Well, it’s the first day of the month and the first day of a new quarter. That means lots of new deals and quarterly promotions become available. We’ve already covered the Chase Freedom 5x bonus categories for 4Q19 – Department Stores, PayPal and Chase Pay. In today’s “News & Notes,” we’ll touch on some more great new deals and promotions, as well as remind everyone of another interesting deal that expires today!
1. New Amex Delta card benefits and sign-up bonus offers
There’s huge news over the past 2 days with the Amex Delta co-branded cards – and there are a lot of them! Given that we’re mostly AA/OneWorld flyers as we’re based in the DFW area, we’ll turn these deals over to those who have more expertise in the field.
First, here’s a great Frequent Miler article on the new benefits and changes to each of the Amex Delta cards, beginning on January 30, 2020:
- Frequent Miler: Delta Credit Cards: Huge Changes Coming (September 30, 2019)
And next, here’s Doctor of Credit on the increased and now-live sign-up bonus offers on Amex Delta cards:
- Doctor of Credit: Increased American Express Delta Offers (Now Live) (October 1, 2019)
Between the increased sign-up bonuses, the new benefits coming in a few months, and the fact that annual fees will be increasing on many Amex Delta cards next year, one of our key takeaways is that the next 3 months will be a great time to apply for the Amex Delta cards if you’re interested in them. That will lock in the lower current annual fee for your first year, while also getting the upside of the enhanced benefits taking effect on 1/30/20.
2. Last Day for the Amex 1.4x Transfer Bonus to BA/Iberia/Aer Lingus Avios
For the past few weeks, Amex has been running a 40% transfer bonus when you convert Membership Rewards (MR) points into Avios in the British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus programs. With the bonus, 1,000 MR points will convert into 1,400 Avios in any of the 3 programs.
The sweet spots of the Avios programs are far beyond the scope of this article, but if you’re interested in the transfer bonus, you’re probably at least generally aware of them. We’ve had great luck using BA Avios to get outsized value on short-haul flights, both within North America and abroad.
Today (10/1/19) is the last day for this promotion, so transfer points today if you’re interested in taking advantage of this deal!
3. Awesome Amex Offers unveiled today
Today felt like Christmas morning at Middle Age Miles when we logged into our Amex accounts to find several fantastic new Amex Offers, including Offers for MGM Resorts, Staples, Sam’s Club and Best Western. The Staples Offer seems to be targeted, but the others appear to be widely available. We also received a targeted offer for bonus MR points based on spend, on a Business Platinum card.
Here are the Offers:
MGM Resorts in Vegas
We received 2 separate Offers for MGM Resorts:
- $100 statement credit when you spend $500+ at MGM’s higher-end properties in Vegas (Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, MGM Grand, The Signature at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Delano, Park MGM, NoMad and The Mirage)
- $50 statement credit when you spend $250+ at lower-end MGM properties in Vegas and some other MGM properties across the US (New York New York, Luxor, and Excalibur in Vegas; Beau Rivage Gold Strike, Borgata, MGM National Harbor, and MGM Springfield)
We also found corresponding MR-earning Offers for these deals.
We wished for new MGM Amex Offers just last week. Now we have them, and they will stack brilliantly with the ongoing Hyatt worldwide and Hyatt-MGM promotions that we wrote about here:
- Middle Age Miles: Hyatt-MGM Fall 2019 Double Hyatt Points Promotion in Vegas – Great Stacking Opportunity! (September 24, 2019)
The Staples Offer is for a $25 statement credit when you spend at least $100 with Staples, either in-store or online. We also had a corresponding MR-earning Offer for this deal (2,500 MR points when you spend $100+).
In our experience, Amex Offers at Staples have worked fine on the purchase of gift cards, including Visa and Mastercard gift cards. In an incredibly fortunate coincidence, Staples has a promotion this week for fee-free purchases of $200 Visa gift cards, which we covered in other recent “News & Notes” articles:
- Middle Age Miles: News & Notes 9/27/19 (including Staples fee-free VGCs)
The new Sam’s Club Amex Offer comes in a different format. It’s a bonus offer to earn 4x additional MR points per dollar spent with Sam’s Club, from now through 12/31/19. The Offer is good both in-store and online. Reading the terms and conditions, we don’t see any cap on the earnings, and we don’t see any exclusion for the purchase of gift cards.
