Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America during the financial crises. It was effectively a bail out. Of course that put Bank of America on the hook for a good deal of liability. It also means that they issue the Merrill Lynch credit card, and they apparently want new cardmembers because they’ve got an aggressive sign up bonus for the product: 50,000 points after $3,000 in spend within the first 90 days.
This is a no annual fee card that will give you a Delta SkyClub membership after $50,000 spend in a year (or choose a $200 travel credit instead). I wonder how they’re able to do this given Delta’s co-brand exclusivity with American Express or rather I’m surprised that they’re able to do this and that the American Express agreement doesn’t preclude it.
Points are worth a penny apiece as statement credits or two cents apiece towards travel under some specific circumstances, so the signup bonus can buy $1000 in travel.
- You have to redeem 25,000 at a time. So a $500 ticket can be redeemed for 25,000 points. But your points are only worth a penny apiece towards amounts over $500 in airfare (redeemed in 2500 point increments).
- The 2 cent value for your first $500 only applies to American, British Airways, Delta, and United. Other carriers get you just 1.67 cents in value for that first $500 (30,000 points for up to $500 in airfare).
Basically you want to play ‘Price is Right’ with this card’s redemptions: as close to a $500 airline ticket as possible without going over, and restricted to airlines where you get the best value.
It’s a good signup bonus from an issuer many don’t have a ton of cards from, but there are some hoops to go through to maximize value.
(HT: Doctor of Credit)