What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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Da5id
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Da5id » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:28 am

VictoriaF wrote:I have a burning question:

I have been reading that United now does not allow those with Basic Economy tickets to bring full-sized bags aboard. To be clear, I am specifically inquiring about bags that comply with the airline carry-on size requirements, not the behemoths some people try to sneak in.

I have a United Explorer card by Chase, and I continue paying its annual fees in order:
1) to board earlier than other Economy passengers
2) to be eligible for a free checked-in bag, if I decide to check a bag in.

From reading travel blogs, it appears that according to the recent United policies:
1) boarding earlier would not help me with carrying a compliant full-size carry-on bag
2) I would have to pay for a checked-in bag, unless I pay for the tickets (or taxes on reward tickets) with the United Explorer card.

Item (2) poses a dilemma:
Should I pay for the United tickets (or taxes) with the United Explorer or with the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
United Explorer would save me luggage fees, something like $40 per trip.
CSP would provide me with travel insurance, which could be worthless or high value.

Do you have any recommendations other than buying tickets above Basic Economy?

Thank you,
Victoria


I don't have a complete answer, but do note that paying ANYTHING on the United Explorer card, including fees, gets you the free bag. I uses United Miles to get a ticket, but some amount had to paid ($12???). Using the Explorer card for that get me the free bag. Mind you, I dropped my Explorer card yesterday rather than pay the fee, as I don't plan on using United for the next year...

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:32 am

dbr wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:From reading travel blogs, it appears that:
1) boarding earlier would not help me with a full-size carry-on bag
2) I would have to pay for a checked-in bag, unless I pay for the tickets (or taxes on reward tickets) with the United Explorer card.



1) Who says that. Isn't the whole point of "gate lice" and early boarding being finding room for carry-ons? It might be early is not "enough early." in this case.


Apparently, the issue now is not about finding space for the bag, but about being able to bring it aboard at all. Travel blogs are stating that Basic Economy (BE) passengers that do not check in bags, can't check-in for the flight electronically and must see an agent. The alleged reason for this policy is to prevent BE passengers from carrying full-size compliant bags aboard.

dbr wrote:2. I don't know if that is true. I do know there are airlines and cards where simply owning the card gets the privilege. Worth checking I guess.


I keep two cards for this reason: one for American Airlines and one for United. American tried to charge me for a checked-in luggage but an agent cancelled the charge after she has confirmed that I owned that card. Granted, I paid for the ticket with that card.

With United, I have not tested my card's power yet, and I am asking questions here to optimize my future travel fees. The problem with United is that I prefer to pay for tickets with the CSP rather than with United Explorer.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:39 am

Da5id wrote:I don't have a complete answer, but do note that paying ANYTHING on the United Explorer card, including fees, gets you the free bag. I uses United Miles to get a ticket, but some amount had to paid ($12???). Using the Explorer card for that get me the free bag. Mind you, I dropped my Explorer card yesterday rather than pay the fee, as I don't plan on using United for the next year...


You are right. Paying for ANYTHING with United Explorer would give me free checked-in bags. But paying for ANYTHING with the CSP would give me free travel insurance. I'd prefer to pay with the CSP and still be able to check-in a bag free by the virtue of having the Explorer card. If I can't do that, I will cancel the Explorer card, but first I want to know what my options are.

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

Da5id
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Da5id » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:43 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Da5id wrote:I don't have a complete answer, but do note that paying ANYTHING on the United Explorer card, including fees, gets you the free bag. I uses United Miles to get a ticket, but some amount had to paid ($12???). Using the Explorer card for that get me the free bag. Mind you, I dropped my Explorer card yesterday rather than pay the fee, as I don't plan on using United for the next year...


You are right. Paying for ANYTHING with United Explorer would give me free checked-in bags. But paying for ANYTHING with the CSP would give me free travel insurance. I'd prefer to pay with the CSP and still be able to check-in a bag free by the virtue of having the Explorer card. If I can't do that, I will cancel the Explorer card, but first I want to know what my options are.

Victoria


I wonder if, by dealing with an agent, you could split the cost across two cards :) But yes, it is hard to eat your cake and have it too, and seems like may well need to choose which benefit is the winner.

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

Post by themesrob » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:58 am

I have the MileagePlus Explorer and the CSR -- my experience since adding the CSR is that even when I use it to buy a United ticket (or if I use UR points), I still get the free bag on United flights. My assumption is that because the MileagePlus card is linked to my actual MileagePlus account, whenever that FF number is linked to a ticket, all those benefits attach regardless of how I paid for it.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:04 am

themesrob wrote:I have the MileagePlus Explorer and the CSR -- my experience since adding the CSR is that even when I use it to buy a United ticket (or if I use UR points), I still get the free bag on United flights. My assumption is that because the MileagePlus card is linked to my actual MileagePlus account, whenever that FF number is linked to a ticket, all those benefits attach regardless of how I paid for it.


That has been my assumption until recently. And I hope this is still the case.

Have you purchased United Basic Economy (BE) tickets recently? And if yes, have your MileagePlus Explorer benefits been honored when you paid for the tickets with the CSR (or just used the UR points)?

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

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

Post by Barefootgirl » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:24 am


And so I'd like to pass the announcement that the next FTU will be taking place in Chicago on 17-19 November 2017, https://ftuniversity.com/ . If I were not traveling at that time elsewhere, I would have found it worthwhile to fly to Chicago for this event. Your mileage may vary (excuse the pun),


Thank you for sharing the announcement. I'd be really interested in hearing from those who have not only attended FTU, but also the Chicago Seminars (I think that's the name of it) - the travel & points conference that takes place every October in Chicago.

I'm wondering which program format they prefer, have found most helpful, worthwhile use of their time - and how the two programs compare or are different.

Thanks
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:29 am

Barefootgirl wrote:
And so I'd like to pass the announcement that the next FTU will be taking place in Chicago on 17-19 November 2017, https://ftuniversity.com/ . If I were not traveling at that time elsewhere, I would have found it worthwhile to fly to Chicago for this event. Your mileage may vary (excuse the pun),


Thank you for sharing the announcement. I'd be really interested in hearing from those who have not only attended FTU, but also the Chicago Seminars (I think that's the name of it) - the travel & points conference that takes place every October in Chicago.

I'm wondering which program format they prefer, have found most helpful, worthwhile use of their time - and how the two programs compare or are different.

