Key Link: [Offer Expired]
- 75,000 Membership Rewards Point Signup Bonus after $10,000 Spend Within Four Months
For one week only American Express is offering what matches their biggest ever signup bonus on the Business Gold Rewards card. It’s been a big deal a few times in the past with one-day (and occasionally two-day) popup offers. 75,000 Membership Rewards points in one shot.
There’s a hefty minimum spend requirement of $10,000 although you have four months to meet it and there are plenty of ways these days to generate spend (Amazon Payments, Kiva, gift cards, etc) that it’s entirely doable for many, much more so than it used to be.
This offer runs only January 22nd through January 28th in fact my understanding is that it will be pulled January 28 in the morning.
• LIMITED TIME OFFER: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $10,000 in the first 4 months of Card membership.
• 3X points on airfare
• 2x points on purchases in the U.S. for advertising in select media, gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, and shipping
• 1X points on other purchases
• Points are earned only on eligible purchases. Bonus points limitations apply.
• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
• Introductory annual fee for Additional Gold Cards in the first year is $0; then, $50 for the first Additional Gold Card and no fee for other Additional Cards
• Terms & Restrictions Apply. Offer expires January 28th, 2013.
This is a pretty strong offer, Membership Rewards points are my third favorite currency behind Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. This is a good card for the first year with the $0 annual fee, but whether it makes sense to keep after that first year likely depends on how much advertising, gas, and shipping spend you do since those are fairly unique bonused categories.
Note that if you don’t keep the card past the first year you will want to either transfer your points out before closing the card, or have another Membership Rewards-earning card in order to keep those points active.
The Value of American Express Membership Rewards Points
Points that transfer to airline miles in a variety of frequent flyer programs are especially valuable. That way you have the points you need when you need them in the program that has the available seats for the award you want.
And while I say I like Membership Rewards ‘third best’ they do have more airline partners than Chase Ultimate Rewards, and points transfer much faster than Starwood’s. The downside is most partners add fuel surcharges onto awards where those fees are part of paid tickets.
Points transfer instantly to Aeroplan, which you can use to redeem for Star Alliance awards. And there are several partners where they still don’t add fuel surcharges, but more for which they do.
I like British Airways best among their partners for oneworld award tickets, the program is really good for short-haul non-stop and much less good for long haul flying, and there are very frequent transfer bonuses in the recent past for moving points from Membership Rewards to BA’s Avios program.
Both Delta and Flying Blue are transfer partners of Membership Rewards as well and transfer instantly for Skyteam award redemptions. Delta doesn’t add fuel surcharges most of the time, and while Air France’s Flying Blue does they offer one-way awards and availability on actual Air France flights that’s quite amazingly good.
Earlier in the month I noted the strategic value in the Alitalia program — a favorable award chart to many destinations, and crucially the ability to spend double miles to get the award seat you want when you want it. I hate redeeming double mileage awards, but many non-US programs do not even offer the option (and some like Delta can charge triple or more to buy out of capacity controls). So if you’re earning Membership Rewards at a rapid rate, and insist on redeeming for non-stop transatlantics on your preferred date, this is a valuable option.
I personally really value the Singapore transfer option. It’s nearly impossible to get premium cabin awards on Singapore Airlines if you have miles with one of their partners. But getting business and first class awards — now even in Suites Class on their Airbus A380 though usually just one seat at a time — is possible using Krisflyer miles.
As I detailed earlier in the month, using American Express Membership Rewards points there is Singapore Airlines first class award space almost all the time for two passengers, even. 75,000 Amex points is enough for San Francisco – Hong Kong or San Francisco – Seoul one-way in first class or all the way to Singapore (or beyond, say to Bali) in business class.
And transferring miles into Singapore’s program from American Express when you need them is ideal, rather than just accumulating miles in the Singapore Airlines Krisflyer program, because Singapore’s miles expire 3 years after they’re earned.
That $10,000 Spending Requirement
It’s a big, scary number but I’m always amazed that people don’t realize how much they’re already spending on credit cards. If you want your 75,000 points many readers can just make this their primary spend card during the period of time they have to meet the spend requirement for the bonus.
And it’s four months — not the traditional three months — that you have to spend the money, or $2500 per month.
It’s fairly easy to augment usual spending. There’s Amazon Payments that lets you send up to $1000 per month on a credit card with no fee, send it to a spouse, family member, or trusted friend. Get that spouse or family member a second card on your Business Gold Rewards account, they can do $1000 per month on it with Amazon payments and help you meet the minimum spend requirement. There’s gift cards, Kiva, and all of the other techniques like free after rebate purchases at Staples. So if you want the points, you can probably meet the spend threshold.
On the other hand, if this is a real stretch then you might consider the 40,000 Chase point signup bonus that you’ll get for the Sapphire Preferred card after $3000 spend within 3 months, or on the business card side the 50,000 Chase points from the Ink Bold and Ink Plus, each after $5000 spend within 3 months.
Should You Get a Small Business Card?
I happen to have a small business, I book frequent flyer award tickets. But I only started doing that in 2009, and have been applying for small business credit cards for more than a decade. That’s because there are only but so many personal cards with signup bonuses big enough to interest me, small business cards are a whole different set of cards to get approved for.
Business cards are also helpful because while some issuers won’t approve more than one card at a time (unless, as with Citi and Amex, they might approve more than one that are applied for simultaneously using different web browsers), they’ll often approve both a personal and a business card at once.
Before I had my award booking business I would use my social security number as my tax ID (‘sole proprietorship’).
What’s your business? Do you do any consulting? Do you sell items on eBay? Do you blog? Freelance writing? Own rental property? Or, are you looking to start a business and want to keep the expenses for that potential business separate as you set it up? It’s equally reasonable to get a business card as one of the first steps in planning to start a business as to get one once that business is up and running.
Answer questions on the application truthfully. If you don’t have any business income, then list zero. That’s fine, you should be able to get approved on the basis of your personal (non-business) income. And if you’re not approved automatically, you can still explain that you haven’t earned income from the business yet, you’re just now setting it up.
Also worth noting is that a business card won’t show up on your credit report. They’ll pull your personal credit when they are deciding whether or not to approve you for the card, but after that the card doesn’t get listed. That’s useful because one of the major components of your credit score is your utilization ratio. That’s not about whether you pay off your cards each month, that’s about how much of your available credit you are using at a given time. When spending that goes on this card isn’t included in your overall utilization of credit, that can boost your score.
So is the card ‘worth it’? The card is absolutely worthwhile the first year when you get a signup bonus of 75,000 Membership Rewards points, provided you’re willing to put the minimum spend required on the card within 4 months to get the bonus. And you have the luxury of earning 3 points per dollar on airfare and 2 points on gas, shipping, and advertising.
Do know that if you get the cards using the links in this post that I’ll receive referral credit, which I greatly appreciate. The links provide the best available current offers I’m aware of. And 75,000 points for the Business Gold Rewards card is both the biggest offer I’ve seen for the card, and a bigger off than when I signed up (I got the card when the offer was 50,000).