Use RH Link For Free Stocks

There is a pretty interesting podcast on Robin Hood here. I am kind of impressed that despite all the rejection, they got a pretty successful product to market. Regardless of how you feel about RobinHood, it is here to stay!

Right now if you use the link here you can get a free stock for yourself and send one to me!

Thanks to all those readers out there for the free shares by using my RH link here. Each reader got one share themselves ranging from CHK to ZNGA, no BRK-A yet. The catch is you got to hold on to the free company share for at least 2 days before selling, then wait a month to cash out. From the terms and rules:

Shares from stock bonuses cannot be sold until 2 trading days after the bonus is granted. The cash value of the stock bonus may not be withdrawn for 30 days after the bonus is claimed.

Enjoy the free trading in the meantime!

Now I don’t recommend you put $50,000 into this app like an idiot, but it is still a good service to  buy and sell very small amounts of stock just to play around. Also don’t forget to check out Stock Stream for stupid YOLO plays.


Marines’ Memorial Reciprocal Membership Clubs

When I was on holiday in San Francisco I joined the Marines’ Memorial Club for free because I applied as active duty, and in person at the hotel. If you apply online membership for Active Duty is $30, but totally worth it for the reciprocal membership at clubs all over the world. I was given access to the website after 2 weeks, and a month later I got a physical membership card in the mail.

If you want some time away of the real world, you can take advantage of the many private reciprocal clubs around the world. I am stationed in Chicago, and we have quite a few within the city. You can log into the website and request the automated system to send an introduction letter to the club requested to visit. Some clubs are quick to respond to email to confirm receipt, some don’t get back to you at all. In the case of the latter, just call and most will acknowledge receipt over the phone.

Below is a quick review of each club I have gone to so far:

The Cliff Dwellers (Aug 2017)

Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Carl Sandburg, Roger Ebert all were members of this club, although not in its current location on the 22nd floor of the former Borg-Warner building. On arrival in the lobby you check in with the doorman and he directs you to the elevator that I presume is called for behind the desk.

The signage is pretty well hidden on the side of the single elevator in the back:

Once you get to the 22nd floor you get the feeling being in someone’s penthouse apartment with walls full of beautiful original art work. They even have a rendering of The Illinois, Frank Lloyd Wright’s mile high skyscraper tucked away in the corner.

The club is quite small with a dining room, sitting room and balcony (think United club Terminal 2 ORD sized). The bar is quite small with two bartenders working. Drinks run about $7 and are well made with a very knowledgeable staff. Although the club is sitting on top of a relatively short 22 floor building, its proximity to the park, and lack of tall neighbors, gives the balcony a wide sweeping landscape of the lake:

I went in jeans and a button down shirt and had no problems. Honestly they didn’t even check my membership so I guess we didn’t make a scene. I had sent my letter of introduction a day before, but the staff seemed to not even look for it. I grabbed a drink at the bar and enjoyed the view from the balcony. The most amusing thing is they had an individual stall for a urinal, how very classy:

We had to make it to a show at the Chicago theater and didn’t have a chance to try out Daniel Burnham‘s deep dish fruit pie featured on the menu. Maybe next time!

Sangamo Club of Springfield, IL (Aug 2017)

Down the street from the Illinois State Capitol Building is The Sangamo Club where apparently the Illinois lawmakers hang out, and have been doing for the last 125 years.

Now it’s most current location has been around since 1974, I had the fortunate opportunity to dine with a former state house floor page who was sent to the club in the 70s to fetch a $5 cigar ($25 in today’s money). He said he could not find the club at all as it is well hidden behind all of the other buildings. The lawmaker drew him a map and he got the cigars for the Representative to smoke in the house floor. What a time it was to be alive back then! The club at one point was men only hence the split level dining room for male members to dine below as their wives an girlfriends dinned above in the balcony.

