Outsized hotel card value, the risk in playing the game, and ways to win in the Marriott merger


This week at Frequent Miler, we looked at what could be one of the best hotel credit card offers in years if everything converts as expected and a change in application language that was completely unexpected. Also see some great tips for #winning with the Marriott merger.All that and more in our weekly recap below.

Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now

Two free nights at the St. Regis Princeville would be a great deal.

If everything we’ve been told about the Marriott-Ritz-SPG merger is true, elite status from the Ritz-Carlton card will map like Marriott status — Gold to Platinum in August. Furthermore, the current signup bonus on this card could be yuge if the certificates work as we expect — at any SPG / Marriott / Ritz property in the world after August 1st. Two nights at any of those properties could be one of the better hotel signup bonuses ever in terms of getting a super high-end stay out of one new card.

United Premier Elites: Sign up for RewardsPlus before August

If you have United Airlines elite status, you want to sign up for crossover benefits with Marriott before August 1st. Those with Gold though Premier 1K status will take a huge dip in benefits with Marriott if they don’t get this match done before the combined program begins.

Earn up to 15 Suite Night Awards with Marriott SPG this year only

My current suite at The Algonquin Hotel, which I think would theoretically be bookable on suite night awards in the new program.

The Marriott merger does present some opportunities for SPG members, and the chance to earn extra suite night awards is one of them. If you can muster 50 nights before July 27th with SPG and then 75 total combined nights between Marriott & SPG by the end of the year, you’ll get more suite nights than anyone else. See this post for the details

36,000 points in 8 minutes (sort of) and what I learned

Everyone knows it’s cheaper to keep a current customer than attract a new one. As a result, banks would rather keep your business than lose it. My view on this is simple: when it comes to attracting new customers, banks have run the numbers and determined that a new customer is worth X in terms of the bottom line, so they are willing to give them Y to entice them to open an account. Who am I to argue with them? I would never dream of meeting the spending requirement and then saying, “Nah, Citi. I’m not worth the signup bonus”. Retention offers are the same thing with a different structure: the bank thinks my continued business is worth X, so they are willing to give me Y to entice me to remain a customer. The only difference is that they won’t tell me that they are willing to give me Y unless I ask. So don’t forget to pick up the phone and ask now and then — see this post for a recent easy call that netted me a nice return.

Estimating risk in Amex’s new rule

club carlson credit card

In the credit card space, there are rules. Some are clearly defined: Chase 5/24, BOA 2/3/4, Amex’s lifetime rule, etc. Others are more flexible: just how many Chase cards can you get? Is it possible to get a retention offer? Amex has now added one more to the list of questions with flexible answers: Am I eligible for a signup bonus at all? The latest language that has been added to application pages is about as ambiguous as it gets, and we will need to monitor this one to see how it gets applied in practice. In this post, Greg estimates the riskiness of various behaviors.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for this week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.

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