protections.

Negative changes

Extended warranty and purchase protection

The American Express extended warranty will only offer one year of coverage, down from two years. And some no annual fee cards won’t offer extended warranty coverage at all like the Amex EveryDay Credit Card.

That extra year of warranty helped set Amex apart from other programs but if the five-year warranty limitation on cards like the Platinum remains, it’s still better than cards like the Sapphire Reserve which only offer extensions of warranties of three years or less.

Also, all Amex cards that offer purchase protection will have it changed to 90 days from 120 days. The $10,000 limit will likely remain the same for premium cards like the Platinum but this change will make purchase protection more appealing on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve that offer a 120 day limit.

Other changes

American Express is removing two benefits that they reported fewer than 1% of cardmember utilized.

Travel Accident Insurance

Travel Accident Insurance covers you in those horrendous times when you experience death or dismemberment during a covered trip. I don’t even like thinking about this benefit so I don’t care that it’s gone but on a serious note it could be very valuable.

Roadside Assistance/Hotline

Roadside Assistance was one of the best Amex perks, offering a lot of the same perks you’d get with AAA. That benefit will definitely be missed if’s fully taken out but it might just be the hotline that’s removed not the core benefits.

You can still get this perk with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers:

  • Battery Boost: If your vehicle won’t start because of a dead or weak battery, they’ll come out and provide you with a jump-start.
  • Flat Tire Service: If you have a flat tire and are not capable of installing it yourself, they will install your inflated spare.
  • Fuel Delivery: If you run out of gas, an emergency supply of fuel will be delivered to you and the cost of the fuel is covered for up to 2 gallons.
  • 24 Hour Towing Assistance: covered up to $50 for each event.
  • 24 Hour Lockout Assistance: covered for locksmith services up to $50 for each event but replacement key costs are the responsibility of the Cardholder.

Final word

These are nice changes overall to cards like the Platinum Card, especially. It will now be easier to feel better about your 5X on airfare with the Platinum Card but the protections are still lagging some and some cards definitely did just suffer some devaluations.


New 5% Back Capital One Walmart Cards [2020]

If you do regular shopping at WalMart then you might be interested in a new Capital One product coming out very soon. Capital One will soon be launching two new credit cards: the The Capital One Walmart Card  and the Walmart Rewards Card (store card to be used only at Walmart). These cards will be available beginning September 24, 2019.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

The Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard

The Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard will offer the following perks.

Sign-up bonus

  • 5% back on in-store purchases when using Walmart Pay for the first 12 months after approval as a special introductory offer

Bonus categories

  • 5% back on purchases at, inclusive of Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery.
  • 2% back on Walmart purchases in stores outside of the introductory offer.
  • 2% back on restaurants and travel.
  • 1% percent back everywhere else.

This could be a great option for people who are heavy WalMart shoppers, as getting 5% back on all of these purchases is very nice. For those who combine daily-needs shopping with groceries at Walmart, this could amount to significant earning potential that would out perform some of the best daily drivers and grocery store cards. And you might be able to leverage 5% on popular gift cards as well but we’ll see.

The rest of the bonus categories are pretty average and I wouldn’t want to use this card to maximize rewards for them but it’s still nice having a 2% minimum cash back rate on popular categories like restaurants and travel. If you don’t want to mess around with many different cards, this could be a good option.

Additional features

Here are some of the additional features:

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
  • The ability to redeem rewards at any time for travel, gift cards, during online checkout at, for recent purchases, and statement credits.

Credit card strategy tip

I’d be sure to hit up the best Chase cards first like the Chase Sapphire Preferred which offers 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. As long as you haven’t opened up five accounts in the past 24 months, the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve are going to be better options to go with first before choosing to go with store cards.

Application process

Capital One will make the application process a little bit easier for a lot of people. Customers will be able to apply for the new card at, the Walmart app, or at, and also text to apply from anywhere (I imagine they’ll be placing many ads in Walmart stores for this).

Once an applicant is approved, they will receive immediate access to their card for Walmart purchases.

Walmart Rewards cardholders will earn the same 5% back on purchases made at and on the Walmart app; the 5% introductory offer for using Walmart Pay in stores for the first 12 months after approval and an unlimited 2% back on Walmart purchases in stores outside of the introductory offer; and 2% back at Walmart Fuel Stations. So even the store cards will offer pretty decent earnings.

Current Walmart cardholders will be converted to the Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard or the Walmart Rewards Card and will start earning these new rewards starting October 11, with updated cards arriving in the mail beginning in November. Current cardholders will also be eligible to earn 5% back when they use their card with Walmart’s mobile payment solution, Walmart Pay, for in-store purchases through October 14, 2020.

Final word

This is a very interesting option for WalMart shoppers. Earning 5% online (and in-store the first 12 months), could set some people up for great long-term earning potential. The other bonus categories aren’t very special since you can do just as good or better with a 2% cash back card but for the heavy WalMart shopper, this could be a great option to go with.