This is no longer the case, but diners in the main dining room are expected to “Dress their finest” so I opted to dine in the grill room which offers a more casual experience (dress shirt and khakis). Food and drink is priced at about $15 an entree and $5 for a beer. The service is top notch, for example, when my napkin touched the ground by accident they replaced it immediately without being asked. The club doesn’t serve my favorite Springfield dishes like the horseshoe or cozy dog, but rather some pretty good seafood from Chef Joe Martin. I got a perfectly cooked striped sea bass and my Mother in Law got a perfectly seared huge diver scallops.

All in all some of the best food and service I have had in Springfield! I was hoping to bump into some Senators and try to buy some influence, but they were not in session. Maybe next time, but certainly an experience checking out this club.

University Club of Chicago (Aug 2017)

Just an amazing location at 76 East Monroe Street, you could say the club’s front yard is the billion dollar Millennium Park. When you walk in you are immediately met by the doorman who will direct you to the front desk. On registration just present your Marines’ Memorial Club Card, letter of introduction, credit card, and you will be given a temporary membership number good for two weeks. You are limited to three visits total per year (two weeks each) which resets every 01 January.

After checking in you are free to roam about the club as if you were a member. Try not to act and dress like a dirtbag, because you will feel pretty out of place. There is quite a bit to look at:

I started with the Library on the 8th floor. There is a very attentive librarian at your service, as well as a massive collection of books and free WiFi.

From the plush leather seats  you can get a good glimpse of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Crown Fountain. You can also just sit and stare at the beautiful woodwork on the wall as well.

The grill room on the 7th floor was nice as well. Good views of the lake as well as the sunrise, free newspapers too!

I only had enough time to get breakfast before I had to go. I got a very Ketogenic bowl of berries with a side of sausage. There is no bill or tipping involved, but rather they write the order on a slip of paper and you sign it with your temporary membership number. The bill is settled at the end of your visit, there is an option to add the 10% tip at this time.

Unfortunately I had no time to check out the other 13 floors of activity. I wanted to check out the nap room in the basement since it seems unusual. The best part of the club is all the old man beauty products found on the first floor bathrooms:

Keep checking this site for more reviews of other clubs as it happens.


Free Wyndham Night With a $67 Stay

I just got 17,500 Wyndham points which is beyond enough for a free night at any Wyndham (15,000 points a night anywhere) including The New Yorker at (some times) $584 a night! I am planning to use this along with the 45,000 points form the Wyndham Credit Card currently being offered for $2k spend. I followed the directions on frequent miler here with a DoD twist, currently the Super 8 is giving a 15% military discount!

I was able to book a room using MasterPass for 7,500 points along with the 10,000 point welcome back deal:

I combined this with my Wyndham Diamond Status match to my Total Rewards Diamond from my FoundersCard. This could be a possible suite upgrade or some snack at check in. I was planning a road trip and was able to get a nice place to sleep on the way for essentially $67. This free night just on points alone is icing on the cake:

If you are planning a road trip, try to plan out a stop along the way to score some cheap points. You don’t even have to stay the night, just check in and check out and collect the points after a nap and potty break!


Fly or Drive?: Traverse City, Michigan

There is a sweet spot on whether to drive or fly somewhere and you can calculate it here. According to this site it would be absurd not to drive from ORD to TVC, but I consider 6 hours in a car with two kids intolerable, so let’s look at using Avios Via AmEx transfer with the 40% bonus:

For cash for a one way we are looking at $290 a segment!

$290-$5.60 fee, we end up spending 7,500 Avios for a $284.40 ticket at 3.7 cents per point. When we take in the account of the bonus time we are only using 5,357 MR points at 5.3 cents per point for a one way ticket! Now it’s not fair to calculate one way segments since there is often a premium on single leg journeys. so I plugged in for round trip and AA wants $404 for a round trip:

We then can see the return leg is 7,500 Avios as well as the $5.60 fee.

