What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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Drew777
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:17 am

Barefootgirl wrote:I'm planning a trip to Paris from the east coast of the US.

I have UR, MR and AA points and the could possibly churn new cards (judiciously) for bonuses.

I checked and it seems like many carriers offer routing from here - so it looks wide open for me.

What airline or points/miles program would you target to use for a trip to Paris - *that would represent a good use of points*? thanks


Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles) charges 45k roundtrip to Europe, and they allow stopovers. You can transfer from MR, SPG, and TYP. You can actually have up to 5 stops. You can avoid fuel surcharges by flying on Air Berlin metal. Of course check award availability before transferring points. AA, Finnair, and Iberia have moderate fuel surcharges - about $200 for a roundtrip. As with any other airline they do have certain routing rules which can be a little tricky. Flying Blue at 50k is probably an easier option for only 5k additional miles.

Drew777
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:26 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
madbrain wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:Citi uses the 5/24 rule too.


Where did you get that from ? It certainly does not. I'm way over 5/24 and got a card from Citi recently.
Citi has some limit, but it's much less restrictive than 5/24.

I disagree. I don't really stay in chain hotels. A lot of the other bonuses just aren't as good in my opinion. For example, Amex gives 50k points. They don't transfer at full value to some airlines and the others I don't fly. Sure, I can use it for a $500 travel credit. However, I used 60k United miles to go to S America in Nov which would have cost me $1300 if I bought the ticket. I used 60k United miles to go to Europe with 1 day notice last month. That would have cost me a fortune. I live in Chicago and the big airlines are American and United. Barclay is similar to Amex. So why would I get a $500 bonus that will limit me in the future getting a $1000 bonus? Of course, people use different bonuses different ways and everyone has to value them as they would use them.

My current 4/24 are Citi AA x2, Chase Reserve, and a Citi Double Cash rewards. The Citi Double I didn't get any big bonus, but it is 2% back on everything. I'm not a big fan of those rotating category rewards.


I got 100k on my Platinum Amex. My husband got 50k points on his Gold. You may be able to use the MR points to fly United by transferring on some Star Alliance partners.
My husband got 70k Delta miles on his Amex Skymiles Gold and 40k on his Skymiles Platinum.
I got 50k on my Skymiles Platinum and 50k on my Skymiles Gold.

Barclay Arrival bonus was worth $500 and I only applied myself.
I got 50k AA miles on my Citi AA and 50k AA miles on my Barclay AA.

We both got 60k UR on CSP. Both got 100k UR on CSR. Husband got 15k UR for Freedom Unlimited.
I got 60 UR on Ink+.

I got 50k Citi points on Prestige.

I got 50k points on the BOFA/Merill card.

Husband $250 cash back on his Amex Green.

I got 75k Hhonors points with Citi VISA

I got $250 cash back on Amex Blue Cash.

Husband just got approved for a Barclay Hawaiian and will get 50k miles. I may get the same after calling reconsideration line (I got denied as I'm on Barclay's shit list since 2008, but was still able to get the above 2 Barclay cards after calling reconsideration).

All the above are since last June. My credit score is still around 805 and his is 790 . I started with 849 out of 850 on Experian after doing 0/24 for the previous few years. His score was about the same and unchanged.

There are still plenty of cards that I have applied for that my husband has not. For example, he has no Citi card yet. And I'm sure he can get approved for one when there is a good offer. He just got approved for his first Barclay (Hawaiian).

It's true that I can't get a United explorer card that I wish could because of 5/24 . But my UR points transfer directly to United.

We used about 400k points of various kind (mostly UR) on a trip to Asia in November/December.
Right now our combined points/miles balances is over 800k points. We are taking another Asia trip in 2 months.

I hate the rotating categories as well. I just sign up for the cards for the juicy sign up bonuses, mainly. A bunch of cards will get cancelled at renewal time. Or maybe even before that.


http://www.doctorofcredit.com/new-citi- ... -citi-typ/

"New Citi Rules Limit You To One Bonus Per 24 Months Per Brand (American Airlines, Expedia, Hilton & Citi TYP)"

Not quite 5/24, but not unlimited either.


Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.

guitarguy
Posts: 1520
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:41 am

guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...

Bfwolf
Posts: 1464
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:15 am

Drew777 wrote:
Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


Drew, what are you planning on doing with all those miles? I have 160K AA miles and have found them virtually impossible to use at any reasonable value. I'm going to finally burn 75K (if I only use them one way) or 150K (if I use them roundtrip) getting to Africa on Qatar Airways, but have been nothing but frustrated with their award availability in general.

It's kind of a catch 22. AA miles are easy to collect a seeming infinite supply but are hard to use while Star Alliance miles are harder to get your hands on but actually have award availability.

I probably need to get the Avianca card to get my hands on more Star Alliance miles. I wonder if it will turn out to be churnable.

michaeljc70
Posts: 1426
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:22 am

guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It takes time to fall off. A new card isn't reported the day you open it and doesn't get dropped the day you close it. The credit report (at least any I've seen) doesn't even have day of month for account open/closed. Also, they don't report in real time to the credit bureaus.

ddunca1944
Posts: 926
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:49 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby ddunca1944 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:23 am

Bfwolf wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


Drew, what are you planning on doing with all those miles? I have 160K AA miles and have found them virtually impossible to use at any reasonable value. I'm going to finally burn 75K (if I only use them one way) or 150K (if I use them roundtrip) getting to Africa on Qatar Airways, but have been nothing but frustrated with their award availability in general.

It's kind of a catch 22. AA miles are easy to collect a seeming infinite supply but are hard to use while Star Alliance miles are harder to get your hands on but actually have award availability.

I probably need to get the Avianca card to get my hands on more Star Alliance miles. I wonder if it will turn out to be churnable.

+1
The difficulty of redeeming miles is the reason I switched my strategy. I now look for cash rewards instead. I can look for the best price and value for a flight and then use the rewards to pay for it.

guitarguy
Posts: 1520
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:39 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It takes time to fall off. A new card isn't reported the day you open it and doesn't get dropped the day you close it. The credit report (at least any I've seen) doesn't even have day of month for account open/closed. Also, they don't report in real time to the credit bureaus.


Damn. :annoyed

EDIT: But wait...I'm not looking for the credit report to be updated or for anything to actually fall off of it. I'm just looking for Chase to look at my report and say yeah, he only opened 4 credit cards in the last 2 years.

So not literally "falling off" the credit report that I had the card, just "falling off" of Chase's 5/24 rule specifically.
Last edited by guitarguy on Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

michaeljc70
Posts: 1426
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:46 am

Drew777 wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:
madbrain wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:Citi uses the 5/24 rule too.


Where did you get that from ? It certainly does not. I'm way over 5/24 and got a card from Citi recently.
Citi has some limit, but it's much less restrictive than 5/24.

