What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
TravelGeek
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:28 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:59 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:44 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:52 pm

I pay $119 one way to go to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines. It’s even cheaper with Southwest, like $49 when it goes on sale.
That is great, but those are presumably not fares always available to all people in all markets. I suspect you found them recently on routes where Southwest is now competing?
No, they always have sale in Fall on this route, from LAX to Hawaii. Other passengers told me they pay about $400plus for round trip. Apparently I got the cheapest fares.
I’ve been going to Hawaii every year now, very predictable. This is for Hawaiian Air.
So in other words, since clearly Hawaiian didn’t sell every single seat in coach for $119, the people wo paid $400 or more might have benefited from using miles. Which was the point hale2 was making . Obviously, *if* you can get flights cheap enough (to anywhere) that miles would result in a poor valuation, you’d be better off paying cash, assuming also that you can find a better use for those same miles.
But I haven’t flown on Southwest to Hawaii yet. But the non sale price is $99 from Oakland or San Diego to Hawaii, nothing from LAX yet. But right now you see nothing from Southwest to Hawaii because all the 737 MAX planes are grounded.
Not sure I understand your last sentence. Southwest is flying 737-800s to Hawaii. Their ETOPS certification is for the aircraft model, not MAX (yet). Or are you saying they aren’t flying to Hawaii because the 737-800s are needed on the mainland to fill in for grounded MAXes? I haven’t seen any reporting of such cutbacks.

https://beatofhawaii.com/southwest-hawa ... ne-update/
But I’ve heard from the Southwest CEO that eventually, in a few years, they may start flying to Europe from the other coast. Hopefully there will be competition with the big airlines, and prices have to drop.
They are a big airline ;) Alas, not a global player. And yes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them eventually expand. I think they have some technological challenges to resolve (apparently their IT infrastructure doesn’t allow them to operate red-eyes, which would presumably need to be addressed). Jetblue will probably come first, with an announcement expected real soon. That might be helpful for your LAX-Boston-UK options.

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:48 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:28 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:59 am
TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:44 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:52 pm

I pay $119 one way to go to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines. It’s even cheaper with Southwest, like $49 when it goes on sale.
That is great, but those are presumably not fares always available to all people in all markets. I suspect you found them recently on routes where Southwest is now competing?
No, they always have sale in Fall on this route, from LAX to Hawaii. Other passengers told me they pay about $400plus for round trip. Apparently I got the cheapest fares.
I’ve been going to Hawaii every year now, very predictable. This is for Hawaiian Air.
So in other words, since clearly Hawaiian didn’t sell every single seat in coach for $119, the people wo paid $400 or more might have benefited from using miles. Which was the point hale2 was making . Obviously, *if* you can get flights cheap enough (to anywhere) that miles would result in a poor valuation, you’d be better off paying cash, assuming also that you can find a better use for those same miles.
But I haven’t flown on Southwest to Hawaii yet. But the non sale price is $99 from Oakland or San Diego to Hawaii, nothing from LAX yet. But right now you see nothing from Southwest to Hawaii because all the 737 MAX planes are grounded.
Not sure I understand your last sentence. Southwest is flying 737-800s to Hawaii. Their ETOPS certification is for the aircraft model, not MAX (yet). Or are you saying they aren’t flying to Hawaii because the 737-800s are needed on the mainland to fill in for grounded MAXes? I haven’t seen any reporting of such cutbacks.

https://beatofhawaii.com/southwest-hawa ... ne-update/
But I’ve heard from the Southwest CEO that eventually, in a few years, they may start flying to Europe from the other coast. Hopefully there will be competition with the big airlines, and prices have to drop.
They are a big airline ;) Alas, not a global player. And yes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them eventually expand. I think they have some technological challenges to resolve (apparently their IT infrastructure doesn’t allow them to operate red-eyes, which would presumably need to be addressed). Jetblue will probably come first, with an announcement expected real soon. That might be helpful for your LAX-Boston-UK options.
My point is I can get flight to Hawaii cheap, using Avios is not as useful to me. Plus I don’t care to save points, if I have them I use them. Every year the points are getting useless so why save them. People pay $400 because they don’t know better. I watch for sale that’s how I know. I would save the Avios for busy season like closer to Christmas. But avoid going over to Hawaii during that time anyway.

I didn’t see Southwest on the route, it seems to be blackout for some reasons, so I assume there something to do with 737-MAX problem. I’m not a travel geek like you. :D

TravelGeek
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:59 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:48 pm
People pay $400 because they don’t know better. I watch for sale that’s how I know.
That’s not how it works. Airlines sell a limited number of seats on a given flight for those low fares. Even if everyone knew about a given sale and was ready to jump, they couldn’t all get the low fares.

Or maybe I should say: be happy they don’t know any better (or simply can’t book when you book). It would reduce your chances of getting a low fare.

I have to admit I am mildly jealous because fares to Hawaiian never this low from where I live. $400 RT would qualify as a bargain. Alaska companion pass to the rescue.
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:48 pm

I didn’t see Southwest on the route, it seems to be blackout for some reasons, so I assume there something to do with 737-MAX problem. I’m not a travel geek like you. :D
They simply haven’t launched Hawaii routes from LAX. Expected to come later, from what I have read.

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:02 pm

The plane was not full, practically 20-30 more seats left. That’s why it’s cheap fares.

