It's been a wild month or two in the world of manufactured spend, with free groceries at Giant/Stop&Shop/Martins, more free or cheap gas promotions (depending on your region), and both a Visa and a MasterCard promotion in quick succession at OfficeMax/Office Depot. Good times.
The blog fell a little bit behind, so I want to share a roundup of a few items I hadn't found the time to write up yet.
Do this now: register for 2018 2nd quarter bonus categories
A few easy opportunities to earn Ultimate Rewards points and cash back this quarter for folks holding these cards:
- Chase Freedom (register each card individually). 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, up to $1,500, at grocery stores, through PayPal, and Chase Pay. Even folks without access to grocery store manufactured spend may want to send $1,500 and eat the credit card processing fee if they have a high-value use of Ultimate Rewards points in mind.
- Discover it. Another layup for folks with access to grocery store manufactured spend, where Discover it earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spend this quarter.
- Citi Dividend. 5% cash back, capped at $300 per calendar year ($6,000 in spend), at The Home Depot and "Home Furnishing Stores." Furniture is expensive, so you may actually be able to crank out $6,000 in purchases, but from a manufactured spend perspective your best bet is likely to be Visa gift cards at Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond.
- US Bank Cash+. This quarter the Cash+ bonus categories were adjusted to add "Home Utilities", which is an expense many people have to pay, and can often pay in advance. If your electricity, water, or trash company accepts credit cards and allows you to pay more than the amount owed, you could hypothetically prepay up to $2,000 and get a $100 discount. Here's the complete set of current bonus categories:
Do this now: register for current hotel promotions
A couple promotions have come up I included on my Hotel Promotions page but didn't get around to blogging about:
- Radisson Rewards. Between March 12 and June 30, 2018, earn bonus points after you stay 2, 5, 10, and 20 paid nights, and earn 500 additional bonus points for each booking made using the Radisson Rewards mobile app. Stays or nights paid for by using Points or Points + Cash are not eligible for the promotion. Register for the promotion here.
- World of Hyatt. Between February 20 and June 30, 2018, earn 1,000 American AAdvantage miles per qualifying stay at Hyatt Place and Hyatt House properties worldwide. Register for the promotion here by April 30, 2018.
Hot Take: Barclays Arrival Premier World Elite Mastercard
Thousands of gallons of digital ink have already been spilled over this card, so I will just point out a few things that popped out to me.
- The Arrival Premier is competing against the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card, which I have called the best single credit card, i.e., the best card to have if you could only carry a single card for some reason.
- The Arrival Premier offers a maximum of 3% cash back on exactly $25,000 in purchases, or $750 per year. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards offers a maximum of 2.625% cash back, or $656 on the same amount.
- The Arrival Premier has an annual fee of $150, compared to the BankAmericard Travel Rewards's $0 annual fee.
- Using the Arrival Premier instead of the BankAmericard Travel Rewards for $25,000 in purchases therefore has a net cost of $56.
What do you get for those $56?
- A $100 Global Entry statement credit every 5 years.
- The ability to "transfer" (i.e., buy) Japan Airlines miles for 1.7 cents or their other partner airline miles for 1.4 cents.
- Trip delay insurance. This is actually not advertised on the Barclays website but since the Arrival Plus card has it I assume their more-expensive premium travel card also offers it.
If you valued the Global Entry statement credit at the full $100 ($20 per year), that would mean paying $36 per year for trip delay insurance and the ability to opportunistically transfer Barclays miles to their partner programs.
I don't know if that's a good deal or a bad deal for you, because I don't know anything about you, but that's my best assessment of the realistic value proposition of the card.
Tomorrow when the details of the new Marriott Rewards program are announced we'll all have plenty more to talk about. See you then.