What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Post by nps » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:16 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:28 am
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:22 am
MikeG62, note that the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred has a $95/yr annual fee.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/reviews/cred ... -preferred
I forgot it was $95. Thanks for pointing that out. OK then it would not make sense to get two AMEX cards even if we spent $12K in annul grocery spend. My three card combo would still generate a larger benefit.
I would disagree. You can cover $6000 of your $12000 spend on one AMEX card and another $3000 on the 5% cards. That leaves $3000 left to either earn at 2% ($60 net gain) or use a second AMEX ($180 - $95 = $85 net gain).

But if you're only spending $10000 a year then you're right, it wouldn't work out better. I suggested it because you stated you still had a few months of grocery spending left after maxing out $9000 among the AMEX and 5% cards.

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Admiral Fun
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best 4-card strategy

Post by Admiral Fun » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:31 pm

This is pretty much the best, simple-ish plan for ongoing rewards that I can come up with (assuming platinum honors at BoA, 1.5x multiplier for UR points, big enough traveler to use both CSR and premium rewards credits)

Chase Sapphire Reserve - 4.5% travel and dining, plus the other goodies
Chase Ink Cash - 7.5% cell and internet
BOA premium rewards - 2.625% general spend
BOA Cash rewards - groceries (3.5%) and online (5.25%)

You can do better but not without adding significant complexity.

investor997
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Re: best 4-card strategy

Post by investor997 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:53 pm

Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:31 pm
This is pretty much the best, simple-ish plan for ongoing rewards that I can come up with (assuming platinum honors at BoA, 1.5x multiplier for UR points, big enough traveler to use both CSR and premium rewards credits)

Chase Sapphire Reserve - 4.5% travel and dining, plus the other goodies
Chase Ink Cash - 7.5% cell and internet
BOA premium rewards - 2.625% general spend
BOA Cash rewards - groceries (3.5%) and online (5.25%)

You can do better but not without adding significant complexity.
As I posted earlier in this thread, unless you can reliably value UR points at $0.018 or higher, you're probably better off sticking within the BofA Premium Rewards framework and going for the cash back. The only way to know for certain is by using the spend analysis tools on your card issuer's website and punch it all into a spreadsheet (I'm crazy and like to do this for fun).

In general, I don't recommend mixing UR and cash back. I say go all or nothing in one or the other. Concentrate firepower.

Startled Cat
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Re: best 4-card strategy

Post by Startled Cat » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:35 am

Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:31 pm
This is pretty much the best, simple-ish plan for ongoing rewards that I can come up with (assuming platinum honors at BoA, 1.5x multiplier for UR points, big enough traveler to use both CSR and premium rewards credits)

Chase Sapphire Reserve - 4.5% travel and dining, plus the other goodies
Chase Ink Cash - 7.5% cell and internet
BOA premium rewards - 2.625% general spend
BOA Cash rewards - groceries (3.5%) and online (5.25%)

You can do better but not without adding significant complexity.
This is pretty much what I do, minus Ink Cash (my internet connection is bundled with HOA dues and my cell service is tied to a relative's family plan).

I have a few other cards with niche and rotating bonus categories, but CSR / Premium Rewards / Cash Rewards are the big three.

decapod10
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Re: best 4-card strategy

Post by decapod10 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:51 am

investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:53 pm
Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:31 pm
This is pretty much the best, simple-ish plan for ongoing rewards that I can come up with (assuming platinum honors at BoA, 1.5x multiplier for UR points, big enough traveler to use both CSR and premium rewards credits)

Chase Sapphire Reserve - 4.5% travel and dining, plus the other goodies
Chase Ink Cash - 7.5% cell and internet
BOA premium rewards - 2.625% general spend
BOA Cash rewards - groceries (3.5%) and online (5.25%)

You can do better but not without adding significant complexity.
As I posted earlier in this thread, unless you can reliably value UR points at $0.018 or higher, you're probably better off sticking within the BofA Premium Rewards framework and going for the cash back. The only way to know for certain is by using the spend analysis tools on your card issuer's website and punch it all into a spreadsheet (I'm crazy and like to do this for fun).

In general, I don't recommend mixing UR and cash back. I say go all or nothing in one or the other. Concentrate firepower.
Just curious, how did you get the 1.8 cents/point calculation? I know we had discussed some strategies earlier up thread, but I don't recall this calculation.

