Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

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MikeG62
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Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:24 am

Many people on these boards (myself included) have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I signed up for mine back in Feb for the 100,000 points and am considering keeping it long term largely because of the 3% cash back on travel and restaurants.

Was at Costco getting gas the other day and noticed that their no fee Visa card also offers 3% cash back on travel and restaurants (of course you need to pay for a Costco membership). Was wondering if folks see this card as a real competitor to the CSR - would you consider ditching your CSR for this card before your next $450 fee?

Of course the incremental cost of the CSR is not $450. It is really closer to $90 (net of $150 on CSR vs. $55 fee plus tax on the Costco visa).
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BeneIRA
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:31 am

MikeG62 wrote:Many people on these boards (myself included) have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I signed up for mine back in Feb for the 100,000 points and am considering keeping it long term largely because of the 3% cash back on travel and restaurants.

Was at Costco getting gas the other day and noticed that their no fee Visa card also offers 3% cash back on travel and restaurants (of course you need to pay for a Costco membership). Was wondering if folks see this card as a real competitor to the CSR - would you consider ditching your CSR for this card before your next $450 fee?

Of course the incremental cost of the CSR is not $450. It is really closer to $90 (net of $150 on CSR vs. $55 fee plus tax on the Costco visa).
Not even close. The value of an Ultimate Rewards Point is over 1 cent per point.If using it for travel, it is minimally 1.5 cents per point since that is what you get when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal. So, 3% back on travel is actually 4.5%. It can be even higher if transferred to a travel partner such as Hyatt. Also, I get my UR points at the next statement, I don't get my Costco cash back until the annual check is sent out. Also, the CSR pairs with the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom cards perfectly. That doesn't even include the $100 Global Entry credit or the Priority Pass membership.

Da5id
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Da5id » Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:49 am

BeneIRA wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:Many people on these boards (myself included) have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I signed up for mine back in Feb for the 100,000 points and am considering keeping it long term largely because of the 3% cash back on travel and restaurants.

Was at Costco getting gas the other day and noticed that their no fee Visa card also offers 3% cash back on travel and restaurants (of course you need to pay for a Costco membership). Was wondering if folks see this card as a real competitor to the CSR - would you consider ditching your CSR for this card before your next $450 fee?

Of course the incremental cost of the CSR is not $450. It is really closer to $90 (net of $150 on CSR vs. $55 fee plus tax on the Costco visa).
Not even close. The value of an Ultimate Rewards Point is over 1 cent per point.If using it for travel, it is minimally 1.5 cents per point since that is what you get when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal. So, 3% back on travel is actually 4.5%. It can be even higher if transferred to a travel partner such as Hyatt. Also, I get my UR points at the next statement, I don't get my Costco cash back until the annual check is sent out. Also, the CSR pairs with the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom cards perfectly. That doesn't even include the $100 Global Entry credit or the Priority Pass membership.
Agree that the points are worth more that 1 cent each, so CSR is clearly better in that sense. It needs to be enough better to make up for the fees and whatever valuation you personally put on global entry/priority pass. I think I'm personally likely to drop CSR and keep my CSP though. Difference in fees isn't worth it to me, as I also have an authorized user (free on CSP, not on CSR), but I still want to be able to transfer my ultimate rewards from freedom to partners.

Answer is that CSR and Costco both are good and worth having. Costco card is better on gas and at Costco, which are to me pretty big spending categories. CSR is better for travel, restaurants, and overseas purchases. Also CSR has fringes, so in addition to car rental being travel, you get some benefits.

That all assumes you actually do travel and eat out a decent amount. If not, may just want the cash back option of Costco card...

Woodlake
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Woodlake » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:02 am

save your points and redeem for saver award biz/first class tickets.....

Hawaii/Europe both good destination to fly on united

J_Markov
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by J_Markov » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:07 am

Agree with posts above. CSR and costco cards are completely different. The big advantage of the URs is that you can transfer them to airline miles which are then worth quite a bit. Costco cards sends you a check once a year.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Bash » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:29 am

Posts above are spot on in mentioning Ultimate Rewards points are worth far more than 1 cent each. In fact, according to The Points Guy, UR points are worth ~ 2.2 cents each. These estimates for many major cards are listed on their home page, and detailed a bit more at the link below.

https://thepointsguy.com/2017/04/april- ... aluations/

Of course, this calculation is an inexact science (which TPG admits), and TPG also boasts Chase as a major advertising partner who pays TPG to market the CSR card. So who knows if (or by how much) these estimates are inflated. But hey, I've had the card since the day it came out, and TPG's estimates align nicely with my own personal experience.

