The single best deal of 2023


Quick Deals

A few days ago, I crowned a Deal of the Year champion, but on this week’s Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg and I discussed the nominees I listed and additional reader suggestions to see whether we agreed about the single best deal of the year and why or why not. Listen along to find out for yourself!

Elsewhere on the blog this week, we cover the awesome upcoming Bilt transfer bonus (set to drop on 1/1/24 only), take a look back at our predictions and ahead at our holiday wish list along with an update on the business behind the blog. Watch, listen, or read on for more from this week at Frequent Miler.


00:00 Intro
01:14 Giant Mailbag
05:45 Card Talk: Amtrak Preferred Card
10:24 What crazy thing . . . did Bilt Rewards do this week?
14:44 Earning Bilt elite status
26:15 Award Talk: Choosing a Marriott 25K Cert, 17K points, or something else
32:08 Award Talk: Can’t cancel? Then change.
34:39 The single best deal of 2023
35:20 Virgin Voyages cruise deals with points
37:38 Bilt’s Hyatt Globalist fast track
39:56 Bilt’s 100% transfer bonus to Air France / KLM Flying Blue
41:33 Bilt’s 75-150% transfer bonus to Virgin
42:46 Marriott Homes & Villas 40K bonus with 4 nights (and no minimum spend)
44:47 Choice Privileges College Gameday deals
50:00 Capital One Travel Sale (Flights and hotels for pennies)
51:40 Capital One Shopping $200 referral bonus for both sides
54:16 30x Lufthansa Miles & More miles per dollar spent
58:20 Reader contributions
01:04:26 Greg’s pick for Deal of the Year
01:08:25 Nick’s pick for Deal fo the Year
01:14:49 Question of the Week: Is Nick out of his mind?

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This week on the Frequent Miler blog…

Deal of the Year 2023

a trophy on a podium

You can listen to this week’s podcast to hear Greg and I debate, but if you prefer a written summary of most of the best deals of 2023, I put together our top 9 nominees and crowned a winner earlier this week. That said, readers chimed in with some great suggestions that made the podcast. Which was your favorite deal of 2023?

Bilt Rent Day promos: 75%-150% transfer bonuses to Flying Blue, Virgin & IHG

Bilt transfer bonuses January 1 2024 Virgin Flying Blue IHG

If you’re reading this post when it first publishes, get ready: On January 1st, 2024 only, Bilt will once again run an incredible transfer bonus, this time to your choice program between Flying Blue, Virgin, and IHG. Do yourself a favor and ignore IHG since you could buy those points for half a cent per point most of the year. If you have a good redemption in mind, the Virgin Atlantic bonus can certainly be outstanding (particularly if you gamble on them bringing back those cruise redemptions and it comes to pass), but I think the bonus here to Flying Blue is once again worth a speculative transfer if you have a large stash of Bilt Rewards points.

Frequent Miler’s Reader’s Choice Bonvoyed Awards 2023 Edition

two men running in the rain

On last weekend’s podcast, Greg and I created our own list of the 2023 “Bonvoyed” awards, where we recognized the programs that did the least customer-friendly things in this space in 2023. But after we published that, readers chimed in with thoughts of their own. Check out this post for a full list of the ways that members were mistreated or just plain missed out in 2023.

Frequent Miler’s 2023 State of the Business Report

a computer screen with a group of people on it

Greg does an annual review of how the business of the blog is doing — and thanks to readers like you, it is doing very well. We’re all so fortunate to do something we love with people we love and without the pressure of focusing on the “business” end of the blog thanks to all of your support. It’s been awesome to see the audience grow and the success of the business continue to reflect how much we all enjoy what we do more strongly with each of the last few passing years. We certainly put in our share of time each year to make the site, podcast, videos, and social media everything it can be, but it certainly feels like a gift to be able to do it. Thank you all out there for  coming back and bringing your friends and family with you!

Frequent Miler’s Travel Rewards Holiday Wish List

a group of men in clothing posing for a picture
The Frequent Miler team went direct to the big man with our travel rewards wish list.

