Defending yourself against Amex’s war on gaming & more


Amex’s new incredible referral offers combined with some excellent big spend bonuses on a few Amex cards make it tempting to put the pedal to the metal and spend like a sailor. The problem? We know that when Amex says that you’ll earn an unlimited 3x on purchases, they really mean that they’ll earn an unlimited ~3x as long as you’re spending on things that they like (or more importantly, not spending in ways they deem “gamey”). On this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air, we discuss some ways to ramp up spend without running afoul of the rewards abuse team. Also read and listen this week for a lot of analysis on the latest credit card offers and this year’s unique opportunities to earn elite status.

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This week at Frequent Miler:

In events

Join Nick & Stephen at the Chicago Seminars this Saturday, 10/17

Nick and Stephen will speak during today’s Chicago Seminars variety show online. Proceeds from this event benefit charity and it will be available on replay even if you’re not free at the time the show airs. This should be a fun way to connect with many of the personalities you love in this sphere and you’ll probably pick up a tip or two along the way that’s worth more than the cost of admission. The show starts at 10am Central and I’m not sure when they’ll stop selling tickets, so you’ll want to get in on this sooner rather than later.

In the hunt for hotel elite status:

Rocking Hyatt’s overlapping promos: How to claim 2 years of top tier status.

Hyatt has two promotions running right now that make an epic mattress run worth considering for the first time in years. Here are the details you need to know about how to use these promotions to pull off elite status until 2023 — or at least start the next qualification year with a nice leg up on earning status for 2022.

Justifying the Hyatt Globalist mattress run: is it worth using points for a “cash”…

This suite of mine at the Park Hyatt Mallorca a few years ago was the type of amazing use of a Globalist suite upgrade award that has me booked for a 30-night mattress run.

Personally, I’m fairly sure that I’m going to go after Hyatt Globalist status with a long-term “mattress run”. Greg’s spreadsheet says I should book with cash, but it’s hard to part with dollars and cents. Here’s my plan to use “funny money” — though you can see Greg call me out on the true value during this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air.

Which enhanced Marriott bonus is best? 5 nights vs points & Platinum

In a normal world, the 5-free-nights offer on the Chase Marriott Boundless would be a pretty amazing welcome bonus. However, given the current state of travel, the breadth of hotels where you can use those certificates is more limited – and that’s to say nothing of the limit of time on those free night certificates. Stack on top of that the way that you can stack elite night credits with the Amex cards and I think Greg’s conclusion here is right: despite bonuses that I don’t find terribly exciting, the Amex cards are the way to go here for many and perhaps most readers.

In other credit card news

Which Amex Cards are Credit Cards? Which are Charge Cards? How many can you have?

The rules have changed quite a bit over the past few years in terms of how many and which types of Amex cards you can hold at one time. That makes for some potentially difficult choices in determining your ideal strategy – especially given that business and personal Amex cards get counted together. This post helps you make sense of which cards belong in which categories so you can figure out for yourself which it is that you’d like to pursue.

PayPal Key virtual “master” card: Unlock the power of all of your cards

PayPal’s Digital Key is an intriguing product that is easy to request and easy to use. I find the concept they are pulling off here to be quite interesting and I know that some readers will find it useful and downright cool. I think it would be a heck of a lot more fun if they’d produce some sort of magical physical card that could cut down on the plastic in your wallet. In the meantime, this is still a cool tool that’s worth a look.

Frequent Miler Live

Amex +3X Everywhere | Frequent Miler Live | Ep 18

We were live on Tuesday to take questions from readers in real time. If you missed it and would like to check it out, see this post for the video.

Bottom line

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Don’t forget to check out this week’s last chance deals and set your reminders to take advantage of the best of them before they’re gone.

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I had the same issue with my Bonvoy Business card posting the bonus points from the restaurants, gas, and Marriott hotels Amex Offers. The points didn’t post of my first statement. I also added the offers on my Bonvoy personal card. Chat assured me the offers aren’t limited to one card. We’ll see if the bonus points actually post.


Did Gregg make a mistake about earning the 30 elite night credits through just Amex CC? I thought you needed the chase consumer and Amex business cards to get the 30 nights. Both Amex cards would only count for just 15 nights.

So if you were just starting out from scratch. Optimal strategy would be Amex business for the platinum status, wait 2 years and then chase boundless for the sign up bonus. You won’t be able to keep platinum status as easily for the first 3 quarters of 2022, but once October rolls around, you would get your additional 15 nights from the chase application pretty quickly.

Greg The Frequent Miler

Nope, no mistake. Any Marriott consumer card (Amex or Chase) gives you 15 elite nights plus any Marriott business card (Amex or Chase) gives you 15 more elite nights


Thanks! I definitely do need a PHD To figure out the rules!


Guess what…

“Effective January 15, 2021, we are updating this sub-section to add precious metal coins and bullion to the definition of Cash Advance in your Cardmember Agreement.” From amex.

Now a question.. currently sit at 19 hyatt nights. Just got the hyatt card so 24 now I will organically stay 5-10 night before the end of the yr. Worth the mattress run to 60 before yrs end? Are you certain a 30 day night stay that ends by jan 4th will get you double nights on all 30 stays? Thanks and great video.


I’m happy with my SPG to Brilliant upgrade this past spring. 100k points, $600 in dining credits because my renewal was in the middle of the promo, $125 in statement credits from Bonvoy offers, a $100 statement credit for $1k general spend offer, the 10x dining gas hotel spend offer, a 50k cert, all netted against $575 in annual fees… 10/10 for early fall road trip. This is a keeper for sure. Harder to justify the biz as a keeper card because the $35k cert costs $30 more than the same from the Chase Boundless card


Amex can claim any spend as gaming,it’s up to the cardinals. They lost my business after one bonus per lifetime on their products…they still do that?
They were the crappiest company to deal with, until Bonvoy came around….screw em.


As a DP: Amex still clawed back 3k pts from my Oct statement with 0 grocery spend that month…I’d be very careful putting any kind of spend on Hilton cards if you did some MS with the grocery bonus


So you got clawbacks from your Hilton grocery spend, and they are still clawing back regular purchases with the same card now? Any other cards affected?