I disagree. I don't really stay in chain hotels. A lot of the other bonuses just aren't as good in my opinion. For example, Amex gives 50k points. They don't transfer at full value to some airlines and the others I don't fly. Sure, I can use it for a $500 travel credit. However, I used 60k United miles to go to S America in Nov which would have cost me $1300 if I bought the ticket. I used 60k United miles to go to Europe with 1 day notice last month. That would have cost me a fortune. I live in Chicago and the big airlines are American and United. Barclay is similar to Amex. So why would I get a $500 bonus that will limit me in the future getting a $1000 bonus? Of course, people use different bonuses different ways and everyone has to value them as they would use them.

My current 4/24 are Citi AA x2, Chase Reserve, and a Citi Double Cash rewards. The Citi Double I didn't get any big bonus, but it is 2% back on everything. I'm not a big fan of those rotating category rewards.


I got 100k on my Platinum Amex. My husband got 50k points on his Gold. You may be able to use the MR points to fly United by transferring on some Star Alliance partners.
My husband got 70k Delta miles on his Amex Skymiles Gold and 40k on his Skymiles Platinum.
I got 50k on my Skymiles Platinum and 50k on my Skymiles Gold.

Barclay Arrival bonus was worth $500 and I only applied myself.
I got 50k AA miles on my Citi AA and 50k AA miles on my Barclay AA.

We both got 60k UR on CSP. Both got 100k UR on CSR. Husband got 15k UR for Freedom Unlimited.
I got 60 UR on Ink+.

I got 50k Citi points on Prestige.

I got 50k points on the BOFA/Merill card.

Husband $250 cash back on his Amex Green.

I got 75k Hhonors points with Citi VISA

I got $250 cash back on Amex Blue Cash.

Husband just got approved for a Barclay Hawaiian and will get 50k miles. I may get the same after calling reconsideration line (I got denied as I'm on Barclay's shit list since 2008, but was still able to get the above 2 Barclay cards after calling reconsideration).

All the above are since last June. My credit score is still around 805 and his is 790 . I started with 849 out of 850 on Experian after doing 0/24 for the previous few years. His score was about the same and unchanged.

There are still plenty of cards that I have applied for that my husband has not. For example, he has no Citi card yet. And I'm sure he can get approved for one when there is a good offer. He just got approved for his first Barclay (Hawaiian).

It's true that I can't get a United explorer card that I wish could because of 5/24 . But my UR points transfer directly to United.

We used about 400k points of various kind (mostly UR) on a trip to Asia in November/December.
Right now our combined points/miles balances is over 800k points. We are taking another Asia trip in 2 months.

I hate the rotating categories as well. I just sign up for the cards for the juicy sign up bonuses, mainly. A bunch of cards will get cancelled at renewal time. Or maybe even before that.


http://www.doctorofcredit.com/new-citi- ... -citi-typ/

"New Citi Rules Limit You To One Bonus Per 24 Months Per Brand (American Airlines, Expedia, Hilton & Citi TYP)"

Not quite 5/24, but not unlimited either.


Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


What is "last few month"? You have to do the spend and then wait for the miles to be credited.

I also think there is a difference if you travel a lot, who you travel on, and how much you spend on credit cards (to get the spend). I just don't have the need for 40k miles on some Asian airline that requires 60k for any ticket I would buy if I were to even ever want to fly that airline.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1464
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:08 pm

Drew777 wrote:Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


Drew, do such applications exist for the Citi Hilton Reserve that offers 2 free nights or just the 75K points card? The former is interesting to me, the latter is not.

Drew777
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:09 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


Drew, what are you planning on doing with all those miles? I have 160K AA miles and have found them virtually impossible to use at any reasonable value. I'm going to finally burn 75K (if I only use them one way) or 150K (if I use them roundtrip) getting to Africa on Qatar Airways, but have been nothing but frustrated with their award availability in general.

It's kind of a catch 22. AA miles are easy to collect a seeming infinite supply but are hard to use while Star Alliance miles are harder to get your hands on but actually have award availability.

I probably need to get the Avianca card to get my hands on more Star Alliance miles. I wonder if it will turn out to be churnable.


The only place AA really has good availability to is Asia. I plan to use 320,000 for my wife and I to fly business class round trip to Australia. It's a huge pain to search for awards, and you really have to know what you're doing, check multiple sites and tools, multiple routing options, etc. But it's worth it when you finally find flights that work. A lot of people just pay an award booking service, but that's half the fun to me. I enjoy learning all the tricks I figure out along the way. I do agree that Star Alliance in general has better availability. And Sky Team as well.

Drew777
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:11 pm

guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It should be exactly two years to the day that you are under 5/24. It's from the day the account was opened, it doesn't matter if/when it was closed.

Drew777
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:15 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It takes time to fall off. A new card isn't reported the day you open it and doesn't get dropped the day you close it. The credit report (at least any I've seen) doesn't even have day of month for account open/closed. Also, they don't report in real time to the credit bureaus.


New inquiries are typically on your report literally the same second. As far as Chase 5/24, only the date new accounts are opened is relevant, if/when they were closed won't have any effect.

michaeljc70
Posts: 1426
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:16 pm

Drew777 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It should be exactly two years to the day that you are under 5/24. It's from the day the account was opened, it doesn't matter if/when it was closed.



I don't think Chase will instantly know the exact date you opened an Amex card. Unless they get a different report than we see, my report has month/year for open date.

michaeljc70
Posts: 1426
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:17 pm

Drew777 wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It takes time to fall off. A new card isn't reported the day you open it and doesn't get dropped the day you close it. The credit report (at least any I've seen) doesn't even have day of month for account open/closed. Also, they don't report in real time to the credit bureaus.


New inquiries are typically on your report literally the same second. As far as Chase 5/24, only the date new accounts are opened is relevant, if/when they were closed won't have any effect.


But the 5/24 is not about inquiries. It is about opened accounts.

michaeljc70
Posts: 1426
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:20 pm

Drew777 wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


Drew, what are you planning on doing with all those miles? I have 160K AA miles and have found them virtually impossible to use at any reasonable value. I'm going to finally burn 75K (if I only use them one way) or 150K (if I use them roundtrip) getting to Africa on Qatar Airways, but have been nothing but frustrated with their award availability in general.

It's kind of a catch 22. AA miles are easy to collect a seeming infinite supply but are hard to use while Star Alliance miles are harder to get your hands on but actually have award availability.

I probably need to get the Avianca card to get my hands on more Star Alliance miles. I wonder if it will turn out to be churnable.


The only place AA really has good availability to is Asia. I plan to use 320,000 for my wife and I to fly business class round trip to Australia. It's a huge pain to search for awards, and you really have to know what you're doing, check multiple sites and tools, multiple routing options, etc. But it's worth it when you finally find flights that work. A lot of people just pay an award booking service, but that's half the fun to me. I enjoy learning all the tricks I figure out along the way. I do agree that Star Alliance in general has better availability. And Sky Team as well.


You can also mix up going/return carriers as there is no penalty (at least on the airlines I fly). I used a United mileage ticket to get to S America in Nov and an American mileage ticket to get home. I find even planning in advance, you have to be flexible. I was very surprised I got 2 tickets to Europe with 1 days notice for 120k miles. I did have to pay a $150 late booking fee which sucked, but better than having to pay cash for the whole tickets.

