What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Postby protagonist » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:22 am

madbrain wrote:
madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:My preliminary research (today) has led me to Mui Ne, Vietnam, which is supposedly quite beautiful and also a windsurfing destination.


I have not heard of or been to Mui Ne. I will ask my husband later tonight.


So, I asked. He has never been himself. He heard it's very nice, some of his family members have been.
It looks like it's a 4hr drive to the west from Saigon. We are likely going to see Phu Quoc island this year, which is a short flight to the east. And cheap too : $31 roundtrip on Vietjet.


Thanks, madbrain!!

If I wind up going I will contact you and we can discuss it some more, if that is ok.

Drew777
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:28 am

madbrain wrote:
ResearchMed wrote:By "multiple award flights", are you referring to several legs en route from A to B (such as A - C - D - B)?


Yes. When trying to book multi-destination award, on most airline web sites, you have to select the flights for each leg, and are then quoted a separate price in miles + taxes/fees for each one. At the end, as far as I can see, the miles and taxes are just added up. I have seen no benefit from trying to book multiple legs at once as awards. And in fact, airline web sites tend to disallow many multi-destination routes for award. It seems to be a lot of trouble. The same is true with cash fare - sometimes you just cannot book all the flights from different airline on one ticket, or the price jumps extraordinarily high when you do - for example, my 4 flights, if booked as cash fare on one ticket, cost over $7000 .

That's what I'm trying to describe first (with a reference to full stopovers being allowed with no extra points, but we haven't tried that... yet).
But it's a "single award" for all of the flights, regardless of the routing.


As far as "free stopover", you would have to put different dates for each leg, and compare with the same routing as layover, to find out if the stopover is really free. It certainly seems that stopovers are often free for cash fares, and in fact, sometimes even reduce the ticket cost ! But I have found just the opposite to be true for award flights so far.

It's not really different (in my mind, anyway; there may be technicalities) than going from JFK to LAX non-stop or going JFK-ORD-LAX, on the "same ticket".


Well, JFK to LAX nonstop cannot be split between 2 dates, obviously :)
Whereas a single ticket for JFK-ORD-LAX is really 2 consecutive flights . Sometimes, it does not change the cost whether the interval between those flights is 1h or 7 days. That is often true for cash fares.

We are definitely looking forward to exploring the free stopover at some point. It's "supposed" to work in some cases... We'll see.


Definitely works for cash fares. Have yet to see it work for any award :)

One other thing. We wanted to try Cathay Pacific, but by routing through Hong Kong before Tokyo, we would have been touching down in both "Asia region 1" and "Asia region 2". In that case, apparently we would have needed two separate awards. But I'm still not quite clear on that.
Lots still to learn about all of this.


I plead complete ignorance of those airline rules and the various regions.

If you do call in the future for similar awards travel, it might help to start by asking for "International Awards Travel". That seemed to cut through the string of phone reps I encountered at first. Despite telling each one exactly what I was asking for, each of them took way to long to decide they couldn't handle it, and pass me along to someone else, also not in the right section. (There wasn't a separate phone number, which was unfortunate.)


I might do it some day, probably not soon, since all my vacation days are getting used for this upcoming 3 week trip in November. I understand Air France only has web support during US hours, but for complex award bookings I probably would need to call their office in France, at night for me, which is fine.


Every airline has different routing rules. If you want to maximize your FF miles then you have to learn the rules, no way around it (unless you use an award booking service). Some airlines do not allow any stopovers at all on award flights. Some are more lenient, but they all have some restrictions. Traveling through a different "region" will increase the award cost with many airlines also. For example, with American Airlines, flying from Munich to Doha to Atlanta is going to cost more miles than flying from Munich to London to Atlanta since the stop in Doha would add a third region. It's not just random where sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. There are specific rules for each airline.

2stepsbehind
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby 2stepsbehind » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:38 am

madbrain wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:It was ~22,000 miles.


Thanks - that would indeed probably be lower, considering most of the taxes on United awards are usually paid with miles rather than separately.

Edit: not sure if this was the promotion you were referring to. But this one applied only to round-trips, not one way.
https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/m ... ode=A16231
Anyway, I had 0 Chase UR points by the latest date to book this.

Last I checked you weren't paying me to be your travel agent and to be clear all I've ever suggested on this thread is that people make sure they compare apples to apples.


Well, that's not all you said - you made the claim that I could have done better by booking everything as award, and probably on one ticket. I'm just not seeing how. For all the award fares I have looked, there is no discount for having multiple flight segments on one booking.
Ie. if flight A costs X miles + X' taxes, and flight B costs Y miles + Y' taxes, booking C with both flights A and B on it will costs Z miles = X+Y, and Z' = X' + Y' in taxes. That rule seems to apply regardless of whether the flight segments are for the same route (round-trip) or different routes.
Have you ever found exceptions to that rule ?





Please provide quotes for the bolded. I never said that.

2stepsbehind
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby 2stepsbehind » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:49 am

madbrain wrote:In any case, it's simply not possible to book more than one of these award flights on one ticket.
On Flygingblue, if I try to book a multi-destination award flight, and try with SFO-CDG, it won't let me select CDG-SGN as the second leg. It forces SFO as the return city for that leg. Ie. I can only book a round-trip.



That is Flyingblue. Airline programs vary. The current United program allows you one free stop over. Aeroplan (an amex transfer partner) allows you two. Hence the ability to get both a Paris trip and a Saigon trip on one award. Both sites can be buggy so as ResearchMed mentioned sometimes you have to call or hire those with experience booking these kinds of rewards.

2stepsbehind
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby 2stepsbehind » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:05 am

madbrain wrote: For all the award fares I have looked, there is no discount for having multiple flight segments on one booking.
Ie. if flight A costs X miles + X' taxes, and flight B costs Y miles + Y' taxes, booking C with both flights A and B on it will costs Z miles = X+Y, and Z' = X' + Y' in taxes. That rule seems to apply regardless of whether the flight segments are for the same route (round-trip) or different routes.
Have you ever found exceptions to that rule ?



Yes. Do a google search for different award programs rules on stopovers.

ETA: For example, on United an itinerary that is Newark to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Tokyo, Tokyo back to Newark would be charged the same miles as a Newark to Tokyo roundtrip (taxes are a different story). A number of bloggers have more creative routings.

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

Postby madbrain » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:34 pm

2stepsbehind wrote:That is Flyingblue. Airline programs vary. The current United program allows you one free stop over. Aeroplan (an amex transfer partner) allows you two. Hence the ability to get both a Paris trip and a Saigon trip on one award. Both sites can be buggy so as ResearchMed mentioned sometimes you have to call or hire those with experience booking these kinds of rewards.


