Credit Cards

SPG Amex Vs. Hilton Amex — Which Limited Time Sign-Up Bonus Is Better?

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American Express’ co-branded hotel credit cards are on fire at the moment. We’re seeing huge increased sign-up bonuses on both the Hilton and Starwood co-brand cards.

The details of the increased Starwood Amex bonuses (which expire on April 5, 2017) are as follows:

— The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is offering 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $2,000 within six months; $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
— The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is offering 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 within three months, plus an additional 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $3,000 within six months; $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

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Weekly Review: March 25, 2017

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Last weekend I returned to the US after a two week trip to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Kuwait, so have been spending the past week on the ground catching up on sleep, given that I typically don’t get all that much rest when traveling to Asia. I also plan on publishing the trip report from this trip very shortly. Fortunately I’m now all caught up on sleep, and am plotting my next adventure.

On the travel front, the biggest story of the week has been about the electronics ban, which will potentially have a huge impact on many peoples’ travel. Other than that we’ve seen increased sign-up bonuses introduced on the Amex Hilton, some great business class fares to Paris, and more.

With that out of the way, here’s a recap of this week on the blog:

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Should You Get The Amex Hilton Surpass Or Citi Hilton Reserve?

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Earlier I wrote a post comparing the increased sign-up bonuses on the no annual fee Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express and the $75 annual fee Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express. The cards are offering increased sign-up bonuses of 80,000 Honors points and 100,000 Honors points, respectively.

However, one unique aspect of the Surpass Card is that it’s also offering a free weekend night certificate valid at just about any Hilton hotel on your card account’s first anniversary. This is a benefit I don’t ever recall seeing on one of the Amex Hilton co-brand cards before, but rather this is a benefit that might sound familiar with the Citi® Hilton Honors Reserve Card.

So in this post I wanted to address the differences between the two premium Hilton co-brand cards — the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express and the Hilton HHonorsTM Surpass® Card from American Express.

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How Amex’s Plan To Reduce Lounge Crowding May Actually Make It Worse

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Earlier this month, American Express announced that the guest policy for their network of Centurion Lounges would be changing as of March 30th. Whereas Platinum members could previously bring in two guests or their immediate family, they’ll now only be allowed two guests, period. This is presumably being done to alleviate crowding, which can certainly be a problem at times.

Yet it’s hard for me to believe that restricting families is really going to fix the issue. And in fact, I’m going to argue this silly policy is actually going to make things worse.

I’ve had The Platinum Card® from American Express for a while now in part because my family gets pretty good value out of the lounges.

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Which Limited Time Hilton Honors Amex Bonus Is Best?

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Yesterday American Express unveiled two fantastic, “best ever” sign-up bonuses on their co-branded Hilton cards.

The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is offering 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first three months, and has no annual fee.

Meanwhile the Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. You also get a free weekend night valid at any Hilton Honors hotel on your first cardmember anniversary. The card has a $75 annual fee.

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Less Than 2 Weeks Left To Earn 70K+ Starpoints

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For a bit over a month now, we’ve seen great increased sign-up bonuses on Starwood’s co-branded American Express cards. Both the personal and business versions of the card are offering sign-up bonuses of up to 35,000 Starpoints upon completing minimum spend, as follows:

— For the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $2,000 within six months; $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
— For the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 within three months, plus an additional 10,000 Starpoints after spending another $3,000 within six months; $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

While 35,000 points might not sound like a lot, keep in mind that Starpoints are among the most valuable points currency out there, so 35,000 Starpoints are worth more than that many points in just about any other points currency.

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Limited Time: Biggest Ever Sign-Up Bonuses On Hilton Amex Cards!

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At the moment Hilton’s co-branded American Express cards have the biggest sign-up bonuses I’ve ever seen, valid for applications through May 31, 2017. Specifically:

— The no annual fee Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express is offering 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first three months
— The $75 annual fee Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express is offering 100,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months; you also get a free weekend night valid at any Hilton Honors hotel on your first cardmember anniversary

Both of these cards have the best ever offers we’ve seen, so let’s look at them a bit more closely:

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What Insurance Covers Checked Electronics?

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Yesterday we learned about a new electronics ban for certain flights to the United States. Later in the day the United Kingdom announced a similar (yet very different) policy for flights to the UK.

While I’m not going to get into all the ramifications here, the gist of it is that travelers are going to have to choose between connecting elsewhere or risking damage and theft of their personal electronics.

Reader Mike summed it up nicely:

“My bet is there will be lots of $2,000 insurance claims for Apple laptops forced to endure the cargo experience. Whoever Chase, et al, use for travel insurance is going to get very busy.”

That’s a great point, but it’s much more complicated than that. Not all policies necessarily cover checked electronics, and many have strict dollar limits. So I figured it would help to go through the various options for insuring your gadgets when traveling.

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How Long Do Citi ThankYou Points Transfers Take?

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If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, I’m writing a series about the three major transferrable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou — talking about how long it takes to transfer points, along with the other basic details you need to know about transferring points. A couple of days ago I wrote about Amex Membership Rewards, and yesterday I wrote about Chase Ultimate Rewards, so today I’m writing about Citi ThankYou.

How many airline and hotel partners does Citi ThankYou have?

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Don’t Forget About This Great Cashback Card With A 50K Point Sign-Up Bonus

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Since last September, there has been a 50,000 point sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. This is the highest ever bonus we’ve seen on the card, and is 25% higher than the bonus was previously.

It’s my understanding that the bonus was originally only supposed to be around for a few months, though it looks like it has stuck around for a lot longer, as it’s still going strong six months later. So I figured I’d post a reminder about the bonus for anyone planning on applying for credit cards soon, since it has been months since I’ve written about it.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is one of the all around most compelling cashback cards out there. It’s offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. On top of that, the card’s $89 annual fee is waived the first year.

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How Long Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfers Take?

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If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, I’m writing a series about the three major transferrable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou — talking about how long it takes to transfer points, along with the other basic details you need to know about transferring points. Yesterday I wrote about Amex Membership Rewards, so today I’m writing about Chase Ultimate Rewards.

How many airline and hotel partners does Chase Ultimate Rewards have?

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How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?

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If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, I figured I’d write a series of posts about the three major transferrable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou — talking about how long it takes to transfer points, along with the other basic details you need to know about transferring points.

How many airline and hotel partners does Amex Membership Rewards have?

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Does The Freedom Or Freedom Unlimited Offer A Better Incremental Return?

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Reader Rohit asked a question in the Ask Lucky forum about whether he should apply for the Chase Freedom® Card or Chase Freedom® Unlimited.

The premise is that he has the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and wants to apply for one of those no annual fee cards, given that they’re great complements to the Sapphire Preferred. Which is worth more — 5x points in select categories on the Freedom Card, or 1.5x points across the board on the Freedom Unlimited Card?

Ultimately there’s no “one size fits all” answer, as it all depends on your spend pattern. So the best I can do is to provide a general outline by which you can decide.

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How To Track If You’re Maxing Out Amex EveryDay Bonus Categories

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Two of Amex’s best credit cards for maximizing everyday spend are The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. These cards are both extremely rewarding, both for non-bonused spend, and also for specific category bonuses.

For those of you not familiar with these cards, the Amex EveryDay Card:

— Offers 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 of spend per calendar year
— Offers a 20% points bonus when you make at least 20 transactions per billing cycle
— Has a $0 annual fee

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