User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 4144
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by munemaker » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:28 pm

munemaker wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:00 pm
Applied and was approved for the Capital One Savor Rewards card. Charge $3,000 in 3 months and receive $500 cash reward. $95 annual fee is waived the first year. I think it gives 4% back on restaurants.
After 2 months, I earned the $500 sign up bonus plus another $45 for a total of $545. This card pays 4% on restaurants, so I am going to use it there for a while and then cancel before the annual fee hits. Easy peasy and tax free. Maybe I will have my DW apply for this card. This is a great country!

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:24 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:29 pm
aristotelian wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:30 am
Trader Joe wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:55 pm
What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I do not have one. I consider credit card rewards as very small potatoes. My time and energy is much better spent elsewhere.
To each his own, but the way I see it, the credit card companies charge 2-3% on every transaction, and then vendors pass those costs onto us. I see it almost as a moral obligation to maximize rewards to offset those costs. If you don't, you are being nickel and dimed by the invisible fees, no different than an AUM financial advisor or actively managed mutual fund. Even so, I would guess that the credit card company is probably at least breaking even on me.

Credit card rewards are worth the effort. But if you have a decent size investment account(s), brokerage bonuses are way more lucrative and usually less work. But you can certainly do both.
I never moved my account for brokerage bonuses, I worry somehow some information is not complete properly and then I will pay for that bonus. Credit card rewards are more low key.

ImmigrantSaver
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:24 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ImmigrantSaver » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm

Question for the experienced credit card folks:

So I got hit with the tax underpayment penalty this year and considering paying estimated quarterly taxes using credit cards. Want to open a couple of new ones to earn bonuses to do that (otherwise it's just not worth it after the fee).

Any suggestions on which cards to open?

I prefer travel rewards and use them mostly flights (economy/cheapest) as I typically don't stay in the high end hotels.

Currently use exclusively the Chase trifecta of CSR/Unlimited/FR

Also has Citi double cash (longest one I started with in 2004) and Barclays Arrival no fee one (downgraded from Barclays Arrival+ a couple of years ago and don't think eligible to apply again for the bonus)

Other than that I am wide open.

Should I get Amex Platinum, an airline card or something else??

TIA,
ImmigrantSaver

BeneIRA
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:14 pm

ImmigrantSaver wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm
Question for the experienced credit card folks:

So I got hit with the tax underpayment penalty this year and considering paying estimated quarterly taxes using credit cards. Want to open a couple of new ones to earn bonuses to do that (otherwise it's just not worth it after the fee).

Any suggestions on which cards to open?

I prefer travel rewards and use them mostly flights (economy/cheapest) as I typically don't stay in the high end hotels.

Currently use exclusively the Chase trifecta of CSR/Unlimited/FR

Also has Citi double cash (longest one I started with in 2004) and Barclays Arrival no fee one (downgraded from Barclays Arrival+ a couple of years ago and don't think eligible to apply again for the bonus)

Other than that I am wide open.

Should I get Amex Platinum, an airline card or something else??

TIA,
ImmigrantSaver
If you can get the 100,000 MR American Express Platinum offer via Cardmatch, I would grab that. If Barclays approves you for the Arrival+, you should be eligible again, they are just a bear to get an approval from. Currently a 70,000 point offer, which is the best ever. The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is decent in the first year. So is Bank of America Premium Rewards. American Express Hilton Ascend has a 150,000 point offer, but Hilton points have their detractors (such as me) who never find value with them.

ImmigrantSaver
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:24 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ImmigrantSaver » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:26 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:14 pm
ImmigrantSaver wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm
Question for the experienced credit card folks:

So I got hit with the tax underpayment penalty this year and considering paying estimated quarterly taxes using credit cards. Want to open a couple of new ones to earn bonuses to do that (otherwise it's just not worth it after the fee).

Any suggestions on which cards to open?

I prefer travel rewards and use them mostly flights (economy/cheapest) as I typically don't stay in the high end hotels.

Currently use exclusively the Chase trifecta of CSR/Unlimited/FR

Also has Citi double cash (longest one I started with in 2004) and Barclays Arrival no fee one (downgraded from Barclays Arrival+ a couple of years ago and don't think eligible to apply again for the bonus)

Other than that I am wide open.

Should I get Amex Platinum, an airline card or something else??

TIA,
ImmigrantSaver
If you can get the 100,000 MR American Express Platinum offer via Cardmatch, I would grab that. If Barclays approves you for the Arrival+, you should be eligible again, they are just a bear to get an approval from. Currently a 70,000 point offer, which is the best ever. The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is decent in the first year. So is Bank of America Premium Rewards. American Express Hilton Ascend has a 150,000 point offer, but Hilton points have their detractors (such as me) who never find value with them.
Thanks for great suggestions! I'll try Arrival but I am pretty sure I read they are strict about it :?

Do I need BoA Account to use BoA cards benefits?

BeneIRA
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:30 pm

ImmigrantSaver wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:26 pm
BeneIRA wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:14 pm
ImmigrantSaver wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm
Question for the experienced credit card folks:

So I got hit with the tax underpayment penalty this year and considering paying estimated quarterly taxes using credit cards. Want to open a couple of new ones to earn bonuses to do that (otherwise it's just not worth it after the fee).

Any suggestions on which cards to open?

I prefer travel rewards and use them mostly flights (economy/cheapest) as I typically don't stay in the high end hotels.

Currently use exclusively the Chase trifecta of CSR/Unlimited/FR

Also has Citi double cash (longest one I started with in 2004) and Barclays Arrival no fee one (downgraded from Barclays Arrival+ a couple of years ago and don't think eligible to apply again for the bonus)

Other than that I am wide open.

