It’s been a busy week here at Frequent Miler: from an uncapped 5x dining to the ability to redeem points for premium suites and the expansion of Gift of College gift card sales, some exciting changes are brewing in the near future. See our thoughts on those changes as well as the best combos for your wallet and credit cards you might be overlooking and more in our Frequent Miler week in review.
A question from last weekend’s Chicago Seminars prompted a quick look at some of the cards rarely discussed but potentially worth a look for those after niche opportunities. After publication, I added a bit to this post, including a card I had meant to list and then neglected. Also see the comments for suggestions from readers about what other cards they find noteworthy.
There’s no doubt about it, competition for day-to-day spend has really started heating up. If you asked me even three or four months ago if I thought we’d see cards begin offering 4x and 5x dining without a cap, I wouldn’t have predicted it this year. And with both great every day return and bonus categories, are Amex and Citi sending Chase to the sock drawer? See this post for more.
I don’t think Chase has much to fear from the refreshed Prestige, but not for the same reasons Greg highlights in this post. In a nutshell, I think Chase doesn’t have much to fear because they drew in many non-enthusiasts with 100K points a couple of years ago and many won’t look that hard at the other options on the market. At this point, unless you use the Chase Travel Portal for 1.5c often, I think the CSR’s value proposition is becoming highly tenuous. I’m keeping it for now, but I’m certainly questioning it.
Gift of College has finally begun expanding into more stores. Unfortunately, not all stores will carry denominations that make sense and some may not accept credit cards, but hopefully this is a good sign of things to come.
What’s the best place to use a Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificate? The answer is: a place where you need a hotel and it saves you more money than the cost of the annual fee. But if you’re looking to get maximum cash value out of such a cert while staying in the United States, here’s a list of some of the more expensive Cat 4 locations. Just keep in mind that expensive doesn’t always equal good.
I’m not too sad to see the demise of points + cash as I rarely make such reservations now that award stays count toward status (and suite upgrade awards can be applied). Personally, I’m much more interested in the premium suite redemptions. The skeptic in me thinks that this will lead Hyatt to define a “standard” suite as a room with a couch squeezed in, thereby devaluing Globalist upgrades in order to sell points reservations for nicer rooms. But the point collector in me is excited at the possibility to reserve some of the nicer suites out there for a reasonable cost — though I’ll be comparison shopping against booking the same suites via the Chase travel portal.
In news that likely shocked no one and devastated some, Citi is finally planning to limit 4th night free redemptions. That’s a massive blow to those who used this benefit often, though it is a benefit that I don’t think anyone expected would last uncapped as long as it has. Personally, I only used it once or twice a year, so I’m happy to trade for the new 5x categories, which might apply even more broadly than it initially sounded. See the update to the post for more.
If you’re looking to maximize return on spend, you’re going to need to carry cards from different ecosystems. In this post, Greg goes over how to get the most bang for your buck with a super mixed combo for your wallet. I’d suggest that the changes to the Prestige would put it back in my wallet – even though it does not bonus travel as widely as Chase.
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Check back soon for this week’s last chance deals.