Posts Tagged With: American Express

How I Maximize Credit Card Rewards as a Small Business Owner

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Are you maximizing the rewards your business earns from credit cards?  Business cards can be very lucrative and an important part of any award travel strategies.  Here are five tips to help you get the most from your business rewards.

You may have a business and you don’t already know it.

Even if you don’t have a traditional business, you may still be eligible for small business cards.  Do you sell a few items on eBay or Amazon?  Do you receive 1099 income?  Do you do any freelance work?  These are all considered businesses.  You do not need an EIN to apply for a business credit card, you can use your social security number instead.

Have a goal in mind for using the points

A good strategy is to have a goal in mind before signing up for any credit cards.  Do you prefer cash back or travel?  If travel, are there any specific locations you are trying to visit?  Once you know what you would like to do with the rewards, you can choose cards that fit those needs.

Ireland photo

On our recent trip to Ireland, all airfare, hotels and car rentals were booked 100% with points from my small business.

You can double up on sign-up bonuses

Many of the major credit card issuers offer the same or similar cards in both personal and business versions.  This allows you to apply and hold two different versions of the same card.  In addition, business cards usually offer more lucrative sign-up bonuses and benefits.

Most issuers do not report business cards to credit reports, so they will little to no impact on your credit score.  (Capital One and Discover are the exceptions to this).  Therefore, if you are concerned about any negative impacts from new lines of credit, you needn’t worry with business cards.

Strategically choose credit cards that match your spending habits

Many credit cards offer bonuses for expenditures in various categories.  Depending on which categories your business spends in the most, there are different cards that are best for each category.  For example, the Chase Ink Preferred card offered bonus points for travel and digital advertising, among other categories.  The Chase Ink Cash card offers bonus points for purchases at office supply stores.

A great strategy is to combine cards that offer category bonuses with a card that offers increased points on general purchases.  The Amex Blue Business Plus Credit Card offers double the points on the first $50,000 each calendar year.

Stick to bank cards over airline or hotel cards

I would recommend sticking with cards that offer bank reward points over specific airline cards.  These cards offer the most flexibility and don’t lock you into a specific travel program.  The one exception to this would be the Amex SPG Rewards card.  This card allows transfers to numerous airlines, which makes it more versatile than a regular hotel card.  SPG points earn a 5000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred over.

The best three programs are Chase, Amex and Citi.  Cards from these banks allow you to earn points with their respective rewards programs, which can be transferred to many different airline and hotels.

What cards would you recommend?

Among the many business cards you’d find in my wallet are the Chase Ink Preferred and Amex SPG Rewards card.  The Chase Ink Preferred offers access to arguably the most lucrative of all reward programs, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

 


 

There are many benefits to using reward cards with your small business, more numerous than I touched on here.  If you have a plan for your spending and choose your cards with intention, you can turn your typical business spending into cash or travel rewards for you and your family.

Learn more on credit cards by following our Facebook Page Credit Card 101

Categories: American Express, Business Cards, Chase, Ultimate Rewards Points | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Get 5 Hotel Nights + 50,000 Miles from Two Credit Cards

There is less than one week left for the temporarily increased 30,000 point sign-up bonuses for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Amex and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Amex, and so to encourage those on the edge or planning a vacation I wanted to share what I think is potentially the very best use of those points in case it may help get your wheels turning on what you could do for your family.  Since we are firmly back in the “little kid” stage for many years to come, we are now focused on  easily attainable family-friendly options.

If you are in a similar position, or even in a totally different phase of life, the Starwood Nights and Flights program is something that might be the perfect way to cover a big chunk of hotel and airfare costs for your next vacation.

nights-and-flights

SPG Award Nights and Airline Miles via Nights and Flights:

I think that SPG “Nights and Flights” is the most under-discussed gem of all SPG point redemption options.  Nights and Flights allow you to redeem SPG points for a combination of frequent flyer miles and hotel nights.  It’s kind of like a vacation package of sorts using points.  With Nights and Flights, you can redeem 60,000 SPG points for 50,000 airline miles plus five award nights at a Category 3 hotel or resort.  With Nights and Flights II, you can redeem 70,000 SPG points for 50,000 airline miles and five free nights at a Category 4 hotel or resort.  There are Category 4 hotels located in lots of great cities like: Scottsdale, Avon/Vail Valley, San Diego, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Asheville, Vancouver, Los Cabos, Kailua-Kona, Orlando (on Disney property), Sydney, and Hong Kong.

