January 25, 2014

Fly to Hong Kong in First Class for $350

Last weekend, I completed my quarterly round of credit card applications.  Perhaps it was fortuitous timing or just luck that a phenomenal offer came out yesterday.

Via The Points Guy and available at this link you can earn 75,000 American Airlines miles for spending $7,500 in the first 90 days.  You can also earn an additional $100 statement credit by spending $100 on American Airlines within the first year.  The annual fee is $450 and is not waived for the first year so this certainly won't be for everyone. 

The card does get you Admirals Club Access (and USAirways clubs given the merger) which is a nice perk if you fly American a lot...especially given that membership can cost up to $475.

When these offers come around, if you are in a position to apply, you have to do so quickly.  In many cases, the offers are pulled quickly (sometimes hours) so if applying for the card makes sense, don't think just apply.  In this case, there was some speculation that offer was targeted but early reports proved that not to be the case. 

Since I had just completed my quarterly apps a few days earlier, I decided to apply.  Here are a few of my thoughts on why I pulled the trigger:

  • Yes, $450 is a VERY steep annual fee.  
  • Yes, $7,500 in spend in 90 days is a lot.  But there are some tricks to getting to that amount without "spending more" than you normally would that I'll share in a future post.  
  • 75,000 miles will get you three (3) round trip economy tickets on American to anywhere in the US.  So if you live in NYC and want to travel to LA, this will get you there and back three times.  
  •  I value AA miles at $.02 each so the bonus with the spend will net you 82,500 miles worth $1,650 for $350 in "cash."
  • 75,000 American miles is a ton.  67,500 will get you one-way to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific First Class

For me the value is really in "buying" a one-way first class ticket (last bullet above) to Asia for $350 cash (annual fee - statement credit).  Everyone will think about it differently but that was my logic.  I applied for the card last night, received a notification that I needed to call to verify a few pieces of information, and was approved in 5 minutes.  I was able to verify the offer with the super nice Citi CSR and was on with my weekend. 

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