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The holidays are upon us and the credit card companies are jockeying to get their card at the top of your wallet. Well, at least some of them are. I’ve received several offers for bonus miles and points — or even cash in the form of statement credits — mostly from cards that I wouldn’t normally be using. None of them are mind blowing, of course, but if you’ve already got one or more of these cards, it may make sense to strategically shift around some of your spending for the next two months.
In this post, I’ll list the offers that I’ve received, and then invite you to share others in the comments. Note that some (or all) of these offers may be targeted, but I still figure it’s worth mentioning them so that you can be on the lookout for the email inviting you to participate.
My wife and I each still have the Club Carlson Visa. I actually think it provides good value, even after the massive devaluations of the past year. But that’s a debate for another day.
Both us received a letter in the mail offering a $20 statement credit for spending $500 in the month of November. And then again in December.
This is basically a 4% cash rebate on the first $500 you spend each month. Of course you’ll also get the points off the spend as well — 10 points per spend at Carlson properties, 5 points on everything else. If you value Carlson points at 0.4 cents per point, that means you are getting 6% on the first $500 of unbonused spend for these two months.
Another way to look at is that if you pick up the statement credit both months, you’ll have recovered $40 of the $75 annual fee.
Most importantly, this offer requires that you register on the website. The letter actually looks like typical credit card junk mail, but inside there is a unique code that you must use when you register. I’m not sure if this is a targeted offer or not.
I received an email informing me that I’d earn 3,000 bonus Hyatt points for spending $3,000 between November 1 and December 31, 2015. If you value Hyatt points at 1.4 cents each, that’s a 2.8% return on your first $3,000 of unbonused spend. I actually think Hyatt points are worth closer to 2 cents each, so in my head this is a 4% return. Either way, not bad.
There are some reports that this offer is targeted, so you might want to check your email archives. I also seem to remember getting a postcard about it in the mail but even if I did, it’s now long gone. At any rate, it’s nice that you don’t need to register for this one.
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards American Express® Card | U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card
We still have this card, though we really only use it when we’re feeling charitable if you know what I mean. We received an offer to earn 3,000 bonus FlexPoints for spending $500 between November 1 and December 31, 2015.
FlexPoints are worth somewhere between 1 and 2 cents each, depending on how you redeem them. That means that this offer should be worth between $30 and $60 to you.
If you too are feeling charitable this holiday season, you could spend the $500 in that category (which always earns a 3x bonus). That would net you 4,500 points, including the 3x category bonus and the 3,000 point holiday bonus. Then if you are skilled in the art of maximizing the value of FlexPoints such that you always redeem at close to 2 cents, this will get you $90 in value for airfare. Not a bad return on your $500 charitable contribution.
The credit card companies are angling for prime position in your wallet this holiday season. With a little strategic planning, you might be able to double or triple the return you normally get on your unbonused spend.
None of these offers are huge, so I wouldn’t get to worked up over it if you don’t get targeted, but if you’ve got the card, it may make sense to shift some spending around this holiday season and pick up some extra miles and points. Or heck, even a statement credit or two.
As I said, these are just the offers that I’ve received on cards that I actually have. If you’ve received similar offers on other cards, please mention them in the comments below.
Are these bonuses enough for you to rethink your credit card strategy this holiday season?