Guides Basics

17 Best & Worst Ways to Use Your Amex Points in 2022

American Express Membership Rewards points are some of the best rewards you can earn because they're flexible - you can use them for travel, gift cards, or statement credits, among other things.

Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards include:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The American Express® Gold Card
  • American Express® Business Gold Card
  • American Express® Green Card 
  •  Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Each card offers a unique set of bonuses and benefits depending on how you spend and travel.

While Amex's rewards program has a lot of flexibility, that doesn't mean all redemption options get the same cents per point value.

This post will cover some of the best and worst ways to use your Amex points. The data points here are calculated from the American Express Rewards calculator: http://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator 

The Worst Ways to Redeem Your Amex Membership Rewards

Let's start with the worst ways to use your Amex points.

1. Shop With Points

Amex has a shopping portal with many products you can buy with Membership Rewards points. While this is a versatile way to use your points, it doesn't have a high redemption value.

For 10,000 points, you'll only get a value of 0.5 CPP— which is not the best value for Amex points.

If you're set on using points for merchandise, you might be better off buying a gift card or going through a shopping partner like Amazon.

2. Transferring Points to Partners

Amex has a ton of airline transfer partners that you can transfer your points straight to. 

Most partners offer a 1-to-1 transfer rate, so if you transfer 1,000 points to them, they will give you 1,000 points back. Sometimes, American Express runs promotions for transfer partners where you can get a better rate.

One thing to keep in mind here is the Excise Tax Offset Fee.

In most cases, American Express charges an excise fee of 0.06 cents per point (capped at $99 for any single transfer) when you transfer points to U.S. airlines with a card such as The Platinum Card®. 

American Express's U.S. airline partners that charge an excise fee include:

  • Delta
  • JetBlue
  • Hawaiian

On a 100,000-point transfer, that fee equates to $60. In addition to these charges, the airline may also charge taxes and fees.

However, not all partners charge this fee. Some of the airline programs where you can transfer Membership Rewards points without paying any fees include:

  • Are Lingus Aeroclub
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France / KLM Flying Blue
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest Miles
  • Iberia Plus Miles
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore KrisFlyer Miles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Since these are points from airlines outside the United States, American Express won't charge you the Excise Tax Offset fee to transfer points into these programs, although you need to evaluate their value (Note: some of them are hard to redeem points from). Transferring points to their hotel partners will also be free of charge.

Unfortunately, the only way to transfer points to your Delta SkyMiles account is through AMEX, so be prepared to pay the fee to utilize them.

To get the best redemption rates, you need to do a lot of research before you transfer your points.

3. Redeeming for Statement Credit

If you don't want to pay your card bill, you can redeem your points for statement credits, effectively wiping out any purchases you made with the card. While this option is handy, it also isn't recommended.

However, if you're in a pinch, this can help.

It's best used as a last resort if you need some last-minute funds to cover your balance. But each point will only be worth 0.6 CPP. So the low value makes it not a great option.

We'll talk about other setups later in this post if you're after cash.

4. Donate Your Points to Charity

With JustGiving, you can donate your points to over 1.5 million charities. Unless you can redeem your points for travel, you'll likely get no more than 0.7 cents per point from this redemption option.

The points aren't the greatest value for your money, but if you don't need your points, this is a decent option.

Beware of the value change, though. Depending on the organization, the value of your points may vary, so pay attention.

Doing the math can help you make a bigger impact.

5. Booking Travel via AmexTravel.com

With American Express Travel, you can book all kinds of travel, including hotels, vacation packages, and cruises.

If you book travel through the American Express Travel portal (excluding airfare), you will only earn 0.7 CPP. In addition, considering other companies will give you 1 CPP, booking your travel using the Amex Travel portal may not be the best way to spend your Amex points.

Keep in mind that using the Amex Travel Portal is NOT the same as using a transfer partner.

6. Merchandise

Similar to option 1, you can use your points to spend with certain merchants.

The cents per point come out to 0.7 mostly, except for NYC Taxis and Ticketmaster.com. Those have different point-to-cent ratios, so check the redemption rate before redeeming, as redemption rates may vary from retailer to retailer.

You also need to be careful because some platforms like Amazon can automatically fill in that you're using M.R. points when you check out.

If you want to use your points for shopping, there are probably better options in this list.

7. Redeem for Business Checking

This option is new for 2022.

If you have a business checking account with Amex, you can redeem your points for cash. You'll get 0.8 CPP, so 10,000 points would come out to $800. These points are considered rebates instead of income, so you're not taxed on them. 

So if you have a lot of points, cashing out your business checking account through your Business Platinum might be a better option. (More about this below)

8. Gift Cards

Gift cards come in different types, and your redemption value varies. Then again, there are many 1 CPP options with less variance, which is not too bad.

It may not be the best redemption method for your Amex points because it has additional hoops to jump through.

The Best Amex Membership Rewards Redemption Methods

9. Upgrade Your Seat

With Upgrade with Points, you can bid on seat upgrades at over 20 participating airlines using your Membership Rewards points. This is a convenient option if you are worried about cramped seats on long flights. 

It might make more sense to upgrade your seat with the actual card and earn more points because there are higher-value options to redeem your points. However, membership rewards here are worth at least 1 CPP depending on how you use them.

If you value your seat on the plane, you might like this option.

10. Book Flights Via Amex Portal and Hotels Via Amex FHR

This is a great option for the avid traveler.

Compared to other companies, you can get a decent rate on your points. You can expect to redeem 1 CPP with flights and hotels if you book it through the Amex Portal.

But if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could get 1.5 CPP when you book through their own portal.

With this option, you can get an elevated value for your points, whether it is flights, and pay yourself back.

11. Business Checking Account with Business Platinum

This is a better option than the 7th option mentioned above. 

Instead of $800 per 100,000 points, you can get a better rate of 1 CPP. That comes out to $1,000 per 100,000 points. You must have the Amex Business Platinum card, though.

If you run a large business, that might be enough to offset the annual fee, but you still need to do the math.

12. Morgan Stanley Cash Out

If you own a Morgan Stanley brokerage account, this might be useful.

It's similar to a business checking account using your business platinum but on a more personal card side.

If you own the Platinum Card from American Express Morgan Stanley edition, you can cash out your points to your brokerage account at 1 CPP.

The points can be cashed out anywhere once they reach your brokerage account. 

Though, you might want to consider these things first before you use this option:

  1. To get the Morgan Stanley Platinum Card, you need to be approved.
  2. You must have a Morgan Stanley brokerage account to apply for this card. Among the easiest ones to go for is Morgan Stanley Access Investing, which only requires $5,000 to open and charges 0.35% per year on investments.
  3. The Morgan Stanley Platinum Card has an annual fee of $695.