CSR's 2.2 cent estimate assumes you'd be redeeming many of the points for travel. So the only scenario under which I'd suggest the Costco card over the CSR card is if you don't plan on traveling with any regularity.

P.S. I'm a Bogleheads newbie, and something tells me the TPG website overall is a big hit or miss with many of the regulars on this forum. So I hope I'm not ruffling any feathers by citing them in my response. :|

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by guitarguy » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:34 am

Woodlake wrote:save your points and redeem for saver award biz/first class tickets.....

Hawaii/Europe both good destination to fly on united
Continental US to Hawaii on Flying Blue via Chase UR points...15k miles. 3.1 cpp.

Biz/first class awards I'm sure are nice. I'd rather just fly economy and go on more trips.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:38 am

Let me be a contrarian.

I have a CSP and won't qualify for a CSR for a year. When I pass the 5/24 threshold, I'll get a CSR, provided it's offered with a respectable bonus. But the value of 3% cashback vs. 3% in URs depends on one's individual situation. For example, I already have enough URs for several trans-Atlantic flights in the economy. I do not wish to fly anything above economy.

Frequently, low-cost airfares provide a better value than using miles. For example, this year I paid $650 for a round trip to Paris, and $150 for a round trip between Paris to Barcelona. I am not flying through Paris to save money on flights. I will stay in France for a week before heading to Barcelona, and thus both fares provide fantastic value for me. With the proliferation of Scandinavian and Middle-Eastern low-cost airlines, I wonder if cash-based flights would not be providing a better value than miles-based flights in the long run.

I don't want to be accumulating URs for the sake of accumulating, and 3% cashback is more fungible. Thus, for me, a prudent plan could be:
- Early 2018 - get a CSR (after I qualify, for a nice bonus)
- Keep CSP to maintain UR transfer privileges
- Get a Costco card
- Early 2019 - cancel a CSR (after a year of use)

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:48 am, edited 3 times in total.
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NorCalDad
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by NorCalDad » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:40 am

I think these cards serve different purposes. For earning purposes, ignoring bonuses and other perks, I like CSR for the 1.5x on the Ultimate Rewards travel portal and 3% back on travel and restaurants.

To maximize this, though, we use two other no-fee Chase cards - Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited. We got 5% back on gas in the first quarter through Chase Freedom. That equaled 7.5% back through the UR travel portal with CSR. We'll get 5% back on grocery stores this quarter on Freedom, which again equals 7.5% back.

For travel and restaurants, we use CSR because as BeneIRA said, it's like getting 4.5% back through the travel portal. Then for most everything else, we use Chase Unlimited, which is 1.5% on everything, which equals 2.25% back.

For gas, when it's not a Freedom bonus quarter, we need to find a better card because there are ways to beat 2.25% on gas. That's the only area where the Costco card beats the CSR plus Freedom/Unlimited. Even on Costco purchases, I can get 2.25% back using Unlimited.

As a family of four that likes to travel, we will always find ways to use UR points.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:48 am

VictoriaF wrote:Let me be a contrarian.

I have a CSP and won't qualify for a CSR for a year. When I pass the 5/24 threshold, I'll get a CSR, provided it's offered with a respectable bonus. But the value of 3% cashback vs. 3% in URs depends on one's individual situation. For example, I already have enough URs for several trans-Atlantic flights in the economy. I do not wish to fly anything above economy. Frequently, low-cost airfares provide a better value than using miles, for example, this year I paid $650 for a round trip to Paris, and $150 for a round trip from Paris to Barcelona.

I don't want to be accumulating URs for the sake of accumulating, and 3% cashback is more fungible. Thus, for me, a prudent plan could be:
- Early 2018 - get a CSR (after I qualify)
- Keep CSP to maintain UR transfer privileges
- Get a Costco card
- Early 2019 - cancel a CSR (after a year of use)

Victoria
Great points. I am with you that I never fly anything above economy, so all of the "7 cents per point!" that The Points Guy alleges he gets on business class flights don't impact me. I would rather spend 60,000 miles on an economy round trip to Paris than 70,000 miles for one way in business class. Due to my lack of work flexibility, transferring URs to airlines usually doesn't work for me due to their limited award availability. In your case, you are looking for a UR card to use as a vehicle to transfer to travel partners. For me, the 25% bonus of the CSR allows me to redeem more travel than I could with the CSP. YMMV.
NorCalDad wrote:I think these cards serve different purposes. For earning purposes, ignoring bonuses and other perks, I like CSR for the 1.5x on the Ultimate Rewards travel portal and 3% back on travel and restaurants.