Should I get Amex Platinum, an airline card or something else??

TIA,
ImmigrantSaver
If you can get the 100,000 MR American Express Platinum offer via Cardmatch, I would grab that. If Barclays approves you for the Arrival+, you should be eligible again, they are just a bear to get an approval from. Currently a 70,000 point offer, which is the best ever. The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve is decent in the first year. So is Bank of America Premium Rewards. American Express Hilton Ascend has a 150,000 point offer, but Hilton points have their detractors (such as me) who never find value with them.
Thanks for great suggestions! I'll try Arrival but I am pretty sure I read they are strict about it :?

Do I need BoA Account to use BoA cards benefits?
I doubt you'll get approved. My TransUnion has several Barclays pulls, all denials, after I got my first Arrival+ a few years ago. For BOA, ongoing, it is beneficial if you do have Preferred Rewards with them, but for the sign-up bonus, no, you don't need them, it would just be a bit extra if you did.

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:49 pm

So I put my name in Cardmatch to see if they are going to target me to a higher bonus. I hadn’t realized I have a lot of spending in the works, new TV, etc.. At least I can earn something to give my kids free trip to Europe or Japan. Last year one of my kids spent $2000 to fly to Japan, non stop even.

User avatar
SlowMovingInvestor
Posts: 1428
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:27 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:47 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:14 pm

If you can get the 100,000 MR American Express Platinum offer via Cardmatch, I would grab that. If Barclays approves you for the Arrival+, you should be eligible again, they are just a bear to get an approval from. Currently a 70,000 point offer, which is the best ever.
But Barclays is non-transferrable, right ? Barclays briefly offered transfers on one of their cards, but then stopped offering the card.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 57859
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:28 pm

I removed an off-topic post (and a few earlier ones on the previous page).

Please stay on-topic, which is your credit card rewards strategy.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1962
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:37 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:47 pm
BeneIRA wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:14 pm

If you can get the 100,000 MR American Express Platinum offer via Cardmatch, I would grab that. If Barclays approves you for the Arrival+, you should be eligible again, they are just a bear to get an approval from. Currently a 70,000 point offer, which is the best ever.
But Barclays is non-transferrable, right ? Barclays briefly offered transfers on one of their cards, but then stopped offering the card.
The Arrival + is essentially a travel reimbursement card where each point is worth a penny so 70K points is worth $700. Not too shabby. 100K Amex points is worth more, but the Amex platinum card is also more expensive and probably requires a greater minimum spend. The Amex platinum card is also once in a lifetime while the Arrival+ can be churned.

Starfish
Posts: 1465
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:33 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Starfish » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:40 pm

I was refused for Chase Ink (business) because I have too many credit cards opened in the last 2 years. I though Chase business cards are exempt from 5/24 rule?

BeneIRA
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:34 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:40 pm
I was refused for Chase Ink (business) because I have too many credit cards opened in the last 2 years. I though Chase business cards are exempt from 5/24 rule?
Business cards don’t count towards 5/24. As in, if you are at 4/24 and get a business card, you are still at 4/24. If you are 5/24 or over, then you cannot get a Chase business card.

mschurner
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by mschurner » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:35 am

Starfish wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:40 pm
I was refused for Chase Ink (business) because I have too many credit cards opened in the last 2 years. I though Chase business cards are exempt from 5/24 rule?
Pretty much all chase cards including personal and business cards come under 5/24. May be except Disney card.
All personal cards/accounts opened in the past 25 to 26 months counts towards the rule. Chase business cards do not get counted as well as Amex, Citi and number of other business cards. Seems Capital one Buisness cards DO count towards 5/24 though. Hope it helps.

User avatar
SmallCityDave
Posts: 198
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:04 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SmallCityDave » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:40 am

My strategy is offer less with cash and keep the difference.

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 2528
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:53 am

SmallCityDave wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:40 am
My strategy is offer less with cash and keep the difference.
I do that too on some restaurants. I always ask for discount with cash. Some give me 5%. But not everybody gives discount.

koryg75
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:48 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by koryg75 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:50 am

ImmigrantSaver wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm
Question for the experienced credit card folks:

So I got hit with the tax underpayment penalty this year and considering paying estimated quarterly taxes using credit cards. Want to open a couple of new ones to earn bonuses to do that (otherwise it's just not worth it after the fee).

Any suggestions on which cards to open?

I prefer travel rewards and use them mostly flights (economy/cheapest) as I typically don't stay in the high end hotels.

Currently use exclusively the Chase trifecta of CSR/Unlimited/FR

Also has Citi double cash (longest one I started with in 2004) and Barclays Arrival no fee one (downgraded from Barclays Arrival+ a couple of years ago and don't think eligible to apply again for the bonus)

Other than that I am wide open.

Should I get Amex Platinum, an airline card or something else??

TIA,
ImmigrantSaver
If you have any relationship with US Bank Their altitude plus has a good bonus and 3x points on travel and electronic payments. 1.5cents per point to redemption value. I just got it and plan to use it for my primary overseas card. Plan to cancel my CSR since I’m a delta hub flyer and flying blue redemptions stink now.

