Saturday, November 25, 2017

Amex Delta Reserve Business (and Personal) Card - 40k SkyMiles + 10k MQM Sign-up Bonus

American Express is offering a 40,000 Delta SkyMile plus 10,000 MQMs for the Amex Delta Reserve personal or business credit card.  Requires $3,000 spend within first 3 months.

Card also provides free Delta SkyClub access for cardholder when traveling on same-day Delta flight and 

Although this offer has been around a few months, it is the first time so many SkyMiles  are included in the sign-up bonus for the Reserve cards.  Typically the bonus has been 10k SkyMiles, or as low as 5k SkyMiles, plus the 10k Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs, aka elite status qualifying miles).

Below is my referral URL for the Business version of the Amex Delta Reserve Card.

http://refer.amex.us/JASONWHjUT

If you apply, I'd appreciate you using my referral link as I'll earn some free SkyMiles.  The offer via referral is the same as the publicly available offer, so you don't lose anything by using the link.

The business version of the card is great because most business credit cards do NOT hit your personal credit report or affect your credit inquiries or credit score.  Anyone can apply for a business credit card; you do NOT need an incorporated business or a company Tax ID number to be approved for a business credit card.  All you need is a legitimate small business or side business with a history of decent amount of revenue and a good amount of expected expenses.

Annual fee on this card is $450, which is steep, but still cheaper than buying a Sky Club membership separately.  Delta Diamond members can choose free individual Sky Club membership (costs one of the member's three Choice Benefits) or an executive Sky Club membership (costs two Choice Benefits).  Diamond elites who have complimentary Sky Club access via credit card such as the Reserve personal or business card, also can choose a Delta Sky Club Guest Pass.  This costs one Choice Benefit and allows two guests to join the member in the Sky Club free.  This is a smarter way to go; pay $450 annual fee for the card, and in exchange you free up an additional Choice Benefit instead of using TWO Choice Benefits for the Executive Membership.

Personally, I'd rather choose the 4 global or 8 regional upgrade certificates, or gift Gold status to another person (or use all 3 Choice benefits to gift Gold status to 3 people), and pay for the Sky Club via the Reserve card annual fee instead rather than waste a Diamond Choice Benefit on Sky Club membership.

Basics

  • Earn 40,000 Delta SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs after $3,000 spend within first 3 months of card membership
  • Must apply via referral link by April 24, 2019 to be eligible for sign-up bonus
  • Earn 1 SkyMile per dollar on all purchases.  Earn 2x per dollar on Delta spending (in-flight purchases, airfare, etc)
  • Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product before
  • $450 annual fee

How Good is This Deal?

  • Very good...
  • 40k SkyMiles can be used for:
    • Award flights (get $500-700 value depending on what/when you book); OR
    • Revenue flights - cardholders receive the ability to use miles at 1 cent per mile toward paid/revenue flights - Delta calls this feature "Pay With Miles."  Bonus miles are worth $400 toward paid Delta travel - this basically offsets the annual fee in first year
  • SkyClub individual membership alone is well worth the annual fee for the card.  Discounted rate for up to 2 guests per visit
  • Earn up to 30k additional MQMs per year - Earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus SkyMiles after $30,000 spend on the card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 15,000 MQMs and an additional 15,000 bonus SkyMiles after $60,000 spend on the card in a calendar year.  So it is possible to earn 40k MQMs in the first year holding this card.
    • If you spend right around $30k or $60k per year on the card, you will earn right around 1.5 SkyMiles per dollar
    • MQMs with Delta are valuable particularly because any earned beyond a status level MQMs roll over to the following year
  • Companion Certificate - main cabin or first class companion certificate each year on card renewal
  • Cardmembership is one of the factors in determining the upgrade list on each flight, so holding this card slightly improves one's chances of first class upgrade on domestic flights.  Specifically, the Reserve card is the upgrade tiebreaker when two passengers have same Medallion status and booked in same fare class.

Other Card Benefits

    • 24/7 Concierge
    • 20% off in-flight Delta purchases paid with the card
    • First checked bag free on every flight
    • Priority boarding (Zone 1) on Delta flights
    • Purchase protection, baggage protection, Global Assist hotline, premium roadside assistance, car rental loss and damage insurance, extended warranty - typical benefit suite for many higher-end credit cards

    Monday, November 20, 2017

    [MOSTLY GONE] Europe on Sale across the U.S. $400+ Round Trip Jan - March 2018

    UPDATE 11/25/2017 most of the cheap fares have disappeared.  However, certain destination cities continus to pop up for early 2018 travel < $500 round trip.  Keep an eye out if you are still looking to book something.  And feel free to ask if you need help!

    The past few days is one of these times when domestic airlines started having mini fare wars on Europe flights.  American and Delta in particular are going back and forth, although United also has gotten involved.  The result is lots of cities available for $400-500 round trip Jan/Feb/March 2018 and also some in May if you look.

    I leave it to you to do your own flight searches at Google Flights or ITA Matrix (matrix.itasoftware.com) -- beware that no flight search engine or aggregator will show ALL the cheap flights; sometimes you'll see things on Matrix that aren't on Google Flights, or vice versa.

