The best redemptions of 2018, which cards we’re rocking in 2019, and more

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.

Prestige rocks my wallet for 2019

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.

Earn up to 100x w/ new Citi Rewards+ card. No, really. Ok, maybe not?

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.

2019 resolutions: Big spend bonuses to hit

Radisson Blu, Maputo, where you can’t use your annual free night certs from the Radisson card since those are limited to US properties

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.

Marriott Choice Benefit Valuations. Which to pick?

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.

2019 predictions: BOA points to miles, Delta premium econ upgrades, Hilton perks, and more

2016 predictions

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 5 Best Value Hotel Award Redemptions Of 2018 (And One That Provided Even Better Value)

Hyatt Regency Tulsa, Oklahoma

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.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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Jeff D
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Jeff D

I’m a new subscriber and while I think your article are great, you need to point out that applying for so many cards has a definite impact on your credit score. Maybe that’s not a concern to most of your subscribers but I have found that the impact on your credit score increases significantly with every application for a new card.

I think that is important to note.

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

They do tell u that also it comes back in a few months as in So What Game On .They also say DON”T CARRY A BALANCE TOO..I had an old SW card I used for 7 years .When I dropped that it went down like 30 points but came months later..750 FICO is all u need mine is 814 just got a NO to many cards so Chase said reapply in 6 months.

Toan
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Toan

I foreclosed my house in 2012. My credit score took a dive. My credit union shut me down immediately by cancelling my visa credit card I had with them. But I’ve been churning credit card for years thanks to Amex (and now chase and Citi) and today my credit score is back to the high 700. At one time a couple months ago it was at 805.
Simply don’t carry a balance, don’t miss a payment (all my cards are on auto pay) and don’t spend when there is no need for.
Needless to say, I’ve been saving thousands of dollars thanks to the miles and bought a house 2 years ago.
I think the first question you have to ask yourself is “why do you need an excellent credit score”. If you need to buy a house then yes. But if it’s to buy a car, cell phone services, all you need is not to be delinquent.