Recapping three better than usual credit card offers out there right now

In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that I have found for each card. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about my partners, including American Express, and thanks for your support!

This has been a rather boring year on the credit card front so far, with very few new or promotional offers out there. Chase continues to have some great offers, though it’s also where we’re most limited in terms of the number of new cards we can sign up for. There are about a dozen Chase cards I’d like to get, but I’m taking it slow since Chase isn’t really an issuer with which you can consistently pick up five new cards per year.

That being said, there have at least been a few good non-Chase offers that I’ve mentioned lately, so I figured I’d recap them, because they’re all recently increased or promotional and likely not around to stay:

1. The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN

This card ordinarily doesn’t come with any sign-up bonus, though at the moment is offering a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on the card within three months. While the annual fee on the card is $175, it’s waived for the first year. Back in the day Membership Rewards points used to be extremely easy to earn, though nowadays the sign-up bonuses are consistently lower than they used to be, and there are also fewer ways to earn them.

And I’m actually valuing Membership Rewards points more again given that they’re the easiest currency to use for bookings in Singapore Airlines Suites Class, which is one of my favorite products in the world. Also keep in mind that Membership Rewards frequently has transfer bonuses to their partner programs. For example, right now they’re offering a 35% transfer bonus to British Airways Executive Club, meaning 50,000 Membership Rewards points gets you 67,500 British Airways Avios.

2. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

The sign-up bonus on this card was recently increased to 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within 90 days. The annual fee on the card is $89, though it’s waived for the first year. This is about as good as cash back travel rewards credit cards get. You earn two points per dollar spent, and each point can be redeemed for one cent of value towards the cost of travel. Best of all you get 10% of your miles back whenever you redeem for travel, essentially making this a 2.2% cash back travel rewards card.

If nothing else the sign-up bonus on this card is worth $440 in travel. I recently wrote a post asking how much of a reward you guys need to apply for a credit card. My personal threshold is a $400 reward, and this card passes that threshold. And quite honestly that’s pretty tough to do consistently nowadays for those of us that have been in the game for a while. Lastly, keep in mind that many Barclay credit cards are churnable, so I suspect that’s also the case with this card.

3. Alaska Airlines Signature Visa

This card offers a 25,000 point sign-up bonus upon approval, and an additional $100 statement credit after spending $1,000 within 90 days. The card does have an annual fee of $75, which isn’t waived for the first year. Another benefit of the card is that you get a $99 coach companion certificate valid for travel on Alaska. The card is also churnable, so you can earn the sign-up bonus on this card multiple times. Alaska partners with Emirates, so it’s one of the few ways to redeem miles for an onboard shower.

Anyway, just figured I’d recap those three bonuses that I’ve recently covered, as I’m getting at least two of the three in a credit card churn later this week.

Editorial Note: Neither this post, nor the comments, are provided by the Issuing bank, or any other advertiser. The comments below have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not the bank or advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. says

    “Anyway, just figured I’d recap those three bonuses that I’ve recently covered, as I’m getting at least two of the three in a credit card churn later this week.”

    Hmm…sure it’s nothing to do with,

    “In the interest of full disclosure, some of the above links earn me a referral bonus, and all are for the best available offers for each card — thanks for your support!”

    In the interests of full disclosure would you have written this post if you had no referral links?

  2. lucky says

    @ George — The irony isn’t lost on me. You’re complaining about my referral links while linking to your site which has referral links.

  3. DW says

    Although this is a Chase offer, the Southwest 50,000 points after $2,000 of spending offer is back (though targeted), which is worth $800 of fares minus the $99 annual fee, so $700.

  4. lucky says

    @ George — Sorry, let me answer your question, because I figured it wasn’t actually serious. I pour my heart and soul into this blog, and for that matter the miles and points hobby as a whole. I probably spend 12 hours a day seven days a week doing this (and it’s not just blogging, but answering probably 100 reader emails a day to help readers out — for free) because it’s my passion. But I’m no longer in school, I’m an adult, and I also have bills to pay. The way I pay those bills is largely through referral links, all of which are for the best available offers.