Drew777
Posts: 568
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:24 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
Citi has so many application pages without the 24 month language it almost makes their policy irrelevant. In the last few months between my wife and I we've accumulated 240,000 AA miles from 4 Citi AA signup bonuses. There are Citi Hilton links without the 24 month language as well. Sometimes the links get taken down, but then a new one always pops up.


Drew, what are you planning on doing with all those miles? I have 160K AA miles and have found them virtually impossible to use at any reasonable value. I'm going to finally burn 75K (if I only use them one way) or 150K (if I use them roundtrip) getting to Africa on Qatar Airways, but have been nothing but frustrated with their award availability in general.

It's kind of a catch 22. AA miles are easy to collect a seeming infinite supply but are hard to use while Star Alliance miles are harder to get your hands on but actually have award availability.

I probably need to get the Avianca card to get my hands on more Star Alliance miles. I wonder if it will turn out to be churnable.

+1
The difficulty of redeeming miles is the reason I switched my strategy. I now look for cash rewards instead. I can look for the best price and value for a flight and then use the rewards to pay for it.


I have virtually unlimited flexibility when it comes to when, where, and how long I can travel, so it's not as much of an issue for me personally. Although I have started trying to earn more rewards that can be tied to the cash price like MR, Merrill + points, etc.

gouverneur
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:25 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby gouverneur » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:07 pm

American periodically opens up a ton of award space, so depends if you're able to jump on it that day or week, there can be a lot of flights to Europe for the saver points category.

That being said I value them less than United or other Star Alliance carriers due to availability restrictions.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1464
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:00 am

gouverneur wrote:American periodically opens up a ton of award space, so depends if you're able to jump on it that day or week, there can be a lot of flights to Europe for the saver points category.

That being said I value them less than United or other Star Alliance carriers due to availability restrictions.


Good point. I think I saw a post on the Frequent Miler recently about how AA had opened up a lot of award space to Europe, especially Madrid.

I'm considering starting to collect some SkyMiles. I live in Chicago, so have always considered United and AA miles more worthwhile given the O'Hare hub, and I've pooh-poohed SkyMiles as being hard to use for good value. But I get the sense that Delta is doing a better job with the SkyMiles program and it's not so hard to use them these days. True or not?

dbr
Posts: 21707
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby dbr » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:08 am

Bfwolf wrote:
gouverneur wrote:American periodically opens up a ton of award space, so depends if you're able to jump on it that day or week, there can be a lot of flights to Europe for the saver points category.

That being said I value them less than United or other Star Alliance carriers due to availability restrictions.


Good point. I think I saw a post on the Frequent Miler recently about how AA had opened up a lot of award space to Europe, especially Madrid.

I'm considering starting to collect some SkyMiles. I live in Chicago, so have always considered United and AA miles more worthwhile given the O'Hare hub, and I've pooh-poohed SkyMiles as being hard to use for good value. But I get the sense that Delta is doing a better job with the SkyMiles program and it's not so hard to use them these days. True or not?


A lot of this depends on where you want or need to fly and what opportunities pop up and what your priorities are for trying to buy in business or in economy. As a matter of fact Delta can offer good redemption from hub cities where the alternative may be awkward connections on American or United. You really just have to investigate the specifics. If I were already flying out of Chicago, UA and AA are good. If you are in ATL, DTW, or MSP, etc., Delta could be good. Etc., etc., etc.

michaeljc70
Posts: 1426
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:15 am

dbr wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:
gouverneur wrote:American periodically opens up a ton of award space, so depends if you're able to jump on it that day or week, there can be a lot of flights to Europe for the saver points category.

That being said I value them less than United or other Star Alliance carriers due to availability restrictions.


Good point. I think I saw a post on the Frequent Miler recently about how AA had opened up a lot of award space to Europe, especially Madrid.

I'm considering starting to collect some SkyMiles. I live in Chicago, so have always considered United and AA miles more worthwhile given the O'Hare hub, and I've pooh-poohed SkyMiles as being hard to use for good value. But I get the sense that Delta is doing a better job with the SkyMiles program and it's not so hard to use them these days. True or not?


A lot of this depends on where you want or need to fly and what opportunities pop up and what your priorities are for trying to buy in business or in economy. As a matter of fact Delta can offer good redemption from hub cities where the alternative may be awkward connections on American or United. You really just have to investigate the specifics. If I were already flying out of Chicago, UA and AA are good. If you are in ATL, DTW, or MSP, etc., Delta could be good. Etc., etc., etc.


I live in Chicago and Delta is okay if you are going somewhere in Europe they go direct (from Atlanta). As far as I can see, Delta only flies to Paris and Amsterdam direct from ORD. Otherwise you will be making 2 stops (Atlanta most likely + somewhere in Europe) which I hate doing. So, for example, I would do ORD->ATL->Madrid but would have to be desperate to do ORD->ATL->MAD->Barcelona.

dbr
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby dbr » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:21 am

michaeljc70 wrote:I live in Chicago and Delta is okay if you are going somewhere in Europe they go direct (from Atlanta). As far as I can see, Delta only flies to Paris and Amsterdam direct from ORD. Otherwise you will be making 2 stops (Atlanta most likely + somewhere in Europe) which I hate doing. So, for example, I would do ORD->ATL->Madrid but would have to be desperate to do ORD->ATL->MAD->Barcelona.


Right. I always consider one stop to be the upper limit for international travel out of the US. Whether that stop is best in the US or best somewhere overseas is an it depends question. A lot of people like to avoid Paris or New York for transfers and like AMS or ATL or DTW. Going west is always a process about whether changing in SEA, LAX, or SFO is a good idea vs perhaps Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, or Singapore.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby michaeljc70 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:23 am

dbr wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:I live in Chicago and Delta is okay if you are going somewhere in Europe they go direct (from Atlanta). As far as I can see, Delta only flies to Paris and Amsterdam direct from ORD. Otherwise you will be making 2 stops (Atlanta most likely + somewhere in Europe) which I hate doing. So, for example, I would do ORD->ATL->Madrid but would have to be desperate to do ORD->ATL->MAD->Barcelona.


Right. I always consider one stop to be the upper limit for international travel out of the US. Whether that stop is best in the US or best somewhere overseas is an it depends question. A lot of people like to avoid Paris or New York for transfers and like AMS or ATL or DTW. Going west is always a process about whether changing in SEA, LAX, or SFO is a good idea vs perhaps Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, or Singapore.


I've noticed if a mileage flight goes through London the taxes (what I have to pay) goes way up.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:11 pm

As a side note, I'm wondering why generally people bash the Delta Skymiles program...? :confused

I nabbed the Delta Plat Business and Delta Gold Business for 70k and 50k mile bonuses, plus joined the dining program and racked up another 5k miles.

Based on flights to Hawaii for this November, I'm looking at getting almost 3 cents per mile on those Delta flights.