Each FM team member came up with a couple of travel-related holiday wishes. While I’d like to see all of them come true, I think Stephen’s wish for a pet fee waiver for top-tier elite members would probably be the most valuable of the bunch to the right customer segment.

Scoring our predictions for 2023

Prediction results
All results, no excuses. Well, maybe some excuses.

Every year, the team predicts what we expect will happen in credit cards and award travel in the coming year. In 2023, one of us was far more adept at accurate predictions. Find out which of us it was and what else we guessed in a look back at our predictions for 2023.

Alaska Air Mileage Plan Complete Guide

a white airplane on a tarmac

Tim has taken on a complete guide to Alaska Mileage Plan. As our resident West Coaster, Tim has a wealth of experience with Alaska and its loyalty program, so he was the perfect person to lay out a complete guide that you can bookmark for future reference for all of your Alaska Airlines-related questions and concerns.

That’s it for this week at Frequent Miler. Keep an eye on this week’s last chance deals to make sure you don’t miss any set to expire at year’s end.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
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Wow…if we needed proof of how out of touch the FrequentMiler crew is with their listeners/readers, here we go.

Yes, that was truly an amazing deal for the 5 people with a significiant number of Bilt points. Don’t worry dear readers, if you pay only $8000+ a month in rent you can earn 100k Bilt points per year, less than a single Chase Ink + refererral bonus. Not to mention how openly antagonistic Bilt is to the miles and points community.

I hope you will consider the transfer bonus I’m offering for next year’s award. For one day only, there is a 1000000% transfer bonus on Fred Points to any airline/hotel chain of your choice. Let’s see Bilt compete with that.



Yea this love affair with bilt is getting really suspicious. They fail to ever mention bilt’s countless issues and red flags.

Tim Steinke

Which countless issues and red flags do you think should be mentioned? It sounds like there’s too many to be listed here, from your point of view. So, maybe just your top 5-6?

Last edited 3 months ago by Tim Steinke

Maybe that the card is constantly hacked and fraudulent chargers are made. Also, people who registered for the Hyatt promotion (which was mentioned as deal of the year) was not honored by Bilt for numerous members.

Tim Steinke

I wasn’t aware that the card was constantly hacked with fraudulent charges. I reported that back in January and my understanding was that it was a Wells Fargo issue and had been dealt with. Have you seen DP’s since then? I’d love to know about them.

Also, I’m unfamiliar with Bilt not coming through on the Hyatt promo (although this didn’t have anything to do with the Bilt card, just the rewards program). We have quite a few readers who took part, as well as folks in Frequent Miler Insiders. We didn’t get any negative DP’s, on the contrary, readers voted that promo as deal of the year for 2023 by a wide margin. Could you point me in the right direction so that I can read about Bilt not fulfilling their part of the promo?


My P2 was told she was properly registered for the promotion. After several weeks of nothing happening, they stated there was an error and did could not register. As a courtesy they provided her with a whopping 500 points. The email thread (which I can provide to you) is quite comical. A few others in other groups indicated something similar happened to them as well. I can’t really trust a company that fails to honor their promotions. I may be in the minority but they’ve left a bad taste in my mouth..

Tim Steinke

It sounds like you disagree with Nick and Greg’s picks for deal of the year (and I do as well, but just because I have a different opinion). That said, Nick actually posted a reader poll and Bilt promos got #1 and #3 (by reader votes). So, Nick and Greg’s opinion certainly isn’t out of touch with all readers and listeners.


The Hyatt fast-track didn’t require any Bilt points or their credit card, so it’s completely different. I would have no problem with that one being named deal of the year.

The problem with the Bilt transfer bonus promotions is that it’s easy to earn 10-20x more in Amex/Chase/Citi points(if not more). What good does a 100% transfer bonus do me when the points are so much harder to earn?

Show me how to earn multiple 100,000’s of Bilt points per year and I’ll sing a different tune.


