As the month of June winds down, several deals and bonuses are coming to an end, so I thought I’d put together a quick recap of some of the deals that are ending the end of the month:
Chase 2nd Quarter 5x Category Bonuses: The current categories for Q2 of 2013, which apply to purchases, through June 30, are restaurants, movie theaters and Lowe’s, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to check in and see if you’re near hitting the $1,500 quarterly cap on the category spending bonus, and if you haven’t yet, consider stocking up on gift cards at Lowe’s that you can then use the rest of the year. One strategy would be to purchase something for in-store pickup and then actually exchange it for popular retailer gift cards, like Starbucks and iTunes, since those are usually only sold in-store.
One of my favorite ways to earn bonus Ultimate Rewards points is by maximizing of the Chase Freedom Visa and Freedom Mastercard’s quarterly rotating categories of merchants and retailers where cardholders earn 5 points per $1 up to a $1,500 quarterly cap and if you have a Chase checking account, their Exclusives Program adds an additional 10% bonus for a total of 5.5 points per dollar.
If you maximize the $6,000 in yearly spend, you are looking at 30,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points (33,000 for Chase Exclusives members), which is even more amazing for a card that has no annual fee. Normally 30,000 Freedom Ultimate Rewards points equal $300 in cash-back, but I value them closer to $600, since I can transfer them to my Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards accounts and then transfer on to partners like United, Southwest and Hyatt.
If you haven’t already, activate your card now for the Q3 bonuses, which are gas stations, theme parks and Kohl’s, and which go into effect starting July 1st and run through September 30, 2013.
Amex 20% Transfer Bonus To HawaiianMiles: Now through June 27, 2013, American Express Membership Rewards is now offering a 20% bonus on transfers to HawaiianMiles. The bonus is hard coded into the transfer ratio, so 1,000 Amex points = 1,200 HawaiianMiles and they transfer instantly.
Award seats on Hawaiian start at 17,500 miles each way from Hawaii to the mainland for coach, and 40,000 miles each way for first class. I was able to find decent award availability for some dates this summer. With this bonus, you could transfer 34,000 Amex points, and would receive 40,800 HawaiianMiles, enough miles for a coach award from Los Angeles to Maui. Intra-island awards start at just 7,500 HawaiianMiles, so with this bonus, that means you’ll only need to transfer just 6,250 Amex points for a quick hop over to a neighboring island.
In addition, Hawaiian Airlines has some good partner redemption options. They are currently not part of any of the three major alliances but they partner with several different airlines including non-alliance partners such as: ANA, Delta, Korean Air, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia. In some cases, it might make more sense to redeem Hawaiian Miles on those partners instead of their own miles. You can view my full post here on ways to maximize this transfer bonus.
Up to 30% Bonus On Hyatt Points Purchases: Now through June 30, 2013, Hyatt is offering up to a 30% bonus on Gold Passport points purchases. The bonuses are hard-coded into the buy points page, so you don’t have to register, and here’s how the bonus works based on how many points you buy:
- Purchase 1,000 to 9,000 points and get a 10% bonus
- Purchase 10,000 to 29,000 points and get a 20% bonus
- Purchase 30,000 to 40,000 points and get a 30% bonus
Normally, Hyatt points cost 2.4 cents each. With this promo, however, when you purchase 1,000-9,000 points the 10% bonus brings the cost per point to 2.2 cents each. When you buy 10,000-29,000 points, you receive a 20% bonus and points cost 2 cents each. Finally, when you purchase 30,000-40,000 points, the 30% bonus brings the cost per point to 1.85 cents apiece. You can only purchase up to 40,000 Gold Passport points for yourself a year. You can view my full post here on ways to maximize this purchase bonus that might make buying points worth it.
$50 or $100 Gift Cards From Chase Ultimate Rewards: Now through June 30, 2013, get a little extra to spend on summer basics at Kohl’s, Lands End, Darden Restaurants, Outback Steakhouse and Regal Entertainment Group. For every 4,500 Ultimate Rewards points redeem on your Chase Ink card, you will earn a $50 gift card, and for every 9,000 Ultimate Rewards points redeemed, you will earn a $100 gift card. This is less than the usual level needed of 5,000 and 10,000 respectively so you are getting a 10% saving that is worth jumping on before summer really kicks off in full swing.
Is this the best use of Ultimate Rewards? Probably not, but if you’ve got a ton of points and want to use some for everyday shopping/entertaining/dining gift certificates then this could make sense.
50,000 Mile Sign-Up Bonus With Barclaycard Lufthansa Credit Card: The Barclaycard Lufthansa Miles & More Premier World Mastercard is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 award miles. If you know how to use these points for good redemptions (domestic/intra-North/South America/ Caribbean) that have low fees or premium cabins ticket, then this is a great deal to jump on. Here is how the rest of the offer breaks down:
- Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase
- Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
- Cardholders receive a companion ticket annually.
- Enjoy 2 award miles per $1 on Miles & More integrated airline ticket purchases
- Earn 1 award mile per $1 spent everywhere else
- No mileage expiration with monthly qualifying purchases
- 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening, after that a variable APR currently 15.99% to 24.99% depending upon your creditworthiness
- $79 annual fee
While I have pointed out in a previous post that 50,000 miles isn’t an earth-shattering amount, the bonus on this card hasn’t been this high since April 2011, so if you’ve been thinking about getting in on this card, now is the time to do it. An additional incentive is that Miles & More is the mileage program of Lufthansa as well as Austrian and SWISS, and members get more access to premium award tickets. All three airlines are part of Star Alliance, so you can use these miles on any of the 27 partner airlines including US Airways and United (and Miles & More awards can be booked one-way, which US Airways awards cannot). According to the Miles & More award chart, 50,000 miles is enough for an economy class roundtrip ticket from the US to Europe on Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian – other carriers will be 60,000. That’s also enough for a one-way business class award on these three carriers – highlighting another positive feature of Miles & More: you can book one-way awards.
Lufthansa Miles & More is also a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, so you could always use some of these points to top up your account for a specific award, and remember, when you transfer in increments of 20,000 points, you get a 5,000-mile bonus. You can read my full post on ways to make the most of this offer here.
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