These miles were very easy to come by. I did fork over $195 for the Platinum card.

What's with the whole "SkyPesos" thing and people saying that Skymiles suck?

Disclaimer: We live 35 mins from a Delta hub.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:38 pm

Drew777 wrote:
michaeljc70 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


It takes time to fall off. A new card isn't reported the day you open it and doesn't get dropped the day you close it. The credit report (at least any I've seen) doesn't even have day of month for account open/closed. Also, they don't report in real time to the credit bureaus.


New inquiries are typically on your report literally the same second. As far as Chase 5/24, only the date new accounts are opened is relevant, if/when they were closed won't have any effect.


I am not qualified to argue with Drew, but I recall seeing in travel/CC blogs that 5/24 expires at the end of a month. Thus, my plan is to open new cards on (month + 1),(year +2).

Also, I think you can apply with 4/24, NOT 5/24. In other words, 5 cards is the lowest disqualifier, not the highest qualifier.

Finally, the 5/24 eligibility is not enough. There must be good cards to apply for. We may never see 100k on CSR again, but I'd wait to apply for it with at least 70k bonus.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:04 pm

guitarguy wrote:As a side note, I'm wondering why generally people bash the Delta Skymiles program...? :confused

I nabbed the Delta Plat Business and Delta Gold Business for 70k and 50k mile bonuses, plus joined the dining program and racked up another 5k miles.

Based on flights to Hawaii for this November, I'm looking at getting almost 3 cents per mile on those Delta flights.

These miles were very easy to come by. I did fork over $195 for the Platinum card.

What's with the whole "SkyPesos" thing and people saying that Skymiles suck?

Disclaimer: We live 35 mins from a Delta hub.


I'm anything but a SkyMiles expert, but my sense is that the confluence of:

1) A website that used to be hard to use for award searches

2) Poor award availability

3) Switch to a system without defined saver and standard award prices

I'm getting the sense that #1 has been addressed and #2 has gotten a lot better, which is why I asked the question about maybe getting into the SkyMiles game.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:33 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:I live in Chicago and Delta is okay if you are going somewhere in Europe they go direct (from Atlanta). As far as I can see, Delta only flies to Paris and Amsterdam direct from ORD. Otherwise you will be making 2 stops (Atlanta most likely + somewhere in Europe) which I hate doing. So, for example, I would do ORD->ATL->Madrid but would have to be desperate to do ORD->ATL->MAD->Barcelona.


Delta doesn't fly from ORD to Paris or Amsterdam; their Skyteam partners Air France and KLM do. I suspect (but have not verified) that one could get a connecting flight with AF or KLM on to just about any major city in Europe. Now whether availability is any good, I have no idea. Taking a look at Seatguru, it appears the Air France flight from ORD to Paris is in angled flat business seats. No thanks. KLM has lie flat seats, but the 8 hour flight leaves at 4 pm. To me, the whole point of flying business class to Europe is to get some sleep...that flight is just too early in the day to make that work for me.

Then there's the option you suggest--flying Delta itself out of a domestic connection like ATL or DTW or JFK. From what I can gather peeking on Seatguru, Delta's business class seats on overseas flights look acceptable. But like you said, this limits me to wherever I can get nonstop from a Delta hub or else I'm at 2 connections which kind of sucks.

I could still find Delta miles useful for getting home from Europe where I am OK flying economy since the flights are during the day and I don't need to sleep. A one-stop connection through Paris or Amsterdam would be A-OK with me. But again, I don't know what the availability looks like. I should probably get my hands on some Delta miles just so I can act if I see something good.
Last edited by Bfwolf on Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:17 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
guitarguy wrote:As a side note, I'm wondering why generally people bash the Delta Skymiles program...? :confused

I nabbed the Delta Plat Business and Delta Gold Business for 70k and 50k mile bonuses, plus joined the dining program and racked up another 5k miles.

Based on flights to Hawaii for this November, I'm looking at getting almost 3 cents per mile on those Delta flights.

These miles were very easy to come by. I did fork over $195 for the Platinum card.

What's with the whole "SkyPesos" thing and people saying that Skymiles suck?

Disclaimer: We live 35 mins from a Delta hub.


I'm anything but a SkyMiles expert, but my sense is that the confluence of:

1) A website that used to be hard to use for award searches

2) Poor award availability

3) Switch to a system without defined saver and standard award prices

I'm getting the sense that #1 has been addressed and #2 has gotten a lot better, which is why I asked the question about maybe getting into the SkyMiles game.


Yeah...I'm just getting into it now. But from what I can tell, #1 is easy as can be...the only drawback is they don't have a defined award chart so you have to actually search what flights you want. Big deal.

#2...seems to be no issue. Plenty of saver awards available 7-8 months out...which is about the closest I really expect to be able to book award flights anyways regardless of airline.

#3...see my comment above as related to #1. Big deal!

From what I can find our travel hack to Oahu and Maui will be Skymiles all the way and close to a 3 cents per mile redemption. If that's crappy by anyone's standards I'd be surprised and would really like to know why. Unless this type of availability and stuff that I'm finding is an anomaly.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:45 pm

So a couple of interesting things I just discovered playing around with looking for awards from Europe to the US on Delta's website:

1) Delta adds a "carrier imposed international surcharge" onto award tickets on Delta metal that originate overseas. With this surcharge, the total fees for their flights are well over $200, often more like $300. For a one-way ticket in economy. That's no bargain and totally disqualifies my interest in those flights.

2) From what I've read, Delta doesn't charge that fee on partner airlines. But I literally looked at every single day for the next 11 months and Air France/KLM showed 0 award availability on Delta's web site to get from Paris or Amsterdam to Chicago. After doing more reading, it sounds like AF/KLM opens up way more award space on their own metal to their own Flying Blue members than they do to their partners.

3) Delta doesn't impose a surcharge for flights originating in the US. The most likely use case for me would be flying to Europe in business class. As I noted in an earlier post, the Air France/KLM flights from ORD direct to Europe don't work for me, but I could fly to a Delta hub and then go over from there. As a test, I looked at Chicago to London in early September...a time of year I might want to go over to watch some soccer. I set my search to look for Delta flights only. Quite a lot of availability turned up for 70K miles (the lowest possible) and $5.60 in fees. While not a great price, this is not horrible. Layovers were often long though. Still, a feasible award use. I could probably work something out where I fly into JFK and get a long layover to spend in NYC before flying on to Europe.

4) There are for sure non-European partner uses for Delta miles. I once used some to book a Vietnam Air ticket. I had a buddy who was able to get around South America fairly cheaply with Delta miles. So there's some potential value there.

So I'd say my interest in SkyMiles has gotten weaker with this exploration. I may try to get 70K on hand so that I can book a biz class trip to Europe if headed somewhere I can fly on Delta metal relatively easily.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Barefootgirl » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:51 am

In asking my question this week about the use of points to fly from the East Coast to Europe, I'm getting feedback that often fares are low enough, that I may want to pay cash instead - and save the points, presumably for more expensive routes, etc.