    Do I only share credit card deals so I can make money off of them? Well, I’ve written several times about the Alaska card without mentioning any other card. It’s not a card I’m paid a referral bonus on. Why did I do that? For that matter, why did I include the card in this post, if all I wanted to do was make money?

    Sorry I provide disclosure. And sorry I try to make a living. And sorry I try to do it as honestly as I can.

    You’ve left exactly 11 comments on my blog, and none of them are nice or constructive. I don’t know about you, but I try to put my time towards helping people or being positive. I’m not sure why you keep reading this blog if it’s clearly causing you problems.

  5. says

    For starters? So, there are more? Like credit card links that I promote with meaningless posts? No. I think not. There are my only links.

    And as for disclosure here is what my website says, ” I will receive a £10 referral credit after you have earned £10 cashback through TopCashBack. Alternatively, you can have a friend recommend you through their TopCashBack account. There is no fee for using TopCashBack.”

    In the interests of full disclosure how much will you be paid if I apply for a credit card promoted in this post? $50, $100, $200? Full disclosure is naming a figure. You sir do not give full disclosure.

    And again, you have not answered my question.

    In the interests of full disclosure would you have written this post if you had no referral links?

  6. says

    I work in the financial sector. I know the full cost of bad advice. “I got to pay the bills” is the reason many good people have done very bad things to ill-informed people. You can make a living without pushing affiliate links.

  7. Rachel says

    I’ve never seen a travel blogger actually reveal how much they get for affiliate links, and I see no reason for them to do so. I doubt Lucky is “raking in the dough”. More than not, he’s making enough to cover costs.

  8. lucky says

    @ Rachel — And it’s actually a violation of our contracts with our affiliate marketing companies to disclose the payouts (I’m sure George can appreciate the concept of contracts if he works in finance). I think it’s pretty obvious they don’t want affiliates comparing the amounts they’re paid, as there are several “tiers” of payouts as far as I know.

  9. says

    Rachel, here in the UK if you give financial advice you must disclose the exact amount so the person making the decision knows the full facts and can make an informed decision. I ask you, why shouldn’t they reveal the information? As a consumer would it be bad for you?

  10. Rachel says

    Lucky, I signed up for the US Airways card today. How long should I wait before applying for the Arrival World Mastercard?

  11. Rachel says

    Lucky, I signed up for the US Airways card today. How long should I wait before applying for the Arrival World Mastercard?

  12. Murtuza says

    @lucky: ignore all the Nay-Sayers.. You do a great job and continue doing that.. Cheers!

  13. says

    @lucky

    I understand but that is a reason for the afflicate to keep them secrets. If we let financial firms make all the rules we as consumers would be screwed. There must a fairness to the contract, including to the consumer.

    It is unfair to recommend a financial product without fully disclosing the financial relationship behind the recommendation.

    We have a fundamental principle, treat the customer fairly. Are you treating your readers fairly? If you believe so then there is nothing I can do to change your mind. It’s an unregulated market, your only regulation is your conscience

  14. LeeInDC says

    @George – “Are you treating your readers fairly? If you believe so then there is nothing I can do to change your mind.” Does that mean you’ll stop posting comments here?

  15. Santastico says

    @ George – Dude, go get a life!!!! Since you are in the UK, get a tea with the Queen and relax. If you don’t like this blog, don’t read it. You don’t need to apply for those cards using Lucky’s affiliated links if you don’t want him to make $. Also, since you are in the UK I don’t think you can apply to these cards anyway. BTW, I looked for the first time into your blog and for a “Travel Blogger wannabe” here is my advice: invest your time in travelling since the map you have there shows you haven’t been much out of your own country.

