Beware! Barclays will deny credit card application for all non-immigrant legal residents of the US

I recently talked about a few cards offered by Barclays like the US Airways Visa credit card that offers up to 50,000 bonus miles and the Choice Visa credit card offering 40,000 bonus Choice points. It is important for me to inform the readers that Barclays will only consider providing a credit card to applicants who are US Citizens or US permanent resident (i.e., Green Card holders). Barclays will deny all other applicants.

Please note that there is no place on any Barclays application where they ask for this information. But they can figure it out based on when your social security number was issued. Basically, if your social security file was not initiated within a few years from your birth, you are suspect in their eyes. Thus, they will send you a letter requesting a proof of US citizenship or permanent residency. This is the first bank I know of that requires US Citizenship or Permanent Residency for approving credit cards.

So, all those non-immigrant legal residents of the US on a Visa like F1 (student) and H1 (work permit) who are in the churning game, please do not waste an inquiry by applying to any Barclays card.

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Get 30,000 Ultimate Reward points or $300 cashback when you apply for Chase Freedom credit card (no annual fee)

Apply for Chase Freedom credit card and get 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $500 on the card. You can redeem these 30,000 Chase UR points for worth $300 cash or gift cards. There is no annual fee for this card.

Note that the UR points earned from this card cannot be transferred to one of the Airline or Hotel partners within Ultimate Rewards program as this card is ineligible for transfer. However, if you have another Chase card that earns Chase UR points like Chase INK BOLD (that also earns 50,000 Chase UR points, with first year annual fee waived), the points earned from this Chase Freedom card get consolidated to the same Chase UR account and are now eligible for the transfer. These transfer partners include UA, CO, BA, KE, Hyatt or Marriott, and you convert your points at 1:1 ratio for no charge.

This is a good card option for those who are strictly not interested in getting cards with annual fee. Otherwise, there are plenty of good options, some of which I have already discussed and many more that I will be talking about in future.

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Companion Certificate program for Citi ThankYou Premier card results in savings of $229

My experience trying to use Citi ThankYou Premier card’s companion certificate program was a pleasant one resulting in savings of $229 as compared to buying two tickets out of pocket at the market rate.

If I had bought the two tickets directly from the Airline, these would have cost me $637 total. I got the exact same flights for $408 through Citi Companion Certificate program by calling them at 888-428-4078. This comes to a net savings of $229, well over the annual fee for the card.

I simply love this card. A detailed analysis of this card can be found in this post. Best of all, you will earn miles on both the tickets!

Some points to be noted:

  1. Cardholder has to be one of the two travelers.
  2. Tickets have to be booked at least 4 days in advance.
  3. You may not have a choice of flights covered by the program.
  4. It is not a real companion certificate that gives you the second ticket for free. But in a few other test cases I tried, the savings ranged between 50-70% of the total cost of two tickets. That is fantastic in my opinion.
  5. You have to use Citi ThankYou card to pay for the tickets.
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EXCLUSIVE! Earn up to 40,000 Choice Privileges points when you apply for Choice Privileges Visa Credit Card (offer ends November 30)

Update, Nov 13, 2011, 7:30 AM: Beware! Barclays will deny card application for all non-immigrant legal residents of the US

Update, Nov 11, 2011, 7:00 AM: Some users reported a broken link. The link has now been updated. Please let me know if you still continue to have issues.

I would really appreciate if readers could provide feedback about their experience by posting comments. Would love to hear if the link worked for them and if they were approved or denied. This would help other readers.

You can now earn up to 40,000 bonus Choice Privileges points (24,000 after first use and 16,000 more after your first stay paid with this card) when you apply for Choice Privileges Via Signature card offered by Barclays Bank. The card has no annual fee.

Please note: The link takes you directly to the application page which does not show offer details. So, here is the offer showing Choice Visa 40K.

Under Choice current award structure, 40,000 points can get you up to six free nights at their lowest award level requiring 6,000 points per award night. The best value of Choice Points is to use them for award nights at hotel properties outside the US (especially Europe).  Another good option is to use Choice points for the their luxury properties like Preferred Hotel Group and Barcelo hotels. Choice program also has other redemption options like gas gift cards, dining gift cards, car rental and other travel related gift cards and ability to transfer points to a bunch of Airlines’ Frequent Flyer programs.

Note that you will earn 24,000 bonus points after your first purchase and rest 16,000 only after your eligible stay paid with this credit card. As copied and pasted from offer’s terms and conditions:  card-members will earn an additional 16,000 points after their first paid stay with their new Choice Privileges Visa Signature card at a Comfort Inn® , Comfort Suites ®, Quality®, Sleep Inn®, Clarion®, Ascend Collection®, Cambria Suites®, MainStay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay®, Econo Lodge® or Rodeway Inn® hotel in the U.S.

With the Choice Privileges Visa Signature card, you’ll also earn:

  • 15 points per $1 spent at 4,200 Choice Privileges locations.
  • 5 points per $1 spent on additional Choice Privileges points and Choice Hotels gift cards.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on everyday purchases such as gas and groceries.
  • Automatic Elite Gold status.

This offer is valid through November 30, 2011.

Posted in Active Deals, Credit Cards, Frequent Guest Programs (Hotels) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2x American Express Membership Rewards for Chicago

I just found an offer sitting in my emails that I had not looked at since it was originally sent to me. Chicago residents can earn 2x American Express Membership Rewards points until November 15, 2011 at the participating merchants simply by enrolling their AMEX card and using it to pay the merchant. This offer originally was from October 1, 2011 to November 15, 2011.