So here's the follow up question - I'm not crazy about flights over 5 hours hours in Coach, so maybe using the points for an upgrade are in order.

Any of you prefer to use points for an upgrade?
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby EthelT » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:36 am

guitarguy wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Question for something I'm currently wondering is, say I was approved and opened up a card on month/day/2015. On month/day/2017, will that card *immediately* open me up another slot with Chase, or does it take time to "fall off"? Wait a couple weeks? Is it based on when the card was received and activated? Or date approved? :confused

Very curious how this works. I will have a big expense (wife's tuition bill) coming up on month/day/2015 plus 2 years and about 1 month. So I'd like to snap up a new card right away when that one falls off so that I can pay this bill to meet minimum spend.


Bumping this question for anyone that might be able to help answer...


My recent experience -

My oldest card was a Chase SW. I received my "welcome" email 2/27/15. I waited til March 3 of 2017 and my app for Chase Sapphire Preferred went thru without a hitch.

One of my later 2015 cards was IHG. I've read that doesn't (or maybe didn't) fall under the 5/24 rule for applying - I"m not sure if it then counted as one of the 5/24. If it didn't I was under 5 anyway.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby ResearchMed » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:07 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:In asking my question this week about the use of points to fly from the East Coast to Europe, I'm getting feedback that often fares are low enough, that I may want to pay cash instead - and save the points, presumably for more expensive routes, etc.

So here's the follow up question - I'm not crazy about flights over 5 hours hours in Coach, so maybe using the points for an upgrade are in order.

Any of you prefer to use points for an upgrade?


We'd be interested in this, too.

We've never used awards for upgrades, yet.
But a TA we've worked with recently (one who also helps with awards bookings) surprised us by suggesting that even business class might not be that much, compared with what we could use those points for otherwise.
[Importantly, he'd get just about nothing for booking airline tickets, but would get paid for the awards assistance, so I take this suggestion seriously.]

Now the question is, would using fewer awards/points on a upgrade basis be better.
I've always thought (perhaps incorrectly?) that it wasn't all that great, as one can't upgrade that way from the less expensive coach tickets.
I'd be interested in answers here, along with whatever he suggests.

RM
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby protagonist » Sun Mar 26, 2017 1:36 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Barefootgirl wrote:In asking my question this week about the use of points to fly from the East Coast to Europe, I'm getting feedback that often fares are low enough, that I may want to pay cash instead - and save the points, presumably for more expensive routes, etc.

So here's the follow up question - I'm not crazy about flights over 5 hours hours in Coach, so maybe using the points for an upgrade are in order.

Any of you prefer to use points for an upgrade?


We'd be interested in this, too.

We've never used awards for upgrades, yet.
But a TA we've worked with recently (one who also helps with awards bookings) surprised us by suggesting that even business class might not be that much, compared with what we could use those points for otherwise.
[Importantly, he'd get just about nothing for booking airline tickets, but would get paid for the awards assistance, so I take this suggestion seriously.]

Now the question is, would using fewer awards/points on a upgrade basis be better.
I've always thought (perhaps incorrectly?) that it wasn't all that great, as one can't upgrade that way from the less expensive coach tickets.
I'd be interested in answers here, along with whatever he suggests.

RM


I never use points for upgrades (not worth it to me), but here is another option to consider....

If the flights are cheap, you might consider booking them with points that translate into cash towards tickets. For example, my Chase UR points via Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each towards any ticket booked on the UR site (if transferred to Sapphire Reserve but earned via Freedom Unlimited that translates as 2.25 cents each....if via Freedom with 5x categories as 7.5 cents each.....or if you have more points than you need via promotions your return is terrific).

I booked a flight to Vietnam recently. The RT ticket sold for the phenomenal price of $595 RT on an excellent airline from JFK. Using airline points would have been silly....I could never have gotten a decent bang for the buck vs paying cash.

However, I booked the ticket on the Chase UR website, spent less than 40K UR points to fly RT JFK to Saigon, had no additional surcharges or fees, and I think I even got to collect the miles on the parent airline site. I could fly on any available flight. Using airline miles I would have easily paid 2-3x as much at least in miles, been restricted to selective flights with potentially worse routing, and likely had to pay surcharges. Great deal!

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:28 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Barefootgirl wrote:In asking my question this week about the use of points to fly from the East Coast to Europe, I'm getting feedback that often fares are low enough, that I may want to pay cash instead - and save the points, presumably for more expensive routes, etc.

So here's the follow up question - I'm not crazy about flights over 5 hours hours in Coach, so maybe using the points for an upgrade are in order.

Any of you prefer to use points for an upgrade?


We'd be interested in this, too.

We've never used awards for upgrades, yet.
But a TA we've worked with recently (one who also helps with awards bookings) surprised us by suggesting that even business class might not be that much, compared with what we could use those points for otherwise.
[Importantly, he'd get just about nothing for booking airline tickets, but would get paid for the awards assistance, so I take this suggestion seriously.]

Now the question is, would using fewer awards/points on a upgrade basis be better.
I've always thought (perhaps incorrectly?) that it wasn't all that great, as one can't upgrade that way from the less expensive coach tickets.
I'd be interested in answers here, along with whatever he suggests.

RM


I don't see much space dedicated in the blogs to talking about business class upgrades because I believe it's not usually a very good deal. Like you said, you can't upgrade from the less expensive coach tickets.

For Barefootgirl, I think the best solution for you is likely going to be using your miles to get a business class award ticket. It's also possible that you could get a good paid fare with URs if you have the CSR card. These days, roundtrip business class fares from the east cost to Europe for around $2,000 are possible when there's a sales on. That would translate to about 133,000 URs if you have the CSR, which is about what you'll pay if you were to transfer to United and book an award ticket.

Here's a summary of some of the ways to get to Europe in business class and associated fuel surcharges. http://www.godsavethepoints.com/news/mi ... inessclass

One that was left out that I have used a couple of times is Air Canada's Aeroplan program. For 55K miles, you can fly one way in business class from the USA to Western Europe. They are Star Alliance so availability is usually pretty good. You have to avoid Lufthansa and Air Canada or you'll get hit with heavy fuel surcharges, but fees will be low if you fly on United, SAS, Austrian, Swiss, and maybe one or two I'm forgetting. Aeroplan are partners with Amex MRs on a 1:1 basis and you can also transfer Starpoints there. Right now Aeroplan is offering a bonus if you transfer hotel points to Aeroplan. If you transfer 40K Starpoints to Aeroplan, first you'll get the 10K normal bonus (when transferring to an airline, Starwoods gives you a 5K bonus for every 20K you transfer) which would bring you up to 50K points, and then you'd get the add'l 20% bonus Aeroplan is offering right now for hotel transfers, so a total of 60K Aeroplan miles, which is more than enough to travel one way to Europe in business class.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby giesen5 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:00 pm

Just tried to apply for my third AmEx card in the last 90 days. Instant decline, too many cards in the past few months. I had heard that the 2/90 rule was not enforced, but it has bit me in the ass twice now.

