Today, Chase announced a new kind of currency that its Mileage Plus Visa will earn called “Mileage Plus Choices.” These “Choices” will be redeemable for five new kinds of awards. From the Choices FAQ:
- When you fly United, United Express, Ted or Star Alliance on a ticket purchased using your Chase Mileage Plus credit card on united.com, you earn:
- Choices for the purchase
- Mileage Plus Redeemable Miles and Elite Qualifying Miles/Elite Qualifying Segments when you complete the flight.
- You earn a mileage bonus for booking on united.com.
- You can redeem Choices for:
- A statement credit against the purchase of any available seat on any available flight purchased on united.com, as well as any car rental purchased at www.united.com/cars or hotel purchased at www.united.com/hotels with your Mileage Plus credit card – No blackouts.
- Economy Plus Access
- Elite Qualifying Miles/Elite Qualifying Segments
Also, when purchasing free air tickets the amount of “Choices” needed is based on the price of the ticket rather than the traditional set redemption amounts. For example, if you buy a round trip ticket on united.com for $180, you can redeem 18,000 Choices to receive a $180 statement credit. This compares favorably with the 25,000 Miles that you would traditionally have to redeem for an award ticket. If the ticket cost exceeds $250, you could also use 25,000 Choices for a Saver award (assuming availability) but any Redeemable Miles you have in your Mileage Plus account will be used first before Choices are used. As an example, from the FAQ:
- Starting balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable Miles – 55,000
- Book a Saver Award for U.S. domestic travel: 25,000 Redeemable Miles
- Ending balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable Miles – 30,000
- Your Choices balance is not reduced, because Redeemable Miles are applied first and your Redeemable Miles balance still exceeds your Choices balance.
- Starting Balance: Choices – 20,000 Redeemable Miles – 30,000
- Book another Saver Award for U.S. domestic travel: 25,000
- End balance: Choices – 5,000 Redeemable Miles – 5,000
- Your Choices balance is reduced because your Redeemable Miles balance falls below your Choices balance, requiring that Choices be redeemed to complete the transaction.
In general, these changes look like a true enhancement to the redemption program, rather than an “enhancement” disguised as a devaluation, as is often the case. For more information on these changes, visit: http://www.united.com/chase.
As discussed on FW:
Call 800-975-0463, mention invitation #FASZ, get approved by 6/15/06, make one purchase each month during the first 12 months, get 1,000 bonus miles credited to your account each month for a total of 12,000 bonus miles.
According to Discover, this card allows you to:
Redeem your Miles for tickets on any major U.S. airline. Plus, there are no blackout dates on flights when you use your Miles. You can get air travel rewards starting at only 10,000 Miles.*
You can also redeem your Miles for:
- Cruise and vacation packages
- Hotel and car rental certificates
- Gift cards for your favorite stores and restaurants
- Brand-name merchandise
While this all sounds good on the surface, I would actually recommend staying away from this card. Miles cards are best when they can be used to purchase tickets that would otherwise be too expensive, such as first class or business seats, or last minute flights. In contrast, most general miles cards that allow you redemption on a number of airlines, like this one, have significant restrictions on award redemptions. In fact, this card from Discover requires that all round trip coach tickets be purchased at least 21 days in advance and have a Saturday night stay, among other restrictions.
And if you look at the other redemption options, you’re getting less than a cent of value per point. At that point, you’re better off going with a standard 1% cash back card. (Did this just turn into a mini-review of the Discover Miles Card?)
This is an offer that has been around for a while, but since I was on the subject of 20,000 AA bonus miles the other day, it seemed appropriate to point out this thread on Flyertalk. The essentials of the deal are as follows:
- 20,000 bonus UA miles after your first purchase
- First year annual fee waived, $60 afterwards
- 1 mile for every $1 spent on purchases
- Free One-way, 1,000 mile, One-class Upgrade Certificate
- $25 United Discount Travel Certificate
The standard deal for this card is 17,500 miles and no waiver of the annual fee at all. So this offer represents a slight premium over that. Where the Flyertalk thread gets more interesting is when the discussion turns towards applying for the card repeatedly in order to accumulate the bonus miles each time. This is actually an approach that works for many cards, though you do run the risk of the card issuers actually enforcing their terms and conditions in which case they reserve the right to deduct the miles from your account.
It’s also important to note that churning through applications isn’t particularly healthy for your credit score. While your score will recover in the long term, if you’re looking for other credit at favorable terms in the near future, it probably isn’t the best idea to be repeatedly making these sorts of applications.
This thread at FatWallet points out the following offer for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Card:
- No annual fee for the first year, $85/year afterwards
- Earn 20,000 bonus miles after your first purchase
- An AAdvantage(R) mile for every $1 spent on purchases
- Reduced Mileage Awards on American Airlines
The standard offer for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage® card is for 15,000 miles on first purchase with no waiver of the first year’s annual fee, so this seems like a good deal if you’re in the market for this card.
The direct link to this offer is here.