    Detroit and Chicago are definitely available for many destination cities.

    Grand Rapids is also available to many destination cities, at similar prices.

    Background Articles:





    If you are more 'adventurous' with booking thru a third party online travel agency (OTA) rather than booking directly with the airline, you can save another $25-50 per person by searching at Momondo and then clicking thru and booking with whichever OTA has the cheapest price on your desired trip.  More info here:  http://www.secretflying.com/posts/sale-usa-europe-434-roundtrip/

    Detroit Flights




    Grand Rapids Flights


    March 3 - 11.  Zurich, Brussels, Munich, Rome, Milan $550 or less RT.  LINK

    Jan 13 - 21.  Paris and Amsterdam $405-450 RT.  LINK

    Feb 18-25.  Barcelona, Madrid, Frankfurt, Milan $417-510 RT.  LINK

    Saturday, November 18, 2017

    Delta Amex Platinum Business Card - 70,000 SkyMiles Sign-up Bonus

    Great offer for anyone interested in earning Delta SkyMiles or Delta elite status.  Public offer has expired; sign-up bonus is available only via referral.


    Apply for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card with this referral link:


    Offer Details
    • Must apply by Jan 31, 2018, using the link above or via a referral email
    • 70,000 Delta SkyMiles when meeting minimum spend
    • 10,000 Delta Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) 
    • Earn the sign-up bonus by spending $4,000 or more within the first 3 months
    • $100 statement credit after Delta purchase on the card in first 3 months
    • $195 annual fee (NOT waived the first year)


    FYI:  This is the BUSINESS version of the card.  
    This means a 
    couple of things:
    • It is a separate product from the PERSONAL Delta Amex Platinum card.  You can get approved for, and earn the bonus on, the business version even if you hold or previously held the personal version.
    • As a business card, this card does not hit one's personal credit report and therefore does not worsen one's situation with regard to Chase's 5/24 rule.


    Good background article on HOW (and why) to apply for a business credit card:


    Card Benefits / Details
    • Earn an additional 10,000 SkyMiles AND 10,000 MQMs by spending $25,000 on the card in a calendar year.  Spend $50,000 and earn an additional 10,000 MQMs (20k MQMs in one calendar year with $50k spend)
    • Priority Boarding (Zone 1) on Delta flights for cardmember and others on same reservation
    • Card benefits - first checked bag free on every Delta flight.
    • Earn 1 SkyMile per dollar spent.  Earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar on Delta purchases
    • 20% off eligible in-flight purchases via statement credit (meals, food, alcoholic beverages, headsets; in-flight wi-fi and charitable donations excluded)
    • Spend $25,000 or more on the card in a calendar year to waive Delta's revenue requirement component of elite status qualification.

    Bottom Line
    Great card, top-notch sign-up bonus.  Highly recommended.
    • This offer usually pops up once or twice a year.  Last time, it required $5k spend; this time only $4k.
    • The usual bonus on this card is about half this good - typically 35k SkyMiles and 5k MQMs.
    • This card is a business card and will not show up on your personal credit report.  Nor will it count toward your Chase 5/24 limit.
    • American Express has both Gold and Platinum Delta co-branded credit cards, each in a business and personal version (four cards total).






    Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Big Europe Fare Sale Jan-May 2018 - $340+ RT from ORD/DTW, even GRR, LAN, & TVC!

    Many U.S. cities are on sale to Europe - including Grand Rapids (GRR), Lansing (LAN), Kalamazoo (AZO), even Traverse City (TVC).

    Do some searches for yourself thru approx May 2018.  Use Google Flights or Kayak or your favorite search engine.  Most of the cheapest flights are available thru March, but some are thru May.

    Background Articles




    Which Cities are On Sale?

    • Cities showing flights available < $500 round trip include:
      • Barcelona (BCN)
      • Madrid (MAD)
      • Rome (FCO)
      • Milan (MXP)
      • Zurich (ZRH)
      • Amsterdam (AMS)
      • Paris (CDG)
      • Helsinki (HEL)
      • Munich (MUC)
      • Frankfurt (FRA)
      • Geneva (GVA)


    Deal Breakdown - $340 Round Trip Chicago to Geneva

    • Chicago to Geneva (GVA) from $340 round trip

    • It is possible to book a routing with a long enough layover in Montreal, Brussels, or other connecting city to get out of the airport and explore the city.
    • If you like the sound of a long layover, you'll probably want to use ITA Matrix for your search, and experiment with the connection times as a way to find these longer connections.
    • Otherwise, Google Flights should work well enough.
    • Once in Geneva, it's easy to get cheap intra-Europe flights if there are other places you'd like to visit.
    • Minimum 7-day stay.
    • More details at The Flight Deal


    Sample Fare Searches on Google Flights



    Don't Forget About Toronto!

