The pace of change in the miles & point world is staggering. The most recent big change is with the latest and greatest way to earn 5X everywhere. There was a special link to sign up for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card that offered 5X in drugstores, gas stations, and supermarkets. That link now appears to be dead:
More than a week ago, at Frequent Traveler University, the theme of my presentation was change. In that presentation, I highlighted the following developments in the 5X everywhere game:
- May 1 2012: I published “One card to rule them all.” In that post I showed how to earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points everywhere credit cards are accepted.
- October 16th 2012: I published “Bluebird takes flight and changes the game.” In that post I showed how to earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points everywhere including billers that do not accept credit cards!
- November 10th 2012: I published “Office Depot discontinues Vanilla Reload cards.” This change made 5X everywhere tough, but not impossible.
- February 3rd 2013: I published “Office Depot discontinues $500 Visa/Amex cards.” 5X everywhere was effectively dead.
- February 6th 2013 (just 3 days later), Personal Finance Digest published “The old Citi 5% gas/grocery/drugstore link is dead, here’s a new one.” 5X everywhere was alive again!!!
- April 6th 2013: Million Mile Secrets published “Breaking News: You Can Now Use Gift Cards For Cash Back, Loading Bluebird, and Buying Money Orders!” Not only was 5X everywhere alive and well, but there were new ways to do it!
Now, just a month later, 5X everywhere with ThankYou points is effectively dead. Those who got their cards in time can still enjoy 5X rewards for 12 months (unless they get shut down for perk abuse!). Others will have to look to other opportunities.
For good or bad, change is coming. And the game plays on…
[…] “Old” Blue Cash card from American Express has been the go-to 5X card since the 5X ThankYou deal went away. It is referred to as the “old” Blue Cash card because it is no longer advertised, but it […]
[…] post went live. The following day, FrequentMiler (where I found the link; thanks FrequentMiler!) announced the link to be dead and … Share from Hack.Travel:FacebookGoogle […]
[…] two weeks ago, I declared “5X everywhere dies again.” There had been a secret application link for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card that […]
[…] live. The following day, FrequentMiler (where I found the link; thanks FrequentMiler!) announced the link to be dead and the miles community mourned. Well, I have good news! The offer seems to still be alive… if […]
Dave: The return would be good, but not great. See the Bluebird Metric post: https://frequentmiler.com/2013/04/24/the-bluebird-metric/
I apped for the card Saturday 5/4 and just got it in the mail today. I was getting scared because I balled up the little activation sticker and activated online, but saw no references to the sign up bonus or 5x anywhere online or my welcome mail. so I had to find that sticker and call them up to make sure, the rep said she saw the bonus and 5X for 12 months for my account.
thank you very much for all your posts, I get lots of useful info. Question. I don’t want to apply to any new cards, so trying to use whatever I have now. What do you think about using Hilton Amex and Chase Amtrak cards for buying those $500 GCs and loading them into BlueBird? Do they give a good return?
I wonder how this one died.
questions (not casting blame):
1) did citi give the green light to you or other bloggers to post their CC link, pay benefits to bloggers for getting people to sign up, and tout their TY cards as viable products?
2) if so, dont we find it wrong that they are now shutting people down who have earned huge TY balances? Now that they have lured everybody in, they re-neg? Is this bait & switch?
Does anyone read anything in their T&Cs that tells us if buying things like VRs is somehow wrong or against anything? If it is, why are they awarding points and then getting pissed that people earned them on those when instead they should just NOT award points for certain things? Then again, is there anything that clearly states one should NOT earn points when buying products like VRs?
1) No, I don’t think Citi even knew about this old 5X link. We certainly weren’t paid for it.
@ FM: Thanks FM… In my opinion, if you get paid for CC apps, I am happy for you, as you are a good man and you provide a great service. Carry on. I know you did not get paid on this one but man oh man isnt it sad that Citi cant just fire the team who messed up and then step up and honor that which is out there in their name, and NOT pounce on all of us who unknowingly signed up for the gig!
Von’s gives back $15 for 100 MC. technically about $9 free money. No, it’s nt scaleable, sorry
CC are there to make money and some idiots are abusing the system, committing fraud when applying for credit and being totally stupid when manufactured spending. And then they get upset when they are hit with financial reviews and their CC are closed by issuer.