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

Post by Supurdueper » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:16 am

Agreed on the platinum rewards strategy. Best I could find for simplicity. I have 2 cash reward card, i shelved one of them, and the travel now I just realized I can change categories to get that 5.25% back on another category so maybe time to take that off the shelf. I also use an uber card that gets 4% on dining and bars.

BOA used to have this better balance rewards card that if you make a charge and pay off in full then every quarter as a platinum member you get a $30 reward. I only put my internet on there, so my return is effectively 18.5%, can’t beat that. I’m grandfathered in.

investor997
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Re: best 4-card strategy

Post by investor997 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:28 pm

decapod10 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:51 am
Just curious, how did you get the 1.8 cents/point calculation? I know we had discussed some strategies earlier up thread, but I don't recall this calculation.
BofA's website has a Spending Tracker. It keeps track of every transaction across all credit cards (even non-BofA cards if you give them external login credentials). All transactions are automatically categorized. I used this to export an entire year's worth of data into an Excel spreadsheet. From there I entered reward amounts for each of the separate categories, which in my case were Travel, Dining/Restaurants, Groceries and General/Non-Categorized. I compared the BofA card combo (Premium Rewards + Cash Rewards with the 3% category set to Dining) against the Chase card combo (Sapphire Reserve + Freedom Unlimited).

BofA "points" are always worth $0.01. It's easy to calculate overall annual return. Chase UR points are variable so I created a cell in the spreadsheet that lets me enter different values for a UR, thus affecting overall annual return. What I determined was that - for me - the breakeven point was $0.018/UR.

I suspect other spending trackers (i.e. Mint, Personal Capital, etc) could be used in a similar manner.

decapod10
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Re: best 4-card strategy

Post by decapod10 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:43 pm

investor997 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:28 pm
decapod10 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:51 am
Just curious, how did you get the 1.8 cents/point calculation? I know we had discussed some strategies earlier up thread, but I don't recall this calculation.
BofA's website has a Spending Tracker. It keeps track of every transaction across all credit cards (even non-BofA cards if you give them external login credentials). All transactions are automatically categorized. I used this to export an entire year's worth of data into an Excel spreadsheet. From there I entered reward amounts for each of the separate categories, which in my case were Travel, Dining/Restaurants, Groceries and General/Non-Categorized. I compared the BofA card combo (Premium Rewards + Cash Rewards with the 3% category set to Dining) against the Chase card combo (Sapphire Reserve + Freedom Unlimited).

BofA "points" are always worth $0.01. It's easy to calculate overall annual return. Chase UR points are variable so I created a cell in the spreadsheet that lets me enter different values for a UR, thus affecting overall annual return. What I determined was that - for me - the breakeven point was $0.018/UR.

I suspect other spending trackers (i.e. Mint, Personal Capital, etc) could be used in a similar manner.
Got it, thanks for the reply. I have a spreadsheet as well, the tough part is calculating the value of AmEx MR points. I track my expenses anyway, so calculating rewards points is a pretty simple step after that, except for the AmEx points.

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

Post by heartwood » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am

I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase.
Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.

My CSR coverage runs into January. I'm considering dropping it then. I've been about breaking even with the membership fee, but Costco Visa gives me the same 3x on travel. I like the free primary car insurance (31? days),but I can buy AMEX Preferred Car Insurance for $19.99/42(?) day coverage. So if I can't book the flights I want or their price is significantly higher, I'm asking myself why keep the card that I'm essentially breaking even on now? Your mileage may vary.

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

Post by dbr » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:33 am

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase.
Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.

My CSR coverage runs into January. I'm considering dropping it then. I've been about breaking even with the membership fee, but Costco Visa gives me the same 3x on travel. I like the free primary car insurance (31? days),but I can buy AMEX Preferred Car Insurance for $19.99/42(?) day coverage. So if I can't book the flights I want or their price is significantly higher, I'm asking myself why keep the card that I'm essentially breaking even on now? Your mileage may vary.
Isn't the main value of credit card points such as Chase and AMEX gained by selectively transferring to a partner when that partner has a flight or stay you want at a good value in points? I have never understood actually booking through a card travel service, but maybe that works sometimes.

