Middle Age Miles

Middle Age Miles News & Notes 9/16/19 – Citi Double Cash; Choice Privileges points sale; eBags high portal rates; Ticket Club 5% off today

A few quick items for “News & Notes” on a Monday morning after a very fun college football weekend at Notre Dame with our friends Ed & Marilyn from Canada’s Edventure blog.

The Edventure & Middle Age Miles crew at Notre Dame Stadium
Touchdown Jesus gets Ed’s famous “recreating the pose” treatment
(we did a poor job of preparing him that his shirt
should say “Ireland” & not “Scotland”!)
Middle Age Miles tailgating with our buddy Tom’s famous & tasty meatball sandwich
Here Come the Irish
Good day for the Irish and a tough one for New Mexico in a 66-14 ND win

To read a bit more about the weekend trip, plus Edventure’s time exploring Chicago before heading over to South Bend, check out their article here:

Moving on to the News & Notes:

1. Rumors Abound About TYP Earning on the Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash card

On Friday, Doctor of Credit reported that Citi Double Cash rewards, currently given in the form of cash back, will be convertible to Citi ThankYou Points (TYPs) at a 1:1 rate, starting on September 23.

Other blogs have picked up on this and reported it as fact, although as far as we can tell, the only source of new information in the Doctor of Credit article (or subsequent comments) is from a Reddit user who commented that a Citi phone agent told him this information. It does appear that Citi intends for Double Cash rewards to be convertible to TYPs at some point in Fall 2019, given that Citi provided an account message to cardholders to that effect within the past 2-3 months.

Citi Double Cash rewards currently are basically 2% cash back on all purchases – 1% when the purchase is made and another 1% when paid. The card has no annual fee. And we’ve long been contemplating adding a Citi Double Cash card, even if the rewards continued to be only in the form of cash back, as we discussed in this article:

We’re still anxious to hear a more formal confirmation from Citi of the exact terms and timing of this seemingly upcoming change. If the terms are what we hope, this could make the Double Cash card even better for many people and a must-have for us. Still, there are lingering questions, such as:

  • Will Double Cash rewards truly be convertible to TYPs at a 1:1 rate?
  • What is the correct timing for this change?
  • Will you be able to link/connect your Double Cash card to the ThankYou accounts with other premium cards such as Citi Prestige, Premier and Rewards+?
  • Will TYPs from the Double Cash card be like “normal” TYPs from the Prestige/Premier, etc., or will they be restricted in some way, like TYPs earned through Citi checking accounts?
  • Will TYPs from the Double Cash card be redeemable through the ThankYou travel portal at 1.25 cents per point if you hold a Premier card and have linked/connected your ThankYou accounts?
  • Will TYPs from the Double Cash card be convertible to airline miles?

Once we have more solid answers to these questions, we’ll provide a full follow-up article and review on Middle Age Miles.

2. Choice Privileges Points Sale Today & Tomorrow (Sept 16-17)

Choice Privileges has a points sale that extends through midnight tomorrow (technically, 11:59 pm Eastern time). If you purchase at least 5,000 Choice points, you’ll receive a 30% discount. The discount results in a purchase price of 0.77 cents per Choice point.

In connection with this sale, Choice has also increased the maximum number of points you can purchase to 250,000 (up from the normal limit of 120,000 points per year).

Our baseline value of Choice points is 0.5 cents per point (cpp), although we think this valuation may be a bit too low. We have recently been purchasers of Choice points during Daily Getaways for the past couple of years in the range of 0.5 to 0.55 cpp. It’s certainly possible to get much more than the current sale price of 0.77 cpp with certain specific redemptions, particularly in Scandinavia at Nordic Choice hotels, but also potentially with former Sercotel Hotels in Spain and through Choice’s partnership with Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

You can learn much more about Choice Privileges, including some redemption sweet spots, in our extensive article here:

Choice Privileges points are sold by points.com, so use a card that earns bonus points for online purchases, or maximizes daily spend, or moves you toward a sign-up retention bonus or high-spend threshold. To purchase points, go to this landing page and sign in to your Choice Privileges account (not an affiliate link):

3. eBags Is Showing Some Great Portal Rates This Week, Including 30% Cash Back at Upromise

eBags has a 30% cash back rate at Upromise this week

eBags is often a favorite of the miles-and-points crowd for great shopping portal returns and stacking opportunities to purchase luggage for less. We’ve bought plenty of suitcases through eBags over the past several years.

This morning, we’re noticing that eBags is showing some historically high rates on several shopping portals, including a whopping 30% cash back through Upromise. Other increased portal rates for eBags as of this morning include:

  • Alaska Mileage Plan: 20 miles/$ (30% return at 1.5 cents per mile)
  • United Mileage Plus: 20 miles/$ (28% return at 1.4 cents per mile)
  • American AAdvantage: 18 miles/$ (22.5% return at 1.25 cents per mile; note that for today only this can stack with the AAdvantage eShopping bonus that we reported in last Monday’s News & Notes article)
  • Delta Sky Miles: 12 miles/$ (14.4% return at 1.2 cents per mile)

Unfortunately for stacking opportunities, it looks like the Amex Offer for eBags purchases – $20 statement credit or 2,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points when you spend $100+ – recently expired.