Starfish
Posts: 1465
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:33 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Starfish » Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:11 am

mschurner wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:35 am
Starfish wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:40 pm
I was refused for Chase Ink (business) because I have too many credit cards opened in the last 2 years. I though Chase business cards are exempt from 5/24 rule?
Pretty much all chase cards including personal and business cards come under 5/24. May be except Disney card.
All personal cards/accounts opened in the past 25 to 26 months counts towards the rule. Chase business cards do not get counted as well as Amex, Citi and number of other business cards. Seems Capital one Buisness cards DO count towards 5/24 though. Hope it helps.
BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:34 am


Business cards don’t count towards 5/24. As in, if you are at 4/24 and get a business card, you are still at 4/24. If you are 5/24 or over, then you cannot get a Chase business card.
Thank you both for enlightening me!

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 331
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:55 am

I certainly don’t claim that this is an optimal strategy, but it represents about the maximum amount of effort and complexity I am willing to put in on credit cards at this time. I don’t want the management of these cards to take a lot of my time or to drive undesired changes to my purchasing behavior.

I currently have three cards from Chase, and appreciate the simplicity of being able to mange them all through one portal. I don’t do a lot of personal travel, so that’s not a huge draw for me, and I also have some sort of mental block against paying annual fees, regardless of additional offsetting benefits.

1. Chase Freedom — I got this card years ago when they had an attractive cash redemption offer whereby you could let your cash back rewards add up to the equivalent of the $200 level, and then immediately redeem for a check for $250. Did anyone else do this or remember this capability? Unfortunately, that option was eventually eliminated. Now I use this card only for the rotating 5% categories, and I don’t do the gift card maximization stuff, because it seems to encourage unnecessary spending and ties up my cash.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited — Simple, flat 1.5% cash back, and accepted everywhere. This is currently my primary card for most things. I know that I could do a little better at 2% or more, but I am sort of tied to the Chase ecosystem for credit cards and just don’t want to take on additional complexity right now. I hope they’ll eventually offer a 2% card to compete with Citi.

3. Chase Amazon Rewards — Newest acquisition. I haven’t actually even received the physical card yet, but already made a purchase on Amazon to soak up the $50 gift card balance that came immediately with approval. I will plan to use it for all Amazon purchases (3%), as well as for gas stations and restaurants (2%) in quarters those are not covered by the Freedom 5% categories. I am not an Amazon Prime member, so that’s why it’s 3% at Amazon instead of 5%. Also, this card has no foreign transaction fees, so that completes a gap that was previously unfilled in my card collection. Most cards without a foreign transaction fee are coupled with an annual fee for the card, so this, and the fact that it’s a Visa make it attractive for occasional foreign travel. Note that rewards from this card are separate from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

I also don’t jump through hoops to maximize the “value” of the points. I just redeem for cash back in a competitive money market fund. As previously stated, it’s nice to be able to manage all of these through one portal, and to align payment dates. I’ve also had some luck with activating “Chase Offers” in the mobile app, and recently got a $20 statement credit on my late-season TurboTax purchase, which lessened the blow of their March 1 price increases.

I also have a corporate AMEX card, so that’s now 4 credit cards and 1 debit card in the wallet, plus loyalty and health insurance cards. I have to stop it somewhere, or I’ll be sitting on napkins, crushing hard candy, and having unexpected explosions with my Costanza wallet.

xb7
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:28 am

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:55 am
I have to stop it somewhere, or I’ll be sitting on napkins, crushing hard candy, and having unexpected explosions with my Costanza wallet.
If you don't [often] shop at Whole Foods, you can safely leave your Amazon branded card at home anyway.

Another way to reduce the "wallet is too thick" problem is to start using a digital payment approach where possible, and for me this works particularly well using Samsung Pay in particular, because that also works with magnetic strip readers, i.e., a much wider set of options.
The strategy here is to still carry a couple of physical credit cards to fall back on should I be unable to use the digital payment approach, but even if you have a raft of cards, don't carry all of the physical cards in your wallet.

Your small card collection is just the same as what I'm moving towards, except that I travel more I think and so plan to also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 331
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:43 am

I never shop at Whole Foods. Rather, I will need the Amazon card in the wallet for the 2% at gas stations and restaurants when they are not covered by the Freedom 5% quarterly categories. I haven’t made the leap to digital payments yet. Requires iOS Touch ID activation, which I have resisted due to an innate neuroticism.

ImmigrantSaver
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:24 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ImmigrantSaver » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:51 am

koryg75 wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:50 am
ImmigrantSaver wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm
Question for the experienced credit card folks:

So I got hit with the tax underpayment penalty this year and considering paying estimated quarterly taxes using credit cards. Want to open a couple of new ones to earn bonuses to do that (otherwise it's just not worth it after the fee).

Any suggestions on which cards to open?

I prefer travel rewards and use them mostly flights (economy/cheapest) as I typically don't stay in the high end hotels.

Currently use exclusively the Chase trifecta of CSR/Unlimited/FR

Also has Citi double cash (longest one I started with in 2004) and Barclays Arrival no fee one (downgraded from Barclays Arrival+ a couple of years ago and don't think eligible to apply again for the bonus)

Other than that I am wide open.

Should I get Amex Platinum, an airline card or something else??

TIA,
ImmigrantSaver
If you have any relationship with US Bank Their altitude plus has a good bonus and 3x points on travel and electronic payments. 1.5cents per point to redemption value. I just got it and plan to use it for my primary overseas card. Plan to cancel my CSR since I’m a delta hub flyer and flying blue redemptions stink now.
I don't have that relationship. Did you consider CNB (City National Bank) Crystal Visa Infinite card? It looks like a good replacement for CSR (except maybe travel insurance) if one can come up with 3 more authorized users (I couldn't) and collect 4*$250=$1000 of incidental Airlines credit on a $400 annual fee card. Not a bad deal especially if that $1000 could be used for airline gift cards or something.