  16. Adam P says

    I think it’s not unfair to ask Lucky to defend his ethics now and then, as George did, and to characterize doing that politely that as “hater” is naive. I sense you folks would defend almost anything.

    But though I agree that more disclosure is better, I do think that these products Lucky is recommending are simple enough that people can weigh them independent of Lucky’s recommendation. They are not financial derivatives, after all.

    We all know Lucky earns from them, and though I’d like to know how much, his point is well taken that they are but a fraction of the content he produces and he extends himself in very generous ways for his readers–which pays off. A lot of the Boarding Area bloggers are hacks or shills, while others are too busy to do much interaction with readers. On balance, Lucky earns his credibility.

  17. Albert says

    @Adam completely agree w you that criticism is fair game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if mr.george the travel monkey was just looking to stir the pot a little and maybe pick up a few readers

  18. Carl P says

    Why is anybody paying any attention to England? All that financial disclosure gets you the London Whale and the LIBOR rate fraud.

  19. Craig says

    This charge is constantly getting leveled against affiliate links, but one point I think isn’t made enough is that I WANT posts on good credit cards. They are the way I earn the vast majority of my miles. As an earlier commenter said, this is fairly simple stuff. We can all figure out pretty quickly which cards we want to apply for. (It’s taken me longer to write this comment than it did to decide I won’t be applying for the three cards in this post.)
    My concern is that making Lucky constantly defend himself against the same complaints will, in time, diminish his enthusiasm and the effort he puts into this hobby. He has taken the time to answer some questions I’ve left here – for free, of course – and I certainly appreciate that.

  20. ABC says

    @Craig, no need for that concern. Read comment 8, Lucky’s got bills to pay. Life would go on without Lucky too. It is a very competitive field. Most things are free online anyway and I don’t value Lucky’s information greatly. There’s nothing proprietary and it can ready be accessible. Most of us are point addicts and we are more than willing to share information at zero cost. Personally I wouldn’t click on his referral links simply because of the ethical issues. However, ethics is very blurry in the US (compared to most EU members) so I am no surprised about George the travel monkey’s viewpoint.

    gray in the US, not so in many EU countries, including BRD.

  21. Kris says

    @Rachel If don’t you think Lucky and other bloggers of his popularity are not “raking in the dough”, you must be extremely naive.

    Granted that he is much better than other bloggers who post worthless stuff just to push their links, no one should feel sorry for him…

  22. Phil says

    In the past week I have booked Award Tickets on Business and First Class (on TK and CX) and 6 nights in a top hotel just paying taxes (and the minimum spending requirements in the cards).

    I am pretty sure I am taking more from this commercial relationship (blogger vs reader)than Ben is. In this sense I do not give a zip how much money he makes from the affiliate links, but I both wish he makes good money to keep us informed with great deals and for this I will keep applying through his affiliate links.

  23. Kin says

    Goodness, buzz off George. As readers, we’re not lemmings. We read and analyze what Lucky has to say, and make thoughtful determinations on our own. If you have a problem with Lucky’s content, stop reading it. But don’t get on your high horse and say you’re doing the rest of us a favor.

  24. Gene says

    Geez, I’m not personally thrilled about the influence of affiliate links on blog posts, but George has gone off the deep end here. I always appreciate your hard work and free help. Keep up the good work, Ben.

  25. globetrotter says

    To all well established bloggers like you, please do not dignify yourself by responding to such retarded comments. Tell them to see a paid shrink or lodge complaint to their local representative or regulatory agencies. Just focusing on what you love to do and do best for you and your readers. You deserve to get paid for your time and effort and it will not adversely affect anyone’s bank account.

  26. Ph_kevin says

    Lucky, your passion and dedication more than shine through–and the bulk of what you write about isn’t merely credit card- related! Keep up the passion and dedication and your devotion to your readers — and don’t ever lose that personal engagement and commitment! We luv ya….