Thanks


I have not attended a Chicago seminar and I am interested in the answers too. For the record, this year the FTU and Chicago Seminar will be taking place back-to-back:

17-19 Oct, Tu-Th - FTU
20-22 Oct, Fr-Su - Chicago Seminar

If I were not traveling, I'd go to both. Some of the same speakers will be at both events but that does not bother me. As you can see from the travel discussions in the Bogleheads, even simple issues generate a lot of interesting questions and useful answers.

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

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

Post by rjbraun » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:54 am

VictoriaF wrote:<snip>
3. *I think* CSR provides a better travel insurance than CSP.

Victoria

*I think* the travel insurance for CSR and CSP is identical. All I know is when I inquired months ago that is what Chase told me (or maybe it was the insurance rep Chase referred me to). I no longer recall the specifics of my question, so it's possible it addressed a different aspect of travel insurance than you might be interested in. Still, my recollection is that I was told the coverage was the same with both cards. That said, I would certainly be interested to hear from anyone else knowledgeable on this topic.

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

Post by themesrob » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:19 am

VictoriaF wrote:
themesrob wrote:I have the MileagePlus Explorer and the CSR -- my experience since adding the CSR is that even when I use it to buy a United ticket (or if I use UR points), I still get the free bag on United flights. My assumption is that because the MileagePlus card is linked to my actual MileagePlus account, whenever that FF number is linked to a ticket, all those benefits attach regardless of how I paid for it.


That has been my assumption until recently. And I hope this is still the case.

Have you purchased United Basic Economy (BE) tickets recently? And if yes, have your MileagePlus Explorer benefits been honored when you paid for the tickets with the CSR (or just used the UR points)?

Victoria


I have not purchased one -- my understanding, though, is that none of the privileges apply to those tickets. Same deal with the various status levels -- even if you have premier status, you can't get upgraded if you bought the basic economy ticket, etc etc.

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

Post by SrGrumpy » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:14 pm

VictoriaF wrote:[

Have you purchased United Basic Economy (BE) tickets recently?

Victoria


Do NOT go anywhere near those Basic Economy tickets. They are a horrible, humiliating innovation - and a total price gouge. See various travel blogs, Points Guy, Gary Leff, etc. And be careful: The United booking mechanism may default to Basic Economy without your realizing it.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:42 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Have you purchased United Basic Economy (BE) tickets recently?

Victoria


Do NOT go anywhere near those Basic Economy tickets. They are a horrible, humiliating innovation - and a total price gouge. See various travel blogs, Points Guy, Gary Leff, etc. And be careful: The United booking mechanism may default to Basic Economy without your realizing it.


SrGrumpy,

My goal is not to have a pleasant flight. My goal is to optimize the use of my miles-points-cards collection. I am perfectly capable to pay out of pocket for the tickets and luggage. But considering that I am already paying $95/year for Chase United Mileage Explorer, I want to know how far my benefits go.

I read The Points Guy, View from the Wing, and several other blogs. The blogs are very informative, but I use them my way. Most bloggers are addicted to luxury travel. They post pictures of exotic resorts, complain about overcooked fish in the First Class cabin, and treat the Economy cabin as a roach motel. By contrast, I go for quantity rather than quality. I prefer to fly to Europe in Economy three times per year and stay in European hostels for several weeks at a time. And I don't want to spend too much time getting points for higher-class cabins.

For the past couple hours I have been catching up with FlyerTalk. Right now, I am reading "United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ... ..." http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-a ... ion-q.html . The FAQ is encouraging:

FlyerTalk wrote:Carry on limited to 1 personal item unless the customer is a MP Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance *G
...
Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless the customer is a MP Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance *G


Beyond the FAQ, I want to read what actual experiences have been.

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

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

Post by BeneIRA » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:33 pm

rjbraun wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:<snip>
3. *I think* CSR provides a better travel insurance than CSP.

Victoria

*I think* the travel insurance for CSR and CSP is identical. All I know is when I inquired months ago that is what Chase told me (or maybe it was the insurance rep Chase referred me to). I no longer recall the specifics of my question, so it's possible it addressed a different aspect of travel insurance than you might be interested in. Still, my recollection is that I was told the coverage was the same with both cards. That said, I would certainly be interested to hear from anyone else knowledgeable on this topic.


CSR is better and includes more items that it covers.

ddurrett896
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ddurrett896 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:13 pm

Looking for an everyday card for my wife and I to share on house related expenses. Only redeem for cash/gift cards.

Still plan on opening bonus cards when able. What is the best card with no fee? Thinking the Citi 2% is the best I've seen but yall are the experts. Thanks!

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

Post by flamesabers » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:25 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:Looking for an everyday card for my wife and I to share on house related expenses. Only redeem for cash/gift cards.

Still plan on opening bonus cards when able. What is the best card with no fee? Thinking the Citi 2% is the best I've seen but yall are the experts. Thanks!


If you qualify, I recommend USAA's 2.5% Limitless Visa card.

If you're an Amazon Prime member, I would recommend the Amazon Visa card. You'll get 5% on Amazon purchases and 2% at restaurants, gas stations and drug stores.

Otherwise I don't think you find a better card then Citi Double Cash card with the criteria you're looking for.

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

Post by madbrain » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:25 pm

VictoriaF wrote:I have a burning question:

I have been reading that United now does not allow those with Basic Economy tickets to bring full-sized bags aboard. To be clear, I am specifically inquiring about bags that comply with the airline carry-on size requirements, not the behemoths some people try to sneak in.

I have a United Explorer card by Chase, and I continue paying its annual fees in order:
1) to board earlier than other Economy passengers
2) to be eligible for a free checked-in bag, if I decide to check a bag in.

From reading travel blogs, it appears that according to the recent United policies:
1) boarding earlier would not help me with carrying a compliant full-size carry-on bag
2) I would have to pay for a checked-in bag, unless I pay for the tickets (or taxes on reward tickets) with the United Explorer card.

Item (2) poses a dilemma:
Should I pay for the United tickets (or taxes) with the United Explorer or with the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
United Explorer would save me luggage fees, something like $40 per trip.
CSP would provide me with travel insurance, which could be worthless or high value.

Do you have any recommendations other than buying tickets above Basic Economy?

Thank you,
Victoria


FYI, we had no problem late last month bringing my husband's fairly large bag - but within carry-on limits - onboard on a flight from SFO-NRT and NRT-SGN, code share with ANA, but with United staff on the first flight. Pretty sure this was basic economy since each roundtrip ticket was under $500.

As a side note, it is really annoying to fly for nearly 16,000 miles, and earn only 2,400 frequent flyer miles. The cost-based mileage accrual policy is ridiculous.
Last edited by madbrain on Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by madbrain » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:26 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
rjbraun wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:<snip>
3. *I think* CSR provides a better travel insurance than CSP.

