[Disclosure: Emily and I get a commission for some of the cards in this post. We always include the best offer for a card even if it doesn't pay us a commission. You don't have to use our links, but thanks for your support!]
1. 20,000 FlexPoints
US Bank increased the bonus on the FlexPerks card to 20,000 bonus points (from 17,500 points), but also increased the minimum spending to $3,500 (from $2,500) within the first 150 days on the personal US Bank Flex Perks Travel Reward Card or business US Bank Flex Perks Travel Reward card.
You can use FlexPoints for airline tickets on any airline and 20,000 points is worth up to a $400 airline ticket. You also get a $25 airline allowance with every award travel ticket which can be used towards baggage fees, in-flight food and drinks.
Since you’re “paying” for your ticket you also earn frequent flyer miles and there are no black-out dates or ticket restrictions. This can be useful if you’re looking for domestic US tickets with no restrictions.
FlexPoints expire after 5 years and you can’t extend their life as you can with airline miles.
You can also redeem FlexPoints for merchandise, or statement credits, but you get less value for your points.
Tip: US Bank appears to deny applications which have lots of recent credit inquiries.
2. Marriott Rewards Premier Visa 40,000 Points + $100 Statement Credit
Update: Offer has expired.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Visa credit card has a new offer with a 40,000 point signup bonus and a $100 statement credit. The application page says that this offer is only available until October 16, 2013.
You get the 40,000 Marriott points after spending $1,000 within 3 months, but get the $100 statement credit after your first purchase.
This offer is 10,000 points less than the standard offer on the Marriott website, but you do get a $100 statement credit.
Both the 40,000 point + $100 statement credit and 50,000 point offers also get you:
- 1 free night at any Marriott category 1 to 4 hotel on approval
- 1 free night at any Marriott category 1 to 5 hotel on your card anniversary each year
So is a $100 statement credit worth giving up 10,000 Marriott points for? Or can you get a redemption value of more than 1 cent per Marriott point (which would make it better to take the extra 10,000 points with the 50,000 point offer instead of the $100 statement credit)?
The short answer is that it is usually tough to get more than 1 cent per Marriott point, but it is sometimes possible.
Let’s say you wanted to go to Boston for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. You could either pay ~ $233 including taxes or use 30,000 points to stay at the Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf.
This would give you a redemption value of ~0.78 cents per point ($233 ÷ 30,000 Marriott points).
But you could just use the statement credit to take off $100 from the cost of the room. This means that you’re effectively getting 1 cent per point for the 10,000 points. Remember that you’re choosing between an extra 10,000 points (with the 50,000 point offer) or an extra $100 statement credit (with the 40,000 point offer).
So you’d pay only $133 after the $100 statement credit and get to use your 40,000 points elsewhere.
I don’t have a Marriott credit card as yet, but I wouldn’t apply (nor would I suggest my mother-in-law apply) for either the 40,000 point +$100 statement credit or 50,000 point offers.
Readers have got targeted offers for 60,000 to 70,000 points and this Flyertalk thread has more information on the 70,000 point offer. I’d rather hold out for a targeted offer in my inbox!
3. AMEX Hilton 50,000 Point Offer
This is better than the usual offer for 40,000 points and ends on October 31, 2013. But it isn’t a great offer worth going out of your way to apply for unless you have to apply for a card.
Note that you can’t get the bonus on BOTH this card as well as the American Express Surpass card. But American Express does sometimes give you an incentive to upgrade the regular no-fee Hilton card to the American Express Surpass card.
That said, I still prefer the Citi Hilton Reserve card to the American Express Surpass card because the Citi Hilton Reserve gets you Hilton’s Gold elite status (free breakfast and internet!) for as long as you have the card and also has no foreign transaction fees.
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