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Re: best 4-card strategy

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:42 am

Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:31 pm
This is pretty much the best, simple-ish plan for ongoing rewards that I can come up with (assuming platinum honors at BoA, 1.5x multiplier for UR points, big enough traveler to use both CSR and premium rewards credits)

Chase Sapphire Reserve - 4.5% travel and dining, plus the other goodies
Chase Ink Cash - 7.5% cell and internet
BOA premium rewards - 2.625% general spend
BOA Cash rewards - groceries (3.5%) and online (5.25%)

You can do better but not without adding significant complexity.
Well....that depends what you consider significant complexity.

Currently, I'm using Citi Sears for gas, restaurants, groceries. For July, Aug, Sep, each month, minimum $500 spend to $1000 spend, they're giving 10% as statement credit.
Wife has a new Discover with double points at year's end. This month, restaurants 5%, so doubled to 10%.
On top of those, I'm a Mobil rewards member, so get "stuff" after so many gallons purchased. On top some more, I use an app called "GetUpSide" which selected gas stations give discounts through the app. The one I usually go to has 12 cents per gallon. But that comes through the app, so it doesn't reduce the citi sears 10% I'm getting this quarter. Oh, and the citi sears also gives me citi thank you points. I just cashed in some of those for an Applebees gift card.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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

Post by MichCPA » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:53 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:33 am
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase.
Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.

My CSR coverage runs into January. I'm considering dropping it then. I've been about breaking even with the membership fee, but Costco Visa gives me the same 3x on travel. I like the free primary car insurance (31? days),but I can buy AMEX Preferred Car Insurance for $19.99/42(?) day coverage. So if I can't book the flights I want or their price is significantly higher, I'm asking myself why keep the card that I'm essentially breaking even on now? Your mileage may vary.
Isn't the main value of credit card points such as Chase and AMEX gained by selectively transferring to a partner when that partner has a flight or stay you want at a good value in points? I have never understood actually booking through a card travel service, but maybe that works sometimes.
The main point of the Chase portal is getting the 1.5 cents per point value on redemptions with CSR. Its great for hotels (except Hyatt) because all of them (except Hyatt) have way less than 1 cpp value. Another use case is an occasional Delta award booking because they aren't a UR partner.

I agree that cash redemptions are a no-no because you don't normally get miles from the hotel or airline. I think the United 5x point is worth about 6-7% which is more than the 3x on the CSR. Its a big deal.

investor997
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by investor997 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:46 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:33 am
Isn't the main value of credit card points such as Chase and AMEX gained by selectively transferring to a partner when that partner has a flight or stay you want at a good value in points? I have never understood actually booking through a card travel service, but maybe that works sometimes.
...and waiting for the right transfer partner deal and/or flight award availability with an airline transfer partner can also be quite inconvenient. This is how I arrived at my conclusion regarding the value of cash-back over points.

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

Post by dbr » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:49 am

investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:46 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:33 am
Isn't the main value of credit card points such as Chase and AMEX gained by selectively transferring to a partner when that partner has a flight or stay you want at a good value in points? I have never understood actually booking through a card travel service, but maybe that works sometimes.
...and waiting for the right transfer partner deal and/or flight award availability with an airline transfer partner can also be quite inconvenient. This is how I arrived at my conclusion regarding the value of cash-back over points.
Yep that is the dilemma and the art of using awards points.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:00 pm

dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:49 am
investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:46 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:33 am
Isn't the main value of credit card points such as Chase and AMEX gained by selectively transferring to a partner when that partner has a flight or stay you want at a good value in points? I have never understood actually booking through a card travel service, but maybe that works sometimes.
...and waiting for the right transfer partner deal and/or flight award availability with an airline transfer partner can also be quite inconvenient. This is how I arrived at my conclusion regarding the value of cash-back over points.
Yep that is the dilemma and the art of using awards points.
For Premium (J or F) international airline seats, we've found it well worth the modest fee to have an "awards booking service" do this for us. Most of them do not charge until/unless they find seats that are acceptable to you, given the requests/constraints you gave them. Some are very interactive and easy to work with; others, maybe not so much.
There is a long list, including with recommendations (or lack thereof) on www.FlyerTalk.com

I don't think this would be useful/worthwhile for domestic tickets, especially domestic economy.

We've been able to get F tickets for each international flight we've wanted thus far, but we have been very flexible about routing, and also about traveling +/- a day either way. That obviously increases the likelihood of finding something.
(We'd take J if necessary, but thus far, on routes that offer F service, we've been able to get it.)

