What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Post by rjbraun » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:48 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
rjbraun wrote:Interesting. Can you provide some general guidelines for how much spending one should be prepared to do to rack up sizable point balances to fly business class internationally, let's say, twice a year.

I realize that a bunch of factors will influence the answer, but, back of the envelope, if a round-trip business class ticket to Europe is, on average, 200,000 points (that's a guess, I don't really know), then maybe one would need 3-4 sign-up bonuses (assuming 50k to 70k sign-up bonus) with a required minimum average spend of $4000 per card. So, one would need to spend ~$30,000 for two round-trip tickets each year. And double that if we're talking about two people traveling together. And then even more if one of the trips were to Asia.

Does this sound reasonable?


Biz class award tickets to Europe are, at worst, 140K miles roundtrip on saver awards. And you can do better than that. For instance, with Air Canada's Aeroplan program (Amex MR transfer partner), you can fly to Western Europe for 110K miles roundtrip.

Asia is not substantially more. You can fly anywhere in the world biz class roundtrip with 160K United or AA miles. And it can be substantially less. You can use Alaska miles to fly to Asia for 100K roundtrip biz class on either Cathay Pacific or American Airlines.

So just as an example, let's say you wanted to plan a trip to Europe and a trip to Asia for 2 people. Asia with Alaska Air is easy: each of you gets 2 cards (cards are very churnable), each card gives you 30K miles with $1K spend, so you've got enough to get to Asia with $4K spend. There is a $99 annual fee with this card so you'd be in for $396 in cash as well.

For Europe, you could go with Chase URs transferred to United--each get the Chase Ink Business Preferred (80K bonus) as well as the Chase Sapphire Reserve (50K bonus plus 5K for adding authorized user) and that's 135K miles plus the miles you'd get for spending on the intro bonuses would take you well over 140K. The Ink card has a $5K intro spend and the Preferred has a $4K intro spend, so that's another $18K in spend there. Ink has a $95 annual fee so you'd be in for another $190 in cash too.

So there you go: $22K in spend and $586 in annual fees can get 2 people to Europe and Asia in biz class.

The Europe stuff is not repeatable as you won't be able to get those cards a second time. But as you get more into the points game, you'll figure out how to keep collecting points to facilitate what you want to do. Also, I don't think it's worth it to fly biz class from Europe to the US, as those flights are during the day and I am happy in Economy watching movies on my tablet. If you feel the same, that's an easy way to save a lot of miles--biz class to Europe and economy return.

Wow. We just flew Cathay coach round-trip to Hong Kong for $780 each and I thought that was a pretty good deal. Would have loved to find a way to fly business for 100k round-trip. Much more comfortable for a 16-hour flight!

To me, I would say the draw to business is the extra room and greater space between passengers. The extra legroom is nice but not as essential to me given my stature. What I want to get away from is being stuck behind someone in a fully-reclined seat :annoyed In that regard, returning from Europe on coach isn't ideal (though I've certainly done it numerous times).

Thank you, Bwolf. I will read your post again more carefully, but for now I need to get back to work :(

Oh, I assume that these rates for business class tickets are, in general, for non-stop flights (I realize that it depends on the airports in question) and aren't simply a function of poor routing.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:49 pm

Drew777 wrote:
rjbraun wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
rjbraun wrote:
Drew777 wrote:I remember feeling like that when I first started travel hacking. We flew economy at first, but now I have more miles than we even have time to use, so we fly business class on international trips now. If you're aggressive you'll end up with some pretty big point balances. If you're just doing one or two signups a year or something then you're not going to be flying business class with miles most likely.

Interesting. Can you provide some general guidelines for how much spending one should be prepared to do to rack up sizable point balances to fly business class internationally, let's say, twice a year.

I realize that a bunch of factors will influence the answer, but, back of the envelope, if a round-trip business class ticket to Europe is, on average, 200,000 points (that's a guess, I don't really know), then maybe one would need 3-4 sign-up bonuses (assuming 50k to 70k sign-up bonus) with a required minimum average spend of $4000 per card. So, one would need to spend ~$30,000 for two round-trip tickets each year. And double that if we're talking about two people traveling together. And then even more if one of the trips were to Asia.

Does this sound reasonable?


I'd say 125k would be a decent redemption for a roundtrip business class flight to Europe. So 250k for two people. Then again with two people you should be able to get twice as many signup bonuses. So 500k miles for two trips a year, you're looking at 10 signup bonuses of 50k at $3k spend each. That's pretty conservative in the travel hacking world. That would be $30k spend. A lot of people here are probably spending more than that every year on a credit card anyway, but there are plenty of other ways to meet the minimum. There are services that allow you to pay rent/mortgage with a CC for a small fee, pay taxes with a CC, etc. That's not even getting into things like manufactured spending, gift card reselling, etc.

Okay, my appetite has been whetted! Thank you.:D

I just checked American for non-stop to London (from NYC) but didn't find anything close. I will take a closer look again later. London has the ridiculously steep taxes, so maybe this approach will work better for other destinations.

I agree, I could easily meet $30,000-plus annual spend (unfortunately) by paying rent, etc. with a CC. So far, I've held off on incurring charges via a service to do so, but if I have a clear link to business class tickets that I know I will use, I would be more receptive to that approach.

Thanks again for the input, Drew


Using American to London isn't the best bet unless you can find flights on American metal. Most flights are going to be on British Airways, and they pass on huge fuel surcharges. If you want to use American miles look for flights on American metal, AirBerlin, or Iberia.

Skyteam and Star Alliance generally have better availability to Europe than OneWorld (excluding BA).

I would recommend focusing on United/Chase Ultimate Rewards first due to the 5/24 rule.