Thanks, that is good to know. I don't have any Amex or Amex points. I will look into Aeroplan. It seems I would need to create an account to figure out what's possible. As I mentioned, I only want to fly nonstop, ie. I don't want to have 2 flights the same day. For stopovers, I want to actually stop more than a few hours :)

There are 2 nonstop flights for SFO-CDG - one on Air France, and one on United. And only 1 nonstop flight for CDG-SGN on Vietnam.
Would Aeroplan allow me to book these 2 nonstop flights together ?

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

Postby madbrain » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:36 pm

2stepsbehind wrote:Yes. Do a google search for different award programs rules on stopovers.

ETA: For example, on United an itinerary that is Newark to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Tokyo, Tokyo back to Newark would be charged the same miles as a Newark to Tokyo roundtrip (taxes are a different story). A number of bloggers have more creative routings.


Thanks, that does look like a free stopover with miles indeed. Of course taxes could make the difference too; I have seen some flights where taxes are 70-80% of the overall ticket cost, and the airfare itself is only 20-30%.

How do you learn about this creative routing ? And more importantly, how do you find them for the routes you are interested in ?

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

Postby ResearchMed » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:46 pm

madbrain wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:That is Flyingblue. Airline programs vary. The current United program allows you one free stop over. Aeroplan (an amex transfer partner) allows you two. Hence the ability to get both a Paris trip and a Saigon trip on one award. Both sites can be buggy so as ResearchMed mentioned sometimes you have to call or hire those with experience booking these kinds of rewards.


Thanks, that is good to know. I don't have any Amex or Amex points. I will look into Aeroplan. It seems I would need to create an account to figure out what's possible. As I mentioned, I only want to fly nonstop, ie. I don't want to have 2 flights the same day. For stopovers, I want to actually stop more than a few hours :)

There are 2 nonstop flights for SFO-CDG - one on Air France, and one on United. And only 1 nonstop flight for CDG-SGN on Vietnam.
Would Aeroplan allow me to book these 2 nonstop flights together ?


Again, you can *phone* to "figure out what's possible", and you'll probably get a lot more information that way, too.

You don't need to have any points to ask about it.
Call a couple of airlines, especially those with different partners.

For example, we don't transfer points to some other program until we know there are flights that we want.
In some cases, they won't "hold" flights, but American will - including for their partners.
So with American, for flights on their partners, one can get a few days' hold while transferring points if necessary.

And yes, "stopovers" don't mean "change of plane". They mean stopovers, as in, get off the plane, spend some time locally (which is the point of a stopover, rather than just a "connection"), and eventually get back on and continue your trip.
Not all programs allow this, however.

It can indeed get rather complicated, but if you travel a lot, it would be very good to start asking the airlines' awards desks.

You've got some exciting travel in your future, so it's worth starting to check this all out.
(We are waaaay behind you in terms of getting a late start. Sure, we wish we had started learning all of this sooner, but at least we are doing it now. Sort of like "Pre-Bogleheads" investing. :wink: )

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

Postby ResearchMed » Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:49 pm

madbrain wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:Yes. Do a google search for different award programs rules on stopovers.

ETA: For example, on United an itinerary that is Newark to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Tokyo, Tokyo back to Newark would be charged the same miles as a Newark to Tokyo roundtrip (taxes are a different story). A number of bloggers have more creative routings.


Thanks, that does look like a free stopover with miles indeed. Of course taxes could make the difference too; I have seen some flights where taxes are 70-80% of the overall ticket cost, and the airfare itself is only 20-30%.

How do you learn about this creative routing ? And more importantly, how do you find them for the routes you are interested in ?


Yeah. British Air, at least if connecting through Heathrow (and maybe more generally?) has outrageous fees!

On the other hand, on our first class JAL flight next spring, the "taxes and fees" were something like $5.60 each outbound. Nope, I didn't question it. Just said "charge it" and scampered away, grinning.

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

Postby cookymonster » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:45 pm

I'm in the market for a new card, now that I've hit the latest sign up bonus. Here's what I'm looking for:

- Large sign up bonus. Travel rewards are good, except that hotel rewards I don't consider very useful
- Minimal to no annual fee, at least in the first year
- Can't be subject to Chase 5/24 rule
- Avoiding cards for now that have had higher sign up bonuses in the past (this is why I haven't gotten the Starwood Preferred Guest Card yet)

Cards I already have:
CSP
AMEX Blue Cash Preferred
Barclay Arrival+
Southwest Rapid Reward Premier
CapitalOne Venture
Citi Double Cash

I'm thinking right now about the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Cardhttps://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/bankamericard-travel-rewards-credit-card/?campaign=4006467~NT~en_US

I feel like I'm starting to hit the point of diminishing returns with this game.

DiMAn0684
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby DiMAn0684 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:33 pm

cookymonster wrote:- Avoiding cards for now that have had higher sign up bonuses in the past (this is why I haven't gotten the Starwood Preferred Guest Card yet)


SPG is switching to 2 free nights (and will probably go away in the next year or two), so the current 25k pts offer might be the best you'll get out of it.

Have you considered Citi AA cards? Could get 50k AA pt bonus and first year is free.

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

Postby cookymonster » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:49 pm

DiMAn0684 wrote:
cookymonster wrote:- Avoiding cards for now that have had higher sign up bonuses in the past (this is why I haven't gotten the Starwood Preferred Guest Card yet)


SPG is switching to 2 free nights (and will probably go away in the next year or two), so the current 25k pts offer might be the best you'll get out of it.

Have you considered Citi AA cards? Could get 50k AA pt bonus and first year is free.

You've got a point... Now that I'm reading about the Starwood-Marriott merger it sounds like SPG may not be around much longer, so that may be my next conquest.

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

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:05 pm

Now that the Marriott-Starwood merger has been completed, it's possible to link the accounts. I just did, with two immediate benefits:
1. I did not have a status with Marriott, but now I've got Starwood's Silver status.
2. I transferred some points from Marriott to Starwood, so that I will be able to take advantage of the next bonus offer for transferring points from Starwood to American Airlines.

Victoria
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2stepsbehind
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby 2stepsbehind » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:56 pm

madbrain wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:Yes. Do a google search for different award programs rules on stopovers.

ETA: For example, on United an itinerary that is Newark to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Tokyo, Tokyo back to Newark would be charged the same miles as a Newark to Tokyo roundtrip (taxes are a different story). A number of bloggers have more creative routings.


Thanks, that does look like a free stopover with miles indeed. Of course taxes could make the difference too; I have seen some flights where taxes are 70-80% of the overall ticket cost, and the airfare itself is only 20-30%.