To maximize this, though, we use two other no-fee Chase cards - Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited. We got 5% back on gas in the first quarter through Chase Freedom. That equaled 7.5% back through the UR travel portal with CSR. We'll get 5% back on grocery stores this quarter on Freedom, which again equals 7.5% back.

For travel and restaurants, we use CSR because as BeneIRA said, it's like getting 4.5% back through the travel portal. Then for most everything else, we use Chase Unlimited, which is 1.5% on everything, which equals 2.25% back.

For gas, when it's not a Freedom bonus quarter, we need to find a better card because there are ways to beat 2.25% on gas. That's the only area where the Costco card beats the CSR plus Freedom/Unlimited. Even on Costco purchases, I can get 2.25% back using Unlimited.

As a family of four that likes to travel, we will always find ways to use UR points.
Agreed. During gas quarters, such as the last one, I stocked up on gas gift cards for the 5% to use going forward. Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too. This quarter they made drug stores/grocery stores one category for the Freedom, which is less than ideal, but the $1500 is easy to max out.

As an added bonus when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal, aside from the flexibility, is that it is considered a revenue fare by the airlines, so you will get frequent flier miles/qualifying miles on purchases.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by NorCalDad » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:03 am

BeneIRA wrote:Agreed. During gas quarters, such as the last one, I stocked up on gas gift cards for the 5% to use going forward. Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too. This quarter they made drug stores/grocery stores one category for the Freedom, which is less than ideal, but the $1500 is easy to max out.

As an added bonus when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal, aside from the flexibility, is that it is considered a revenue fare by the airlines, so you will get frequent flier miles/qualifying miles on purchases.
I clearly need to step up our game - we did not stock up on gift cards for gas. Will look into that for groceries within the max limit, for sure.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Woodlake » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:45 am

guitarguy wrote:
Woodlake wrote:save your points and redeem for saver award biz/first class tickets.....

Hawaii/Europe both good destination to fly on united
Continental US to Hawaii on Flying Blue via Chase UR points...15k miles. 3.1 cpp.

Biz/first class awards I'm sure are nice. I'd rather just fly economy and go on more trips.
flying from east coast to Hawaii is 10 hours, it hurts to sit in economy for 10 hours....

protagonist
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by protagonist » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:55 am

The bang for the buck with all of these cards is the promotion. Day-to-day spending won't make you much money.

CSR offers you 105K-115K points for 4K spending. Plus, if you time it right, $600 in travel expenses, $100 global entry, and numerous other benefits for $450. That is huge.

What does Costco offer you for a promotion?

(Actually I am considering renewing my CSR card when the time comes. I probably will. The benefits of that card go way beyond the 3% on restaurants and travel (and 2.25% combined with Freedom Unlimited and 7.5% in categories combined with Freedom). They offer roadside assistance (useful if you have an old car), travel insurance, travel health insurance (can be very valuable in emergencies), etc etc.....the combined value of which, if one adds the value of the points and the ability to transfer your UR points, may be worth the annual $150 fee (after the $300 free travel allowance).

protagonist
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by protagonist » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:07 am

BeneIRA wrote: Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too.
Drug stores is a category now. Was this a typo? How do you take advantage by stocking up on gas gift cards if drug stores are a category?

And are gas gift cards free in gas stations?

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:08 am

Earlier, VictoriaF wrote:I don't want to be accumulating URs for the sake of accumulating, and 3% cashback is more fungible. Thus, for me, a prudent plan could be:
- Early 2018 - get a CSR (after I qualify, for a nice bonus)
- Keep CSP to maintain UR transfer privileges
- Get a Costco card
- Early 2019 - cancel a CSR (after a year of use)

Victoria
protagonist wrote:The bang for the buck with all of these cards is the promotion. Day-to-day spending won't make you much money.
Exactly.
protagonist wrote:(Actually I am considering renewing my CSR card when the time comes. I probably will. The benefits of that card go way beyond the 3% on restaurants and travel (and 2.25% combined with Freedom Unlimited and 7.5% in categories combined with Freedom). They offer roadside assistance (useful if you have an old car), travel insurance, travel health insurance (can be very valuable in emergencies), etc etc.....the combined value of which, if one adds the value of the points and the ability to transfer your UR points, may be worth the annual $150 fee (after the $300 free travel allowance).
Good points. Perhaps, I will drop CSP and keep CSR. I may still use the Costco card in restaurants for cashback.