I made a blog post about this before and how to waive the annual fee. You can learn more about it here: https://www.asksebby.com/guides/waive-amex-platinum-annual-fee 

13. Charles Schwab Cash Out

You can transfer M.R. points at 1.1 CPP to your brokerage account with the Platinum Card from American Express Charles Schwab. So if you're looking to redeem for cash, this might be the best option. 

However, as with any other Amex Platinum cards, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Again, you need to be approved to qualify for the Schwab Platinum Card.
  • A Schwab brokerage account (either your own or a trust you oversee) or an IRA at Schwab (not managed by an independent investment advisor) is required to apply for the card. The eligibility rules can change at any time.
  • Amex reserves the right to cancel your American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab if you do not maintain a Schwab account.
  • Currently, the Schwab Platinum Card annual fee is $695.

14. Using Amex Business Gold Card's Rebate Feature

If you have a Business Gold, you can get a 25% rebate when you book an eligible flight.

So, if you use 100,000 points to cover a $1,000 flight, you'll get 25,000 points back. That means you used only 75,000 points for a $1,000 purchase, which works out to a rate of 1.33 CPP.

The maximum rebate is 250,000 points, so you wouldn't want to redeem more than 1 million.

15. Using Amex Business Platinum Card's Rebate Feature

Platinum Business cardholders can redeem M.R. points for travel and get a 35% rebate when they use their card for either first class or business class travel or flights with the airline of their choice (via the travel incidental credit).

That means if you spend 100,000 points for a $1,000 flight, you'll get 35,000 points back. Considering the 35% points rebate, the effective value is 1.54 CPP.

This is your best bet if you're looking for a simple travel redemption. The maximum rebate here is 1 million points per year, so you wouldn't want to redeem more than 2.85 million.

16. Using Amex Business Centurion Card's Rebate Feature

This is the same for the two previous options, but even better!

You can redeem your points with Business Centurion for a 50% rebate. As you know, spending 100,000 points for a $1,000 flight would get you 50,000 points back. 

With the rebate, you can effectively get 2 CPP, the highest rate we've discussed.

On top of that, there is no maximum rebate. However, the personal Centurion card does not offer flight rebates.

17. Transferring Points to Amex's Airline or Hotel Partners

Finally, you can transfer your points to American Express airline and hotel partners.

The rate here can be up to 10 CPP, but it can generally fluctuate or come out to about 2 or 3 CPP when you get through all the transferring. There are a lot of nuances to this one. 

But for avid travelers, this might be a decent option for you.

Overall Thoughts

American Express points can be redeemed in many ways, so it's important to know which one gives you the most value.

While you can use them for merchandise or shopping with Amazon, they don't provide good value.

Most people will get the best value from their points by transferring them to airline or hotel partners or using your Amex business card.

Ultimately, it all depends on what kind of travel you're looking for and how much work you're willing to put in. Spend some time comparing the cash cost via Amex Travel to the points cost if you transfer to a partner to see which one will save you the most money.

YouTube Video

Watch this video to find out how to get the most out of your Amex points:


...

How to Use Chase Pay Yourself Back Feature: Step-by-Step Guide

Starting May 31, 2020, Chase added a new temporary benefit for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card  and Chase Sapphire Reserve® members to “Pay Yourself Back.”

Note: The “Pay Yourself Back” feature is not available to the no annual fee Chase Sapphire card.

How Pay Yourself Back Works

The Pay Yourself Back Program lets Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cardholders redeem Ultimate Rewards to offset select category purchases at a favorable rate.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1.25 cents per point
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 1.50 cents per point

Pay Yourself Back Categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores (including take out and eligible delivery services)
  • Home improvement stores
  • Select charitable organizations
  • The following charitable organizations are currently eligible for Pay Yourself Back: American Red Cross, Equal Justice Initiative, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, International Medical Corporation, Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United  Negro College Fund, United Way, and World Central Kitchen.

The current promotion is valid through September 30, 2020, but it’s possible that it may be extended due to uncertain times.

[ March 30 Update ] Pay Yourself Back is extended until Sept 30, 2021.

How to Use Pay Yourself Back: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Log in to your online Chase account

Sign into your online Chase account and navigate to the Ultimate Rewards tab located on the bottom of the left column.

2. Select your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card

Select the card you’d like to access. If you have multiple Ultimate Reward earning cards, you can choose to pool points to the Sapphire card to redeem.

In our example, we choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

3. Select the “Pay Yourself Back” menu option located in the left menu column

Navigate to the left hand column and select the “Pay Yourself Back” menu item. Clicking the main promotional banner also works, as seen in the screenshot below.

4. Pay Yourself Back

The current categories for pay yourself back are: restaurant and grocery stores (including take out and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores, and select charitable organizations.

5. Choose the purchases to Pay Yourself Back

After each purChase posts, you have 90 days to pay yourself back. Check the respective box to select the purChase.

6. Set your amount

Enter the dollar amount you’d like to receive as a statement credit by using some or all of your available Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred redemption rate is 1.25 cents per point, and the Sapphire Reserve is 1.50 cents per point.

After setting the cash value, click “Confirm & Submit” to redeem!

...

Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

One of the main benefits of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is that you can transfer them out to partners if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Ink Preferred.

You can view credit card offers by going to the "Credit Card Offers" tab. Find offers for the respective cards in "Travel Rewards Credit Cards" and "Business Credit Cards." You don't have to use our links, but we're grateful when you do. Thank you for supporting AskSebby!

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a rate of 1:1. On average, you can get up to two cents per point when you use transfer partners.

If you're looking for the most value possible, then airline partners are the way to go for first class redemption. This also works well for last minute flights.

VIA CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS PORTAL

The way I redeem points for "best value" is hotels because everyone in your travel group can benefit.

For example, if I transfer my Ultimate Rewards points to United:

  • United Polaris (US to Asia) is 70k one-way, per person
  • 70k Chase points => 70k United points

On the other hand, if I transferred my Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt:

  • Hyatt Category 7 (top tier) is 30k, per night.
  • 30k Chase points => 30k Hyatt points.

For the cost of a round trip United Polaris flight to Asia, I can get four nights at a top tier Hyatt property.

Examples:

  • Park Hyatt: NYC, Paris-Vendome, Tokyo, Sydney
  • Hyatt Residence: Maui, Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, Aspen

IHG is not an ideal transfer partner because of the cost of the points, and you typically need more points for a redemption.

In my experience, Hyatt has the best redemption value for transfer partners. The Category 1 Hyatt properties start at 5,000 Hyatt points.

