AskMrCreditCard.com Daily Recap: 11th September 2012

By Mr Credit Card

I sent my Macbook Pro to the Apple Store a couple of weeks ago to fix some issues and I ended up having to be without it for close to 10 days. It’s great to have it back. So here again are some highlights from the site and from around the web.

From our site

1. 50,000 Bonus Points From American Express.
Last week, Amex bumped up their sign up bonus for the business version of their gold card to 50,000 MR points. You would need to spend $5,000 within three months to get it. But this appears to be their annual ritual of giving huge sign up bonuses for a limited time. It is good until 25th November 2012. The only bummer is that this promotion is starting at a time when Membership Rewards is having airline miles transfer bonuses (and some of them end soon). For example, you can now get 40% bonus when you transfer MR points to BA Avios (ends 27th September 2012). And you can also get a 35% bonus for transferring points to Flying Blue miles. But it ends on 16th September 2012 (so no time to get the card and spend $5k so soon!).

But nevertheless, this sign up bonus is rather generous by Amex standard and you should take advantage of this.

2. The definition of Costco Gas Stations.
When it comes to earning gas cash back on regular creditc cards that earn cash back, many folks assume you can earn those rebates from all gas stations. It turns out that not all gas stations are equal. Some are considered to be “standalone”. Examples would include Sunnoco, BP, Shell etc. Costco, on the hand, is classified as a discount warehouse and so their gas stations are not considered “standalone”. That means no extra cash back from other gas cards. Only a Costco affinity would allow you to earn 3% cash back! So if you fill up at Costco, make sure you use their card to pay!

3. Update review of Macy’s Store Card
I just found out that one of our writers, Christina, actually has the Macys’s store card. So I asked her to update the review accordingly!

From Around the Web

Starwood Better By The Night Promotion Open For Registration
Starwood will have a “better by the night” promotion from 1st October to 20th December. When you book for one or two nights at eligible hotels, you can earn double points. If you book for three nights or more, you can earn triple points. So if you intend to stay at a Starwood Hotel, you should sign up now.

MR to BA 40% Bonus
Deadline is 27th September. Transfer MR points to BA Avios and get 40% extra bonus. If you sign up for the business version of the gold card (review here, you can get 50,000 bonus points if you spend $5k in a hurry. If you can convert them to BA Avois by the deadline, that would be sweet as well.

MR to Flying Blue (KLM and Air France) – 35% Bonus
The second MR promotion going on now involves Flying BLue miles (KLM and Air France). This ones ends on 16 September. Transfer MR points to Flying Blue and get 35% bonus. Here is a great post on ways to make use of FLying Blue miles.

Part 1: Introduction to ITA Fare Matrix
Part of a 3 part series by Hack My Trip. Great read for frequent flyers and also for FF beginners. After reading this series, you will probably take a jump to the intermediate status. Part 2 appears here

You can no longer check your skymiles at award wallet and many folks are pissed
Delta has joined American Airlines and SouthWest by not allowing award wallet to show consumers the status of their Delta Skymiles. Many frequent flyers are absolutely livid about this. And there are more than enough post today ranting about the topic. Here is a contrarian view

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  • Walmart 15 cents per gallon Gas Rollback Savings

    By Mr Credit Card

    Walmart has announced a savings program for those who shop at their gasoline stations. This program is good until 24th December 2012 and is valid in some states. This is how it works.

    You will save on gasoline at Walmart gas stations if you use a Walmart gift card, their prepaid MoneyCard or their credit cards. The gas rollback savings is available in the following states:

    Arkansas, Alabama*, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia

    Gift Cards – If you get a Walmart gift card and use it at their gas stations, then you can save 10 cents a gallon each time you pay with the gift card. The savings could amount to more than a dollar per fill depending on how much you fill it up! For the gift card, the offer is not valid at gas stations in AL. You get only 5¢ per gallon discount in FL and 3¢ per gallon discount in OK and MN.

    Walmart Money Card – Holders of the Walmart Money Card can save 15 cents per gallon each time they use it to fill gas at Walmart stations. For the Money Card, it is not valid in Oklahoma, Florida, Minnesota or Alabama.

    Walmart Credit Cards – If you have either the Walmart store card or the Walmart Discover Card can also save 15 cents per gallon when you use their card at Walmart stations.

    In Alabama and Florida, the savings amount to 5 cents per gallon due to state laws. The savings are also applicable to Murphy’s gas stations.

    Only at Walmart – Some of you might think that since you already have a regular gas credit card, you will be able to use those cards at Walmart stations. But Walmart is not considered a standalone gas station as it is a discount superstore. Hence, regular all-station gas cards will not earn you any extra cash back or points here.

    If you already have one of these cards, and you find that the Walmart station near your house is cheaper than regular ones, then please remember to use your card since it can really add to quite a bit of savings up until close to the end of the year.

    If you are on the verge of considering getting a Walmart related card like that Walmart Money Card, then perhaps this will make it more attractive.