Victoria
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by protagonist » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:10 am

NorCalDad wrote: As an added bonus when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal, aside from the flexibility, is that it is considered a revenue fare by the airlines, so you will get frequent flier miles/qualifying miles on purchases.

And there are no additional surcharges.

This winter I flew Cathay Pacific RT from NYC to Saigon for less than 40K UR points using the portal- could pick any flight, any date, and no additional charge.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:12 am

protagonist wrote:
BeneIRA wrote: Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too.
Drug stores is a category now. Was this a typo? How do you take advantage by stocking up on gas gift cards if drug stores are a category?

And are gas gift cards free in gas stations?
When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
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protagonist
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by protagonist » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:12 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Earlier, VictoriaF wrote:I don't want to be accumulating URs for the sake of accumulating, and 3% cashback is more fungible. Thus, for me, a prudent plan could be:
- Early 2018 - get a CSR (after I qualify, for a nice bonus)
- Keep CSP to maintain UR transfer privileges
- Get a Costco card
- Early 2019 - cancel a CSR (after a year of use)

Victoria
protagonist wrote:The bang for the buck with all of these cards is the promotion. Day-to-day spending won't make you much money.
Exactly.
protagonist wrote:(Actually I am considering renewing my CSR card when the time comes. I probably will. The benefits of that card go way beyond the 3% on restaurants and travel (and 2.25% combined with Freedom Unlimited and 7.5% in categories combined with Freedom). They offer roadside assistance (useful if you have an old car), travel insurance, travel health insurance (can be very valuable in emergencies), etc etc.....the combined value of which, if one adds the value of the points and the ability to transfer your UR points, may be worth the annual $150 fee (after the $300 free travel allowance).
Good points. Perhaps, I will drop CSP and keep CSR. I may still use the Costco card in restaurants for cashback.

Victoria
I dropped CSP, Victoria. The additional benefits of CSR seem to me to easily justify the additional $55 annual fee.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by protagonist » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:18 am

VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
BeneIRA wrote: Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too.
Drug stores is a category now. Was this a typo? How do you take advantage by stocking up on gas gift cards if drug stores are a category?

And are gas gift cards free in gas stations?
When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
I never got into the gift card thing. So the idea is you buy Amazon gift cards at the grocery stores to round up to $1500? But then you are stuck having to spend your Amazon gift cards- more accounting, more things to consider, more time, labor and effort. I imagine that would also encourage increased spending, and lock you psychologically into buying things specifically from Amazon (which sort of bothers me). And don't the cards cost money above and beyond their face value? I don't know if all that would be worth it to me. I already have enough points to last me quite a few years. I'd rather just take advantage of another promotion when I need points.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:26 am

protagonist wrote:
BeneIRA wrote: Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too.
Drug stores is a category now. Was this a typo? How do you take advantage by stocking up on gas gift cards if drug stores are a category?

And are gas gift cards free in gas stations?
I believe drug stores were a standalone category at some point and not paired with grocery stores. The value is diluted now that grocery stores and drug stores are the same category. I could gift card purchase my way to maxing the drug store category $1,500, but with it being paired with grocery stores, it is a lot less valuable. As opposed to two categories I can easily meet, I now have one.
VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
BeneIRA wrote: Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too.
Drug stores is a category now. Was this a typo? How do you take advantage by stocking up on gas gift cards if drug stores are a category?

And are gas gift cards free in gas stations?
When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
I did the same thing. A combination of Amazon and gas gift cards. I pre-purchased a couple months of gas and the Amazon gift cards have almost already been spent.
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
BeneIRA wrote: Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too.
Drug stores is a category now. Was this a typo? How do you take advantage by stocking up on gas gift cards if drug stores are a category?

