AmEx is so lucrative for the MLA covered users that it makes sense to get multiple of many cards. When it became clear that people could simply apply for another Bonvoy Brilliant even while having one got me thinking if it would be possible to get another Gold AmEx while holding one. This would mean $20 in cheesecake every month on top of upgrading to two gold cards in a year!
Update: there is a 75k offer for the Platinum Delta at http://www.delta.com/actnow but it won’t throw me points. there is also a 70k offer on biz gold, 80k on biz plat!
BLUF: If you got $16k to spend in 3 months, you can earn 285,000 Delta miles, $150 statement credit, 25k MQM. Offer ends July 31st. All annual fees waived for active duty. Please use my referral links below:
Part of the $495 annual fee on the AmEx Platinum is $50 to spend at Saks Fifth Avenue twice a year (Jan to June and then July to December). Add the benefit on each Platinum card and just charge $50 at Saks in store or online (Not at Off Fifth), the charges get reimbursed in 4 days:
Lucky for Active Duty, AmEx waives the $495 annual fee. We are getting $100 a year on Saks Gift Cards, $200 on uber, $200 on Delta or Southwest gift cards with no annual fee. Right now Rakuten (AKA EBates) is offering 10% online at Saks Fifth Avenue:
On top of that they are offering 4% cashback in store at Saks:
Vanilla AmEx Platinum From Prefered Rewards Gold Player 2
Vanilla AmEx Platinum From Rose Gold (Need to Upgrade)
Vanilla AmEx Platinum From Rose Gold Player 2 (Planned)
Vanilla AmEx Platinum From Green
Vanilla AmEx Platinum From Green Player 2 (Planned)
Ameriprise AmEx Platinum
Ameriprise AmEx Platinum Player 2 (Planned)
Ameriprise AmEx Platinum From Gold
Schwab AmEx Platinum
Schwab AmEx Platinum Player 2
Morgan Stanley AmEx Platinum
Morgan Stanley AmEx Platinum Player 2
Mercedes-Benz AmEx Platinum
Mercedes-Benz AmEx Platinum Player 2
I got 4% on all $800 of gift cards I bought over the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019. I then spent all the gift cards on the jacket. I should have gotten another $50 gift card to pay taxes:
I then got this email the next day:
So score card:
$50 charged on each Plat * 16 = $800 @ 4% Cashback = $32 cashback
$798 Jacket @ 10% = $79.80 cashback
800 AmEm MR points @ 1.25 cents per point on Schwab = $10
I picked the free shipping via Shoprunner which is a benefit of the AmEx platinum. I also went for the gift wrap! If I was smarter I would have saved up enough cards to pay the taxes, but my last $50 card went as a prize for my Webull competition.
There was a embarrassing mix up where I sent my $200 card to the third place winner instead of my $50. Lucky I have excellent readers, and BC traded the card back with no problems at all!
I received an alarming email today from Credit Karma:
The same thing happened to my brother yesterday:
This was very odd, I have not added a new AU nor have I let anyone add me as an AU. I found it to be easier just to give my wife my card or use my wife’s card online.
When I logged into Credit Karma I found nothing new, nor did my brother in his. So we went ahead and ran my annual credit report and was surprised to find that it had become 61 pages long!
I did not find any new AUs listed or myself listed as an new AU. The same thing happened for my brother who called and spoke with Chase only to find no new AU account was created. I suspect that since Chase changed its name to JPMCB, that somehow triggered this alert for an existing AU account:
Although it was frustrating, I got some interesting new insight on the MLA. At the bottom of the report was this statement and this text:
The Military Lending Act provides important safeguards to Active Military personnel and their dependents. Under the Military Lending Act (MLA), if you are an active duty member of the armed forces or are on active Guard or Reserve duty, you cannot be charged an interest rate higher than 36% on some types of consumer loans. It also protects your spouse and certain dependents.
To assist financial institutions with complying with this requirement, TransUnion receives information about an individual’s military status from the U.S. Department of Defense through their data center known as the DMDC (Department of Defense Manpower Data Center). When potential lenders request your credit file from TransUnion, they can also request this information.
The identifying information that appears on your TransUnion credit file is considered a potential match to information listed on the U.S. Department of Defense database.
Currently I am left with the painful waiting game of keeping my new AmEx Bonvoy open till February 2020 just to upgrade to another Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. Rather, I could be enjoying another 50K free night as well as a $300 statement credit in one year if I just had the balls to have gotten another Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.
If I have know about this double dipping possibility, I could be swimming in 150,000 Bonvoy Points. This new approach would milk the 75k bonus for the Business Marriott Bonvoy, and then swap out for a second Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Personal. According to Greg at the Frequent Miler, It would be possible to get both AmEx bonuses, as long as you waited out the time with the Chase Marriott:
I personally had the SPG Business so there is no point for me to attempt this churn. If you haven’t jumped on the Bonvoy Train yet, I recommend hitting the business and personal AmEx Bonvoy products, then replacing the business with another Bonvoy Brilliant.