4. Ticket Club 5% Off Code – Today Only

If you’re a regular reader of Middle Age Miles, you know that we’re pretty big fans of Ticket Club, a ticket resale site where you can purchase tickets with no service fees (if you have a membership, which you can get for free). We’ve written about Ticket Club here (non-sponsored post, and we’re not affiliated with Ticket Club in any way):

Ticket Club runs periodic 5% off promotions, and we’re seeing one today – save 5% when you enter code TCAUTUMN5 at checkout. The code is good for today only, so jump on this deal if you’re needing to purchase event tickets on the secondary market!

We have tons more to cover, but we want to get this article with time-sensitive information out before lunchtime! Stay tuned for more information and deals in tomorrow’s Middle Age Miles “News & Notes” article!

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4 thoughts on “Middle Age Miles News & Notes 9/16/19 – Citi Double Cash; Choice Privileges points sale; eBags high portal rates; Ticket Club 5% off today

  1. Bob


    I have been reading your posts with great interest over the last several months. Despite your vice of being a Fighting Irish fan (I’m a West Point grad and an Army fan, myself), I can really relate to your writing, given my “advanced” middle age. I won’t divulge my years count, but I will say that I’ve “retired” three times so far . . . What has caused me to move out of my online “lurking” in the shadows to post this comment is the real possibilities of the Citi DoubleCash rumors.

    Specifically, if the TY points transfers are favorable (i.e., earn at 2 points per $1 spent and transferred to TY points at 1:1), the DoubleCash card instantly (because of it being a Mastercard) becomes a serious “go to” card for not only “everyday” spend, but more importantly, but also THE “go to” card for Plastiq payments (except for any other MC one is going for bonus spend on).

    The math is very compelling (at least for me). I use a “blended” rate of return on points/miles valuation (averaging what you, FM, OMAAT, and TPG use as their values). Granted, I’m too lazy to calculate my own specific valuations, but I do know enough about my reimbursement patterns over the last few years to feel most comfortable using this blended valuation.

    I value TY points at 1.53 cents each (compared to your 1.25 cents valuation). Using my valuation, each Plastiq transaction using the new DoubleCash card (if the rumors hold true) more than offsets the 2.5% Plastiq fee (since it earns points at a 2x rate) and will result in a 0.56 cent “profit” per dollar spent. Using your valuation of 1.25 cents per point, a Plastiq transaction is a break even transaction (i.e., you pick up TY points for “free”)..

    Given that Mastercards (like Discover) can be used for virtually any category of Plastiq transactions (most especially, mortgages, rent, etc.) it would beat virtually any other card for Plastiq payments.

    So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rumors are true and that an emerging Citi trifecta (or even quadfecta) of the Prestige and/or Premier, Rewards+, and DoubleCash materializes. Together, these may just offset the Citi elimination of the card protections and the diminished 4th night free benefit.


    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Bob – Many thanks for the super-kind comment. I really appreciate you being a regular MAM reader, and I’m very glad that our voice fits your travel and points-earning style.

      Great analysis of the Citi Double Cash TYP-earning situation. I share your enthusiasm if it’s truly an unlimited 1:1 conversion opportunity to TYPs that can be transferred to airline partners and used through the Citi travel portal at 1.25 cents (if paired with the Premier card). I also agree with you that Double Cash could become a very good play with Plastiq. Several months ago, I mentioned in my Feb 28 article about converting a Citi AA Platinum card (the one I linked in this article) that Double Cash could be a best-in-class “killer” card in connection with certain Plastiq promos. That proposition would become even better if TYP conversions come to fruition in the form that we hope.

      I’m only holding back my enthusiasm for the moment because the devil can be in the details on these things. If it’s truly as good as it seems it may be, this is a fantastic development. I’m with you on keeping fingers crossed!

      You made me laugh with the Fighting Irish comment 🙂 As I’m sure you know, I’m “Adopted Irish” by virtue of marrying my ND grad bride – but you’re right, I’ve embraced it. Thank you for your service, and Go Army! ~Craig

  2. NK3

    The Thankyou Points (TYP) that come from a checking account are taxable, and that is that categorization that determines what can be done with them (e.g. taxable points cannot be transferred to airline partners). This holds true for courtesy points. For example, one retention offer I received was 5K TYP without a spend requirement; those were taxable and could not be transferred. When I had a retention offer with a spend requirement (5K TYP after spending $1K), those were not taxable and could be transferred. When DC rewards have the option of becoming TYP, they should not be taxable.

    I think I would add a few other points that need clarification:
    –Will there be a cap on the DC rewards that can become TYP each year? Amex Blue Business Plus has a $50K limit for 2x earnings. Citi also has limits to TYP transfers to other accounts, so I think this is plausible. The Rewards+ also limits the 10% points rebate.
    –When the DC rewards become TYP, will they have a short expiration date? TYP transferred to other accounts have expiration dates, as do points after closing an account, so I think there is precedent for this as well.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi NK3 – Outstanding comment. Thanks for the info on the characteristics of TYPs and how that impacts their taxability and transferability. I agree with your additional questions that will need clarification and that will matter in terms of how valuable the seemingly-forthcoming conversion option becomes.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to weigh in here. ~Craig

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