Although, it says that the offer is for first 1,000 card members who successfully I was able to enroll two hours ago. This means that the enrollment is still open and readers can still take advantage of this offer.

Terms and Conditions for the offer as copied and pasted from the offer webpage:

The following Offer Terms are specific to the Offer above:

To be eligible for this offer, you must register a Membership Rewards program-enrolled American Express Card at between September 15, 2011 and November 15, 2011. You may only register one Card for this offer. Using the same registered Card for each transaction, you must make at least one purchase at participating merchants between October 1, 2011 and November 15, 2011. Registration is limited to the first 5000 registrants. You may earn a maximum of 1,000 bonus points during this promotion. Prepaid and corporate cards, and ExpressPay transactions are not eligible. If your Card is replaced during the promotional period, please call the customer service number on the back of your Card for assistance. Bonus points will be credited to your Program account within 10-12 weeks after charges appear on your billing statement. Some American Express Cards are not eligible for enrollment in the Program. Program terms and conditions apply; see or call 1-800-AXP-EARN (287-3276). Participating partners and available rewards are subject to change at any time. Bonus ID 6966. Additional terms apply. See Registration Terms & Conditions for details.

Enroll in this 2x AMEX MR points for Chicago offer

List of participating merchants


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10,000 Wyndham Rewards points + 3 Days and 2 Nights + 1 future night for $99 per package – Escape for the Holidays!

Following up on my previous posts for 7,000 SPG points plus 6 days at Westin Kaanapali deal for $798 as well as 7,000 SPG points plus 5 days in 1-Bedroom villa at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & villas for $389, I would like to add another deal along similar lines. This time, it is from Club Wyndham. This deal offers 10,000 Wyndham Rewards points plus 3 days, 2 nights for $99 per package. You also get a “Spend A Night on Us” rebate coupon for up to $100.00 cash back on a one-night stay in a Wyndham Worldwide hotel (subject to certain specific hotels and additional redemption instructions available on the coupon).

I find this to be a good deal considering like the previous one as it gets you 10,000 Wyndham Rewards points which gets you 1 free night at their Tier 2 property plus the 2 nights at one of the resorts. Here is the list of properties where you can get these 2 nights. Most of the hotels and resorts on this list are 3 stars or higher like Harvey’s Resort and Casino in Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Atlantic City or Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans.

Disclosure: I am not affiliated to the promo in any ways and do not stand to gain from the promo. Further, I would like to bring it to readers attention that this deal is part of a timeshare promo and you will need to attend a two-hour on-site presentation.

Get your 10,000 Wyndham Rewards points + 3 Days and 2 Nights + 1 future night for $99 per package and Escape for the Holidays.

Click here for terms and conditions of this timeshare promotion.

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Priority Pass Membership gets you over 600 Airline Lounges at over 300 Airports in over 100 countries

I was recently asked by a reader who was new to flying about Airline Lounges and how does one get access to them.

Generally speaking, most Airline Lounges are meant for the premium passengers who either hold a business class or first class tickets, or those who hold an elite status with the airline or their select partners, or if you have purchased a Membership for their lounges. Each Airline has a different set of rules for access to their Lounge. It is best to check what these rules for the Airline Lounge of your interest.

Holding a lounge membership in one Airline gets you access only to their own lounges and may be one or two additional partner airline’s lounge. This can restrict the choice of lounges and may not be offer you the most options. An alternative to holding a membership in one Airline’s lounge is a program called Priority Pass. Priority Pass is  a program which partners with a lot of Airline lounges as well as independent airport lounges all over the world. Membership in Priority Pass gets you access to over 600 lounges at over 300 Airport in over 100 countries. You can search for the lounges at the airports of your interest on their website or on a smart phone. No matter what airline, what frequent flyer membership, elite status, or class of ticket bought, eligible cardholders will enjoy all of the convenience of an airport lounge.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not affiliated or connected to Priority Pass or any any other websites in mentioned in this post in any ways, commercial or otherwise.

Membership in Priority Pass can cost you anywhere between $99 to $399 depending on the type of the membership you purchase. Following are the three types of memberships in Priority Pass:

  • Standard membership which charges $27 to your sponsoring credit card for each visit to an Airline lounge covered in the Priority Pass network. Each accompanying guest also pays $27. This standard membership costs $99.
  • Standard Plus Membership which comes with 10 free lounge visits included every year of membership. After the free visits have been used, each visit is charged at US$27 per visit to the member’s credit card on file. Each accompanying guest is also charged at $27. Standard Plus membership costs $249.
  • Prestige Membership which provides unlimited free in-network lounge visits to the member and accompanying guests are charged $27 directly to the member’s credit card on file. Prestige membership costs US$399.

Apart from the above ways to access airline lounges, American Express Platinum card ($475 annual fee + $175 for up to 3 add-on cards) holders also get access to select Airlines’ lounges which include American Airlines’ Admirals Club, Delta Airlines’ Sky Club and US Airways Club. AMEX Platinum card holders can also request free Priority Pass Prestige Membership to access lounges covered by Priority Pass. Thus, with AMEX platinum card, you can get access to most Airline lounges.

There are several credit cards out there that sponsor free membership to Priority Pass. However, please note that there are multiple levels of PP membership with varying types of coverages and charges. Examples of such cards are AMEX Hilton Surpass Card, most MasterCard World Elite cards, some other premium cards.

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