Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My next bonus

I finished my Lufthansa spend and I am annoyed at them for not qualifying me for category bonuses in Q1. I want to grab another big signup bonus, so is it on to the Citi AA Platinum 50k offer, or should I grab the Club Carlson card from US Bank?

This is a really tough decision, as I only like to work on one bonus at a time. Other travellers will call this amateur, as the minimum spend requirements are so easy and they do something called an app-o-rama, as it supposedly affects their credit score less. I am comfortable not doing an app-o-rama at the moment, as thanks to Barclaycard, I know mine is pretty high and I can easily afford a 20 or 30 point hit.

The Carlson card has the following benefits, you get the last night free on reward stays, you get automatic gold status, and you get 85000 points. With a small amount of spend, this is easily enough for 10 nights if you use your last night free and book wisely. I therefore value this bonus at around 1200 bucks. Doing a bunch more math, I could come up with something better, but I basically figure 90k points = 6*15k category 2 nights + 4 bonus nights at $120 bucks a night. The annual fee here is outweighed by the 40k points you get on renewal, worth at least the cost of the fee, so I could hold this card forever. The 50k bonus seems like it is generally around, so I am not worried about it expiring.

 The AA card comes with 55k AA miles (landing page here), since you get 10%  of your miles back for redeeming (plus it enables another 5k bonus). These can be used on oneworld metal and I value them at 1.75 cents each. That is a $990 dollar signup value; incremented by the value of any free bags. This is a card I might want to hold short term only, I would have to weigh the value of AA bag checks and line cutting versus the annual fee. I already know Citi will be the main issuer for the new AA / US post merger airline. The 50k bonus seems like it is generally around, so I am not worried about it expiring. This would definitely help with the Paraguay trip I am considering in early 2015.

 I am so torn, I might just go ahead and get both.