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How to cash out Bank of America Travel Rewards Points

Bank of America offers the Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa.  It earns 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything.  The earned points can then be used to offset only travel related purchases.   However, what if you don’t travel that much or would rather have the cash.

There is a way to redeem your points for cash.  What’s not widely known is that these points can be transferred or combined with any Worldpoints credit card, including the Fidelity Amex or the Fidelity Visa. They get transferred at a 1:1 ratio, so there is no loss.  Once the points are transferred to your Fidelity account, you can withdraw those points to your Fidelity eligible checking or brokerage, thus allowing you to fully cash out your Bank of America travel rewards points.

What’s interesting is that you can transfer these points to friends and family.  So, if you don’t have a Fidelity Amex, perhaps your friend or family member does.

Here’s how to transfer the Bank of America Travel Rewards points to the Fidelity Amex or any other eligible Worldpoints earning card:

  1.  Log into your Bank of America account
  2. Click on your credit card account: BankAmericard Travel Rewards Signature Visa
  3. Click on Rewards and you will see your available rewards.
  4. Transfer pointsClick on Transfer Rewards and you will get a popup box as below
  5. Enter your Fidelity Amex credit card number and click “Check account eligibility.”transfer points 2
  6. If it’s a valid number, it will tell you it’s eligible for transferring.  transfer points 3
  7. Enter the number of points you want to transfer and click “Submit transfer.” You can transfer any number of points up to the available balance.transfer points 4
  8. Once completed, the points will be available immediately and you can see it once you logon to your Fidelity credit card account online at FIA card services.

Pretty easy.  Now you are no longer confined to using the Bank of America Travel Rewards for just travel.  You can easily cash them out as long as you have a Fidelity Amex or Fidelity Visa.


For a long time, the IHG Rewards Mastercard from Chase has had many different offers.  The highest offer for the card has been the 80,000 points offer which now appears to be dead.   The other two offers have been as follows:

For a limited time, till March 31st, there is an offer for 70,000 IHG Rewards points after spending $1000 within 3 months.

IHG Rewards Mastercard

  • No annual fee first year, $49 thereafter
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent when you stay at IHG hotels
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • 10% rebate on IHG Rewards Club Point redemptions
  • Annual free night worldwide
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Platinum Elite Status

This card is probably one of my favorite card as it provides incredible value.  I used 70000 points to stay at the Intercontinental Berchtesgaden, a property that should definitely be on your bucket list.

Annual Free Night worldwide

For the cost of the $49 annual fee (waived first year), you get a free night worldwide.  I guess it’s not technically free then, right?  Since there are no restrictions on how you can use the free night, you can use it at any of the expensive Intercontinental Hotels worldwide.  You receive the free night certificate each year on the credit card anniversary.  Why not use your free night the Intercontinental Hong Kong, of the IC Bora Bora

10% rebate on all redemptions

For example, if you use your 70000 points to book 2 nights at the IC Berchtesgaden, you will get back 7000 points back as a rebate.  Thus, your net redemption is only 63000 points for 2 nights.

Platinum Elite Status

Although platinum elite status doesn’t get you a whole lot, it certainly is better than having gold.  The only benefit of value is 50% bonus earnings on top of base points.  Keep in the mind that the “complimentary upgrades” that come with this platinum status likely will not apply to award stays, but your results may vary.

Overall, anyone who loves to travel should have and keep this card.

HT (Pointchaser)


The Citi Dividend Card is still available

A couple of months ago, I tried to cancel the Citi American Airlines Platinum Mastercard since the annual fee was coming up.  Instead, they were able to give me a retention bonus of 3000 miles for spending $500 in 3 months.

I called again recently to cancel the card since I didn’t really want to pay the $95 annual fee.  They didn’t have any new retention offers for me this time, perhaps because it was too soon since the last one.  They weren’t giving me any options really.

I remember reading this post a while back from Rapid Travel Chai which said that it could be possible to downgrade to a Citi Dividend card which gives the potential to earn up to $300 back per year.

I then suggested to see if they would let me downgrade the card to one with no annual fee.  The rep asked me if I had anything in mind?  I asked if it was still possible to get the Citi Dividend card.  He said they weren’t accepting new applications, but were allowing downgrades.  He also gave me the option of the downgrading to the new Citi Cash card, a 2% cash back card.  I chose the Dividend card, primarily for the 5% cash back categories.