Greg – I just listened to the Deal of the Year pod. I am curious what your personal Bilt points totals were for the year if you’re OK sharing with your readers. Do you do any MS or other off-the-radar maneuvering to accrue more points? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the transfer partners (specifically Hyatt and AA) but these earn rates (despite Nick’s thorough explanation in a previous post) still do not get me excited.

My other question, did Bilt invite/subsidize any of you your FM team’s travel this year in any way (meals, events, hotels, etc)? I know that Richard Kerr, a fellow industry person is involved, but I’m struggling with this hype.

For the record, please do not interpret my curiosity as “snark” or negativity. You guys are the most ethical and detailed guys in this game and I’ve been a long time reader and now occasional pod listener and I appreciate greatly what you guys do and will continue to be a fan.

Greg The Frequent Miler

1) I had around 130K points before transferring most to Air France on Monday (I transferred 118K Bilt points and received 295K Flying Blue miles). When I signed up I was targeted for the 5x for 5 days offer and I maxed that out so I had over 50K points from that (I don’t remember the exact amount — maybe something like 62K?). Then I hit it pretty hard each Rent Day, especially at restaurants to earn 6x, but also earning 2x on stuff that normally wouldn’t be bonused.

Bilt invited Nick and I to an annual meeting, this time in Georgia. They paid for our travel, hotel, and meals. We accept things like this only when we think there’s a high potential for it to benefit the Frequent Miler audience in some way. With these Bilt meetings there are two ways that it helps: 1) Bilt leadership wants our input and takes our input seriously. This means that we can (and have) helped influence decisions that can benefit Bilt members (an example is us suggesting certain transfer partners); 2) We can learn valuable things that we couldn’t learn any other way. For example, in the latest meeting we had the opportunity to meet with the person who handles point transfers not just for Bilt, but for almost all transferable points programs and we learned valuable details that may help us with future coverage about transfer bonuses or other point-transfer deals; 3) Networking at these meetings can be valuable because we meet people that we can get information from in the future when needed (such as the person for example).

Whenever we are invited to something like this, our team discusses it to decide whether we think there’s real potential value. If not, we decline the invite. For example, we recently had invites from both Hilton and Hyatt. With the Hilton invite, it sounded like they just wanted to market stuff to us, so we declined. With Hyatt, we expected to learn about upcoming initiatives that were relevant (and indeed, we were given a preview of the 2024 elite program changes which we’ve reported on) and we were told we would meet the Hyatt people who are actually in charge of the World of Hyatt program. I alone on the team went to this meeting in Chicago and believe that the benefits of getting info in advance and getting to meet the World of Hyatt leadership made the trip well worth my time.

We understand that companies that put on these meetings do so because they want to influence us positively but I don’t believe that has changed our coverage in any way. I strongly believe that I’d feel the same about the Bilt and Hyatt programs regardless of whether I attended these meetings or not. And in the case of the Bilt elite program changes, Tim wrote our post without any input from Nick or I. I mention that because Tim hasn’t gone to or been invited to any Bilt meetings. And none of us have accepted anything from Bilt outside of the meetings themselves that Nick and I have attended.

The funny thing about the fact that some commenters have accused Nick, Tim or Stephen of being paid off by Bilt is that the only financial relationship we have with Bilt is an affiliate relationship through credit card links just like we have with many other card issuers. And for all of these affiliates, I’m the ONLY one on the team that has visibility into how much we’re earning. I’m the only one who directly benefits. And I hardly ever ever ever look at the numbers. But when I do look at the numbers, Bilt is insignificant. If I were personally biased by the amount of money we get from credit cards (but I’m not), Bilt would be at the bottom of the list of influencers.

Finally, thanks for asking about this! I appreciate you asking questions first rather than starting with accusations of bias. I totally understand where these questions come from, but at the same time I truly believe that Bilt Rewards is an excellent program. With double earnings every rent day, best in class transfer partners, and regular incredible transfer bonuses, there’s sooo much to like. I get it that some readers/listeners see this differently. That’s cool! We’re not going to agree on everything. It’s true that there’s no welcome bonus, so Bilt is useless for card churners. And it’s true that many can do even better with spend by earning 5x at office supply stores with Chase Ink Cash cards. So I get not being interested in Bilt. But for me, and I believe for MANY followers, the Bilt program is a great addition to my portfolio.