Category 1 = 5,000 Hyatt points / 5,000 Chase UR points

  • $100 a night / 5k points = 2 cents per point
  • $200 a night / 5k points = 4 CPP

Check out the video below for more redemption ideas.

...

Featured Articles

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
The Ultimate Guide to Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® ecosystem may be one of your best options if you like to travel. Besides being versatile, Chase points are valuable if you know how to optimize them.

One massive benefit of the Chase system is that you can stack Chase points easily with Chase's Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program has plenty of redemptions for any budget, whether you're looking for luxury experiences or a low-cost flight.

This blog post looks at the best and worst ways to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But before we get started, let's talk about the basics.

What are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?

Chase Ultimate Rewards® is a points program where you can earn and redeem points. The cards that earn UR points include:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Chase Freedom Flex®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Although the Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Cash, and Ink Unlimited cards are marketed as cash back, they earn Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Throughout this guide, you'll also notice the term cents-per-point (CPP), which is what each point would cost if we paid cash for the redemption.

So if 1.5 CPP means each point is worth $0.015, then: 10,000 UR points = 10,000 * 0.015 = $150

Chase Ultimate Rewards Exception: Ink Business Premier

One major exception to transferring Ultimate Rewards between UR earning card accounts is the Ink Business Premier credit card.

Although the Ink Business Premier earns cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards, you cannot transfer or combine points to other UR accounts.

Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Expire?

As long as you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card open, your Ultimate Rewards points won't expire. Any points you have left will be lost if you close the card. You shouldn't cancel your credit card before redeeming or transferring your rewards.

You'll also lose your points if Chase closes your account. Even though credit card companies can close an account anytime, it rarely happens. You're most likely to get your card canceled if:

  • You don't pay your minimum for 90 days
  • You filed for bankruptcy
  • Use your Chase card or rewards program to commit fraud

How to Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Between Cards

Here's a simple step-by-step process to combine your points:

1. Log in to your account and click on the "Earn/Use" tab.

2. Select one of the cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points (refer to the card list above).

3. Hover over your points balance and hit "Redeem."

Source: ultimaterewardspoints.chase.com/combine-points

4. Once you're in the portal, click the top bar again to reveal the "Combine Points" icon in the menu.

5. Click the Combine Points option. From there, follow the prompts to combine points with your card.

How to Maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?

Chase Ultimate Rewards are flexible and can be redeemed in various ways, including gift cards, statement credits, and travel. Keep in mind that the cents per point valuation vary with each redemption method. Here are the best and worst ways to use Ultimate Rewards.

Worst Ways to Redeem Your Chase UR Points

First, let's look at the worst ways you can use your points.

Method #1: Pay with Points

You can sometimes use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to purchase items at Amazon and other online merchants rather than using your credit card balance.

Although it's convenient, you lose the overall point value with this option. Furthermore, using points to shop on Amazon or with PayPal will only earn you 0.8 CPP.

Let's say you used 100,000 UR points; that's: 100,000 UR points * 0.8 CPP = $800 in value

Pay with Points


With this value, I'd say this is not worth it in any situation.

Method #2: Gift Cards

Chase also offers gift cards as redemption options. When you take this route, you'll normally receive 1 CPP. That means 100,000 UR = $1,000 in gift cards.

Chase Gift Card Portal


There are even times when Chase offers gift cards with better value for specific retailers, but I would still skip this option.

Method #3: Chase Dining

You can use Chase Dining points for Sapphire Private Dining series events, takeout, outdoor seating reservations, and more.

Here, you're going to get 1 CPP. So: 100,000 UR * 1 CPP = $1,000 in dining

Redeem for Chase Dining


Redeeming points for Chase Dining points gets a similar value as redeeming for gift cards, so it's still not the ideal method.

There is a huge exception to this, though, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. With these cards in your arsenal, you can technically get more value.

Method #4: Chase Apple Store

You might find getting free Apple products through your credit card points very appealing. But, the same with methods #2 & #3, the 1 CPP redemption value isn't great. 

If you do the math: 100,000 UR * 1 CPP = $1,000 in Apple products

It would be a good idea to wait for a promotion if you're interested in using your Ultimate Rewards points for Apple Store purchases.

Method #5: Chase Travel Portal (no-annual fee cards)

This redemption option will get you 1 CPP, equivalent to $1,000 in travel value. 

If you're looking to book a first-class flight or an expensive luxury hotel, Chase's travel portal usually gives you the best deal, while transferring Ultimate Rewards points typically saves you money.

Best Ways to Redeem Your Chase UR Points

Method #6: Cash Back

I'd say that redeeming your UR points for cash back is a good option. If you want to use your points for cash back, there are two ways to do this:

  1. Redeem as a statement credit to help you cover the charges you make, so you don't have to pay it off. 
  2. Redeem as cash, where it can go directly into your checking or savings account.

Both methods will get you 1 CPP, which means: 100,000 UR points * 1 CPP = $1,000 in cash/statement credit

Redeem for cash back

Cash back is more ideal than buying gift cards since you aren't limited to select stores.

The great thing about Chase is its cash-out rate floor value. While Chase isn't for everyone, there are three reasons I recommend it:

  1. The cards are relatively easy to use.
  2. They work both in cash back and travel, so you're not really forced to travel to get the rewards.
  3. Cards with an annual fee usually have a no-annual fee downgrade path after the first year.

Method #7: Chase Apple Store (10% Promo)

As mentioned earlier, Chase Apple Store promos are a good time to use your Ultimate Rewards points. For Apple enthusiasts, this is good news!

Until Nov. 30, 2022, Chase cardholders can get an extra discount when redeeming points for Apple products through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This promo will make your points worth 10%, 25%, or 50% more, depending on which card you have.

Limited time promo


For example, if we use the 10% promo, that will be equivalent to 1.1 CPP. This means: 100,000 UR * 1.1 CPP = $1,100 in Apple products

Method #8: Gift Cards (Sale)

This is the same concept as method #7. The best time to redeem gift cards is during a sale. With this, you're going to have a cent per point of 1.11. 

In other words: 100,000 UR * 1.1 CPP = $1,111 in gift cards

Gift card sales


While this sounds great and looks like a good deal, make sure you're using your points for something worthwhile. Don't be tempted to get a gift card just because it's on sale. 

Method #9: Chase Travel Portal at 25% boost (Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred)

If you want simplicity or are a rookie with credit cards, Chase has partnered with Expedia to run a search engine where you can book flights, hotels, rentals, cruises, etc., as you would on Expedia.

With a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred card, you can get an extra 25% more, allowing you to redeem at 1.25 CPP.

