Let’s get right to it…
1. Disney will once again be bookable through with Chase Ultimate Rewards
Let’s start off with an optimistic prediction. It’s bizarre how Disney is selectively blocked for Ultimate Rewards redemptions. I think they’ll be able to patch up whatever caused the rift and we’ll once again see all things Disney bookable with Ultimate Rewards in 2019.
2. Amex will devalue their generous referral program
It’s just too good to be true, and if you’re not taking of advantage of it now you may regret it.
3. American Airlines -or- Alaska will devalue their premium cabin award chart to Asia
American and Alaska miles are strong for travel to Asia with partners JAL and Cathay Pacific. This won’t last. Book now.
4. A “relationship bank” will introduce a compelling premium rewards credit card
If I could only have one credit card it would be the City National Bank Crystal card. It’s great to see someone other than Chase and American Express offering an excellent overall product, and I think we’ll see more of this in 2019. I’m looking at you, First Republic – but it could come from anywhere. Maybe even a very high end “private bank”. We’ll see.
5. Bank of America will introduce a premium rewards card with a $400+ annual fee
Their Premium Rewards card is good, but it’s just not quite…premium enough? They’ve got relationships in place with a small but useful collection of airlines. Time to leverage that into a compelling product.
6. Plastiq will be acquired
Online payments run more effortlessly through Mastercards than Visa. Plastiq has been running promos with Mastercard like crazy. I think they’ll be acquired by some Mastercard related entity in 2019.
7. Chase will discontinue 5x
5x at office supply stores has gone on for a very long time. It’s almost to the point where Staples sales would dip if Chase discontinued 5x there. You’ve been warned. 3x is the new 5x.
8. Hilton will *not* make their points redeemable for 0.5 cents a piece on Amazon
Although this “glitch” occured a couple of times, I do not think Hilton points will be redeemable for 0.5 cents a piece on a regular basis. It just doesn’t make sense. They regularly sell Hilton points for 0.5 cents a piece. They wouldn’t allow Amazon redemptions (a near cash-equivalent) at the same price you can buy Hilton points. This won’t happen.
9. Amex will make Membership Rewards worth 1.5 cents a piece towards Fine Hotels & Resorts redemptions for Platinum cardholders
This is another optimistic prediction, but one that Amex should seriously consider to be competitive with Chase. Membership Rewards are good for flights. They’re not good for hotels, cruises, activities, and vacation rentals. To make Membership Rewards a currency that can fund more complete vacations they should consider making them worth more than 1 cent per point towards “other” travel. To differentiate themselves from Chase and Citi they could restrict this to the hotels in their Fine Hotels & Resorts program. You’re welcome, Amex. Now make it happen.
10. The Citi Prestige redesign will be a flop and the card will be discontinued for good
We’re all waiting here with bated breath [not really] for Citi to redesign their flagship Prestige card that seems to get redesigned a couple of times a year. It’s clear at this point that Citi doesn’t know what they’re doing with this card. I predict they’re going to give up in 2019 after it’s 3rd redesign is a flop.
How did I do on last year’s predictions?
Last year I batted around 0.300. We reviewed what we got right and what we got wrong in this episode of the Milenomcs² No Annual Fee Podcast.