I am considering doing Capital One Venture for the first quarter estimated payment and see how it goes from there. I am also tempted to not pay estimated taxes at all, and invest that money instead and just pay a penalty next year :oops: Just seems simpler :?

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18986
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:45 am

Travel bloggers are angry about a recent announcement by United that they will eliminate award charts. Some blog visitors claim that it will make Chase's URs useless. I would like to understand the implications of the United's changes to adjust my credit card applications and points earning strategies.

My favorite redemption now is 30k UA miles + $6 for day flights in Economy from IAD to London (LHR). What should I expect when the United plan comes into effect? If the answer is "nobody knows," I am still curious about likely scenarios.

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

BeneIRA
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:57 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:45 am
Travel bloggers are angry about a recent announcement by United that they will eliminate award charts. Some blog visitors claim that it will make Chase's URs useless. I would like to understand the implications of the United's changes to adjust my credit card applications and points earning strategies.

My favorite redemption now is 30k UA miles + $6 for day flights in Economy from IAD to London (LHR). What should I expect when the United plan comes into effect? If the answer is "nobody knows," I am still curious about likely scenarios.

Victoria
Hi Victoria,

At this time, no one knows is probably the right answer, but given how United has copied Delta with everything, it is likely they will go the Delta SkyMiles route which is essentially based on demand. With SkyMiles, if it is a high demand route on that particular day and time, the SkyMiles will be higher and they can vary all the time. Some "standards" emerge. Such as JFK to London Heathrow for 40,000 SkyMiles on May 10th. However, taking a look on that same day, you will find SkyMiles prices for 130,000 on other flights that day.

For United, they currently standardize the route you described at 30,000 United Miles. That is the standard per the award chart. Once that award chart is gone, it is a free for all. I expect regularly higher prices than 30,000 UA Miles for the route you described and it will be subject to change. With no award chart, the only way we know if a change has been made is by people noticing the higher award rates. So, this will almost positively be a devaluation, but how far United will go with it remains to be seen. Remember they outdid Delta with their restrictions on Basic Economy by forbidding a carry on.

The one "positive" is I expect lower domestic awards occasionally. I could see it going down o maybe 15,000 because a flat 25,000 for all domestic routes makes no sense and I can't imagine it is used very often when, as you stated, I could get a one way to Europe for 5,000 more.

Jags4186
Posts: 3919
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:03 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:45 am
Travel bloggers are angry about a recent announcement by United that they will eliminate award charts. Some blog visitors claim that it will make Chase's URs useless. I would like to understand the implications of the United's changes to adjust my credit card applications and points earning strategies.

My favorite redemption now is 30k UA miles + $6 for day flights in Economy from IAD to London (LHR). What should I expect when the United plan comes into effect? If the answer is "nobody knows," I am still curious about likely scenarios.

Victoria
Expect to get award prices in lockstep with cash prices. If a high demand ticket is costing $800 don’t expect to get it for 12.5k points. If a cheap ticket is $99 you might get it for 5000 points.

People flying economy will be less affected because those tickets are cheaper, but there will likely no longer be any great redemptions.

THY4373
Posts: 1195
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by THY4373 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am

There is no doubt that United devaluing is going to hurt UR's value especially for those flying on United metal. At this time United is keeping their partner awards the same but the pricing on their flights will become dynamic. It probably means less outsize value especially for those who travel during peak times. It is possible that pricing may drop during non-peak times. For example if you want to fly to London in February it might be cheaper than today though likely only by a little. As others have said Delta did this about two years ago and systematically went through and increased prices but they now offer flash sales which are cheaper than previous prices however you have to be able to fire during the sale and it has to be a place you want to go. My guess is they will slowly devalue over the course of the next several years. I personally am going to try to burn my United miles as soon as possible.

If one wants to fly United metal it may make more sense to look at other transferable point currencies such as Citi, Amex, and CapOne. They offer Star Alliance transfer partners such as Avianca (all) and Aeroplan (Amex/CapOne) among some others (ANA and Turkish) that may be better for booking on United and indeed other Star Alliance airlines going forward.

Honestly in my opinion even before this devaluation I found UR the weakest of the four bank transferable currencies. I think UR was the most popular in part because it was easy. You had several domestic airline partners that were familiar to most folks and if you had the CSR you could buy cash tickets for 1.5 cents a point. However if you were willing to put some effort into learning some less familiar names there was a lot more value elsewhere.

I should add that I consider it very likely AA will follow at some point in the not too distant future. The big three carriers seem to be monkey see monkey do and generally follow Delta's lead.
Last edited by THY4373 on Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

xb7
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:48 am

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:43 am
I never shop at Whole Foods. Rather, I will need the Amazon card in the wallet for the 2% at gas stations and restaurants when they are not covered by the Freedom 5% quarterly categories. I haven’t made the leap to digital payments yet. Requires iOS Touch ID activation, which I have resisted due to an innate neuroticism.
Personally I think I'd be about as happy getting 1.5 URs from the Freedom Unlimited at gas stations and restaurants, but again, I plan to get the CSR and would be able to use the points at their portal.

