This week at Frequent Miler, Citi gave us a surprise with the best card on the market….for sub-$2 purchases. The good news is that the positive changes to the Prestige card are finally taking effect, so you can also earn a nice return at restaurants and on flights. Speaking of earning a decent return, read about the big spend bonuses I’ll be going after this year, the best redemptions after a year on the road, and more in our Frequent Miler week in review.
I was really surprised and excited when the Amex Gold card began offering 4x at both US Supermarkets (on up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) and at restaurants, that felt like a game changer that wouldn’t be challenged any time soon. And then Citi went and surprised us with 5x at restaurants. And 5x on flights. And at most online travel agencies. And improved the annual travel credit. Sure, they decimated the 4th night free benefit, but at least until my next anniversary date, this card will be my go-to card for restaurants and airfare as well as hotel bookings. Can those who keep this card justify keeping the Sapphire Reserve also? Stay tuned.
You know what they say about things that are too good to be true. This card rounding up every purchase to the nearest 10 points could add up to a huge glut of points for those who can make a lot of small purchases. Of course, that likely won’t work. As Greg notes in Perk abuse, coming soon, people will inevitably hit this incredibly hard and Citi will shut them down or change the card structure. I just find it kind of humorous that they designed a card inviting that kind of abuse from the get-go. It seems that even casual rewards enthusiasts might be tempted to behave in ways that Citi won’t like. I’ll probably just load up a tub of popcorn and watch this one from afar.
Are you going after any Big Spend Bonuses in 2018? While I assume Greg will once again spend his way to Delta Diamond status, I’ll be setting my bar much lower in terms of total committed spend. That said, I’ll pull out a decent value from each of the big spend bonuses and should still be able to maximize other rewards enough to suit my needs for the year. See this post for the ones I’m pursuing and those you might also consider.
Did you have 50 or 75 nights between Marriott and SPG last year? If you did, it’s time to pick your poison: suite night awards, elite nights, a discount on a bed — how much is each worth and which should you pick? See this post for a valuation of each. I didn’t complete 50 nights. If I did, I guess I’d have to take the 5 suite night awards…but then, isn’t a benefit of having status that you’ll get suites? I must be confused.
Greg has glanced into his crystal ball and predicted the changes we’ll see in 2019. I’ve been following Greg’s predictions for a while and he gets it right more often than he gets it wrong. That said, I hope he’s wrong about Virgin Atlantic and that ANA sweet spot. I haven’t yet had a chance to book it and I’d be disappointed to have missed it if it goes by the wayside. Here’s hoping it lasts one more year!
Our own Stephen Pepper has now completed Year 1 of his five-year, 50-state road trip. After a year spent on the road, what have the best redemptions been? I particularly enjoyed how he valued his redemptions to determine the “best”. While many folks (myself included) often write about places near the top of the charts, Stephen demonstrates just how much value can be found around the edges — and how far your points can bring you around the country.
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for our week in review around the web and this week’s last chance deals.