How do you learn about this creative routing ? And more importantly, how do you find them for the routes you are interested in ?


Taxes don't change, fuel surcharges do.

As for the bold, that isn't even a particularly creative routing. There's a wealth of information from flyertalk, milepoint, and many travel blogs on routing rules. Other than hiring a booking service, there really are no shortcuts; you either put in the time to read/do research or you could end up with possibly less than optimal bookings. But two pieces of general advice if you pursue the former: (1) award/miles work best when you are flexible about routing and have miles in a variety of programs so as to take advantage of the best program in any given scenario; (2) when asking for favors, it would behoove you to be nice/avoid lashing out at those trying to help. I have only responded here in the event that others could benefit.

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

Postby BeneIRA » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:27 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
BeneIRA wrote:Could you not just go to your local drugstore and buy the gift cards you really want and still get the 5%? My local one has quite the gift card selection.


I will check out my CVS in 4Q 2016, when drugstores are covered at 5x. However, there are very few gift cards I am interested in, except perhaps Amazon. And I think drugstores now have a policy of not accepting credit cards to buy loadable debit cards.

Victoria



Hi Victoria,

My local CVS and Rite Aid, both of which I believe are considered drug stores, but please correct me if I am wrong, have a nice selection of gift cards, including Amazon. I also use the opportunity when I can to get a gift cards for a few months of Netflix and Hulu, which Rite Aid has. I am in the opposite boat. Where I am, the drug stores still allow that, but the supermarkets have almost all eliminated buying the preloadable debit cards with credit cards, which is crushing since I have the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. I also use supermarkets to buy gas cards in $50 quantities at places I know I'll use so it is an effective 6% back and I don't have to use my card at the pump, which I appreciate. Best of luck.

I am definitely disappointed about no Amazon this fourth quarter.

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

Postby VictoriaF » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:37 pm

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Another way to keep the SPG account alive is to transfer just 1,000 points. It may be cheaper than coffee in Manhattan.


Yep....that's a possibility. But I wouldn't get coffee. That said, coffee at even the finest hotels is not always good coffee. Do you have to transfer points in, or out, or either?

You used to be able to book a stay and then cancel it. Is that no longer the case?


I have just uncovered another way to keep the SPG account alive: to move points between SPG and Marriott. The exchange is 1 SPG = 3 MR. You can move 2k SPG into 6k MR, or vice versa. Later you can move points back (for as long as Marriott is allowing two-way transfers at the same exchange rate).

Victoria
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Barefootgirl
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Barefootgirl » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:27 am

Amazon Store Card
- 5% Amazon
- 5% gift cards (do not see where this is ineligible) - notably Lowe's, Southwest, movies, Starbucks, Hyatt, AirBnb


Has anyone confirmed that the Amazon credit card (Synchrony bank card) pays out 5% on gift cards purchased on Amazon?

Thanks
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Drew777
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:11 am

ResearchMed wrote:
madbrain wrote:
2stepsbehind wrote:Yes. Do a google search for different award programs rules on stopovers.

ETA: For example, on United an itinerary that is Newark to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Tokyo, Tokyo back to Newark would be charged the same miles as a Newark to Tokyo roundtrip (taxes are a different story). A number of bloggers have more creative routings.


Thanks, that does look like a free stopover with miles indeed. Of course taxes could make the difference too; I have seen some flights where taxes are 70-80% of the overall ticket cost, and the airfare itself is only 20-30%.

How do you learn about this creative routing ? And more importantly, how do you find them for the routes you are interested in ?


Yeah. British Air, at least if connecting through Heathrow (and maybe more generally?) has outrageous fees!

On the other hand, on our first class JAL flight next spring, the "taxes and fees" were something like $5.60 each outbound. Nope, I didn't question it. Just said "charge it" and scampered away, grinning.

RM


Any award flight on British Airways metal connecting in LHR is going to have extremely high taxes and fees. That's probably the worst way to try to get to Europe with miles. Whether you're using BA or AA miles, you're better off trying to find a flight on AA metal, or fly Air Berlin or maybe Iberia. Of course BA has the most availability. If you're trying to book business class you'll have to book far in advance most likely. I've found that OneWorld in general is not the best for award travel to Europe as far as finding availability (particularly business class). I have tons of AA miles, but I end up flying with Sky Team or Star Alliance partners to Europe.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:18 am

Drew777 wrote:Any award flight on British Airways metal connecting in LHR is going to have extremely high taxes and fees. That's probably the worst way to try to get to Europe with miles. Whether you're using BA or AA miles, you're better off trying to find a flight on AA metal, or fly Air Berlin or maybe Iberia. Of course BA has the most availability. If you're trying to book business class you'll have to book far in advance most likely. I've found that OneWorld in general is not the best for award travel to Europe as far as finding availability (particularly business class). I have tons of AA miles, but I end up flying with Sky Team or Star Alliance partners to Europe.


I agree. When I am booking award flights on American Airlines, I explicitly exclude British Airways.

My problem is that no matter how far in advance I book, I always get connection flights between Washington, DC and Madrid, Spain. When I checked flights to Prague, Czech Republic, I would have to make two connections flying Air Berlin. Award flights to Europe on United are much better.

Next year, I will try American and United for flying to Australia, possibly with a stop-over in Hawaii.

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

Postby protagonist » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:50 am

VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Another way to keep the SPG account alive is to transfer just 1,000 points. It may be cheaper than coffee in Manhattan.


Yep....that's a possibility. But I wouldn't get coffee. That said, coffee at even the finest hotels is not always good coffee. Do you have to transfer points in, or out, or either?

You used to be able to book a stay and then cancel it. Is that no longer the case?


I have just uncovered another way to keep the SPG account alive: to move points between SPG and Marriott. The exchange is 1 SPG = 3 MR. You can move 2k SPG into 6k MR, or vice versa. Later you can move points back (for as long as Marriott is allowing two-way transfers at the same exchange rate).

Victoria


oo....cool..... Good to know. Maybe I will do that from time to time. I no longer have an SPG or Ritz Carlton card. Will it keep both SPG and RC points alive?

My only fear is that at some point they will merge the program (they say not before 2018, but that is not very far away), and the SPG points might become much less valuable. Your take on that?

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:32 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Drew777 wrote:Any award flight on British Airways metal connecting in LHR is going to have extremely high taxes and fees. That's probably the worst way to try to get to Europe with miles. Whether you're using BA or AA miles, you're better off trying to find a flight on AA metal, or fly Air Berlin or maybe Iberia. Of course BA has the most availability. If you're trying to book business class you'll have to book far in advance most likely. I've found that OneWorld in general is not the best for award travel to Europe as far as finding availability (particularly business class). I have tons of AA miles, but I end up flying with Sky Team or Star Alliance partners to Europe.