Victoria

*I think* the travel insurance for CSR and CSP is identical. All I know is when I inquired months ago that is what Chase told me (or maybe it was the insurance rep Chase referred me to). I no longer recall the specifics of my question, so it's possible it addressed a different aspect of travel insurance than you might be interested in. Still, my recollection is that I was told the coverage was the same with both cards. That said, I would certainly be interested to hear from anyone else knowledgeable on this topic.


CSR is better and includes more items that it covers.


Amounts of coverage are higher for the CSR also.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:55 pm

madbrain wrote:FYI, we had no problem late last month bringing my husband's fairly large bag - but within carry-on limits - onboard on a flight from SFO-NRT and NRT-SGN, code share with ANA, but with United staff on the first flight. Pretty sure this was basic economy since each roundtrip ticket was under $500.


It could not have been Basic Economy. United has implemented BE in the U.S. very recently and is planning to extend it to the Central and South America. But there is no BE category for trans-Pacific flights (yet). Also, international flights include a free checked in bag, and thus United does not get a potential revenue from penalizing BE passengers that try to bring aboard a full size bag.

I spent several hours reading FlyerTalk. Not because I have to, not because I can't pay for higher tier tickets, but because the United rules have become complicated enough to be interesting, and I wanted to define my new strategies for decisions such as:
1. To keep the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card, or to cancel it.
2. To purchase tickets (pay taxes) with the MP card, or with the CSP.
3. To know when the BE price is worth it, and when to buy a regular Economy ticket.
4. To decide whether to fly United, or choose a different airline.
5. To have a strategy for checking in for the BE flights.

Even after a lot of reading some of these choices remained unclear. And so I posted my own questions and received a response as follows:

A FlyerTalker wrote:The only United-specific benefit that is contingent on you using the Explorer card for purchase is the free checked bag benefit. The other benefits (e.g. priority boarding) don't require that you use the card.

Also, the Explorer card has Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Interruption/Cancellation/Delay Insurance. Obviously you only get these non-United specific benefits if you use the card. https://www.chase.com/online/Credit-Car ... on-new.htm


Now, my strategy is more clear:
1. Keep the MP card, continue paying $95/year.
2. Purchase United BE tickets (pay taxes for reward tickets) with the MP card, if I want to check in a bag. It is still not clear if buying a ticket with the MP would enable me to bring a full-size suitcase aboard. It is also unclear if my MP would be of any value if I purchased tickets on the Chase portal with my UR points.
3. For a larger price difference, I will purchase a BE ticket using MP. For a minor price difference, I will purchase a regular Economy ticket using CSP. If the price difference is small, and I want to check in a suitcase, I will buy a regular Economy with the MP.
4. There is no material change in my choice of an airline.
5. I am still unclear how the on-line check-in works with the BE fairs for those who own the MP card.

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?

Post by guitarguy » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:21 pm

Re: basic economy flights...

Just kinda found out about these....don't look very appealing.

That said, it appears most award flights qualify you for the tier above "basic economy"...where you can still select seats, bring a carry on, and stay a tier above Spirit airlines.

I wonder...will it stay that way? Or will award flights go the way of giving you this basic crap for your miles...?

Any thoughts?

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:36 pm

guitarguy wrote:Re: basic economy flights...

Just kinda found out about these....don't look very appealing.

That said, it appears most award flights qualify you for the tier above "basic economy"...where you can still select seats, bring a carry on, and stay a tier above Spirit airlines.

I wonder...will it stay that way? Or will award flights go the way of giving you this basic crap for your miles...?

Any thoughts?


I expect the worst. For example, I've read in FlyerTalk that initially the price difference between Regular Economy and Basic Economy was $15-$20, and sometimes, no difference at all. Later messages indicated differences as high as $80. United can limit the award space for Regular Economy and push everyone else into Basic Economy.

With the award travel, United has even more leverage than with cash tickets. If one pays cash he can choose between United, American, Delta, JetBlue, etc. But if one has United miles, he is stuck with using these miles on United.

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

Post by protagonist » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:03 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
guitarguy wrote:Re: basic economy flights...

Just kinda found out about these....don't look very appealing.

That said, it appears most award flights qualify you for the tier above "basic economy"...where you can still select seats, bring a carry on, and stay a tier above Spirit airlines.

I wonder...will it stay that way? Or will award flights go the way of giving you this basic crap for your miles...?

Any thoughts?


I expect the worst. For example, I've read in FlyerTalk that initially the price difference between Regular Economy and Basic Economy was $15-$20, and sometimes, no difference at all. Later messages indicated differences as high as $80. United can limit the award space for Regular Economy and push everyone else into Basic Economy.

With the award travel, United has even more leverage than with cash tickets. If one pays cash he can choose between United, American, Delta, JetBlue, etc. But if one has United miles, he is stuck with using these miles on United.

Victoria


Outside of the promotional miles and the first year when airline cards tend to offer fee waivers, the only card that seems worth keeping (other than hotel cards that have annual bonuses and free cards) is CSR. I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles. I would not pay to renew any airline credit card. At least when they cancel it gives you the opportunity to reapply in the future.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:21 pm

protagonist wrote:Outside of the promotional miles and the first year when airline cards tend to offer fee waivers, the only card that seems worth keeping (other than hotel cards that have annual bonuses and free cards) is CSR. I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles. I would not pay to renew any airline credit card. At least when they cancel it gives you the opportunity to reapply in the future.


For purchasing tickets, I agree that CSR is the best. Once I clear the 5/24 hurdle I will get it.

For the travel experience, It depends on the nature of your travel. For example, I have little use for hotel cards apart from converting points into airline miles. I have cancelled the Chase IHG card when the annual fee came up, even though all travel bloggers advise to keep it.

On the other hand, I fly a lot, and airline cards such as Chase MileagePlus Explorer and Citi AAdvantage provide me with minor conveniences such as being able to board earlier and find space for my carry-on.

Victoria
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d0gerz
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by d0gerz » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:12 pm

SVT wrote:
d0gerz wrote:Question about Chase's 5/24 rule:

I was 4/24 so applied for the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card (and got approved!). I applied as sole proprietor and used my SS# for tax ID. Will this application move me to 5/24 meaning I can no longer apply for Chase cards subject to 5/24? Or will it not count since it's a business card?


I've read that in most/all cases, the Chase Ink card does not count towards 5/24. On /r/churning, it is always advised to get one of the Chase business cards when you're at 4/24, then apply for 2 other Chase cards at the same time to end up at 6/24.

