In December, Alaska and Virgin Elevate announced plans for merging their loyalty programs. One part of this announcement has led to a terrific short term opportunity for amassing Alaska miles. In other news, there have been several developments regarding Chase’s dreaded 5/24 Rule. Details follow…
Loyalty Program News
Alaska Airlines is aggressively moving forward with their acquisition of Virgin America. This month, Alaska made it possible for Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate members to earn miles on each others flights. Plus, you can now buy Virgin America flights directly from Alaska Airlines. Long term, the Elevate program will go away in favor of Alaska’s Mileage Plan program. Beginning January 9th, Elevate members will be able to convert their points to Alaska miles at a rate of 1 to 1.3. This has led to a short term arbitrage opportunity. It is now possible to convert SPG points to Alaska, indirectly, at a fantastic rate. 20,000 SPG points currently transfer to 25,000 Virgin Elevate points. If you then transfer those 25,000 Elevate points to Alaska, you’ll end up with 32,500 Alaska miles! Click here for details.
Note that, as of January 6th, SPG will no longer support point transfers to Virgin America, so those who want to get in on this arbitrage opportunity will have to pull the trigger soon. Is it really worth doing? It really depends on your personal situation. If you’re certain that you can use those Alaska miles for high value awards, then go for it. Otherwise, you may be better off keeping your points in the SPG program where they’re much more flexible.
Credit Card News
This month we discovered a few changes to Chase’s dreaded 5/24 rule (where Chase denies credit card applicants who have opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months). One change is that some people now see pre-approved offers online, and these pre-approvals appear to circumvent 5/24. This is similar to going in-branch to ask if you are pre-approved. The Travel Sisters have the scoop here.
On the negative side, it used to be the case that members of Chase’s Private Client program were immune to 5/24 rules. I first wrote about this here. Unfortunately, as reported by Doctor of Credit, that is no longer the case.
Finally, Chase has launched a new free site, Credit Journey, for monitoring your credit. On the surface, it doesn’t seem to have any advantages over other similar services (see: Complete Guide to FREE Credit Scores, Reports, and Monitoring… for credit card bonus hunting), but it does one unique thing: it reports the number of accounts opened in the past 24 months. In other words, it may be the easiest option for determining your current 5/24 status. Doctor of credit has additional details here.
Best of Frequent Miler
Don’t miss these Frequent Miler posts from December 2016!
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Updates on Bulk Fares, Amex Due Dates, and more – Julian, the Devil’s Advocate, says goodbye to his Frequent Miler readers. He’ll be missed!
- The Fine Print: Sorry eBay, My Claim Is Not Frivolous – eBay wrongly took away a readers eBay bucks. Here’s what happened when Alex took them on…
- The Top 10+ Current Signup Bonuses Unbiased Listing December 2016 – Which current card offers are best according to our unbiased formula.
- My end of year App-No-Rama application spree. 147K and counting. – Going big with Bank of America during a recent round of applications.
- How I’m rocking the soon-to-expire awesome Amex Offers – How to best take advantage of the numerous Amex Offers that expire at the end of the month.
- Free stuff from fee free cards – You don’t have to pay an annual fee to get free stuff from a credit card.
- Amex Platinum and PRG Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works December 2016? – Find out which methods still work for triggering the Amex airline fee credits.
Manufacture Spend / Meet Minimum Spend Requirements
- How to liquidate small denomination debit gift cards – Don’t let those small balances go to waste. There are ways to liquidate these cards.
Miles, Points, and Travel
- Airline Miles are worth 1.4 cents each. A simplified approach to Reasonable Redemption Values. – It is difficult to compare offers between loyalty programs. Here is a new approach to airline mile valuations. Also see: Oddball airline miles (Southwest, JetBlue, etc.) are worth…
- How to buy elite status with points – Not every company allows for this, but there are still some good opportunities that exist.
- SPG point owners win again thanks to the Alaska Virgin America merger – How it is now more lucrative to transfer points from SPG to Alaska Mileage Plan at a fantastic rate thanks to the Virgin America integration.
It is possible to monitor your credit from all three bureaus, for free. By using a collection of free tools, it is possible to view your credit score, your full credit report, and monitor inquiries. This post has the details: Complete Guide to FREE Credit Scores, Reports, and Monitoring… for credit card bonus hunting.
Best current credit card offers
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 100K after $4K spend
- Amex Business Platinum: 100K: 50K after $5K spend + 50K after additional $10K spend in 3 months.
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: 80K after $5K spend ($95 annual fee waived if you sign up in branch)
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum: 50K after $3K spend (this offer is special because it does not have 24 month bonus language)
- Avianca Vuela Visa: 60K after first purchase
- Merrill+: 50K after $3K spend
All of the above offers and many more can be found on our Best Offers Page.
More Deals worth checking out
- Earn 5,000 Bonus HHonors Points by Booking with their App & Paying with a Visa
- Earn 5,000 Points Back Per Night on Hilton Award Stays: Up to 100% Back on 1 Night Stays
- 4 Months of Free oneworld Ruby Status (Works with AA) from AirBerlin
- National Car Rental: One Free Day After 2 Qualifying Rentals & More Ways to Earn (through January 31)
About Month In Review
Once per month we publish a round up of miles and points related news, highlights of our best posts of the month, and a list of the best ongoing deals. For those who subscribe to our monthly newsletter, this is it. Those who subscribe weekly will find this post listed in the Week in Review section. Those who subscribe to the daily or instant newsletter will receive this post directly, just like any other.
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Last updated on February 2nd, 2017