American Express Adds Cell Phone Protection on their Premium Cards (Platinum, Delta)

American Express added a new cell phone protection benefit on their premium cards which begins on April 1, 2021. If you’ve been using your card to pay your cell phone bill and your phone gets stolen or damaged (including screen damage), AmEx will reimburse the repair or replacement costs of up to $800 per claim. Limit two claims per 12-month period. $50 deductible on each claim.

Direct Link | Benefit Terms (pdf) 

The following cards are eligible:

  • AmEx Platinum cards consumer and business versions (including Schwab, Morgan Stanley, etc. versions)
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles cards consumer and business versions
  • Delta Reserve cards consumer and business versions
  • Centurion cards consumer and business versions

When comparing it to other cell phone credit card benefits, the $800 is higher than the standard $600 limit found on most cards, though lower than the $1,000 Citi Prestige benefit.  See Credit Card Cell Phone Insurance Compared – Get $600 In Coverage For Free (hopefully William will add the AmEx benefit to that post soon).

This benefit works especially well on the Delta cards during 2021 since there are separate wireless credits of $15 or $20 on the Delta Platinum business and Delta Reserve business cards through December. Also works well on the business Platinum card which earns 5x on the wireless category through June 30, 2021.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

4 Tips For Paying Off Credit Cards

Have you found yourself in credit card debt? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Researchers estimate that as many as 50% of U.S. households have credit card debt. I know from personal experience how it feels, because I had a $3,000 balance on my own credit card as recently as last year. It wasn’t easy, but I paid it all off and along the way I learned some important lessons about credit cards.

Below, I’ll share 4 tips that can help anyone pay off their credit cards:

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different strategies when it comes to paying off credit cards. One strategy is to take aim at the card with the lowest balance – in other words, the one that can be paid off the quickest. While this strategy can work for some people, a better option is to focus on the card with the highest interest rate, especially if that rate is 15-20% or more.

The reason you want to eliminate that high-interest debt first is it will save you a ton of money over the long run. There is little reason to leave that high-interest debt festering and building up more and more interest charges. Instead, just dedicate all your extra money and all your attention to destroying the highest-interest debt. And in the meantime, pay the minimum payments on your other debts to avoid any fees or penalties. Once you’ve destroyed the first balance, move on to the balance with the next-highest interest rate. For more tips on how to do this, check out our Credit Card Debt resource center.

2. See If A Balance Transfer Could Help You

If you happen to have a really high interest rate on one (or several) of your cards, you should consider doing a balance transfer. The term “balance transfer” means switching your credit card balance from one credit card to another one, usually with an entirely different company. For example, you might transfer your balance from a Chase card to a Citi card, or vice versa.

With a balance transfer, if you have a high credit score, you can sometimes get a much lower interest rate than what you have currently. The way it works is you will usually have to pay a fee up front (about 3-5% of your balance) and then get an introductory period with no interest, which can help give you the incentive to pay off that debt rapidly. It’s really important to read the fine print on balance transfer offers, though, because some of the offers have hidden fees.

3. Find New Ways To Save Money

In order to get your credit cards paid off as fast as possible, you’ll need to maximize your income every month, and that means finding new ways to save money. It’s always a good idea to have a monthly budget or spending plan. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to create one, so that you can see how much of your money goes to each category of spending in a given month.

Once you can see where your money is going, you’ll be able to identify areas you can cut back on. For example, if you are spending $400 at the grocery store each month and spending $300 eating at restaurants each month, then you can no doubt save money on food by cutting down on the number of times you eat out. You must change your habits in order to save – try planning your meals ahead of time and going to the grocery store with a list of ingredients that will get you through the entire week on home-cooked food. If you can make it a habit, you’ll begin saving money each month that can go toward debt.

The same is true if you realize that you’ve been spending lots of money on things like clothes, music, or anything else that qualifies as a “want” instead of a “need.” Change your habits to avoid the stores or websites that are tempting you to spend, and you’ll be able to save more. For further advice, check out our Budgeting Tips resource center.

4. Get Support To Boost Your Motivation

One of the biggest obstacles to actually paying off your credit cards is the fact that it’s so hard to stay motivated. Let’s be honest: paying off debt can be hard. So how do you keep your focus and persevere until you reach your goal of being debt free? We’ve found that sharing your goal with others is a really important part of the process, because it gives you a support network of people who can give you encouragement during the hard times, when you feel like stopping or giving up.

Decide on a few people you can trust to be positive and to treat you well, and tell them your goal. Then ask them to help you stay on track! As an alternative, or an added boost, write down your goal on a piece of paper and add a photo to remind you of what you’re striving for. Put it somewhere you’ll see it often, and it will help you stay focused throughout your journey to being debt free.