Just as a follow-up, I took the advice here and applied for 2 other Chase cards (Southwest Plus and Premier) at the same time, maybe 10 days after the Chase Ink application. On both applications I got a message saying it is under review and I will hear back within 30 days.

A couple of days later the Southwest Premier card automatically appeared on my Chase account when I logged in. Actually I noticed that the credit limit on one of my other Chase cards dropped by $2,000 and the Premier appeared with a limit of the same $2,000.

And another couple of days later I got a letter in the mail saying the Southwest Plus was denied because I had opened "too many accounts with us". I called the number listed on the letter, and the rep looked at my account and told me the denial was due to a velocity rule, as I had tried to open the Ink Preferred and the two Southwest cards so close to each other. I asked to be reconsidered for the Southwest Plus. I was put on hold for 5-10 minutes after answering some questions (same questions you answer for online applications: income, profession, housing status etc.) and then was told that I was approved. For this card as well they offered me a $2,000 limit by moving it over from a different card.

So it definitely appears the Ink application did not move me from 4/24 to 5/24 (though the Ink app did apply towards their velocity rule). However once I was approved for the Premier that would've put me at 5/24. I'm surprised they still approved me for the Plus after reconsideration, as that puts me at 6/24. One of my 4 in the 4/24 is an authorized user card though I had read that they all count the same. Sometimes people are able to argue them down but in my case I was never asked about my other open cards.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SVT » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:30 pm

d0gerz wrote:
SVT wrote:
d0gerz wrote:Question about Chase's 5/24 rule:

I was 4/24 so applied for the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card (and got approved!). I applied as sole proprietor and used my SS# for tax ID. Will this application move me to 5/24 meaning I can no longer apply for Chase cards subject to 5/24? Or will it not count since it's a business card?


I've read that in most/all cases, the Chase Ink card does not count towards 5/24. On /r/churning, it is always advised to get one of the Chase business cards when you're at 4/24, then apply for 2 other Chase cards at the same time to end up at 6/24.

Just as a follow-up, I took the advice here and applied for 2 other Chase cards (Southwest Plus and Premier) at the same time, maybe 10 days after the Chase Ink application. On both applications I got a message saying it is under review and I will hear back within 30 days.

A couple of days later the Southwest Premier card automatically appeared on my Chase account when I logged in. Actually I noticed that the credit limit on one of my other Chase cards dropped by $2,000 and the Premier appeared with a limit of the same $2,000.

And another couple of days later I got a letter in the mail saying the Southwest Plus was denied because I had opened "too many accounts with us". I called the number listed on the letter, and the rep looked at my account and told me the denial was due to a velocity rule, as I had tried to open the Ink Preferred and the two Southwest cards so close to each other. I asked to be reconsidered for the Southwest Plus. I was put on hold for 5-10 minutes after answering some questions (same questions you answer for online applications: income, profession, housing status etc.) and then was told that I was approved. For this card as well they offered me a $2,000 limit by moving it over from a different card.

So it definitely appears the Ink application did not move me from 4/24 to 5/24 (though the Ink app did apply towards their velocity rule). However once I was approved for the Premier that would've put me at 5/24. I'm surprised they still approved me for the Plus after reconsideration, as that puts me at 6/24. One of my 4 in the 4/24 is an authorized user card though I had read that they all count the same. Sometimes people are able to argue them down but in my case I was never asked about my other open cards.


Check this out: https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/wiki/ ... ing_5.2F24

Chase not only has a 5/24 rule, Chase also looks at your application history for all their other cards. They can turn you down for:

Too many new cards from Chase. Don't try for more than 2 in 30 days, 3 in 6 months, or more than 4 a year. This is not a hard rule like 5/24, but many have being turned down for trying for too many Chase cards too fast.

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

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:40 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:[

Have you purchased United Basic Economy (BE) tickets recently?

Victoria


Do NOT go anywhere near those Basic Economy tickets. They are a horrible, humiliating innovation - and a total price gouge. See various travel blogs, Points Guy, Gary Leff, etc. And be careful: The United booking mechanism may default to Basic Economy without your realizing it.

The United booking mechanism is very clear when you are booking Basic Economy. The economy fares are listed as "Basic Economy (most restricted)", "Economy", and "Economy (flexible)". If you select Basic Economy, a pop-up box comes up which outlines the differences between Basic Economy and Economy and requires you to accept the differences to continue. There is no trickery going on with bookings through United directly.

The problem is using a third-party travel site such as Expedia or Travelocity. Those sites do not always make it clear when you are getting quoted a Basic Economy price. So some people who don't read the fine print before booking are getting burned by these third-party services. Similarly, you have to exercise caution when using a credit card rewards portal to book flights on United to make sure you're not accidentally booking Basic Economy when you wanted regular Economy.

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

Post by madbrain » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:07 am

SVT wrote:Chase not only has a 5/24 rule, Chase also looks at your application history for all their other cards. They can turn you down for:

Too many new cards from Chase. Don't try for more than 2 in 30 days, 3 in 6 months, or more than 4 a year. This is not a hard rule like 5/24, but many have being turned down for trying for too many Chase cards too fast.


This definitely did not apply to my husband last year, who got 4 new Chase cards in a period of just 4 months.
CSP, Amazon VISA, CSR, CFU .

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

Post by madbrain » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 am

VictoriaF wrote:
It could not have been Basic Economy. United has implemented BE in the U.S. very recently and is planning to extend it to the Central and South America. But there is no BE category for trans-Pacific flights (yet). Also, international flights include a free checked in bag, and thus United does not get a potential revenue from penalizing BE passengers that try to bring aboard a full size bag.


Thanks, good to know !

Indeed, each of our tickets allowed 2 checked bags of 50 lbs. We did not need that much.

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

Post by madbrain » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:11 am

Mudpuppy wrote:y.
The problem is using a third-party travel site such as Expedia or Travelocity. Those sites do not always make it clear when you are getting quoted a Basic Economy price. So some people who don't read the fine print before booking are getting burned by these third-party services. Similarly, you have to exercise caution when using a credit card rewards portal to book flights on United to make sure you're not accidentally booking Basic Economy when you wanted regular Economy.


Seems like just par for the course for the travel industry to confuse things with lack of transparency.

Whether it's no assigned seating, no snack/meal on board, no checked bags, no carry on bags, various taxes and surcharges not shown during comparisons (this goes for both hotels and flights), "direct" flights that actually have a stop. They'll do anything to avoid transparency. Sadly, United is just one bad actor in this mess.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by madbrain » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:14 am

protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

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

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:13 am

Download the Experian app and you can see at any given moment how many new CC accounts you are showing w/in the previous 2 year period. Works like a charm = no need to guess how Chase is seeing it when they make their decision.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:01 am

madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.


