The credit card rollercoaster: June 2017 in Review


Sears double dip roller coaster

Welcome to the Frequent Miler June 2017 Month in Review. We’ve definitely been riding a bit of a roller coaster as of late in terms of changing benefits (pay-with-points changed, Prestige changes loom), signup bonuses (ups and downs), and great value in Amex Offers (a nice wave to surf). It certainly remains a fun ride, and we continue to bring you great deals that help you take advantage of the convergence of credit card benefits, category bonuses, shopping portals, and discounts. A number of the “More deals worth checking out” are still alive at the time of writing and worth your attention. Without further ado, here’s June 2017 in review.

Credit Card News

Plastiq mortgage visa

The month has brought both ups and downs in credit card news. In an unfortunate change, Plastiq stopped coding at 3X as a travel bonus category for most mortgage payments. Rubbing salt in the wound, Citi sent a notice to cardholders that Plastiq would soon (as of July 22nd) no longer code at 3X for rental and real estate payments or for the purchase or reloading of gift cards. A lucrative opportunity for an easy 3X is quickly drying up here, though I think Plastiq will prove useful for a long time to come for meeting minimum spend by paying bills that you need to pay anyway.

a woman standing on a rock near water

There have also been some shifting credit card bonuses this month. Just yesterday, Chase changed the sign up bonus on the Hyatt Credit Card from the longstanding 2 free nights anywhere to 40,000 points. In covering that change, we wrote about some of the reasons why this may be a favorable change for some. It seems that Hyatt is trying a different kind of bonus to see what kind of reaction they get; time will tell, but I suspect we’ll eventually see the 2 free night bonus back again. In other signup bonus changes, the increased Southwest credit card bonuses were set to end yesterday according to several sources. At the time of writing, those bonuses are still showing at 60K on each of the three Southwest credit cards, but they are expected to change any hour now. Finally, we said goodbye this month to the Citi Hilton cards. With Amex set to be the sole issuer of Hilton credit cards in January, Citi abruptly stopped taking applications and has left current cardholders in limbo as to what kind of card they will be holding come January 1st. In the midst of hotel card turmoil, not to be forgotten are the Wyndham Visa cards and their newly increased sign up bonuses.

a close up of a logo

In the midst of a changing landscape for Plastiq and sign up bonuses, a sideline story that has continued is the fairly consistent release of some very lucrative (though sometimes targeted) Amex Offers in the form of both Membership Rewards points and statement credits. From $2 bottles of wine to 20,000 points on $200 in spend, Amex has continued to roll out great offers that add to the value of the cards in your wallet — so much so that Greg explored the ways in which he is planning our his Amex portfolio with an eye toward maximizing Amex Offers. On that note, if any of your offers have vanished, you’ll want to find out how to make them reappear. Great Amex Offers combined with some other better-than-usual targeted offers has made it a strong month for Amex.

Finally, if you had the chance to more or less start from scratch and build a rewards card portfolio, which cards would you open, when, and why? Many readers answered those questions in helping to advise Greg’s well-informed rewards-card-newbie friend as he embarks on his travel rewards journey. Check out the initial plan and then the revisions based on your suggestions (along with the results). And if you’re experiencing sub-5/24 envy, check out our post on how to count your 5/24 status from your smartphone so you can see where you stand.

Loyalty Program News

a man in a blue suit

As the summer promotions have taken off, we’re seeing offers from Hilton, Marriott/SPG/Ritz, and Club Carlson. Hyatt’s first new promotion is just coming to a close today — we can hope for something new and exciting from Hyatt, but I think it’s best to attenuate expectations at this point with regard to future Hyatt promotions. My paid stays so far this summer have to my surprise gone to Marriott in an effort to revitalize my Starpoint balance, though I still chose Hilton for an expensive unplanned night as the value of their current promotion far outweighed my other options when faced with an expensive hotel bill.

a plane on the tarmac

In a bit of a bummer (but less of a bummer than it could have been), United announced some coming MileagePlus changes that amount to a minor devaluation for now, opting for a baby step towards revenue-based domestic awards. Even still, as the airline loyalty landscape has changed over the past few years, those who do not hold or covet elite status benefits have continued to gravitate towards transferable currencies. Many readers have questions about these powerful programs, and this month we brought you both Ultimate Rewards Questions Answered and Membership Rewards Questions Answered.

Frequent Miler News

We want readers to have a safe place to share ideas, ask questions, and help each other master the points & miles game.  Towards that end, we have created a new private Facebook group: Frequent Miler Insiders.  By keeping the group private, we should be able to keep out trolls (or kick them out after the fact), eliminate spam, and share secrets more readily.

How to join

Visit our page (here) and click Join Group.

a white background with black textWe will have to approve each request, so please be patient if it takes us a while to accept you!

Best of the Rest at Frequent Miler

Here we list a selection of other posts form the month. Note that limited-time deals may be expired — check the posts for more details.

Credit Cards
Manufactured Spend / Meet minimum spend requirements
Miles, Points, and Travel
Best Current Credit Card Offers
More Deals worth Checking Out

Some of these have expired, but they represent a selection of deals that we have posted lately (and quite a few are still alive at least through today).

About Month In Review

Once per month we publish a round up of miles and points related news, highlights of our best posts of the month, and a list of the best ongoing deals. For those who subscribe to our monthly newsletterthis is it. Those who subscribe weekly will find this post listed in the Week in Review section. Those who subscribe to the daily or instant newsletter will receive this post directly, just like any other. Again, we usually publish the month in review at the end of each month — you can expect the next one at the end of June.

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M Chin

Anyone have any thoughts on how these compare to the PayPal Cashback Mastercard 2% cash back? Seems like no fee, but wanted to make sure there wasn’t a catch.