+1

AA miles are very hard to use to get to Europe without fuel surcharges as almost all the availability is on BA. They can be useful to get to other parts of the world, though I'd much rather have Alaska miles in general.

And you should definitely collect your Chase UR/United points first.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:53 pm

rjbraun wrote:Oh, I assume that these rates for business class tickets are, in general, for non-stop flights (I realize that it depends on the airports in question) and aren't simply a function of poor routing.


I've never looked at Cathay's business class award availability. I was interested in using Alaska miles on Cathay first class (70K miles one way, 140K miles roundtrip) and there was definitely significant award availability there when I was looking at using it to go from Hong Kong back to Chicago (my home) nonstop. But I was also looking like 11 months out. The more lead time you have on your trip, the easier it is to find awards with good routing.

giesen5
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:52 pm

I've been reading about the American Express "rule" about only having 4 credit cards at a time. I was just approved for a 5th card, so the rule is not hard and fast. You can supposedly have up to 4 credit and 4 charge cards - mine are all credit cards. I read somewhere that many people who were approved for a 5th card had the Everyday Preferred as one of their cards, which I do. YMMV.

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

Post by rjbraun » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:31 pm

Drew777 wrote:Using American to London isn't the best bet unless you can find flights on American metal. Most flights are going to be on British Airways, and they pass on huge fuel surcharges. If you want to use American miles look for flights on American metal, AirBerlin, or Iberia.

Skyteam and Star Alliance generally have better availability to Europe than OneWorld (excluding BA).

I would recommend focusing on United/Chase Ultimate Rewards first due to the 5/24 rule.

What does American metal mean? I also saw a reference to Delta metal earlier and despite my google efforts haven't for the life of me been able to figure out what that means!

Right, steep fuel charges with BA, that's what it was. Will look into American metal (once I learn what that means :happy). I would prefer to try to fly non-stop from NYC, which I'm guessing AirBerlin and Iberia won't offer, but I will check.

I think I'm 3/24 for now will Chase, having opened CSR, Chase Ink Business Preferred and CapOne Spark in the last 24 months. Do Ink Biz and CapOne count towards 5/24 as they are both business cards? SO is also 3/24 with CSR, CSP and more recently Amex SPG.

SO is a more reluctant "churner" (not that I've been super-aggresive myself). I think the business cards aren't really an option for him, and, frankly, I'm not sure how easily I would be able to get more business cards myself. Not sure there are any more Chase branded cards to get (i.e., Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink, etc.), but I guess the priority for me should be a Chase United card and perhaps the same for SO. It looks as if the current offer is 50k sign-up bonus. Should I be holding out for a 70k offer? I've had at least one United cc in the past. Just checked, looks as if I only cancelled last June, after receiving it in June 2015. Beyond the possible Chase United card, I guess SO and I each have the potential to get one more card before we bump up against the 5 card limit.

Thanks for sharing the European availability details of the airline alliances.

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

Post by rjbraun » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:34 pm

Bfwolf wrote:+1

AA miles are very hard to use to get to Europe without fuel surcharges as almost all the availability is on BA. They can be useful to get to other parts of the world, though I'd much rather have Alaska miles in general.

And you should definitely collect your Chase UR/United points first.

Thanks, I need to look into Alaska miles. I keep seeing positive references to them here. I guess I figured that Alaska miles wouldn't be so helpful for flights out of NYC, but I guess that's not necessarily the case.

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

Post by travellight » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:13 am

Does anyone know how to get the amex business gold @ 75k rewards rather than 50k? When I pursued it, it says I am not eligible and that I can get it at 50k but I keep thinking if I can find the right pathway/link to get there...

giesen5
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:55 am

travellight wrote:Does anyone know how to get the amex business gold @ 75k rewards rather than 50k? When I pursued it, it says I am not eligible and that I can get it at 50k but I keep thinking if I can find the right pathway/link to get there...


Check this out: http://www.doctorofcredit.com/increased ... st-offers/

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

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:17 am

rjbraun wrote:What does American metal mean? I also saw a reference to Delta metal earlier and despite my google efforts haven't for the life of me been able to figure out what that means!

"Metal" in this context refers to the aircraft. In other words, look for a flight that is owned and operate by American Airlines instead of one of their partner airlines.

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

Post by Drew777 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:35 am

rjbraun wrote:
Drew777 wrote:Using American to London isn't the best bet unless you can find flights on American metal. Most flights are going to be on British Airways, and they pass on huge fuel surcharges. If you want to use American miles look for flights on American metal, AirBerlin, or Iberia.

Skyteam and Star Alliance generally have better availability to Europe than OneWorld (excluding BA).

I would recommend focusing on United/Chase Ultimate Rewards first due to the 5/24 rule.

What does American metal mean? I also saw a reference to Delta metal earlier and despite my google efforts haven't for the life of me been able to figure out what that means!

Right, steep fuel charges with BA, that's what it was. Will look into American metal (once I learn what that means :happy). I would prefer to try to fly non-stop from NYC, which I'm guessing AirBerlin and Iberia won't offer, but I will check.

I think I'm 3/24 for now will Chase, having opened CSR, Chase Ink Business Preferred and CapOne Spark in the last 24 months. Do Ink Biz and CapOne count towards 5/24 as they are both business cards? SO is also 3/24 with CSR, CSP and more recently Amex SPG.

