Hey, my Noobs! I hope all is well. Here is a quick hit for this weekend. Enjoy!
Alaska Airlines has upped their sign-up bonus to 40,000 miles. I blogged recently about applying for the Alaska card during my last app party, and how the $99 Companion Certificate is no longer good for first class. But even though the $99 certificate isn’t good for first class travel, you can still use it for full fare coach tickets.
The new sign-up bonus for the Alaska Airlines card is 25,000 on first spend and 15,000 when you spend $7,500 in 6 months. Personally, I’m not interested in running $7,500 through an Alaska Airlines card, but some people may like that thought.
Now, this card can be “churned.” That means you can apply for it numerous times (sometimes people don’t even close their current card). But, YYMV. I like this, because it gives me options when doing an app party. And because it’s a Bank of America card, I’m more likely to throw it into the mix. However, my next BOA card is going to be the Virgin Atlantic.
Here’s the link for the Alaska Airlines Card. [I don't receive a referral credit for the Alaska card.]
— Noob MasterRead More
WTH, Alaska Airlines?
- I needed to see what credit agency BOA pulled in my area (creditboards was letting me down)
- Diversify- I’m all about diversifying my miles and points (I already have the hero cards: Sapphire P., Ink Bold, United, SPG, SW, US Airways, Hyatt, etc…)
- It’s churn material- you can apply and receive the sign up bonus multiple times
- Alaska Airlines annual $99 Companion Pass
Alaska Airlines Companion Pass
This was really the biggest reason I applied for the Alaska Airlines branded card. The thing that made the Alaska Airlines $99 companion pass so compelling was… it was a true companion pass with no restrictions. As long as you were flying Alaska metal, you were good. And the companion pass was valid for any full fare ticket! Yes, even first class. Also, there wasn’t any spend to meet to receive the annual pass (ala British Airways). You would receive a code in your online account a couple of weeks after being approved.
Now, I haven’t had to pay for a flight in a long long time, but I know that day is coming quickly. I’m traveling more (because of miles and points) and I have been burning through some serious mileage coin. Trips in first class will do that, but that’s where the insane value is. I have also taken numerous domestic trips in the last couple years, all on my miles and points.
I’m addicted to travel. There could be worse things I suppose, but if I’m going to be paying for a ticket, I’m looking for some incredible value to stretch my hard earned money. That’s where the $99 companion pass comes in. It was a true companion pass ticket on any full fare tickets w/ no restrictions. I think I said that up above. Anyway, I was planning on using my companion pass ticket for a future first class ticket to Hawaii. You can often find first class tickets to Hawaii for around $1,000 (that’s a lotta coin), but I could bring the wife along for only $99 more ($110 w/ taxes). So that’s a little over $500 each for 2 first class tickets to Hawaii. This isn’t for everyone, but there is good value there. Half price first class tickets to Hawaii don’t suck.
Of course you could use it for a coach ticket too.
No More First Class
Last Thursday, I received a letter in the mail (would’ve written this post then, but I’ve been recovering from getting my wisdom teeth extracted) from Alaska Airlines letting me know that after Aug. 12, companion passes aren’t eligible for first class tickets. WTH? That’s a huge reason I signed up for the card.
As I continued to scroll down the page, I realized “if you have a companion pass code in your account, it will be eligible for First Class until it’s expiration date”. I breathed a sigh of relief, but still- the Alaska Airlines card just got a lot less sexy. Think Britney when she shaved her head.
No More 1,000 Miles Bonus
Also going away is the 1,000 mile bonus you used to get for booking online with your Alaska card. This is another major blow. People were abusing this bonus though, because they would book fights and cancel them and still receive the 1,000 bonus.
No More Noob Love
This was a border line rewards card for me anyway. I do like the churnability of it, but I will have a hard time recommending it to anyone now. (Unless you are based in Seattle or if Alaska Airlines is your go-to airline.)
I wish Alaska Airlines would have just corrected the loop-hole concerning the booking bonus of 1,000 miles instead of taking it away altogether.
Be warned: The Alaska Airlines Visa is a lot less sexy now. But you can still use the companion pass for an economy ticket and save $$$.
— Noob MasterRead More
I’m elated (yes, elated) that I was a perfect 100% on my apps. This is big for me, because I finally got the card I could never get…the Citi AAdvantage Business card. Even though I have a business with an EIN and was even approved 90 days ago, I was still denied the card. Yeah, it’s a long story, but the short story is I’m winning.
The other limit I pushed was with Chase and personal cards. I signed up for two Chase personal cards on the same day (ooooohhhhh) and was approved for both via the reconsideration call…on the same day, one call each. I already held 4 Chase cards and didn’t have to close any of them.
