Credit Card Rewards & Points General Thread

Another quick update on this one: Several days later another offer appeared on my DW’s Amex Gold:
Hers is Spend $250 get $50. Not the best offer but better than a stick in the eye, my Dad used to say!

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OK, Another Amex offer that showed up on my DW’s Amex Gold and might also be useful for people in Disney Springs:

Spend $50 or more in Sprinkles, get $10 back - up to 3 times.

Remember, you have to login and add these offers to your card(s) before they work!

I think I just saw the DS Sprinkles in one of @Jeff_AZ’s trip report photos, so was good timing - I didn’t even realize there was a location there because we don’t do regular bakeries due to allergen issues.

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I finally got my code on Friday. While waiting for a Skyliner. I was starting to think I had messed up the application somehow.

Just home now so I haven’t tried shopping yet. DS22 just moved to an apartment in NYC so I will be looking so some essentials for him with this bonus $100.

Appreciate the heads up about the restrictions. Reminds me of the Amex Points hack on amazon where it had to be a product sold and shipped by amazon or it didn’t count.

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I just listened to the most recent 10x Travel podcast episode about “Unsexy Redemptions” and it made me think of this thread! Other people can have the overwater bungalows and the showers on airplanes, I’m happy to have points for things like a night before or after a cruise, getting free flights for more WDW trips, etc. :slight_smile:

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I’ve got some future big redemption aspirations, but was just reporting to my wife that we’ve saved over $1K in basic 1 and 2-night hotel costs for college visits and other things this year by shuffling points and certs around. Here’s hoping she thinks that non-un-sexy. :smiley:

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I like saving money, so I think they’re all sexy redemptions, myself. I’ll try to live-TR my “free” cruise to Alaska next week; I’m trying to decide if I want to spend any money at all on wifi, so that’s how it might not be very “live”

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This one is a bit niche, but still worth reporting as a data point for the future.

Sometime You Gotta Just Try
Last month when I applied for my Hilton Honors Biz card, I used my wife’s Amex Gold referral link. At the time there was an offer (sadly now-expired) for referrals where the referer would get an additional 10 Amex Membership Rewards (MR) on dining worldwide for 3 months.

Amex plus 10 dining offer416x296, 50%

That is +10 points on TOP of the cards already 4x points for dining, so a total of 14x.
That’s a crazy return if you have a high dining spend - and could max out the $25K in dining.

Or, you could find someone getting married or having a big party and book a venue that codes as dining to pay for their first $25K in costs.

I WILL NOT be attempting either of those things. :crazy_face:
But, I’ll take what I can get for extra points.

My Test Run

When we go on trips, we tend to hit a few food chains as our go to places because we’re comfortable with their allergy policies - Chipotle, Olive Garden.

Also, while not a nut-allergy safe place for the kids, we also make stops at Panera a lot because my wife finds that their menu works well for her. (I like their food too, but feel like you get about 50% of the amount of food I’d expect for the price.) We also set up Panera delivery for my MIL a few times a month out of convenience for her.

So, in advance of travel I’ll stock up on gift cards using my Chase Ink Cash for 5x Ultimate Rewards at Staples, or via other good card-linked offers before our trip so I can load up those accounts.

Well, right now Panera has a Father’s Day offer: for every $25 in gift cards you send to someone you get a bonus $5 gift card for yourself. (The $5 bonus cards have a limited use window in July, so have a plan.)

Possible Issue: This offer is only available online and not all stores process their own gift card sales. So, there’s always a chance that a purchase from Panera will not code as dining and only get 1x point per dollar.

In fact, when you buy the gift cards at Panera, the info emails come from the third-party processor wgiftcard.com.
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Often in points groups, just like we do here for Disney info, you’ll see people share data points on how various spend codes. I could not find any reports related to Panera.

But, I figure that this instance is a no-lose proposition:

  • If I spend $100 on Panera gift cards that will absolutely not go to waste, I’ll have $125 to spend.
  • If I get extra points on top - Bazinga.

The Outcome

Last week I went for it: Purchased $100 in Panera gift cards online. Got $25 in future-use bonus cards.

Watched my wife’s Amex account for the points to hit - what happens in Amex bonus points is you get the base points (4x dining in this case) as usual, and then a few days later the bonus points show up.

The spend did code as dining despite the fact that the processor was wgiftcard and not Panera itself.

Bazinga indeed.

Sometimes Amex lumps together the bonus points for a couple of dining spends, which happened here with my Panera test and a McDonald’s strawberry shake run for DD17.