TX_Man
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby TX_Man » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:14 pm

Avoid as much credit card debt as possible. Budget so I use as little debt as possible. Additional funds go into the taxable account. Reward dollars are used to pay something amazingly trivial, e.g. Internet bill.

kyle1125
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby kyle1125 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:40 pm

My wife and me are planning our Asia trip this Fall from October 18-November 9th to Seoul, Tokyo and Okinawa. We currently have about 300K combined UR points from Chase between the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited and 2x CSR cards.

What are some recommendations to achieve the most effective use our UR points? i.e. Which airline, US airport to depart from, transfer UR points to airline or use UR portal to book, etc.

Sandtrap
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Sandtrap » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:25 pm

My credit card rewards strategy is to try to flow everything through my visa amazon card because amazon gets so much of my business. Balanced paid off every month. Amazon points are good.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:13 am

kyle1125 wrote:My wife and me are planning our Asia trip this Fall from October 18-November 9th to Seoul, Tokyo and Okinawa. We currently have about 300K combined UR points from Chase between the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited and 2x CSR cards.

What are some recommendations to achieve the most effective use our UR points? i.e. Which airline, US airport to depart from, transfer UR points to airline or use UR portal to book, etc.


Kyle, I think you are going to have the most luck transferring your points to United and booking from there for a couple of reasons:

1) I suspect that the 1.5 cents value from the CSR won't get you as far as you'd like. That's essentially $4,500 worth of plane tickets. Maybe OK for economy but no way for business class.

2) ANA is one of United's Star Alliance partners. I took their business class service between Chicago and Tokyo and it's INCREDIBLE. Really top end stuff.

OK, so I looked online a bit and there is availability on your departure date 10/18 for 2 passengers business class from Seattle to Tokyo @ 1:20 pm on NH177. That would be your second leg....your first leg would presumably be the United flight that gets you to Seattle. That first leg can be first class or economy (see what award space is available), but needs to land in Seattle within 24 hours of the ANA flight departing. As long as award space is available, this will be part of your ticket to Japan and included in that award price.

OK, so then your 3rd leg would be to Okinawa. Jetstar flies it for $68. They're only showing availability through 10/28 right now but I imagine that more will open up for later dates.

4th leg would be Okinawa to Seoul. Jin Air has cheap nonstop flights for under $100, but again, only up through late October right now.

5th leg would be Seoul back to the USA. You need to fly on 11/8 to get back on 11/9. There's lots of biz class award space for 2. You could fly on Asiana Air to Seattle or LA or Chicago...maybe more I didn't look much deeper!

6th leg would be to your final destination within the US. This leg will be included in your award ticket price from Seoul to USA...you just have to find award space.

Alright so all in you guys each need 75K miles to fly to Tokyo and 80K miles to fly back from Seoul, so 155K a person. Sounds like right now you've got 150K a person so you're almost there. On top of that you'd have a few hundred dollars in tickets you'd have to buy yourselves to get to Okinawa and Seoul, but that's pretty minimal given what you're pulling off here.

If this interest you, I'd book the leg from the USA to Tokyo NOW. Availability is limited and it's kind of a miracle that those flights from Seattle are available on the dates you want. LOCK THOSE IN. Just make sure you include your flight to Seattle as part of the award ticket.

The flights back from Seoul, you've got time. As I said, there's availability on Asiana to a number of different locations. So you can wait on those flights until you've built up enough Ultimate Rewards to pay for it.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:06 am

Bfwolf wrote: As long as award space is available, this will be part of your ticket to Japan and included in that award price.


Bfwolf wrote:This leg will be included in your award ticket price from Seoul to USA...you just have to find award space.


Bfwolf wrote:Just make sure you include your flight to Seattle as part of the award ticket.


Can you elaborate on exactly what this means?

I don't have a lot (or any...) experience booking a flight from US to Europe or elsewhere.

Do you search from your home airport for a separate flight to (in this case) Seattle that will be there in time to then take the next separate flight from there to your final destination? How would you go about including this first leg into your award ticket?

Or are you searching from your home airport to final destination, and then just picking the 2nd leg of the flight on the partner airline?

Really interested in the actual step-by-step approach to this.

guitarguy
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:26 am

Would be curious to hear anyone's thoughts/ideas regarding our plan for travel hacking through the rest of 2017 and 2018! We have a few trips we're working on, and we have a few credit cards we plan on signing up for. These cards will help with flights/lodging for the trips, and also will maximize our signup bonuses without MS - we're timing the new card signups with big purchases/expenses we will need to pay for. Kind of an intricate plan...but I'm thinking it should work well for us! :D

Vacations/flights:

  • TX (wife only) for work/family visit in May/June 2017 for 5 weeks. This flight is already booked on SW using miles. Lodging will be with family.
  • CA on vacation in Jul 2017 for 5 days. This flight is already booked on UA using UA miles topped off by UR points. Lodging will be with friends.
  • TX to visit family in Mar 2018 for 5 days. Flight booking TBD. Lodging will be with family.
  • TBD vacation in Jul 2018 for ~ 5 days. (We usually go for Jul 4 week somewhere. Fly/drive and lodging - everything TBD as of now.)
  • HI on vacation in Oct/Nov 2018 for about 10 days. Oahu and Maui. Flight from home to HNL, and from OGG to home will be booked with Delta miles. Inter-island flight from HNL to OGG booking TBD. Lodging will be decided by another party for Oahu (their wedding) so we will more than likely pay out of pocket and stay wherever they stay. Lodging for Maui (after wife and I split off on our own for the 2nd part of the trip) is planned for the Hyatt Regency Maui using free stays from Hyatt credit cards and UR points.

Credit cards:

Our major purchases coming up to help meet these minimum spends are wife's last 2 tuition bills (paying in Jul 2017 and Dec 2017) and our summer tax bill (paid each Jul). These are big transactions of $2~$3k or more that will allow us to easily meet these large minimum spends to nab bonuses.

Our plan is as follows:

1. Prioritize the HI vacation flights and lodging.

  • For the flights, I already nabbed the Amex Business Gold and Platinum Delta cards for 70k and 50k mile bonuses. I plan on topping off our Delta account by getting the Business Gold Rewards Amex charge card near the end of June, and transferring those 50k+ MR points to Delta miles. That will top off our Delta account and we should have more than enough miles (about 190k) to fly from home to HNL and from OGG back home. We'll use this card to pay our summer tax bill in July to help meet the spend. I will pay the $95 fee in Jan 2018 to keep my Gold Skymiles card for another year so we have it for these flights - basically by keeping the card we save $5 on the bags ($100 round trip) and get the priority boarding.
  • For the inter-island flight from HNL to OGG, we will more than likely have enough Skymiles to fly on HA. Or, we can pay cash and use an air travel credit (see Re: Citi Prestige below).
  • For the lodging in Maui, since we plan on staying with Hyatt, DW and I are *BOTH* planning on signing up for the Chase Hyatt card on Dec 1 to get a total of 4 free nights. Since our trip will be late Oct into early Nov, we'll use them within the calendar year. We'll transfer over some UR points to top off the account for another night or 2. Since each card has a $2k spend, we'll split wife's Dec tuition bill between these 2 cards to instantly meet the spend on both.