And yes, there are signs at my local Walmart that say cash for reloads only. Though not sure if this is because of miles and points or some money laundering activity. That one is going to be shut down as we know it, and very soon.
Sam – or try using the machine, if you have a debit card w/ a PIN…. I’ve also gone to their financing side, and they’ll load it, no problem, just have to have the PIN.
Love your blog! Out of curiosity… how many hard inquiries do you have on one of your bureaus? I’ve got 21 on Experian (all they pull from here) and am 5 months since my last AoR. I don’t want to risk is if I’ll be denied.
What’s your sage advice?
Thanks so much!
Sam: how about buying Vanilla Reload cards instead?
I follow your blog and your content. Thanx for the work you put into it.
I have a big issue and I don’t even know where to begin the tackling.
My local walmart recently notified all the cashier that ONLY CASH may be used to load bleubird, No debit card allowed what-so-ever!!!
How do I get this situation fixed?
“At a recent conference devoted to travel and credit card rewards, executives from Chase, Barclaycard, US Bank, Capital One and American Express were on hand to share their views on the future of credit cards — and there was a broad consensus on where the industry is going in the next few years.”
LOL, bloggers kill deals dead.
@Greg The Frequent Miler, whoops totally missed that
Brian, Why would you be glad people are getting shut down. If anything you would want these people to continue to be allow to make huge purchases. That way what ever spend you are comfortable with is “allowable” as well. Its a bizarre sense of jealously that you are openly rooting for people to get shutdown.
The more people push it, the quicker things will die. Very simple concept.
Hmm, no bueno! I have $12.5k limit and spent $24k on my last statement on 5x. Going to slow down our use a bit to stay under radar. With 3 bluebirds, I’d still like to think $15k/mo was ok, but not sure. Considering burning through my TY points as soon as I get them now though. The closing of the app link I think is a big sign they are looking into this card and the 5x bonuses.
Frankly I’m glad more of these pigs out there are getting shut down. This is Darwinism at its finest, I hope morons that manufacture spend 160k worth of spending in 6 weeks are getting locked out of the system forever. There will always be another deal and to quote Gordon Gekko “pigs get slaughtered”
I’m noticing that the bloggers have less to write about. Deals they publish are getting killed, so now they have to write an entire post on a dead link for a card. Moderation is key for the reader AND the blogger.
Slow and steady is the key now!
Tim2. Someone would spend that much because 160k in 6 weeks is about $8k-$10k in rewards/gift cards.
@FM – from reading the threads about shutdowns, it appears some of those people also push above their credit limit, because Citi does allow that. So the shutdowns might have more to do with risky spending. The heavy churners are a drop in the bucket in terms of perks given out, so credit limit abuse is probably the more likely cause.
Imagine they shut down someone who legitimately buys gift cards for business promotions (like a realtor) or buys expensive medication. That would be some bad PR nightmare for them.
This was in a story about the future of credit cards. If you have ever wondered about bloggers killing deals.
David Gold, General Manger of Partnerships for Chase Card Services, highlighted the importance of new media to the credit card industry. In fact, he noted that he wakes up every day worried about what will be written online about his products by bloggers who focus on how many cents they can get out of of each point. Others on the panel also admitted following blogs and other online outlets closely. So when you read a site like this, you can be sure that the banks are listening, too.
Why on earth would anyone spend that much money in 5x category. I have serious doubts these were legit purchases. Therefore why? This game is a marathon not a race. It’s very easy to stay in… Just don’t go nuts
I think its just a fact of life now there are more people playing the game. With more people comes more volume and with it more attention from the CC companies. As it becomes more popular the deals will die faster. When deals die faster people will go harder at the deals. And the cycle tightens and quickens. We are kind of our own worst enemy.
Michael Belisle: Yes, there are other 5X everywhere options, but this was one of the best and easiest since grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations all carry gift cards (and sometimes reload cards).
WeddingSpend: Yep, I linked to that FlyerTalk thread above (see “Perk Abuse”). I’ve also heard of people getting shut down for spending $20K per month.
what about all the other cards that give 5x points
Onward to the next 5x opportunity!
And not sure if you saw the Flyertalk thread about the original poster who got shut down and blacklisted by Citi for abusing the 5X on the Preferred card. Granted, he did claim to do $160k in 6 weeks . . .