Last Codes Of The Year

I thought this worked pretty well last time. Instead of posting AwardWallet upgrade codes that are gone within minutes, just email me if you need one. Seems like that little bit of extra effort makes them last longer. There’s a Contact button on the top of the page, as many of you already know. If I don’t write back within a day, that means I ran out of codes and got swamped by the emails. I think this is the most fair way to do it, but please let me know if you come up with a better system. Thanks!

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milenerdLast Codes Of The Year

The Top 25 Credit Cards

(If you see any errors or missing cards, please let me know. I try to keep a full list, but it’s a lot of information and I do make mistakes).

Time for the monthly edition of my Top 25 Credit Cards. Again, if you’re a newbie, make sure you read The Newbie Guide. Many of your questions will be answered there. Basic things like not applying for 3 Chase cards at the same time should be known before you continue. For people running out of cards, remember there’s often a Business card option. I listed a few here but not many, so it might be worth exploring more Business cards. Also, “churning” might be an option. The dates here were a guideline but things always tend to vary individually.

Miles and points aren’t an equal currency. 50,000 Delta Skymiles are worth less to me than 50,000 miles from pretty much any other airline. 25,000 Hyatt points are worth a ton more than 25,000 Hilton points. And so on. These links work right now (December 17th at midnight). If you read this later, many of the offers will have changed. Things move fast in this game so read the offer details before applying. Here we go! My Top 25 current credit cards in order are…

 

