Citi has the best transferable points program*.
(*for a limited time)
Is that a statement of indisputable fact or is there room for discussion? Fans of Frequent Miler on the Air know that I wouldn’t let Greg off the hook too easily with a statement like that, so tune in for this week’s episode to see if he indeed helps me convince myself that his assertation or right or whether the American Airlines addition isn’t that strong after all. Also on this week’s episode: everything we got wrong about The Hotel Collection last week, double craziness from Amex, the post roast that made Greg wave the white flag in surrender, and more.
Also read on in this post for more from this week at Frequent Miler, including why I questioned keeping the Bank of America Premium Rewards card, what to do about Capital One, the surprising upsides of The Hotel Collection, and more.
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This week at Frequent Miler
The unfair thing here is that, as I mentioned on this week’s episode, I think that either Greg or I have predicted that American Airlines would become a Citi transfer partner for each of the past 4 or 5 years….until this year. Of course it would happen that in the year we didn’t predict it, Citi would make it happen. But as Greg said, one thing we never predicted was that it would be temporary. This much is for sure: this can be a good opportunity for anyone in need of American Airlines miles.
I roasted Greg for this take during this week’s Post Roast and for good reason: I know that Greg has enough American Airlines miles on hand and on last week’s show he noted having bought more miles than he should have years ago and having been stuck with AA miles he hadn’t been using. Why transfer more just to not use them? He should cash out 100K for $1,000 and get 10K points back and move on. However, if you aren’t flush with American Airlines miles, I think Greg’s strategy here makes a lot of sense. If you get to November and haven’t used Thank You points for your 10% Rewards+ rebate, it might be an OK idea to transfer speculatively to American given the flexibility of award tickets. On the other hand, I think AA is headed for a devaluation sooner rather than later, so I wouldn’t go nuts on transfers.
The first seven minutes of this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air episode mostly consists of us explaining what we got wrong on last week’s episode about Rocking Fine Hotels. Those flubs were basically all related to The Hotel Collection, and in this guide Greg addresses everything we (now) know about those bookings. Personally, I’m still pretty unlikely to book The Hotel Collection as I’d rather use my FHR credit on a one-night reservation with better benefits, but in some cases a 2-night stay through The Hotel Collection might be completely covered by the credit and still come with a $100 hotel credit, hotel points & elite credit, and more. See this post for more details.
A year ago, I felt like I had finally wrapped my hands around the ultimate “everywhere else” card for unbonused spend with the Bank of America Premium Rewards card. Then BOA threw a curveball last week and introduced a no fee card that also earns 2.625% everywhere if you have Bank of America Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors. For a hot minute, I was pretty sure I’d dump the Premium Rewards card in favor of the no-fee Unlimited Cash Rewards – until I considered purchase protections.
Would you like an easy 30,000 points every year with no annual fee? Citi’s Custom Cash simplifies the 5x concept by just automatically giving you 5x on the first $500 in the category in which you spend the most each billing cycle, so this card is an easy win for someone willing to earmark the card for $500 in one category each month as a “set it and collect 30K points per year and forget it” card. See this complete guide for everything you need to know about it.
Greg’s Capital One shutdown story certainly spooked me a bit and I know that I’m not the only one. While I’ve had Capital One cards for many years without an issue, the abruptness with which Greg was shut down and Capital One’s complete unwillingness to reconsider or share any explanation makes it hard for me to recommend that anything hold their points as a store of value, especially when the outcome could be getting those points cashed out on you at just half a cent each. That said, I’ve had Capital One cards for years. I agree with Greg that it is very unlikely that most people will have an issue, Capital One’s complete informational blackout here means that I don’t know who it might happen to next. While I’m not going to burn all of my points today, I might be considering moving at least some if I had a very large quantity. Since I have some Turkish miles and LifeMiles right now, I might wait for the August transfer bonus to Avios if I were looking to move some.
Wondering what the process is like for CLEAR? The answer is apparently “much easier than Global Entry”. Your experience singing up in the airport may actually be faster than the regular security line. I do wonder how much the CLEAR line will swell with so many more people now getting the fee rebated, but hopefully that just means I’ll be sailing through the regular security lanes faster than ever and be even less interested in these security fast-track programs.
That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Don’t forget to keep an eye on this week’s month-ending last chance deals.