The Citi Dividend card is an old card.  It’s mainly a competitor of the Chase Freedom and Discover card which offer rotating 5% categories.  It has no annual fee, gives 1% back on all purchases, but most importantly, 5% back on rotating categories.


The vital part of the 5% categories that you can earn up to max of $300 year, but there are no quarterly caps like $1500 quarterly spend cap with the Freedom or the Discover card.  If the right category comes along (drugstores), you can max it out by buying Visa gift cards although you would lose out 1% on the gift card fees.  Unfortunately, drugstores is not a category for 2015.

citi dividend 2015 categories

I don’t really care about the 1% back, since I have a Fidelity Amex which gives 2% back.

Since Citi has phased this Dividend card out on their website,  so you won’t find a link or an application page.

Overall, I think the Citi Dividend card is a great card to have since it has no annual fee, and gives you the ability the earn $300 back annually, a gem for those who know how to manufacture spend.  It is also possible to have more than 1 of these cards (Mastercard and Visa).

So, if you want this card, ask for downgrading from a Citi Card with an annual fee.


I recently received an email from Aeroplan regarding the TD Aeroplan Visa Signature card.  TD is “America’s most convenient bank,” but is a subsidiary of Canadian Toronto-Dominion Bank.  This offer is not a targeted offer and so anyone can get this bonus.

TD Aeroplan 25000 miles

Here are the terms of the offer:

  • Earn 25,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 on net purchases in the first three billing cycles after account opening
  • Earn 2X Aeroplan Miles per $1 spent on Air Canada net purchases
  • Earn 1 Aeroplan Mile per $1 spent on all other net purchases
  • Annual fee waived for first year, then $95 each year thereafter
  • Your Aeroplan Miles will not expire as long as you are a TD Aeroplan Credit Cardholder
  • Aeroplan Miles can be redeemed for a wide choice of travel, entertainment, merchandise and gift card reward options
  • Enjoy exclusive Visa Signature benefits such as complimentary 24/7 concierge service, access to events, special shopping perks and more
  • The only U.S. Aeroplan affiliated credit card that lets you earn Aeroplan Miles every time you use your card

My thoughts:

I am considering applying for this card with my next round of applications, mostly because it’s from a bank other than Chase, American Express, US Bank, Barclays etc.    I already have enough cards from these banks, but none from TD Bank.

The first year fee is waived, and you could always cancel the card after the first year, which is probably what I will do.  The minimum spend is very low at only $1000, so that should be pretty easy.

Although the bonus is not as high as what I have become accustomed to such 50,000 or 100,000 mile offers, it’s still 25,000 miles in a Star Alliance program.  25,000 Aeroplan miles can easily be redeemed for an economy flight from US to Canada, easily giving a redemption value greater than 2 cents per mile.  Thus, this 25,000 mile bonus is easily worth greater than $500.

Don’t forget that Air Canada allows one-way redemptions for half the price of a round trip.  So, you could use this for 2 one-ways between the US and Canada as well.

In addition, Air Canada also offers short-haul awards, 7.5K one-way and 15K round trip.

You can always use the miles to top off your Aeroplan account for another award you have been considering.  Don’t forget Aeroplan is a Membership Rewards partner.  Check out the Aeroplan award chart for full redemption options.


Avoid Last Minute Hotel Cancellation Fees

I recently had a 3 night reservation booked at the Hyatt House Miami Airport hotel for New Year’s.  Considering Miami Beach hotels were ridiculously priced (~$500 and up), this was a good opportunity to book on points.  I booked the Hyatt House for 8,000 Hyatt points a night for a total of 24,000 points.  It was a good redemption as the daily rate was over $300/night, actually a bargain compared to other hotels.

The hotel’s cancellation policy was that if you cancel by 3PM EST 24 hours prior to arrival, there would be no penalty.  However, any time after that would be forfeiture of 1 night payment which in my case would be 8,000 Hyatt points.

The 3pm deadline came and went and we were all packed for our trip.  On the morning of our trip, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we had to cancel our trip.  Luckily, our flight was on Southwest (booked on points), which was easy enough to cancel.  I quickly cancelled the flights and the points were immediately deposited back into my account.

What to do about the hotel?