SO is a more reluctant "churner" (not that I've been super-aggresive myself). I think the business cards aren't really an option for him, and, frankly, I'm not sure how easily I would be able to get more business cards myself. Not sure there are any more Chase branded cards to get (i.e., Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink, etc.), but I guess the priority for me should be a Chase United card and perhaps the same for SO. It looks as if the current offer is 50k sign-up bonus. Should I be holding out for a 70k offer? I've had at least one United cc in the past. Just checked, looks as if I only cancelled last June, after receiving it in June 2015. Beyond the possible Chase United card, I guess SO and I each have the potential to get one more card before we bump up against the 5 card limit.

Thanks for sharing the European availability details of the airline alliances.


American metal means you have to actually be flying on an American plane, not British Airways. When you search for flights on aa.com exclude British Airways. You'll probably have trouble finding award flights to London on AA though. Your nonstop options from New York to London are British Airways, American, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Air India, United, and Norwegian, so you can get there with pretty much any mileage program. Capital One business cards do count against 5/24 since they show up on your personal credit report. Chase business cards do not. You would only be 2/24 since Ink Preferred won't take up one of your slots. Business cards are an option for anyone, you can get a business card with $0 business revenue. Although Chase is tougher on business card approvals than most other banks. I would recommend getting all the Chase UR cards you can along with the United card first. I would wait for a 70k United offer if possible. You can also transfer UR to Flying Blue to fly Delta.

Jags4186
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:12 am

I find AA Miles to be pretty awful (awful availability, awful redemption values, awful routing), at least for the places I want to go, but I would tell you that the website is also useless as it doesn't show all their partners. You need to look at all One World carriers websites to find available award space then call AA to book. Otherwise their website is not going to be very helpful--especially when going to Europe.

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

Post by Drew777 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:44 am

Jags4186 wrote:I find AA Miles to be pretty awful (awful availability, awful redemption values, awful routing), at least for the places I want to go, but I would tell you that the website is also useless as it doesn't show all their partners. You need to look at all One World carriers websites to find available award space then call AA to book. Otherwise their website is not going to be very helpful--especially when going to Europe.


As far as I know there isn't going to be any airline website that's going to show all partner availability. No matter what miles you're using you'll have to check multiple sites or use a third party award search.

Europe, especially business/first, is probably the worst use of AA miles. Availability to Australia in business/first will be nearly impossible as well. Anywhere else isn't usually too bad. Although for domestic Saver flights you will usually need to book pretty far in advance.

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

Post by rjbraun » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:32 am

Drew777 wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:I find AA Miles to be pretty awful (awful availability, awful redemption values, awful routing), at least for the places I want to go, but I would tell you that the website is also useless as it doesn't show all their partners. You need to look at all One World carriers websites to find available award space then call AA to book. Otherwise their website is not going to be very helpful--especially when going to Europe.


As far as I know there isn't going to be any airline website that's going to show all partner availability. No matter what miles you're using you'll have to check multiple sites or use a third party award search.

Europe, especially business/first, is probably the worst use of AA miles. Availability to Australia in business/first will be nearly impossible as well. Anywhere else isn't usually too bad. Although for domestic Saver flights you will usually need to book pretty far in advance.

I haven't flown so many flights with frequent-flyer points. That's probably a function of not having a ton to begin with, having in general only limited schedule flexibility and oftentimes finding a compelling enough cash fare to not need / want to shop around. That said, when I have used points, AA has come through.

One plus in my mind are the off-peak fares to Europe for travel, I think, mid-Oct to mid-April (presumably with black-out dates during holidays). I recall two of us flying round-trip to Rome for 80,000 points total. Another year we may have done the same to Paris. I think AA raised the required points to 22,500, but that still strikes me as a good deal if you can make it work.

We also flew AA on points to Istanbul one year and were able to tack on a stopover in Milan on the return for not a lot of points, maybe something like 12,500.

When I booked flights not on American metal :wink:) , I think I had to call to speak with an agent and pay a fee for the service, something like $75 for trip.

Again, not a lot of data points, but it seems AAdvantage isn't so popular among BHs, so either my generally positive enough experience is a one-off or maybe I have something even better to look forward to when I ramp up with other carriers

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

Post by barberakb » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:46 pm

Are there any good gas rebate cards with a nice sign up bonus.

I currently drive about 90 miles a day for work so looking for a good gas rewards card.

No annual fee preferred...

Thanks

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

Post by lakpr » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:50 pm

http://www.doctorofcredit.com/fort-knox ... ck-on-gas/

No sign up bonus though.

barberakb wrote:Are there any good gas rebate cards with a nice sign up bonus.

I currently drive about 90 miles a day for work so looking for a good gas rewards card.

No annual fee preferred...

Thanks

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

Post by DiMAn0684 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:04 pm

https://www.penfed.org/platinum-rewards-visa-signature/

Nice sign up bonus and 'no-AF' generally don't happen often.

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

Post by lakpr » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:14 pm

DiMAn0684 wrote:https://www.penfed.org/platinum-rewards-visa-signature/

Nice sign up bonus and 'no-AF' generally don't happen often.


I have this card. Note that this is essentially a 4.2% gas card, since you get rewards in terms of points and not straight cash back. Then 5880 points will need to be redeemed for $50 prepaid Visa card.

If you are willing to wait and redeem only in terms of multiples of 5880 points, yes this is a good enough choice. If you want the flexibility to redeem in any amount, FKFCU card is better.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:26 pm

rjbraun wrote:I haven't flown so many flights with frequent-flyer points. That's probably a function of not having a ton to begin with, having in general only limited schedule flexibility and oftentimes finding a compelling enough cash fare to not need / want to shop around. That said, when I have used points, AA has come through.

One plus in my mind are the off-peak fares to Europe for travel, I think, mid-Oct to mid-April (presumably with black-out dates during holidays). I recall two of us flying round-trip to Rome for 80,000 points total. Another year we may have done the same to Paris. I think AA raised the required points to 22,500, but that still strikes me as a good deal if you can make it work.