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

Post by Admiral Fun » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:37 pm

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase. Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.
I'm curious whether this is a "Chase thing" or a "3rd Party booking site thing". Did you check Expedia or Orbitz to see if they were the same as the Chase Portal?

xb7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:40 pm

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase.
Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.

My CSR coverage runs into January. I'm considering dropping it then. I've been about breaking even with the membership fee, but Costco Visa gives me the same 3x on travel. I like the free primary car insurance (31? days),but I can buy AMEX Preferred Car Insurance for $19.99/42(?) day coverage. So if I can't book the flights I want or their price is significantly higher, I'm asking myself why keep the card that I'm essentially breaking even on now? Your mileage may vary.
I'm pretty new to the Chase UR world, just got the CSR recently. I have seen examples of what you're talking about, but have come to a (tentative) different conclusion / solution. My current guesstimate is that sometimes --- maybe a lot of time (TBD) --- I can get a hotel or a flight or whatever on the Chase travel portal where the price IS the same as I can find elsewhere, or within a dollar or two anyway. And sometimes I cannot, either cannot find the flight/hotel/etc at all, or the price isn't competitive. But I travel enough that I don't think it's a problem to sometimes not be able to use my points effectively. I just figure that I'll always check the Chase Portal and book with points at 1.5x whenever I can, and thus get pretty good value out of my two Chase cards ("di-fecta?" :-) ). If over the long term I find that I'm building up points faster than I think I can ever use, I'll re-think, but just last week I booked a hotel stay for Thanksgiving travel using URs, and fully expect to use more going forward for some trips to come.

FWIW, other dynamics can throw me off from using UR points for travel too. For example, we decided to go with a VRBO property for an upcoming trip (VRBO is similar to airbnb). I didn't check, but am pretty sure that Chase travel portal doesn't include them. For another trip, we're going with friends, and they picked out the hotels and booked reservations for both couples. That sort of thing. But I still do expect to use these points, and find the simplicity of having just the CSR and the CFU (Freedom Unlimited) to be nice.

We're all different on this stuff. The Chase system is very attractive to me because after digging into it, reading a lot of articles on FlyerTalk.com, etc, I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to make my life more complicated by setting up frequent flyer programs with various airlines and transferring points at the last minute to airline miles that I then book for flights on these various sites --- I might change my mind down the road and give this a try for particular trips (?) but in general I like how easy it is to just check the Chase Portal and book the points at 1.5x when availability and price are right for that.

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

Post by MichCPA » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:45 pm

Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:37 pm
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase. Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.
I'm curious whether this is a "Chase thing" or a "3rd Party booking site thing". Did you check Expedia or Orbitz to see if they were the same as the Chase Portal?
I don't see the third party sites having anything close to the discounts they had 5-10 yrs ago. The airlines and hotels don't want to pay commissions to the 3rd party sites and some even guarantee price matching. Booking direct is the way to go if the price difference isn't huge because they help you gain/use status and/or points.

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

Post by MichCPA » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:55 pm

dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:49 am
investor997 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:46 am
dbr wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:33 am
Isn't the main value of credit card points such as Chase and AMEX gained by selectively transferring to a partner when that partner has a flight or stay you want at a good value in points? I have never understood actually booking through a card travel service, but maybe that works sometimes.
...and waiting for the right transfer partner deal and/or flight award availability with an airline transfer partner can also be quite inconvenient. This is how I arrived at my conclusion regarding the value of cash-back over points.
Yep that is the dilemma and the art of using awards points.
As airlines and hotels increasingly move to dynamic awards, the out sized value has decreased in domestic travel, but the penalty for not booking at the right time has too. This is especially true for Delta and United where 95% of the time your are going to be within .2 cpp either way. The biggest exception is Hilton where you still only have a .2 range, but those points are worth .5 cpp so its a bigger deal. Marriott's upcoming peak/off peak pricing is another nail in the coffin for high variance point redemptions.

dboeger1
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by dboeger1 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:06 pm

Up until literally just a couple of days ago, I was all about simple cash back, and even then, I was suboptimal at 1.5% cash back with the Quicksilver card I've had since college. I know a lot of credit card gurus like to argue that as long as you're responsible and don't spend what you otherwise wouldn't, that credit card rewards are essentially freebies. But honestly, I think they're mostly confusing responsibility with proficiency. I might be able to justify buying a certain basketball if I play a little bit each day, but that is not the same thing as training to become a star NBA player. The kid at your local park is responsible; he's not LeBron James, lol. I have a really hard time believing that all these people reveling in credit card rewards are really saving and investing as well as they would if they continued to embrace and practice the denial of such pleasures. At least I sure hope all those times my wife complained we needed a vacation outweighed the 0.5% cash back I left on the table by not getting a better credit card.