Really? I disagree on this. I have averaged well over 1.5 cpp on transfers.

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

Post by sharpjm » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:28 am

madbrain wrote:
SVT wrote:Chase not only has a 5/24 rule, Chase also looks at your application history for all their other cards. They can turn you down for:

Too many new cards from Chase. Don't try for more than 2 in 30 days, 3 in 6 months, or more than 4 a year. This is not a hard rule like 5/24, but many have being turned down for trying for too many Chase cards too fast.


This definitely did not apply to my husband last year, who got 4 new Chase cards in a period of just 4 months.
CSP, Amazon VISA, CSR, CFU .

The 2nd 'rule' quoted is not correct. Chase has a rule of not allowing more than 2 cards in 30 days - this is hard rule with very few outliers. This is why d0gerz was denied the 2nd southwest card. The rest quoted about 3 in 6 months, 4 in a year is just a conservative recommendation but is not a rule at all. Your husband didn't violate either of the 2 actual rules.

Personally I was approved for 5 chase cards in about 2.5 months and 8 chase cards in 8 months.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:42 am

VictoriaF wrote:...For the past couple hours I have been catching up with FlyerTalk. Right now, I am reading "United's Basic Economy - Discussion, Q&A, ... ..." http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-a ... ion-q.html . The FAQ is encouraging:

FlyerTalk wrote:Carry on limited to 1 personal item unless the customer is a MP Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance *G
...
Customers will board in the last boarding group (currently Group 5) unless the customer is a MP Premier member, primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card, or Star Alliance *G


Beyond the FAQ, I want to read what actual experiences have been.

Victoria


While not happy that United is creating even more ticket classes, I can live with this new policy if it cuts down on the number of people bringing large bags onto the flight. I find it annoying when people try to bring on and cram large bags into the overhead compartment. It really slows the boarding process.

Before getting the United MP card, it was not uncommon to board and find the overhead compartment above my seat full of bags associated with people who were sitting further back in the plane. Having the MP card and boarding in group 2 pretty much eliminates this issue. The new policy, if it reduces the size and number of bags carried on, is the silver lining I suppose of this policy change.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:02 am

MikeG62 wrote:While not happy that United is creating even more ticket classes, I can live with this new policy if it cuts down on the number of people bringing large bags onto the flight. I find it annoying when people try to bring on and cram large bags into the overhead compartment. It really slows the boarding process.

Before getting the United MP card, it was not uncommon to board and find the overhead compartment above my seat full of bags associated with people who were sitting further back in the plane. Having the MP card and boarding in group 2 pretty much eliminates this issue. The new policy, if it reduces the size and number of bags carried on, is the silver lining I suppose of this policy change.


I agree with your observations and conclusions. The main reason for me keeping Chase MP Explorer and paying $95/year is that I can get on the plane earlier and find a place for my carry-on bag. (I travel pretty light, and my carry-on is compliant.)

After I have read recent travel blogs about the horrors of United Basic Economy, I wanted to reevaluate my approach. After reading yesterday FlyerTalk and posting here, I came to a conclusion that very little change in my travel is needed. I will continue collecting United miles and Chase URs at a low level of effort, and I will continue paying for the MP Explorer. In cases where I have to make a choice between purchasing United BE and Regular Economy, my analysis will be based on:
1. price difference
2. whether I want to check in my suitcase or take it aboard
3. whether I need a better travel insurance provided by the CSP

One minor change I made yesterday: I accessed my United account and specified Chase MP Explorer as my primary credit card.

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

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

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:34 am

madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

Appreciate if one or both of you could clarify: do you often prefer to book flights on the Chase portal because

a) the Chase portal has a lower price (including taxes, surcharges, etc.) than you find in the "cash market"?
or
b) even for the same dollar price offered in the cash market, you find it advantageous to book via the portal?

I can totally understand using the portal for reason a) but am not sure why b) is necessarily desirable.

Edit: clarification

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

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:59 am

rjbraun wrote:
madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

Appreciate if one or both of you could clarify: do you often prefer to book flights on the Chase portal because

a) the Chase portal has a lower price (including taxes, surcharges, etc.) than you find in the "cash market"?
or
b) even for the same dollar price offered in the cash market, you find it advantageous to book via the portal?

I can totally understand using the portal for reason a) but am not sure why b) is necessarily desirable.

Edit: clarification


In my experience for the flights I have looked at, the Chase UR portal has the same price as what I can find in the cash market. Occasionally there is a surcharge because the carrier charges a third party booking fee (I am looking at you, Lufthansa). However, I find it advantageous because I can use my CSR to get 1.5 cents per point when using it. In economy, especially during off-peak times, it can make a lot of sense to use the UR Portal as opposed to transferring the points to a carrier, especially when the categories are fixed. With AA, if I want a saver award to China, it is 65,000 Miles roundtrip plus taxes/fees. However, on the UR portal it looks like tickets can be had in the $550-$600 range for my dates. That would be less than 1 cpp, which is a bad redemption. The UR Portal would be much better in that case. Plus, if I use the UR Portal, it counts as a cash fare, so I get miles credited for the trip.

EDIT: I am also pretty sure that you get CSR travel benefits from using the UR Portal if you have a CSR. If you mean why would I use the UR Portal to book a fare for cash and not using my Ultimate Rewards Points, then there isn't a point. I book direct in that case.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:01 am

rjbraun wrote:
madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

Appreciate if one or both of you could clarify: do you often prefer to book flights on the Chase portal because

a) the Chase portal has a lower price (including taxes, surcharges, etc.) than you find in the "cash market"?
or
b) even for the same dollar price offered in the cash market, you find it advantageous to book via the portal?

I can totally understand using the portal for reason a) but am not sure why b) is necessarily desirable.

Edit: clarification


Here is my hypothetical example. Let's say I want to fly from Washington, DC to Prague, Czech Republic. I can transfer 60k Chase UR to 60k United miles and then purchase my tickets on United using the miles and $100 tax.

When I look for cash prices for the same flight I get $1,000-$1,200 depending on the itinerary. Thus, my value for this particular flight is ~2 cents per UR point, i.e., by using 60k UR I save $1,200. Well, a little less considering the tax and the miles I don't earn on an award flight.

