At times I’m really impressed with the suite of offerings companies provide. Amazon started with books and look where they’re at. American Express started as an express mail service in Albany, New York (by the same founders of Wells Fargo nonetheless); they too have come a long way.
Most of us know American Express as the credit card giant. They provide also provide travel and insurance services and even spun off Ameriprise (who I happen to use for management of my financial portfolio). Another thing American Express does is provide wire transfer services (as a part of their travel service division nonetheless). For most of us, the only time we’re likely to ever perform a wire transfer is at the closing of a house. It’s also a great way to securely send money to a foreign country for family / friends. Identity is verified on both ends; think of it as sending a package Registered Mail with USPS.
In my last round of card applications I picked up The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN with a targeted 100,000 sign-up bonus… and here come the points:
The 5,000 points is for signing up for the pay over time option (10,000 point option may be out there too). There is no fee for signing up for this; free 5,000 MR points, TYVM. American Express Charge Cards typically have to be paid in full every month. It doesn’t work for every purchase; but American Express identifies which ones you can pay over time (and of course pay interest on like a credit card). It’s a nice add-on to give some extra flexibility on a charge card.
… Back to the wire transfers. I *just* signed up, and this program isn’t for everyone. You need to either be incorporated or be a sole proprietorship licensed in your county / state … but for 30,000 points I got off my butt, formed an S-Corp (for my consulting I do on the side … which I needed to do anyway), and will rack up the points after making 3 payments within 90 days. Full details on the program.
Here’s how I’ll use the program and get my points:
- Sign-up/get approved – 15,000 points
- I’ve contacted a vendor I use in New Zealand and was completely transparent about my intentions. They offer payment via wire transfer with a minimum payment of $300. Conveniently my monthly bill is just over $300 NZD ($307 as of today).
- I’ll pay for three months of service in unique transactions (no transaction fee for the first 6 months) – 15,000 points (I’ll also get 30 additional points for the actual dollar amount of the transaction)
- Any American Express OPEN card holder is eligible for the points, however you must additionally meet the requirements of the FX International Payments program
- Business Platinum Card® members and Business Centurion Card® members receive preferred fee pricing (however all are eligible for the 6 month fee-free promo
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49