That being said, I've been a cheapskate for quite a few years, and we finally have enough of a financial foundation to spend pretty comfortably on travel. Credit card bonuses obviously make this much more efficient. I have some experience with airline mileage programs, but they always felt devalued or inflexible unless I was completely flexible with travel dates, which I never really was and certainly am not now. So I'm mostly focusing on hotel cards. I just opened the IHG Premier card, and am planning to open the Hilton Aspire card pretty soon. I'll probably top that off with one of the Chase Sapphire cards, and that's probably good enough for me for now. The Marriott and Hyatt cards are also on my list, but neither seems that compelling in terms of bonuses or benefits right now, so I'm willing to hold off on those until I have a specific trip planned that can utilize them.

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

Post by MichCPA » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:23 pm

dboeger1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:06 pm
[...]

The Marriott and Hyatt cards are also on my list, but neither seems that compelling in terms of bonuses or benefits right now, so I'm willing to hold off on those until I have a specific trip planned that can utilize them.
The Hyatt card is actually pretty special. The full SUB is 4 night at a category 3 hotel. The 15k spend for a free night seems like a bad deal at first, but it is like getting an extra point on that 15k of spend (the free night is worth up to 15k pts), if you can do that. This would mean 2 hyatt points on everything, 3 on dining, gymns, and transit. and 10 pts at hyatt. Those point are worth 1.6 to 1.7 cents and 3.2 to 3.4% earnings is good enough to pay the credit card fees for Federal income taxes, some property taxes, other things that wouldn't normally make sense.

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

Post by vshun » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:49 pm

A note to some recent posters who pay cellular bill with Chase Ink Cash for 5%: you may consider if its worth for you to switch that bill to Chase Ink Bold. While offering slightly lower rebate (3%) it provides insurance for all cell phones. So broken screen after fall becomes less of an issue. Of course there is some deductible and loss of 2% of rebate but still may be worth it if you have mid to high-end and not lower budget phones.

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

Post by heartwood » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:59 pm

Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:37 pm
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase. Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.
I'm curious whether this is a "Chase thing" or a "3rd Party booking site thing". Did you check Expedia or Orbitz to see if they were the same as the Chase Portal?
I did not think to do that at the time and since we bought the tix from United its a moot point for me. Thanks for the suggestion.

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

Post by heartwood » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:03 pm

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:59 pm
Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:37 pm
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase. Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.
I'm curious whether this is a "Chase thing" or a "3rd Party booking site thing". Did you check Expedia or Orbitz to see if they were the same as the Chase Portal?
I did not think to do that at the time and since we bought the tix from United its a moot point for me. Thanks for the suggestion.
OK, you got me. Orbitz and Expedia are $2538, so between chase and united.

decapod10
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by decapod10 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:16 pm

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:03 pm
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:59 pm
Admiral Fun wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:37 pm
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am
I'm becoming very dissatisfied with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel bookings. More than once in the past year Chase has no flights that are readily available on United. If available, they're usually the same price as directly with United.

But this last week was a doozy. I looked at Chase and found flights for $1588/ticket. That's without applying reward points. We need two tix, so $3176 at Chase. Coincidentally my wife was looking at the same flights directly with United. She was quoted $2287 for two tix, or $889 less than Chase. We booked with United.
I'm curious whether this is a "Chase thing" or a "3rd Party booking site thing". Did you check Expedia or Orbitz to see if they were the same as the Chase Portal?
I did not think to do that at the time and since we bought the tix from United its a moot point for me. Thanks for the suggestion.
OK, you got me. Orbitz and Expedia are $2538, so between chase and united.
Chase Rewards Portal uses Expedia as it's search engine, so Chase and Expedia should give identical results. I'm surprised you found such a big difference between United vs. Expedia though, I've never seen a difference when I've looked, assuming the same fare type (e.g. not Basic Economy vs regular economy).

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

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:28 pm

Chase Reserve ($150 fee after $300 travel credit), 4.5% travel reward (3% x 1.5 using their travel portal), Airport lounge entry, global entry fee covered, primary rental car insurance, emergency travel medical coverage.