Digital payments, neuroticism: I started using Samsung Pay as a way to perhaps help overcome the lack of a chip & pin card in Europe (results TBD ...). But in looking into it I found that it IMO a MORE secure way to pay than handing over my card or using a magnetic strip reader. I'm not saying that there aren't risks, and that they're different risks than that of using a physical card. But I think that with reasonable caution it's safer. I particularly like any opportunity to use them at gas stations or anywhere a magnetic strip reader could have any chance of having an illegal skimmer installed. The digital payment solution doesn't transfer your actual card number, but a one-time token for just that transaction. Thieves get that, it does them no good.

What still doesn't work well is most U.S. restaurants, where you hand your card to a server who takes it away for a while and then later returns it. From an objective perspective, this is gonzo. We'll catch up to other parts of the world here eventually I think (hope).

xb7
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:52 am

Sorry, I should add that digital payments still don't work at most gas stations (looking back I see that my last post could have implied that). Unlike Google Pay and Apple Pay, Samsung Pay is great insofar as it works not just with designated NFC (near field communications) payment-enabled locations, but anywhere that has a magnetic strip reader of the type that you slide the card through --- not insert. Gas stations pretty much always require you to insert the card.

And I should add that even the "slide" type don't always work. Just yesterday a Fred Meyer's store declined my digital payment approach. And for some reason the checkin terminals at my HMO have explicitly disabled this I think. Odd. Baby steps, I guess.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18986
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:09 am

BeneIRA wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:57 am
Hi Victoria,

At this time, no one knows is probably the right answer, but given how United has copied Delta with everything, it is likely they will go the Delta SkyMiles route which is essentially based on demand. With SkyMiles, if it is a high demand route on that particular day and time, the SkyMiles will be higher and they can vary all the time. Some "standards" emerge. Such as JFK to London Heathrow for 40,000 SkyMiles on May 10th. However, taking a look on that same day, you will find SkyMiles prices for 130,000 on other flights that day.

For United, they currently standardize the route you described at 30,000 United Miles. That is the standard per the award chart. Once that award chart is gone, it is a free for all. I expect regularly higher prices than 30,000 UA Miles for the route you described and it will be subject to change. With no award chart, the only way we know if a change has been made is by people noticing the higher award rates. So, this will almost positively be a devaluation, but how far United will go with it remains to be seen. Remember they outdid Delta with their restrictions on Basic Economy by forbidding a carry on.

The one "positive" is I expect lower domestic awards occasionally. I could see it going down o maybe 15,000 because a flat 25,000 for all domestic routes makes no sense and I can't imagine it is used very often when, as you stated, I could get a one way to Europe for 5,000 more.
Hi BeneIRA,

Thank you for a detailed response. I don't use Delta miles, only United and American, and so your example is illuminating. My key takeaway is not to stop collecting URs. When United's new system is in place, new patterns may emerge for the best times for booking various routes.

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

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18986
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:14 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:03 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:45 am
...

My favorite redemption now is 30k UA miles + $6 for day flights in Economy from IAD to London (LHR). What should I expect when the United plan comes into effect? If the answer is "nobody knows," I am still curious about likely scenarios.

Victoria
Expect to get award prices in lockstep with cash prices. If a high demand ticket is costing $800 don’t expect to get it for 12.5k points. If a cheap ticket is $99 you might get it for 5000 points.

People flying economy will be less affected because those tickets are cheaper, but there will likely no longer be any great redemptions.
Thank you, this helps. I prefer an Economy day flight to a Business red eye. I thought that many other people have the same preference, but to my surprise, when I was booking day flights to LHR they were wide open even for August travel. I hope that for me the devaluation of miles and points will be relatively minor.

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

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18986
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:29 am

THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am
There is no doubt that United devaluing is going to hurt UR's value especially for those flying on United metal. At this time United is keeping their partner awards the same but the pricing on their flights will become dynamic. It probably means less outsize value especially for those who travel during peak times. It is possible that pricing may drop during non-peak times. For example if you want to fly to London in February it might be cheaper than today though likely only by a little. As others have said Delta did this about two years ago and systematically went through and increased prices but they now offer flash sales which are cheaper than previous prices however you have to be able to fire during the sale and it has to be a place you want to go. My guess is they will slowly devalue over the course of the next several years. I personally am going to try to burn my United miles as soon as possible.
Right now, I am trying to collect as many URs as possible, and I use most of them on United. I am not interested in flash sales because I don't want to depend on the timing of the sales and the timing of the offers. But I can live with spending 25% more miles, e.g., 40k instead of 30k miles to London.

THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am
If one wants to fly United metal it may make more sense to look at other transferable point currencies such as Citi, Amex, and CapOne. They offer Star Alliance transfer partners such as Avianca (all) and Aeroplan (Amex/CapOne) among some others (ANA and Turkish) that may be better for booking on United and indeed other Star Alliance airlines going forward.
Thank you, I'll investigate these options, and particularly CapOne.
THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am
Honestly in my opinion even before this devaluation I found UR the weakest of the four bank transferable currencies. I think UR was the most popular in part because it was easy. You had several domestic airline partners that were familiar to most folks and if you had the CSR you could buy cash tickets for 1.5 cents a point. However if you were willing to put some effort into learning some less familiar names there was a lot more value elsewhere.
I use UR because they are easy. So far, I did not have a reason to put effort into learning other options. But if the United changes impact me significantly, I'll apply the effort.

THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am
I should add that I consider it very likely AA will follow at some point in the not too distant future. The big three carriers seem to be monkey see monkey do and generally follow Delta's lead.
I have many AA miles but use it less than UA. Every time I tried to book a Business flight to Europe, the itinerary was on BA with a change of flights in LHR and hundreds of dollars in fees. If AA followed Delta's and UA's example, I'd like to see them also reducing dependence on BA. But this is wishful thinking.

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

essbeer
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by essbeer » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:03 am

Economy flights into London were about the only bright spot left for me with URs, but I'm sure this change in policy was specifically aimed at high cpp redemptions like that. Personally I don't think I'll be collecting any more URs until I see how this shakes out. If all redemptions are going to be 1.5 cpp or worse then I might as well just get cash back.

If my time was super flexible it might still be worth it for sales, last minute flights and one ways, but my time really isn't, unfortunately.

BeneIRA
Posts: 683
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:12 am

essbeer wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:03 am
Economy flights into London were about the only bright spot left for me with URs, but I'm sure this change in policy was specifically aimed at high cpp redemptions like that. Personally I don't think I'll be collecting any more URs until I see how this shakes out. If all redemptions are going to be 1.5 cpp or worse then I might as well just get cash back.

If my time was super flexible it might still be worth it for sales, last minute flights and one ways, but my time really isn't, unfortunately.
Worry not! TPG (the Edward Jones of the rewards bloggers) will probably raise his cent per point to 3.5 for URs.

ERguy101
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:09 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ERguy101 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:28 am

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:43 am
I never shop at Whole Foods. Rather, I will need the Amazon card in the wallet for the 2% at gas stations and restaurants when they are not covered by the Freedom 5% quarterly categories. I haven’t made the leap to digital payments yet. Requires iOS Touch ID activation, which I have resisted due to an innate neuroticism.
Does the Chase Amazon card, with 5%, give chase ultimate reward points, or does it give amazon credit? Like, can I get this card, set it for my payment card for Amazon, and through the chase portal have autopay setup, then leave this card in my desk drawer?

xb7
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:00 am

ERguy101 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:28 am
Does the Chase Amazon card, with 5%, give chase ultimate reward points, or does it give amazon credit? Like, can I get this card, set it for my payment card for Amazon, and through the chase portal have autopay setup, then leave this card in my desk drawer?
Chase Amazon does NOT give URs. There are different options for using their reward system, but my recollection is it's just best to get the cash back.

To be clear, I have a Chase Amazon card and a Freedom Unlimited. I have a UR point count with the latter, the former doesn't show up (all on the same Chase site) as being able to use or transfer or anything to UR points.

xb7
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:04 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:29 am
I use UR because they are easy. So far, I did not have a reason to put effort into learning other options.
That's my feeling too. I'm just dipping my toe into Chase UR rewards so far, but I too want a simple approach, even though Delta and Alaska are the most common flights out of my region (we do get some United flights too).

I figure that when I can't find a decent return by transferring points to miles with a carrier, I will at least be able to get 1.5x value from points via the Chase portal. And when I can get a decent exchange, perhaps it will be via Virgin Atlantic or Iberia or something along that line.

ERguy101
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:09 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ERguy101 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:05 am

xb7 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:00 am
ERguy101 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:28 am
Does the Chase Amazon card, with 5%, give chase ultimate reward points, or does it give amazon credit? Like, can I get this card, set it for my payment card for Amazon, and through the chase portal have autopay setup, then leave this card in my desk drawer?
Chase Amazon does NOT give URs. There are different options for using their reward system, but my recollection is it's just best to get the cash back.

To be clear, I have a Chase Amazon card and a Freedom Unlimited. I have a UR point count with the latter, the former doesn't show up (all on the same Chase site) as being able to use or transfer or anything to UR points.

Sincerely thank you.

THY4373
Posts: 1195
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by THY4373 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:27 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:29 am
THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am
I should add that I consider it very likely AA will follow at some point in the not too distant future. The big three carriers seem to be monkey see monkey do and generally follow Delta's lead.
I have many AA miles but use it less than UA. Every time I tried to book a Business flight to Europe, the itinerary was on BA with a change of flights in LHR and hundreds of dollars in fees. If AA followed Delta's and UA's example, I'd like to see them also reducing dependence on BA. But this is wishful thinking.
Yeah AA points for travelling to Europe from DC area are really hard to use if you are trying to avoid BA and their insane charges. I tend to use them either when going to the Middle East (Qatar and Etihad--rumored to be going away soon) or to Asia. You might also want to look at using AA miles from Europe. BA (and VS) stick it to folks leaving the US even round trip with the surcharges. A one way from Europe/UK could be cheaper but I haven't priced it out on economy tickets so not sure how much cheaper.

User avatar
VictoriaF
Posts: 18986
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 am
Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:41 am

THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:27 am
You might also want to look at using AA miles from Europe. BA (and VS) stick it to folks leaving the US even round trip with the surcharges. A one way from Europe/UK could be cheaper but I haven't priced it out on economy tickets so not sure how much cheaper.
Excellent idea! I can use UA miles to travel to Europe on day flights, and AA miles to travel back from Europe.

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

TravelGeek
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:07 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:38 am
There is no doubt that United devaluing is going to hurt UR's value especially for those flying on United metal. At this time United is keeping their partner awards the same but the pricing on their flights will become dynamic. It probably means less outsize value especially for those who travel during peak times.
I will for the time being continue to use my UR trifecta. It is time, though, to invest more time into looking at partner programs. E.g., if United charges an arm and a leg for a reward, is Aeroplan or LifeMiles perhaps only charging an arm or a leg? Diversification across programs will become more important.

