|Credit Card Tips and Strategies Newsletter 008
Date : 10th February 2006
Table of Contents
1. Blue Sky Credit Card
2. Business Platinum FreedomPass Credit Card
3. One from American Express
4. Skypoints Credit Card
5. Skypoints Business Credit Card
In this newsletter, we highlight 5 new credit cards from American Express that we have just
reviewed. These are quite unique cards in the market.
Blue Sky from American Express
If all you want from your reward points is to earn a free airline ticket, either airline credit cards or reward credit cards will do the job. You accumulate about 25,000 points, which should get you a roundtrip ticket within the US.
However there may be times when you can get a cheap ticket through your own agent and using 25,000 points or miles may not be the best use of the points you have earned. For example, you are able to get a ticket for say $120 during off-peak season.
Some credit cards get around this by allowing you to exchange points for "travel discount certificates". For example, you can exhange say 15,000 points for a $150 discount certificate. This allows you to better
utilize your points.
Despite this, you still have to either book your tickets through the specific airline (if you have a frequent flyer credit card) or use your credit cards' "in-house" travel agent. You probably would not get the cheapest airfares.
The Blue Sky from American Express gets around this with a unique travel reward program. You earn points for every dollar you spend on the card (which is the standard practice). But instead of redeeming points for airline tickets or other rewards, the BlueSky allows you to choose your own travel agents and get the best airfare. You then charge the your travel items to the card, whether it be airfares or hotels. Once these items appear on your bills, you just have to make a phone call to American Express and use your points to get credits for these purchases you have made. 7,500 points gets you a $100 credit (which is more than a 1% rebate).
The good thing about letting you use your reward points this way is that you are free to choose the best travel deals you can get. And because you use your own travel agents, you avoid the usual restrictions that most credit card reward programs have in place - like having to book 21 days in advance, having to stay over a Saturday or having blackout dates.
You can read our review of the BlueSky from American Express here :
Business Platinum FreedomPass Credit Card
This is the business credit card version of the BlueSky credit card. It has identical reward formula as the consumer version. Like all American Express business credit cards, you can get discounts when you spend at OPENSAVINGs merchants for your business purchases.
You can read our review of the Business Platinum FreedomPass Credit Card here :
One from American Express
The One from American Express is a "savings credit card". You earn a 1% rebate for every dollar you spend. This rebate that you earn is automatically deposited in a high yield account with (guess who) American Express Bank. To encourage you to sign up, American Express will deposit $25.00 in your new high yield account after you have made your first purchase on the card. The annual fee is $35.00.
Before we get too excited about this card, realize that you can probably earn higher rebates if you use a cash rebate credit card that pays 5% on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations and drugstores and 1% on "other purchases". Most cash rebate credit cards also do not have any annual fee. However, most cash rebate credit cards either give you a rebate check at the end of the calender year or only when you redeem them.
In contrast, the One from American Express "automatically" deposits your monthly
rebates into a high yield account. Hence "savings" literally becomes automatic. You can also earn unlimited rebates/savings.
You can read our review of the One from American Express here :
Skypoints Credit Card from Delta and American Express
The Skypoints credit card is an alternative to the regular Delta Skymiles credit card. This card allows the Delta frequent flyer to earn "Skypoints". These Skypoints can either be converted into Delta Skymiles (at a one for one conversion ratio) or be used to get discounts for Delta Airfares. Hence, if you do not have enough points to get a roundtrip ticket, you can still use skypoints to get a discount.
Because ticket prices vary due to peak or off-peak seasons and also where you are traveling, the flexibility to either convert your skypoints or use them for airfare discount allows you to better utilize these precious points that you have earned.
The annual fee of $49.00 (which is waived for the first year) is also lower than the regular Delta Skymiles credit card.
You can read our review of the Skypoints credit card here :
Skypoints Business Credit Card from Delta and American Express
This is essentially the business credit card version of the Skypoints credit card with exactly identical reward formula.
You can read our review of the Skypoints Business Credit Card here :