Over the past week or so, some important credit card news broke that will have a big impact on the miles and points community. Some of it good and some of it bad. I may ramble, but here it is.
The good news comes from Chase.
Ritz Carlton Rewards card
For one thing, they decided to revamp their Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card. The new card will be a Visa Infinite credit card, few of which exist in the States. Brittany held the card in the past when it offered a sign up bonus of 140,000 Marriott/Ritz points (they are the same program), but cancelled it after a year because the annual fee is not worth the benefits it provides. The card will have a sign up bonus of 3 nights at any Ritz Carlton 1-4 Tier hotel after spending $5000 in your first 3 months of card membership. This is better than the current bonus of 2 nights after $4000 in spend.
However, the most important new benefit is that you will have the ability to save $100 on airfare when you book a roundtrip economy ticket for 2 people (you can use this for more than 2 people, but then its value is diluted). This is amazing. If you are able to find tickets for less that $100, this means that it would actually be cheaper to book 2 tickets! This may be a card I would consider in the future just for this benefit. Frequent Miler has an interesting article explaining how this potentially could be used as a way for couples to earn elite status.
Sapphire Reserve card
The more exciting piece of news from Chase is that they introduced a Sapphire Reserve credit card. This will also be a new Visa Infinite card, but will not come with the Visa Infinite benefit of saving $100 on a roundtrip domestic ticket for 2 or more people. The card will, however, have a whopping bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4000 in spend.
The annual fee is high at $450, but in reality the annual fee will only be $150. The card will give a $300 credit every calendar year for any purchase you make on the card that is coded as travel. I believe most people spend at least $300 a year on travel.
Other benefits include 3x the points on travel and dining, and a credit for TSA Pre Check or Global Entry. It also will offer a 50% bonus on points that are redeemed for travel through the ultimate rewards portal. This makes a point worth at least 1.5 cents when redeemed towards travel. However, you can often find even better value when transferring those points to one of their partners.
The small negative of these new cards is that Chase usually won’t approve anyone who has opened more than 5 credit cards in the past 25 months. This is something I’ve certainly done. This rule may not apply to the Ritz card, but does look like it applies to the Sapphire Reserve.
Oh Citi. You have been a growing favorite of mine for a while now and I really hate the change you just made.
Citi has 3 main product lines: their ThankYou cards, their American Airlines cards, and their Hilton cards. They are going to make sign up bonuses only available to people who have not opened or closed a credit card within a product line within the past 24 months.
I recently closed a Citi AA Platinum and opened a Citi Hilton card. This would make me ineligible for other (different) credit cards within the same families for a very long time. The semi-good news is that their systems will supposedly not be updated to respect this until August 28th. This means you still have time to apply for a card within the same product line if you would like (if you already have another card in that line and have had it for fewer than 24 months).
This puts me in a bind: I really want to cool off with credit card applications, and manufactured spend is much harder while abroad. I am not sure if I will apply for another Citi credit card before August 28th.
When dealing with miles and points, big news is generally not a good thing. At least one piece this last week was good news.
What are your thought’s/plans for Citi’s changes? Are you going to get one of the new Chase cards? Let me know below!