It’s pretty common for credit card companies to send out targeted spend bonuses every so often to encourage people to use their cards more often. I’m not talking about credit card sign-up bonuses, but rather bonuses that encourage incremental spend for existing cardmembers.
I get these offers all the time by email, and am frequently conflicted as to whether or not they’re worth taking advantage of. I figured I’d share the latest targeted spend offer I got, along with my thought process in deciding whether or not to take advantage of it.
My targeted JetBlue Plus Card spend offer
I’ve had the JetBlue Plus Card for a bit over a year now, and find it to be a great card. It offers a great welcome bonus, 5,000 points on the account anniversary each year, and a 10% refund on redeemed points. To me that more than justifies the card’s $99 annual fee. However, it’s not a card I put much everyday spend on, given how many other great cards there are, with more compelling category bonuses.
However, I just received a targeted spend bonus on the JetBlue Plus Card, which can earn me up to 5,000 bonus points. As I always do when I receive these offers, I decided to crunch the numbers.
With this offer I can earn 1,000 bonus TrueBlue points for each month (July, August, or September) in which I spend at least $750 on the card. On top of that, I can earn a further 2,000 bonus points if I complete the spend requirement for all three months. That means if I spend $2,250 over the course of three months I’d earn 5,000 bonus TrueBlue points, in addition to the points I’d usually earn for spend.
So, is this offer worth it?
Assuming I spend $2,250 in non-bonused categories distributed evenly over the three months, I’d earn a total of 7,250 TrueBlue points, which is 3.2 TrueBlue points per dollar spent. I value TrueBlue points at ~1.5 cents each, so to me that’s a return of just under 5%. Pretty good, right?
To look at this in terms of the opportunity cost of spend:
- I could be earning 2x Membership Rewards points with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (though that’s capped at $50,000 of spend per calendar year / 1x after that)
- I could earn 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, since I have the card in conjunction with a card accruing Ultimate Rewards points
I value those points currencies at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s a return of ~2.5-3.5%. For my personal situation, the JetBlue Plus Card offers an incremental return of 1.5-2.5% on $2,250 of spend.
On the surface that seems worth it, but it doesn’t factor in the effort required to take advantage of this offer. For three months I have to make sure I track my spend closely to get as close to $750 as possible, and it’s something that will often be in the back of my mind. Is it worth doing that for an incremental return of ~$30?
My credit card strategy is complicated enough as is, so that’s why I often avoid these offers. To me it’s just not worth the hassle of complicating my strategy even further just for a (relatively) small incremental gain. Yet at the same time, I’m still tempted, because I hate leaving points on the “table.”
Would you take advantage of this offer? Am I crazy for usually skipping these offers, since I don’t want to complicate my strategy even further?