Fidelity 529 Visa, flat 2% reward

Costco CityBank Visa (4% on gas, 3% on eating out, 2% Costco purchase).

investor997
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by investor997 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:35 am

decapod10 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:16 pm
Chase Rewards Portal uses Expedia as it's search engine, so Chase and Expedia should give identical results. I'm surprised you found such a big difference between United vs. Expedia though, I've never seen a difference when I've looked, assuming the same fare type (e.g. not Basic Economy vs regular economy).
I find it best to start with Google Flights. It seems to have a magical ability to piece together complex itineraries and then transfer them to agencies like Orbitz or Expedia for booking. Strangely, it'll even generate itineraries that Expedia's own search engine fails at and then let you book them on Expedia. I don't think this will work for the private Chase Rewards portal, however.

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aj76er
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by aj76er » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:39 am

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:28 pm
Chase Reserve ($150 fee after $300 travel credit), 4.5% travel reward (3% x 1.5 using their travel portal), Airport lounge entry, global entry fee covered, primary rental car insurance, emergency travel medical coverage.

Fidelity 529 Visa, flat 2% reward

Costco CityBank Visa (4% on gas, 3% on eating out, 2% Costco purchase).
This also my current strategy, although I also mix in the Chase Freedom for its rotating categories at 5%. No annual fee. Points can be combined with Reserve UR points.
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

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

Post by am » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:46 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:28 pm
Chase Reserve ($150 fee after $300 travel credit), 4.5% travel reward (3% x 1.5 using their travel portal), Airport lounge entry, global entry fee covered, primary rental car insurance, emergency travel medical coverage.

Fidelity 529 Visa, flat 2% reward

Costco CityBank Visa (4% on gas, 3% on eating out, 2% Costco purchase).
I use CHase sapphire reserve and Fidelity 2% Visa primarily. I use chase freedom and discover rotating 5% categories. Amazon prime 5%. Rare Amex everyday for coupons. Make thousands every year and only costs 150 dollars after 300 dollar travel credit. Also have used sapphire reserve insurance. Carry no balance. Credit card companies must hate my guts!
Last edited by am on Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:21 pm

heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am

My CSR coverage runs into January. I'm considering dropping it then. I've been about breaking even with the membership fee, but Costco Visa gives me the same 3x on travel.
Except that 3X UR is not actually the same as 3X $0.01 via Costco.

If you can’t get more than 1 cent out of each UR, then the Costco card is better for you (when looking purely at the points earnings, ignoring other benefits)

elainet7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by elainet7 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:24 pm

To banks. 225 dollars cash back after spending 500
No fees

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

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:38 pm

elainet7 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:24 pm
To banks. 225 dollars cash back after spending 500
No fees
What kind of "rewards program" is this to get back almost 50%?

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

THY4373
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by THY4373 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:58 pm

investor997 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:35 am
I find it best to start with Google Flights. It seems to have a magical ability to piece together complex itineraries and then transfer them to agencies like Orbitz or Expedia for booking. Strangely, it'll even generate itineraries that Expedia's own search engine fails at and then let you book them on Expedia. I don't think this will work for the private Chase Rewards portal, however.
Google flights is also good as searching foreign websites for deals. I bought a recent cheap one-way business class fare on TAP that was about $150 cheaper on the TAP Spanish (country not language) website vs the US one. The point of sale can have a major impact on pricing sometimes.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:22 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:21 pm
heartwood wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:13 am

My CSR coverage runs into January. I'm considering dropping it then. I've been about breaking even with the membership fee, but Costco Visa gives me the same 3x on travel.
Except that 3X UR is not actually the same as 3X $0.01 via Costco.

If you can’t get more than 1 cent out of each UR, then the Costco card is better for you (when looking purely at the points earnings, ignoring other benefits)
I would also add that Chase’s “travel” category is far broader than Costco’s.

elainet7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by elainet7 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:32 am

td bank is just CASH BACK of $225 after spending $500

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

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:52 am

investor997 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:35 am
decapod10 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:16 pm
Chase Rewards Portal uses Expedia as it's search engine, so Chase and Expedia should give identical results. I'm surprised you found such a big difference between United vs. Expedia though, I've never seen a difference when I've looked, assuming the same fare type (e.g. not Basic Economy vs regular economy).
I find it best to start with Google Flights. .
I always start with Google flights. Then book directly with the airline.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

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

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:46 am

elainet7 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:32 am
td bank is just CASH BACK of $225 after spending $500
So that is a one-time sign-up type of bonus?