    References
    Walmart Gas Rollback Program

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  • SPG 30,000 Bonus Sign Up Ending 4th September 2012

    By Mr Credit Card

    The SPG 30,000 bonus offer on both their consumer and business cards will expire tomorrow. So this is really the last day to get on this if you have been thinking about signing up for the card. The normal bonus is 25,000 points and they have a special bump up once a year. If if you miss the boat here, you have to wait a bit for them to increase the sign up bonus from their usual base level.

    There’s something to take note of here. You need to be approved by 4th September for you to get this sign up bonus. So if you apply today and do not get instantly approved, then you might miss out of the 30k bonus. So make sure that your credit score is in decent shape before you apply.

    One of the interesting thing to note is that if you get this card, you will get 5 nights and 2 stays that will count towards your elite status. What many people do not know is that if you also get the business version in addition to the consumer version, you will also get an additional 5 qualifying nights and 2 stays. So in total, you’ll get 10 qualifying night and 2 stays if you have both cards. This will go a long way towards your qualification of elite status.

    Here is a quick recap of how to earn the 30k points. After your first use of the card, you will earn 10,000 points. And if you spend $5,000 within 6 months, you will get the additional 20,000 points, making it a total of 30k.

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  • Hilton HHonors Shop To Earn – Preview

    By Mr Credit Card

    Hilton HHonors has announced the launch of their online shopping portal called “Shop to Earn”1. It resemble other online shopping portals by credit cards and affinity programs in that they partner with online merchants and allow their members to earn extra HH points by shopping through the portal and using their card (rather than shopping directly with the merchant). This essentially allows the HH member to earn even more points from their online shopping moments (most likely to be in peak season during the Christmas Holiday season).

    I recently did a study on credit card online shopping portals. So here are some statistics with regards to the number of merchant partners, they have 258 partners. This number is sure to increase over time. When we did our credit card shopping portal survey, one of the things we noticed was the great overlap of merchant partners among different portals. For example, you are likely to find Macys in Discover, Chase, Citi, BOA etc. And they may give you different points per value (or cash back percentage) depending on which card (or rather issuer) you use. In that survey, we found that Discover gave the most rebates consistently if their merchants were also found on other portals.

    When I looked at Hilton’s merchants, I noticed fewer overlaps with other portals or frequent flyer programs. This tells me that they have quite a few unique merchants (which should please Hilton members). The key thing here is that even if there is a merchant overlap and Hilton pays less points, your main priority of shopping on this portal is to maximize your HH points. So this should not really be a concern.

    As far as I’m concerned, this is great news for HH members because it is another means to earn more HH points. This launch comes on top of their recent launch of the Citi&#174 Hilton HHonorsTM Reserve Card, where we estimate that their sign up bonus could be worth up to 100,000 points.

    Below is s scrolling video of all their merchant partners2 for those of you who are curious.

    References
    1. Hilton HHonors Launches Global Shop-to-Earn Mall
    2. Shop To Earn

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  • AskMrCreditCard Daily Recap 17th August 2012

    By Mr Credit Card

    From our site

  • Chase is revamping the Sapphire Preferred Card
    Chase will be revamping the Chase Sapphire Preferred(SM) Card. The existing 40,000 bonus points offer is still good until Monday morning. What will be the sign up bonus be like when it is “revamped”? Who knows? They went from 50,000 to 40,000. It might be lower or higher (unlikely). It might stay the same and require higher spend limits. Anyhow, if you are on the fence, then you might want to pull the trigger over the weekend.
  • American Airlines Contest: Custom Vacation Package including 200,000 AA miles!
    American Airlines is having a contest now. You stand to get 200,000 AA miles and 6 nights stay at a Hilton Hotel. Better sign up.

    From Around the Web

  • There is always a first time taking a cruise
    You may like it or you may find that it is not your cup of tea. But chances are that you will come away with some great photos! Check out this writeup on an Alaska cruise trip.
  • Wanna Fly First Class to Hawaii for $328?
    There are always hacks and arbitrage around. And this one is a cool one I’ve seen in a while. Availability may be limited since it is “out on the web”. But it is always good to know. And who knows, you might be lucky enough to get a seat.
  • And here’s how to reduce the price to below $300!
    This is part 2 of the previous post with an even more interesting hack to “reduce” the price for that Hawaiian getaway!
  • Win 2 tickets on Singapore’s 19th A380 Airbus Delivery
    Singapore Airlines is giving away tickets for 2 to celebrate the delivery of their 19th A380 Airbus plane. You will get a behind the scenes tour at the Toulouse factory (land on 4th September 2012 with 2 nights stay) and depart for Singapore on 6th September 2012 for the “delivery”. The prize will be a pair of economy tickets from Singapore back to Toulouse. To enter, you have to sign up for a Singapore Airlines “Passport” by 28th August 2012 2359 GMT +8 (ie 2359 Singapore time). Draw will be held on 29th August 2012.
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