The AT&T Access More MasterCard from Citi Can Get You a Free New IPhone As a Sign Up Bonus

The AT&T Access More MasterCard from Citi Can Get You a Free New IPhone As a Sign Up Bonus

Citibank has been rolling out some exciting new cards with great rewards recently and has become very competitive with Chase, Barclays and Amex. This new card is going to be the most valuable one for those needing a new IPhone.

 

While BestCashCow.com strongly advocates people hold travel and rewards cards for the best value from their regular spend, The AT&T Access More Mastercard® from Citi has a great sign up bonus for anyone needing a new IPhone.

According to the terms of the card, when you spend $2,000 on the card within 3 months of account opening you can buy a new AT&T phone at full price with no annual contract and Citibank will credit the account for the cost of the phone up to $650 (exclusive of taxes, shipping, fees & wireless service).  $650 will get you a 16 GB IPhone 6 with a 4.7 inch display (if you want increased storage or the the larger iPhone, your price will be higher so that you will have some out of pocket expense).  There is an $95 annual fee which should also weigh in to your calculations.

Citibank will even let you buy the phone right away and as long as you maintain service with AT&T for 15 days it will count toward the required spend for your signup bonus.

Most people will generally find travel and rewards cards to be the most valuable cards for regular spend.

This chart shows the most valuable travel and rewards cards for your regular spend.  

This card, however, is a great offer for a sign up bonus, especially since it will enable those who aren't up for a subsidized phone, those who don't otherwise qualify, and those who can find a better rate plan without a subsidy to get a new IPhone right away. 

 

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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Top 15 Most Valuable Travel and Rewards Credit Cards

Top 15 Most Valuable Travel and Rewards Credit Cards

The following table contains the top 15 travel and rewards cards based on value received through sign up bonuses and usage. The value that you receive from any card may differ, based on your particular usage patterns and whether you are able redeem points you earn for the most valuable rewards.

15 Most Valuable Travel and Rewards Credit Cards

Also see our list of the 10 best credit cards based on the value of the sign-up bonus!

Card Sign Up Bonus / How To Accrue Points Redemptions for Maximum Point Value A Great Card for People Who

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card®

3.4%
Back in Value
Bonus: Get 40,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months. (Offer is often raised to 50,000 points).

Points: Earn 2x at restaurants and on travel.  $95 annual fee, waived the first year.  No foreign transaction fees.
Transfer points to:
  • Hyatt - 8,000 points gets a night at the Hyatt Regency Greenville, SC.
  • British Airways - 15,000 points gets a round trip ticket between Chicago and the East Coast (on AA)
  • United - 140,000 points gets a RT business class ticket from JFK to Narita
  • Singapore - 60,000 points gets a RT business class ticket from the mainland US to Hawaii (on United)
Those seeking flexibility in the way they can redeem travel rewards points.

Chase Ink Plus Card®

3.4%
Back in Value
Bonus: Get 60,000 points after spending $5,000 within three months. (Offer sometimes raised to 70,000).

Points: Earn 5x at office supply stores, 2x on gas and hotels, 1x everywhere else. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee, waived first year. (This is the business version of the above card).
Same as above Small businesses or individuals seeking to separate business spend from personal spend. Those seeking flexibility in the way they can redeem travel rewards points.

The Hyatt Card® by Chase®

hyatt 3.3%
Back in Value
Bonus: 2 free nights at any Hyatt worldwide after $1,000 spend; also get a $50 statement credit after your first purchase and 5,000 Hyatt points when you add a second cardholder.

Points; 3x at Hyatt, 2x at restaurants, 1x everywhere else. No foreign transaction fees. $75 annual fee, waived the first year.   After payment of your annual fee, you will receive 1 night each year in a Hyatt category 1-4 hotel; you will also receive 5,000 bonus points to keep the card if you call Chase to inform them that you want to cancel the card because of the fee.
Redeem 8,000 points for a night at Park Hyatt Mendoza or Hyatt Regency Montreal, or 30,000 points for a night at the Park Hyatt New York or Park Hyatt Paris. Those seeking to redeem value for their credit card spend at Hyatt, which is one of the most valuable hotel programs even after recent program devaluations.