That would make more sense.
But we are mostly interested in "rewards" that are ongoing or can be repeated, etc. Otherwise, it doesn't go very far, alas.
Thanks.

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

elainet7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by elainet7 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:31 am

one time bonus free money

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

Post by Ketawa » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:00 pm

I was recently denied for the 2nd time for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.

I opened a U.S. Bank Cash+ card in May 2019. My initial application was denied, then I was approved upon reconsideration.

I applied for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve in July 2019. My initial application was denied and I did not try reconsideration because I received an upgrade offer for an Amex Hilton Honors Ascend to Aspire, and completing two large spend requirements simultaneously would be challenging for me.

I applied for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve again in August 2019, 50 days later. My initial application was denied, then I tried reconsideration. The CSR was optimistic that reconsideration would work because the initial reason for denial was too many inquiries, but all my recent inquiries were for a background investigation or U.S. Bank itself, not requests for credit with other companies. A manager reviewed my request for reconsideration and denied it. The stated reasons were too many new accounts (I'm at 5/12, 9/24) and too much existing credit available. FWIW, I do not have any new accounts since the U.S. Bank Cash+ card.

Can reducing my overall available credit actually help with U.S. Bank? That wouldn't be a problem for me; I have many cards I never use and I could lower their limits. My available credit is about 2x my income and that doesn't include 5 Amex charge cards.

If I wait until 2020 to reapply, I'll be down to 2/12 and 7/24; maybe I'll have more luck then.

There's really not much low-hanging fruit for me left until I get below 5/24 in about a year and become eligible for Chase cards again. I can get them without paying an annual fee as of about 2 years ago because Chase changed its policy for military, but I'm ineligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve until May 2021 due to the 48 month rule.

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

Post by Elam » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:55 pm

.
Put all purchases possible on my cash rewards cc and pay it in full every month.
I pay zero interest... the bank pays me to use their cc.

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

Post by MichCPA » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:09 pm

Ketawa wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:00 pm
I was recently denied for the 2nd time for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.

I opened a U.S. Bank Cash+ card in May 2019. My initial application was denied, then I was approved upon reconsideration.

I applied for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve in July 2019. My initial application was denied and I did not try reconsideration because I received an upgrade offer for an Amex Hilton Honors Ascend to Aspire, and completing two large spend requirements simultaneously would be challenging for me.

I applied for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve again in August 2019, 50 days later. My initial application was denied, then I tried reconsideration. The CSR was optimistic that reconsideration would work because the initial reason for denial was too many inquiries, but all my recent inquiries were for a background investigation or U.S. Bank itself, not requests for credit with other companies. A manager reviewed my request for reconsideration and denied it. The stated reasons were too many new accounts (I'm at 5/12, 9/24) and too much existing credit available. FWIW, I do not have any new accounts since the U.S. Bank Cash+ card.

Can reducing my overall available credit actually help with U.S. Bank? That wouldn't be a problem for me; I have many cards I never use and I could lower their limits. My available credit is about 2x my income and that doesn't include 5 Amex charge cards.

If I wait until 2020 to reapply, I'll be down to 2/12 and 7/24; maybe I'll have more luck then.

There's really not much low-hanging fruit for me left until I get below 5/24 in about a year and become eligible for Chase cards again. I can get them without paying an annual fee as of about 2 years ago because Chase changed its policy for military, but I'm ineligible for the Chase Sapphire Reserve until May 2021 due to the 48 month rule.
US Bank appears to be very dependent on your current relationship with them and your other cards. You might have to wait. IMO, both of those cards are fantastic. With the Altitude Reserve, you can use a Google pay or Samsung pay to pay estimated taxes and Get a 4.5% return - 2-ish % fee= 2.5% profit. The flex categories w/ cash + beat Discover and Chase pretty handily.

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

Post by spammagnet » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:31 am

Ketawa wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:00 pm
I was recently denied for the 2nd time for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.
DoctorOfCredit recommends freezing credit reports at Sagestream LLC and Advanced Resolution Services before applying for US Bank cards. Information from those agencies seems to have adverse results, more often than from other agencies. I have no idea why.