  27. rinfo says

    Hi, I already have the Amex Business Gold charge card, which I think is the same as the one listed here – right? I looked on the back, and it does say “OPEN”. I signed up via a promotion last year that was 75K points after $10K spend in 4 months. That one is coming around to a year, so I’m wondering if I can apply for this offer – but sounds like it’s probably the same card. Ya think?

  28. Steve A says

    @lucky – Please don’t waste your time reading/answering the negative posts. I’m another reader who appreciates your credit card blogs and feel you do the right amount. And your disclosure is absolutely sufficient.

  29. chris says

    I for one am more than happy to throw a credit app to a blogger or two who is consistently bringing the best deals and info to my attention. I used to keep up on the deals and tricks of the miles game by scouring FT, but that place has just become a myriad of worthless threads that are the epitome of beating a dead horse to death, over and over and over ad nauseum. I don’t have the time or patience anymore to wade through that wasteland of dated info and petty spats just to glean that rare piece of useful information. If a blogger can save me from all that that waste of time and dirty work by doing it himself, I’ll gladly click on their referral link for saving me all the trouble and heartache.
    Keep up the great work Lucky!

  30. Lantean says

    @haters

    I wish all this primitive envy would stop finally. If you hate your life and you’re jealous of the fact that Lucky travels the world and gets paid for it… get a new life! You control your own destiny and hate against others does not make you any better off.

    I am super happy Lucky get referral $$ for my cc applications and I do hope he makes a lot. Why? Many reasons… I like this blog and his style, he is a nice boy, he is patient, polite, and respectful, and above all, he is responsive. I can post a question on “Ask Lucky” and I can be sure that unless he’s traveling or sleeping, I’ll get an informed answer in an hour… who else does that? for free???

    And at the end… in many cases, if Lucky would not get the commission, and we’d just apply thru links on bank/airline websites, no one one would get any commission at all… what is that good for?

  31. stacey says

    Hi Lucky,

    On the Alaska Air front – you mentioned using Avios for your Alaska flights…. do you book those on the BA site? It’s saying they are not a partner…

    Thanks so much!

  32. lucky says

    @ stacey — You have to book by phone, unfortunately, because their availability doesn’t show up online (as you’ve noticed).

  33. E says

    It’s like everyone complaining about affiliate links is being forced at gunpoint to read the blog..

  34. ffi says

    Lucky’s blog is one of the more fun blogs and while I may learn at times more from the other blogs, I get the most laughs out of this. Also, I have had a few small interactions with Lucky and I am amazed at how responsive he is.
    I have done a lot of this myself, till I got to FT and BA and if I do not like the post or think it is a shill, I skip it.
    If I find a better link, I will take it as well.
    I may not think this is the best single blog post in years for offers, but I am not the blog police for posts for affiliate links and come on, every blogger has a slow day and Lucky has to make ends meet as much as anyone.
    Not every post can be the theory of the Miles Universe.

    All I can find to criticize is that the title “Three better than usual offers” should have read “for now, three available good ones”.

  35. David says

    I don’t mind referral links or posts on credit cards…they are informative, and ultimately, I decide what’s worth it for me. Some bloggers may like certain cards or programs more than others, but I’m not being manipulated or scammed…

    I don’t see why people care so much…it’s not like these bloggers are paid by anyone for their content. Honestly, I would pay $ to subscribe to this blog.

  36. John says

    It’s ironic people who complain about “haters” are so full of hate. The guy is making a valid point. This post is promoting some not very good cards because Lucky has aff links for them. If you disagree then complain to me why so many BoardingArea bloggers are pushing the Barclays Arrival card (see HackMyTrip for another recent post). It’s not even a new offer. It’s been around for ages.

    Why is it wrong to say this? What is wrong with being critical? Why are you all so angry towards George? What has he really done? Pointed at Lucky does this blog as a job and pushes links that benefit him financially? We all know this.

    For all those people who are shouting “hater”, why don’t you answer George’s question…

    Would this post have been written if there were not aff links?