Let me put this deal another way…you can use the 70,000 points to not only get five free nights at a Category 4 hotel or resort (normally 10,000 points per night), but you also get 50,000 airline miles.  If the hotel you want is in the contiguous US or Canada, that means that you and your partner can use the 50,000 miles to each fly for free on saver award tickets on an airline like American Airlines, and then have five free hotel nights at your destination.  That is incredibly valuable from roughly just two credit card sign-ups!  I think this truly is the “hidden gem” of all SPG redemption options.

Get Over $2,200 in Hotels and Flights From Two Credit Cards:

As an example, if you have been looking to take your family to Disney World you can use SPG points to stay at the Walt Disney Swan or Walt Disney Dolphin Resorts that are located on Disney property and within walking or boat distance of both Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios.

dolphin-swan-hotels

Walt Disney Swan Dolphin

Via Nights and Flights you can stay at either of those resorts for five nights and then have 50,000 airline miles deposited into your airline account of choice with a program such as Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, and more.  You can use the 50,000 airline miles for the same trip as your hotel redemption, or save them for whatever you want to use them on in the future.

I priced out a five night stay in a standard room at the Walt Disney World Swan (a Westin) from May 9 – May 14 2016, and the lowest price on the SPG website was a non-refundable stay that rang in at $1,740.  If you wanted a refundable reservation that would cost you $1,795.  Those are huge numbers!

Screenshot 2015-09-11 at 11.58.08 PM

Airfare for those same dates on American Airlines from Houston to Orlando currently starts at $275 round trip each, so $550 for two people.  However, there is saver award availability for 25,000 miles each on American Airlines flights.

In this very random example, using 70,000 SPG points via Nights and Flights would save you over $2,100 in hotel and airfare costs for a Disney vacation!

How to Quickly Get 66,000 SPG Points:

To get these SPG points quickly, if you and your partner both get the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card Amex while the sign-up bonus is at 30,000 points (through 9/14/15), you would each have at least 33,000 SPG points after meeting the minimum spending requirement.  Since SPG allows you to combine points for free with anyone who shares your household address, you and your partner could easily have at least 66,000 SPG points just from each getting one credit card.  Earn just 4,000 more points between the two of you and you would have enough for five nights of hotel and 50,000 airline miles as described above thanks to Nights and Flights!

Note that Nights and Flights are only available for Category 3 and 4 hotels, they must be requested at least 14-30 days in advance (depending on the airline of choice), and the selected airline must have a 1:1 points transfer option from SPG.

Categories: American Express, Citi Credit Cards, SPG | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Amex Plantium 100k Signup Bonus Offer

The public offer for American Express Platinum card is 40,000 but using the below link in incognito mode on several browsers you should see the 100K offer after sending 3K in three months. This is a fantastic offer for the Platinum card with some awesome benefits and for a very low spending requirement. You can read all the benefits here.

Here is the link to the offer to apply for credit card – LINK

amex-plantinum-screenshot

You would have to refresh the window several times if you do not see the 100k Offer. I was able to see the offer on the first go every time in incognito mode. In the past offer has gone up as high as 150 K but I doubt it is ever coming back.