We also flew AA on points to Istanbul one year and were able to tack on a stopover in Milan on the return for not a lot of points, maybe something like 12,500.

When I booked flights not on American metal :wink:) , I think I had to call to speak with an agent and pay a fee for the service, something like $75 for trip.

Again, not a lot of data points, but it seems AAdvantage isn't so popular among BHs, so either my generally positive enough experience is a one-off or maybe I have something even better to look forward to when I ramp up with other carriers


I think AA used to have a lot more award space and over the last 4 or 5 years they've changed that. So your prior experiences may not be indicative of what your future experiences will be, depending on when you booked award flights with them in the past.

Many partner awards ARE searchable on AA. But if you book an award with a partner that is not searchable on AA, the agent you call should waive the phone fee.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:33 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
rjbraun wrote:I haven't flown so many flights with frequent-flyer points. That's probably a function of not having a ton to begin with, having in general only limited schedule flexibility and oftentimes finding a compelling enough cash fare to not need / want to shop around. That said, when I have used points, AA has come through.

One plus in my mind are the off-peak fares to Europe for travel, I think, mid-Oct to mid-April (presumably with black-out dates during holidays). I recall two of us flying round-trip to Rome for 80,000 points total. Another year we may have done the same to Paris. I think AA raised the required points to 22,500, but that still strikes me as a good deal if you can make it work.

We also flew AA on points to Istanbul one year and were able to tack on a stopover in Milan on the return for not a lot of points, maybe something like 12,500.

When I booked flights not on American metal :wink:) , I think I had to call to speak with an agent and pay a fee for the service, something like $75 for trip.

Again, not a lot of data points, but it seems AAdvantage isn't so popular among BHs, so either my generally positive enough experience is a one-off or maybe I have something even better to look forward to when I ramp up with other carriers


I think AA used to have a lot more award space and over the last 4 or 5 years they've changed that. So your prior experiences may not be indicative of what your future experiences will be, depending on when you booked award flights with them in the past.

Many partner awards ARE searchable on AA. But if you book an award with a partner that is not searchable on AA, the agent you call should waive the phone fee.


We haven't (yet?) had difficulty with having the fee waived when we need to get awards tickets on AA partners that can't be booked online.
And it hasn't been difficult to reach the "International Awards" desk by phone to check for availability or even more general help with routing.
Occasionally there is a wait, so we just call back later.

We have tried to avoid using AA metal, especially for international premium travel, so we haven't encountered any problems with the availability there.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

MikeG62
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeG62 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:36 pm

barberakb wrote:Are there any good gas rebate cards with a nice sign up bonus.

I currently drive about 90 miles a day for work so looking for a good gas rewards card.

No annual fee preferred...

Thanks


MikeG62 wrote:I have a Pen Fed Cash Rewards Visa which pays 5% cash back on gas. Was going to recommend that, but in checking their web site I do not see that card listed an an available option. My card works fine, so maybe I am grandfathered in?


Just founds from running a search on the Pen Fed Platinum Cash Rewards VISA...

https://www.penfed.org/affinity-cash-rewards/

So it looks like the card may still be available, but you have to call Pen Fed to apply.
Last edited by MikeG62 on Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by rjbraun » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:50 pm

Bfwolf wrote:I think AA used to have a lot more award space and over the last 4 or 5 years they've changed that. So your prior experiences may not be indicative of what your future experiences will be, depending on when you booked award flights with them in the past.

Many partner awards ARE searchable on AA. But if you book an award with a partner that is not searchable on AA, the agent you call should waive the phone fee.

Some of the AAdvantage travel was definitely several years ago, so I agree that history may not be indicative of conditions today. I think we flew on points to Rome more recently (but still 2 or 3 years ago). I recall having a choice of carriers (Iberia, AirBerlin or another German discounter), but, then again, I was probably booking 331 days in advance. Anyway, we finally opted for non-stop flights for which we paid cash.

Thanks, good to know that partner awards are searchable on AA and that those that aren't shouldn't involve a phone agent fee.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:41 am

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.

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.


I was reading some blog posts today, and it came to my attention that everything I talked about in this post (see page 27 of this thread for more posts on the subject) doesn't work anymore. In October, United changed their system so that if you can't search for it on their system, you can't book it as a single award even if you call in. So no more stringing together 5 segment awards to get where you want. You've got to just put in your starting city and ending city and hope the United search engine finds a way to get you there. In my experience, it's not very good at doing this when you need to make multiple stops.

This stinks as the segment by segment customization was a really valuable part of their program, and it makes it much harder to build itineraries you want now.

Sorry for the misinformation.

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

Post by sharpjm » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:32 am

Bfwolf wrote:
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.

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.


I was reading some blog posts today, and it came to my attention that everything I talked about in this post (see page 27 of this thread for more posts on the subject) doesn't work anymore. In October, United changed their system so that if you can't search for it on their system, you can't book it as a single award even if you call in. So no more stringing together 5 segment awards to get where you want. You've got to just put in your starting city and ending city and hope the United search engine finds a way to get you there. In my experience, it's not very good at doing this when you need to make multiple stops.

This stinks as the segment by segment customization was a really valuable part of their program, and it makes it much harder to build itineraries you want now.

Sorry for the misinformation.

You can still get 1 segment added. We just did this for a trip to new zealand. SFO->AKL... AKL->CHC... CHC->SFO. Theres no doubt the program is worse now than it was before

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

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:55 am

sharpjm wrote:You can still get 1 segment added. We just did this for a trip to new zealand. SFO->AKL... AKL->CHC... CHC->SFO. Theres no doubt the program is worse now than it was before


What was your method? Book the trip online, and then call in and ask to add a segment?