Questions about travel hacking with Hyatt: (1) Everything I read on multiple sources says the Chase Hyatt card is not subject to the 5/24 rule. Can anyone confirm? (2) The Hyatt Regency Maui has 2 rooms available on points...the standard room for 20k points and the "Regency Club" room for 27k points. Does anyone know if the free night rooms from the credit cards can get you into the Regency Club rooms? Or if we can spend the 7k points per night to upgrade?

2. Nab an "extra" signup bonus with wife's Jul 2017 tuition bill since we have to pay it anyway. Chase and Amex are out the window for this one due to 5/24 and wife's school not accepting Amex. :annoyed

  • The Citi Prestige, despite the $450 fee and high minimum spend, seems to have a lot of benefits. We could double-dip on the $250 air travel credit for our TX and inter-island HI flights (although we could always just use miles for these), or just stock up on airline gift cards. That alone would offset the fee. We could get 1 free app for Global Entry (and pay for the other app) and use TSA Precheck on lots of upcoming flights, so that would be a bonus. Plus we'll have 40-50k ThankYou Points to use...from a quick look these don't seem very valuable...but we could probably find a use for them. Also if SFO or DAL have nice Priority Pass VIP lounges...I guess we could check those out on upcoming flights...whatever that's worth...not too familiar with using fancy airport lounges.
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus doesn't seem bad either. We could meet the spend in 1 transaction, the $85 fee is waived, and we end up with $500 for travel for no fee. We wouldn't get the extra bonus points or the Global Entry credit. But an upside over Prestige is that if we rent a car or something for our Jul 2018 vacation, we could also use it for that since it's not limited to airfare.

I've been a Chase and Amex guy for virtually all my cards so far.What are some good options? I have a completely legit business so I'm open to business as well as personal cards. Would love some ideas here. Citi? Barclaycard?

traveltoomuch
Posts: 511
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby traveltoomuch » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:47 am

guitarguy wrote:Questions about travel hacking with Hyatt: (1) Everything I read on multiple sources says the Chase Hyatt card is not subject to the 5/24 rule. Can anyone confirm? (2) The Hyatt Regency Maui has 2 rooms available on points...the standard room for 20k points and the "Regency Club" room for 27k points. Does anyone know if the free night rooms from the credit cards can get you into the Regency Club rooms? Or if we can spend the 7k points per night to upgrade?

No info on the 5/24 rule. The free nights should book into standard rooms, not club rooms. I think the answer is, no, they cannot be upgraded, but that's a reasonable question to call Hyatt and ask - their call center reps are pretty good at that sort of thing. If you can upgrade, it will probably be for only 3k night, not 7k - 3k is the normal upgrade price from a paid rate.

gvsucavie03
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby gvsucavie03 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:09 am

It's incredible how long this thread is and how complicated the rewards points seem to be. On a modest income, i just redeemed $100 in rewards last month for stuff we normally buy with just a few basic cash-back cards. Average month has been around that same amount. Seems fairly simple yet somewhat lucrative.

Note - we don't travel often not do we own a business, so I'm sure I don't fully understand point/travel rewards as much as those on this thread. I'm just pointing out that the rewards can be pretty simple and can put some real $ in your pocket.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1464
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:32 am

guitarguy wrote:
Bfwolf wrote: As long as award space is available, this will be part of your ticket to Japan and included in that award price.


Bfwolf wrote:This leg will be included in your award ticket price from Seoul to USA...you just have to find award space.


Bfwolf wrote:Just make sure you include your flight to Seattle as part of the award ticket.


Can you elaborate on exactly what this means?

I don't have a lot (or any...) experience booking a flight from US to Europe or elsewhere.

Do you search from your home airport for a separate flight to (in this case) Seattle that will be there in time to then take the next separate flight from there to your final destination? How would you go about including this first leg into your award ticket?

Or are you searching from your home airport to final destination, and then just picking the 2nd leg of the flight on the partner airline?

Really interested in the actual step-by-step approach to this.


If I had known the origination city, I would've started with a search from there to Tokyo. Maybe the United search engine would've picked up the itinerary through Seattle. In fact it probably would have. But if I didn't find anything I liked, I wouldn't necessarily let that stop me. I would then proceed to do what I actually did--find ANYWHERE that can get to Tokyo on biz class. Then once I identified Seattle, I'd do an award search from the origination city to Seattle and see what comes up. If you can string an award together that doesn't come up on the search engine, you can still book it by calling up United and just reading off the flight legs to them. For example: "I'm flying from Louisville to Tokyo on business class but the award itinerary I want didn't come up on the United search engine. May I just list out the segment for you? I want to take United flight 131 from Louisville to Chicago on October 17 at 7 pm in first class. Then United flight 217 from Chicago to Seattle on October 18 at 6 am...I didn't see any first class award availability but there's economy availability and I'm OK with that. Then ANA flight 177 from Seattle to Tokyo on October 18 at 1 pm." The CSR rep will find the flights and enter them in and string the award together for you. If they try to charge you a phone booking fee, point out that you could not find this itinerary online and ask them to waive it.

This strategy becomes absolutely necessary if you're taking advantage of United's free stopover and open jaw rules on roundtrip award tickets. You might be trying to book an award ticket that looks something like New York->Frankfurt->Copenhagen (destination)->Munich (stopover)->Washington DC. You can't book that online. So you'd have to piece it together and call it in. You'd probably start with a search for New York to Copenhagen and find the one stop route through Frankfurt. Then you'd do a search for a later date (depending on how long you want to stay in Copenhagen) for Copenhagen to Munich...hey good news, you found a nonstop award flight here. Then you'd do the search for an even later date (depending on how long you want to stay in Munich) for Munich to Washington DC. Once you have all the relevant info collected, you call it in.

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Calygos
Posts: 316
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Calygos » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:50 am

gvsucavie03 wrote:It's incredible how long this thread is and how complicated the rewards points seem to be. On a modest income, i just redeemed $100 in rewards last month for stuff we normally buy with just a few basic cash-back cards. Average month has been around that same amount. Seems fairly simple yet somewhat lucrative.


+1. 27 pages so far of mostly discussion of mileage rewards. People must really love traveling to be willing to deal with some of the really complex stuff I've seen in this thread. I'm happy with simple cash back, too. I love my Quicksilver card.

giesen5
Posts: 222
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Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby giesen5 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:52 am

And then, to continue to itch the addiction, you move to bank bonuses. Down the rabbit hole you goooooooooooooooooo

guitarguy
Posts: 1520
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:17 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
Bfwolf wrote: As long as award space is available, this will be part of your ticket to Japan and included in that award price.


Bfwolf wrote:This leg will be included in your award ticket price from Seoul to USA...you just have to find award space.