  • Platinum (Amex)
    • Spend $10,000 in 3 months. Get 100,000 points.
    • Not a traditional link, but a giant pile of valuable points.
    • Incredible benefits like access to Centurion lounges.
  • Business Gold Rewards (Amex)
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • This offer comes and goes all the time. Back for now.
    • Possibly 75,000 points? That’s why it’s #2.
  • Ritz Carlton (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 140,000 points.
    • Big $395 annual fee. But a travel credit of $300 makes that much better.
  • Ink Plus (Chase)
    • Spend $5,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • The points transfer to United, Southwest, British, Hyatt, etc.
    • 5 times the points on purchases at office stores.
    • Worth seeing if you can still get a 70,000-point offer in your local branch.
  • Sapphire (Chase)
    • Spend $4,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
    • Still very valuable points. See Ink cards above.
    • One of my favorite cards to use when I don’t have any spends to meet.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest aka SPG (American Express)
    • Spend $5,000 in 6 months. Get 25,000 points.
    • Incredible card. I really, really love cash + points for hotel stays.
    • I’m also a big fan of some of their 3,000-point properties.
    • The Business version of the card is here.
  • Barclay Arrival (Barclays)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • One of the best cards for actual spending, as discussed here.
  • American Airlines cards (Citibank)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Read the wiki post for the most current links.
    • Better public offers with lounge passes here?
  • US Airways (Barclays)
    • Spend $1. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Still a good time to grab your American and US Airways miles.
  • United Airlines (Chase)
    • Log in and see if you are targeted for the 50,000-mile offer.
    • This offer is also being pushed heavily in airports.
    • No luck? You can also try this link.
    • A good business version may still work here.
  • Southwest (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • Premier is the only working link as of today.
    • Great time to start working on your companion pass.
  • Mercedes Benz Platinum (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.
    • Big $475 fee but benefits like global entry credit and $200 credit.
    • A no-fee for the first year Platinum card is here.
    • Be on the lookout for MUCH better targeted Amex offers in your mailbox.
  • Hilton Honors Reserve (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,500 in 4 months. Get 2 weekend nights. Best Hilton card.
    • Gold status while you have the card. Upgrades, breakfast, internet, etc.
  • British Airways (Chase)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
    • If I were guessing, I’d say the 100,000-point offer will be back.
  • Club Carlson Premier (US Bank)
    • Spend $2,500 in 90 days. Get 85,000 points.
    • Great hotel card and not from the usual issuers.
  • InterContinental Hotel aka IHG aka Priority Club (Chase)
    • Spend $1,000. Get 80,000 points.
    • One of the most underrated hotel cards out there.
    • Hmm…seems like it’s redirecting to 60,000 as of today. I’ll keep an eye on it.
  • Hyatt (Chase)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 2 nights at any Hyatt.
    • Even more valuable after the point devaluation.
  • Fairmont Hotel (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 2 nights and breakfast at any Fairmont.
    • Again, many of these hotels are very expensive.
  • Alaska Airlines (Bank of America)
    • Spend $1. Get 25,000 miles.
    • Offer with statement credit here.
    • Bank of America cards can be MUCH more “churnable” than most.
  • Delta (Amex)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
    • Business link is here.
    • I think we all know how I feel about Delta.
  • Marriott (Chase)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points and a free night.
    • When all Flyertalk offers expire, the standard one is just ok. Log into your Marriott account for a possibly better targeted offer.
    • If you don’t need this one right now, I’d wait. Should be back to 70,000 soon.
    • The standard Business card links are here.
  • Premier Gold (Amex)
    • Possible 50,000 points, rather than the usual 25,000.
    • A bit of a pain, but you can see if you’re targeted.
  • Propel (Wells Fargo)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
    • It’s always good to see cards from different banks.
    • Here’s a solid Business card from Wells Fargo.
  • Hawaiian Airlines (Barclays)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 35,000 miles.
    • Business version is here.
  • FlexPerks (US Bank)
    • Spend $3,500. Get 20,000 FlexPoints.
    • The Business version is here. And an Amex version here.
    • Thanks to Christopher F. for getting me to add this card to the list.
  • Venture (Capital One)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • Up from 20,000 miles.
  • Frontier Airlines (Barclays)
    • Spend $500 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
    • Frontier miles aren’t for everyone.
  • Thank You (Citibank)
    • Weird offer. 20,000 points for spending $2,000 in 3 months. Then 30,000 more points for spending $3,000 in first 3 months of 2nd year.
    • Bonuses on this card go up/down often.
    • Another version is here.
  • Korean (US Bank)
    • Spend $1. Get 20,000 miles.
    • Down from 30,000-mile offer.
    • Business card is here.
  • Hilton Honors (American Express)
    • Spend $750 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points. Or 60,000 points here.
    • Hilton points are definitely not what they used to be.
  • Hilton Honors Surpass (American Express)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 60,000 points.
    • Get the previous card, and you’ll get tons of offers to upgrade to this one.
    • Looks like an 80,000-point offer is here.
  • Hilton Honors (Citibank)
    • Spend $1,000 in 4 months. Get 40,000 points.
    • Between the 4 cards, you have LOTS of Hilton options.
  • Prestige (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 30,000 points.
    • Nice benefits including $200 credit, but huge $450 annual fee.
    • There is also a 60,000-point offer possible if you go into your local branch.
  • Diners Club Elite (BMO Harris Bank)
    • 3x points at gas station, grocery stores, and pharmacies.
    • Killer way to pick up Starwood points.
    • Big annual fee.
  • Asiana (Bank of America)
    • Spend $2,500 in 90 days. Get 25,000 miles.
    • Meh.
  • Virgin America (Comenity)
    • 2 different card offers I discussed here.
    • Issued by Comenity Bank, which is the best thing about these cards.
  • Freedom (Chase)
    • Worth having in your collection for the 5% quarterly bonuses.
    • No reason to close this one.
    • Another semi-decent quarterly bonus cards is Discover It.
    • Here’s the old Amazon link for the Discover. This Slickdeals one might be a better offer.
  • LAN (US Bank)
    • 20,000 miles after first use.
    • Down from a 40,000-mile offer.
  • Expedia (Citibank)
    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 25,000 points.
    • Also a 15,000-point version with no annual fee.
  • Virgin Atlantic (Bank of America)
    • Skip this 25,000-mile offer and wait for 50,000 to return.
    • Again, Bank of America is more churnable than most.
    • Global Entry credit might still be working if you’re looking to save the TSA PreCheck fee.
    • Big 90,000 miles available here but a huge amount of spending needed.
  • Everyday (Amex)
    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 10,000 Membership Rewards points.
    • No annual fee. Preferred has a 15,000-point bonus with a $95 fee.
    • Free Amazon Prime for a year.
  • Sun Country (First National Bank of Omaha)
    • Spend $500 in 3 billing cycles. Get 40,000 points.
    • Not the most popular airline in the world.
  • Wyndham (Barclays)
    • Spend $1. Get 30,000 miles.
    • Offer goes up and down. We’re in a down time right now.
  • NFL (Barclays)
    • Spend $500 in 90 days. Get $100 credit.
    • Offer has been higher in the past.
  • Choice Hotel (Barclays)
    • You’re truly running out of cards if you’re still reading this far.
    • I keep this as the last card mostly out of tradition.

Recently Dropped:

  • Lufthansa (Barclays) – Just dropped from 50,000 again. Should be back soon.
  • LifeMiles (US Bank) – Dropped from 40,000 to 20,000 miles.
  • AirTran (Chase) – This one is gone for good.
  • Best Western (Barclays) – Again, who really cares?

