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You know what the best thing about opening up a new credit card is? The sign-up bonus, of course!
You know what’s even better?
Using those points or miles and then getting some back – just for using them! Some credit cards offer points rebates; either for being a cardholder, or using the card.
How Points/Miles Rebates Work
In most cases (with the exception of the American Express Business Platinum) you don’t even need to use the credit card in question for the purchase. You just need to be a card member to qualify for the rebate.
The sign up on this card is typically 60,000 – 80,000 IHG points after spending $1,000 – $2,000 in the first three months of card opening. The annual fee is usually waived and each year you receive a annual free night certificate which can be used at any IHG property that has availability.
Rebate: Receive 10% of redeemed points back on a maximum of 100,000 points redeemed, per calendar year.
Sounds complicated, but quite simply: if you redeem 100,000 IHG points, you’ll get a refund of 10,000 per year.
Points rebates typically post after the stay is completed.
Though the arrival card used to be a more lucrative, the sign-up bonus is solid (currently 50,000 Arrival points and no annual fee the first year). It does earn a consistent 2% back on each dollar spent, but the redemption benefits were nuked last year and now the minimum redemption must be on a travel charges over $100.
Rebate: Receive 5% miles back.
Example: You use 10,000 Arrival + points towards $100 hotel stay. You will receive a refund of 500 points back. (5% back from the total sign-up bonus would be about 2,500 points).
American Airlines AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard / Aviator Red MasterCard
Even with Citi’s restrictions on getting the sign-up bonuses again within a “card family”, there are still lots of ways to earn AAdvantage miles. Barclaycard recently started allowing new applications for the Aviator Red card – and if you’ve held this card over 2 years ago, you are eligible for the bonus.
Rebate: Both of these cards offer the 10% back on miles (max of 10,000) per calendar year. Even if you carry both off them, you cannot stack the bonus for 20% back.
Here’s how it looks if you carry both cards:
This award costs 160,000 AAdvantage miles.
Remember, you get 10% back up to 100,000 redeemed miles.
The 10,000 (or 10%) back was distributed across both awards for a total of 10,000 miles.
If you were to click ‘Promo: 4,000’, a box would pop up and either say “Citi Redemption Bonus” or “Aviator Redemption Bonus”.
American Express Business Platinum
In efforts to up the ante on their Platinum products, American Express added a new feature this year to the business version that is very similar to the other point rebate features listed in this article – but with a few catches.
Refund: 50% of points used via AMEX Travel returned (see conditions below)
Travel through the AMEX portal is 1 cent to the dollar, but with 50% of points refunded to you (provided you follow the conditions below), it’s effectively 2 cents per dollar.
I wouldn’t recommend using Membership Rewards on this itinerary, but if you had the Business Platinum, you’d pay the 32,000 points upfront and then receive 16,000 back – or 50%.
- You must book travel through the AMEX travel portal.
- For itineraries booked in economy class, the rebate is only applied to travel that is booked on your airline of choice (the same airline you choose for your travel credits each year).
- For itineraries booked in business and/or first class, this rebate applies to all airlines booked through the portal.
The terms say that the rebates take 6 – 8 weeks, but evidence here shows that it takes 1 – 2 days.
This benefit is really great, though somewhat restrictive (typical AMEX).
There are three JetBlue cards offered by Barclaycard
- No annual fee, 10,000 point sign-up
- $99 annual fee, 30,000 point sign-up after spending $1,000 within three months of card opening
- Business version – $99 annual fee, 30,000 point sign-up after spending $1,000 within three months of card opening
Rebate: JetBlue and Barclaycard have some very clear Q&A about how this benefit works:
The terms here say every time – which is less restrictive than other rebates like that offered by the Citi and Barclaycard American Airlines credit cards.
Because TrueBlue award redemptions are based off of the price of a ticket, it’s rare that you award ticket will cost 80,000 TrueBlue miles (like an AAdvantage award). Though 10% miles back off of a award ticket that costs 6,000 miles doesn’t seem like a lot, it does add up over the course of a year.
In some cases, these rebates don’t seem to be that lucrative; however, in other cases, like with the AAdvantage cards, you’re effectively knocking all award ticket prices down by 10%, which is pretty decent.
Points rebates are an additional “bonus” and add an incentive for keeping the card a bit longer.
– The Miner