If we take in the account of a $404 ticket minus the $11.20 fee we get $392.80/15,000 = 2.6 cents per avios or 3.6 cents per MR point using the 40% bonus. This is very stellar redemption as it is only 2.2 cents when using the AmEx Business Card 50% bonus. To fly 3 adults, a child and infant it would cost me 42,857 MR points moved to 60,000 Avios. This my friend is worth not driving if you are sitting on a crap ton of points with no where to go. With flying you get lounge access, and get to just relax as 6 hours of driving are reduced to 35 mins of flight time. Again it is not worth the $1,616 to actually buy the tickets if you have a car and 6 hours to drive.

Since we are flying and not driving, we won’t have a car so we need to rent one. I went ahead and used my $325 a year benefit on My US Bank Altitude Card to rent from Hertz. I then used CDP code 211762 on my AmEx Platinum card to get 20% 0ff.

Whats funny is they didn’t force me to use my AmEx Plat card for the booking to get the 20% off. I used US Bank Altitude for the free primary rental car insurance as well as the $325 credit. It essentially made the rental free!

On top of that I have Hertz Presidential Circle with my United Club Credit Card. I was given an upgrade from a Toyota 4Runner or similar to a pretty sweet GMC Acadia for $77 a day. I declined all the insurance to get the car for $320 for 4 days, which was all credited by the good folks at US Bank as part of my $400 annual fee. I also ended up getting 3x points for 4.5 cents worth of redemption ($14.40) for future travel. Similar results could of been had with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

In terms of hotels I just got the Chase IHG card for 105,000 points and Platinum Status. The only Holiday Inn Resort in the Midwest is found in Traverse city at 615 East Front Street. This hotel has its own beach and nice dock for weddings. The property sits on the West Bay of the Grand Traverse Bay with amazing sunsets and sunrises with the horizon facing north.

The booked rate for the wedding I was attending was $329 a night! Now if we consider points we can get a room for 40,000 points a night these points can also come from Chase Ultimate rewards at a 1:1 ratio, but would not be worth it as you are getting less than 1.5 cents per point. Remember you can book with UR for travel directly with Chase for 1.5 cents per point. I ended up booking with cash on the IHG card to complete my spend. This also opened up more nights to book and at a value of .64 cents per point according to points penguin we are getting 10% back per booking.

When using the IHG card we get 5 points per dollar spent including incidentals and for taxes. We then get another 15 cents per dollar spent on room rate as platinum members for. My calculations show the $1,216 spent on three nights resulted in 16,148 from IHG and then 6,080 from chase. If we value the points at .64 cents we get $142.25 of value from $1,216 spend (11% cashback). The card came with 105,000 points worth $672 and that is on top of the annual free night, so we are pretty much ahead of the $49 annual fee on this one.

The hotel was nice, it actually has a kids arcade and play room on the second floor that isn’t well advertised. I took advantage of the indoor pool and private beach. The views are spectacular, and the scene is pretty much right out of a post card.

I was able to get free drink coupons for 2 adults per stay as a IHG Platinum Member. My reservation was split up in two stays because the room block for the wedding didn’t include Sunday night. On the last night I got free breakfast for everyone for both mornings as that was the rate they booked me in, as well as two more drink coupons for platinum:

Breakfast was valued around $71.56 each morning for two mornings for a total of $143. The drinks were running about $6 a pop so that’s $24 right there, lets just say $200 just free comps.

The best part of Traverse City is it is close to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. You can get an annual Park Pass for military for $0 to get the $15 entrance fee waived. Just hang the card, signature out on the rear view mirror to get waived in to the parks. Go in the visitors center and show your CAC to get a pass and hang tag.

The 1,000 foot sand dune is fun to run up. Other attractions are a Historic Village and old precursor to the Coast Guard rescue station.If you are sitting on points like me and want a quick vacation, don’t have this sort of anxiety to use them for a short trip. I think a lot of times we save up for some spectacular European vacation, but it just never happens and the points devalue. No regrets at all to spend points for 4 days in the place that Kid Rock signs about in “All Summer Long”.


