Apr 18, 2014

The Top 25 Credit Cards

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 are 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 (April 18th 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...

  • American Airlines Executive (Citibank)
    • Spend $10,000 in 3 months. Get 100,000 miles.
    • Lounge access plus $200 statement credit.
    • Big $450 fee is worth it for this amount of miles.
  • Ink Bold and/or 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.
  • Sapphire (Chase)
    • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
    • Still very valuable points. See Ink cards above.
    • My personal favorite card to use when I don't have any spends to meet.
    • American Airlines cards (Citibank)
      • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 miles.
      • Read the Flyertalk wiki post for the most current links.
    • US Airways (Barclays)
      • Spend $1. Get 40,000 miles. 
      • It's a good time to grab your American and US Airways miles.
    • LifeMiles (US Bank)
      • Spend $3,000 in 4 months. Get 40,000 miles.
      • Great miles to have. Newly doubled offer.
    • Southwest (Chase)
      • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
      • All other 50,000-point links are dead (for now).
      • You don't want to wait much longer to start the Companion Pass process.
    • Mercedes Benz Platinum (American Express)
      • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.
      • Giant $475 fee but benefits like global entry credit and $200 airline fee credit.
      • A no-fee Platinum card without the big bonus is here.
    • Platinum (American Express)
      • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
      • Temporary increase from the usual 25,000 points.
      • Incredible benefits, but $450 annual fee. $200 in credits does help.
    • Starwood Preferred Guest aka SPG (American Express)
      • Spend $5,000 in 6 months. Get 25,000 points.
      • Incredible card. I always hold either the Personal or Business version.
      • I really, really love cash + points for hotel stays. 
      • Marriott (Chase)
        • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 70,000 points and a free night.
        • These point are a little underrated. Some strong Marriott options out there.
              • Hilton Honors Reserve (Citibank)
                • Spend $2,500 in 4 months. Get 2 weekend nights. Best Hilton card.
                • Gold status as long as you have the card. Upgrades, breakfast, internet, etc.
                • They just added a $100 statement credit to this offer.
                  • British Airways (Chase)
                    • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points. 
                    • 100,000-point offer recently ended (for now).
                  • 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.
                    • This is now a MasterCard. Watch the 90 second video using code MIAMBXWF09.
                  • 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 $1,000 in 3 months. Get 2 nights and breakfast at any Fairmont.
                    • Again, many of these hotels are very expensive.
                  • Barclay Arrival (Barclays)
                    • Spend $1,000 in 3 months. Get 40,000 miles.
                    • One of the best cards for actual spending, as discussed here.
                  • United Airlines (Chase) 
                    • Log in and see if you are targeted for the 50,000-mile offer.
                    • Business version is here.
                    • Alaska Airlines (Bank of America)
                      • Spend $1. Get 25,000 miles. 
                      • Possible 30,000-mile offer here. 40,000 for elites. Business card here.
                      • Bank of America cards can be MUCH more "churnable" than most.
                    • Virgin Atlantic (Bank of America)
                      • 50,000 miles for spending $1 and adding users.
                      • Again, Bank of America is more churnable than most.
                      • Just added a Global Entry credit. 
                      • SimplyCash Business (Amex)
                        • A very strong cashback card option.
                        • Get 3% on chosen category (including gas stations) and huge 5% at office stores.
                      • 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.
                      • 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.
                        • Thanks to Christopher F. for getting me to add this card to the list.
                        • Better offer currently for Olympics about to end here.
                        • 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.
                          • Ritz Carlton (Chase)
                            • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get a free night. 
                            • Huge $395 annual fee, but nice benefits including $200 airline credit.
                            • 2 MUCH better possible offers here. One with no fee and the other for 140,000 points.
                          • Delta (American Express)
                            • See if you're targeted for a 50,000 mile offer.
                            • Delta Skymiles are...well...not good.
                                • Hilton Honors (American Express)
                                  • Spend $750 in 3 months. Get 40,000 points.
                                  • Hilton points are definitely not what they used to be.
                                • Hilton Honors Surpass (American Express)
                                  • Spend $3,000 in 3 months. Get 50,000 points.
                                  • Get the previous card, and you'll get tons of offers to upgrade to this one.
                                • Hilton Honors (Citibank)
                                  • Spend $1,000 in 4 months. Get 40,000 points.
                                  • Between the 4 cards, you have LOTS of Hilton options.
                                  • They just added a $50 credit for this one.
                                • Prestige (Citibank)
                                  • Spend $2,000 in 3 months. Get 30,000 points.
                                  • Nice benefits including $200 credit, but huge $450 annual fee.
                                  • Virgin America (Comenity)
                                    • 2 different card offers I discussed here.
                                    • Issued by Comenity Bank, which is the best thing about these cards.
                                  • LAN (US Bank)
                                    • 20,000 miles for opening. 3 upgrade coupons each year.
                                    • Down from a 40,000 mile offer.
                                  • Freedom (Chase)
                                    • Worth having in your collection for the 5% quarterly bonuses.
                                    • No decent sign-up bonus right now, so no good spot on the list.
                                  • Choice Hotel (Barclays)
                                    • You're truly running out of cards if you're still reading this far.
                                    • I leave this as the last card mostly out of tradition.