I agree. When I am booking award flights on American Airlines, I explicitly exclude British Airways.

My problem is that no matter how far in advance I book, I always get connection flights between Washington, DC and Madrid, Spain. When I checked flights to Prague, Czech Republic, I would have to make two connections flying Air Berlin. Award flights to Europe on United are much better.

Next year, I will try American and United for flying to Australia, possibly with a stop-over in Hawaii.

Victoria


Yeah, if you're using OneWorld to fly to Europe probably the only way you'll get a nonstop flight is if you're both starting and ending at a OneWorld hub. Otherwise you may have to connect once in the US and once in Europe to get to your destination. That's why it's better to have miles in various programs rather than just one. The flights you're looking for just don't exist with OneWorld. Most flights are going to London, Madrid, Berlin, Duesseldorf, Helsinki, or Moscow.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Drew777 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:35 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Another way to keep the SPG account alive is to transfer just 1,000 points. It may be cheaper than coffee in Manhattan.


Yep....that's a possibility. But I wouldn't get coffee. That said, coffee at even the finest hotels is not always good coffee. Do you have to transfer points in, or out, or either?

You used to be able to book a stay and then cancel it. Is that no longer the case?


I have just uncovered another way to keep the SPG account alive: to move points between SPG and Marriott. The exchange is 1 SPG = 3 MR. You can move 2k SPG into 6k MR, or vice versa. Later you can move points back (for as long as Marriott is allowing two-way transfers at the same exchange rate).

Victoria


oo....cool..... Good to know. Maybe I will do that from time to time. I no longer have an SPG or Ritz Carlton card. Will it keep both SPG and RC points alive?

My only fear is that at some point they will merge the program (they say not before 2018, but that is not very far away), and the SPG points might become much less valuable. Your take on that?


Personally I think one SPG point is already more valuable than three Marriott points. I consider SPG to be the best hotel rewards program and Marriott to be the worst. I don't see SPG getting any better. I am considering transferring the rest of my points to American or Alaska once they decide to end the SPG program.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:46 am

protagonist wrote:Will it keep both SPG and RC points alive?


When I transferred points, it was registered as a "transaction" in both SPG and Marriott programs. I am assuming that it will keep both programs alive for at least a year.

protagonist wrote:My only fear is that at some point they will merge the program (they say not before 2018, but that is not very far away), and the SPG points might become much less valuable. Your take on that?


It's hard to say. As soon as I can transfer points from SPG to American Airlines with a 25% bonus (20k SPG = 30k AA), I will do it again. Unfortunately, the last offer of a bonus transfer has expired on 14 September, before I could add points to SPG from my Marriott account.

In general, there is no value for me in hotel rewards. When I travel for a conference I stay at the conference hotel, at the negotiated discount, which is better than regular rates and regular rewards. These hotels are usually fully blocked by the conferences, and I have to go through the conference web site.

When I am traveling independently, hotel chains are much more expensive than hotels I normally book. For example, I am now looking for a 2 week stay in Prague in April 2017. IHG and HHonors hotels run over $100 per night. A small hotel in Prague 3 where I want to stay is about $35/night including continental breakfast. I am now waiting for them to confirm availability.

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

Postby ChrisC » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:59 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:Will it keep both SPG and RC points alive?


When I transferred points, it was registered as a "transaction" in both SPG and Marriott programs. I am assuming that it will keep both programs alive for at least a year.

protagonist wrote:My only fear is that at some point they will merge the program (they say not before 2018, but that is not very far away), and the SPG points might become much less valuable. Your take on that?


It's hard to say. As soon as I can transfer points from SPG to American Airlines with a 25% bonus (20k SPG = 30k AA), I will do it again. Unfortunately, the last offer of a bonus transfer has expired on 14 September, before I could add points to SPG from my Marriott account.

In general, there is no value for me in hotel rewards. When I travel for a conference I stay at the conference hotel, at the negotiated discount, which is better than regular rates and regular rewards. These hotels are usually fully blocked by the conferences, and I have to go through the conference web site.

When I am traveling independently, hotel chains are much more expensive than hotels I normally book. For example, I am now looking for a 2 week stay in Prague in April 2017. IHG and HHonors hotels run over $100 per night. A small hotel in Prague 3 where I want to stay is about $35/night including continental breakfast. I am now waiting for them to confirm availability.

Victoria


To each, his own. My wife and I are not the hostel type for lodging in foreign countries. Also, I found great value when I was employed and did regular travel and now in retirement, using Marriott reward points. When employed, I could always use the Marriott Government Rate on official as well as leisure travel, where the rates were generally significantly better than the normal rate or "conference rate" for an event. And with Gold or Platinum status, this means a free American breakfast and light snacks/hor d'oerves during the evenings in the concierge or executive lounge. More often than not, I also got a room upgrade. While I don't get the Government rate now that I'm in retirement, I still have Platinum status and I leverage reward travel packages, which permit decent exchanges of reward points for frequent flyer miles and a hotel certificate for a 5 or 7 night stay.

So, during retirement, I've exchanged 325K MRPs for a 5 day travel reward package that gave me 110K miles in United and a 5 day hotel stay at the Paris Ren Vendome, where during the time I stayed there, the nightly rate was 450 EUs in 2014. Recently, I ordered another 5 day travel package, for another 325K MRPs, with 110 frequent flyer miles going to American and I'll be staying at the Vienna Marriott for 5 days, though the nightly rate during my stay this October is only $210 USD. The benefit of having Marriott Reward Gold or Platinum status for international travel is huge, given the bountiful and generous amenities afforded to travelers in the executive or concierge lounge, which typically includes free wine and beer during the evenings and very good meals!

I'm a Marriott points junkie so I found this article about other points junkies rather amusing. http://www.vocativ.com/356376/sportswri ... -anything/. I might add that I've met many Government employees who were also points junkies when I was working -- and the Government rate (and free breakfast which stretched your per diem) for hotel stays was quite an inducement to keep us in the program.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:14 pm

ChrisC wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:...When I am traveling independently, hotel chains are much more expensive than hotels I normally book. For example, I am now looking for a 2 week stay in Prague in April 2017. IHG and HHonors hotels run over $100 per night. A small hotel in Prague 3 where I want to stay is about $35/night including continental breakfast. I am now waiting for them to confirm availability.


To each, his own. My wife and I are not the hostel type for lodging in foreign countries. Also, I found great value when I was employed and did regular travel and now in retirement, using Marriott reward points...