Hopefully these tips will help you pay off your credit cards faster than you even think you can! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions. You can also check out these additional tips on how to get out of debt which may be helpful if you have other types of debt besides credit cards.

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

[Expired] Citi ThankYou Points To Offer 15% Giftcard Redemption Discount

Update 2/15/21: Deal is back and valid for 15%. Hat tip to LightAcolyte

Update 11/29/20: 20% deal now live. Valid on Apple, Happy Dining, Fandango, PetSmart, and TopGolf gift cards.

Update 11/27/20: The November 27th offer for 15% off Apple, Chili’s, Happy Moments, Fandango, and Saks Fifth Avenue gift cards is now live now. There’s still supposed to be a different 20% off select gift cards on November 30th, but that one might be targeted and we don’t know which gift cards will be eligible for the discount.

Update 11/25/20: Others are reporting getting an offer for 15% off on November 27th.

Update 11/23/20: Reader anthonyjh21 was told via chat that the following gift cards will be eligible for the 20% redemptions discount: Apple, Happy Dining, Fandango, PetSmart, TopGolf.

The Offer

  • On November 30th, Citi will be offering a 20% discount when redeeming ThankYou points for select gift cards.

For example, you’ll be able to buy $125 in gift cards for 10,000 ThankYou points with this discount (1.25 cents-per-point) whereas typically you’d only get $100 in gift cards.

Citi ThankYou has lots of nice gift cards available to stores like Apple, Best Buy, Target and more; we’ll have to wait and see if this offer ends up being for all gift card brands or only the less valuable ones. You can see which gift cards are available for ThankYou redemptions here, but the deal is not yet showing.

The Fine Print

  • Valid on November 30 between 12:00am ET and 11:59pm ET

Our Verdict

Travelwithgrant got an email about this offer; I haven’t seen anything yet myself. I guess this will be a public deal available for everyone, but maybe it’s a targeted thing, we’ll see. This could be a worthwhile offer for some people. If you have a DoubleCash card, you can convert those point to ThankYou points to take advantage of this offer.

Hat tip again to Travelwithgrant

Source: doctorofcredit.com

A Points Collector’s Guide to Air France-KLM

Flying Blue is a joint loyalty program of two European airlines: Air France (headquartered at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France) and KLM (headquartered in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands).

In 2004, the two airlines merged and created a combined Air France-KLM Group. Both of the airlines are part of the SkyTeam alliance, which consists of 19 carriers.

Here’s what a strategic points collector needs to know and understand about Air France-KLM and its loyalty program, Flying Blue. We’ll cover how earning and redeeming works, how to get the maximum value from your miles, plus other facets that make this rewards program worth a second glance.

About Air France-KLM

Here’s a quick overview of a few key features of Air France-KLM.

  • Fare types: Air France operates aircraft with economy, premium economy, business class and first, or La Première, class. KLM operates service in economy and either World Business Class (on international routes) or Europe Business Class (on international or domestic routes within Europe) cabins.

  • Main U.S. routes: Both Air France and KLM cover quite a bit of the world with their routes. In the U.S., Air France flies to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas (seasonally), Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis (seasonally), New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. KLM operates service to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami (seasonally), Minneapolis, New York City, San Francisco, Salt Lake City (seasonally) and Washington, D.C.

  • Points currency and loyalty program: The two airlines’ joint loyalty program is called Flying Blue and it’s free to join. As a member, you’ll earn Flying Blue miles redeemable for award flights.

How to earn Flying Blue miles

Earn by flying

You can earn Flying Blue miles by flying on the following airlines and crediting the flights to Flying Blue. Note that the list includes non-SkyTeam partners of Air France-KLM.

When you fly partner airlines, the miles earned are credited based on the percentage of distance flown, which is calculated based on the fare code of a flight you purchase and vary by which partner airline you are on. You can click through the individual partner pages on the Flying Blue website to get specifics.

When you fly Air France or KLM, the miles you earn are determined by how much you spend on each ticket — minus taxes — and your elite status with the airline. Keep in mind, Flying Blue works in euros. In terms of an exchange rate, 1 euro has typically been worth $1.10 to $1.25 over the past five years.

Elite status

Earning rate

4 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

6 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

7 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

8 miles per euro ($1.10-$1.25)

Flying Blue is an example of a revenue-based rewards program, at least on the earning side for Air France- and KLM-operated flights. The more money you spend, the more rewards you earn.

Earn by spending on credit cards

With the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®, Air France-KLM flyers will earn extra bonus miles and a statement credit after spending a set amount on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

After this initial welcome bonus, you’ll continue earning 3 miles per dollar spent with Air France, KLM and other SkyTeam airlines, and 1.5 miles per dollar on all other purchases.

Each membership year you spend $50 on the airline credit card, you’ll earn 5,000 anniversary miles that are automatically added to your Flying Blue account.

