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1. New United Airlines Fee-Free Card Coming?
Via Reddit, Chase sent a survey to Chase Customer Panel members asking their opinions about a new United Airlines card with no annual fee.
The card does NOT earn United Airlines miles. It’s similar to a cash back card, but earns “United Dollars,” which can be used for airfare, economy plus upgrades, United Club passes, or in-flight purchases like Wi-Fi, drinks, and food.
One Reddit user received a survey asking what they thought of a card that would earn:
- $250 in your United Airlines “travel bank” after spending $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account
- Unlimited 2% on United Airlines purchases and unlimited 1.5% on other purchases per $1 spent on the card
- Priority boarding
- 2 in-flight Wi-Fi passes (received as a statement credit) annually
- Purchase protection, primary car rental insurance, and access to the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
- NO annual fee
Another user got a similar survey, but the sign-up bonus was $150 in United Dollars.
It sounds like Chase is testing the waters to see if there’s interest in this card. There’s already a no-annual-fee United Airlines card available, but you can’t apply for it directly.
It’s only offered to folks who downgrade from another United Airlines card, like the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer, which has a $95 annual fee (waived the 1st year).
Interesting to Some, but Not to Me
I’m not terribly excited about this potential new card, because it’s essentially a cash back card where you can only use your cash for United Airlines purchases!
There are lots of other cash back cards with similar (or better) earning. And you can use the cash for anything you want – not just United Airlines flights!
But some folks might find this card interesting if they fly United Airlines often and want a no-annual-fee card that offers perks like priority boarding.
That said, considering Chase is tightening its application rules, most folks would be better off applying for more lucrative Chase airline and hotel cards (many of which waive the annual fee the 1st year). The sign-up bonuses on these cards can be worth much more than $250 in flights!
2. Marriott Rewards Members Will Soon Get Preferred Rates
Marriott is adding another incentive to encourage travelers to book directly with them!
Starting April 11, 2016, Marriott will offer preferred rates to Marriott Rewards members when you book directly through Marriott.com, the Marriott app, Marriott reservations, or through certain corporate travel services.
It’s free to join and become a Marriott Rewards member.
Marriott hotels include:
- AC Hotels by Marriott
- Autograph Collection Hotels
- Bulgari Hotels
- Courtyard by Marriott
- Delta Hotels
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
- Gaylord Hotels
- JW Marriott
- Marriott Executive Apartments
- Marriott Hotels
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Moxy Hotels
- Protea Hotels
- Renaissance Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott
- Springhill Suites by Marriott
- TownePlace Suites by Marriott
They haven’t said how much of a discount you’ll get. It will be interesting to see if the rates are cheaper than other discounted rates, like AAA or AARP.
The Best Rate or Else Marriott Promises to Match & Discount Your Stay 25%
And you’ll still be able to apply Marriott’s Best Rate Guarantee to get these new reduced prices. If you find a better rate within 24 hours of booking directly through Marriott, they’ll match the price and add an additional 25% discount.
Free Wi-Fi but Only When You Book Directly Through Marriott
Plus, Marriott Rewards members who book directly through Marriott already receive free Wi-Fi.
None of these perks are available to folks who book Marriott hotels through 3rd-party sites, like Orbitz or Expedia. And remember, you won’t earn hotel points or stay credits though 3rd-party sites, either.
3. AMEX Offer – 50% Off BJ’s Wholesale Club Membership +$25 Gift Card (Nearly Free Membership!)
This deal works a little differently from other AMEX Offers. To get the discount and gift card, present market code “AMEX25” at any BJ’s Club Member Services Desk when you purchase a BJ’s Inner Circle personal or business membership with your AMEX card by August 31, 2016.
5X Points at BJ’s This Spring
Remember, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% cash back) from April 1, 2016, to June 30, 2016, at wholesale clubs (and grocery stores). Don’t forget to activate the bonus!
4. AARP and Seniors 10% Discount at Staybridge Suites Hotels
If you’re a
senior spring chicken aged 62 or older, or if you’re a member of a retired person’s organization (like AARP), you can get at least 10% off at participating Staybridge Suites hotels in the US.
Join AARP at Any Age — Even If You’re Still Working
Anyone can join AARP for $16 per year. You don’t have to be retired or above a certain age. And you’ll get access to discounts on travel, dining, and more.
Staybridge Suites New York Times Square
This works out to a nice discount at hotels like the Staybridge Suites New York Times Square. I checked a random date in May 2016 and the regular best available (refundable) rate was $309. The senior’s rate was $279 – a $30 savings! And it was also refundable.
The advance purchase rate was also $279, but you’d be locked in to the date and wouldn’t get a refund if you cancelled.
The Best Discount Is to Pay $0 and Use Points 🙂
That said, if you’d rather pay nothing, you can earn points to stay at Staybridge Suites and other IHG hotels:
- IHG Cash & Points Trick
- Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points
- Buy IHG points
- Sign-up Bonus from the Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Many hotel chains (and independent hotels, too!) offer discounts to members of organizations like AARP and AAA. It’s always worth checking to see what deals are available!
And if folks look at you funny at check-in when you present your AARP card, you can wink at them and say you retired early! 😉