I agree that to each, his own. This thread is about our Credit Card Rewards strategies, and our strategies are closely related to what we are interested in. Your and your wife's strategy is rooted in your interest in comfortable hotels. together with the availability of Marriott points.

My strategy is different from yours, and from what many travel/credit card bloggers offer as sample scenarios. I fly only economy and I stay in hostels and cheap hotels. This enabled me to travel 33-35% of the year in both 2015 and 2016. Those reading this thread learn about different strategies and decide what would work for them.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby ChrisC » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:48 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
ChrisC wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:...When I am traveling independently, hotel chains are much more expensive than hotels I normally book. For example, I am now looking for a 2 week stay in Prague in April 2017. IHG and HHonors hotels run over $100 per night. A small hotel in Prague 3 where I want to stay is about $35/night including continental breakfast. I am now waiting for them to confirm availability.


To each, his own. My wife and I are not the hostel type for lodging in foreign countries. Also, I found great value when I was employed and did regular travel and now in retirement, using Marriott reward points...


I agree that to each, his own. This thread is about our Credit Card Rewards strategies, and our strategies are closely related to what we are interested in. Your and your wife's strategy is rooted in your interest in comfortable hotels. together with the availability of Marriott points.

My strategy is different from yours, and from what many travel/credit card bloggers offer as sample scenarios. I fly only economy and I stay in hostels and cheap hotels. This enabled me to travel 33-35% of the year in both 2015 and 2016. Those reading this thread learn about different strategies and decide what would work for them.

Victoria


I agree. I post, in many cases, to add balance to a discussion. Others will discern for themselves what works best for them. I, and I sense all of us posting here, don't presume that what works for us can invariably work for others. And, as you indicate correctly, the use of points or deploying a credit card rewards strategy is grounded on the type of travel you desire -- bare bones, modest, or luxury travel experiences and the places you go. When it comes to flight, I'm in Research Med's camp of traveling first or business class for long distance flights -- I simply can't take 8 plus hours in economy class. But I have found my best use of flyer miles to accomplish first or business class travel is to pay for economy class and then use flyer miles to upgrade to business or first class.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby BeneIRA » Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:49 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Drew777 wrote:Any award flight on British Airways metal connecting in LHR is going to have extremely high taxes and fees. That's probably the worst way to try to get to Europe with miles. Whether you're using BA or AA miles, you're better off trying to find a flight on AA metal, or fly Air Berlin or maybe Iberia. Of course BA has the most availability. If you're trying to book business class you'll have to book far in advance most likely. I've found that OneWorld in general is not the best for award travel to Europe as far as finding availability (particularly business class). I have tons of AA miles, but I end up flying with Sky Team or Star Alliance partners to Europe.


I agree. When I am booking award flights on American Airlines, I explicitly exclude British Airways.

My problem is that no matter how far in advance I book, I always get connection flights between Washington, DC and Madrid, Spain. When I checked flights to Prague, Czech Republic, I would have to make two connections flying Air Berlin. Award flights to Europe on United are much better.

Next year, I will try American and United for flying to Australia, possibly with a stop-over in Hawaii.

Victoria


Hi Victoria,

Not sure if you are still working on getting to Prague, but I was there somewhat recently and I booked through the Chase portal. Not the best use of points, to be sure, but in my case, it was since I couldn't find it anywhere better. I flew to Budapest, then took a cheap train to Austria then to Prague. It was about $250 cheaper per person. I would think flying to Budapest, getting the much cheaper rate, then taking a train, even business class on the OEB, Austria Railway, for instance, would be much more economical. It ended up being so for us.

I randomly checked what it would be to fly to Budapest and then return from Prague to New York (just as an example) in mid-March and it came out almost $100 cheaper than directly to Prague. I am not sure if you would be interested in that, but it is something to consider. In my case, it was far cheaper to fly into Budapest then use rail to get to Prague.

I am assuming you have a hostel, but a private room in a hostel?

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby VictoriaF » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:36 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:My problem is that no matter how far in advance I book, I always get connection flights between Washington, DC and Madrid, Spain. When I checked flights to Prague, Czech Republic, I would have to make two connections flying Air Berlin. Award flights to Europe on United are much better.


Victoria


Hi Victoria,

Not sure if you are still working on getting to Prague, but I was there somewhat recently and I booked through the Chase portal. Not the best use of points, to be sure, but in my case, it was since I couldn't find it anywhere better. I flew to Budapest, then took a cheap train to Austria then to Prague. It was about $250 cheaper per person. I would think flying to Budapest, getting the much cheaper rate, then taking a train, even business class on the OEB, Austria Railway, for instance, would be much more economical. It ended up being so for us.

I randomly checked what it would be to fly to Budapest and then return from Prague to New York (just as an example) in mid-March and it came out almost $100 cheaper than directly to Prague. I am not sure if you would be interested in that, but it is something to consider. In my case, it was far cheaper to fly into Budapest then use rail to get to Prague.

I am assuming you have a hostel, but a private room in a hostel?


Hi BeneIRA,

I could not find any suitable reward flights to Prague on American Airlines, but United offers pretty good flights on Lufthansa with connections in Munich. I will use 60k United miles and pay $86 in taxes, which I consider normal. I will book these flights after I finalize various parts of my overall plan.

In Prague I will stay for 15 days. For two weeks I will be taking an intensive Czech language course. I want to arrive two days earlier to get over the jetlag so that I could be more focused in the class. My search of the accommodations is limited to the vicinity of the language school, where my three best options are:
1. A budget hotel that gives a discount for long stays. If I came to Prague a month earlier, it would have cost me $35/night for a private room, including a continental breakfast. I can't make online reservations for the dates I need, and I sent them an email inquiry. Even $50/night would be good.
2. A hostel where I could get a private room with a bathroom for $76/night.
3. In the same hostel a bed in a 10-person, mixed dorm for $25/night.

Option-1 seems the best. Choosing between options 2 and 3 would be difficult. In the past, I've met some remarkable people in hostels, and mixed dorms (men and women in the same room) can be very entertaining. However, most travelers will not be speaking Czech, and a major goal of my trip is to pick up as much Czech as possible. In a private room, I could read aloud Czech texts and watch TV.

Note that even the most expensive option, a private room in the hostel for $76, is much cheaper than IHG and HHonors hotels. And unlike hotels, the hostel has full kitchen facilities including a refrigerator, a stove and dishes, which significantly reduces meal expenses.