I knew I had to cancel the hotel last minute, but I was bummed that I was going to lose 8,000 hard earned Hyatt points.  As I googled how to avoid hotel cancellation fees, I ran across just what I was looking for, an article from Lifehacker which basically said that I should change my dates instead of outright canceling the reservation.

You see, there is a penalty if you cancel the reservation, but there is no penalty if you change the dates of the reservation and then cancel days later.

I thought it was worth a try.  However, I thought it might be awkward to talk to a representative on the phone to try to change the dates last minute.  I reached out to @hyattconcierge on twitter to see if they could help me out.  Just a few minutes after I reached out to them, they took care of the change for me and confirmed that there was no penalty to do so.   A few days later, I called the reservation department to go ahead and cancel the reservation.  So, this little trick saved me 8,000 Hyatt points.

In summary:

  1. Always try to book a hotel that is refundable in the first place.
  2. If you have to cancel last minute, reach out to the hotel on twitter to see if you can change your dates of arrival.  Do not just cancel the reservation as you will likely take a loss.
  3. Once the dates are changed, your clock has reset and you are free to cancel your hotel again without penalty.
  4. This trick does not apply to all hotels.  Many hotels will not let you just change the dates last minute.  Always read the fine print on your confirmation.  If in doubt, you can always ask to clear up the cancellation policy.

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amazon-primeI am a big fan of Amazon Prime, mostly for free 2 day shipping from Amazon.  Amazon normally charges $99 for the Prime membership, but it looks like they have teamed up with American Express Everyday credit cards to offer one year free.  The membership actually offers tons of benefits, which far outweigh the $99 annual fee:

FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S. and other shipping benefits. For more information, go to Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits.

Prime Instant Video: unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes for paid or free trial members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Instant Video.

Prime Music: unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime Playlists and more than a million songs for members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Music.

Prime Pantry: Access to Prime Pantry, where members can purchase and ship to addresses in the contiguous U.S. low priced grocery, household, and pet care items for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 for each Prime Pantry box. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals on Amazon.com and new events on MyHabit.com. For more information, go to About Prime Early Access.

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: access to members in the U.S. For more information, go toKindle Owners’ Lending Library

Kindle First: Early access for members in the U.S. to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks. For more information, go to Kindle First.

Membership Sharing: Prime members may invite up to four eligible household members living at the same address to enjoy the shipping benefits of a free trial or paid Prime membership at no extra cost. If you purchase a Prime membership as a small business, you may invite up to four co-workers to shop with this corporate account. For more information, go to Share Your Amazon Prime Benefits.

The membership is free for a year if you apply for either the American Express Everyday Credit Card (no annual fee) or the American Express Preferred Everyday Card ($95 annual fee).   Both cards earn full Membership Rewards Points which are transferrable to many airlines.  The Everyday card earns 20% bonus points if you make 20 or more transactions, while the Preferred Everyday earns 50% bonus when you make 30 transactions in a month.

Amex Everyday Credit Card – with free Amazon Prime for a year

  • No annual Fee
  • Get one Year of Amazon Prime plus 10,000 points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.

Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card – with free Amazon Prime for a year

  • $95 annual fee
  • Get One Year of Amazon Prime plus 15,000 points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
  • Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply. 
  • 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases(then 1x); 2x points at US gas stations; 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.

I personally like the no annual fee card better as I can keep my Membership Rewards alive forever.  Overall, I think this is a worthy partnership.  If you haven’t tried Amazon Prime yet, you should.  You won’t regret it.


I previously wrote about the basics of the Flexperks Travel Rewards Signature Visa from US Bank.  The point of that post is that you can great value from flexperks points (up to 2 cents per point) when redeemed for flights.

flexperks flight redemption

The 3 key things about the card are:

  • No annual fee first year, $49 thereafter
  • 2x FlexPoints on the category you spend the most on (gas, groceries or airlines) and most cell phone expenses during each billing cycle.
  • 3x FlexPoints on qualifying charitable donations.

With the assumption of each flexperk point having a maximum value of 2 cents each, the 2x and 3x category bonuses equate to a value of 4 cents or 6 cents.  That’s really great!