You can freeze those reports and leave them frozen while opening and closing reports at the big three (if you do that). The big agencies satisfy the banks' needs for a credit report.

DoctorOfCredit: Two Credit Bureaus You Should Freeze ...

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

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:36 am

spammagnet wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:31 am
Ketawa wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:00 pm
I was recently denied for the 2nd time for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.
DoctorOfCredit recommends freezing credit reports at Sagestream LLC and Advanced Resolution Services before applying for US Bank cards. Information from those agencies seems to have adverse results, more often than from other agencies. I have no idea why.

You can freeze those reports and leave them frozen while opening and closing reports at the big three (if you do that). The big agencies satisfy the banks' needs for a credit report.

DoctorOfCredit: Two Credit Bureaus You Should Freeze ...
Hmmm... I never even heard of these two!

Need to check these out, I guess, at the least so we know about them.
Thanks.

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

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

Post by spammagnet » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:40 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:36 am
Hmmm... I never even heard of these two! ...
Neither had I, and apparently there are others. A user comment on that page refers to a list of other agencies, available on the CFPB web site. I don't think I'm going to invest much effort in research, beyond those two that adversely affect US Bank.

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

Post by flyingcows » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:44 am

We funnel 100% of our spending through the Citi 2% cash rewards credit card, have the Amazon Visa as a backup card that we only use for international travel (no foreign transaction fees) + Amazon/WF purchases.

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

Post by Ketawa » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:15 am

spammagnet wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:31 am
Ketawa wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:00 pm
I was recently denied for the 2nd time for the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve.
DoctorOfCredit recommends freezing credit reports at Sagestream LLC and Advanced Resolution Services before applying for US Bank cards. Information from those agencies seems to have adverse results, more often than from other agencies. I have no idea why.

You can freeze those reports and leave them frozen while opening and closing reports at the big three (if you do that). The big agencies satisfy the banks' needs for a credit report.

DoctorOfCredit: Two Credit Bureaus You Should Freeze ...
More recent evidence on this is mixed. There are comments/data points in that post and this one that state having those reports frozen was the reason for denial. I was able to get the U.S. Bank Cash+ card without freezing them.

Anyway, I received the formal denial letter for reconsideration on the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve. It says the decision was based on my Equifax report and denial was due to too many recently opened credit lines and too many revolving accounts. Maybe I'll look at closing some of the accounts I never use and try again next year. This credit card would be very valuable long-term for me because I can avoid the annual fee.

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

Post by spammagnet » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:28 am

Ketawa wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:15 am
More recent evidence on this is mixed. There are comments/data points in that post and this one that state having those reports frozen was the reason for denial. I was able to get the U.S. Bank Cash+ card without freezing them. ...
Data points are always useful.

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

Post by Prokofiev » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:49 pm

Last week I was denied the bonus for the AmEx Hilton card w/130k bonus points. I have never had a Hilton card. I am only 3/24 under the Chase rules (doesn't really apply, I know) and have a 815 FICO. I was very surprised. Why? The box said I either had this bonus before ( I haven't) or I have had too many cards opened or closed recently. Looks like they are tightening the rules and bonuses. Can't blame them . . .
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler - Einstein

28fe6
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 28fe6 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:37 pm

Is it possible to have Chase switch your type of card, even if you are over 5/24?

I really want a United card, but I think I'm over 5/24. I have a Freedom and Freedom Unlimited that I would gladly trade; I have heard about people converting cards before, but an airline card??

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

Post by Horsefly » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:58 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it possible to have Chase switch your type of card, even if you are over 5/24?

I really want a United card, but I think I'm over 5/24. I have a Freedom and Freedom Unlimited that I would gladly trade; I have heard about people converting cards before, but an airline card??
No, I'm pretty sure you can't do that. I tried some years ago. Any of the "partner" cards that chase provides with Marriott, United, etc. can only be downgraded / upgraded for something in that same family. I had one of the original United cards, and I didn't like the annual fee (I think it was $90) combined with the fact that there was no real bonus benefit. As such, the card wasn't competitive even with their current Explorer and others. I really wanted to get a different card with Chase, but no amount of pleading or threatening worked. They made it clear that to change out of a United card, they could only give me a different United card.

What you're describing is actually the opposite, going from a non-affiliated Chase card to an affiliated United card, but I would bet the answer will be the same.

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