H/T: Press Release

The Citi Double Cash May Convert Rewards to ThankYou points 1:1!

It seems like there are a lot of rumors swirling around right now. We’ve got exciting rumors about big changes coming to the Amex Green Card and now there are more rumors about the ability to convert Citi Double Cash cash rewards into Citi ThankYou points. If these latest rumors are true, this could be a huge game changer for your everyday spend. 

The new Citi Double Cash changes 

Citi already announced that beginning in the fall of 2019, the Citi Double Cash will allow you to convert cash rewards from your Double Cash to Citi ThankYou points. Here’s what the changes state: 

Coming in Fall 2019 your Citi Double Cash Card will allow you to convert your cash rewards to ThankYou Points which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, purchases at select retailers, and more. For more details, please review the terms and conditions of your Citi Double Cash Card and the terms and conditions at

We’ve known this change is coming for some time but we didn’t know what the transfer ratio would be. But now multiple people have reported that Citi reps have confirmed that as of 9/21 (or 9/23) the transfer ratio will be $1:100 ThankYou Points. This means that your Double Cash points will convert to Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio.  

This is huge because it transforms the Double Cash into arguably the most valuable travel rewards card for everyday spend for a lot of people. It will give the Amex Blue Business Plus a run for its money (that card earns 2X Membership Rewards on up to $50,000 in spend per year). 

But there still is a little bit we don’t know….

We need confirmation 

First, we need to get this 1:1 change confirmed from Citi in a public release. I think it’s likely true given how many people have reported Citi agents confirming this, but I don’t think we can take this as a fact until we see it officially announced by Citi. 

The next question is will you be able to transfer these points to travel partners? Not all ThankYou points can be transferred to travel partners so this isn’t outside the realm of possibilities. 

It’s possible that these points won’t be transferrable to travel partners or Citi may require you to hold a Premier or Prestige in order to transfer them similar to how Chase requires you to have a Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, etc. to transfer points. 

You may need a Premier or Prestige to convert your points.

A new trifecta/quadfecta?

The Double Cash will continue to earn 2% back on all purchases which could work great in conjunction with other ThankYou points earning cards and form a pretty sweet trifecta or quadfecta. 

If you’re wondering about other ThankYou earning cards and how they compare, here’s a quick breakdown: 

Citi Premier 

  • 3X on travel (including gas)
  • 2X on dining and entertainment 

Citi Prestige

  • 5X on airfare
  • 5X on dining 
  • 3X on hotels and cruises 

Citi Rewards+ Card

  • 2X at Supermarkets & Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year
  • Rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase

So as you can see, there’s a need for a ThankYou points earning card for non-bonused spending and the Double Cash could be a great option for that if the transfer ratios are actually 1:1. With the Prestige, Premier, and Double Cash, you could be earning: 

  • 5X on airfare
  • 5X on dining 
  • 3X on travel
  • 3X on gas
  • 2X on all other purchases 

Even though Citi has dropped a lot of benefits and protections, that’s still a very stout line-up of bonus categories. 

Citi ThankYou partners

Here’s a list of Citi ThankYou partners in case you need to be refreshed:

  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue
  • JetBlue TrueBlue 
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

These airlines aren’t quite as popular as partners for Amex or Chase but there are still some high-quality transfer partners. 

Final word

While we are awaiting confirmation, it does seem likely that the transfer ratio will be 1:1, which is very exciting. We just need additional confirmation that the ThankYou Points can be transferred to travel partners (and how that will happen). If/when that happens, the Double Cash will immediately become a no-brainer. 

H/T: Reddit/DOC

New Business Green Rewards Card Limited Time Offer

Offers contained within this article maybe expired.

The Business Green Rewards Card from American Express is now offering a new limited-time offer. Anytime there is a limited time offer it is very tempting to jump blindly on the offer so that you do not miss out. In this case though you really want to examine the alternatives you have for the offer because this limited time offer is just not that attractive. Here is a look at the new Business Green Rewards Card offer.

The new Business Green Rewards Card offer

  • Earn 3X on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases during the first three months of card membership on:
    • U.S. Restaurants
    • Hotels (booked directly)
    • Airfare (booked directly)
  • 2X on American Express Travel purchases.
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee
  • This offer expires on November 6, 2019.

This is probably not a limited time offer that you want to jump on. Essentially, the limited time offer gives you half of the earning potential of the card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but only gives it to you for up to $50,000 in spend and only for three months. This is just not an attractive offer whatsoever, in my opinion.

Instead, if you are in the market for a new card you are much better off going with a different type of rewards card that sets you up for long-term earnings. If you are under Chase 5/24 (five accounts opened up in the last 24 months), I’d go with the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card or Chase Ink Cash over this card any day.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has a high sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. The card also earns 3X per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on all of the following categories:

  • Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets and taxis
  • Shipping purchases
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • Internet, cable and phone services

The Chase Ink Cash earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at:

  • Internet
  • Cable
  • Phone services
  • Office supply stores

And it also earns 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year at:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants

You might also think about the Amex Business Gold Card, which allows you to earn 4X points on the two select categories where your business spends the most each month and it applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these two categories each calendar year.