Racking up free flights by using the card to make Kiva donations:

Using the Flexperks Travel Rewards Signature Visa to make donations on Kiva can really rack up the flexperks points.  To illustrate a simple example, supposed you make charitable donations to Kiva in the amount of $6,666.67, you would end up with 20,000 points since you are earning 3x.  That’s equivalent to a free flight.

Keep in mind that you are going to get these “charitable donations” back in the form of cash over time.  I always like to mention that there is risk involved of losing some money.  However, in my personal experience with Kiva, that loss has been minimal.  You can read more about Kiva here.

The idea here is the same as making 5x cash back on Kiva charitable donations with the US Bank Cash Plus card.

In an extreme example, supposed you loaned $2000 per month to Kiva (not for everyone), you would rack up $24,000 in spend and 72,000 flexperks points.  With $24,000 in spend, you earn an additional 3500 flexperks points which you can use to negate the annual fee (if you chose).   With the signup bonus of 20,000 points (after completing minimum spend), you would be sitting on 95,500 points equal to $1910 in flight redemptions.  That’s a pretty good return on loaning lots of money.

Maximizing the redemption of your flights:

To get the maximum value of each point, it would be ideal to redeem for exactly the allowed ticket value.  For example, you get the most benefit when you redeem 20,000 points for $400 ticket.  However, there might be a flight that is only $300, in which you may be losing a bit of value.

However, according to this post from FrequentMiler, your ticket does not have to be a plain roundtrip ticket.  You can have multiple segments, or even 2 roundtrip tickets (booked as multiple segments) as long as the total is below $400.  In addition, perhaps an economy ticket is $300, but business class ticket is $400.  You might as well book the business class ticket.  Not only will you get maximum value from your points, but you will likely get double miles from the airline for the business class ticket.

The Verdict

With the right strategy, you can certainly rack up lots of free flights with the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards Signature Visa.  If you don’t want to pay the annual fee the second year, you could likely downgrade to the US Bank Cash Plus card.


I’ve know about the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards Signature Visa for a long time, but didn’t really care for it since I have plenty of other cards.  After looking at it a bit futher, I realize it has good potential for the frequent flyer.

Flexperks travel rewards signature visa

The Key Points of the card:

  • No annual fee first year, $49 thereafter
  • Current signup bonus: 20,000 flexperks points after $3,500 spend in 3 months
  • One FlexPoint for every $1 spent in net purchases.
  • 2x FlexPoints on the category you spend the most on (gas, groceries or airlines) and most cell phone expenses during each billing cycle.3
  • 3x FlexPoints on qualifying charitable donations.
  • If you spend $24,000 a year, you get 3,500 additional Flexperks points which can be used to offset your annual fee
  • Get up to a $25 airline allowance with every award travel ticket good towards baggage fees, in-flight treats and more

Although there are a lot of redemption options such as cash back or gift cards, most of them give you 1 cent per point.  However, that’s not where the maximum value seems to be.

The maximum value can be obtained when you redeem the flexperks points for flights.  Basically, you can redeem up to 2 cents per flexperk point value when redeeming for flights.  See the chart below.

flexperks flight redemption

To get the maximum value from 20,000 points, you would have to find a flight that is exactly $400.  Let’s say you found a flight that’s $350, now you are getting 1.75 cents per point in value.  However, this is still better than redeeming for gift cards or cash back.    It doesn’t make sense to book any flight $200 or less (redemption value of 1 cent per point or less) as you can clearly do better.

You can book the flight once you login to your US Bank account.   The travel portal used to find the flights is run by Travelocity, so the fares should technically be identical to what you find on travelocity.

Thus, the signup bonus of 20,000 points gives you a free domestic flight worth up to $400.  The best part of using these flexperks points is that since it’s a paid flight, you will accrue frequent flyer miles on the flight that you take.

US Bank sometimes has higher signup bonuses, usually during the olympics, so perhaps that’s a better time to apply for the card.  Maximizing value from this card deserves a separate post.

One small important fact you should know from the US Bank website:

We will first consider you for the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card. If you are not eligible for the Travel Rewards card, you’ll automatically be considered for the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Select Rewards card which earns 10,000 Enrollment Bonus FlexPoints after spending $1,000 within the first four months, earns 1 FlexPoint for every $2 in net purchases and has no annual fee. The Select Rewards card is not eligible for the double FlexPoints on highest spend in each monthly billing cycle and on cell phone expenses but does earn 1.5 FlexPoints for charitable donations.