But let's say I found a low-cost airline that could take me to Prague for $600. Now, I prefer to pay cash for this flight rather than use my UR and United miles. I can pay $600 cash to the airline, or I can try to find exactly the same flight on the Chase UR portal and get it for $600 / 1.5 cents/point = 40k points. Now I have a trans-Atlantic flight for 40k instead of 60k, without using any cash.

This is hypothetical, because I don't have a CSR (yet), and I have not seen useful itineraries for using UR at the 1.25 rate of my CSP. After I get a CSR, I will start pricing flights on the Chase portal for real and see if the most favorable fares are available there and whether there are additional fees. In every case, I make a quick calculation which includes cash fees and other considerations. My personal value of URs is 1.5 cent/UR and I prefer to use URs to cash. I fly economy.

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

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

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:29 am

VictoriaF wrote:
rjbraun wrote:
madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

Appreciate if one or both of you could clarify: do you often prefer to book flights on the Chase portal because

a) the Chase portal has a lower price (including taxes, surcharges, etc.) than you find in the "cash market"?
or
b) even for the same dollar price offered in the cash market, you find it advantageous to book via the portal?

I can totally understand using the portal for reason a) but am not sure why b) is necessarily desirable.

Edit: clarification


Here is my hypothetical example. Let's say I want to fly from Washington, DC to Prague, Czech Republic. I can transfer 60k Chase UR to 60k United miles and then purchase my tickets on United using the miles and $100 tax.

When I look for cash prices for the same flight I get $1,000-$1,200 depending on the itinerary. Thus, my value for this particular flight is ~2 cents per UR point, i.e., by using 60k UR I save $1,200. Well, a little less considering the tax and the miles I don't earn on an award flight.

But let's say I found a low-cost airline that could take me to Prague for $600. Now, I prefer to pay cash for this flight rather than use my UR and United miles. I can pay $600 cash to the airline, or I can try to find exactly the same flight on the Chase UR portal and get it for $600 / 1.5 cents/point = 40k points. Now I have a trans-Atlantic flight for 40k instead of 60k, without using any cash.

This is hypothetical, because I don't have a CSR (yet), and I have not seen useful itineraries for using UR at the 1.25 rate of my CSP. After I get a CSR, I will start pricing flights on the Chase portal for real and see if the most favorable fares are available there and whether there are additional fees. In every case, I make a quick calculation which includes cash fees and other considerations. My personal value of URs is 1.5 cent/UR and I prefer to use URs to cash. I fly economy.

Victoria

Thanks, Victoria. Helpful example.

I am still working through the mechanics of this stuff and am struggling a bit with just when to "spend" my points. I guess my hoarding / frugality side can take over. That said, understanding intellectually and having experienced firsthand that points can be a declining asset, I want to be careful.

Assuming one has the cash available, in your hypothetical example I might be reluctant to use URs. Particularly if the flight were not so expensive in absolute terms (I would say $600 is borderline but not a huge cash outlay (obviously, one's MMV), I might want to *save* my URs to have on hand in case your United scenario materialized. I guess another way of looking at it is, should I save my URs for a time when I can get ~2 cents / UR in value or should I just be content with 1.5 cents (assuming I have a CSR, which I do).

As I am still getting up the curve on this stuff, maybe I'm inclined to hold out for better than 1.5 cents, especially if I think I will hold on to my CSR in year 2 when another $450 AF will arise. Maybe when I have a better sense that 1.5 cents is a reasonable break-even, I will use URs. I guess the other hope I have (though it's diminishing) is that I may find better hotel deals via the Chase portal than I can find in the cash market and, in that case, I will want to have a stash of URs in my account.

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

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:17 am

rjbraun wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
rjbraun wrote:
madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

Appreciate if one or both of you could clarify: do you often prefer to book flights on the Chase portal because

a) the Chase portal has a lower price (including taxes, surcharges, etc.) than you find in the "cash market"?
or
b) even for the same dollar price offered in the cash market, you find it advantageous to book via the portal?

I can totally understand using the portal for reason a) but am not sure why b) is necessarily desirable.

Edit: clarification


Here is my hypothetical example. Let's say I want to fly from Washington, DC to Prague, Czech Republic. I can transfer 60k Chase UR to 60k United miles and then purchase my tickets on United using the miles and $100 tax.

When I look for cash prices for the same flight I get $1,000-$1,200 depending on the itinerary. Thus, my value for this particular flight is ~2 cents per UR point, i.e., by using 60k UR I save $1,200. Well, a little less considering the tax and the miles I don't earn on an award flight.

But let's say I found a low-cost airline that could take me to Prague for $600. Now, I prefer to pay cash for this flight rather than use my UR and United miles. I can pay $600 cash to the airline, or I can try to find exactly the same flight on the Chase UR portal and get it for $600 / 1.5 cents/point = 40k points. Now I have a trans-Atlantic flight for 40k instead of 60k, without using any cash.

This is hypothetical, because I don't have a CSR (yet), and I have not seen useful itineraries for using UR at the 1.25 rate of my CSP. After I get a CSR, I will start pricing flights on the Chase portal for real and see if the most favorable fares are available there and whether there are additional fees. In every case, I make a quick calculation which includes cash fees and other considerations. My personal value of URs is 1.5 cent/UR and I prefer to use URs to cash. I fly economy.

Victoria

Thanks, Victoria. Helpful example.

I am still working through the mechanics of this stuff and am struggling a bit with just when to "spend" my points. I guess my hoarding / frugality side can take over. That said, understanding intellectually and having experienced firsthand that points can be a declining asset, I want to be careful.

Assuming one has the cash available, in your hypothetical example I might be reluctant to use URs. Particularly if the flight were not so expensive in absolute terms (I would say $600 is borderline but not a huge cash outlay (obviously, one's MMV), I might want to *save* my URs to have on hand in case your United scenario materialized. I guess another way of looking at it is, should I save my URs for a time when I can get ~2 cents / UR in value or should I just be content with 1.5 cents (assuming I have a CSR, which I do).

As I am still getting up the curve on this stuff, maybe I'm inclined to hold out for better than 1.5 cents, especially if I think I will hold on to my CSR in year 2 when another $450 AF will arise. Maybe when I have a better sense that 1.5 cents is a reasonable break-even, I will use URs. I guess the other hope I have (though it's diminishing) is that I may find better hotel deals via the Chase portal than I can find in the cash market and, in that case, I will want to have a stash of URs in my account.