So: 100,000 UR * 1.25 CPP = $1,250 in travel value

If you have a lot of points, it might make sense to crunch the numbers before applying or upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve to get the most value. 

Chase's most significant selling point is how easy it is to get value from a regular travel booking for that elevated value.

If you use your points for the Chase Travel Portal through this card, do your research and check out the rates online to see if it makes sense.

Method #10: Pay Yourself Back (25% boost)

During the pandemic, travel redemptions were severely limited. As a result, Chase came up with the Pay Yourself Back program, and Chase is allowing you to redeem points for elevated value in everyday categories most people can use.

When you use Pay Yourself Back for eligible purchases, you can "wipe" them off your statement with an additional 25% bonus value, essentially allowing you to redeem it at 1.25 CPP.

As a result, we can say: 100,000 UR * 1.25 CPP = $1,250

Pay Yourself Back


Cards that offer Pay Yourself Back:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Ink Plus (no longer available)
  • Ink Business Cash Credit Card 
  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

Note that each card above has different Pay Yourself Back categories that may change periodically, so check Chase's site for the most up-to-date redemption categories and rates.


Method #11: Chase Travel Portal at 50% boost (Chase Sapphire Reserve)

If you hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and use your UR points to redeem for Chase Travel Portal, you'll get a 50% boost in value. Essentially, this will give you 1.5 CPP, meaning: 

100,000 UR * 1.5 CPP = $1,500

Be sure to compare travel prices to the Chase Travel Portal to see if you're getting the best value.

Method #12: Transfer Partners

Transfer Partners are one of the best ways to redeem your points. Generally, when you transfer your UR points to Chase's partners, you get 2 CPP in value. So that's:

100,000 UR * 2 CPP = $2,000

Related Read: Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

Depending on the travel partner, this value can increase up to $10,000. If you want to know how to use your UR points to Chase's transfer partners, then check out this blog: How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners (a Step-by-Step Guide).

YouTube Video

If you're interested in learning more about the best and worst ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points in detail, watch this video:


...
Can You Have Two of the Same Credit Card?
Credit Cards 101

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "Why do you have multiple of the same credit card?" In this post, we'll cover which cards you can have multiples of, the general policies, and the cards I have.

Can You Have Two of the Same Credit Card?

Yes, depending on the credit issuer.  With most major issuers, it's possible to hold two of the same credit card. The main issue is HOW you obtain multiple of these cards.

In most cases, you'll need to product change a card to hold two of the same credit card.

Important: You do NOT receive an intro bonus when you product change a card.

For example, if you product change a  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a  Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you do not receive a bonus for the  Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Some people obtain a second  Chase Freedom Flex® card from getting the  Chase Sapphire Preferred and product changing the card after the first year. You will not receive an intro bonus for the second  Chase Freedom Flex.

For some credit issuers, if you currently have the card, you cannot apply for the same card. The application will automatically get rejected. Always check the card offer details and terms for the most accurate information.

Bank of America

Bank of America is more flexible with having multiple cards, but restrictions do apply for select products. You can have multiple Better Balance Rewards and Cash Rewards cards.

Be sure to read the Bank of America card application rules post to see if you qualify to apply for additional cards: https://www.asksebby.com/blog/bank-of-america-adds-24-month-rule-to-some-credit-cards

For example, the Bank of America Alaska card is not available to you if you currently have or have had the card in the past 24 months.

One product that is no longer available is the Better Balance Rewards card. The system allowed me to apply for multiple at the same time, and they were approved. However, Bank of America did close two of the accounts after enforcing their new application rules.

American Express

American Express lets you apply for the same product, but you will not receive the intro bonus again due to the "once in a lifetime" rule.

I don't recommend submitting multiple applications all at once; otherwise, the system may view them as duplicate applications and automatically reject them. Space the applications out by a few months.

Keep in mind that applying for a card is different from upgrading a card. When you upgrade a card, there are often upgrade offers after you spend "x" amount in "x" months.

I only recommend doing the product change if you currently have or had the card for the intro bonus in the past, otherwise, you might not qualify in the future.

Watch the video below for the Amex product change strategies.

Chase

 Chase allows you to earn an intro bonus for a product once every two years, except for the Sapphire cards, which are once every four years.

However, it is possible to product change to a card you already have.

Reminder: You do NOT receive an intro bonus when you product change.

For example, you can sign up for a  Chase Freedom card and earn an intro bonus. If you also have a  Chase Sapphire Preferred that you no longer get positive expected value from, you can product change the Sapphire to a second  Chase Freedom card.

Why Would You Want Two of the Same Credit Card?

There are two main reasons for why I have multiple of the same credit card:

  1. No annual fee cards with high category point multipliers
  2. Cards with an annual fee that offer a free hotel night each year or travel credits

No Annual Fee Cards with Categories

Rotating category cards are some of my favorite cards to have duplicates. For example, the  Chase Freedom Flex card earns 5% on up to $1,500 in combined category purchases each quarter you activate.

There are some categories that I can easily maximize, so having a secondary card helps me earn more points.

Another example is the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card that earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases on office supply stores; internet, cable, and phone services.

Some office managers who carry the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card can easily maximize the $25,000 in combined category spend each year. Having a secondary Ink Business Cash® Credit Card would help earn points faster.

You can product change the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to a secondary Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. Business cards can only be changed to business products, and not personal cards.

Annual Fee Cards with Free Nights or Travel Credits

The second group of cards is ones that have annual fees, but you don't need to spend a lot on the card to derive positive expected value.

The best example is the Amex Hilton Aspire that has a $450 annual fee and comes with a free weekend certificate and resort credits. Since I can redeem the free weekend certificate at high-value properties, I derive more than $450 in value each year.

The automatic Diamond status has also saved me hundreds of dollars on breakfast and executive lounge access.

Your mileage may vary depending on where you plan to redeem the free weekend night. I currently hold two Amex Hilton Aspire cards.

Overall Thoughts

Having multiple of the same credit card isn’t for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a specific use case like maximizing spend categories or utilizing travel benefits.

...
First 5 Credit Cards Strategy for Travel
Travel

Building a strong foundation of credit cards is essential for a healthy credit score. In this post, we’ll walk through the first 5 credit cards to consider if you’re starting out in your credit journey.