Still On: 5x Points With AmEx Biz Pt on

I awoke to this on my Membership Rewards account which was perplexing. Thankfully Travel with Grant had encountered this mystery bonus and had a good explanation. I am happy to report I finally got my 4x points on top of my 1x by booking a reward ticket on using my AmEx Biz Platinum, despite being accused of using an online agent for the booking (therefore not eligible for 5x).

After much bitching, they said because I had eventuality used MR points for the flight, I would never, ever, ever get the 4x points again. They were wrong, here is where we stand on data points so far:

Scenario Points Booked Applied 5x Bonus 50% Rebate
Book with $ then Apply MR(1 wk) 11,820 8-Jul 17-Jul 16-Aug ?
Book with MR on Personal 24,820 3-Jul MR @ Book 4-Aug 35%:3-Aug


Book with $ then Apply MR (1 mo) 65,038 14-Jun 17-Jul 5x: 1-Aug


Book with MR on Personal 111,986 28-May MR @ Book 28-May 28-Jun
Book with MR on Personal 30,640 23-Jul-17 MR @ Book ? ?

If you can recall I was told by customer service that I could not, and would not be able to double dip the 5x and 50% benefits. However there is no written instruction in this prohibition. Turns out no one knows what the fuck is going on over there on the CSR line. Many reports of this on reddit and flyertalk as well.

We are doing this complicated redemption of MR points for flights to get 2.22 cents per point and eventually 1.67 cents per point. We know now both methods of booking with a personal card linked to the business account or even booking with the business card, and then applying points later triggers both the 5x and 50%. Unfortunately it takes over 31 days for the 5x depending on statement close, and it takes 31 days for 35%, then another two damn weeks on top for the remaining 15%. We are getting kind of screwed here in time decay for points value! We could always transfer the points at 1.25 cents per point to Schwab for some YOLO trades in the two months we wait for the bonus. Not something I recommend doing!

Better use of points is using transfer partners, and this is becoming more clear each day. I would suggest taking advantage of the current 40% bonus for 1:1.4 transfers to Avios for short haul American Airlines flights. I am getting pretty close to giving up on this “bonus” as they made it so needlessly complicated!

Update: The whole system is pretty fucked, they credited 1x points for my Biz Plat then immediately took them back! They had already given me 5x points, but I guess 6x is where they draw the line! This is using the book on Biz Plat, then get 5x, then pay with points to cancel the charge to get 50% back, still havent gotten the 50% back yet.

On the upside looks like they finally got me all the points using the book on Personal Plat, and then hope the linked Biz Plat gets you 50% back!

so if you are willing to wait a tenth of a year for your points to come back, then this method will yield 2.2 cents per MR point for first class tickets or the airline you choose.

37 days is a long time! I would rather transfer to Avios with the 40% bonus to get 2.2 cents per point without the wait.

Update: Charges to the AmEx Plat Biz show up as a 4x TLS credit exactly 39 days after the cash charge:

No word on the 50% back yet


FoundersCard Working Hard For Derp Report

So just hours after posting my honest assessment of FoundersCard I get a immediate customer service response, and an unexpected uptick in traffic. I had a gripe of how I was unable to get AAdvantage Platinum for the year as mentioned by Meb Faber in  his podcast (thanks for the phone call last week by the way). I emailed FoundersCard and I got this response:

The AA Platinum Status Challenge through FoundersCard is unique in that participants would receive Platinum status during the Challenge while they are trying to earn it on their own. Also there is no additional fee to AA to participate, it’s included in the cost of FC Membership as a benefit.

The Platinum Status Challenge closed for enrollment several months ago, but I’m sorry if there was any confusion! The benefit page was available on our site so the members enrolled in the Challenge could view the terms while they participated. The Challenge was during the 2nd quarter for 3 months from April 14th through July 14th. Each quarter the AA benefit changes to be something different- this quarter it’s with their AirPass program to prepay for flights for the year. We tend to offer 1-2 Platinum Status Challenges per year so you will likely see another one soon.