From Prague, I will travel to Luhačovice to spend a week or so in a health spa. Hotels in Luhačovice vary widely in prices and treatments. I am inclined to get something upscale, but I will decide after I read the reviews.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby protagonist » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:43 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
In Prague I will stay for 15 days. For two weeks I will be taking an intensive Czech language course. I want to arrive two days earlier to get over the jetlag so that I could be more focused in the class. My search of the accommodations is limited to the vicinity of the language school, where my three best options are:
1. A budget hotel that gives a discount for long stays. If I came to Prague a month earlier, it would have cost me $35/night for a private room, including a continental breakfast. I can't make online reservations for the dates I need, and I sent them an email inquiry. Even $50/night would be good.
2. A hostel where I could get a private room with a bathroom for $76/night.
3. In the same hostel a bed in a 10-person, mixed dorm for $25/night.

Option-1 seems the best. Choosing between options 2 and 3 would be difficult. In the past, I've met some remarkable people in hostels, and mixed dorms (men and women in the same room) can be very entertaining. However, most travelers will not be speaking Czech, and a major goal of my trip is to pick up as much Czech as possible. In a private room, I could read aloud Czech texts and watch TV.

Note that even the most expensive option, a private room in the hostel for $76, is much cheaper than IHG and HHonors hotels. And unlike hotels, the hostel has full kitchen facilities including a refrigerator, a stove and dishes, which significantly reduces meal expenses.

From Prague, I will travel to Luhačovice to spend a week or so in a health spa. Hotels in Luhačovice vary widely in prices and treatments. I am inclined to get something upscale, but I will decide after I read the reviews.

Victoria


Hi, Victoria.

When I was in Prague two years ago I stayed at an excellent Club Carlson hotel called the Park Inn. I couldn't have been happier. I stayed with Club Carlson points (at the time they were offering a 2 nights for 1 deal) and it was very economical, as well as being a very good hotel in an excellent location. A few blocks away was a really good local restaurant/bar with decent prices and a local clientele. The historic center was either a long but beautiful and do-able walk or a short trolley ride away, and it was in a cool neighborhood away from the tourist bustle. I just googled the hotel, and a very cursory check of google hits show prices starting at $67/night, which I think is quite a bargain for a hotel of that calibre. Check it out.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby VictoriaF » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:27 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
In Prague I will stay for 15 days. For two weeks I will be taking an intensive Czech language course. I want to arrive two days earlier to get over the jetlag so that I could be more focused in the class. My search of the accommodations is limited to the vicinity of the language school, where my three best options are:
1. A budget hotel that gives a discount for long stays. If I came to Prague a month earlier, it would have cost me $35/night for a private room, including a continental breakfast. I can't make online reservations for the dates I need, and I sent them an email inquiry. Even $50/night would be good.
2. A hostel where I could get a private room with a bathroom for $76/night.
3. In the same hostel a bed in a 10-person, mixed dorm for $25/night.

Option-1 seems the best. Choosing between options 2 and 3 would be difficult. In the past, I've met some remarkable people in hostels, and mixed dorms (men and women in the same room) can be very entertaining. However, most travelers will not be speaking Czech, and a major goal of my trip is to pick up as much Czech as possible. In a private room, I could read aloud Czech texts and watch TV.

Note that even the most expensive option, a private room in the hostel for $76, is much cheaper than IHG and HHonors hotels. And unlike hotels, the hostel has full kitchen facilities including a refrigerator, a stove and dishes, which significantly reduces meal expenses.

From Prague, I will travel to Luhačovice to spend a week or so in a health spa. Hotels in Luhačovice vary widely in prices and treatments. I am inclined to get something upscale, but I will decide after I read the reviews.

Victoria


Hi, Victoria.

When I was in Prague two years ago I stayed at an excellent Club Carlson hotel called the Park Inn. I couldn't have been happier. I stayed with Club Carlson points (at the time they were offering a 2 nights for 1 deal) and it was very economical, as well as being a very good hotel in an excellent location. A few blocks away was a really good local restaurant/bar with decent prices and a local clientele. The historic center was either a long but beautiful and do-able walk or a short trolley ride away, and it was in a cool neighborhood away from the tourist bustle. I just googled the hotel, and a very cursory check of google hits show prices starting at $67/night, which I think is quite a bargain for a hotel of that calibre. Check it out.


Hi Protagonist,

Thank you for the recommendation. My primary requirement is to stay within a short walking distance from the language school, and Park Inn is in a different part of Prague. I am not particularly interested in high quality hotels, unless they fit my other requirements. And if I had to choose between a 4-star hotel and a private room in a hostel at the same price level of about $70/night, I might still have chosen the hostel. I like the type of people staying in hostels and I appreciate access to full kitchen facilities.

As for restaurants, it has never been a selection factor in my travel. I will be meeting with my friends in Prague in the places they will select. Otherwise, I will try to find small local restaurants where I could practice my Czech.

This exchange is another example of how our "Credit Card Rewards Strategies" must be aligned with our travel interests and requirements. Your hotel recommendation is valuable for other Bogleheads with Club Carlson points traveling to Prague. But in my case, it's an illustration of why I don't need hotel points and should transfer them to flights.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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

Postby guitarguy » Thu Sep 29, 2016 11:41 am

Figured the wealth of knowledge would be a good place to post this question...although I also gave it it's own thread:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=200440

Question is:

You'd think this question would be easy to answer...but I haven't found a clear explanation online...

Can I transfer Chase UR points from my account to my wife's frequent flyer account at United (rather than my own)?

I would be doing this without transferring the UR points to a Chase account in her name.

:confused :confused

Appreciate the clarification from anyone that knows the answer to this!

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Ron Ronnerson » Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:53 pm

guitarguy wrote:Figured the wealth of knowledge would be a good place to post this question...although I also gave it it's own thread:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=200440

Question is:

You'd think this question would be easy to answer...but I haven't found a clear explanation online...

Can I transfer Chase UR points from my account to my wife's frequent flyer account at United (rather than my own)?

I would be doing this without transferring the UR points to a Chase account in her name.

:confused :confused

Appreciate the clarification from anyone that knows the answer to this!


Yes, you can. I transferred my Chase UR points to my wife's United account last year. The transfer was instantaneous.

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

Postby guitarguy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:53 pm

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Figured the wealth of knowledge would be a good place to post this question...although I also gave it it's own thread:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=200440

Question is:

You'd think this question would be easy to answer...but I haven't found a clear explanation online...

Can I transfer Chase UR points from my account to my wife's frequent flyer account at United (rather than my own)?

I would be doing this without transferring the UR points to a Chase account in her name.

:confused :confused

Appreciate the clarification from anyone that knows the answer to this!


Yes, you can. I transferred my Chase UR points to my wife's United account last year. The transfer was instantaneous.


Thanks for posting. I found the answer to my own question too...Chase actually stipulates that you can transfer to one other person as long as they live with you and are an authorized user on your account.

