A short term arbitrage and changes to 5/24. December 2016 Month in Review


In December, Alaska and Virgin Elevate announced plans for merging their loyalty programs.  One part of this announcement has led to a terrific short term opportunity for amassing Alaska miles.  In other news, there have been several developments regarding Chase’s dreaded 5/24 Rule.  Details follow…

Loyalty Program News


Alaska Airlines is aggressively moving forward with their acquisition of Virgin America.  This month, Alaska made it possible for Mileage Plan and Virgin America Elevate members to earn miles on each others flights.  Plus, you can now buy Virgin America flights directly from Alaska Airlines.  Long term, the Elevate program will go away in favor of Alaska’s Mileage Plan program.  Beginning January 9th, Elevate members will be able to convert their points to Alaska miles at a rate of 1 to 1.3.  This has led to a short term arbitrage opportunity.  It is now possible to convert SPG points to Alaska, indirectly, at a fantastic rate.  20,000 SPG points currently transfer to 25,000 Virgin Elevate points.  If you then transfer those 25,000 Elevate points to Alaska, you’ll end up with 32,500 Alaska miles!  Click here for details.

Note that, as of January 6th, SPG will no longer support point transfers to Virgin America, so those who want to get in on this arbitrage opportunity will have to pull the trigger soon.  Is it really worth doing?  It really depends on your personal situation.  If you’re certain that you can use those Alaska miles for high value awards, then go for it.  Otherwise, you may be better off keeping your points in the SPG program where they’re much more flexible.

Credit Card News

This month we discovered a few changes to Chase’s dreaded 5/24 rule (where Chase denies credit card applicants who have opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months).  One change is that some people now see pre-approved offers online, and these pre-approvals appear to circumvent 5/24.  This is similar to going in-branch to ask if you are pre-approved.  The Travel Sisters have the scoop here.

On the negative side, it used to be the case that members of Chase’s Private Client program were immune to 5/24 rules.  I first wrote about this here.  Unfortunately, as reported by Doctor of Credit, that is no longer the case.

Finally, Chase has launched a new free site, Credit Journey, for monitoring your credit.  On the surface, it doesn’t seem to have any advantages over other similar services (see: Complete Guide to FREE Credit Scores, Reports, and Monitoring… for credit card bonus hunting), but it does one unique thing: it reports the number of accounts opened in the past 24 months.  In other words, it may be the easiest option for determining your current 5/24 status.  Doctor of credit has additional details here.

Best of Frequent Miler

Don’t miss these Frequent Miler posts from December 2016!


Credit Cards

Manufacture Spend / Meet Minimum Spend Requirements

Miles, Points, and Travel




It is possible to monitor your credit from all three bureaus, for free.  By using a collection of free tools, it is possible to view your credit score, your full credit report, and monitor inquiries.  This post has the details: Complete Guide to FREE Credit Scores, Reports, and Monitoring… for credit card bonus hunting.

Best current credit card offers

All of the above offers and many more can be found on our Best Offers Page.

More Deals worth checking out

Bonus Points:

Shopping savings:

Travel deals:


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 newsletter, this 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.

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[…] This is the only place you’ll find the most recent Month in Review. […]


A couple of comments here. First, Southwest is the largest airline in the US. So it’s not what I would call “oddball.” If anything, it’s the most mainstream of all the carriers; given their many routes to many places around the US (more than any other domestic carrier). (I live in a Southwest City, so this is essentially a quasi-hub as they dominate 40% of the local airport).

Second, it would be helpful if you included an estimated dollar amount (worth in travel) of the best credit card offers. That way, I can prioritize which offers to review further. I can do this on my own, of course, but all points are not created equal.


Word of caution – Credit Journey only shows accounts that were opened (and still active) over the past 24 months, not those that have been closed (and that Chase will still count towards your 5/24 score).