Then things started to turn good, the TR Diamond status went through instantly which I matched to my Wyndham Status. I had initially gotten the Platinum Wyndham form the Barclay Card along with three free nights. This time I got the Diamond from Total Rewards to match back to Diamond for Wyndham. Now I get the following benefits for Wyndham and Total Rewards:

  • $100 Celebration Dinner
  • No Resort Fees at TR (Caesars and Harrahs) hotels
  • Free Local Experience at Wyndham Hotels

  • Suite Upgrades for Wyndham
  • Diamond Casino Lounges
  • Welcome Amenity
  • Free Parking at TR hotels
  • and others all outlined at TPG

I also got a reminder from the concierge of an offer of $200 off $500 at MR Porter. I initially scoffed at the offer since many of the items are ridiculous baller shit that I would never buy:

The $790 Gucci Sneakers were outside my budget for stupid shit, so was this:

Yes a $605 checkered cotton blazer was out of the question. After browsing some more I found this little gem:

It is a Scottish made super radio that has FM, DAB+, Bluetooth, and internet radio. Nice looking radio in a wood case emulating the styled of the 1960s. I had to verify it wasn’t marked up too high. Amazon has it for $51 cheaper:With the $200 off $500 this would make the radio cheaper than! I then added some t-shirts and hand salve to get the total to $501. For $300 I then get a $400 radio and 3 Hugo Boss Shirts and C.O. Bigelow hand repair.

The total became $532.30 with tax, they subtracted the $21.35 for overnight shipping and applied the $200 credit for a grand total of $332.30. Now on ebay these things are going for $500 at the buy it now price if I wanted to complete the churn. I didn’t want to pull the old Rick and Morty arbitrage here, and might just use the damn thing since it is pretty useful.

There was just a bit of info out there on the Revo radio, from the manufacture. There is this one bit here in cantonese. The radio will look nice in the living room, and the functionality is nice with over 16,000 internet radio stations, get some Hong Kong radio stations in the house for some full immersion language learning. I am going to pair it up to my Sprint Phone for free internet radio everywhere!

So maybe I was premature to judge FoundersCard, after this Total Rewards Diamond as well as $200 from MR Porter, I am beyond ahead for the $590 for two years at $295 a year. I certainly don’t have as much value as the $4,000 that TPG has gotten out of the card, yet.

I guess if I decide to live in Vegas and hit Caesars to see Calvin Harris every weekend I could max out the benefits form the card like Brian. I don’t think my two kids or wife would appreciate that!



Re-Eval of AmEx Everyday Preferred

Right now get 20K MR points worth $440 in flights for $1,000 spend on the AmEx ERP card. Please use the link here.

I reported that 1 MR point is worth 2.2 cents for flights when used in combination with the 5x and 50% points double dip if you have the Business & Personal Platinum. This has not been shut down, simply slowed down to getting your 50% in 31 days instead of next day like before. Even if you were not grandfathered into the 50% points back, we have a valuation of 1.6 cents for flights per point using this method.

In another post I broke down the spend categories if you hit 30 uses a month you get 50% more points on ERP. In the view of cashback this card becomes more lucrative than the BCP for groceries. We enter the 2.22 cents for 50% Grandfathered Busisness bonus, 1.67 cents for the 35% Business bonus, and 1.25 cents per point for Schwab transfer:

Category MR Points 50% Points 35% Points Schwab
Groceries 4.5x 9.9% 7.5% 5.6%
Gas 3x 6.6% 5% 3.75%
Everything 1.5x 3.3% 2.5% 1.90%

You can now see this is the most amazing cash back card, even with Schwab! Get your today, and make sure you use the link here.


FoundersCard for the Super Churner

Another Magnises?