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pennstater2005
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by pennstater2005 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:25 pm

I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks
“Life is short, Break the Rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile" - Unknown

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:53 am

Chase Freedom just posted the $175 bonus ($150 plus $25 for adding my wife) and I haven't even made my first payment yet.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:56 am

pennstater2005 wrote:I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks


It is my understanding that closing revolving accounts negatively affects your score. So does a reported balance (the higher, the worse). I'd move slowly or avoid closing them and use it very seldomly. Definitely check up on it from time to time to look for ID theft, etc.

I'm also curious to hear which bonuses you got and your experience with getting it.

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

Post by TheTimeLord » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:57 am

My strategy is to use a cashback card and then either spend or invest the cashback.
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pennstater2005
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by pennstater2005 » Mon May 01, 2017 6:03 am

gvsucavie03 wrote:
pennstater2005 wrote:I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks


It is my understanding that closing revolving accounts negatively affects your score. So does a reported balance (the higher, the worse). I'd move slowly or avoid closing them and use it very seldomly. Definitely check up on it from time to time to look for ID theft, etc.

I'm also curious to hear which bonuses you got and your experience with getting it.


I'll probably just cancel the cards slowly over the course of this year. I don't really want to keep checking cards I don't use.

Just recently I got:

Barclay Card Arrival bonus (3k spend) - 50,000 points - points showed almost immediately. * *
Wells Fargo Visa Card (1k spend) $150 bonus - took nearly 3 months to redeem.
Capital One Quicksilver ($500 spend) $100 bonus - redeemed quickly.
Barclaycard Cash Forward (1k spend) $200 bonus - redeemed quickly.
Bank of America Rewards ($500 spend) $100 bonus - can't remember
Multiple AMEX cards gold card I remember with $500 bonuses $2k spend
Multiple Citi cards with bonuses I can't remember except a big 50,000 point one.
Discover Card IT applied for an immediate bonus in Amazon card used once.

For all of the cards above I opened for my wife and myself. I can't remember all of the cards offhand. I do know aside from applying and waiting for cards it's pretty easy money and I have cancelled a few with my credit still lingering above 800.
“Life is short, Break the Rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile" - Unknown

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

Post by sharpjm » Mon May 01, 2017 10:01 am

Bfwolf wrote:
sharpjm wrote:You can still get 1 segment added. We just did this for a trip to new zealand. SFO->AKL... AKL->CHC... CHC->SFO. Theres no doubt the program is worse now than it was before


What was your method? Book the trip online, and then call in and ask to add a segment?

No I did it all online. I just did a "multi-city" airfare search on United.com. When I picked the 2nd flight in the middle of the trip (AKL->CHC) the cost showed up as 0 points for all options.

Maybe it is different because I didn't do saver award economy. This was 170k miles per flight for standard economy. But the flights would have been $2800 each so I wasn't too heart-broken about it.

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

Post by Drew777 » Mon May 01, 2017 12:28 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:I find AA Miles to be pretty awful (awful availability, awful redemption values, awful routing), at least for the places I want to go, but I would tell you that the website is also useless as it doesn't show all their partners. You need to look at all One World carriers websites to find available award space then call AA to book. Otherwise their website is not going to be very helpful--especially when going to Europe.


As far as I know there isn't going to be any airline website that's going to show all partner availability. No matter what miles you're using you'll have to check multiple sites or use a third party award search.

Europe, especially business/first, is probably the worst use of AA miles. Availability to Australia in business/first will be nearly impossible as well. Anywhere else isn't usually too bad. Although for domestic Saver flights you will usually need to book pretty far in advance.

I haven't flown so many flights with frequent-flyer points. That's probably a function of not having a ton to begin with, having in general only limited schedule flexibility and oftentimes finding a compelling enough cash fare to not need / want to shop around. That said, when I have used points, AA has come through.

One plus in my mind are the off-peak fares to Europe for travel, I think, mid-Oct to mid-April (presumably with black-out dates during holidays). I recall two of us flying round-trip to Rome for 80,000 points total. Another year we may have done the same to Paris. I think AA raised the required points to 22,500, but that still strikes me as a good deal if you can make it work.

We also flew AA on points to Istanbul one year and were able to tack on a stopover in Milan on the return for not a lot of points, maybe something like 12,500.

When I booked flights not on American metal :wink:) , I think I had to call to speak with an agent and pay a fee for the service, something like $75 for trip.

Again, not a lot of data points, but it seems AAdvantage isn't so popular among BHs, so either my generally positive enough experience is a one-off or maybe I have something even better to look forward to when I ramp up with other carriers


Almost all AA award flights to Europe on going to route through London on BA. Fuel surcharges roundtrip are about $250 in economy and $800 in business class. If you get lucky enough to find availability on AA, Air Berlin, or Iberia you can save on the fuel surcharges. AA actually charges 30k one way for a Saver award to Europe now.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Mon May 01, 2017 12:36 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:
rjbraun wrote:I haven't flown so many flights with frequent-flyer points. That's probably a function of not having a ton to begin with, having in general only limited schedule flexibility and oftentimes finding a compelling enough cash fare to not need / want to shop around. That said, when I have used points, AA has come through.

One plus in my mind are the off-peak fares to Europe for travel, I think, mid-Oct to mid-April (presumably with black-out dates during holidays). I recall two of us flying round-trip to Rome for 80,000 points total. Another year we may have done the same to Paris. I think AA raised the required points to 22,500, but that still strikes me as a good deal if you can make it work.

