Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Apr 09

A couple of high-end credit card deals worth your time (but one comes with a catch)

I have to admit, part of the fun of this gig is the “something for nothing” aspect, whether it is miles, cash back or the occasional “free after ExtraBucks” shampoo at CVS (Okay, the first two are generally more exciting, especially because the hotels provide plenty of shampoo.).  And while it’s rare to get rewards totally for free, card companies generally make it tremendously easy for you to rack up points at their expense.  Why?  Because there are so many people who carry large balances and pay exorbitant interest charges.  Because of all those profits, they can offer generous rewards.  Your goal?  To be that person that the banks consider the cost of doing business.

A couple of cards caught my eye this week, although one is dependent upon your relationship with a particular bank.  Let’s look at the no-catch card first:

Citi Prestige Credit Card: Do not let the annual fee ($450) scare you.  Nobody pays sticker price these days.

The reason I’m mentioning this one again is that they raised the sign-up bonus.  It used to be 30,000 Citibank Thank You points, their proprietary rewards program.  Now, it’s 50,000 points if you spend $3,000 in the first three months with the card.  50,000 points does transfer to miles or to items like gift cards at a penny per point, so your sign-up bonus is worth $500 (Again, thank everyone who pays 21% interest.).  And it gets better: Use your points for flights and it’s worth $665, a 33% bonus.  If that flight is on American or US Airways, though, you get a 60% bonus, making your sign-up worth $800.

About that annual fee?  They make the majority of it go away.  You get a $250 travel credit every year on your card.  Buy an airline ticket, hotel stay, rikshaw ride, etc. and you’ll get a credit.  So now the annual fee is down to $200 per year.

Staying four or more nights at any hotel?  They’ll pay for the fourth night.  And you can use this benefit an unlimited number of times.  That should cover the rest of the annual fee and then some.

Free American Airlines lounge access for you and your family or two guests.  Or get Priority Pass access to a number of other lounges.  Long-time readers know how much I love the airline lounges.  They have the most experienced customer service agents and are a great place to wait for you flight.  Plus, they have tons of power outlets.

They’ll pay the $100 for your Global Entry fee.

And there’s a bunch of other benefits that come with it.  To apply, just click through the banner found here.

Bank Americard Travel Reward Credit Card

The standard reward for this card is 1.5%, or 1.65% for Bank of America customers.  It can be used for travel expenses you pay with the card, but the points don’t expire, so there’s no rush to use them.  But here’s where it gets good, and increasingly exclusive:

  • B of A customers with $20,000-$50,000 in total deposits (averaged over three months), you get “Gold” status (Yup, even banks are doing it now.) and get a 25% bonus on your card.  That gets you to about 1.9%.  Meh.
  • $50,000-$100,000 in deposits gets you Platinum status and a 50% bonus.  Now, your card gives you 2.25% on every purchase.  And you’re now at the top of the credit cards.  You also get a few other bank bonuses, such as one free non-BofA ATM transaction per month and free trades, as well as some other fee waivers.
  • $100,000+ puts you in Platinum Honors territory, with a 75% bonus on your card.  You are now earning over 2.6% back on every purchase, which makes this the best cash back card out there.  You also get unlimited use of non-BofA ATMs and fee refunds.  I think they’ll give you as many lollipops as you want, too.

Banks are doing what they can to get you to consolidate assets with them, but this deal from Bank of America is actually a pretty good one.  You can find the credit card through the banner found here.

As always: I may receive compensation for cards through these links.  Thank you in advance.

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And finally, you can apply for credit cards through the Credit Cards for Charity link above. All card proceeds are donated to charity, so please do well by doing good!

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