Reports are popping up about targeted bonuses for credit card spending between now and the end of the year. The bonuses are targeted to select holders of various credit cards issued by Citi, Barclays, and Chase banks. These deals offer extra points for general or category-specific spending over the next three months. The offers typically are capped at a certain spending limit.
I received an offer from Chase and Southwest Airlines for 3,000 bonus points if I spend $5000 on my Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card between October 1 and December 31, 2013. The bonus is on top of the regular 1x point you earn on purchases. You must pre-register your card to receive the bonus points.
In effect, the bonus boosts the earn rate on eligible Rapid Rewards credit cards to 1.6x points for the last quarter of 2013.
It is curious that this bonus offer comes along at the same time that Southwest has announced a major devaluation of Rapid Rewards points.
Is it worth moving discretionary spending to the Rapid Rewards credit card to take advantage of this offer? The answer will depend on your travel goals and what else is in your wallet. In my case, I hold the Chase Freedom card which has a 4th quarter bonus of 5x points for up to $1500 in purchases from Amazon.com. I also have a United credit card that pays 2x points on gas purchases, and the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® –which pays 2.2x points on restaurants and travel spending.
Because Southwest Rapid Reward Points have a fixed value, there is no controversy about what they are worth. If you are using them to purchase “Wanna Get Away” fares, points are currently worth 1.6 cents until March 31, 2014, when they will be worth 1.4 cents.
If you are able to take advantage of this bonus (in other words, if you have $5000 of spending) you will effectively earn a rate of 2.26 points per dollar (1.6 x 1.4).
We have a major car repair coming up, and will have to carefully consider which credit card offers us the best value for the spending.
I wonder what criteria the banks use to select people for the special holiday offers?
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