We also flew AA on points to Istanbul one year and were able to tack on a stopover in Milan on the return for not a lot of points, maybe something like 12,500.

When I booked flights not on American metal :wink:) , I think I had to call to speak with an agent and pay a fee for the service, something like $75 for trip.

Again, not a lot of data points, but it seems AAdvantage isn't so popular among BHs, so either my generally positive enough experience is a one-off or maybe I have something even better to look forward to when I ramp up with other carriers


I think AA used to have a lot more award space and over the last 4 or 5 years they've changed that. So your prior experiences may not be indicative of what your future experiences will be, depending on when you booked award flights with them in the past.

Many partner awards ARE searchable on AA. But if you book an award with a partner that is not searchable on AA, the agent you call should waive the phone fee.


We haven't (yet?) had difficulty with having the fee waived when we need to get awards tickets on AA partners that can't be booked online.
And it hasn't been difficult to reach the "International Awards" desk by phone to check for availability or even more general help with routing.
Occasionally there is a wait, so we just call back later.

We have tried to avoid using AA metal, especially for international premium travel, so we haven't encountered any problems with the availability there.

RM


Checking for availability and getting help with routing over the phone is going to be an extremely inefficient use of your time and probably yield little results unless you're going somewhere that always has tons of availability. The agent may not even know all of the possible routing options. It's better to have everything figured out on your own beforehand and just call to do the actual booking. You'll have to know which airlines and routes to check, where to check availability, etc. For example, you may have to use Alaska, Iberia, or Qantas' site, and not just AA's own site. Some partners are only searchable on Expert Flyer which requires a subscription.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Mon May 01, 2017 12:38 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:I think AA used to have a lot more award space and over the last 4 or 5 years they've changed that. So your prior experiences may not be indicative of what your future experiences will be, depending on when you booked award flights with them in the past.

Many partner awards ARE searchable on AA. But if you book an award with a partner that is not searchable on AA, the agent you call should waive the phone fee.

Some of the AAdvantage travel was definitely several years ago, so I agree that history may not be indicative of conditions today. I think we flew on points to Rome more recently (but still 2 or 3 years ago). I recall having a choice of carriers (Iberia, AirBerlin or another German discounter), but, then again, I was probably booking 331 days in advance. Anyway, we finally opted for non-stop flights for which we paid cash.

Thanks, good to know that partner awards are searchable on AA and that those that aren't shouldn't involve a phone agent fee.


Just keep in mind that booking partners that aren't searchable isn't as simple as just calling in. You'll need to search elsewhere on your own and find the particular partner flights you want on your own if you want to have any chance of getting them.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Mon May 01, 2017 12:39 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
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.

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.


I was reading some blog posts today, and it came to my attention that everything I talked about in this post (see page 27 of this thread for more posts on the subject) doesn't work anymore. In October, United changed their system so that if you can't search for it on their system, you can't book it as a single award even if you call in. So no more stringing together 5 segment awards to get where you want. You've got to just put in your starting city and ending city and hope the United search engine finds a way to get you there. In my experience, it's not very good at doing this when you need to make multiple stops.

This stinks as the segment by segment customization was a really valuable part of their program, and it makes it much harder to build itineraries you want now.

Sorry for the misinformation.


That's how travel hacking goes, probably very little of the information from 6-7 months ago is still useful today.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Mon May 01, 2017 12:40 pm

pennstater2005 wrote:I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks


I wouldn't recommend closing the no annual fee cards at all.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Mon May 01, 2017 1:01 pm

Drew777 wrote:
pennstater2005 wrote:I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks


I wouldn't recommend closing the no annual fee cards at all.


Agreed, keep those active and make a transaction every 6-12 months so they are not closed without your input. Great to have the long history of credit.

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pennstater2005
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by pennstater2005 » Mon May 01, 2017 1:17 pm

Drew777 wrote:
pennstater2005 wrote:I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks


I wouldn't recommend closing the no annual fee cards at all.


I could keep them open but I'll never use them or check them. I don't know how advisable that is. If there is fraud I'll get a phone call or letter.
“Life is short, Break the Rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile" - Unknown

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

Post by protagonist » Mon May 01, 2017 9:06 pm

A small tip for owners of the AAdvantage platinum Visa....

If you do nothing, your card will automatically be converted into an AAdvantage Platinum MC, if that has not happened already.

A better scenario, if you qualify, is to apply for a NEW AAdvantage Platinum MC, which currently comes with a bonus of 60K miles ($3K spending in 3 months). https://thepointsguy.com/2017/04/60k-ci ... -platinum/ You can do so if you have not opened or closed an AA personal card in the past 24 months.

Once accepted you can then DOWNGRADE your current Platinum Visa to the Bronze version, which comes with no annual fee (in order to maintain a long credit history).

If you CANCEL your current card you cannot apply for another for 24 months, so don't do so.

The only caveat to the above is if you prioritize other cards for which your qualification may be jeopardized if you add another....eg if it would result in your violating the Chase 5/24 Rule if you want a Chase card.

We'll See
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by We'll See » Mon May 01, 2017 9:10 pm

Citi double cash on everything except for united flights. 2% cash back on everything and no BS. I have a united card too with their diluted miles which is only good for boarding group#2 which does have some value.

I will add that between work and personal I spend on average 5,000 per month for comparison.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Mon May 01, 2017 10:49 pm

I can't be the only one who finds it funny that this thread has morphed into the catch-all Bogleheads thread for more advanced credit card strategies/travel hacking, and yet every week or so somebody who has clearly seen the thread for the first time pops in and answers the thread title question, usually with some very simple strategy like "just use 2% cash back card on everything."