Dave Hanson

First, +1 for transparency here, Greg. I find it helpful to get some context on both your specific relationship with Bilt, and your process for deciding what industry confabs you and the FM team partake in.

I do wonder what you and the team make of how polarizing Bilt is, compared with literally every other rewards program you’ve ever covered? Do you think it is all sour grapes by (at least) a large minority of your readership? FWIW, if I were in your position, the breadth and intensity of this reaction would at least give me pause.

I think we all can agree that Bilt is unique in the points and miles space; a very odd duck indeed. Here are just a few ways that’s true:

  • It’s the first product to be directed by a longtime gamer, Richard Kerr in this case. For better and for worse, he knows many of the tricks of the trade. And regardless of what his team has actually done, he’s certainly better positioned than most to dole out catnip to influencers while shutting down unprofitable customers who are not influencers.
  • It’s the only product to massively advantage one lifestyle (renting) over others. It’s an interesting choice, and likely a clever one. I think their thinking that they’ll gain users at an earlier stage in life, and voluminous research shows that financial institutions are generally “sticky”, such that once people become accustomed to a financial relationship, they generally are unlikely to switch.
  • It’s the least predictable of the programs. Some see this as a fun feature–an understandable view. Others find it annoying. I think many of us who try to implement intricate, optimized models and plans for their financial and travel activities–be that spending, churning, or gaming–don’t tend to care for that. I fall in that latter camp.
  • Risk of adverse action seems high for high-volume, low-influence users. There are many reports of sudden shutdowns of unprofitable customers. Even so, I would be quite surprised if, for example, Bilt shut a respected influencer like you down in a manner similar to how Capital One treated you. Richard understands that a visible shutdown like you, Gary at VFTW (who also frequently praises Bilt), and others in the space would bring bad press to the brand at the time when they are very interested in growth. So there seems a gap between how Bilt treats points and miles royalty vs. how they treat everyone else. To be clear, this is in no way the fault of influencers like yourself or Gary. It’s just the reality of the situation.

I don’t have Bilt. I’ll probably recommend that my daughter get it once she rents, just because the value proposition for renters–especially without other large expenses–is hard to dispute.

But I do wish Bilt didn’t consume so much oxygen in the points and miles space. FWIW.

Greg The Frequent Miler

It’s good to get another’s perspective.

I do wonder what you and the team make of how polarizing Bilt is”
I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but I find it bewildering. I get the impression that some commenters strongly dislike Richard Kerr (VP Travel at Bilt), but I don’t have any context as to why. Nor do I understand why a dislike for him has translated to the assumption that any kind words from the FM team for the Bilt program are necessarily paid for by Kerr himself. If Amex, Chase, Citi, or anyone else had rolled out a rewards program as it exists today with Bilt, I think everyone would be excited about it.

Some people point out that you can’t earn big signup bonuses with Bilt and argue that we therefore shouldn’t praise the program, and therefore must be shilling for Bilt when we do say good things. But where were those arguments when we raved about the Citi Double Cash when it changed from cash back to Thank You points?

To your points about ways in which Bilt is unique:

  • Kerr is “certainly better positioned than most to dole out catnip to influencers while shutting down unprofitable customers who are not influencers.” I can’t argue with that, but ironically, I see it much more as a positive that he (and some others on the Bilt team) know the rewards world so well. They’ve been able to design a program that is both profitable (so it can keep going) and highly appeals to most of us thanks to the great transfer partners, great transfer bonuses, and double point earnings each rent day.
  • About appealing to renters: all true
  • Least predictable: Can you say more about that? Seems to me that the Rent Day double points is completely predictable and the idea of having a huge transfer bonus once every 3 months or so also seems predictable. With other programs spend bonuses and transfer bonuses seem to come out of the blue at random times.
  • “There are many reports of sudden shutdowns of unprofitable customers”. I don’t frequent any forums outside of the FM world and haven’t heard that. I do know one person who was shut down but he was definitely heavily gaming the system. I think its good for programs to police gaming so that they can afford to provide a good program to normal users, but I far prefer when they do so by cutting off gaming avenues rather than shutting down users. For example, I don’t like that Amex claws back or doesn’t award points for certain types of gift card purchases, but that’s much better than shutdowns. Similarly, I like that Bilt doesn’t award points for Curve purchases rather than shutting down people who abuse it (but I DON’T like that they cut that off without warning users in advance!)