A few guidelines:

  1. Chase 5/24 - Chase has an unwritten rule where you’ll automatically get denied for a credit card if you have more than 5 credit cards from ANY credit issuers in the past 24 months. This only applies to credit cards. Personal loans, car loans, etc. do not count towards the Chase 5/24 rule.
  2. Chase typically likes to see 12 months of non-authorized user credit history before they approve you for a card. Your mileage may vary based on your banking relationship and income level.
  3. Why are we focused on Chase cards? Due to the restrictive Chase 5/24 rule, it mathematically makes sense to get Chase cards first, then move on to other credit issuers. Each Chase slot is easily worth $500-$1,000 in travel. More details here: https://www.asksebby.com/blog/how-much-are-Chase-credit-cards-worth

Credit Card #1: Any student or secured card

Since Chase typically likes to see at least 12 months of personal credit history, your first credit card should be a student credit card (if you qualify), a starter card, or a secured card.

I strongly recommend picking a card that does not have an annual fee since you should plan on keeping the card long-term. This card is the foundation of your credit card history, and the last thing you want to do is cancel your oldest card due to the annual fee.

Capital One, Bank of America, and Citi have good beginner card options.

Credit Card #2: Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Freedom Flex®

After holding credit card #1 for at least 12 months, I recommend going for a Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited to start building a credit relationship with Chase.

I’ve seen people get approved for a Chase card with less than 12 months of credit history, but they usually have a higher income ($80k+) or other credit mixes.

Chase starter cards:

  • Chase Freedom Flex - earn 5% on select rotating categories each quarter you activate, up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited - earn a flat rate of 1.5% on everything.

If you have a lot of miscellaneous expenses like home improvement, taxes, or tuition, I recommend going for the Freedom Unlimited.

You can product change between the Chase Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited.


Credit Card #3: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Depending on what your income is and if you have plans to travel, I recommend going for either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Sapphire Reserve.

Wait at least 3 months of having the Freedom card before applying. If you apply sooner, it could raise flags due to the velocity of card applications.

The following rules apply to the Sapphire cards:

  • You can only hold one Sapphire card at a time (unless you’re grandfathered in)
  • You can only receive one Sapphire bonus (regardless if Reserve or Preferred) once every 4 years

Since the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite card, you need to have the ability to get approved for a minimum of $10,000 credit line. I recommend having an income of at least $35,000+ to increase your chances of approval.

If you don’t have plans to travel in the near future or you value Chase travel partners, I suggest going for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The Sapphire Preferred has a higher intro bonus of 100,000 points, and a lower annual fee.

Worst case, you can cash out the 100,000 points for a net $905. After a year, you can product change the Sapphire Preferred to a Sapphire Reserve.

Bonus: Add Chase Ink Cards

Chase business cards do not count towards Chase 5/24, but they’re affected by it. You must be at 4/24 or under to get approved for a Chase business credit card.

If you qualify for business credit cards, I recommend adding them here.

You can qualify for a business credit card if you generate any type of income outside of your full-time job. Examples would be tutoring, rental income, selling online, or babysitting. Depending on the state you live in, you could qualify as a sole proprietor.

Credit Card #4 and #5: Any remaining Chase credit cards you want

Chased on your travel goals, I recommend filling in slots #4 and #5 with the remaining Chase credit cards that are on your list.

A strong hotel keeper card that I’ve kept long term is the The World of Hyatt Credit Card since redemption nights start at 5,000. You also get a free night certificate each card anniversary.

A few other cards worth considering:

Pick the cards based on your airline or hotel preferences.

Alternatives to Chase Credit Cards

If you are not a fan of Chase or you’re not eligible for Chase credit cards, I recommend going for Capital One first since they’re inquiry sensitive.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Annual fee: $95
  • 12+ Airline transfer partners
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®  
  • No foreign transaction fees

Barclays

Barclays has a soft 6/24 rule that is not always enforced. If you open more than 6 credit cards in the past 24 months from any credit issuer, then you’re likely to get denied.

Barclays credit cards worth considering:

  • Barclays Aviator cards
  • Barclays JetBlue Plus

Although some of the Barclays cards have no annual fee products in the same family tree, some people have had trouble requesting a downgrade. I recommend building a strong foundation of cards first before moving on to Barclays.

America Express

American Express is not sensitive to velocity or inquiries, so I would save Amex cards as the last cards you get.

Important note: I do not recommend getting an Amex card with an annual fee as your first credit card. If the Amex card does not have a no annual fee downgrade path, and you choose to cancel in the future, you lose the credit history.

Bank of America

For people with a lot of assets with Bank of America, I suggest checking out our post on the Bank of America Duo to maximize your points: https://www.asksebby.com/blog/bank-of-america-duo-credit-cards-for-high-net-worth-individuals

...
The Cash Back Credit Card Tier List
Cash Back

Credit card rewards "transfer wealth" from cash users to credit users. If you select the right credit card and use it responsibly, it can be form of couponing.

By using credit cards (that earn rewards), you get the cash back. For example, let’s say a merchant (Walgreens) pays 2-3% in interchange fees to accept your card. In most states, this amount is the same, so that the merchant will increase the product cost.

Consumers who use credit cards get the rewards back, and cash users foot the bill. Per the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, cash users pay $149/year into this system. Credit card users get $1,133/year from this same system. Keep reading if you want to learn more about how to be on the receiving end of the money.

Side note: If you don’t want to use credit cards but still want to reap the benefits of rewards, I recommend looking into cash back portals. One of the most competitive rates and payouts right now is Rakuten. Here’s a referral link to check them out: https://www.asksebby.com/rakuten

Tier 5: 1% to 1.5% Credit Cards

These are generally the starting point for people who are new to this channel. They know they should have a credit card for all the reasons we just mentioned, including building credit and getting some rewards back but haven’t looked into it too much beyond this.

You can usually derive 2-3X more value with minimal work. For example, some 1.5% cards tie into other card setups, but this is generally due to something (a premium card) making it worth more.

Tier 4: 2% Credit Cards

These cards are my recommendation for people who want to set it and forget it and use one card for everything.

The Citi Double Cash® Card (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay), Fidelity 2%, and the PayPal 2% Mastercard all fit the bill along with some regional credit union cards. Of these, I recommend the Citi Double Cash because it gives you more optionality.

One of the benefits about Citi is that you can product change between any of their cards when it comes to using it for travel or cash back. For example, the Double Cash can be changed to the Costco credit card.

Regarding travel, the 2% is the baseline value that we use when comparing cards; we want it to pass the 2% hurdle rate.

The Citi Double Cash card is a great example of making a travel card work for you with up to 4% cash back for advanced redemptions like business or first class.

Tier 3: Specialty Credit Cards

These types of cards are for people who spend a lot of money at specific places. Cash back is cash back here, so generally, there are no additional reward options. The goal here is to find cards that offer at least 3% back. You want your cards to work for you.

There are three sub-types of cards in this category:

1. Payment Method

An example of a payment method type of card is Apple Pay. Apple gives you 3% cash back when using Apple Pay at places like Apple, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Nike, Uber and Uber Eats, and Exxon, to name a few.

