News Round: The Latest News From The Points & Miles World This Week

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Every week there are plenty of news stories affecting the points and miles world. To save you leafing through hundreds of webpages each week, we select the most relevant and important pieces of news affecting you. So read on to find out what’s hot and what not in the miles bonus offers this week.

Chase introduces new welcome bonus tracker

If you have multiple cards and are finding difficult to keep track of  how close you are to meeting the minimum spending requirement to trigger a welcome bonus, Chase has just made your life a lot easier.

A great points bonus tracking tool from Chase bank. Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Chase has introduced a new welcome bonus tracker that will show your progress in meeting the minimum spending requirement. The tracker shows how much you have spent, how much is left and how long you have left to meet the spending threshold to trigger your points bonus.

The new tracker is available online and on mobile.

  • In the mobile app, simply click on your new card to see the tracker
  • Online, once you have logged into your Chase account, head over to the Ultimate Rewards Program and select rewards activity to see the tracker

This is a great new feature that can be especially useful if you are nearing the end of the points bonus period and need to increase your spending to trigger it, or if you don’t want to overspend on the card and just want to meet the minimum spending requirement.

Amex UK introduces 24 month welcome bonus restriction

American Express UK has effectively killed off any credit card churning in the UK with its latest move, which came into force with immediate effect. In the United Kingdom, you will no longer be eligible to receive a welcome points bonus if you have held ANY Amex card and received a welcome bonus in the last 24 months.

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This move is much more restrictive than similar rules in the US, which typically limit you to one welcome bonus from the same card every 24 months. However, in the interim period, you can receive a welcome bonus from another product from the same issuer. With this new UK rule, if you have received a welcome bonus from an Amex Platinum Card, you will be ineligible to receive a bonus from the Amex Gold Card even if you have never held it before. The restriction is in place for 24 months.

Amex UK has introduced two exceptions to the rule that affect the UK version of the Amex Platinum Card, and British Airways Premium Plus card. With the platinum card, you can still earn the points bonus if you have held a non-membership rewards earning card in the last 24 months. The 24-month restriction applies if you have held a membership rewards earning card (Green and Gold).

The British Airways Premium Plus card has the inverse rule, so even if you have received a welcome bonus from a membership rewards earning card (Green, Gold, and Platinum) you are still eligible to earn the Avios welcome bonus.

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Construction begins on JFK Centurion Lounge

American Express plans to add 3 new Centurion lounges to its stable in 2019, and one in 2020. Finally, work has begun on the new Centurion Lounge at JFK’s Terminal 4. Once the lounge is completed, it will be the second Centurion lounge in New York after the lounge in at LaGuardia.

American Express Centurion Lounge
A new lounge is coming. Image: American Express

The new lounge will be the largest Centurion lounge around and will provide 15,000 ft of space spread over two floors. The lounge is expected to be raised, and will feature large windows over the airport apron.

AA ends co-branded 10% mileage rebate

American Airlines has announced that it is ending the 10% rebate that holders of certain credit cards receive on their redemptions. Currently, cardholders receive a 10% rebate on all mileage redemptions throughout the year. The rebate applies to redemptions on AA metal and partner awards. Currently, you can receive a maximum of 10,000 miles as a rebate per year, regardless of the number of qualifying cards you hold.

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A change to American Airlines miles bonus. Photo: American Airlines

The devaluation affects the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red card, the Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Silver card, and the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card. Fortunately, you still have some time to receive a rebate on redemption since the benefit won’t be discontinued until May 1st, 2019.

AA and Hyatt team up

Another crossover program has been announced between AA and World of Hyatt just in time for our weekly update. The new program will allow elites from both programs to leverage their status with the other program, for enhanced earning rates and other perks. While the details are a little thin on the ground at the moment, we do know a few of the perks:

  • AA elites Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum, and Concierge Key members will earn an additional point per dollar at Hyatt properties.
  • World of Hyatt Elites Explorist and Globalist will earn an additional point per dollar spent on AA qualifying flights.
  • American Airlines Concierge Key members are set to receive Hyatt Globalist status. No details have been announced, but they will have restricted benefits compared to those who achieve the status via normal stays.
  • The program will offer special status match promotions to each other’s members.
A great points bonus with Hyatt
A great points bonus with Hyatt. Photo: Hyatt

This is the first crossover award program we have seen launch in quite a while. Currently only Marriott and United have a crossover rewards program, although historically Delta had a partnership with SPG. However this came to an end when Marriott acquired SPG. Now that AA has teamed up with Hyatt, and United has a relationship with Marriott, we can only wonder who Delta will team up with. The case for both IHG and Hilton are strong although Hilton is probably more of a favorite.

Boingo Wi-Fi eliminated from Amex Platinum Card

American Express is cutting the Wi-Fi Boingo perk from the benefits list of its Platinum Card. The perk is coming to an end effective May 1st, 2019. The Boingo Amex Preferred Plan gives members access to over a million hotspots worldwide, as well as free inflight Wi-Fi.

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April 30, 2019, is the last day you can register for Amex Platinum cardholders to register for the Boingo Amex Preferred Plan. If you complete your registration before May 1, 2019, then you will still receive Boingo access through December 31, 2019.

No more WiFi with Amex
No more WiFi with Amex. Photo: British Airways

Fortunately, Amex is not removing the perk from all its cards, and you will still be able to register for the plan if you hold Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card or  The Business Platinum Card from American Express.

New 24-month restriction added by Bank Of America

Bank of America has introduced a new 24-month restriction on credit card applications, to sit along its less well known 2/3/4 rule. The new rule means that you are ineligible to apply for a new card if you have held the same product in the last 24 months. At the date of writing this weekly update, the rule does not seem to apply to all Bank of America cards, although this may change at a moment notice.

The rule sits alongside the banks 2/3/4 rule which states that you can only open two new credit accounts in two months, three cards in 12 months, and four cards in 24 months.

The new rule is restrictive, although it is not as limiting as some of the other credit card rules and restrictions around, like the Amex one bonus per lifetime rule or Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Final Thoughts

As a trend this weekly update is not full the brightest news week for bonus points and miles aficionados. The majority of the news is about benefit cut, perk eliminations and more restrictions on applications. While they are bad news, they do stick to the recent trend of companies cutting benefits to reduce costs. On the brighter side of things, the creation of a new crossover rewards program is great news for Hyatt and American members, and we can’t wait to try the new Centurion Lounge in New York JFK.

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