                                        Recently Dropped:
                                        • AirTran (Chase) - 32 credit offer has ended for now.
                                        • Venture (Capital One) - 50,000-mile offer ended.
                                        • Lufthansa - 50,000-mile offer ended.
                                        • Wyndham - Because, who really cares?
                                        • Business Gold Rewards (American Express) - No good bonus. You'll see one soon.
                                        • Best Western (Barclays) - Again, who really cares?
                                        • Delta Business - The 55,000-mile offer ended.

                                          Apr 17, 2014

                                          3 Bonus Opinions

                                          • How good is a 30% discount on United miles? Average.
                                          • What about a 25% discount buying Starwood points? Debatable. A pass for most.
                                          • And a 30% bonus transferring AmEx Membership Rewards points to Virgin America? Actually, it's pretty solid. Definitely worth considering for some. On the other hand, there was a 40% bonus months ago, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to wait. But it's the best of the 3.


                                          Apr 16, 2014

                                          What Is Starwood?

                                          Today, a good friend and reader of the blog asked me that question. Sigh. Yes, it's very clear now...I suck. I truly couldn't believe my ears. How could this happen? Where did I go wrong? I probably need to make the following post for my own sanity. In short, what is Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) and why do I like their points so much?

                                          • First of all, as miles get devalued all over the place, you REALLY need to be clear about SPG points. You should understand why these (and Chase's Ultimate Rewards points) are so valuable. Ok, let's take it back...
                                          • SPG hotels include: Starwood, Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, Aloft, Four Points, W Hotels, and more.
                                          • These points are amazing. It's important to redeem them the right way. Usually, for me, that means 1 of 3 options. In my experience...
                                            • "Cash + Points" options are often the best choice. I've found a ton of success with this. Sometimes it's worth a few bucks to save thousands of points. Do the math, see what the room would cost (in dollars vs. points) and see what the best choice is for you.
                                            • Their lower category hotels can be incredible point values. A recent example was a Sheraton in New Orleans. It would have cost me $140/night, but I got it for 4,000 points. The Aloft in Phoenix was a similar 4,000 points instead of $130.
                                            • Transferring points to miles. Remember, when you transfer SPG points (to American, US Air, British, and many more) there is a bonus opportunity to be had. When you transfer a block of 20,000 SPG points, you'll get a bonus of 5,000 miles. So, your 40,000 SPG points would get you 50,000 American miles.

                                          Sorry I failed you, David...hopefully this post helped!

                                          (Also, Frontier Airlines has 15% off through Thursday. Use code REFUND and travel by June 12).

                                          Apr 15, 2014

                                          2 Freebies

                                          Free Club Carlson gold status is here. Use code AMEX14GD if it isn't already entered in for you. Also, get 12,000 free Melia hotel points here. Looks like you might need to use the points by the end of the month.


                                          Apr 14, 2014

                                          1,500 United Miles From Mypoints

                                          1. Click here.
                                          2. Get 500 miles for joining MyPoints.
                                          3. Grab another 250 miles for completing your member profile within 30 days.
                                          4. Pick up 750 miles if you buy something ($25+) in those 30 days.


                                          Apr 11, 2014

                                          25 Free AwardWallet Codes

                                          It's becoming a monthly feature here on the MileNerd blog...AwardWallet codes are back! Just like with Uber, I've made it clear how I feel. And the feeling is LOVE (or possibly some kind of creepy stalker-ish emotion).

                                          Just log into your account, click "Upgrade Using A Coupon" and apply a code. This will upgrade your account for 6 months. Please only take 1 of these each. I'll edit the post at some point in the day when they're all gone.

                                          Side note: Thanks to Clayton for being the first to send me the story about Citi cards and lounge access!

                                          • Invite-28714-FNIJM 
                                          • Invite-28714-QDWXO
                                          • Invite-28714-YMDHR 
                                          • Invite-28714-UFEYM 
                                          • Invite-28714-XSPFH 
                                          • Invite-28714-XQYZW
                                          • Invite-28714-TFIEG 
                                          • Invite-28714-FAGVG 
                                          • Invite-28714-WUXUL
                                          • Invite-28714-EZWGS 
                                          • Invite-28714-WJNDN
                                          • Invite-28714-TQURP 
                                          • Invite-28714-VVMSC
                                          • Invite-28714-VPWPB
                                          • Invite-28714-UFVIJ 
                                          • Invite-28714-UYCSY
                                          • Invite-28714-XJXQN
                                          • Invite-28714-YXTEY
                                          • Invite-28714-KAHES
                                          • Invite-28714-IOKPJ 
                                          • Invite-28714-RAWNQ 
                                          • Invite-28714-KQGXI 
                                          • Invite-28714-MERIO 
                                          • Invite-28714-JCGAL 
                                          • Invite-28714-NMGKA 


                                          Apr 10, 2014

                                          More Free Uber Money

                                          I'm a little embarrassed to be such an Uber fanboy.  Because of this, I avoid posting most of their new member deals. It's a different feeling for me to be such an unjaded fan of something. Anyway, the majority of you have already signed up with every cell phone number you have access to. So, I'll just say this...

                                          Taxis are terrible. Ridiculously bad. No wonder I love Uber this much. Anything would have been a huge step up. Plus, who doesn't like all the free money they throw at us? If you somehow still haven't signed up, you should be able to pick up $25 (or more) free. I hear mixed messages about if the codes are still stackable. If so, you can get $20 from my link on the right side of the page. Plus, here's the free 25 bucks for new members. If you can stack them, that's a free $45. If you don't want to risk it, just grab the $25.