Local Chase And Citi Branches Offering Better Sign-Up Bonuses Than The Entire Internet

In recent weeks, reports have begun to crop up about the existence of superior credit card offers at brick-and-mortar Chase and Citi branches.  For details on these offers, I’ll direct you to reports by The Miles Professor about her experiences at Chase and Citi branches.  But just to whet your appetite, she found a 50,000-mile offer on the United Explorer card, a slightly lower spending requirement for the 40,000-point bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and a Citi Thank You card that offers 5 points per dollar at drug stores, supermarkets, and gas stations for one year.  The Points Guy also reports that his local Chase branch has an offer for the United Club card that, unlike the publicly-available offer, has no annual fee for the first year.

Chase Branch

What, your local Chase branch doesn’t look like this?

Each of these offers is superior to its publicly-available counterpart, but the one that really piques my interest is the United Explorer offer.  If I hadn’t recently taken advantage of a targeted 50,000-mile offer on the Explorer card, I’d apply for this one.

The Citi Thank You offer used to be available online, but now appears to be available exclusively through Citi branches, and only upon inquiry.  The 5x bonus categories certainly seem tempting, but it’s difficult to justify spending a credit inquiry on a limited-time (one-year) offer that only “pays off” at high spending levels when you could, alternatively, grab a quick 50,000-point sign-up bonus with several other cards (like the United Explorer card!).  Plus, Thank You points aren’t particularly valuable — they top out at about 1 cent apiece when redeemed for gift cards, used to pay off a student loan or mortgage, or donated to charity.  If you also open a Citi Thank You Premier card, Thank You points can be redeemed for travel purchases at a rate of 1.33 cents per point, but, again, not worth the opportunity cost of a credit inquiry.

The bottom line?  If you plan to apply for a Chase or Citi card and live close to a Chase or Citi branch, be sure to stop in and ask about the best available offers.  They might very well be better than what you find on the internet!

Notes And Updates for June 7, 2013

Sadly, the 2% cash-back Priceline Visa Rewards card is no longer available.  There are other, far less lucrative versions of the Priceline card, but you’re much better off with one of the other 2% – 2.2% cash-back options. In other bad news, the … [Continue reading]

What’s The Deal With Discover?

Discover It Card

In January, 2013, Discover consolidated its various brands of then-existing credit cards into the – I kid you not – “It” brand.  Discover is pouring lots of money into promoting its new “It” brand, so let’s take a look and see if this brainchild of … [Continue reading]

Reminder: 35% Bonus On Transfers From Membership Rewards Points To British Airways Avios Ends Friday!

If you're interested in cashing in the 35% bonus on transfers from American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios, the last day to do so is this Friday, June 7th.  I've discussed how to use Avios for amazing redemptions on … [Continue reading]

How I Estimate The Value Of Points And Miles

Placing an absolute value on a particular type of point or mile is a highly abstract and nearly impossible task.  I realize that this might sound like a pretty compelling reason not to continue to read my blog -- given that I purport to dole out … [Continue reading]

Notes And Updates For May 28, 2013

Mercedes Benz Platinum Card

View from the Wing has a great write-up about the 5,000 and 10,000-point bonuses that some Amex charge card holders can earn by enrolling in Amex's “Pay Over Time” feature.  I didn’t qualify for the bonus -- and it’s unclear who does -- but some … [Continue reading]

Beware: The Incredibly Misleading “MagsforMiles” Program

United Miles for Mags

You’ve probably heard of the “MagsforMiles” program, or at least received one of their letters imploring you to buy magazine subscriptions with your frequent flyer miles.  The program partners with most domestic airlines -- Alaska, American, Delta, … [Continue reading]

A New Approach To Avoid Falling Victim To Airport Currency-Exchange Fees

Airport Kiosk Exchange Rate Board

Most people are well-aware that airport currency-exchange kiosks offer terrible exchange rates.  And while it’s easy to avoid those rates when buying foreign currency -- by making a withdrawal from an ATM rather than swapping cash – there’s no great … [Continue reading]

How To Earn Free Points And Miles By Enrolling In Dining Programs

Dining Rewards Table PNG

One of the easiest ways to rack up points and miles with almost no effort whatsoever is to enroll your credit cards in airline and hotel dining programs.  Simply register your cards with a given program (you can register up to five cards per … [Continue reading]