The Fine Print and benefits overview

  • Must spend $3,000 within 3 months
  • $450 annual fee, not waived the first year
  • $200 Airline credit every calendar year
  • $100 Global Fee Entry credit
  • Centurion Lounge access (They have awesome food and are one of the best lounges in the country although very limited locations)
  • Free Priority club Lounge access
  • Enjoy complimentary access to unlimited WiFi at more than a million hotspots worldwide via Boingo preferred plan
  • Automatic Starwood preferred guest Gold status – Welcome gift, Early check-in Late checkout and more….
  • There are several more benefits and you can read them all here 

My wife got approved for the card right away!!!! There is a lot you can do with 100 K Amex points and travel around in some business and first class using the points for almost free!!

Categories: American Express, Credit cards | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Pizza Winners ,$5 off $25 at ExxonMobil Via Amex Offers

  1. PIZZA GIVEAWAY – I had a giveaway on the blog this week for FREE PIZZASThe giveaway was for two codes each valid for a Free Two toppings Pan Pizza from Dominos. And the winners are  (drum rolling)…………………………

    EVERYONE WHO LEFT A COMMENT BEFORE DEADLINE

    You should have already received your pizza codes and I hope you can enjoy them by tonight!!

  2. Amex rolled out  a new Amex offer this morning. It is good for $5 off $25 at Exxonmobil. You can tweet #AmexExxonMobil to receive this offer onto your sync card or some folks (including me) are able to see the offer after logging in. The offer expires 9/30/2015 but once enough card holders are enrolled in the offer you may not be able to add the offer to your card so act ASAP.
amex exxon mobil

American Express ExxonMobil offer

I hope you all have a great weekend!!

Categories: American Express Offers, Blog Giveaway | Tags: | Leave a comment

Problem Logging into your Redcard account ?- Don’t Panic

I was having issues this morning logging into my Target Redcard prepaid account. Definitely concerned me as Flyertalk recently reported some accounts being shutdown which turned out to be a “hoax”.

I called The American Express Target Redcard customer service at 1-855-306-7395 this morning and looks like the Redcard servers are undergoing a system upgrade and most if not all users will be unable to login for at least eight hours. Bluebird and Serve logins are working fine.

Hopefully, the servers will be restored by end of the day and life will be back to normal!!

Categories: American Express, Redcard | Tags: , | Leave a comment

$1500 + Cashback by signing up for two credit cards, $20 Amazon gift card using Western Union

You can apply for any of these cards by following my affiliate link on creditcards.comI appreciate if you ever choose to use my affiliate links.

1.  $1500 cashback by signing up for two Business Credit cards

The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN is offering 1.5% discount on the portion of your eligible purchases that you pay within 10 days of your statement closing date, as long as you pay the minimum payment due. Plus, get an additional $200 statement credit for every $10,000 you spend on the Card, up to $600 back. That can be an extra 2%. So the bottomline is , after spending $30,000 in three months which may be ridiculous for a lot of folks you would earn approximately $1050 back in statement credits. If you need ideas on how to spend $30,000 in three months shoot me an email and dI will share with you some tips and tricks to get minimum spending done. There is no annual fees for the first year and the annual fees for second year is $250.

plum_banner

Also, the Capital One is offering $500 cash back on its Capital One Spark Cash for Business after you spend $4500 in three months. This should be an easy-peasy for most folks. The typical sign-up bonus on this card is $200 so it is a good time to sign-up and take advantage of this offer. This card also has 2% cash back everyday on all purchases with no unlimited cashback. There is no  annual fees the first year  and second year fees is $59. Also, there is no foreign transaction fees.

Spark

How to Qualify for Business Credit cards?

Some of the business cards banks issue requires you to have an EIN (Employee Identification number).

You may easily qualify for business even if you are selling things on ebay, Amazon etc or are just starting of a new business . You may speak with a qualified CPA to discuss further.

Apply for an EIN by following these steps and it’s totally free

  1. Go to the IRS EIN page and scroll down to the bottom and click the link that says “APPLY ONLINE NOW.” You will find the EIN number application.
  2. Click the “Begin Application” button to apply for EIN number
  3. Answer about 10-15 quick questions
  4. That’s it! You just got a free EIN number.