Earn by transferring points between programs

Perhaps the easiest way to get your hands on Flying Blue miles is by transferring flexible currency from one of the bank rewards programs. Luckily, Air France-KLM partners with all of the major transferrable point programs.

You can transfer the following points to Flying Blue:

Of all the flexible point programs listed above, we recommend using American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards® or Citi ThankYou Points as they provide the highest conversion rates.

Nerd tip: Occasionally, AmEx and Citi add bonus miles to point conversions. During these promotional transfer periods, the bonus can be as high as 30% more miles in your Flying Blue account, which can make certain mileage bookings really attractive.

Other ways to earn

  • Hotels: Earn Flying Blue miles on hotel stays at brands like Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, among others.

  • Car rentals: Earn Flying Blue miles on car rentals made with car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget.

  • Shopping: Collect more miles when you shop with Batavia Stad Amsterdam Fashion, the Bicester Village Shopping Collection and Voyageurs du Monde.

  • Buy miles: In a pinch, you can buy Flying Blue miles starting at around $66 for 2,000 miles. Purchasing as many as 75,000 miles will set you back upward of $2,500. The program sometimes runs bonuses on mileage purchases.

Nerd tip: Since miles are always at risk of being devalued, we don’t recommend making speculative points purchases without a redemption in mind.

How to redeem Flying Blue miles for maximum value

Book award seats early

Flying Blue uses a dynamic-style chart for its award flights. In other words, redemption rates start at a certain point and can increase based on when and where you fly.

Flying Blue sells a certain number of award seats at the lowest redemption level before it hikes the rates based on demand. To find out what that level is, enter a city pair into the Miles Price Estimator and watch what comes up on your preferred route.

For example, say you want to fly from Salt Lake City to Budapest, Hungary. According to the Miles Price Estimator, the lowest redemption level is set at 24,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way ticket in economy and 53,000 miles for a one-way ticket in business class.

So if you’re flexible with your travel plans, look for dates when tickets are available at the low-level rates for mileage redemption.

Use Promo Rewards

One of the sweet spots of the Flying Blue program is its Promo Rewards. Every month, the airline releases discount routes for certain city pairs, and you can get up to 50% off standard award rates in economy, premium economy and business classes of service.

The promo page is updated the first day of the month, and you have the whole month to book a discounted flight for travel during a specific time period. Keep in mind that some trips sell out quickly — we don’t recommend waiting too long to snag one of these promotional fares if you see one you like.

Delta partner flights

Because Air France-KLM is an alliance partner of Delta Air Lines, use Flying Blue for the following mileage redemptions on Delta-operated flights.

  • U.S. to Hawaii: This redemption will set you back 35,000 miles on a round-trip ticket from the continental U.S. to the Aloha State.

  • U.S. to Mexico: Another great redemption that will cost you 29,000 on round-trip flights from the U.S. to Mexico.

Flying Blue’s elite status program

Think of reaching Flying Blue elite status like playing a game. The more experience points, or XP, you earn by flying Air France-KLM or their partners, the quicker you level up. The number of XP earned per flight depends on travel class and flight type.

Tiers

Flying Blue flyers are divided into four elite levels: Explorer, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Everyone starts at the Explorer level when they join the loyalty program, then members can make their way up as they fly.

Once you reach a status level within 12 months of being a member, you get the benefits associated with it for 15 months (unless you qualify for a higher tier in that time — then the clock resets). On the flip side, if you fail to re-qualify for the same status tier within 12 months, you’ll drop to the previous tier.

What status holders get

Here are the perks associated with each elite status level. As mentioned previously, Flying Blue works in euros. We’ve listed a typical range in dollars for comparison.

It’s worth mentioning that one of the desirable benefits of holding either Gold or Platinum elite status with Flying Blue is the ability to redeem miles for La Première awards — Air France’s first-class cabin. The redemption option isn’t available to Silver elites or Explorer members of the program.

What makes Air France-KLM unique?

Passengers flying in KLM’s World Business Class cabin receive a unique gift: a miniature Delft Blue house filled with jenever, a juniper-flavored drink of the Netherlands. The airline designs a new Dutch house every year and has presented these souvenirs to KLM premium-cabin flyers since the 1950s.

To add a porcelain Delft house to your collection, simply book an intercontinental flight in World Business Class.

The bottom line

Flying Blue may be a foreign loyalty program, but U.S.-based travelers shouldn’t overlook it.

Its miles are easily accessible via multiple transferrable programs, which means that pooling rewards into a single account when you’re ready to redeem miles for an award isn’t difficult.

Although the program uses dynamic pricing for its redemption rates, it still makes low-level awards available to those whose schedule is flexible. On top of that, transfer bonuses from certain bank programs can drop redemption rates even lower.

If you’re looking to fly a SkyTeam partner on an award ticket, consider Flying Blue and its redemption options.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com