Points and Miles Checklist: Things to Do in April

Things to do for March: Get a new stock photo
Things to do in April: Get a new cell phone for whoever is manning this desk

Compared to last month’s points and miles checklist, April is looking a little sparse. We have about half the action items and word count. This is good because it means there’s less for you to do and read so you can focus on more important tasks (i.e. life, work, family, reading the 50 shades of Grey trilogy, etc.). Here are six items to check off your points and miles list in April:

❑ Reload Your Redbirds. I went a little crazy buying American Express gift cards last month and ended up with more than I could unload. Thankfully it’s the first of the month, which means the clock resets and I can unload another $5,000 on each American Express PrepaidRED card.

❑ Redeem Avios Before They Devalue on April 28, 2015. Most people were pretty upset about the upcoming Avios devaluation but as I explained, it’s not all bad. With the implementation of off-peak pricing, short-haul awards could end up being cheaper after the devaluation. A notable change that has many in a huff? The novel Cathay Pacific first class award between Vancouver and New York will set you back an extra 12,500 Avios each way. Personally, I’d rather experience Cathay Pacific first class on a long-haul flight, but to each his own. If you’re redeeming a British Airways Travel Together Ticket for a long-haul flight, you should definitely redeem your Avios before the April 28 deadline.

❑ Increase Spend on the British Airways Credit Card by April 30, 2015. If the Avios devaluation wasn’t enough, British Airways is changing the payout structure on the British Airways Visa Signature credit card. Staring April 30, the number of miles earned on regular spending drops from 1.25 to 1 Avios per $1 spent. On the up side, British Airways purchases will begin earning 3 Avios as opposed to the current 2.5 Avios per $1. So if you’re racking up spend on the British Airways Visa for the Travel Together Ticket, you might as well get a large chunk of it done this month to ensure you earn more miles. 

❑ Finalize Beijing Travel Plans. Are you on your way to Beijing thanks to the $450 first class mistake fare? If so, be sure to check off the list of things to do before you go. Now that American Airlines has confirmed they will be honoring these tickets, you’ll need to get your Visa, book positioning flights, make hotel reservations, and figure out how you want to spend your time in Beijing. 

❑ Get the IHG Rewards Club Visa. The 70,000 point sign-up bonus for the IHG Rewards Club Visa has been extended through May 31, 2015. This is currently the highest sign-up bonus you can get on the card, since the removal of the 80k version. If you’re looking for a long-term hotel credit card, this is a good one.

❑ Activate the Quarterly Chase Freedom Category Bonus. Need to stock up on bath towels, cheaply made clothes manufactured in sweatshops and feed your online shopping addiction? This quarter’s Chase Freedom bonus categories will make you happy. Starting today, Chase Freedom cardholders can register to earn 5% cash back/5 points per $1 on the first $1,500 spent at restaurants, Bath Bath & Beyond, H&M and These are some odd pairings if you ask me, but I guess they’re just making sure there’s something for everyone. The activation deadline is June 14, 2015 but since these bonus categories are valid now through June 30, you obviously want to do it sooner rather than later.

Last month when I met up with Kendra at a grocery store/juice bar, she busted my chops for not paying for my purchase with my Chase Freedom card to get the 5x grocery store bonus. Confession: The card sits in my secondary wallet with all of the other credit cards that are currently in time out. I try to get excited about the 5x quarterly bonuses, but I just can’t. I like my Arrival Miles, so I just put most of my spend (even if I’m earning less) on that card. When I’m done stockpiling Arrival miles, maybe I’ll be a better role model and max out the quarterly bonuses but for now it’s just easier to put all of my spend on the Barclay Arrival Plus card.

❑ Take Advantage of Club Carlson’s 5,000 Point Mobile Booking Bonus. If you’re a Club Carlson elite member with an upcoming stay, you can earn 5,000 bonus points by booking it through their mobile app. The promotion is good through April 5, for stays completed by the end of the month.

❑ Chase First Friday Bonus. I don’t think I’ve seen any topic (barring politics and religion) get people as riled up as the Chase Sapphire First Friday Bonus. Every first Friday of the month, my Twitter feed explodes with angry tweets about how the extra 1 point per $1 earned by cardholders on dining is completely stupid and not worth mentioning. And how any war criminal blogger who dares to write about First Fridays (especially in conjunction with a credit card pitch) should be nailed to the cross for blasphemy, treason and crimes against humanity. 

You might expect this kind of outrage after someone is lit on fire while a crowd of people stand by and watch, but it really is because of a monthly credit card promotion. The furor kind of amuses me, so I’m adding it to this list. Even though I no longer have any use for the Sapphire Preferred card and haven’t taken advantage of First Fridays in at least a year. For those who do enjoy First Fridays, don’t forget to stack the bonus with a dining rewards program for extra points! 

If I missed any important deadlines, please share it in the comment section.

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