After you submit your application you will get a PDF document with your EIN and save it where you can retrieve it easily. You would have to call IRS and retrieve the EIN if you ever misplace it. You can also apply for EIN over the phone at (800) 829-4933 from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

2.  $20 Amazon Gift Card by signing up for Western Union and sending $50.

If you sign up for Western Union via my referral link and send or transfer $50 to anyone then WU will credit you with a $20 Amazon gift card within 2-4 weeks. Once you sign-up you are also able to refer others and earn $20 per referral up to $100. You would pay a $5 fee by sending money using your bank account so you would earn a net profit of $15 after receiving you Amazon gift card values at $15. You can easily send money to friends and family and take advantage of this offer. Remember, this offer is only good for new accounts.

Categories: Amazon, American Express, Capital one, Cashback, Credit cards, Western Union | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

HOT!!! – 2.5% Cashback on American Express Gift Cards, Citi Prestige and Citi Premier Increased sign up bonus with perks

1. American Express gift cards – Just today Topcashback is offering 2.25% cash back on Amex Business Gift cards. Its great way to make some quick bucks and also earn extra miles and points. I personally used the Chase INK Card to purchase $5000 in gift cards in denomination of $1000 (x5) as Chase offered me  a retention bonus of 10,000 UR points after spending $5000 in three months to offset my $95 annual fees. But you can maximize your earning by using the Barclays Arrival World Elite MasterCard.

Do not use any denominations over $2000 and any promo code as this will not earn any cash back and also avoid using Citi Cards as it could get processed as cash advance. These gift cards can be reloaded onto the Target Prepaidredcard at any Target stores and then you can turn around and payback your credit card or pay other bills.

Amex cash back

The Math on purchasing $5000 in gift cards – 

Gift Cards Value – $5000

Purchase fees – $3.95 x 5 = $19.75

Shipping Fees – $8.95

Total Out of Pocket – $5028.7

You will earn 2.25% cashback on $5000 = 112.50

Your net Profit – Cashback – Purchase Fees – Shipping Fees = $83.8

Not bad for 5-10 minutes of my time!!! We are not done yet –

Now if you use the Barclays Arrival World Elite MasterCard you’d earn 2 Arrival miles on a dollar spent so $5000 on gift cards will help you earn 10,000 Arrival miles which equates to $100 in Travel Credit. So now your net earning will be $83.8 + $100 = $183.8. You’re welcome!!

If you don’t have a Topcashback account you can use my referral link to sign-up we both get $10 back after you spend $20 or more.

2. Citi Increased sign up bonus on Prestige and Premier Card can earn you several thousands in Travel Rewards

In the last two weeks, the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier have each increased their sign up bonuses to 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. One person can apply for both cards and get 100,000 total Thank You points which is to book up to $1350 worth of airfare through the Citi Travel Center.as long as you apply for the two cards at least eight days apart

Questions this article will answer:

  • What are the differences between the Prestige and Premier?
  • Why would you want both?
  • How can you get both?

What are the differences between the Prestige and Premier?

The Prestige is a premium credit card that competes with cards like the American Express Platinum. The Premier is more of a standard rewards card that competes with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Sign Up Bonus

Both currently offer 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Annual Fee

There’s a huge difference here. The Prestige has a $450 annual fee that is not waived. The Premier has no annual fee the first 12 months, then $95 a year.

Category Bonuses

The Prestige offers 3x on airlines and hotels and 2x on dining and entertainment. The Premier‘s category bonuses are slightly better. It offers 3x on travel and gas. That includes airlines and hotels, but also a lot more. It also offers 2x on dining and entertainment.

Ease of Travel

Both cards have chip technology for global acceptance and no foreign transaction fees.

Value of ThankYou Points

Both cards offer the ability to transfer ThankYou Points to 12 airline and hotel programs. This is the highest value redemption method.

Both also offer the chance to redeem points like cash toward any flight with no blackouts, but the Prestige offers higher value when points are used this way. The Premier‘s points are worth 1.25 cents each toward all flights. The Prestige‘s are worth 1.6 cents toward American Airlines or US Airways flights and 1.33 cents toward all other flights.

