As most of you know, few months ago I got Amex Platinum when the public offer was briefly increased to 100K points. Well, few days ago I finally met my minimum spending on the card and was delighted to find out that the bonus points were already deposited in my Membership Rewards account. Nice!
So, it was time to pick another card. But which one? As it’s always the case, I first looked at my list of best sign-up bonuses. I’m not eligible for most of the offers on that page because I’ve either recently had the card, or due to 5/24 rule. The one I kept coming back to was Chase British Airways Visa Signature. I’m eligible for the bonus because I haven’t had this card for at least three years.
Now or never?
You get 50,000 Avios points after spending $3,000 in 3 months, annual fee of $95 is not waived. The problem is, I don’t have any plans for Avios within the next three years at the very least. And even then it would be for tickets to Europe, which may or may not be worth it.
Right now, there are a couple of routes from Florida that don’t come with fuel surcharges, but that could easily change down the road. Avios currency is like “Jekyll and Hyde” of airline mileage programs. It’s a great deal on some routes, and murderous on others due to huge fuel surcharges.
Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
That’s Avios program killing value proposition on British Airways-operated award ticket from Tampa to London.
So, basically, it would amount to me buying 50,000 Avios miles speculatively for only $95. A good deal, but the stash would just be sitting there for a long time and doing nothing. I could burn Avios on hotels and get around 0.8 cents per mile, but that’s not a very good return, so I doubt I would go this route.
On the other hand, the card is reportedly not yet subject to Chase 5/24 rule, so it could be a case of “now or never.” Plus, the card does pay me commission, so that’s another factor to consider. Hmm…
A surprising offer from Amex
Additionally, few weeks ago I received a targeted offer for Amex Premier Rewards Gold. I’ve had this card before, but the language on the letter didn’t have “once per lifetime” verbiage. Unfortunately, the sign-up bonus was 25,000 points rather than 50,000 points you can usually find via CardMatch tool or by trying this direct link in various browsers.
But like I said, I would not be able to get the higher offer because it usually contains “once per lifetime” language. After thinking about it a bit, I decided to pass on it and hold out for higher offer from Amex down the road.
I was tacky
I decided to go for Chase British Airways offer and apply in my name. There was one problem, however. I already had four Chase cards, so I felt that would drastically decrease my chances of approval. I needed to get rid of one of them.
I couldn’t cancel my Chase Freedom because it’s one of my oldest cards. I haven’t had Southwest co-branded card for at least six months, so technically, they could claw back my bonus. And they would have to pry Chase IHG MasterCard from my cold dead fingers. I love it that much!
The only logical victim was Chase Hyatt Signature Visa. I’ve already used free nights from my sign-up bonus and just got annual renewal certificate deposited into my Hyatt Gold Passport account. But the annual fee of $75 hasn’t posted yet. I think you know where this is going.
Not too long ago, I wrote a post on how I always pay renewal fees when I get an annual perk. Not this time. I wanted to get approved for BA Visa, so I needed to get rid of Hyatt card. I didn’t shaft Chase on purpose, but wasn’t going to call and insist that they charge me an annual fee. So, I was tacky, but I’m not proud of it.
PNC card, I totally forgot about you!
I was ready to fill out my application for Chase British Airways Signature Visa, but then I remembered an obscure card from PNC bank: PNC Premier Traveler Signature Visa. Few months ago, Doctorofcredit blog has written a post with all the details of this offer.
Here is a short version. You get 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months, first annual fee is waived. Note that the terms say “billing cycles” instead of months. You earn 2 points per dollar on everything. The bonus is good toward a $300 rebate against travel purchases. Redemption starts at 5,000 points and equals $50.
The biggest issue is the fact that it’s only available to residents of these states: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Washington D.C.
Since I live in Florida, I’m eligible to apply. So, I had to decide which offer to pick: Chase BA Visa or PNC card. I decided to go with the latter. Here is why. In a few months I plan to buy airline tickets on Ryanair from Madrid to Vilnius. Last time, they released summer schedule in September. If the history repeats itself, I would like to get seats as soon as they become available since it’s an obscure route with virtually no competition.
Airfare tends to run at 90 euros per person (a little over $100), so I could potentially cover three tickets with just one sign-up bonus. Of course, I would still need two more.
Bird in a hand it is
I went ahead and applied for PNC card. I currently don’t have any points to cover airfare on Ryanair. That means I would have to pay cash. And I don’t like to pay cash. I decided to skip Chase BA Visa for now and possibly try applying once I’m done with PNC card. Or not, we’ll see what other offers are available at that time.
In fact, I’ll probably apply for PNC card in my husband’s name in few weeks. We are almost done with minimum spending on his Amex Platinum, and can use extra points to cover the other two tickets on Ryanair.
If we have points leftover, I’m sure we’ll be able to put them to good use. Unlike miles, it’s much easier to utilize travel credit. There are many possibilities: car rentals, hotels, cruises, airfare etc. You can even charge dining expenses while staying in a hotel, and use points to offset the charge.
It’s not that 50,000 Avios are not valuable, they are just not that valuable to me right now. A lot can happen in three years, and in the meantime, I can always use cash or travel credit rather than dip into our limited savings.
After all of my rants about hoarding, I feel like I need to walk the walk. If I miss out on Chase British Airways Signature Visa due to 5/24 rule, so be it.
P.S. Although IHG hasn’t released a preview of new PointBreaks list, there is a good chance it will go live today. If it does, you’ll be able to find an updated listing here
I’ll try to have a post with more details if my prediction materializes. Start refreshing the page in the morning because all the best properties are likely to sell out quickly. Book now and think later! You can always cancel and get a refund.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.