Best Big Spend Bonuses

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] Originally Posted by sent The loan rep then says 99% of professionals taking this kind of equipment loan don't do it this way. Then he starts telling me it's a bad idea to put it on a CC. I ask why, and he says bc people forget to pay their CC and now they are paying a higher interest on the CC rather than just the interest on the loan. I said that's dumb because I pay my CC off on time. Then he starts lecturing me about how if I have extra money sitting around, I should fully fund my retirement and just let the loan company send the vendor the check. I asked how long does it take for the check to arrive and he tells me it is overnighted the minute they get the invoice. I am still . He then says most people don't have the $60K sitting around. OK, I buy that. I have the $60K to front the money and wait a week or two for the loan check and am pretty sure my not-yet fully funded retirement accounts won't take a huge hit in 2 weeks. But why would he care if the loan was repaid to me versus being paid to the Vendor when the vendor said I could do it via the CC method? He's afraid you gamble that money away and declear bankrupcy? Maybe 99% ARE dumb so that such advice is sound 99% of the times. I'm also puzzled to why so many people are using debit card to buy stuff — sometimes hundreds of dollars. If you want to apply for new cards, this may be interesting: http://boardingarea.com/freque…spend-bonuses/ […]

  2. […] Since I have a son headed to college next year, I’m thrilled to have found a way to contribute to his college fund via credit card!  I used to contribute monthly through an automated process.  Now, the gift card route takes a bit more work.  Each month I’ll have to log in to buy gift cards.  Then, when received via email, I’ll log in again to redeem them.  Is it worth the minor hassle?  At only 1.19% in fees, I have no doubt.  I expect that many people will find that this is a great way to meet credit card minimum spend requirements for earning huge signup bonuses, or to increase spend in order to earn big spend bonuses. […]

  3. […] Ever since Gift of College gift cards became available at Toys R Us stores, I’ve been buying them with rewards-earning credit cards.  The fee is $5.95 per $500, which amounts to 1.19%.  Since many credit cards offer rewards that exceed 1.19%, it’s easy to come out ahead.  Even better has been to use these purchases as a way to meet spend requirements for a new signup bonus or for a big spend bonus. […]

Comments

  1. You need to factor in the annual fees to get a better picture. For example, with the Delta Reserve the 3.4% rebate comes in at a value of $1,020 with $30k spending and $2,040 with $60k. Subtracting the annual fee gets you a rebate of $570 or 1.9% and $1,590 or 2.65%.

    • David: Good point. I’ll add the annual fees. Many cards offer great perks along with their annual fees, though. For example, the Delta Reserve offers free lounge access & free companion pass. Those alone can offset the annual fee. So, I’ll probably list two rebate %s: one with the annual fee and one without.

  2. You forgot the current Brit Air offer, or I suppose excluded it since its the terms of min spend vs an annual hurdle available.

    But the incremental $9K to the first 25K tier is a 5.2% yield @ your 1.29cpp rate, and the subsequent 10K (to 20K) is a 4.84% yield.

    I don’t have a value for the travel together ticket for the next 10K (to 30k). Although I suppose this portion is available each year.

    I just picked this card up and since you have a year to cross the subsequent spend its kind of a perk to know that spend between app cycles can be earmarked to a high yield (as long as you know you can reach the hurdle).

    • Dave: Thanks! I did indeed forget about the BA card. I won’t count the signup offer as part of the rebate since that is a one time thing for each person, but I will try to estimate the value of the companion pass. Plus, the BA card gives 1.25 points per dollar so that helps too.

  3. I was also going to suggest the BA card
    30k spend gets you 37500 avios + companion pass
    putting a value on the companion pass is tough, could be $1,000, could be $10,000.
    let’s say for arguments sake that it’s $1,000
    that’s 37,500 +$1,000 for $30k spend.
    You value avios at 1.29 cpp, so that’s $483.75+1,000= 1483.75
    4.9%

    -$95 for annual fee = 4.6%

    those percentages go up the more you value the companion pass.