Perhaps a thread title change is in order. Something like "Official credit card and award points thread?"

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Tue May 02, 2017 7:55 pm

pennstater2005 wrote:
gvsucavie03 wrote:
pennstater2005 wrote:I have quite a few credit cards now. The ones with annual fees in the second year I cancel right after the bonus is completed and rewards are received. The others I still have. Should I cancel these slowly over time or just all at once? Does it make a difference? I'm not overly worried about my credit but am more curious.

I've got about twenty or so to cancel. I'll hang onto a few. I don't check the other ones and do not wish to worry about fraud.

Thanks


It is my understanding that closing revolving accounts negatively affects your score. So does a reported balance (the higher, the worse). I'd move slowly or avoid closing them and use it very seldomly. Definitely check up on it from time to time to look for ID theft, etc.

I'm also curious to hear which bonuses you got and your experience with getting it.


I'll probably just cancel the cards slowly over the course of this year. I don't really want to keep checking cards I don't use.

Just recently I got:

Barclay Card Arrival bonus (3k spend) - 50,000 points - points showed almost immediately. * *
Wells Fargo Visa Card (1k spend) $150 bonus - took nearly 3 months to redeem.
Capital One Quicksilver ($500 spend) $100 bonus - redeemed quickly.
Barclaycard Cash Forward (1k spend) $200 bonus - redeemed quickly.
Bank of America Rewards ($500 spend) $100 bonus - can't remember
Multiple AMEX cards gold card I remember with $500 bonuses $2k spend
Multiple Citi cards with bonuses I can't remember except a big 50,000 point one.
Discover Card IT applied for an immediate bonus in Amazon card used once.

For all of the cards above I opened for my wife and myself. I can't remember all of the cards offhand. I do know aside from applying and waiting for cards it's pretty easy money and I have cancelled a few with my credit still lingering above 800.


Thanks for the info! Didn't even consider the Barclay $200 bonus! I'm going to run dry on checking bonuses and might consider a few card bonuses. Card bonuses are not taxable (same as rewards), correct?

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue May 02, 2017 8:31 pm

If anyone has the AMEX Blue Cash Everyday card there is a targeted upgrade offer to Blue Cash Preferred--$150 after $1000 spend. What's great about this offer is that there's no hard pull on your credit, and no new line of credit bring down your AAoA. What's even better is that I took advantage of this offer, got my $150 bonus, downgraded back to BCE to miss the $95 annual fee posting, and then the upgrade offer appeared again but this time not only with the $150 after $100 but also with 10% cash back on restaurants for 6 months. I upgraded again and received my second $150 bonus and will now keep and pay the $95 AF for the 10% CB on restaurants.

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pennstater2005
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by pennstater2005 » Tue May 02, 2017 8:39 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:Card bonuses are not taxable (same as rewards), correct?


Correct. I've never received any forms for income. I will say that Wells Fargo has some nice offers as well. We just signed my wife up for a $200 reward for 1k spend. They have 2 more cards with the same offer and another with a 3K spend requirement. That's up to $1600 between the four cards if you do it for yourself and a spouse, which is my plan. I don't know if Wells Fargo has any limitations in place but we'll find out! We've been getting Lowe's or Home Depot gift cards lately as I always have a need for those. And because the Wells Fargo card was long paid off by the time the bonus came around.
“Life is short, Break the Rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile" - Unknown

Barefootgirl
Posts: 2150
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:05 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Barefootgirl » Wed May 03, 2017 6:55 am

I was doing a little portfolio analysis last night and realized that cash on hand to take advantage of various credit and bank offers has it's own category lol.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

gvsucavie03
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:30 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Wed May 03, 2017 5:36 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:I was doing a little portfolio analysis last night and realized that cash on hand to take advantage of various credit and bank offers has it's own category lol.


Yup!

giesen5
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:44 pm
Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Wed May 03, 2017 5:42 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:I was doing a little portfolio analysis last night and realized that cash on hand to take advantage of various credit and bank offers has it's own category lol.


Totally! I have a fair amount of money tied up in these checking accounts so that I can move money around. Until this morning, I hadn't realized how much was "in the game".

AW89
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:22 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by AW89 » Thu May 04, 2017 3:22 pm

I have not read all of this thread but a lot of it. I am looking for some general advice how to move forward with my situation and maximize the best CC rewards out there. I would not consider myself a churner by any means, yet, but have slowly added cards over the last couple years and am finally starting to realize that all these chase UR points are worth quite a bit and I still have a lot of room to obtain more.

Current list of cards:

HIM:
AMEX Blue Cash Everyday (really old)
AMEX Macys (really old)
Chase Preferred - Opened 3 yrs ago
Chase Freedom - Opened 20 months ago
Chase Preferred (authorized user on wife) - Opened 11 months ago
Chase Reserve - Opened 8 months ago

HER:
AMEX Blue Cash (authorized user) (really old)
Chase Preferred (authorized user) - Opened 3 yrs ago
Chase Freedom (authorized user) - Opened 20 months ago
Chase Preferred - Opened 11 months ago

We spend $2K/month on average on CC and pay it all off every month. So with the above - I am at 3/5 on the Chase 5/24 rule and my wife is 2/5 on their rule. Although we each have the card at 20 months so that one will not count against us fairly soon. I have read you can get authorized user cards to not count against the 5/24 rule but unsure so for now will assume they account against the rule. I also will likely never add either of us as an AU to each others cards anymore knowing it could impact.

