Ordinarily I’d jump right into some valuations, but I wanted to switch things up a little bit this week on account of some breaking news. Well, not super-breaking as the info has been out for a couple days, but important nonetheless.
American Express is currently targeting some customers for a 100K point signup bonus on their Platinum Card. I consider this a big deal and cause for a bit of celebration and haste. You see, this increased welcome offer is a bit of an enigma. We never really know when it’s coming around. Commonly, you’ll see 60K, but that’s not good enough for me or Points Reckoning, and it shouldn’t be good enough for you either. Details beyond this recap are available here.
American Express is a bit stingy with their signup bonuses, only allowing one per product, PER LIFE. This essentially means that it’s a defacto requirement for anyone who considers themselves points and miles savvy to wait until the 100K offer presents itself.
Unfortunately, this is not a public offer. One must use the Cardmatch tool in order to find out if one qualifies. Sadly, we don’t really know what type of credit profile Amex deems worthy. Among several of my friends who gave the credit card slot machine a pull, only myself and one other received Amex offers. Finally, I noticed a bit of a quirk with the system and wanted to pass along my workaround.
When I rolled the dice, the Cardmatch tool immediately presented me with the Amex Platinum 100K offer. A soft-credit pull ensued and there it was. After clicking “apply now” I was redirected to the Amex page where the offer was once again available. 100K points for a $5,000 minimum spend. However, when I tried to proceed, I kept getting this error that indicated the offer was no longer available. Thinking I had waited too long, I initially was mad at myself. Undeterred, I ran Cardmatch again, sure enough, the Amex Platinum 100K point signup offer was again available. Another redirect to Amex’s site to complete the app, and another “no longer available” error. WTF?
Nevertheless, I had one more trick up my persistent little sleeve. The incognito, cookie-less window that is commonly used for more private purposes. Running Cardmatch one more time, I followed through to the Amex site and voila! I could proceed with my app error free.
Bottom line, if you’re getting an “offer no longer available” error and you’re in Chrome, go ahead and hit that control+shift+n combo and proceed as normal. If you’re in Firefox, I have no idea. If you’re using Microsoft Edge, then you should use this opportunity to download Chrome.
Just for Fun
Last week I ran over that really cool video of a Delta A319 at full cruise, just because. This week, I’ve got another one for you. Actually, I very well might start including little aviation clips I stumble upon regularly. Not because they’re useful, but because I just want to
This time around I’ve got a little bit of something that hits on two things I really like, airports and timelapse photography. A film by Milton Tan out of Singapore is just fantastic. He was given permission by airport admins to film on what is normally restricted ground, near active runways. I think the results are just beautiful.
Jumping right into valuation. I’m only going to run over one this week. Southwest and their Rapid Rewards program. I’ve heard some rumblings over the last couple weeks regarding a devaluation. So, we re-ran March’s reckoning. Sadly, the results were in-line with the rumor mills.
Going back to last month, we saw a .77¢ ACR value placed on each Rapid Rewards mile. Some people might think this is a little low, considering most Southwest flights redeem for around 1.5¢ a piece. So, this is a good time to remind anyone watching that we don’t necessarily use the cost of a southwest flight when dividing the price by the amount of award currency required. We use the lowest-price cash alternative.
For example, If the lowest priced flight available for a given date between New York and LA is $200, Southwest is offering it for $300 or 20,000 miles, the actual calculation would be $200 divided by 20,000, for a value of 1¢. More detail is available on our valuation method page.
That detour aside, lets take a closer look at Southwest. Just a minute ago, I mentioned that last month we saw .77¢. This month, we saw a massive decline, all the way down to .57¢ per mile. A 25% month over month decline is just terrible. Honestly, I’m hoping it’s a fluke, and just a matter or timing. Let’s hope that when we re-evaluate in mid-May we see that number tick back up.
Our best for the month was just 1.54¢ for a flying-bus seat between Atlanta and Kansas City. Our worst was a very awful .24¢, for another econ seat between Phoenix and Austin.
Rapid Rewards have always been the award currency for those looking for reliability over high-value award redemptions. While you can always get a seat, you’ll never be bragging about your redemption value.
It was recently brought to my attention that I was mistaken in one point I made last week. While running over the changes being made to the Chase IHG cards, I recommended that anyone looking to open either of the new cards wait until a lucrative signup bonus surfaced. As it turns out, a signup bonus did present itself, either immediately after I looked into it, or I just completely missed it the first time. The latter is more likely. Anywho, Chase is currently offering 80,000 IHG points for a $2,000 minimum spend over three months on the IHG Rewards Club Premier. Additionally, they’re offering 60,000 points on the Traveler card for the same spend requirements.
We place a value of .44¢ on each IHG point. This means that the signup bonus is worth $352 on the Premier and $264 on the Traveler. With this updated information, it does move the card into consideration territory. However, I don’t consider a bonus worth $350 worthy of too much excitement. It’s just so overshadowed by the signup bonuses on cards that earn transferable points. For comparison’s sake, the 50,000 Ultimate Reward bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth $1,095 at current valuations.
All this said, I’m amending my recommendation from hold-off to maybe. Not a big improvement, I just don’t think it’s really worth opening a new account for a relatively low-value welcome offer. As many in the game know, but what might not be common knowledge, is Chase’s 5/24 limit. This means that they will not approve a new card if you’ve previously opened 5 new accounts in the trailing 24 months. With this in mind, I might consider this card if I wasn’t planning on opening any new accounts for a while. That said, I always think it’s a decent idea to keep a little headroom within the aforementioned limit. Case in point, the relatively sudden arrival of the Chase Sapphire Reserve not to long ago. That card burst on the scene with a monster 100K Ultimate Reward signup bonus. But, being a Chase card subject to the 5/24 limit, many were left on the sidelines of that party. I’d be pretty salty if I missed that opportunity on account of a measly $350.