    • Steve: Thanks for the added thoughts about the BA card. I think I will estimate the value at $1000

      Carl: Thanks. I’ll add that info. I don’t consider Hyatt card to be one of the “best” big spend bonuses. Sapphire doesn’t have any (unless you count the 7% annual dividend). I do have the MileagePlus united card in there.

  4. I would like to see this comparison to include the annual fee and renewal benefit

    How about adding:
    Hyatt
    Sapphire (are there any spend bonuses?)
    United cards

  5. Good post. I did not know about the wavied processing fees for US Air. The big question is that could you be earning greater value elsewhere with your high spend? For example, spending $20k and getting ~5X points using a variety of tricks equates to 100K UR points, or a roundtrip ticket to Europe. I personally would rather have more miles than status.

    • romsdeals: That’s very true. The point of this post is to list the best offers available for big spend, but not to imply that any of these are the best way to spend your money

      pas: Yes, those costs do add up, but they vary from none to a lot so I don’t think it would make sense to add those fees to this post.

      Karl Mitchell: Thanks! I’ll look into the VA card more deeply!

  6. Another cost to consider will be the cost of making the spend. So if $4.95 is paid to generate spend of $500..then that adds up.

  7. You missed that the Virgin Atlantic BoA card gives 7,500 miles at $15k spend and an additional 7,500 miles at $25k spend. Not bad for a card that earns 1.5 miles/$ AND get you status for spend.

  8. JP Morgan Select – 25k at $100k spend
    JP Morgan Palladium – 35k at $100k spend
    Chase Old Bold – 10k at $25k; another 12.5k at $50k; another 25k at $100k. It’s not a currently offered card but a lot of people have it.
    Chase Fairmont – 1 free night at $12k
    Amex Business Gold (the Gold before this current version) – 25k MR at $50k spend

  9. The free internet on the SPG gold status is very valuable, specially overseas. I have been in some hotels in Europe that charge in excess of 25 euros per day for internet. If you add the price of using skype with the internet for phone calls, then it adds up big time. To me is much more that $100 per year.
    Plus that gold status also gives you either 250 points on checking in or a welcome drink. If you check in/check out several times a year, those points can add up.

    • Ricardo: I understand that the relative value of something like SPG Gold status varies tremendously from person to person. Hilton set the price of Gold status at $95 with the Citi Hilton Reserve card and Hilton offers better benefits for Gold members than SPG does. So, I think $100 is fair as an average value. Remember that some people might not use the benefit at all.

  10. FM – you’ve left out the very best earning card – big or small – curious omission. But fine with me – don’t want it abused any more than it needs to be.

  11. I didn’t say Hyatt has a big spend bonus- instead, just that’s it hard to keep track of where it’s worth putting spend. A summary of best bonuses and best places to put general spend, would be valuable.

    I used to have 3-4 cards and life was simple. Now it’s hard to keep track of everything.

  12. How do you compute the American Express Delta Reserve value as 3.4%?
    suppose you spend $60K, the return should be:
    (1.5*90K+0.5*30K)/60K=2.5
    Did I miss anything?

  13. Ild sell my delta points for 1.29cents a piece. But what’s fair trading price when it’s illegal to sell them. To me, the points are worth much less since its almost impossible to redeem them if you don’t have great flexibility.

  14. You have to love the PRG card. It is pretty easy to spend $30K at grocery stores, which is all 2X points, leading to 3.23% back using your numbers. At least that’s what I’m working toward.

  15. So I have a dilemma. I need to spend 200k this year and credit cards are accepted. So not knowing what most of this acronyms mean can you advise what would be the best way? And the way that would have the rewards last the longest? I don’t understand MQM’s or EQM’s ect.

  16. Great job as always, but could use a little update. Just off the top of my head, missing Citi AT&T Access More & Barclays AAdvantage Aviator cards.

  17. Note: I’ve completely changed this Best Big Spend Bonuses page. Now, all info is driven from a behind-the-scenes dataset. On the page, you’ll find an interactive table that lets you filter instantly to the types of bonuses you’re interested in. Keep in mind that this shows only recurring spend bonuses, not signup bonuses, and not automatic card features.

    There’s a good chance that this new table is missing some things or that there are some things wrong. Please let me know!

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