We’re just a few days away from the new year. Unfortunately, that means we’re nearing several reward program devaluations, airline mergers, and expiring promotions. It’s easy to lose track and miss out on big bonuses, statement credits, and great promotions. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a checklist of points and miles related tasks to complete before the end of the year:
❑ Get Your $200 American Express Platinum Card Airline Credit. If you’ve shelled out $400 for the annual fee on the American Express Platinum card, don’t forget to recoup some of that cash ($200 to be exact) in the form of the $200 Airline Fee credit. Every calendar year, cardholders get $200 in statement credits for airline incidentals. This includes checked baggage fees and in-flight purchases, with a designated airline. Gift card purchases work as well, most often when they’re made in $50 increments. Simply charge these purchases to your American Express Platinum card and you’ll receive statement credits covering the cost. This has to be done before the end of the year or it will be forfeited. You’ll of course be eligible for another $200 credit in January.
❑ Check Hotel Promotions Coming to an End. Several hotel rewards programs have promotions ending on December 31, 2014. Hyatt Gold Passport and IHG Rewards Club are just a few of them. Loyalty Lobby has a pretty thorough list of Q4 hotel promotions that you might want to peruse – especially if you’re booking a last minute stay before the end of the year and want to get a nice bonus out of it.
❑ Credit Card Quarterly Spending Bonuses. If you haven’t maxed out the quarterly 5% cash back bonus on the Chase Freedom card, you have until December 31, 2014 to do so. Current bonus category merchants include Amazon, Zappos, and select department stores. Starting January 1, 2015 you can activate the Q1 bonus, which includes grocery stores, movie theaters, and Starbucks.
If you’re a Barclay US Airways cardholder, be sure to max out the 2,500 mile quarterly bonus at gas stations, restaurants, toy, game and department stores by December 31.
❑ Increase Sapphire Preferred Spending. In anticipation of the 7% dividend that will be paid out on February 1, you might want to charge any non-bonus category spend to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Chase did announce that the annual dividend will be eliminated in 2016. Current cardholders will continue to earn dividends through the end of 2015, with the last payout occurring on February 1, 2016.
❑ Get Your $10 Uber Credit from American Express. In October, American Express ran a sync promotion, offering a $10 Uber credit to eligible cardholders. You have until December 31, 2014 to claim your $10 credit. It will post within 90 days of the promotion ending.
❑ Book Hyatt’s My Elite Rate Now. Earlier this month, Hyatt announced that the Hyatt My Elite rate would be eliminated in eliminated in 2015. So if you end up making a last minute reservation at a Hyatt hotel before the end of the year, be sure to check for the 20% My Elite discount while it’s still around.
❑ Take Advantage of Hyatt’s Mobile App Booking Bonus. Speaking of Hyatt, December 31 is also the last day to take advantage of the 1,000 point mobile app booking bonus. I’m going to be making a last minute Hyatt booking today, and the mobile booking bonus combined with Diamond welcome amenity and the 5% rebate from the SPG Amex card will add up to a nice point/cash haul.
❑ Get the Barclay US Airways Mastercard. Lastly, if you don’t already have a Barclay US Airways Mastercard, now is a good time to get one since the card will be converted to an American Airlines card next year. What’s more, Barclays won’t be able to accept any new applications in 2015, so if you want an easy stash of soon-to-be AAdvantage miles or an AAdvantage earning card with a lower annual fee, pick up the Barclays US Airways Mastercard before the end of the year.
While an exact date hasn’t been announced, I recommend getting your application in before the end of the year. Just to be safe. While you’re at it, use a friend’s referral link and they’ll earn 5,000 – 10,000 bonus miles. Wanna refer someone or be referred? Leave a comment below and I’ll leave it to you to work it out amongst yourselves. Oddly enough, I never got a referral offer in the mail (or maybe I accidentally deleted it).
❑ Use Your Starwood Platinum Suite Night Awards. If you have any Starwood Platinum Suite Night Awards left, you have until December 31 to put them to use. If you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve out of town, considering using any remaining awards to treat yourself to a nice suite.
Did I miss anything? Which important task are you putting on your to-do list before the end of the year?
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