My Recent Credit Card Applications/Updates
I’ve been busy writing about Japan, but wanted to mention a few things I’ve done recently to earn points. Back in December, I was beginning to finalize the plan for the Australia trip this year. Up until the last minute we were debating about using the points to fly Thai first class. But it turned out I was a little short of the necessary points to fly first class instead of business.
So I had an unscheduled application for the Chase Freedom, as for a limited time it was offering 20,000 Ultimate Rewards as the sign up bonus after spending $500 in three months. Since I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred I can transfer those points to travel partners (such as United – for the Thai Airways flight we were considering). The Chase Freedom card has no annual fee, and rotating 5x points categories. This quarter, it is 5x at gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks.
While I was in the process of applying for that one I figured it was time to go for the Barclay Arrival Mastercard. I had read a lot about the Barclay Arrival, but was more interested in the U.S. Airways card through Barclay’s at the time. But since I wasn’t going for anything else at the moment I decided it was time. The Barclay Arrival card offers 2 miles per dollar spent, and a 40,000 mile signup bonus after spending $1000 in three months – with the $89 annual fee waived for the first year. You can redeem the miles for statement credits towards travel. For travel expense redemptions, you also get 10% of your miles back. I plan to use some of the signup bonus on this card to cover my positioning flight since my trip to Iceland left from New York.
The Barclay Arrival card also has no foreign exchange fees, so I met the minimum spend while on my Iceland trip. Once I met the spend for both, I decided to also look into my Hilton HHonors American Express card. There are many Hilton hotel options in Australia/New Zealand, but not a ton of other chains in New Zealand. I had opened the no-fee Hilton Amex over a year ago, and was therefore eligible to upgrade it to the American Express Hilton HHonors Surpass. When you upgrade, you can keep the same account number and there is no credit inquiry. My upgrade offer was for 50,000 HHonors points. If I had applied new I would have gotten more points. The standard offer is 60,000 – possibly 75,000, but at the expense of a credit inquiry. The Surpass card also gives Hilton Gold status with an annual fee of $75 not waived the first year. Going forward I will have to decide whether to keep that or the Citibank Hilton Reserve open.
Citibank recently came out with a 100,000 mile American Airlines card offer with a high annual fee – but that offers lounge access. I believe that and the Chase IHG card are next on the list – but I will update later once I’ve decided.