For people who have expensive medicine, 3% cash back at Walgreens can be huge. By the same token, if you spend a lot of money on Apple products, this is a great option.

2. Vendor or Store

The Amazon Prime card is a great example of an extremely competitive 5% cash back for high Amazon spenders or frequent Whole Foods shoppers.

If you’re someone who buys a lot of electronics or cameras, B&H is worth considering because it can cover the tax amount at 8.5%. That’s a lot of savings on a $1000 camera lens!

Be careful with this; avoid getting cards for places you don’t spend a lot of money or don’t see yourself using in the future.

Specific Categories Examples:

  • Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi earns 4% cash back on gas up to $7,000 and 3% cash back on restaurants and travel.
  • Capital One Savor earns 3% cash back on dining and entertainment.
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back on U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000, then 1% after that. Terms apply.

The benefit here is that you are not locked into a specific store. You can go to Trader Joe's, Safeway, and Whole Foods, and any restaurants or gas stations, etc.

For a lot of these cards, there are annual fee versions as well. The American Express Everyday Preferred and the Blue Cash Preferred are good examples of cards with various annual fees.

To see which card is the best for you, do a simple break-even calculation. Ignoring all other multipliers, for example, if your supermarket spending is $3,167, you are impartial to either card. If you spend more than that, the Blue Cash Preferred has the better value.

Lastly, make sure these cards cover the bases that you need covered. If you only cook at home and your restaurant spending is low, or if you don’t have a car, these might not be the best cards for you.

Tier 2: 5% Rotating Credit Cards

This is the setup I recommend for lower spenders using the U.S. Bank Cash Plus and  Chase Freedom Flex® cards. The U.S. Bank Cash Plus lets you pick two categories where you can earn 5% cash back on up to $2,000 spend per quarter.

There are lots of categories to choose from, and I’ve seen this played in two ways.

First, pick a category that you consistently spend a lot of money on. (The same idea as Tier 3 but covers two categories.) Electronics are an easy example here.

Secondly, use this card for items you don’t usually purChase but could have a spike in spending throughout the year.

For example, buying new furniture, a new cell phone, sports equipment, or back to school shopping.

The  Chase Freedom Flex is the other major pick in this category, and this is for the potential upside of earning 5x cash back on up to $1,500 in combined category purchases each quarter you activate.

Similar to the Citi Double Cash, this can be worth twice as much (10% cash back) if you decide to switch to a travel set up. The fact that you have a good 5% baseline and huge optionality with this card is a great benefit.

If this is confusing, or you have a Player 2 that always uses the wrong card, I would invest in a label maker. It takes 30 seconds of work every 3 months to help clarify which card to use and when.

Tier 2 is also the best spot for most cash back people who are low to normal spenders who want to maximize their card's value.

Tier 1: Specialty Setups

The card systems in Tier 1 have the most upside, but almost always have something that makes it hard to justify.

We'll quickly go through these, but I could make a dedicated post for each.

1. American Express Trifecta for Cash Back

Here you’ll earn Membership Rewards (MR) points from the American Express® Green Card, American Express® Gold Card, and the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. Then, cash them out using the Schwab Platinum card for 1.25 cents per point (CPP).

The main disadvantage here is that you generally need a pretty sizeable spend to justify this setup long-term. There are also a lot of annual fees involved; generally $800-$950 per year. But there are also many credits that help subsidize these fees, like the $200 annual travel credit. Terms apply.

This is generally the setup I recommend to people who have a lot of work spending, or for someone who only takes one short vacation per year and they can’t use all of the points anyway.

In this instance you might as well cash out the points into your brokerage account.

2. Bank of America Platinum Honors Setup

The main disadvantage here is that you need $100,000 in your Bank of America account or Merrill Lynch brokerage account. With this setup you get a 75% rewards bonus on Bank of America cards.

That means the 3% Cash Rewards is 5.25% cash back on a pretty wide range of things like gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvement.

There are spending caps, but people who run this setup get multiple cards or product change to different cards.

3.  Chase Trifecta

This is new for 2021, mostly because  Chase added the Pay Yourself Back program. With this program, you can redeem your points for additional value; 25% or 50% boost for everyday purchases. This sounds good on the surface, but there are some disadvantages.

The main disadvantage is that  Chase picks the categories, so we don’t know if it will stay as groceries or switch to gas, for example.

You’ll also likely need a decent spend or multiple Freedom or Freedom Flex cards for it to work well. To take advantage of the additional credits, it’s a good idea to commit to a little bit of travel for this setup to be beneficial as well.

...
Rules to Know for Chase Credit Card Applications (Chase 5/24, 2/30, One Sapphire Rule)
Chase

Before applying to Chase credit cards, it’s important to understand the rules for applications (2/30 Rule), eligibility (5/24 Rule), and bonuses (once every two years).

2/30 Rule

The 2/30 rule says that you can only have two applications every 30 days or else you’ll automatically be rejected.

If you don’t have a high credit score (700+), your chances of getting approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is slim. Chase usually looks for a great credit score or a banking relationship. It’s a lot easier and less risky for Chase to give you a credit line of $1,000 with the Chase Freedom Flex®, as opposed to the minimum $10,000 credit limit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

5/24 Rule

The most infamous rule is the Chase 5/24 rule. The idea is if you have more than five new credit cards in the past 24 months, from any issuer, you’ll automatically get rejected for certain Chase cards.

For example, if you received 4 Bank of America credit cards and 1 Citi credit card in the past 24 months, then your Chase application will be automatically rejected because of 5/24.

The main exception to this is Chase business cards because they don’t go on your credit report. Even though Chase can see them on your report, they don’t care.

Intro Bonuses

Regarding intro bonuses, you can qualify for a new bonus every 24 months. For example, if you received the Hyatt sign up bonus in 2013 and applied for the card again in 2017, you would be eligible to receive a new bonus.

If you’re currently an authorized user for a card you want to apply for, you should remove yourself to qualify for the intro bonus.

“One Sapphire Rule”

The one exception to the intro bonus rule in the section above is the Chase Sapphire family of cards.

The “One Sapphire Rule” refers to Chase Sapphire card applications and approvals.

You cannot apply and get approved for a Sapphire card if you currently have an open one.

You can have an open Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, OR a Chase Sapphire card, but not more than one at a time.

Exceptions to the “One Sapphire Rule”:

  • If you had more than one Chase Sapphire card before the rule kicked in August 2018; then your cards are grandfathered.
  • You can product change a card to have multiple Sapphires

Chase Sapphire 48-Month Rule

In addition to the “One Sapphire Rule,” you can only receive an intro bonus to a Chase Sapphire card once every 48 months (4 years).