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The US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature card is a no annual fee card that gives cash back on purchases. The interesting part of the card is that you pick the categories each quarter (one 2% category and two 5% categories).

US Bank Cash Plus

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card Benefits

  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined net purchases each quarter on two categories you choose (like department stores or cell phone service).
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category (like gas or groceries).
  • 1% cash back on everything else.
  • No limit on total cash back earned.

Make sure you choose your categories each quarter.   If you do not choose your categories, all net purchases will still earn 1% cash back. Categories are subject to change quarterly.  You can find a list of the categories here.

What’s interesting is that one of the 5% categories is charity and that one of the qualifying categories is Kiva.


I’ve talked about Kiva in the past here and my personal experience with Kiva.  Essentially, you make microloans to those in need in countries around the world, and get your money returned over time without interest.

Given that you can make these loans with your credit card, you could consider the miles or points earned from the credit cards as your interest.  Keep in mind that you are floating money and will be getting paid over months.

So, if you make these loans using the US Bank Cash plus signature visa card, you would be earning 5% on your contributions.  Since US bank limits to $2000 on 5% categories every quarter, that works out to $8000 spend over the year.  Earning 5% on $8000 is $400.

As an added one time bonus, US bank gives $25 when you redeem at least $100.  Thus, you could receive $425 over the course of the year.  This is more money that you would normally get in an average checking or savings account.  Of course, you could withdraw money from checking or savings accounts, but that’s not the case here.  In addition, this money from US Bank is tax free.

Keep in mind that there are risks to Kiva such as loans defaulting.  My personal rate of default has been very low (0.3 %) equivalent to losing $24 on an $8000 loan.

In comparison, there are many cards such as Chase Freedom and Discover card that offer 5% back on rotating categories.  The difference between those cards is that you have to go buy things and there is no such thing as floating money.  With this approach and the US Bank Cash Plus card, you’re not buying anything, but loaning money which you will eventually get back.

If loaning money is not your thing, you could still get 5% cash back by picking other categories.  Given that it’s a no annual fee card, it is just as valuable as the Discover card or Chase Freedom.

Also keep in mind that this strategy applies specifically to the Cash Plus Signature Visa.  If you do not qualify for the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card, you will automatically be considered for the U.S. Bank Cash Rewards Visa Card that earns 1% cash back on all net purchases, but does not offer the 5% and 2% Cash+ Categories.  You can only apply for this card in person.  It is not available online.


Don’t Trust The Delta Award Calendar

For those that are experts in booking awards with Delta miles, you can likely ignore this post.  For those that struggle to book awards with Delta miles, there is a simple message in this post: the Delta award calendar sucks.  If you are trying to book international awards, you should ignore it or at least realize that what you see is not true.

I was recently looking at flights from Houston to Amsterdam in economy at the low level.  I started looking for one-way so I can find the flights I want and then piece them together in the multi-city search.  In the starting search, I typed in my departure, arrival, date and checked off the “redeem miles” along with “my dates are flexible.”

delta 1

Here is what the Delta award calendar showed:

delta 2

According to this award calendar, there should be no low level awards available, only peak awards.  This would actually discourage a person from continuing and instead click on a “saver award” date that they may not even want.

However, I continued clicking through on the “peak award” date that I wanted and on the next page, buried at the bottom of the page found a “saver award.”

delta 3

So, even though the Delta calendar showed “peak award” on the date that I wanted, when I continued, I actually found a “saver award.”  In essence, you can’t trust the stupid Delta calendar.

To avoid this problem, you can use the KLM or Airfrance websites to look for the award.  The two airlines share the same frequent flyer program called Flying Blue.  You should create frequent flyer account for Flying Blue to be able to check for awards.  Once you have that, you can search for your award on KLM or Airfrance.us.

When I searched the same itinerary through Flying Blue, I clearly see that the low level award is available.  In fact, there are many dates where low level awards are available, yet Delta calendar shows peak dates.

flying blue

The untrustable Delta award calendar is part of the reason many people including me hate Delta miles.  However, if you know some tips and tricks, you can actually find the ticket you want… sometimes…rarely :) The lesson here is don’t trust the Delta award calendar.  Check for award availability through Flying Blue.