It's a miles and points high quality problem to have. Do I spend my 60,000 URs for this redemption or just pay the cash price and hoard the points for a better redemption? It's a lot harder when it is MRs or URs since they are so flexible. With hotel points or carrier-specific points, it's easy since those tend to devalue. It depends how you fly. If you are content with cheap economy fares, finding over 2 cpp isn't as easy, especially since cash prices have been pretty reasonable lately. If you fly Business/First, then finding that rate is much easier, but the issue is that for me, I don't value a first class ticket at $2,000 or whatever it is going for, so the cents per point don't matter as much to me.

In my experience, I wouldn't book a hotel off of the UR Portal. You can, but I am pretty sure you don't get loyalty points, so there goes that benefit, and the prices can be higher than booking direct. I usually book direct for hotels since it seems that the cash prices are the lowest booking direct and I get the points, use points, or use Hotels.com if it is a non-chain hotel without a rewards program. Stacking hotels.com plus discounted gift cards has worked well for me. You will get the 1.5 cpp booking through the UR portal, but it has just never made sense to me.

The enemy of the good redemption is the possibility of a great redemption.

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

Post by sharpjm » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:01 am

The dilemma is much easier for those of us without a CSR and thus without access to the 1.5cpp portal redemptions.

My UR transfers have been to United and Hyatt and have been well north of 1.5 cpp. I don't value many of the CSR benefits because they are mostly duplicated by other cards that I have. The difference in travel and rental car insurance is negligible between CSR and the CIP/CSP. CIP gives 3x on travel at a $55 lower annual fee. I use Freedom for 5x dining for a quarter each year so the loss of 3x dining is not that big of a deal. Amex has had a lot of card offers recently that are much better dining bonuses that I've been using anyway (10x on blue for biz and 10% CB on BCE/BCP). CIP gives 3x on cable, internet, cell phone which turns in to a nice chunk of points. CIP can also be linked to Visa SavingsEdge for additional cashback at some specific merchants. CIP & CSP both have referral bonuses while CSR has yet to have referral bonuses.

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

Post by Drew777 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:04 am

madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.


That's usually only going to be true for cheap domestic flights. The real value in transferring to airline partners is for international redemptions, particularly in premium cabins.

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

Post by Drew777 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:12 am

rjbraun wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
rjbraun wrote:
madbrain wrote:
protagonist wrote:I am finding that often purchasing tickets through their online portal with points is a great deal (1.5 UR pts/S with no restrictions or added surcharges) compared with buying tickets with airline miles.


I have found the same, but this is not true for all flights. In many cases, Chase travel seems to be adding surcharges to flights compared to the best price I can find elsewhere. But this is even more so for hotel rooms, where availability for some hotels can be quite limited or non-existent, in addition.

And I have had zero luck getting Chase concierge to match prices or find other availability - I'm told what's on the portal is all they can book, and the only price they have is what's listed.

So, I'm not quite valuing the UR points at 1.5 cpp - for me, on average, it is closer to 1.35 cpp, but that's still better than doing the transfers and redemptions in most cases.

Appreciate if one or both of you could clarify: do you often prefer to book flights on the Chase portal because

a) the Chase portal has a lower price (including taxes, surcharges, etc.) than you find in the "cash market"?
or
b) even for the same dollar price offered in the cash market, you find it advantageous to book via the portal?

I can totally understand using the portal for reason a) but am not sure why b) is necessarily desirable.

Edit: clarification


Here is my hypothetical example. Let's say I want to fly from Washington, DC to Prague, Czech Republic. I can transfer 60k Chase UR to 60k United miles and then purchase my tickets on United using the miles and $100 tax.

When I look for cash prices for the same flight I get $1,000-$1,200 depending on the itinerary. Thus, my value for this particular flight is ~2 cents per UR point, i.e., by using 60k UR I save $1,200. Well, a little less considering the tax and the miles I don't earn on an award flight.

But let's say I found a low-cost airline that could take me to Prague for $600. Now, I prefer to pay cash for this flight rather than use my UR and United miles. I can pay $600 cash to the airline, or I can try to find exactly the same flight on the Chase UR portal and get it for $600 / 1.5 cents/point = 40k points. Now I have a trans-Atlantic flight for 40k instead of 60k, without using any cash.

This is hypothetical, because I don't have a CSR (yet), and I have not seen useful itineraries for using UR at the 1.25 rate of my CSP. After I get a CSR, I will start pricing flights on the Chase portal for real and see if the most favorable fares are available there and whether there are additional fees. In every case, I make a quick calculation which includes cash fees and other considerations. My personal value of URs is 1.5 cent/UR and I prefer to use URs to cash. I fly economy.

Victoria

Thanks, Victoria. Helpful example.

I am still working through the mechanics of this stuff and am struggling a bit with just when to "spend" my points. I guess my hoarding / frugality side can take over. That said, understanding intellectually and having experienced firsthand that points can be a declining asset, I want to be careful.

Assuming one has the cash available, in your hypothetical example I might be reluctant to use URs. Particularly if the flight were not so expensive in absolute terms (I would say $600 is borderline but not a huge cash outlay (obviously, one's MMV), I might want to *save* my URs to have on hand in case your United scenario materialized. I guess another way of looking at it is, should I save my URs for a time when I can get ~2 cents / UR in value or should I just be content with 1.5 cents (assuming I have a CSR, which I do).

As I am still getting up the curve on this stuff, maybe I'm inclined to hold out for better than 1.5 cents, especially if I think I will hold on to my CSR in year 2 when another $450 AF will arise. Maybe when I have a better sense that 1.5 cents is a reasonable break-even, I will use URs. I guess the other hope I have (though it's diminishing) is that I may find better hotel deals via the Chase portal than I can find in the cash market and, in that case, I will want to have a stash of URs in my account.


Treating your mileage balances as a savings account is a bad idea. In general you should expect airlines to devalue their award chart almost yearly. Maybe not every airline will devalue every year, but you never know when the next one is coming, and it's often a huge devaluation. The optimal strategy is to earn and burn as quickly as possible. If you don't have plans to use them within a year then I would go ahead and use them.

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

Post by TierArtz » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:17 am

I keep it simple. Have had the same USAA account for 30 years. It is our only credit card and has always been paid off every month. We use the points for trips back to Hawaii (5 round-trip tickets about every 2-3 years).

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

Post by dbr » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:17 am

Drew777 wrote:
Treating your mileage balances as a savings account is a bad idea. In general you should expect airlines to devalue their award chart almost yearly. Maybe not every airline will devalue every year, but you never know when the next one is coming, and it's often a huge devaluation. The optimal strategy is to earn and burn as quickly as possible. If you don't have plans to use them within a year then I would go ahead and use them.