Bfwolf wrote:Just make sure you include your flight to Seattle as part of the award ticket.


Can you elaborate on exactly what this means?

I don't have a lot (or any...) experience booking a flight from US to Europe or elsewhere.

Do you search from your home airport for a separate flight to (in this case) Seattle that will be there in time to then take the next separate flight from there to your final destination? How would you go about including this first leg into your award ticket?

Or are you searching from your home airport to final destination, and then just picking the 2nd leg of the flight on the partner airline?

Really interested in the actual step-by-step approach to this.


If I had known the origination city, I would've started with a search from there to Tokyo. Maybe the United search engine would've picked up the itinerary through Seattle. In fact it probably would have. But if I didn't find anything I liked, I wouldn't necessarily let that stop me. I would then proceed to do what I actually did--find ANYWHERE that can get to Tokyo on biz class. Then once I identified Seattle, I'd do an award search from the origination city to Seattle and see what comes up. If you can string an award together that doesn't come up on the search engine, you can still book it by calling up United and just reading off the flight legs to them. For example: "I'm flying from Louisville to Tokyo on business class but the award itinerary I want didn't come up on the United search engine. May I just list out the segment for you? I want to take United flight 131 from Louisville to Chicago on October 17 at 7 pm in first class. Then United flight 217 from Chicago to Seattle on October 18 at 6 am...I didn't see any first class award availability but there's economy availability and I'm OK with that. Then ANA flight 177 from Seattle to Tokyo on October 18 at 1 pm." The CSR rep will find the flights and enter them in and string the award together for you. If they try to charge you a phone booking fee, point out that you could not find this itinerary online and ask them to waive it.


Interesting.

So you would have to add up the miles required for 2 separate flights together? How would the number of miles required work?

Make sure you have enough time to get to your next plane? I wonder if the layovers would be especially long doing it this way.

I assume if they strung the legs / flights together for you, they would be able to get your checked bags to the right spot?

protagonist
Posts: 4619
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby protagonist » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:23 pm

giesen5 wrote:And then, to continue to itch the addiction, you move to bank bonuses. Down the rabbit hole you goooooooooooooooooo


I made about $2300 in bank bonuses this year. Great return on minimal investment. Some came easy, others were like pulling teeth. And now that it is tax season....

I don't know if I will do it again. Yes, the time involved is worth the money. If I needed to accumulate I would def. do it again. But what if you don't really need the money? I almost certainly have enough for my retirement. I will probably have enough to leave enough to make my heirs happy enough. Of course, nothing is ever certain.

The return was excellent for the time involved. But now that I am $2300 richer, will I be any happier? Or will I be equally happy in the future, but was I less happy last year because of the time I spent dealing with this as opposed to smelling the flowers?

He who dies with the most toys does not necessarily win.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1464
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:25 pm

Guitarguy,

Everything I've read about the Hyatt card says not subject to 5/24 as well.

At first, I was wondering why you'd chosen the Hyatt Regency in Maui over the (seemingly nicer) Andaz. Then I did an award search for the Andaz and couldn't find anything. For ANY dates during the year. So I did a Google search and found this article.

https://thepointsguy.com/2016/05/andaz- ... ree-stays/

So annoying! In any event, I'm sure the Regency is very nice and you'll have a great vacation there.

If Delta miles end up being ridiculously expensive for the Hawaii trip (Delta doesn't have a set award chart), are you just going to eat it and spend huge miles for the trip or look for an alternative? Alaska miles are easy to collect (BOA will just keep issuing you cards) and if you live west of St Louis, you can fly roundtrip in economy for 35K miles. You'd also get a free stopover each way if that interests you. https://www.milevalue.com/alaska-sweets ... -stopover/

I haven't looked hard at the Citi Prestige card so don't have much of an opinion on it. I got the Thank You Premier card once up on a time for 50K Thank You points...I honestly have no recollection how I used those points but I did.

The Arrival+ is a favorite that I've gotten a couple of times. Like you said, just an easy $500.

If you haven't gotten the Amex Starwood cards, I think those are extremely worthwhile right now with a 35K bonus. That probably won't last. There's a business and personal one.

The City Hilton HHonors Reserve card is a good one. It gives you 2 free weekend nights at any Hilton. There's also an Amex card out that gives you 100K Hilton points plus a free weekend night on your anniversary....I suppose this card is even better than the Reserve card.

At some point, you and your wife should both get the IHG card. The intro bonus isn't great, but on each card anniversary, you'll pay a $49 annual fee and get a free night at any IHG hotel. Between the 2 of you, that's 2 free nights a year (apply at the same time so your anniversaries match up) you can use at some of the very nice Intercontinentals around the world.

Some people collect AA miles. It's very easy to do with Citi. I think they're hard to use and don't really recommend it.

guitarguy
Posts: 1520
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:28 pm

Calygos wrote:
gvsucavie03 wrote:It's incredible how long this thread is and how complicated the rewards points seem to be. On a modest income, i just redeemed $100 in rewards last month for stuff we normally buy with just a few basic cash-back cards. Average month has been around that same amount. Seems fairly simple yet somewhat lucrative.


+1. 27 pages so far of mostly discussion of mileage rewards. People must really love traveling to be willing to deal with some of the really complex stuff I've seen in this thread. I'm happy with simple cash back, too. I love my Quicksilver card.


I used to be all cash back too. Indeed, it's more simple. But,

1. Playing the travel game is FUN! For some people. If you're not into it, then sure, stick with cash back. I find it fun doing the research and figuring out how to maximize your returns. I'm not an active investor at all...so maybe this fills that void for me. :D

2. Playing the travel game is WAAAYYYY more profitable. I used to get $75 or $100/m back in cash too. In 2017 and 2018 combined we are going to save over $4000 by booking flights *that we were going to take regardless* using miles and points instead of out of pocket.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1464
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bfwolf » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:32 pm

guitarguy wrote:
Interesting.

So you would have to add up the miles required for 2 separate flights together? How would the number of miles required work?

Make sure you have enough time to get to your next plane? I wonder if the layovers would be especially long doing it this way.

I assume if they strung the legs / flights together for you, they would be able to get your checked bags to the right spot?


The number of miles would be the price from the USA to Japan. 75K miles in business class for United's partner award chart. That's the price whether you just fly from Seattle to Tokyo or whether you fly from Louisville to Chicago to Seattle to Tokyo. You can have up to 5 segments (I think) on a United one way award flight, so you can keep stringing them together as long as you stay under this limit and as long as your layovers are under 24 hours.

Regarding amount of time to get to your next plane--the United computer will reject the itinerary if it doesn't leave enough time. It's never happened to me, but presumably the CSR would say "sorry that's not a valid itinerary." You won't be able to book anything "illegal."

Once your itinerary is put together, it's just as if you had booked it online with a single search. It works just like any other regular itinerary. They'll get your checked bag to the right spot. If you have an overnight layover, you can of course request to only check your bag to your layover city when you check in and then recheck your bag when you come back the next day for your onward flight.


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