Alternate Bank Program Showdown Part 1: Barclays vs USBank vs Bank of America vs Capital One

Barclays Arrival Card Final



Note: This post was updated on 6/21/2018 to reflect the following new changes:

  • Air Canada’s Aeroplan was just added as an additional transfer partner to the Arrival Premier card;
  • The Arrival Plus card is being re-introduced to new applicants on 7/1/2018 with a 60,000 point sign up bonus!

Now that we’ve covered the big three bank miles programs, we now move on to the next 4 alternatives. Although not as well known, there is certainly no reason to ignore any of these as each of them is highly competitive in their own right and the right mix of cards can still offer you a competitive if not superior return on your spending. Keep in mind that I am covering each of these programs as unified systems, but the reality is that most of these rewards are tied to a particular card and cannot be pooled or transferred between accounts save for a few exceptions, which I will indicate when appropriate.

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Battle of the Big Three – Part 3: Membership Rewards vs Ultimate Rewards vs ThankYou Points

American Express PRG Card



Note: This article was updated on 6/27/2018 to include the new 100$ Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credit, added as a benefit for personal Platinum card products. For more details, see this post.

Our final article in this series will cover the AMEX Membership Rewards (MR) program, which started all the way back in 1991 and boasts the largest number of transfer partners of the big three. Compared to Citi’s and Chase’s programs, the MR program is in the middle in terms of tracking points earning, checking on pending points, and redemption options.  Read on to find out if the MR-earning cards are a good fit to maximize the return on your credit card spending.

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Battle of the Big Three – Part 2: Ultimate Rewards vs Membership Rewards vs ThankYou Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card



Note: this post was updated on 6/11/2018 to add the Ink Business Unlimited card that Chase launched in the end of May. This product is identical on the earning and spending sides to the Freedom Unlimited personal card in that you earn 1.5 UR points on every dollar of spending. While the business version does have some minor added benefits, such as primary car rental coverage for business purposes, given its’ similarities, we are not going to cover it in much depth apart from including it in all the comparison charts.

Today, we are continuing our review of the three major transferrable points currencies: Chase’s Ultimate Rewards (UR), Citibank’s ThankYou Points (TYP), and American Express’ Membership Rewards (MR). Our second article in this series covers the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) program, which I think is the most user-friendly of the big three. Read on to find out if the UR-earning cards are a good fit to maximize the return on your credit card spending.

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Battle of the Big Three – Part 1: ThankYou Points vs Ultimate Rewards vs Membership Rewards

Citi Prestige Card



Today, I’d like to kick off a review of the three major transferrable points currencies: Chase’s Ultimate Rewards (UR), Citibank’s ThankYou Points (TYP), and American Express’ Membership Rewards (MR). I am starting with these as they are arguably the best advertised and most known of all the miles programs outside of airlines’ and hotel’ own programs. I have cards with all three but if you’re just starting out, you can certainly maximize just a single program and get very impressive rewards very quickly if you target high sign-up bonuses and are strategic about your spend.

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The Six Cardinal Rules of MileNavigator



Welcome to the MileNavigator! Whether you’re just starting out and dipping your toes into the world of award travel redemption, are firmly in the intermediate camp, or are a seasoned veteran who’s redeemed miles for everything from Ritz-Carlton stays in Morocco to Cathay Pacific First Class, this post serves to set out and define the ground rules of this hobby:

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Introduction and Mission




Good evening, everyone!

First off, I would like to thank you for visiting this site. Part of the reason I decided to create my own entry in the crowded world of travel blogs is my desire to use my experience in helping others get into the exciting hobby of travel hacking. By leveraging and maximizing credit card rewards, you will be able to take advantage of amazing redemptions and revolutionize your travel. Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend away with a couple of free hotel nights or an exotic getaway to the Maldives or Japan, the world of credit card points and airline miles opens up an entire world of high-end travel and hotel stays that would otherwise set you back many months (and years) of savings!

Having been in the travel hacking hobby for over 3 years, one of my goals is to prioritize my real-world experience in this hobby as well as use as data-driven and visual approach as possible. Over the years, during my introduction to the world of credit card travel, I have noticed that many blogs advertise the latest and greatest bank offer with either only superficial details or information directly lifted from advertising materials. Not only would you find certain redemptions were very difficult – if not impossible – to book but the fine-print would make even those very difficult to achieve. Additionally, in many instances, I would find that I needed to look through multiple web sites over many days to really get enough information about a new program or offer to make an informed decision, leading to countless hours of time lost researching products.

With your help and feedback, I hope to avoid the same mistakes that I encountered early on in my hobby and make the world of award travel better for everyone. I look forward to hearing about your experiences and travel stories as well as any tips and advice you have to add to this community.

 
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