For example, if you receive an intro bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in Jan 2018, you would have to wait until Jan 2022 to receive another Chase Sapphire bonus.

If you were to downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred in Jan 2019 to a Chase Freedom card and apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you would not qualify for the bonus due to the 48-month rule.

Again, the 48-month rule only applies to the Chase Sapphire family of cards.

If you are an authorized user on a Chase Sapphire card and you want to get your own, be sure to remove yourself as an authorized user before applying.

“One Southwest Rule”

You are not eligible for a personal Southwest credit card intro bonus if you:

Currently have any (personal) Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card

Received a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card intro bonus in the past 24 months

The above rules do not apply to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business cards. There are currently 3 personal Southwest credit cards, so you can only get the intro bonus for one every 24 months.

However, if you want to earn Southwest Companion Pass from credit cards, you can apply for one personal and one business Southwest card.

Chase Business Credit Cards

Chase business credit cards are affected by 5/24 (you can get rejected due to 5/24).

Chase business cards (and business cards from most issuers other than Capital One) do not show up as a new account on your credit report and therefore do NOT add to 5/24.

For example, you can be at 4/24, add a Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, and you would still be at 4/24.

On the flip side, if you are at (or above) 5/24, and apply for a Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, the application would be rejected due to the 5/24 rule.

Optimal Strategy

If you’re looking for the optimal strategy, go for the Chase cards you want first based on your goals (travel or cash back) before any other credit issuer.

The benefit of going for Chase cards first is that unlike other card issuers, most of the core Chase cards have no annual fee product change options to keep your credit history alive.

At the end of the day, we recommend applying for cards that make sense for you and add value based on what you’re trying to achieve.

YouTube Video: Chase 5/24 Rules

...
Best Downgrade Options for the Citi Prestige
Citi

On July 23, 2017, Citi removed their card benefits like trip protection and insurances.

A lot of cardholders are wondering what their options are — should they cancel or product change the Citi Prestige?

Annual fee

A significant factor in determining which route to take is the annual fee. The annual fee is $450, but it comes with a $250 travel credit, making the effective annual fee $200.

In some cases, you can apply in-branch to receive a lower annual fee of $350, making the effective annual fee $100 after the travel credit.

The main question is if the lower $350 annual fee will be honored the second year, or if the fee will increase to $450.

We’re hesitant to keep the card with an effective $200 annual fee because there are alternative luxury cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum that provide the same, if not better, value.

Before considering downgrade/product change options, we need to consider if this card is worth keeping.

4th night free

The best perk the Citi Prestige is known for is book 3 consecutive nights, get the 4th night free. In order to redeem this perk, you have to book through the Citi Prestige Concierge.

Effective July 23, 2017, Citi will rebate the average room rate across your stay of 4 or more nights, not including taxes.

Citi ThankYou Points

My main concern is that if I cancel or product change the card, I won’t be able to receive an intro bonus for a Citi card (that earns ThankYou points) in the next 2 years.

Citi has a rule that you can qualify for an intro bonus every 2 years across the same product family. For example, if you were approved for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card in 2015, you would not receive an intro bonus for the Citi Prestige if you applied the same year. You would have to wait until 2017 to qualify for another Citi intro bonus.

Since I signed up for the Citi Prestige in September 2016, that means I won’t be eligible for another ThankYou bonus until September 2018. If I cancel the card now, it resets the clock meaning I won’t be eligible for another bonus until September 2019.

Product change options

In terms of product changes, there are 3 cards I’m considering:

  1. Citi Custom Cash® Card
  2. Citi Double Cash® Card
  3. Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Citi Custom Cash® Card

Pros:

  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter
  • 5% eligible categories: Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, live entertainment.
  • Earns Citi ThankYou points
  • No activation required

Cons:

  • Only ideal if you have heavy spend in one of the qualifying 5% categories mentioned above
61f662b66a3bc52492e64945

Citi Double Cash® Card

Pros:

  • 2% on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay the bill
  • Citi Price Rewind, but this benefit is included with every card

Cons:

  • If you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn 1.5x with the Unlimited and redeem for 3x when you transfer points to the Reserve.
  • I usually have a new card I’m trying to meet minimum spend on…the 2% might not make sense for me vs. meeting minimum spend
61f6630cdb047c410efff4c0

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Pros:

  • I already have Costco membership so “no annual fee”
  • Earn 4% on gas, 3% at restaurants+travel, 2% at Costco
  • Extends Costco warranty on purchases by 2 years

Cons:

  • “Locked in” to Costco
  • Gas isn’t relevant to me (no car) and there are better alternatives for restaurant+travel (CSR)
  • Earn 2% at Costco vs. 1.5% with the Freedom Unlimited (effectively 3% if you transfer points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve)
  • Costco already has an amazing warranty policy

How to request a product change

To request a product change, call the number on the back of your Citi Prestige credit card. Let the agent know which product you'd like to switch the card to.

...
How to Use the CardMatch Tool to Find Better Sign-Up Offers
American Express

What if you could save time and find multiple credit card offers that you're prequalified for without impacting your credit score? Sometimes, you may even get targeted for special offers (not publicly available) based on your credit profile when you use the CardMatch Tool.  

What is CardMatch?

CardMatch is a tool that shows you pre-approved and special targeted offers (sometimes) from select credit issuers. The tool conducts a soft pull so that it won't affect your credit score. See your matched offers in less than 60 seconds.

Why use CardMatch?

Every so often, the CardMatch tool has great offers for select cards. For example, not everyone will be targeted, but sometimes you can find The Platinum Card® from American Express with 125,000-150,000 point welcome offers after you spend $6,000 within the first 6 months. Terms apply. A couple of AskSebby subscribers have reported they were able to apply for and get the offer. YMMV.

Users may not be matched with all offers or banks, and matches are based on your credit profile.

How to use the CardMatch Tool

To take advantage of targeted offers available, simply go to the CardMatch tool. Enter your information, agree to the terms of service, and the system will search for offers.

Be sure to view "All Matches" to see everything you're targeted for.

Want to see if you're pre-qualified for any great offers? Try it out yourself!

✅ Check CardMatch for elevated offers here!

Try CardMatch
...
How to Get the Amex Platinum 150K Offer
American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel credit card that offers a wide range of exclusive benefits and rewards. Some of the benefits offered by the card include travel perks, such as airport lounge access and elite hotel status.


Amex Platinum 150k Welcome Bonus Offer

The Platinum Card has a public offer available to everyone, but there's also an elusive elevated Amex Platinum 150,000 point bonus.