Here are the full details on my latest App Party…
United MileagePlus Explorer
This card was perfect for me, because I already hold in my fat wallet the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold. Both of those cards can transfer their points into United, which is huge and allows me to really maximize my sign-up bonuses on three cards. It’s rare that you can get so many cards working together (just wait until I add the Freedom).
I use my Sapphire Preferred and Bold as my daily cards, so essentially I’m earning United MileagePlus miles everyday in bunches. When I’m ready to redeem my points for an international flight, I will be transferring them into United and flying a Star Alliance airline overseas. Star Alliance is a network of 25 airlines worldwide. If you have miles in one program, you can fly any airline in the network. The only question is, will I be flying first class or business? Decisions.
Bank of American Alaska Visa – 25,000 and free $99 companion certificate
Now this is a strange one. I’m still a little shocked that I applied for this one, but I did it as research. I wanted to see what credit report Bank of America pulled in my area and I was intrigued by the $99 companion pass certificate. I have started flying more and more and while I haven’t paid for a flight yet, I know that day is coming. Especially if I keep going to miles/points and travel conferences. I have been hearing for a couple years now that you can fly to Hawaii in first class for cheaper than 2 coach tickets with this companion pass, so that’s my plan. I’ll keep saving my miles for international travel.
I’m not really suggesting this card for everyone or anyone- just letting you know I applied for it, got it, and how I will use it. Oh yeah, biggie…It’s churn able (meaning you apply for it- meet the spend- collect the bonus- cancel, and do it all over again). I will be applying for it on a yearly basis. It’s a long term play for this Noob.
Citi AA Business Card – 50,000 AAdvantage miles
Yes, Yes, and Yes! I finally got the Citi AA business card. Why am I so excited? If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that the only card I have ever been denied for is the Citi AA Business card. And I wasn’t even applying as a sole proprietor. The crazy part is that I was even approved last time after I hand wrote a letter to their executive office, but then they told me the deal had expired! I had applied before the expiration date, so it was ludacris.
But when I applied this time, I applied first for this card, because Citi loves the “too many recent inquiries” reason to deny you. I wasn’t taking my chances this time. I filled it out and crossed my fingers. I wasn’t instantly approved but I knew I had been accepted because they let me move to step 4 and 5 of the application process (that is to set up an online account sign-in and password, and settings).
Still, I wasn’t getting my hopes up based on past experiences. I decided to call the reconsideration number and see what the application status was. I have had some terrible calls with Citi reps, as they aren’t empowered to make any decisions or don’t have any desire to. Things where different when I called in this time. I was greeted by a friendly english speaking rep who was bright and willing to help. I think I got lucky and received an upper manager. She also had a dry sense of humor, which I loved. So the banter was good, but that means nothing if she couldn’t approve me. Yeah, I’m needy.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to approve me on the first go around. I don’t have a traditional brick and mortar LLC, so I was able to incorporate in the state of Delaware, where the fees are much lower. I was able to save over $300 by doing this, even though the business address is my home address in Texas. The rep was having a hard time locating my business because of this (just like all the other Citi reps, Chase never has.. just saying). Once I explained to her the whole incorporating in Delaware bit, she was all over it. The other Citi reps couldn’t figure it out, but she was able to in 5 minutes.
When she said that I had been approved for the card, I about freaked. I played it cool though. It’s a great day.
Hyatt Visa – 2 free award night certificates (suites for me)
Since I was able to parlay my Platinum status into a 90 Diamond trial with Hyatt, I had no choice but to apply for the Hyatt card. The two free award nights are suites if you apply while you are a diamond member. I will be getting these two award nights on first spend and will receive an additional award night certificate annually for a category 1-4 property.
I love Hyatts and had a great time at the Hyatt in Napa last weekend. Since I frequent Hyatt properties, it made too much sense for me to get the Visa.
I was aggressive by going after two Chase personals on the same day. I applied for the United Explorer in the morning and called the reconsideration on my lunch break and got it approved. I then applied for the Hyatt Visa and called the reconsideration line on my way home from work and got it approved. Boom, I’m living large. Now I have 6 Chase cards and love each and every one of them in different ways. I also have a Chase checking account and my mortgage is with Chase. We have a good relationship.
APPLY: Hyatt Credit Card
This was a fun app party for me. I was able to get two Chase personal cards and the elusive Citi AA Business card. I now know that Bank of America pulls Experian in my area. Boo. That’s what Chase and Citi pull as well.
I’m really excited about using my United miles for an upcoming Euro trip and my Hyatt award night in Paris or some other nice Euro city. My new AAdvantage miles will be stocked away until I can add more to them. 90 days anyone?
I hope this will add value to the next time you apply for rewards cards. Always make sure your credit is in good condition before doing any apps and don’t hesitate to run any questions by me. I’m always just an email away.
— Noob MasterRead More