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Wells Fargo losing millions on Bilt card, the ball drops on Curve and online passport renewal is kind of back (Saturday Selection) – Frequent Miler

Online passport renewal is back (sort of), Curve goes bankrupt in the US, and Bilt cards cost Wells Fargo $10 million per month. All this and more in this week’s Saturday Selection, a weekly roundup of interesting tidbits from around the Internet (links to each article are embedded in the title).

Online passport renewal is back again! But is it really back?

Strangely Photoshopped Passport Inspector

For Americans, online passport renewal is like a desert mirage that you see over the next hill but never actually get close to. It was announced a few years ago, in the midst of the pandemic and the surge in wait times experienced by people renewing manually on revenge trips. But after that announcement, we kept waiting. And on Wednesday (and with little fanfare), the State Department finally opened up its online renewals. Public Online Update SiteBefore you get too excited, this is called a “beta test.” To participate: A laundry list of qualifications Also, your passport must not be older than nine years or older than 15 years. Furthermore, there is no way to know exactly when you can apply online. The landing page states:You may not be able to open your application on the day you want. The system is open for a limited time each day at noon Eastern Time and closes when the limit for that day is reached.“After all, that “limited” time very It is limited. You might even say limited. So limited that some people have complained that it seems to only be open for a few minutes on any given day.

Curve throws curveball to U.S. customers

Close-up of a credit card and a barricade

When the waiting list for the Curve card was first announced in 2021, it made frequent milers’ hearts flutter… it sounded like the magic key to the happy marriage we’d previously only dreamed of. It was meant to be a “front” card that would essentially act as a one-card wallet. You could add multiple backup credit cards, specify which card to use when, and even go back in time to reallocate charges if they were applied incorrectly. If all went according to plan, you could just hand this one card to player two and know that every conceivable category bonus was covered. Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned. The initial release was buggier than my backyard in Florida. Charges were sent to the wrong card or were rejected. Purchases made on cards that were loaded onto Curve outside of Curve showed up in the app and were routed to a different card. Charges were sent to unsupported cards that weren’t even in the app (though I did try to add them in the beginning). It was weird.

That said, things continue to improve, and while Visa and Amex were not supported as promised, it seemed to work well with Mastercard and was great for the “typical Citi-wallet”. At one point, Bilt cardholders could even go back in time and change their billing to the beginning of the month, turning every day into a Rent Day and earning double points. It was a lot of fun. Sadly, it seems a curveball was dropped in the middle of the night. A few weeks ago, the developers (From the Reddit post linked above:)They are”Due to the termination of our sponsor bank, Hatch Bank’s Curve credit card account, we will be suspending our current U.S. Curve beta program until we have completed our integration with a new sponsor bank.Curve says cardholders need not worry, and that something even better will come back soon. We’ll see what happens.

Wells Fargo is losing $10 million a month on Built

Built Rewards is a new program that has garnered attention over the past few years, letting you earn points on rent, offering unprecedented transfer bonuses to various partners, and frustrating many in the points and miles community by not offering a welcome offer on their credit cards. In fact, many of Built’s promotions have been so good that predictions of “when the venture capital runs out” have become commonplace. But Built is thriving. Last week, The Wall Street Journal We recently published an interesting tidbit about Built’s relationship with Wells Fargo, the bank that guarantees its credit cards. Apparently Built cut a very lucrative deal with Wells Fargo, and Wells Fargo is now paying the company. 0.8 cents for every dollar spent on rental transactions Additionally, Built will receive $200 for every new cardholder it acquires. No wonder the transfer bonuses are booming. Meanwhile, Wells is reportedly losing $10 million a month. Spending more than $100 million a year on new products may seem crazy, but for a bank with $83 billion in annual revenue, it’s a round number. Still, considering all the salacious details the WSJ learned about Bild’s relationship with Wells Fargo, The man in the old stagecoach ruffles his feathersBoth companies have contracts in place until 2029, so I think Bild will be doing pretty well for the foreseeable future, regardless of any further leaks from Wells. DOC summarises the article in the post linked above, and you can also hear Greg and Nick discuss the subject in the latest Frequent Miler on the Air.

Alaska orders Virgin to pay $160 million for non-branding

Richard Branson tightens the screws on frequent milers
Sir Richard Branson explains his plans for a trip to Alaska to frequent flyer Greg.

Ever since Richard Branson tried to strangle frequent flyer Greg in a remote island prison commissary, we’ve known he customer A man of few repute. Now Alaska Airlines knows it too. When Alaska Airlines bought Virgin America in 2016, it assumed all of the airline’s debts, including a 2014 deal in which Virgin America agreed to pay $8 million a year in royalties. Until 2039 Alaska Airlines exercised the Virgin America trademark to enjoy the privilege of flying the Virgin America logo on the tail of their aircraft. When Alaska Airlines dropped the Virgin America brand, they stopped paying royalties to the Virgin America brand, stating that it was ridiculous to pay for a brand they never used. Sir Branson disagreed and sued Alaska Airlines, hoping to win the benefits of his empire. Naturally, he was successful and Alaska Airlines had to pay a total of $160 million for the Virgin America trademark for 20 years. Alaska Airlines was now able to claim that Richard had “If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars launch buy new My airline.

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