American Express has a once-in-a-lifetime welcome bonus rule, so if you earned an intro offer for the Amex Platinum in the past, you likely do not qualify for the elevated offer.

Here’s how to find the 150,000 Amex Platinum offer for first-time Amex cardholders. 


How to Get the Amex Platinum 150K Offer

There are several ways to check whether you’re eligible for the Amex Platinum 150K offer by either:

  1. Visiting the American Express website. 
  2. Checking CardMatch, a free tool that can potentially match you with the best offers when you enter your information.
  3. Reviewing targeted email offers.

Here’s how each method works to see if you qualify for the offer. 

Method 1: Visit the American Express website

One of the easiest ways to determine whether you qualify for the Amex Platinum 150k offer is by simply visiting their website. Sometimes American Express will show elevated offers to new customers.

Amex Plat 150k Offer

There may also be the American Express pre-qualification tool that shows an elevated offer. This will allow you to enter your information securely (no hard credit pull) and match you with available offers.

Through the pre-qualification tool, rather than applying for The Platinum Card from American Express through the ‘Apply Now’ page, you can use a special “Check for Offers” link, which will ask for your information and tell you whether you’re pre-qualified for the 150k Platinum offer. 

Method 2: Check CardMatch for the Amex Platinum 150k Offer

If you're not targeted for elevated offers on American Express's website, one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you qualify for an elevated offer is through a free tool called CardMatch.

✅ Check CardMatch for elevated offers here!

...
What is CardMatch? Everything You Need to Know
Credit Cards 101

Have you ever applied for a credit card only to be told you don’t qualify? It can be frustrating, especially if you’re not sure why. That’s where CardMatch comes in. 

CardMatch is a tool offered by CreditCards.com that helps you to match yourself with credit card offers from multiple issuers based on your credit profile. It’s quick, easy, and, best of all, free!

How Does CardMatch Work? 

CardMatch is a tool that allows you to compare credit card offers from multiple issuers in one place. All you need to do is provide some basic information about yourself, including:

  • Your full name
  • Your home address
  • The last four digits of your Social Security Number
  • Your email address
  • Employment status
  • Income
  • Monthly rent payments

From there, CardMatch will generate a list of pre-approved and special offers tailored specifically for you in less than 60 seconds.

One of the best things about CardMarch is that it’s completely free to use. There’s no obligation to apply for any of the cards you’re presented with, so you can shop around without worrying about damaging your credit score. 

Note that since these are targeted offers, not everyone will have the same results. CardMatch may also not have all cards currently available on the market.

✅ Check CardMatch for elevated offers here!

...
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Book a Trip to Banff Using Credit Card Rewards
Travel

We recently took a trip to the Canadian Rockies in September. People often ask me how I plan my trips, so this is a step-by-step guide on how we planned our trip to Banff.

One of the main reasons why we wanted to take this trip is because Parks Canada is offering free admission to their national parks for their 150th anniversary.

VIA HTTPS://WWW.PC.GC.CA/EN/VOYAGE-TRAVEL/ADMISSION

Banff Trip Checklist

1. Hotels

  • 4 nights
  • Intent = 2 in Calgary + 2 in Banff
  • Ideal = 2 in Lake Louise

2. Flights from SFO to Calgary
3. Car rental

Hotels

I signed up for the  Chase Fairmont card earlier this year for the two free night certificates. The card was discontinued in August.

SUMMERFAIRMONT BANFF SPRING RATES

Peak season rates for the Fairmont Lake Louise is usually $1099 CAD/night.

To book reservations using the Fairmont certificates, we had to call the reservation line on the back of the card. They don't have an online system, so the representative has to manually look through different dates.

On our first attempt, there were no consecutive dates available for Lake Louise. After doing some more research, we realized it was better to stay in Banff Springs because there are more attractions near the hotel.

We called a few weeks later and were able to secure two consecutive nights in September for Banff Springs. Another benefit was that we could use the suite upgrade certificate with the booking.

Bottomline, try calling the reservation line several times over the span of a few weeks to check for availability.

For the remaining hotel nights outside of the Fairmont certificates, I booked using Hotels.com. My goal was to spend less than $100 for hotels in Calgary. I booked the Marriott in downtown Calgary two weeks before the trip and found a deal for $97/night.

Pro-tip: Hotels.com has a 10% discount if you book using a mobile phone.

On the last night, we were supposed to drive back to Calgary, but we wanted to spend more time in Banff, so we canceled the hotel reservation. I booked a last minute hotel reservation at the Juniper Hotel in Banff and used my Hotels.com free night since I accumulated 10 stays.

JUNIPER HOTEL

The free night is equivalent to 10% of all your hotel.com stays, so my free night certificate was worth $119.77. I still had out of pocket costs to pay, which came out to be $68.65.

Flights

To book flights, I set up a Google Flights notification for deal alerts. I routinely check for flights on Tuesdays because that tends to be the cheapest day to book a flight.

Pro-tip: if you're planning multiple trips at the same time, set up a folder in your bookmarks bar to stay organized.

MY BOOKMARKS BAR

Flights to Calgary from SFO usually range from $350-$550, but we wanted to wait for a deal. We kept an eye out on Scott's Cheap Flights for a price drop. Luckily, a few weeks later, there was a deal alert.

VIA SCOTT'S CHEAP FLIGHTS

The great thing about booking through the  Chase Travel Portal is that discounted fares are also reflected. I used the  Chase Sapphire Reserve and spent 15,872 UR points on a roundtrip ticket.

Car Rental

We booked a rental car using the Costco Travel Portal. From my experience, they usually have the cheapest rates and offer free upgrades or additional discounts at select locations.

I usually don't check anywhere else for rental cars unless the Costco rates are absurd. Since reservations are free to cancel, I typically make one at least a month in advance and then check what the prices are closer to the travel date.

Pro-tip: If you have to wait more than 20 minutes for a car, that usually means the rental agency ran out of cars, or they're slowly cleaning returns. Ask the agent nicely if they can do anything for you for the inconvenience, i.e., discount or free upgrades.

We waited an hour for the rental car, and the agent took off a day of rental and gave us a free tank of gas.

Conclusion

Here's the breakdown of the cards we used to book the trip:

  • Hotels =  Chase Fairmont signup bonus (certificate nights + upgrades)
  • Flights =  Chase Sapphire Reserve ( via Ultimate Reward points)
  • Car rental =  Chase Sapphire Reserve (for primary CDW)
  • Airport Lounges = Amex Platinum + Priority Pass
  • Everything else = New cards to hit minimum spend with no foreign transaction fees
...
No results found.