I received this email today:

 

 

Now dining out can be rewarding.
You can earn 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points when you use your Card at U.S. restaurants.
AMERICAN EXPRESS (R)
Learn More AMERICAN EXPRESS HILTON HHONORS Card
Now there’s a delicious new way to boost your points balance, whether grabbing a bite with the family or celebrating a special occasion.


NEW! 6 Points at U.S. restaurants
  • Earn 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants.1

Continue to earn Points everyday
  • 12 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton HHonors portfolio of brands.2
  • 6 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases at U.S supermarkets and U.S. gas stations.1
  • 3 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.3

Earn more points than ever before and make the most of them with your Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express.

I mainly just use my Surpass card at Hilton properties since I earn plenty of Hilton points and prefer to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards instead, but I do occasionally use my Surpass at restaurants so this is a nice change.

Where did we leave off?  So, I ended up deciding to migrate from United to US Airways.  I got a silver challenge from a coworker and completed the 10 segments for that so I finished the year Gold with Delta, Silver Preferred with US Airways, and Premier Silver with United.  If I had applied the 10 segments to United I would have been Gold with them, but since I’m crediting everything to US Airways this year and rarely check bags or have the opportunity for Star Alliance lounge access when traveling internationally I figured I’d just end that way.  In retrospect I should have finished as Premier Gold on United and waited for the Silver Preferred Challenge starting in January, but oh well.  Mileage running for 10 segments wasn’t in my cards either.

I’m already at 14 segments with US Airways (actually upgraded on 5 of those as Silver and another 6 were RJs without F so not too bad!), and 19 segments on Delta (with a pretty crappy upgrade percentage this year).

As far as hotels go I finished as Diamond with Hilton and still Silver with Marriott.  I think I was about 20 nights shy of Gold, but that’s what happens when I spend most of my time flying to meetings and not really staying anywhere.  If Marriott counted stays the way Hilton does I might eventually climb with them, but they have their method that works for them.

Since I now get chauffeured to most of my meetings and Avis actually checks to see whether you got 13 rentals I dropped from First to normal Preferred.  I remember before the First program begging to get upgraded to Preferred Select after I had done 20 or so rentals because their computer system just didn’t check for that regularly, but a simple fax to them for that corrected.  I also dropped from National Executive Aisle.  Since I never rent cars it doesn’t really matter to me.

As far as credit cards go I’m currently using my Hilton AMEX Surpass for Hiltons, the Barclay US Airways Card for way too many spending categories until I hit the spending to get PQMs, then I’ll probably change from the J.P. Morgan Visa to another Chase card that accrues more URs and use the Hilton Amex or the Chase card depending on category.  It’s about time for a new credit card or App O Rama since I bought a house and a new car last year so I can churn for a bit before worrying about inquiries.

So that sums up my past few months.  Critique away!

I am glad I was raised with American Express because I will stick by them through and through and this is how they repay me.

Stealing from Mommy Points

Here’s how it works:

  1. Register your American Express card.  Unless you are making over 10 purchases at the eligible retailers, I don’t really see a huge need to register every single Amex you can find in your sock drawer, but do keep in mind you can only get 10 “gifts” per card.
  2. Then, use that card to spend $25 or more at a participating online store between November 28 and December 21, 2011, and you could get a surprise gift.  Eligible retailers include: J. Crew, Pottery Barn, Toys R Us, Walmart, YoYo, Dell, REI, American Eagle Outfitters, Zappos, Blue Nile, Bed Bath and Beyond, the Nike Store, Game Stop, and more…  Yes, you can still go through a shopping portal, and yes you can buy gift certificates to meet the $25 spending requirement.  You get the idea…… ;)
  3. After you make your purchase of at least $25 with an eligible retailer, you may receive a gift from Amex!  I am a little bit confused on whether every purchase gets a gift until the gifts are gone, or whether it is a bit random.  I did two Walmart purchases yesterday and both received gifts.  The first received a year of ShopRunner free, and that email came within minutes of the purchase.  The second purchase received a $5 Amex statement credit if I make another minimum $5 purchase at Walmart between now and February 29, 2012.  That email came about 18 hours after the purchase was made.  I plan to make a few more purchases at eligible retailers, so we will see what I get!

It’s that simple.  Register, spend $25 on something you needed anyway at one of the eligible retailers, and get a prize.  Some examples of available gifts are: $10 Walmart gift card, $500 American Express gift cards for you and three of your Facebook friends (psst, I’ll be your friend!), $300 Dell gift card, $25 Toys R Us gift card, statement credits, and Membership Reward points.

