Upgrading American Express Hilton HHonors to Hilton HHonors Surpass

American Express is offering me an upgrade my plain jane Hilton HHonors to the Hilton HHonors Surpass card.

From a quick look online, I would be able to upgrade the card without a hard inquiry to my credit. Like the public offer, I’d still pay the $75 annual fee that isn’t waived. Besides the inquiry, the biggest difference is the 10,000 Hilton HHonors points. I currently have about 60k points banked and adding 50k bonus would put me at 110k points. While that’s a nice number for most programs, it is not nice for the Hilton program. Redeeming for any Hilton room is incredibly difficult because of the high point requirements and lack of points and cash availability.


I won’t be upgrading my Hilton HHonors card because I don’t have any upcoming travel plans where I could utilize all the points.

For those who can take advantage of this, don’t forget you’d earn 6x points at Supermarkets and that is where I would put all the spend, minimum and all.







Focus Group – Marketing Research On Credit Cards

My sister forwarded me the below. It is with this focus group company my late aunt worked with years ago and they are running a focus group on credit cards:

Advanced Focus, a national marketing research company, is seeking your opinions in a marketing research study regarding various credit cards. This study will be taking place the week September 22, 2014.

If you are interested in participating in this project, please complete a brief survey by clicking on the link below.  If your answers fall within the criteria we are looking for, we will call you to be screened for the study.


Alternatively, If the link Doesn’t Work You Can Copy and Paste this Link into Your Browser:


Confidentiality is strictly maintained and only statistics are used.  Your response will be very important to the study.  If you are not a member of our database, please visit our website ( www.advancedfocus.com) to register.
Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.


**DISCLAIMER** From what I remember (I haven’t done any these things), the focus group will contact you and put you in a room and will compensate you for your time. I am not sure if it is location specific, I would say it would be in the New York Tri-State area.


What’s Cooking In The Chasing The Points Kitchen

I like to give a status update to all of my readers on what’s going on in the Chasing The Points kitchen, which isn’t anything like the Breaking Bad lab

  • Work + school is draining

What really excites me now is coming up with some web apps helping the points/miles community. The goal of Chasing The Points has always been to help in some way shape or form. We’ve discussed advanced techniques about manufactured spending and truth be told, there’s only so much you can write about it without the repetition. Moving into application design and deployment is Chasing The Points 2.0 and a great next step.

That being said, here is what’s in the pipeline that can be shared:


Has there been a situation that you wish there was an easier way to accomplish something? If there was, I’d love to hear about it!



Bill Payments DEvolved

Today, we’ve received an email from Evolve Money stating that you can only pay 1 bill payment per month. In effect, if you are using prepaid cards it is $500 a month per biller. Below is an excerpt of the email (bolding is not mine):

Due to changes in our risk and regulatory compliance policies, Evolve Money will be implementing a limit of one payment per biller account per month. This change takes effect September 1, 2014. There are no limits on the number of cash payments made with a Reloadit pack or Evolve Pay Bucks. 

We realize that some of our users have taken advantage of the multiple payments per month to pay off larger expenses such as mortgages. We are currently working on ways to improve the bill paying experience for you and expect to announce details soon.


Since they specifically called out mortgage payments, I really hope a larger bill payment is possible.

In the past few months, I’ve thought about overpaying my car insurance and having a check written to me since it would be free. If my car insurance said anything about the overpayments, I would have said it was my “bill payer overpaying.”

Let’s hope something good comes out in the near future, I’ll be keeping my eye out.

It Took Awhile But UPromise Paid Out

I’ve written about UPromise a few times, and how they wanted to clawback money they never paid out. I actually forgot about all of UPromise and completely wrote them off when I saw that. The other day I received an email about a UPromise transfer thinking it was for some old Staples purchases. It turns out they did not claw back any money, but instead they paid me for everything!