  37. Lola says

    Sheesh….I don’t get it, meaning the angry comments that seem to be increasing. From my perspective Ben is providing a service without expecting much (well expecting NOTHING) in return. And he does it in a witty and insightful way. I think Ben will end up on a Travel Channel or Bravo show-how amazing would that be! Ben, we should find you an agent-anyone know Andy Cohen :)

  38. Beth says

    I enjoy your blog and don’t understand all the criticism – 2 ?s- what do you mean by “many Barclay credit cards are churnable” – how does this work – I just rec’d the arrival card and am working on the 1k spend. How do I churn this card? Q2 – just canx my chase sapphire as didn’t want to pay for the annual fee – I know all the benefits, etc. but have a few travel cards, etc. so best decision for right now. Can I reapply in a year and get another free year and bonus points or what is the waiting period to be a “new” cardholder? thanks! keep it up and ignore the negativity!

  39. James O says

    Just want to chime in as another average reader who appreciates Lucky’s work. I certainly do not mind helping the quality bloggers (Lucky, Gary, etc) make a buck off of a referral to a card I would apply for anyways. Just remember that for every one of these envious tools that writes these mindless critiques, there are thousands of us who really appreciate your work.

  40. James O says

    George,

    Would you go to work if you weren’t getting paid? Would anyone? Ridiculous question.

  41. Rich says

    @lucky

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I really like your blog and read it every day!

    Not trying to be too critical here, but didn’t you recently post (on April 18) another link to the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card w/ annual fee waived for the first year?
    It seems like you’ve promoted your own affiliate link instead of the best deal.

  42. lucky says

    @ Rich — Thanks for reading! The link I posted on the 18th is exactly the same I posted in this post. The annual fee isn’t waived for either, though there is a $100 statement credit (meaning you basically “earn” a net of $25, as there’s a $75 annual fee). Please note the Alaska card isn’t part of my affiliate network.

    Hope that clarifies this.

  43. Carl P says

    John – George may have a valid point, but he is kind of an a**h*** is the way he presents it (from the first post on). We really don’t come here to here how England is so much better in it’s financial ways (ignore the banking oligopoly, etc.) and how you should ignore the rules in your contracts with financial companies, etc.

    He ends up coming off as somebody that just wants to stirs things up. If you come in being totally negative towards a blogger that the others presumably like (they read him anyway) aren’t you inviting some flack back your way?

    Does George really think readers don’t understand referrals and factor that in. Maybe some people need George to save them, but I think the percent is a lot less than he probably thinks.

  44. lucky says

    @ Beth — Basically Barclays will let you earn the sign-up bonuses on cards multiple times even if you already have the card.

    The exact amount of time needed between applying for cards seems to vary. Some seem to be able to pick up four cards per year, while others get them less frequently. But if you wait a while you should have no problem picking up another card.

    Chase will typically make you wait 18 months between applications on the same card (at least), though you should be able to pick up the Chase Sapphire Preferred MasterCard again any time.

  45. Margo says

    My question is regarding the Barclay card. Wondering how complicated it is to redeem. I have a final payment due in August on a cruise. Would I be able to use the 400 towards that? New to this, thanks. Please accept my thanks for the great work you do, ignore the insipid negativity.

  46. lucky says

    @ Margo — The redemption process is easy, though you do have to have enough points to cover the entire cost of the redemption. In other words, you can’t redeem points towards only a portion of a travel cost, but it does have to be enough to cover the entire amount.

  47. Steve says

    I agree with George and Steve. I normally enjoy Lucky’s blog posts but after his link-a-thon where he had over 20 different aff links and posts like this where the only point is to promote his aff links I think Lucky is becoming too reliant on aff links to pay his bills. He is in danger of losing creditability and regular readers like me. Or maybe he just wants the money from his aff links from the brainless zombies who have commented above. Nice work if you can get it I suppose(!)

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