I am seriously considering ditching my oldest credit card, though. A Chase United Select with $95 AF that offers an annual 5k RDM bonus (paying effectively for the AF). I used it for groceries, home improvement and gas purchases - all 2X. May downgrade to a no-AF card.

For Victoria’s use case (30k trips to Europe) I don’t expect the impact to be all that severe. In theory United will still want to fill seats that don’t sell for cash with award travelers. It might even be helpful in some cases in that it would enable UA to offer seats for price points that are between the current fixed 30k and 60k Saver and Standard award levels. I would never buy a 60k mile coach seat unless the cash price was $2000 (or I absolutely needed a one-way), but 45k might be more palatable.

But for business class awards I expect this change to be devastating. And those are what I am generally shopping for. As a west coaster, there are no 6-7 hr coach trips to Europe, everything is 10-11 painful hrs :(
Last edited by TravelGeek on Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

investor997
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by investor997 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:44 pm

Is the Chase United MPE card still worth it in light of United's elimination of an award chart? Current sign-on bonus offers are either 50K or 60K. United Miles appear to headed towards further devaluation but OTOH, they sure are easy to earn. For example, a $100 car rental I just booked through Hertz earned me 2000 United award miles. There's also the United MPX app, the shopping portal (I earned ~9600 miles by buying two iPhone XRs the day they had a 6-Mile/$ "sale") and the dining rewards portal.

Other airlines have similar point earning mechanisms but United seems to have the most, if not the most lucrative.

Also, what about Alaska Miles? Alaska seems to be the only airline left that rewards on miles flown, not price of fare.... but something tells me it's only a matter of time before they join all the others.

TravelGeek
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:16 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:44 pm
Is the Chase United MPE card still worth it in light of United's elimination of an award chart? Current sign-on bonus offers are either 50K or 60K. United Miles appear to headed towards further devaluation but OTOH, they sure are easy to earn. For example, a $100 car rental I just booked through Hertz earned me 2000 United award miles. There's also the United MPX app, the shopping portal (I earned ~9600 miles by buying two iPhone XRs the day they had a 6-Mile/$ "sale") and the dining rewards portal.

Other airlines have similar point earning mechanisms but United seems to have the most, if not the most lucrative.

Also, what about Alaska Miles? Alaska seems to be the only airline left that rewards on miles flown, not price of fare.... but something tells me it's only a matter of time before they join all the others.
I’d get the MPE for the bonus if you have no bette choices, but not as a keeper or use it for ongoing spend.

Alaska has recently been touting publicly their traditional mileage program as a differentiator. So for the time being they will presumably continue with what they have, but it’s not a great program for everyone. Award flights to Europe, for example, are a problem. They lost a bunch of partner options recently, leaving them primarily with BA. Still, AS continues to be my preferred airline when their fares aren’t significantly higher than others. Virtually all my AS miles are from flying them or partners, though. I have the credit cards, but only for benefits, not spend.

investor997
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by investor997 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:52 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:16 pm
I’d get the MPE for the bonus if you have no bette choices, but not as a keeper or use it for ongoing spend.
One thing I'm wondering about: United offers expanded award availability to MPE cardholders. It'll be interesting to see whether or not this benefit becomes more valuable as time goes on.

TravelGeek
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:39 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:52 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:16 pm
I’d get the MPE for the bonus if you have no bette choices, but not as a keeper or use it for ongoing spend.
One thing I'm wondering about: United offers expanded award availability to MPE cardholders. It'll be interesting to see whether or not this benefit becomes more valuable as time goes on.
It doesn’t really matter to me since I get that benefit as an elite; no need to keep the card for that hypothetical benefit.

That said, how would it work anyway? In the current the system, I have seen Saver awards available when I was logged in that weren’t there when I searched anonymously. So someone without credit card or elite status would have paid for a standard award while I got a Saver award. That is assuming that a Standard award was available at all for non-elite/non-CC buyers (last seat benefit).

In the future, there is no Saver category anymore. There is only one price for an award. Last seat benefit supposedly continues, so as an elite I could presumably always get an award (at a ridiculously high price) when mere mortals would have to pay cash. But I don’t think there would be cheaper awards available to me than for others.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

essbeer
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by essbeer » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:42 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:52 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:16 pm
I’d get the MPE for the bonus if you have no bette choices, but not as a keeper or use it for ongoing spend.
One thing I'm wondering about: United offers expanded award availability to MPE cardholders. It'll be interesting to see whether or not this benefit becomes more valuable as time goes on.
I think the expanded award availablility may be going away, if not already gone. My testing showed every card holder exclusive I found was available without the card as well. BUT there now appears to be a discount for card holders instead. Didn't see any discount on international but found many on domestic.

TravelGeek
Posts: 3103
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:50 pm

essbeer wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:42 pm
BUT there now appears to be a discount for card holders instead. Didn't see any discount on international but found many on domestic.
Interesting - does it have some sort of indicator in the UI or did you find it through price comparison with different accounts?

essbeer
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by essbeer » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:58 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:50 pm
essbeer wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:42 pm
BUT there now appears to be a discount for card holders instead. Didn't see any discount on international but found many on domestic.
Interesting - does it have some sort of indicator in the UI or did you find it through price comparison with different accounts?
Price comparison, logged in vs. logged out.

EDIT: Here is an example of what I'm talking about: IAH-DEN April 30 8:10 am. Saver award without card -- 6K. Saver award with card 5K.

Post Reply