The Fairmont® Visa Signature Card by Chase®

fairmont 3.1%
Back in Value
Bonus: 2 free nights at any Fairmont worldwide after $3,000 spend within three months. Receive a third free night after $12,000 in annual spend.

Points: 5x at Fairmont, 2x on airlines directly, and car rentals restaurants, 1x everywhere else. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
Free nights may be redeemed at any Fairmont worldwide, but may not be redeemed for consecutive nights in New York. Those who travel to Fairmont locations and can spend $12,000 a year on the card in order to get a third free night.

Citi ThankYou® Premier (see also Citi Prestige)

citibank thank you 3.0%
Back in Value
Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after you spend $3,000 within three months.

Points: 3x on travel, including gas, 2x at restaurants, 1x everywhere else. No foreign transaction fees. $95 annual fee, waived the first year.  (A separate card, the Citi Prestige Card, carries the same bonus, but carries a $450 fee in return for the benefits described in this article).
Points may be transferred to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (see above), Hilton, Cathay, Quantas, Malaysia (not recommended) or one of several other lesser known travel partners. May alternatively be redeemed directly on American at 1.6 cents per point. Those who charge a lot on travel and restaurants, and who can take advantage of one of the Singapore Airlines redemptions outlined in this article (other rewards, including the direct credit on American, provide less than the value ascribed here.).

British Airways® Visa Signature Card®

2.7%
Back in Value
Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $2,000 within 3 months.

Points: $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
15,000 points gets a round trip ticket between Chicago and the East Coast (on American), or a round trip between Seattle and LA (on American), or a round trip trip between London and Madrid (on Iberia).  Note that redemptions directly on British Airways are often subject to excessive fees. Those seeking great value for their credit card spend by redeeming on short haul flights through British Airways' partners

The Platinum Card® from American Express

2.7%
Back in Value
Bonus: 100,000 points after spending $10,000 within 3 months (Targeted offers are often as high as 150,000 points after spending $20,000 in three months).

Points: Ordinarily 1 point per $1 spent on the card. $450 annual fee. $200 annual travel credit can be used in twice in a payment year (once in each of two successive calendar years).
Transfer points to:
  • British Airways where they have the value described above.
  • Singapore Airlines where they have the value described above.
  • Delta Airlines where they are worth nothing.
Those seeking flexible points that can be redeemed on several solid partner airlines, including British Airways and Singapore Airlines.

American Express OPEN® Business Gold Rewards Card

2.7%
Back in Value
Bonus: 30,000 points after spending $5,000 within 3 months (Targeted offers are often as high as 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in three months).

Points: Ordinarily 1 point per $1 spent on the card, although there are certain categories for faster accumulation. $175 annual fee, waived the first year.
Transfer points to:
  • British Airways at 1 Amex: 0.80 BA
  • Singapore Airlines at 1:1 where they have the value described above.
  • Delta Airlines at 1:1 where they are worth nothing.
Those seeking to segregate business expenses and earn flexible points that can be redeemed on several solid partner airlines, including British Airways and Singapore Airlines.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card®

2.625%
Back in Value
Bonus: N/A

Points: Provides 1.5 points for every dollar spent, plus a 75% bonus for those holding more than $100,000 in a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account.  Points are redeemable only for travel statement credits.
N/A Those holding over $100,000 in assets either at Merrill or BoA who seek maximum flexibility in travel redemptions, in return for giving up opportunities that may be available through a hotel or airline program.

Citi American Airlines® Advantage Platinum Select World Mastercard® (or Business Mastercard for Businesses®)

2.5%
Back in Value
Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within 3 months.

Points: 2x points on American, 1x everywhere else. $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
40,000 miles gets a round trip ticket between the US and Europe during low season. Those who fly American Airlines or who seek to redeem points on American.

United Mileage Plus Explorer Card® (Also available as a business card)

2.5%
Back in Value
Bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in 3 months.

Points: Earn 2x on United, 1x everywhere else. $95 annual fee, waived the first year.  No foreign transaction fees.
Redeem 350,000 for an around the world business class ticket, 140,000 points for a business class ticket from JFK to Narita, or redeem 30,000 points for an intra-Europe coach class ticket on a Star Alliance® partner. Those who fly United Airlines, or who seek to redeem rewards on United.