I love the blog and have for years. However, I believe that y’all are objectively soft as hell on Bilt. If any other program doubled elite requirements y’all would be TEARING them up, I’m talking back alley no l#be type thing. On Bilt there’s little scathing and instead y’all are frothing over these supposed “milestone rewards” at 25k point increments. Like come onnnn guys. Also, if the milestone rewards are at 25k point increments wouldn’t you not get the milestone rewards if you qualified for platinum at 50k spend? Or rather you’d get 2 of them(50/25=2) compared to 8 of them(200/25=8). This is all before we get into that these changes are coming out with only a few weeks notice. Additionally, this is the third MAJOR overhaul to the program in it’s short existence and 2nd in 2 years(maybe 2.5, I don’t follow bilt that much). The rapid changes and fly by night nature of their operation are not reassuring of the firm’s long term prospects. However, everyone should get while the getting is good or as Nick says “strike while the iron is hot” and wring these Bilt c#nts and their VC money for every last cent they have. Happy new year. I love the blog and wish y’all nothing but the best. Just try to be a bit more objective on Bilt(and Air Canada).

Last edited 3 months ago by Scott

So, a person ONLY gets a 1.75x transfer rate on the Rent Day Bonus Baby. Whah, whah, whah.

Greg The Frequent Miler

I can’t speak for the others on the team, but the reason I haven’t complained much about Bilt doubling their elite requirements is that before mid-2023 the Bilt elite program was irrelevant to me. I usually didn’t even remember that they had an elite program. It didn’t offer any special perks worth striving for. That changed recently when Bilt started offering much better Rent Day transfer bonuses for top elites. To me, it’s more like they’re releasing a brand new program in 2024 (vs. doubling requirements on the old one) and the Rent Day specials were like a preview of what’s to come. Additionally, it just happens that my plans for earning top tier status haven’t changed. Before the announcement I was going to spend $50K at 2x to get Platinum status. After the announcement, I plan to spend $50K at 2x to get Platinum status.


The best deal of the year hands down is the Capital One settlement check for over $700+ per customer!


You should do a poll and let readers rank the worst domestic carriers and the worst frequent flier programs. My vote goes to Alaska and Alaska.


Note – back on Dec 10 (it is now Dec 20), both my partner and I had several friends each make a qualifying purchase via our (individual and targeted) Capital One Shopping link. None of them had ever signed up for C1S before. The friends made different types of purchases (not food). None of us (me, partner, or friends) have gotten the $200 for any of them. (We have gotten smaller referrals in the past (not at our annual limit) so we know that it has worked previously.)


I agree with Greg… a transcript of your podcast would be an awesome addition!


You don’t need to be a renter to use the Bilt monthly payment. I use it for my co-op maintenance fee. It also works for HOA fees. This is not a hack but official Bilt policy (I emailed them to confirm before I set it up), yet it is rarely ever mentioned.


I feel this fact is mentioned in most every write-up I’ve seen about Bilt. Unfortunately, I’m a home owner with no co-op or HOA fee (actually, I guess that makes me fortunate, not unfortunate). Just every-three-year insurance renewals, property tax, and utilities.


I know it helps your profile with youtube videos to have peoplelook at it for an hour, but can you add a transcript to it somewhere so we can read it?
when I have time it is great to llisten to you guys as I drive on the podcast, but often it gets interrupted by traffic and other stuff.
A transcript of your show would be great
Happy New Year


So, the deal of 2023 is only slightly worse than a similar deal offer on 1/1/24?