There is yet another fake black card out there called FoundersCard to flaunt elite status. This one is catered to entrepreneur that wants a leg up in getting their awesome company into the mainstream to become a billionaire. This of course, represents the opposite of what the other black card, SELECT card stands for which is a party happy playboy who doesn’t care to make money since it’s all about spending down the trust fund YOLO style. I went for the card mainly for the Diamond Status for Cesar’s Palace to get my resort fee waived along with 4 nights at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas by Feb 2018. Two things that I haven’t taken advantage of since it takes three weeks just for the status to go through! I submitted my request while staying at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to get this message:

Important: Based on where your request is in the queue, you should receive the upgrade by August  4, 2017. We are not able to accommodate any expedite requests. When your upgrade is complete, you will receive a confirmation email from FoundersCard.  At that point, your Total Rewards account will reflect Diamond Status, and you can visit the Total Rewards desk upon your next trip to collect your Diamond credentials.  Please do not contact Total Rewards for status updates while you are waiting for the upgrade, as it can often delay the upgrade process.

So the one time I got to stay at a Total Rewards Hotel, I didn’t even get to use the lounge or get the resort fee waived. I am sad to report it is hard to churn this particular card. I am so very close to recovering the $295 a year for two years I spent on a FoundersCard membership. Now that pricing is only good when you buy 2 years up front! Here are the codes:

$295 annual rate if you prepay your first two years (renews at $295 annually) using promo code FCLFT2YR
$395 annual rate using promo code FCLFT1YR

I am in it for $590 already and I haven’t become Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. I haven’t blown the deal out of the water like I have with every other product I got. The card has made me go out of my way to spend money I would have not spent at all, just to “save money” with the card.

Not a baller like Brian TPG

Here is what I have recovered so far since I am normal folk, I haven’t gotten as much value as an actual businessman:

Membership (1 yr) $295
Trunk Club ($100)
GroundLink ($30)

Entrepreneur Magazine


Dollar Shave Club

Inc. Magazine ($13)
Tripit Pro ($49)
Still left $74

Not quantified above is the party I got invited to at The Gray Hotel down the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. I brought two friends and has a good time. Just open bar with beer and wine, along with some pretty gross deep fried crouton passed appetizers. I guess that could be $74 right there. So lets say I broke even for the year, we can critically analyze what value each redemption is.

Several thousand dollars of clothing on display

Trunk Club

Excellent service, they give you $100 credit for signing up, however $100 buys you 2/3rds of a shirt, and less than half a pair of designer jeans. I met with my stylist at the HP location that is soon to be closing. Pretty hard sell on every item, and free beer makes it impossible to spend just the $100 credit on 5 pairs of socks. I ended up buying an entire outfit for $500 just to save $100. It was fun though, but not exactly $400 fun! Perfect for those that feel joy from retail therapy.

Ground Link

Even with the existing account created with my US Bank Altitude card, they placed another $30 in ride credit just to have this new relationship. I prefer this over Uber as you can schedule these rides months in advance. I combined this with the current $50 off of $150 spend on AmEx Offers as a double dip.

Inc. & Entrepreneur Magazine

Two more magazines to add to my pile of Departures from AmEx Platinum, Luxury from Barclay Luxury card, and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway from US Bank Altitude. More reading material for the patient waiting room!

Tripit Pro

I used to get Tripit Pro for free with my Barclay’s Arrival+ but that was killed off years ago. Nice service and links up to your workplace Concur account.

Dollar Shave Club

Good service, but they are rebranded DORCO razors that you can get even cheaper online. I combined this offer with the AmEx Offer of 1,000 points when you spend $10 at DSC.

Stuff I already had counts against FoundersCard value

Now I am not saying FoundersCard is some scam, there are lots of benefits here, but a lot I already have with my other products:

5% off on jetBlue flights

Already get $100 off with Visa Discount Flight with the RC Card which include United, America, and pretty much every major airlines. I was able to book a round trip ORD to BOS for two adults and an infant for $126.4 per segment on jet Blue. I was also able to get Mosaic match with my United status. The best the FoundersCard portal can do is to get 5% off the same flight for $166 a segment.