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card®, also available for Business

2.2%
Back in Value
Bonus: Current signup offer is 10,000 after your first purchase and 20,000 of which are awarded after you spend $3,000 in 3 months.

Points: Earn 1 point per $1 spend. Fee waived the first year.
48,000 points for 5 nights at Sheraton Kauai Resort, The Westin Palace Madrid or the Westin Michigan Ave Chicago
 
Those who plan to stay at Starwood hotels for long stays and can take advantage of 5th night free awards. 

Citi Hilton Honors® Visa Reserve Card®

2.2%
Back in Value
Bonus: Earn 2 free weekend nights at any Hilton worldwide after you spend $2,500 in first four months.

Points: Earn 10 points per $1 spend at Hilton, 5 points per dollar spend on air and car rentals, 3 points everywhere else. $95 annual fee
Most Conrads are 95,000 points per night. Two free nights can be used at any Conrad including the Conrad New York.
 
Those who plan to stay at Hilton hotels. 

The Barclaycard® World Elite Arrival Plus Mastercard®

2.1%
Back in Value
Bonus: Receive 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months.

Points: 2x per every dollar spent on the card.  Points have a 1 cent value when redeemed for direct statement credits against travel and earn a 5% point bonus on each redemption.  $89 fee, waived first year.
Points are redeemable only for travel statement credits. Those who seek maximum flexibility in award redemption, in return for giving up opportunities that may be available through an airline or hotel program.

Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card® by US Bank

2.0%
Back in Value
Bonus: 50,000 Gold points when you sign up and 35,000 when you spend $2,500 in 3 months. 40,000 each year you renew.

Points: Earn 5 points per dollar spent. We value these points in the maximum scenario as being worth 0.4 cents each. $75 annual fee.
Redeem 70,000 points for 1 night at the MayFair in London. Those who travel to London (Due to a recent program devaluation, the value on spend is 2.5% only if you redeem at hotels in London, as this article explains).

 

 

Image: khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


Travel and Rewards Credit Cards Outperform Cash Back Cards

Travel and Rewards Credit Cards Outperform Cash Back Cards

For most people, travel and rewards cards can offer much more value than cash back credit cards.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article entitled "Don't Settle for 1% Cash Back of Credit Cards".   The article, which confirms that the basic cash back rewards cards offer 1% which can usually be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards, cites several cards that pay slightly more including a Citizens (CFG) World Mastercard card that pays 1.50% to 1.80%.  (Oddly, the Wall Street Journal neglects however to highlight the fact that several cards actually pay over 2%, including the Merrill Lynch Travel Rewards card and the Barclays Arrival Card, paying 2.65% and 2.20% cash back when the value is taken as a charge against travel related charges on the card).  The article ends with a quote from someone at CardHub saying that poeple should avoid cards that earn travel and rewards miles because these miles can be devalued.  It neglects, however, to point out that - other than Delta Airlines  – very few loyalty programs have engaged in such a significant devaluation as to render the value of those points in the program to be worth less than 1 cent each (or 1 cent per dollar spent on a eligible travel and rewards program).  

Because the value in travel and rewards cards is significantly higher than cash back cards, BestCashCow.com strongly recommends airline and hotel loyalty credit cards for all individuals and couples not requiring immediate cash back.  Airline points ordinarily have a value well over 1 cent and can often be much higher, enabling cardholders to travel around the world in class of service that they might not be able to afford otherwise (see the BestCashCow airline mile valuation chart here).  Hotel points, likewise, can easily be worth as much as 3 cents, or 3% of spend in certain programs (see chart here).   The Club Carlson card, in particular, which gives 5 points per dollar spend, can often return value as high as 13% of spend if you redeem for hotel stays in London as this article explains.

Those who are not planning an immediate travel redemption and who are going to lose sleep over the possibility of their points being devalued should look to a flexible travel and rewards card instead of a direct airline or hotel loyalty credit card.  The top three are listed on this page.   In this category, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the best bet as those points can be transferred to United, Singapore, Korean and British Airways or to Hyatt or Intercontinental hotels.  You may maintain the points at Chase until you are ready to transfer them, and you always have the option of redeeming at 1% cash back.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.