A few other things:
    -We spend on average $2K/month on CC and have never carried a CC balance in our life - this number can be higher as I would be comfortable buying some gift cards if needed for grocery and such - also grandma is usually good for some big ticket spending every few months and never has a problem putting it on our card if we ask
    -I currently have 350K chase UR points and our personal accounts (checking/saving) are with Chase so would prefer to maximize Chase cards first
    -My wife has a small business she runs through facebook (think etsy - homemade crafty stuff). She does not have official tax ID though - it is more of a hobby now as she works full time again
    -I need to cancel my chase preferred card and then I am eligible to reapply and receive the initial 50K bonus again as it has been over 24 months since I last received that cards associated bonus - this is how it was explained to me by a Chase representative
    -Companion pass is something I am also pretty interested in. My understanding is this is something that is pretty easily acheivable by signing up for both personal and business at the same time (assuming the 50K bonus is available). I believe I would want to sign up for these around November time frame and try to hit spending targets right at the beginning of January to maximize the length of the pass

Cards off the top of my head we are both eligible for
Chase Ink Business Preferred - Both (80K Chase UR)
Any Chase Southwest card (personal or business) - Both (50K SW points each, not Chase UR)
Chase Reserve (Her) - (50K Chase UR)
Chase Preferred (Him) (50K Chase UR)

Anyone have any thoughts/opinions/advice on best way to maximize the situation? Who should get which card, which card to get first?

giesen5
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:44 pm
Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Thu May 04, 2017 9:53 pm

Very surprised to get approved for a Capital One Venture card.

Got my first Cap One card June 2016 and closed it late February this year. We are headed to Italy in a few months and I wanted to get the card for points and for fee free international purchases. I've opened 15 cards since January 2016. Between only closing the card 2+ months ago and having so many accounts, I thought I was sunk. I just applied on a whim, really thinking it would not work. I guess the catch could be that they will not give me the points (40,000) again - will know soon!

Churn baby, churn.

Drew777
Posts: 595
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Fri May 05, 2017 2:46 pm

AW89 wrote:I have not read all of this thread but a lot of it. I am looking for some general advice how to move forward with my situation and maximize the best CC rewards out there. I would not consider myself a churner by any means, yet, but have slowly added cards over the last couple years and am finally starting to realize that all these chase UR points are worth quite a bit and I still have a lot of room to obtain more.

Current list of cards:

HIM:
AMEX Blue Cash Everyday (really old)
AMEX Macys (really old)
Chase Preferred - Opened 3 yrs ago
Chase Freedom - Opened 20 months ago
Chase Preferred (authorized user on wife) - Opened 11 months ago
Chase Reserve - Opened 8 months ago

HER:
AMEX Blue Cash (authorized user) (really old)
Chase Preferred (authorized user) - Opened 3 yrs ago
Chase Freedom (authorized user) - Opened 20 months ago
Chase Preferred - Opened 11 months ago

We spend $2K/month on average on CC and pay it all off every month. So with the above - I am at 3/5 on the Chase 5/24 rule and my wife is 2/5 on their rule. Although we each have the card at 20 months so that one will not count against us fairly soon. I have read you can get authorized user cards to not count against the 5/24 rule but unsure so for now will assume they account against the rule. I also will likely never add either of us as an AU to each others cards anymore knowing it could impact.

A few other things:
    -We spend on average $2K/month on CC and have never carried a CC balance in our life - this number can be higher as I would be comfortable buying some gift cards if needed for grocery and such - also grandma is usually good for some big ticket spending every few months and never has a problem putting it on our card if we ask
    -I currently have 350K chase UR points and our personal accounts (checking/saving) are with Chase so would prefer to maximize Chase cards first
    -My wife has a small business she runs through facebook (think etsy - homemade crafty stuff). She does not have official tax ID though - it is more of a hobby now as she works full time again
    -I need to cancel my chase preferred card and then I am eligible to reapply and receive the initial 50K bonus again as it has been over 24 months since I last received that cards associated bonus - this is how it was explained to me by a Chase representative
    -Companion pass is something I am also pretty interested in. My understanding is this is something that is pretty easily acheivable by signing up for both personal and business at the same time (assuming the 50K bonus is available). I believe I would want to sign up for these around November time frame and try to hit spending targets right at the beginning of January to maximize the length of the pass

Cards off the top of my head we are both eligible for
Chase Ink Business Preferred - Both (80K Chase UR)
Any Chase Southwest card (personal or business) - Both (50K SW points each, not Chase UR)
Chase Reserve (Her) - (50K Chase UR)
Chase Preferred (Him) (50K Chase UR)

Anyone have any thoughts/opinions/advice on best way to maximize the situation? Who should get which card, which card to get first?


First of all, I would recommend product changing your Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Unlimited rather than cancelling it so that you'll be able to earn 1.5x on all purchases. I would recommend the same cards you're already considering. Keep in mind Chase business cards won't actually count against you as far as 5/24, although you do have to be under 5/24 to get approved for them in the first place.

Drew777
Posts: 595
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Fri May 05, 2017 2:48 pm

giesen5 wrote:Very surprised to get approved for a Capital One Venture card.

Got my first Cap One card June 2016 and closed it late February this year. We are headed to Italy in a few months and I wanted to get the card for points and for fee free international purchases. I've opened 15 cards since January 2016. Between only closing the card 2+ months ago and having so many accounts, I thought I was sunk. I just applied on a whim, really thinking it would not work. I guess the catch could be that they will not give me the points (40,000) again - will know soon!

Churn baby, churn.


You shouldn't have any trouble getting the points, Capital One bonuses are churnable. Granted most people don't churn them much since they pull all your report from all three bureaus and the points are fixed value. You likely still have plenty of room to get more bonuses, 15 cards isn't that extreme in this hobby :wink:

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