Cassey joined the Navy via Officer Candidate School and served as an Active Duty line officer. She documents her adventures on the ship and traveling the world. She has since gotten out and has been blogging recently on her post Navy experience.
She has not reached out to me in any way, but I wanted to give her a spotlight here for all the active duty readers. This blogging life can only survive if we can cater to our 1,000 true fans. I just hit 200,000 pageviews here at Derp Report, and I hope to continue growing:
If you got a chance, please check out her vlog and youtube channel! Currently she has 15 subscribers, but I am sure she would be thrilled with some traffic from this humble little site!
The following is a guest post from Little Miss Traveler. She has been an awesome resource on spousal MLA datapoints. Her site should help bring any of your spouses that on the fence on board to this MLA churning. She has been compensated by having me host her referral links for this post:
American Express currently offers 3 separate Hilton credit cards: Hilton Aspire, Hilton Ascend, and Hilton Honors. Normally, the Aspire and the Ascend carry a hefty annual fee, but thanks to MLA, active duty service members and their families get this fee waived!! The Aspire comes with a 150,000 welcome bonus after spending $4000 within three months, the Ascend comes with a 125,000 welcome bonus after spending $2000 within three months, and the Honors comes with a 75,000 welcome bonus after spending $1000 within three months. What’s awesome, is that Amex allows you to get all 3 cards! So that’s exactly what I did, and here’s how:
I applied for the Aspire card in November, and after hitting
the $4000 spend received the 150,000 welcome bonus. Then, I referred by husband the Aspire (which
got me a 20,000 referral bonus) so he got another 150,000 points after hitting
the $4000 spend. We normally don’t spend
money so quickly but it was holiday season so we had a lot of expenses! So by the beginning of January we had
accumulated 320,000 points! Now it was
on to phase 2…
I applied for the Ascend Card, and after hitting the $2000
spend received the 125,000 welcome bonus.
Next, (you guessed it!) I referred my husband and got another 20,000
points for the referral. After he received his 125,000 welcome bonus, we were
By this time it was March, and time for phase 3 – apply for
my final Hilton card! After hitting the
initial spend, I received the 75,000 welcome bonus, bringing us to 665,000
Hilton points. I couldn’t refer my
husband the Honors card because he already had 5 Amex products (remember Amex
only allows you to have 5 credit cards total).
However, the Honors card doesn’t have an annual fee even for civilians,
so I referred by brother-in-law and got another 20,000 points bringing us to
The title of this post says I accumulated 750,000 points, so
you are probably wondering how I got the last 65,000 points. Keep in mind that between our 5 Hilton cards,
we had to spend $4000 on each Aspire, $2000 on each Ascend, and $1000 on my
Honors. That’s $13,000! All 3 Hilton cards give a minimum of 3x
points on all purchases, but some spending categories carry an even higher
multiplier. For example, the Aspire pays
7x points on travel purchases and the Ascend pays 6x points on grocery and
restaurant purchases. So after all the
multipliers, that $13,000 we spent acquired an additional 65,000 points!
Now the only thing left to do is decide where to spend these
points. I can think of no better place
than the Grand Wailea Resort Maui ;). We
have saved up Delta points via our Amex Delta Reserve cards and plan to fly to
Maui for 5 nights next winter…all for free of course, and as always I will post
a detailed explanation of exactly how!!
What’s crazy is that this is going to get infinitely better
next January because after one year, we can upgrade our Ascend cards to Aspire
cards and then in March I can upgrade my Honors card to an Aspire card. Yep, we will then have 5 Aspire cards, and
each one comes with an annual $250 resort credit, an annual $250 air travel credit,
and an annual free weekend night. That means every year we will have $1250 to
spend at a Hilton resort, $1250 air travel credit (which we will use to buy
Southwest gift cards), and 5 free weekend nights!!!
So I jumped on it today because I believe this is the best 3% cash back card that acts like a debit card:
Of course to get to the 3% carbon position, you got to refer the hell out of the product and complete these activities:
Not sure if anyone really has time for all of that. Here are the ways to level up:
Not worth spending $100,000 to get zero carbon, if you already have the double cash back from citi or the gold luxury card from barclays then you already get 2%. If you have the USAA limitless you get 2.5%. But if you want to try for the 3% and have a lot of friends then please use my link here to get on board:
I downloaded the app and registration works like Robin Hood. It acts as a credit card application and checking account all at one time. This requires taking a photo of your driver’s license as well as a credit card pull. Be warned this is going to count against your 5/24. Once set up I linked my Chase checking account via login and transferred $1,000: