With the third quarter already upon us, it’s time to make sure you’ve activated your third quarter bonus categories. In addition, there are a slew of hotel promotions currently available, plus a new US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards promotion that lasts through the end of the year.
Register for them all now, before you forget.
Earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on up to $1,500 spent at gas stations and on “select streaming services.” The “select streaming services” are a pretty transparent attempt to get cardholders to change their default payment method on the assumption most people will be too lazy to change it back in October. Before changing your payment method, be sure to check the eligible services, since some popular video streaming services are excluded (HBO Now and CBS All Access didn’t make the cut, for example).
Gas station manufactured spend isn’t as easy as it used to be, but some stores continue to allow OneVanilla Visa cards to be purchased with credit cards. Gas stations also run periodic promotions for the purchase of merchant gift cards, which you can either spend or resell.
Obviously, some people simply buy gas at gas stations, and whether $1,500 per card is a lot or a little gas depends on your own driving habits.
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent at restaurants and PayPal. The terms state that “PayPal qualifying purchases are those made through the PayPal wallet online, when you send money to Friends and Family via PayPal using your Discover Card, and point-of-sale transactions using PayPal Here.” That means the easiest thing to do is just make a $1,457 transfer funded with your credit card. After eating the $42.57 in fees, you’ll end up with $32.43 in profit for a few seconds work.
Some smaller merchants use PayPal Here as their point-of-sale equipment, but I’m not aware of any national chains that use PayPal Here and sell gift cards.
Log into your account and activate your bonus earning here.
If you didn’t reach $6,000 in annual bonused spend during the second quarter at drugstores, you can earn 5% cash back for purchases with airlines or car rentals. Plane tickets and car rentals can be expensive, so this may be a good opportunity for reimbursed business travelers, depending on what other cards you have available to pay with.
US Bank Cash+
Earn 5% cash back in two bonus categories of your choice, and 2% cash back in one category of your choice. The options change slightly each quarter; log in here to see the current choices and to activate your bonus earning.
I’ve never understood the rhythms of hotel promotions, which don’t seem to consistently follow the calendar year or the seasons, so I was pleasantly surprised to see while updating my Hotel Promotions page that all the programs I follow currently have promotions available for registration.
For hotel stays I rely primarily on Hilton and Hyatt, due to the ease of manufacturing spend on my Hilton Ascend and Ink Plus credit cards. The Hilton promotion is unlikely to yield me more than a few thousand bonus points since I mainly book award stays, but the Hyatt promotion is targeted explicitly at award stays, so I’ll be happy to earn 10% of my redeemed World of Hyatt points back through September 2, 2019.
All the promotions besides Hyatt and IHG require two or more stays before earning any bonus points, which more narrowly targets the high-value business travelers these promotions are presumably designed to attract. Whether that describes you or not, don’t forget to register for all the promotions you’re eligible for.
Double Flexpoints at restaurants
I receive so many e-mails from US Bank about this or that James Beard award-winning chef that I usually skim past them in my inbox, but I’m glad I stopped to read this one: US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards cardholders can register to receive 2 Flexpoints per dollar spent at restaurants through the end of 2019.
I don’t know if this shows US Bank considering a different earning structure for the card in the long term, but if you eat out often and have a Flexperks Travel Rewards card, be sure to register for the promotion here.