You can choose from the following:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media 
    (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select 
    technology providers of computer hardware, 
    software, and cloud solutions
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping

The Amex Business Gold Card does come with a very high annual fee of $295, though, and it currently does not offer a standard welcome bonus of Membership Rewards.

Or if you are in the market for a personal rewards card then going forth the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred would be a much better option if you are under 5/24.

Sometimes when it comes to these niche offers it is possible to find a group of people who would benefit a lot from them. But in this case, I just don’t see people benefiting a lot from this card when there are other options that will serve your needs much better in the long-term and also offer better short-term returns.

Final word

Obviously, I am not too excited about this offer. However, it is interesting that the rumors are circulating about the changes to the personal Green Card right now and this new offer just came out for the business version. This could be more evidence that we will see changes to the personal Green Card very soon. Let’s just hope that they are much more impressive than these limited time changes.

Amex Green Card Rumors (Changes Coming Soon?)

Offers contained within this article maybe expired.

There have been rumors going around since early 2019 that the American Express Green Card is going to be substantially revamped. While I’m still not 100% sure about the validity of these rumors, a revamp seems to be imminent now.

Amex Green cards have been pulled from new applicants and several people have received “pre-offers” for the Green Card which might go by the name of the “Amex Preferred Rewards Green Card.”

Below, I’ll talk about what these rumors entail and what you might want to do to prepare for the new card! 

The American Express Green Card

If you don’t already know, the American Express Green Card is arguably one of the least valuable rewards credit cards. It earns a basic 1X on (virtually) every type of purchase and does not really come with any kind of valuable benefits that would justify its $95 annual fee when considering alternatives.

Its only saving grace is that it can be a decent option to downgrade to to avoid higher annual fees/keep your account open and that it sometimes comes with a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.

But soon our outlook on this card could all be changing and in a big way.

The Green Card Rumors

It is rumored that the American Express Green Card will come with the following benefits:

  • 35,000 Welcome bonus
  • 4X on gas purchases
  • 3X on streaming services
  • Amazon Prime benefit
  • Away luggage

It’s not clear what will happen to the $95 annual fee but if the current pattern by American Express is any indication that annual fee will likely go up and probably go up substantially.

35K Welcome bonus

A 35,000 welcome bonus after $1,000 in spend would be very solid for this card with a reasonable annual fee and would be better than the prior 25K offers. I’m sure many will be attracted to this card with such a high bonus (for a lower-tier card like this).

If you already received a bonus for the Green Card, I doubt you will be eligible for this card. 

4X on gas

Earning 4X on gas purchases (which will likely be limited to US gas stations) would be very significant. You can find some cards that offer as much as 5% back at gas stations but that is virtually always limited to cash back and there are usually limitations with those cards. So earning 4X on gas with a transferable currency like Membership Rewards is extremely exciting.

3X on streaming

Earning 3X on the streaming services is not that exciting to me because most people probably don’t spend that much on them. I know that we have a hand full of streaming services that would qualify for this but in the end I would only be earning a couple of hundred Membership Rewards a month so this would not be that major of a benefit.

Amazon Prime

The Amazon Prime benefit would absolutely be key and make this card a true keeper for many. Last year, Amazon increased the price of Amazon Prime to $119 dollars per year. So many people use Amazon Prime that it would be very easy to offset $119 dollars of any annual fee.

So then it would really just be a matter of earning enough in gas and streaming rewards to offset the difference of any increased annual fee. For example if the annual fee was increased to $150, you would just need to earn about $30 in gas rewards per year to offset the annual fee with a Prime membership. That would be extremely easy to do for a lot of people.

So that kind of makes me question if the Amazon Prime benefit would actually work like that. Maybe they just offer an annual credit that is something like $15, $30, $49, etc.? Or maybe there will be a very substantial hike in the annual fee?

Who knows?

Away luggage

There may also be some type of partnership with Away Luggage. Again, this could be some type of credit or something.

I wanted to get this out to anybody who did not know about these rumors so that they could start planning to potentially pick up this card because it looks like it could be a very worthwhile option. 

If you have never had the Amex Green Card before, I would not downgrade any cards to it so that you potentially don’t lose out on the welcome bonus. By the way, getting advice on upgrades/downgrades is something that I’m hoping to automate with WalletFlo, so in the future, you’ll know exactly what to do without having to think about it.

Final Word

These are exciting rumors. It definitely seems in-line with what American Express has been doing recently with new changes, so it would not surprise me to see a major overhaul of this card very soon. So just keep an eye out for the changes and be prepared to adjust your credit card strategy accordingly.

H/T: DoC

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