If cash doesn’t entice you to open a new checking account, how about a Kindle Fire HD? BBVA is currently offering the 7-inch tablets (retail for $199) to new checking account customers. In order to qualify for the free tablet, one need to open a Build-to-Order Checking with a $25 minimum deposit, have one direct deposit of at least $300 from unrelated third party within 90 days, and make three online payments of at least $50 each within 90 days. In order to avoid the account monthly charge of $10.95, an average daily balance of $1,500 is required. I prefer cash bonus so I won’t jump on it. But this is definitely one of the more interesting offers out there for new checking.
It has been a week since I received my American Express Platinum card, and I am liking the card more than I expected. Normally this is not a credit card that I would consider applying given the high annual fee, but the 100,000 Membership Rewards bonus points after $3,000 spending and the potential to travel on Singapore Airlines’ premium cabin are just too good to pass up. And the benefits that came with the card makes me want to actually keep the card beyond its first year. Below is what I like (and don’t like) about the card.
- After receiving approval, the card was overnighted to me the next business day without my asking. Minimal waiting time in getting the card.
- Access to American Airlines and Delta lounges when flying with same day ticket, and entry to US Airways lounges any time.
- $200 in statement credits for airline incidental fees every year(can possibly be used to buy airline gift cards). Milevalue has step-by-step directions on how to accomplish this.
- $100 Global Entry application fee reimbursement. I just applied for mine and am waiting to hear back. Having an expedited U.S. immigration clearance line is totally worth the one-time application.
- Instant Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status. This is normally achievable after completing 10 stays or 25 nights in a year. Gold member gets 3 starpoints per dollar spend, 4pm late checkout, possible enhanced room upgrade at check-in, and welcome gift with each stay. This will certainly entice me to book Starwood properties whenever I can.
- Car rental privileges with Avis, Hertz, and National.
- When booking hotels through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program using Amex Platinum, members get free breakfast for two, room upgrades, 4pm late checkout, and spa credits.
- No foreign transaction fee. But American Express are not widely accepted outside the U.S.
- Good customer service over the phone. Phone reps were courteous and patient in my experience.
The Not So Good:
- $450 annual fee, not waived the first year. But the yearly $200 airline credits and $100 Global Entry reimbursement somewhat decrease the blow.
- Not aesthetically pleasing. The card feels cheap and dated despite its platinum status and high fees. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card feels much more substantial and has a more attractive design.
- American Express not accepted everywhere. This makes fulfilling minimum spend requirements just a little tougher.
Fernsehturm got nothing on the iPad mini
Celebrations in LA!
Looking forward to April.
Chase’s $125 offer has been around for a long time, and today I finally took the bait and opened a new savings account. I could have gotten a better offer of $200 last November, but I was lazy and never took up the offer. To get the bonus, I had to deposit $10,000 of new money into Chase. During sign-up the banker told me I had to maintain the balance for six months or Chase will take the bonus away, which I interpreted as I had to maintain $10,000 for six months. But after reading over the fine prints, it seems to me the bonus will be deducted only if I close the savings account within six months. To avoid monthly fee, the account requires the minimum daily balance at or above $300. I don’t have any immediate plans to use the funds, but it’s great to know my money is not stuck for six months. The $125 bonus easily beats any interests I get from my old CDs. In addition to getting free money, I hope this will also improve my standing with Chase, as it offers the most attractive lineup of credit cards from which I will likely apply for this year.
American Express has a link for the Platinum card with 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 in three months. This is an amazing deal, as Membership Rewards points can be transferred to many airline partners, including ANA, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Delta, British Airways, and more. One Miles At A Time has the detail on how to get this offer.
My application was instantly approved at 10:30pm. Get in while you can. Thanks Lucky!
I miss eating in Turkey.
One of the things I like about banking with Citi is the perk to earn ThankYou points by keeping an active personal checking account. I find ThankYou points to be pretty valuable when it comes to travel-related redemptions, such as booking airfares, hotel rooms or day tours. In my previous post I wrote about using TY points to book hotel rooms in Turkey is a better value than getting cash or statements credit because it takes almost twice the points to get the equivalent amount of cash. In my upcoming trip to Taiwan in April, I will have an overnight layover in Seoul, and again I used 9,600 TY points to book a local transit hotel in Inchon to sleep for the night.
Citi currently has five levels of personal checking accounts, and the best thing is all five products earn TY points every month under the right condition. I currently have the Citibank Account (no fee with minimum balance) with direct deposit, a savings account, and do at least one online bill-pay every month. At the end of every month I am earning 925 TY points, which means by the end of the year I will have 11,100 TY points to spend on travel. This is a pretty good deal considering it doesn’t cost me a dime and require zero effort to get the points. 11,000 TY points can translate to a night in a 3-star hotel room in many cities.