CITI KEEPS FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE CHASE/AMEX ONSLAUGHT: One of the things I like about the Doctor of Credit’s blog is that he covers credit cards that don’t otherwise get talked about too much. Such is the case with the new Expedia credit cards launched recently by Citi. The verdict:
At first glance, this new card doesn’t look half bad but when you actually drill into it, this card sucks. Expedia hasn’t done a good job of making their rewards program easy to understand and points aren’t even worth a cent each. If Citi wants to compete with the big boys, then they are going to need to do a lot better than this.
If you’re still thinking about applying for this card, wait! Citi is known for increasing the sign up bonus on new cards shortly after they are launched. Hopefully by waiting this also gives you a chance to reconsider this card and go for something better instead.
I concur, this card doesn’t look worth the effort.
DINER’S CLUB CARD IS BACK: It’s seen better days, but the Diner’s Club Card is back. Gary gives a nice history of the card here. (I never know about its popularity with covert CIA operatives.) Freequent Flyer does the number-crunching here and concludes:
The Diners Club Card Elite card gives 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores. The problem is that gas stations and grocery stores are already such heavily-bonused categories that neither, alone or together, could justify paying a $300 annual fee.
He does unearth one possible angle on it, though:
What caught my eye here is the not-totally-unreasonable hotel transfer ratios, particularly the “mere” 40% penalty you incur transferring your points to Starwood Preferred Guest. At 0.6 Starpoints per Diners Club rewards point, you can earn 1.8 Starpoints per dollar spent at drug stores. While it doesn’t convince me personally, there’s certainly a lot of value that can be unlocked there — plus it’s a good escape valve in case you decide to apply for the Diners Club card and end up unable to use the points for direct airline transfers.
That’s the highest Starwood earnings rate I can recall seeing. It’s not anywhere near enough to make me want the card, though.
AMEX SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY IS BACK: One of my favorite holidays returns on November 29, and it’s going to be really good this year. Amex will give you $30 (in the form of up to three statement credits for purchases up to $10) when you shop at anywhere Amex considers to be a small business. They’ll do this for each Amex credit card you have, and if your authorized user has a different account number than what’s on your card (which will be the case for Amexes issued by Amex, not so much for Amexes issued by other banks), then you can also get $30 for that card. Bluebird and Serve cards count this year as well.
I’ve always used this promotion for Christmas shopping since there are toy stores with good stuff you won’t find at Target and Walmart that count for this promotion. Restaurants are another good choice. Registration doesn’t begin for several weeks, so you have plenty of time to plan.
AIRHEADS IN THE REWARDS CARD BUBBLE: Here’s a nice piece by Ric Garrido over at BoardingArea about keeping things in perspective. It’s prompted a decent amount of discussion, so go have a look.