If you have both the Premier and Prestige, you can combine the points into one account, which allows for redemptions at the better Prestige rates.

You can earn serious travel rewards using benefits from the two cards

And the travel category now includes a wider range of purchases such as:

  • Airfare
  • Cruises
  • Car Rental Agencies
  • Gas Stations
  • Hotels
  • Parking Garages
  • Public Transportation
  • Taxis
  • Tolls

Other Benefits

This is where the Prestige kills the Premier, and why the Prestige‘s $450 annual fee is more than justified in my opinion. The Prestige offers:

  • $250 per CALENDAR YEAR (so $500 before your second annual fee is due) in airfare or airline fee statement credits. Tickets, award taxes, upgrades, and bag fees all qualify. This more than offsets the first annual fee.
  • $100 statement credit for signing up for Global Entry, which also gives access to TSA Precheck.
  • Lounge access to all Admirals Clubs when flying American Airlines or US Airways. Lounge access to all Priority Pass Select lounges always. For either type of lounge, you can bring in all your under-18 children plus spouse or any two guests.
  • Fourth night free on all hotel reservations booked through Prestige’s travel agency.
  • Three free rounds of golf per year at participating courses.

Why Would You Want Both?

Each has strengths beyond its giant 50,000 point sign up bonus.

The Premier has better category bonuses because all the following are included at 3x: airlines, hotels, gas, car rentals, travel agencies, buses, trains, parking, tolls, bridges, and time shares. The Prestige only offers 3x on airlines and hotels. The Premier also has a lower annual fee, and one that is waived for the first year.

The Prestige has far better benefits like the statement credits, airport lounge access, and higher value of points when redeemed like cash for flights. Plus getting the Prestige can retroactively lift the value of ThankYou Points earned on other cards because those points can now be put into your Prestige account, which has higher value redemption options.

If you have one, you might want the other for its strengths. If you have neither, you might want both to maximize the strengths of both.

You can transfer Thank You Points to partner Airlines and easily get to Europe.

How Can You Get Both?

According to the combined experience of FlyerTalkers, you can be approved for no more than one Citi credit card application in 8 days and no more than two applications in 65 days.

So if you got one of the cards months ago and want the other now, apply.

If you have neither, apply for one now and one in 8+ days. (Unless you recently got a different Citi card like the Citi Hilton card with 60,000 HHonors points. In that case, make sure that at least 65 days have elapsed from your previous application to your second application.)

To avoid all confusion:

OK

Got Prestige 8+ days ago, have no other Citi cards, get Premier today

Have neither card or any other Citi card, get Prestige today and Premier in 8+ days

Got Citi Hilton card 14 days ago. Get Prestige today and Premier in 51+ days. (65 day rule noted above)

Not OK

Get Premier and Prestige on same day

Got Citi Hilton card 14 days ago. Get Prestige today and Premier in 8 days

You may not be instantly approved on your applications. When that happens, your screen should have a number to call Citi for an instant decision. I always call in to speed things up. I doubt you’ll be asked why you want both the Prestige and Premier, but if you are, mention the strengths of the one you don’t have yet.

Make sure you apply for the two cards at least eight days apart

Bottom Line

You can get both the Prestige and Premier and long as you apply at least at least 8 days apart, and potentially further apart if you have another recent Citi application. Getting both cards and meeting their minimum spending requirements would earn at least 106,000 ThankYou Points, and probably more if you maximize the category bonuses. If you redeem  through the Citi Travel Center $1350 worth of airfare. You can apply for both these cards at creditcards.com under Travel and Rewards. This is my affiliate link for creditcards.com and I am  thankful if you ever plan to use it.

My son Zane having a blast on streets of Dubai.

We enjoyed Aquarium in Dubai early this month.

Categories: American Express Gift cards, cheap travel, Citi Credit Cards, Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, Gift Cards, Thank You Points, Top Cashback | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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