So, for $105.85 in spend, we earned 424 base points + 1,058 bonus = 1,482 total MR.
The Panera alone generated $1400 MR.
In general, points aficionados use a BASE value of 1.55 cents per point for Amex MR. You can get much more than that.

Base Value of the Amex MR comes out to $22.
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Ultimate Value

  • Spend: $100.
  • Gift Cards to Spend: $125.
  • Amex MR Value: $22 (or more)

Net cost for that $125 in Panera credit: $100 - $22 = $78.

ETA: This bonus runs for a full 3 months, which timed perfectly with our trip to Florida this summer. Even though it is not a parks trip (so far), we’ll probably spend some good American Dollars at some Disney favs, and maybe try out Steakhouse 71 so I look forward to racking up some points with this offer.

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DH mentioned splurging on a trip to Orlando in January 2025 instead of 2026.

A quick question on companion pass - if I get two credit cards in the next few months and hit the companion pass bonus by August - will I get companion pass for the remainder of 2024 and all of 2025?

The T&C say that’s the case but I’d much rather check with all of you savvy users!

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I hit my CP total in (i think) February and have a CP until the end of 2025! I didn’t think that would be the case so I’m pleasantly surprised. I would think you would get it too if you do this now.
I did it backwards, but I was supposed to get the business card first. Remember that, lol.

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Yep, that’s it!

People tend to start opening cards in mid-late Oct and timing hitting spend in January to get as close to 24 months of CP as possible, but if starting now gets you in for January use, your tactic earn you CP through the end of 2025. :slight_smile:

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Why?

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That was told to me here. I think because it’s harder to get the business card maybe? If you cant get that one it’s much harder to get the CP with SUBs points. I got approved for both but I definitely see the logic in it.

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Thanks!

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Yes, may be harder to get biz card, so if you try that first and are denied you can decide whether you want to bother getting personal card.

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Thank you :smiley:

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Quick follow up: I was able to order and use my code( SMB100OFF) for the $100 off.
So, got a patio umbrella with solar lights, teapot, some baking chocolate and a few car cleaning products that added up to about $111 - the code took off $100 immediately.

I tried using the code again - no deal. So, even though that is a very generic looking code, they must enable it for a single use on each eligible account.

Looking for insight. We are using our points to book flights to get to Orlando in January.

The flight that we want is 27k points - and we have enough points to cover all 4 of us at this time.

BUT - I also know that is SW changes the time of your flight, that you can change to a different flight for free.

Should I book a “cheaper” flight and hope that SW changes it? This seems risky. Should I just book what I want and call it an unsexy redemption? I’ll keep checking and if price goes down, I know I’ll get points back…but still…it’s nearly double the points for the one we want.

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If I didn’t have a boatload of extra points, I wouldn’t risk hoping they change the flight - just book the one you want then keep watching for new sales and modify down to the lower price if there are any.

If I DID have extra points, and wanted to play the change game, I’d STILL book this flight I want.

Then I might book the cheapest flight on the day before and/or after that has the possibility of changing. (I don’t know if there is a way to tell any particular flight is more susceptible to changes or not.)

If one of those other flights do change and SW lets you modify you can change them to the flight you want and cancel the original booking.

Have to be sure there are seats on that flight you want, so double check that is the case. I’d search for 8 seats in a different browser to make sure there is wiggle room and I don’t get shut out.

BUT - after all of that: that’s some serious mental overhead. I wouldn’t play this points arbitrage game too much unless the points I’m paying right now are huge, I really hope to bring them down and I don’t think there will be any sales.

In reality: I’ve only played this game for fun to see how it went and have only had a few flights change that would have enabled the tactic to work. Almost all of my points savings has come through sales and modifying down to the new price.

ALTERNATE Tactic

Definite risk to this, I wouldn’t do it myself unless I didn’t mind flying the not-as-desirable-but-cheap alternate flight. But putting it out there:

If we forget about the “I hope they change the flight” tactic, If you think there is a good chance there will still be seats on the flight you want the day of travel (I don’t know how to tell that either) - you could book the “Wanna Get Away PLUS” fare for the cheaper flight.

It will be a little more than the basic “Wanna Get Away” fare but still could be a lot less than the higher fare of the flight you are hoping to get.

PLUS fare gets you free same-day change, so you could then login at midnight of your travel day and change you all to the desired flight.

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But don’t you still have to pay the fare (points) difference?

No - the PLUS fare same day change is free, but of course there has to be seats available.

The base WGA fare WOULD have to pay the different to change and on that late date the fare would probably be expensive.

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