It took over 7 months to be paid out close to $300, so be prepared to wait and wait some more. Seeing that they paid me, I will have to reconsider my stance on UPromise and rethink about the benefits to the UPromise credit card.

Using the UPromise Credit Card in conjunction to the portal can land some big cash back deals and I am hoping there will be some arbitrage opportunities for some gift card churning.


Remember When Kohls Paid Out For Gift Card Purchases?

I was poking around UPromise and was surprised to find Kohl’s on the list  to receive cash back on gift card purchases because they have not been crediting gift card purchases with any cash back or points in the last few months.


Here is the terms and conditions from UPromise:

Kohl’s online department store carries the most popular brands of today’s hottest styles for the entire family. From apparel, furniture, bedding, footwear, jewelry, electronics, house wares, accessories, toys, home products and much, much more, you can always “Expect Great Things” but expect to pay much less with these valuable Kohl’s coupons.

Kohl’s does not offer member rewards on Kohl’s credit card sales made with coupon codes that are higher than 15%. Contributions are not eligible on e-gift card purchases.

Here’s a blurb from American Airline’s Aadvantage Shopping Mall (emphasis also mine):

Not eligible on purchases made with coupon or discount codes that are not found on this site. Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents, including portion of sale made with Kohl’s Cash. Qualifying customer purchases include all sale-, regular- and clearance-priced merchandise, except for the following exclusions: Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise and other charitable items, Electronics brands including Beats, LG, Monster, Philips, SOL Republic, Sony and Toshiba, and Prestige brands of cosmetics and skincare and select prestige brands of fragrance including Action Solutions for Men, Borghese, BOSS, Cargo, H2O+, Hydroxatone, Il Baccio, Lorac, PUR Minerals, theBalm, Zirh. Not eligible on 600-watt/900-watt Nutribullet Blenders (all colors), shipping, taxes, eGiftCards, or other service fees. Not eligible on jewelry purchases that exceed $4,000.



As you can see, the American Airlines’ Aadvantage mall would not pay out on the gift cards. We know that Chase will not pay out either. What’s the link? Both are Cartera operated malls. Remember:

Always keep in mind that just because one mall doesn’t award points, does not mean all malls do not award points. It can be generalized that if several points or miles malls are operated by a single company like Cartera, then the points/miles will not post.

Don’t forget to check out Frequent Miler’s Laboratory for the latest on which portal pays out


Better Deal Than Citizen Bank’s Credit Card For Easy Cash Rewards

The other day, I wrote about a credit card ripe for abuse. It wasn’t scaleable and was maxed to $240 a year. You also had to be a checking account customer and a few other hoops to jump through.


There is a better deal if you know how to play the automated, small value transaction game. You would need to open a checking account with Discover Bank, and for every transaction of the following you would receive $.10 up to 100 transactions:

  • debit card purchase
  • online bill payment
  • check cleared

In total, you’d be able to earn $10 per month also up to $120 a year. However, this being a checking account with Discover, I would expect a 1099-INT to be issued.

If it we were me, I would take the same page as MilesAbound, make all of your transactions with your utility company.

So if you did both Citizens Bank and Discover Bank, you could make an incredibly easy $360 a year per person.


**Also see the comment below from Hua about shutdowns and irregular charges from Discover’s antifraud(?) department

Do You Buy American Airline Miles At 1.8 Cents A Mile?

Hat tip to all the Boarding Area bloggers who posted about the current American Airline AAdvantage offer. You need to spend $200 to unlock the 1000 miles bonus.

I won’t list out all the details, but you can gift card churn and buy the miles outright from this offer at 1.8 cents per mile. If you participate in the US Airways 1.8 cents a mile deal, this is very similar. The 1.8 cents per mile offer  is not including any benefits you will receive from the spend on your credit card which could lower it down to as far as 1.5 cents per mile.

It is a bit expensive, but if you are close and need to top off some miles this wouldn’t be a bad deal. Keep in mind, the extra 1000 miles will take some time to deposit into your AAdvantage account.