Hilton HHONORS Gold & Marriott Gold

AmEx Plat gets you both as well as SPG Gold!

Avis Rent A Car Preferred Plus

AmEx Plat has this and more companies.

Hertz Five Star

I have Hertz Presidential Circle with my United Club card.

Sixt Rent a Car

Already got platinum with my World Elite MasterCard (gold Lux and Arrival+)

Final thoughts

I am registered as the Editor in Chief for Derp Report on the FoundersCard. I guess if this silly blog ever takes off and I have an entire team of people under me the business benefits such as UPS discounts, AA Airpass, hosting services at rack space. If you are just an individual you might be hard stretched to max out the benefits of a $590 membership.

Despite all that, please use this link to toss some FC points my way.


Christmas Every Month

I was just looking at my collection and realized I have a little gift to myself (almost) every month:




  • Monthly $15 Uber credit per Personal Platinum card (every month)


  • Pay taxes with plastiq for some serious MSing



  • Delta Companion Pass for First class via Delta Reserve Card
  • One Free Night at Marriott on wife’s card ($95 annual fee)
  • 3 Club Level Upgrade certs at The Ritz Carlton ($450 annual fee)



  • Back to school supplies 5x points on INK+ at Staples


  • $100 Silver Star Certificate toward Genuine Mercedes-Benz Accessories (MB Plat) for myself


  • One Free Night at Marriott on bro’s card ($95 annual fee)



  • Actual Christmas
  • $35 Per AmEx Personal Platinum for Uber
  • $300 Travel credit reset for CSR
  • One Free Night at Marriott on mom’s card ($95 annual fee)

Get 2.2 Cents Per MR Using Avios on AA

Now thru 17 September 2017 you will get a 40% bonus on Avios transfered from MR points. What this means is amazing returns of 2.2 cents (or more) per MR points, exceeding the already ailing and failing 50% Business AmEx Plat deal. The current “2 cents per MR” is a gimmick since it takes over 31 days to get your bonus back in the form of 50% of points spent being returned. Don’t let those jerks at the RAT get you down! If you fly a lot of Air Berlin international, or weirdo one way segments on American Airlines domestically you might as well transfer some points during bonus time to Avios to book flights in the future.

Right now you can transfer 250 points to get 350 Avios. A domestic segment on American Airlines cost you 7,500 Avios or 5,357 MR points (at a 1:1.4 MR:Avios ratio). I had a need for a single one way segment when I decided to front run the family on the St. Louis trip in order to attend some courses. If I would book on AA directly I am paying $126.20, but at 7,500 Avios and $5.60 I am actually spending 5,357 MR for a $120.60. This means 2.2 cents per MR point. Even after the reversion back to 1:1 after the promotion ends we get 1.6 cents per point which still exceeds the 1.5 cents per point from the 35% return on AmEx Biz Plat.

Now if we fell for the AmEx Biz Trap we would have to spend 12,620 MR to book the trip. If we charge it on the Personal Platinum linked to a Business Platinum, and if we had been grandfathered into the plan to get 50% back, AND if ye chose American Airlines for our Biz card in January. If and only if we had done all of these bullshit moves we would hopefully, after begging and pleading, and spending time on the phone for hours, we would get 6,310 back after 31 to 70 days from our 50% bonus. If we were super lucky we would of gotten 5x on the personal platnum (631 MR points) if they haven’t fixed the loophole. We would of overpaid with 5,679 MR for the same flight we could of had for 5,357 with Avios. This 322 point disparity isn’t much but a 6% loss combined with a month of inaccessibility to those MR points is significant.

DO NOT transfer all your MR points to Avios. There is always devaluation of these points. If you can believe, these short flights used to cost 4,500 Avios! I would not use these Avios for anything but Domestic OneWorld partners (AA, Alaska Air) or Air Berlin since other partners charge for fuel as a surcharge. Take advantage of the 40% bump while it’s here. Don’t forget the plan to hit every centurion lounge using Avios and United miles.