So in that regard, I'm all set.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby travellight » Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:39 am

"When I am traveling independently, hotel chains are much more expensive than hotels I normally book. For example, I am now looking for a 2 week stay in Prague in April 2017. IHG and HHonors hotels run over $100 per night. A small hotel in Prague 3 where I want to stay is about $35/night including continental breakfast. I am now waiting for them to confirm availability."

I have found this to be so as well, Victoria. I think I recently screwed up and spent 15k points for a Holiday inn express at the airport in Milan. I could have booked that room for about $65 and I don't think it was good use of my points.

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

Postby Workinghard » Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:49 am

travellight wrote:"When I am traveling independently, hotel chains are much more expensive than hotels I normally book. For example, I am now looking for a 2 week stay in Prague in April 2017. IHG and HHonors hotels run over $100 per night. A small hotel in Prague 3 where I want to stay is about $35/night including continental breakfast. I am now waiting for them to confirm availability."

I have found this to be so as well, Victoria. I think I recently screwed up and spent 15k points for a Holiday inn express at the airport in Milan. I could have booked that room for about $65 and I don't think it was good use of my points.


I was glancing at hotel rates last night for Prague, Budapest, Krawkow and saw Hilton and IHG for 5k points a night. That was for fall 2017. I'm good for that (and breakfast).

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

Postby travellight » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:25 pm

I just checked Prague and lowest is 15k; where did you find 5k in Sept 2017?

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Workinghard » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:34 pm

travellight wrote:I just checked Prague and lowest is 15k; where did you find 5k in Sept 2017?


I should never depend on my memory. Just looked at my notes. Krawkow was $5k for the Hampton and Hilton Garden. In Budapest the Raddison Blue was 9-13.5k. I wrote names of hotels in Prague that I have points for (IHG, Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott) but hadn't checked on prices.

Sorry about that! Thanks for double checking so people don't have the wrong info. We're currently traveling, so I haven't done any in-depth research yet, just window shopping.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby travellight » Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:19 pm

Thanks for the update, working hard.

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

Postby LuigiLikesPizza » Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:40 am

I've had to scale back my activities in this game. It can be crazy, exciting and very rewarding, while at the same time, a major time suck. I could see myself doing this full time if I had the time. There are lots of details to be tracked, in order to be successful, IMO.

That said, for 2016, I've gotten it down to this:

- sign up bonuses only - I can longer find any 5X offers worth taking advantage of. (Bueller?...)

- my apartment management company accepts credit card payments for a 2% fee, I use that to meet spend where it makes sense. It's really a painless way to meet spend - as opposed to other methods I've tried and read about.

- bank and brokerage bonuses (but I guess that's not really a credit card strategy).

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby rjbraun » Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:18 am

guitarguy wrote:
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Figured the wealth of knowledge would be a good place to post this question...although I also gave it it's own thread:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=200440

Question is:

You'd think this question would be easy to answer...but I haven't found a clear explanation online...

Can I transfer Chase UR points from my account to my wife's frequent flyer account at United (rather than my own)?

I would be doing this without transferring the UR points to a Chase account in her name.

:confused :confused

Appreciate the clarification from anyone that knows the answer to this!


Yes, you can. I transferred my Chase UR points to my wife's United account last year. The transfer was instantaneous.


Thanks for posting. I found the answer to my own question too...Chase actually stipulates that you can transfer to one other person as long as they live with you and are an authorized user on your account.

So in that regard, I'm all set.

I already have CSR and am close to meeting $4000 spend for 100,000 UR bonus. SO has agreed to apply for CSR. His primary mailing address differs from mine, though we live in the same city.

1) If he uses my mailing address in his card application, will that be an issue assuming he would otherwise be approved for the card?

2) I guess I will need to add him as AU to my account to be able to combine his UR points with mine. I got my CSR about 4-6 weeks ago. Can I get more UR when I add him as an AU? Could adding him interfere with his ability to get his own CSR?

Note: He's not so keen to play credit card game but as I expect to have a couple of big ticket items coming up to easily meet minimum spend he agreed to play, and I agreed to basically take care of managing the card payments. So, it's possible that once we meet the minimum spend the card will see little use. In that case, will Chase have an issue with that? If necessary, we could make periodic charges on the card. Just trying to gauge what is necessary to ensure that Chase does not take back UR points that SO has or will earn

Note 2: just re-read the earlier posts I clipped and realize that my question is slightly different. I am only trying to move UR between another UR account and not to one of Chase's travel partners' programs

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby travellight » Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:00 pm

Just wanted to share comments on AA reward use versus Thank you points.

I am going to Japan in about a month. I booked the outbound flight for 2 people with AA miles. I got business class seats for 50k miles each (100k total fo 2 ppl) from CA.

I booked the return for 2 ppl on Thank you points. It took 102,000 points to book two economy seats coming back.

Love AA; what a deal. They were booked at the same time; about 6 months ago.

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

Postby guitarguy » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:03 am

Note to those like me that are out of the Chase game due to the 5/24 rule...

For the record I'm at exactly 5/24 and am still debating trying to get preapproved at a branch for the CSR :? :? :? But I haven't decided whether I'm going to go for this or not. I'm kinda nervous to get denied...although it probably won't have much effect on my credit anyways...no mortgage or loan plans anytime soon for us...but have still been standing pat on it...

But anyways...I've been reading up on business cards that don't report to personal credit reports, and therefore won't hinder progress waiting out the 5/24 to do more business with Chase. My wife has 3 semesters left of school and these $4k chunks of tuition and books and what not are golden ways to quickly and easily meet minimum spends for us (since we don't bother with any MS)....so I would hate to let them go by without signing up for anything until one of my 5 slots opens up in Nov 2017. Therefore I've been thinking about a few business cards to fill the gaps. (I do own a business too, so this isn't a stretch for me to go for business cards).

Right now I'm eyeing what's supposedly the best offer from Amex in a while for Delta Skymiles...70k miles on their platinum card. They are also offering 50k miles on their gold card, however I read that 60k miles has also been offered so the 50k isn't the greatest in recent history like the 70k platinum offer. Here is a link of anyone's interested. It's also (I believe) available in a consumer version as opposed to this, the business version.

https://www262.americanexpress.com/appl ... RTV=LTORWD

There is a $195 AF not waived first year, but also comes with a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. From doing some reading, a simple $50 Delta e-gift card will meet the criteria to get the $100 credit, which is what I'll do since we don't have plans to fly Delta in the next quarter. The bonus requires a $5k spend.