*Beyond this mile/point list, the following are some great cashback cards*

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milenerdThe Top 25 Credit Cards

Tuesday’s Deals

Much to discuss! Here we go…

  • American Express Membership Rewards has a very good transfer bonus of 40% to British Airways. This is through January 31st. Yes, British points are amazing. And, yes, they will probably devalue at some point. But, no doubt about it, this is a great deal.
  • Register for the Intercontinental (IHG) Set Your Sights promo. See what your offer is. These are always pretty good.
  • Speaking of IHG, what does their purchase of Kimpton mean? For big fans of the very quirky Kimpton family, it probably means a little depression. For most others, it means another reason to grab the IHG credit card.
  • If you’re new to Lyft, get 2 free rides with the code MASTERCARD. You can try for another free ride by signing up through one of my favorite reader’s link. I’m still an Uber guy, but I’m not one to turn down free money.
  • The big ass 140,000-point Ritz Carlton offer is back. Good card with a huge annual fee of $395. But their $300 airline credit helps a lot.
  • Delta’s 50,000-mile Personal and Business offers are back too. I just wish I wasn’t allergic to Delta.
  • Get $20 back when you buy $300 or more in Visa/Mastercard gift cards. This is at OfficeMax through 12/27. Obviously, free money and easy spend combine to make a strong deal.
  • 5 winners get 200,000 American Airlines miles here.

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milenerdTuesday’s Deals

$25 From Barclays

This is very easy money. All you have to do is register for online statements. If you’ve already done that, turn them off and back on. This seems to be meant for the US Airways card, but it’s worth trying your other Barclays choices.

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milenerd$25 From Barclays

My Favorite Trips Of 2014

I’m not a trip report guy. Not usually a fan of ‘em. But I did do less hoarding this year, so here’s my moment to remember some trips. As usual, the ol’ schedule was crazy, so long weekend domestic travel continues to be the name of the game. As the year comes to a close, here were my Top 10 favorite domestic trips of the year (in order):

  1. Maui –  It was great to discover Kauai, but it was a strangely emotional experience leaving Maui. What can I say? That damn island is my absolute favorite place on the planet. Flying there and staying at the Andaz for free is enough to make anyone feel grateful. And, in Maui, I am so very grateful.
  2. New Orleans – That Maui trip was my 3rd time there. The week in New Orleans was my first. And, man, what a city! There are a couple things I believe to be true about “The Big Easy.” First, it’s the most special city in America. Why? Because if it went away, there’s nothing to replace it with. Second, there is no better food anywhere. Honestly, I don’t know how it’s possible to live there and be in shape. I would happily move to New Orleans. And would soon become a jolly fat guy.
  3. Lake Tahoe – My second time there. I love North Tahoe and like the Hyatt. Never visited in the snow, but really enjoy the “warmer season.” Great hikes, clean air, and the friendliest people in America. This section of Nevada should teach kindness classes to the rest of the country. If you live in any of these first 3 cities, I’m crazy jealous right now.
  4. Park City – Never, ever thought I’d be a fan of Utah. Well, I was wrong. This is one adorable little town. Again, I was there for the warmer off-season. My favorite meal of the year was in Maui at Morimoto’s sushi restaurant. Number 2 was Green Goddess in New Orleans (poached eggs, wild mushroom gravy, grits, sweet potato biscuits, etc). Number 3 was here in Park City at Goldener Hirsch (schnitzel with panna cotta for dessert). Ok, I need some food. Like right now.
  5. Encinitas – San Diego has never been my favorite place. But the beach towns outside of the city (Encinitas, Carlsbad, Cardiff) are incredible. Luckily, this is road trip distance for me, so I plan to do a lot more exploration.
  6. Dana Point – I was here for just one night. Wow, you rich Orange County people sure know how to live. Add some zeroes to my bank account and I’d love to join the fun.
  7. Morgantown – Like all Indian men out there, I was raised in West Virginia. Ok, that might not be true. Anyway, I do love my hometown. Went to my 20th high school reunion in 2014 and got another reminder. I was very lucky to grow up with a great group of people.
  8. Charlotte – This wasn’t my favorite city (no offense to Charlotte readers) but it was a very special group. I spent the weekend with some very close friends and we tore this boring city up. Ok, that was meanish.
  9. Scottsdale/Phoenix – Again, this  was an incredible group of friends in a pretty bland town. These last two are all about the company…not much to be said about the locations.
  10. Las Vegas – Well, someone’s gotta come in last. The good news? I love to gamble. Wait, that might be the bad news. Anyway, the strip isn’t really my scene. Positives? It’s a fun city for a weekend. I loved hanging out in sportsbooks and enjoyed discovering the lake this year…just not sure how much of a Vegas guy I am.

What a year of travel…these American discoveries were made possible by the magic of miles and points!

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milenerdMy Favorite Trips Of 2014