    These aren't necessarily 'sale' prices, although they are very CHEAP prices.  Toronto offers a great alternative to Michigan-based travelers since it's only about 5 hours drive from Grand Rapids.  Lots of inexpensive Europe flights are available from Toronto (YYZ).

    Friday, November 10, 2017

    Amex Surpass - 125,000 Hilton HHonors Points Sign-up Bonus

    American Express is offering a 125,000 point bonus for the Amex Surpass personal credit card.  Requires $4,000 spend ($3k within first 3 months, $1k within first 6 months).  This is the highest public bonus offer ever offered on this card and matches the highest bonus offer ever (same 125k bonus was offered previously thru a targeted link).

    Link to Offer (may need to sign in to your current Amex account before filling out the application) 

    Basics

    • Earn 100,000 bonus points after $3,000 spend within first 3 months of card membership
    • Earn 25,000 additional bonus points after additional $1,000 spend within first 6 months
    • Offer ends Jan 17, 2018
    • $95 annual fee ($75 if application received before Jan 18, 2018)
    • Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product before
    • Earn 3x points for all eligible purchases, 6x at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; 12x points at participating Hilton properties
    • Complimentary Hilton Gold status as long as you are a cardholder.
    • Diamond status thru the end of the next calendar after $40,000 spend in a calendar year
    • 10 free Priority Pass lounge passes (lounges available at certain domestic and international airports)  (Doctor of Credit article mentions this benefit, but not stated on Amex application page)

    How Good is This Deal?

    • Good but not great...assuming some spend on restaurants/supermarkets/gas stations and none at Hilton properties, you'll have at least 140,000 points after making the $4k minimum spend and earning the sign-up bonus.  140k points are worth around $560 of hotel stays, but it is possible to get much more value than that.  One could get 5-7 free nights if booking properties at 20-30k points per night.
    • Gold status provides free breakfast for two people per room, which is a great benefit.  Diamond status can provide frequent upgrades on top of the Gold benefits

    250 Delta MQMs + 1 SkyMile per $1 for Every Two-Night Hilton Stay 11/1-12/31/2017

    Earn 250 Delta MQMs + 1 Mile per $1 per 2-Night Hilton Stay 11/1-12/31

    Nice way to earn extra elite qualifying miles with Delta by staying at Hilton properties.  Even if you can't make the next tier of Delta status, Delta rolls over from this year to next year, any MQMs earned above the minimum required for a Medallion status level (Silver, Gold, or Platinum).

    How to Get the Deal

    • Log into your Hilton HHonors account at www.hilton.com > My Account > My Profile > Preferences, select "Points and Miles" earning style, and select Delta Air Lines as your preferred Double Dip® Points & Miles Partner in your Hilton HHonors account profile.
    • Register for the promotion at www.HHonors.com/DELTAMQM
    • Complete a minimum 2‐night stay at a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio from November 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017. Check out must be on or before December 31, 2017If you allow me to send you a sign-up offer via email, I'll earn 5,000 Starpoints after you are approved for the card.  The bonus is the same - 35,000 Starpoints - whether you are referred or can sign up for the offer directly from Amex, so I'd definitely appreciate the chance to refer you!

    What You Get

    • 250 Delta elite status qualifying miles (aka Medallion Qualifying Miles, or MQMs) for each 2+ night stay at qualifying Hilton properties
    • 1 bonus Delta SkyMile per dollar spent on the stay
    • Before registering for the promotion, make sure your Hilton account is set for "Points and Miles" earning style, NOT "Points and Points"
    • Register for the promotion BEFORE checking in for a stay

    Fine Print

    • Before registering for the promotion, make sure your Hilton account is set for "Points and Miles" earning style, NOT "Points and Points"
    • Register for the promotion BEFORE checking in for a stay
    • Checkout must be on or before Dec 31, 2017
    • You can earn this bonus multiple times - once per stay of 2+ nights.  Maximum 7,500 Delta MQMs can be earned via this offer

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    [EXPIRED] Widespread Airfare Sale to Europe - $381+ RT from many US Cities

    SkyTeam (Delta, etc) has matched cheap fares posted yesterday by OneWorld (American, etc) alliance airlines on many routes to Europe from dozens of U.S. cities.

    European cities showing the cheap fares include:
    • Amsterdam (AMS)
    • Milan (MXP)
    • Paris (CDG)
    • Rome (FCO)
    • Venice (VCE)
    • Barcelona (BCN) – about $400
    • Madrid (MAD) – about $400
    • London (LHR) – closer to $500
    • Helsinki (HEL) – mid $400s
    • Manchester ([MAN – closer to $400
    • Edinburgh (EDI)

    The Flight Deal has good info in 2 separate posts HERE and HERE.

    BOOK NOW, THINK LATER!  YOU ALWAYS HAVE 24 HOURS TO CANCEL AIRFARE AND GET A FULL REFUND, WITHOUT PENALTY OR FEE.

    Search Google Flights.  www.google.com/flights

    Many dates are available from now thru the end of the currently published fare schedules in early March 2018, although summer is excluded.

    Numerous cities are available for less than $500 round trip, many around $400 and some as low as $381.