Are you already a part of the gift chain?  I learned through Twitter that chiefmbh bought $225 in Walmart gift cards and received statement credits and more gift cards.  Way to go!  (If you want to have fun with me on Twitter you can follow me @Mommy_Points)  What did you get from the gift chain?

 

Judging by the comments on her blog, most people seem to be getting Shoprunner memberships.

Last year AMEX gave $25 statement credits for supporting small businesses.  I earned mine by eating at my favorite local restaurant and paying with my AMEX.

The first great news is that the same promotion is returning again this year, so mark your calendars for Saturday, November 26.

The other exciting news is that Fedex is supporting the promotion by giving away 30,000 small business gift cards worth $25 each at 1PM ET on Tuesday, November 1. All you have to do is “like” Fedex on Facebook and be one of the first 30,000 people to register on Tuesday. Be sure you’re quick, because I assume these will be gone in no time.

Good luck!

HT Lucky

I know just last week I said I just have the normal Hilton HHonors AMEX and I was fine with that, but tonight I sat down and did the math.

Last year (according to my nice AMEX yearly summary) I spent ~$9,000 at Hilton properties on that card.

Since the Surpass earns 9 pp$ instead of 6 pp$ at Hiltons if  I take 9000 x 3 I get 27,000 points I didn’t earn.  This is just north of 1 free Category 3 room.  Plus this year I’ll get the upgrade bonus points based on spend and stay so the first year it definitely pays off.

I also figured while I was at it I might as well request a credit limit increase and that got instantly approved.  I only requested a $3000 increase on a $5000 limit, but figured it’s better to play it safe.  I thought about trying to double it, but with my pending Hilton Citi card and it’s limit I don’t really need more on the AMEX.

This is a great benefit for the Platinum and reemphasizes its position as a frequent traveler card.  If I did more foreign travel and thought those places would all take American Express this would help to justify the annual fee.  I’m sure there are many out there who spend enough internationally to do that.

HT Gary

Shop at a small business on November 27th and spend more than $25 on your American Express and you can get a $25 statement credit.

Enroll: http://www.smallbusinesssaturday.com/

Eligible merchants include any independently owned small businesses that accept the American Express Card. Purchases made online, at large, national chains, at franchised business locations and at government agencies are not eligible. Prepaid, corporate cards and ExpressPay transactions are not eligible.

I definitely appreciate this more than the promotion they ran around Christmas a couple years ago that gave statement credits for shopping at Wal*Mart.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100915005590/en

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and MasterCard Worldwide today begin an exclusive brand partnership to offer customers and businesses co-branded Delta SkyMiles Debit MasterCard® cards. It will create the largest and most comprehensive debit card program offered to Delta customers.

[...]

Delta and MasterCard have executed the first phase of the agreement; the two companies will now work over the next several months to build a national network of financial institutions to offer the Delta SkyMiles Debit MasterCard cards to current and prospective Delta customers through local bank branches across the United States.

This is good news for people out there who have favorite merchants who do not accept American Express and live in an area that does not have a Sun Trust bank.  I am curious to see what banks will begin to offer this and what exactly the benefits will be.  The current card offers 1 mile per $2 and has a lower annual fee than the AMEXs.

Personal and business Platinum and Centurion card holders will now be extended access to US Airways lounges.

from bankingdeals.com

Note: this is the Platinum and Centurion charge card, not various American Express credit cards that have used the word Platinum throughout the year and not American Express cards issued by anyone other than AMEX (e.g. Bank of America).

The US Airways lounges will not require a ticket on US Airways unlike some of the other airlines that participate.  This actually might not be a bad deal since the annual fee is $450 and grants one access to Delta, US Airways, American, and Continental’s lounges.  Membership for the US Airways lounge (which reciprocates to other Star Alliance lounges, but not to Delta or American) is also $450 for a non-status flyer.


Thanks Wandering Aramean

All credit card point earning categories are not created equal.  Many credit cards offer bonus points on certain categories such as gas an groceries while purchases at big box stores are often excluded.

Flyertalker 4Health details his way of getting around spending category shortfalls by buying WalMart gift cards online on American Express’ bonus portal (only for Membership Rewards cards).

My Hilton HHonors American Express offers bonus points at grocery stores.  Many grocery stores now sell gift cards for various other places.  Since restaurants no longer earn bonus points on that card it can be used to purchase restaurant gift cards so the grocery bonus is earned instead of the standard point rate.  It takes some advanced thought and relegates one into chain restaurants, but if you are going to eat at Chilis anyway might as well get some more points with it.

If you are using another card’s portal or one of the various airline shopping malls verify before hand that purchasing gift cards counts.  Many times purchases of gift cards or purchases made with gift cards do not count for bonuses.