I think this is true in general, but I was looking over a record of some of my miles redemptions going back over five or six years and it seems that the value of the redemptions I was able to make has remained fairly constant. At least there is no obvious downward trend. But my calculation includes both inflation in the price in miles and also inflation in the price in dollars.

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

Post by Drew777 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:18 am

At a certain point worrying over redemptions values and how many cents per point you're getting is meaningless. I'm easily earning miles faster than I can spend them. Whenever I want to book an international flight I always have plenty of miles in various programs, so I just go ahead and book business class. I used to think I could never justify that when I started travel hacking, but I didn't realize how much I would build up my point balances. Now it's just trivial, it doesn't matter what the cent per point value is or whether I would pay the cash price. When points are easily acquired the analysis doesn't work the same way. You can't say the 100,000 miles I earned from a signup bonus would be worth $2k if I spent $100k on a 2% cashback card, because I didn't spend near that amount to get them.

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

Post by Drew777 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:24 am

dbr wrote:
Drew777 wrote:
Treating your mileage balances as a savings account is a bad idea. In general you should expect airlines to devalue their award chart almost yearly. Maybe not every airline will devalue every year, but you never know when the next one is coming, and it's often a huge devaluation. The optimal strategy is to earn and burn as quickly as possible. If you don't have plans to use them within a year then I would go ahead and use them.


I think this is true in general, but I was looking over a record of some of my miles redemptions going back over five or six years and it seems that the value of the redemptions I was able to make has remained fairly constant. At least there is no obvious downward trend. But my calculation includes both inflation in the price in miles and also inflation in the price in dollars.


It's probably true for some programs, but go back and look at award charts for AA, United, Delta, etc. 5-6 years ago and you'll see a big difference overall. Redemptions between certain regions may have been less affected, but overall there have been big devaluations across the board. Less than two years ago my wife and I went to Hawaii for 35k AA miles each roundtrip. I think that would cost about 50k now off the top of my head - about a 43% increase.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Mudpuppy » Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:58 am

BeneIRA wrote:In my experience, I wouldn't book a hotel off of the UR Portal. You can, but I am pretty sure you don't get loyalty points, so there goes that benefit, and the prices can be higher than booking direct. I usually book direct for hotels since it seems that the cash prices are the lowest booking direct and I get the points, use points, or use Hotels.com if it is a non-chain hotel without a rewards program. Stacking hotels.com plus discounted gift cards has worked well for me. You will get the 1.5 cpp booking through the UR portal, but it has just never made sense to me.

Right now, my state agency still allows us the option to book work-related travel with our own credit cards, then get reimbursed later. Last December for one of those work trips, I found that the Chase UR Travel portal had the cheapest hotel rate for the trip. It was much lower than the negotiated event rate and it was also lower than booking directly with the hotel chain. The hotel chain did record the stay in my loyalty portal, but I did not earn points for the stay. However, the amount I saved on the stay (about $50-60 a night as I recall) more than made up for the missing points.

So it would be prudent to at least check the portal if you're not concerned about accumulating hotel loyalty points with the trip. The occasional bargain can be found through there.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:45 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:
SrGrumpy wrote:
protagonist wrote:
SrGrumpy wrote:This is an odd bird, the Merrill Plus Visa Signature card. The highlight is a $500 statement credit after a $3,000+ spend in 90 days.


Interesting. That may be a good one, assuming an odd bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. $500 statement credit is much better than $500 credit towards future flights that may come with surcharges, limited seating, etc. YOu get $3500 in spending for $3000, or essentially 14% off your purchases up to $3500. Can you churn it?


There's not much literature on the subject, unfortunately. Doctor of Credit has written about it, though.


This is one of the best cards available though you have to call these days to get it. Much better redemptions available than $500 credit: you can get two $500 plane tickets.

Yes you can churn it. My second one is in the mail now.


Do you still have to give them code BAABZX or did they just allow you to apply? I have heard mixed data points. I have even heard one person who called and was told Bank of America doesn't offer the card anymore, which is completely incorrect.


I did not have to give the code to the agent. I just said the offer I wanted to apply for. He asked how I had heard about it, and I said from a friend.

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

Post by rjbraun » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:41 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
It's a miles and points high quality problem to have. Do I spend my 60,000 URs for this redemption or just pay the cash price and hoard the points for a better redemption? It's a lot harder when it is MRs or URs since they are so flexible. With hotel points or carrier-specific points, it's easy since those tend to devalue. It depends how you fly. If you are content with cheap economy fares, finding over 2 cpp isn't as easy, especially since cash prices have been pretty reasonable lately. If you fly Business/First, then finding that rate is much easier, but the issue is that for me, I don't value a first class ticket at $2,000 or whatever it is going for, so the cents per point don't matter as much to me.

<snip>

The enemy of the good redemption is the possibility of a great redemption.

That's a good point, about cash airfares seeming to be attractively priced now. I guess that's part of the equation, in that the cash price is good so I feel okay enough about spending the money. But your point about using URs or other points to snag a Business/First class plane ticket helped to remind me what I am kind of holding out for. I'd be reluctant to shell out cash for a higher-class ticket, but if I could get one (really two, for SO, too) I would love to be able to use points for that. I guess that's kind of what I'm holding out for. I tend to agree with you, I don't think I would necessarily value a first-class ticket at $2000 (or whatever), but I guess I'll have to wait and see when I find a higher-class fare whether I will be prepared to "pull the trigger" to cash in the points. Or, will I say, oh, I could buy x more coach fares with that same amount of points. I hope not but can't say, for sure, how I will feel.

jay22
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by jay22 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:55 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
BeneIRA wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:
SrGrumpy wrote:
protagonist wrote:
Interesting. That may be a good one, assuming an odd bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. $500 statement credit is much better than $500 credit towards future flights that may come with surcharges, limited seating, etc. YOu get $3500 in spending for $3000, or essentially 14% off your purchases up to $3500. Can you churn it?


There's not much literature on the subject, unfortunately. Doctor of Credit has written about it, though.


This is one of the best cards available though you have to call these days to get it. Much better redemptions available than $500 credit: you can get two $500 plane tickets.

Yes you can churn it. My second one is in the mail now.


Do you still have to give them code BAABZX or did they just allow you to apply? I have heard mixed data points. I have even heard one person who called and was told Bank of America doesn't offer the card anymore, which is completely incorrect.


I did not have to give the code to the agent. I just said the offer I wanted to apply for. He asked how I had heard about it, and I said from a friend.

I will try this tonight. How do you redeem 50K points for 2 $500 plane tickets? Thanks.

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