- Wyndham Rewards Visa has been revamped. The no-fee version offers 3x points on Wyndham, 2x on gas, utility, grocery stores, 1x everywhere else, and automatic Gold status. The $75 version offers 5x points on Wyndham, 2x on gas, utility, grocery stores, 1x everywhere else, 6,000 annual bonus points, and automatic Platinum status. Compared to the old Wyndham Visa, the new cards reduce points earning on general spending from 2x to 1x, but add automatic elite status as well as waived foreign transaction fees. As we value Wyndham points at around 1 cent per point, the old cards offer great rewards for general spending and thus rated #6 Best Card for Rewards. We had concern about uncertainty in the rewards program before and it is very sad to see Wyndham/Barclays simply decides to slash the rewards for general spending in half. Now the new cards won't make it to Top 10. Even though the new perks such elite status may attractive some customers, we won't recommend the new cards for general spending at all. It is interesting that you may still sign up the old cards through the old landing page. We think the existing cardholders have to be grandfathered in for 2x points on general spending, but we have no info at this point and probably won't know how long it will last even if it is indeed the case.
- JetBlue's frequent flyer program TrueBlue has been added as a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou. You can now transfer ThankYou points to TrueBlue points at a 1.25:1 rate, if you have either ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige. TrueBlue points are mostly fixed at value of 1.4 cents per point, so if you use this option, the value of ThankYou points will be 1.12 cents per point - not a very good way of using ThankYou points. A better way would be using ThankYou to book a revenue JetBlue flight through Citi at fixed value of 1.33 cents per point, instead of transferring the points to JetBlue and then booking an award ticket. Our value for ThankYou points is 1.4 for ThankYou Premier considering other valuable transfer partners, and 1.6 for Citi Prestige considering the fixed value for booking an American Airlines flight through Citi.
- JP Morgan Ritz-Carlton Visa Infinite offers $100 companion discount per trip for 2-5 domestic round-trip coach class tickets on your reservation. Even though the terms say that primary cardholder must be one of the ticketed passengers, there are reports confirming that authorized users also enjoy this benefit for free. This may potentially increase the value of this card quite a bit.
- Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) offer reciprocal earnings on their credit cards. Chase Marriott Visa and JPM Ritz-Carlton Visa will start earning 5x points on SPG hotels; while Amex SPG will start earning 2x points on Marriott/Ritz-Carlton hotels. The two loyalty programs will eventually merge in 2018, but before that customers can take advantage of the best of both programs. Details about the future of these credit cards still remain uncertain. We suspect that Marriott or Ritz-Carlton cards probably won't change much, while Amex SPG will probably convert to a Chase product at some point in 2018.
In addition, you may find the following news interesting.
- Amex offers 2x points for select small business purchases through 12/31/16. That is an additional 1x points you can earn through this "Shop Small" promotion. You have to enroll your Amex at https://www.americanexpress.com/us/content/shop-small-offer/ to take advantage of this promotion. They also have a useful search tool for you to find the participating small businesses in your area. The following cards are eligible: Membership Rewards cards (such as Amex Platinum, Amex Premier Rewards Gold, Amex EveryDay Preferred), Delta SkyMiles cards, SPG cards, Blue Sky cards, Blue Cash cards, Hilton HHonors cards, Plenti Card, and Schwab Investor Card.
- Per Bloomberg, Chase will introduce a new business card product called "Ink Preferred", which features a 80K points signup bonus, a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year), 3x points for the first $150K spent on travel, telecommunications, shipping and advertising on social-media and search engines, and 1x points on other purchases. Chase already has a $95 business card Ink Plus, which offers 5x points on office supplies, wireless services, landline communications and cable services (up to $50K spent annually), 2x on gas and lodging (up to $50K spent), and 1x on other purchases. At this point, we don't know whether Ink Plus will continue to be offered alongside with Ink Preferred or be converted to the new card in the future.
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