To date, we have consistently received MR points on purchases of gift cards at Sam’s, including Visa and Mastercard gift cards. Just be aware, though, that Amex has been aggressively trying to eliminate points-earning on gift card purchases recently. For now, though, this is an exceptional Offer.
We believe this one came out a few days ago, but we wanted to highlight it. Get a $20 statement credit when you spend at least $100 at a Best Western hotel, from now through 11/25/19. We also found a corresponding MR-earning version of this Offer.
This Offer will stack nicely with Best Western’s current “Rewards Rush” promotions that we covered in these articles:
- Middle Age Miles: Round-Up of Fall 2019 Hotel Chain Points Promotions – Accor, Best Western, Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Radisson (September 17, 2019) (discussing “Rewards Rush” for US/Canada/Caribbean)
- Middle Age Miles: News & Notes 9/19/19 (discussing “Rewards Rush” double-points promotion for other international Best Western stays)
Targeted Big-Spend Offer
On one of our Amex cards (Philly’s Business Platinum card, we also discovered a targeted big-spend Offer – 9,000 bonus MR points when spending $15,000+. This Offer may be used up to 3 times (maximum 27,000 bonus MR points), and it’s good through 12/31/19.
We’re not sure whether we’ll actually use this Offer. For starters, we’d only want to use it in a situation where we have an expense of at least $5,000, where we could earn 1.5x MR points on the Business Platinum. Otherwise, we’d be better off putting spend on a Blue Business Plus card with normal 2x MR earning on everything. With this bonus and $15,000 in charges consisting solely of $5,000+ purchases, we could bump that up a little bit, to 2.1x MR per dollar. We have tax bills coming up where that might be a possibility. On the one hand, though, we’re working on some big-spend bonuses, and our tax payments might be better placed on those cards.
There’s one other intangible factor that goes into this equation, which is that additional big spend on this card might put us in a better position to get a retention bonus on the card when it renews in early 2020.
At the end of the day, we probably won’t use this Offer, but it’s an interesting one – and you may have received a more lucrative targeted Offer that’s similar to this one!
4. Payce users – quick reminder to re-enroll in all bonus-earning offers
We have enrolled in the Payce program within the past few weeks (www.paycepays.com), and we’re in the midst of experimenting with it.
The Payce program includes in-store bonus offers, generally 5%, at a number of merchants (roughly 30 each month in our accounts). You have to re-enroll in the offers at the beginning of each month, so this is a reminder to everyone to re-enroll today.
The express terms of the Payce program exclude gift card purchases from earning cash back through the in-store offers. We’re not sure yet how this works in practice. One thing we’ve learned so far is that Payce takes a very long time for cash back to actually post – we’ve had several charged that have remained in “Pending” status for weeks.
5. Other 4Q19 Bonus Opportunities
We already published an article covering 5x UR earning on the Chase Freedom card for 4Q19, but for other cards with quarterly bonus categories, we’ll again turn to Doctor of Credit as the expert. DoC can help you with the 4th quarter bonus categories for Discover It, Citi Dividend and US Bank Cash+ cards:
- Doctor of Credit: Q4 2019 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom, Discover, Dividend, Cash+) (September 16, 2019)
Bonus categories for these cards include:
- Discover IT
- Amazon.com; Target in-store; Target.com; Walmart.com (Walmart in-store is excluded)
- 5%, up to $1,500 maximum purchases
- Citi Dividend
- Best Buy (in-store or online); Department Stores
- 5%, up to annual cap of $6,000 for all 4 quarters in a calendar year combined
- US Bank Cash+
- Select 2 categories from the following: (1) TV, Internet & streaming services; (2) Home utilities; (3) Select clothing stores; (4) Cell phone providers; (5) Electronic stores; (6) Gyms/fitness; (7) Fast food; (8) Ground transportation; (9) Sporting goods; (10) Department stores; (11) Furniture stores; (12) Movie theaters
- 5%, up to $2,000 combined total purchases
Well, that’s a wrap for a very exciting “News & Notes” article for today. We hope you can make the most of several of the great deals we’ve featured today!
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