Based on Skymiles being worth a conservative 1.2 cpp, after the $195 AF I should net $745 and after buying a $50 e-gift card to get the $100 statement credit, I will need to put up $145 out of pocket.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby SRenaeP » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:35 am

guitarguy wrote:
Right now I'm eyeing what's supposedly the best offer from Amex in a while for Delta Skymiles...70k miles on their platinum card. They are also offering 50k miles on their gold card, however I read that 60k miles has also been offered so the 50k isn't the greatest in recent history like the 70k platinum offer. Here is a link of anyone's interested. It's also (I believe) available in a consumer version as opposed to this, the business version.

https://www262.americanexpress.com/appl ... RTV=LTORWD

There is a $195 AF not waived first year, but also comes with a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. From doing some reading, a simple $50 Delta e-gift card will meet the criteria to get the $100 credit, which is what I'll do since we don't have plans to fly Delta in the next quarter. The bonus requires a $5k spend.

Based on Skymiles being worth a conservative 1.2 cpp, after the $195 AF I should net $745 and after buying a $50 e-gift card to get the $100 statement credit, I will need to put up $145 out of pocket.


The link you posted is a bit contradictory. Above "apply now", it says $0 AF for the first year then $175 after. Farther down, it says $195 AF.

That said, I already have the consumer version but wonder if I should apply for this one due to the sign-on bonus. It seems to be equal to my existing card but I'll get 70k miles, 10k MQMs and $100!

-Steph

guitarguy
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:42 am

SRenaeP wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
Right now I'm eyeing what's supposedly the best offer from Amex in a while for Delta Skymiles...70k miles on their platinum card. They are also offering 50k miles on their gold card, however I read that 60k miles has also been offered so the 50k isn't the greatest in recent history like the 70k platinum offer. Here is a link of anyone's interested. It's also (I believe) available in a consumer version as opposed to this, the business version.

https://www262.americanexpress.com/appl ... RTV=LTORWD

There is a $195 AF not waived first year, but also comes with a $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. From doing some reading, a simple $50 Delta e-gift card will meet the criteria to get the $100 credit, which is what I'll do since we don't have plans to fly Delta in the next quarter. The bonus requires a $5k spend.

Based on Skymiles being worth a conservative 1.2 cpp, after the $195 AF I should net $745 and after buying a $50 e-gift card to get the $100 statement credit, I will need to put up $145 out of pocket.


The link you posted is a bit contradictory. Above "apply now", it says $0 AF for the first year then $175 after. Farther down, it says $195 AF.

That said, I already have the consumer version but wonder if I should apply for this one due to the sign-on bonus. It seems to be equal to my existing card but I'll get 70k miles, 10k MQMs and $100!

-Steph


I don't see that anywhere.

SRenaeP
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:05 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby SRenaeP » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:12 pm

guitarguy wrote:
I don't see that anywhere.


I just clicked again and took a screenshot that I can't figure out how to attach. After that I went back to try to capture the URL and it's gone. Strange.

-Steph

guitarguy
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:22 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
I don't see that anywhere.


I just clicked again and took a screenshot that I can't figure out how to attach. After that I went back to try to capture the URL and it's gone. Strange.

-Steph


Weird. Anyways from all sources the fee looks like it's $195, not waived first year. So I wouldn't expect any lesser fee.

And especially living right near a Delta hub...it looks like a pretty darn appealing offer.

I guess I'll make my way into a Chase branch and see if I can get preapproved for the CSR before Nov 9...and then apply for this guy if I can't get the CSR. I don't want both at the same time because again we don't MS...so the $5k will be hard to meet on 2 cards at once.

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Bustoff
Posts: 1979
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bustoff » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:59 pm

Beginner question.
For travel to Italy, should we focus on any particular airline or credit card to begin accumulating points?

ResearchMed
Posts: 4428
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby ResearchMed » Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:08 pm

Bustoff wrote:Beginner question.
For travel to Italy, should we focus on any particular airline or credit card to begin accumulating points?


For starters, use this website to see which airlines fly from where you are to where you want to go in Italy.

http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Alitalia is a good guess, but domestic airlines also fly there.

Then using Google, see which awards points are used by or transfer to that airline (or those airlines if a good choice).

Then look for a card that gives those points.

In general, there are two big partner networks, but there is some overlap.

IF American Airlines is in that group, we've found that using their miles/points on a partner can (sometimes? often?) use *fewer* points than the same class of service on an American flight. But look into that also, to maximize use.

This is a bit tedious at first. Once we got used to it, the simple travel is very straightforward.
It can get tricky if one needs to transfer points to use on yet a different airline, etc.

RM
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Bustoff
Posts: 1979
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:45 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Bustoff » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:29 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Bustoff wrote:Beginner question.
For travel to Italy, should we focus on any particular airline or credit card to begin accumulating points?


For starters, use this website to see which airlines fly from where you are to where you want to go in Italy.

http://matrix.itasoftware.com/

Alitalia is a good guess, but domestic airlines also fly there.

Then using Google, see which awards points are used by or transfer to that airline (or those airlines if a good choice).

Then look for a card that gives those points.

In general, there are two big partner networks, but there is some overlap.

IF American Airlines is in that group, we've found that using their miles/points on a partner can (sometimes? often?) use *fewer* points than the same class of service on an American flight. But look into that also, to maximize use.

This is a bit tedious at first. Once we got used to it, the simple travel is very straightforward.
It can get tricky if one needs to transfer points to use on yet a different airline, etc.

RM

Thanks RM!
Sounds like a bit of a learning curve but the savings are well worth the time.
:sharebeer

curmudgeon
Posts: 1126
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby curmudgeon » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:12 pm

Bustoff wrote:Beginner question.
For travel to Italy, should we focus on any particular airline or credit card to begin accumulating points?


Spend some time with the Google Flights tool to see what would be convenient flight options from your area. Learn which airlines are in which alliances. Alitalia partners with Delta (Skyteam), but it might turn out that the United/Lufthansa (Star Alliance), or AA/BA (OneWorld) would actually make better connections. United has pretty flexible policies to do open-jaw and stopover with FF tickets, others aren't quite as flexible.

See if you can find out something about actual mileage ticket availability for the time of year you would be travelling. If you can go off-peak, not only is it less crowded at your destination, but ticket availability at the lowest levels is much better (tue-thu flying days are usually more available as well). If you have the miles but can't get a seat (or have to get it at a 2x mile cost), it doesn't help much.

The big mileage bonuses are usually at the card signup time, so make those a priority.

Pay attention to miles expiration policies, often you need to at least have some activity in the account to keep from losing them.

Expect that the miles may devalue over time (more miles required for a ticket). It doesn't happen every year, but the trend is clear over longer periods of time.


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