And are gas gift cards free in gas stations?
When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
I never got into the gift card thing. So the idea is you buy Amazon gift cards at the grocery stores to round up to $1500? But then you are stuck having to spend your Amazon gift cards- more accounting, more things to consider, more time, labor and effort. I imagine that would also encourage increased spending, and lock you psychologically into buying things specifically from Amazon (which sort of bothers me). And don't the cards cost money above and beyond their face value? I don't know if all that would be worth it to me. I already have enough points to last me quite a few years. I'd rather just take advantage of another promotion when I need points.
Gift cards, unless they are prepaid phone gift cards, cost just their face value. A $100 Amazon gift card costs $100. Some big grocery stores like Stop and Shop, Jewel, Shaw's, Wegman's, Publix, have a wide variety of gift cards, not just Amazon. In all likelihood, there is something on the gift card rack you would purchase anyway at some point. It can encourage increased spending, but I still treat my gift cards as cash. If you have enough points to last you for a while, then you should be okay to skip this.

I personally love gas gift cards because fraud is rampant in my area. I haven't swiped a credit card for gas in quite a while aside from Costco on occasion. If I get several $25 gift cards and use them in their entirety or close to it every time, I don't have to worry about fraud. Sure, I could just go inside and I do that, too, but the gift cards are more convenient for me.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by mikep » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:30 am

NorCalDad wrote:
BeneIRA wrote:Agreed. During gas quarters, such as the last one, I stocked up on gas gift cards for the 5% to use going forward. Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too. This quarter they made drug stores/grocery stores one category for the Freedom, which is less than ideal, but the $1500 is easy to max out.

As an added bonus when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal, aside from the flexibility, is that it is considered a revenue fare by the airlines, so you will get frequent flier miles/qualifying miles on purchases.
I clearly need to step up our game - we did not stock up on gift cards for gas. Will look into that for groceries within the max limit, for sure.
I tried this but I went to a few gas stations with the gift card racks and none accepted CCs for the gift cards, so I was out of luck. :annoyed

Grocery stores do but at a $200 per day limit, and when you buy $200 worth of gift cards the manager has to come to the register and look you over like a criminal. So I will be spreading this out over the quarter.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by protagonist » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:31 am

As for gas, I just take the 10 cents off with my Cumberland Farms card- free at any CF gas station .

That amounts to about 5% immediate savings. I figure a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Last edited by protagonist on Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:34 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
I never got into the gift card thing. So the idea is you buy Amazon gift cards at the grocery stores to round up to $1500? But then you are stuck having to spend your Amazon gift cards- more accounting, more things to consider, more time, labor and effort. I imagine that would also encourage increased spending, and lock you psychologically into buying things specifically from Amazon (which sort of bothers me). And don't the cards cost money above and beyond their face value? I don't know if all that would be worth it to me. I already have enough points to last me quite a few years. I'd rather just take advantage of another promotion when I need points.
Amazon.com GCs do not carry any fees.

I have an active Amazon.com account and end up using all my credit there. I am the first one to argue that having credit and gaining points have psychological effects of overspending. But I manage to justify it to myself {laughing at myself}

Here is what I actually do. I keep on Amazon several topical Wish Lists with the items I want, or may want. In the notes field, I enter the lowest price I've seen for that item. When the price drops, I update the lowest price. Thus, I have a good sense of when the current price is a bargain. (There are other ways to track Amazon.com prices, but I like my approach.)

Occasionally, I want to buy something immediately, and if Amazon offers a competitive price I buy it.

Victoria
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:41 am

mikep wrote:I tried this but I went to a few gas stations with the gift card racks and none accepted CCs for the gift cards, so I was out of luck. :annoyed
In my local 7-Eleven some clerks accept CC for Amazon GC and others don't. Once I have figured out who is who, I did not have a problem.

Victoria
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by mikep » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:57 am

VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
I never got into the gift card thing. So the idea is you buy Amazon gift cards at the grocery stores to round up to $1500? But then you are stuck having to spend your Amazon gift cards- more accounting, more things to consider, more time, labor and effort. I imagine that would also encourage increased spending, and lock you psychologically into buying things specifically from Amazon (which sort of bothers me). And don't the cards cost money above and beyond their face value? I don't know if all that would be worth it to me. I already have enough points to last me quite a few years. I'd rather just take advantage of another promotion when I need points.
Amazon.com GCs do not carry any fees.

I have an active Amazon.com account and end up using all my credit there. I am the first one to argue that having credit and gaining points have psychological effects of overspending. But I manage to justify it to myself {laughing at myself}

Here is what I actually do. I keep on Amazon several topical Wish Lists with the items I want, or may want. In the notes field, I enter the lowest price I've seen for that item. When the price drops, I update the lowest price. Thus, I have a good sense of when the current price is a bargain. (There are other ways to track Amazon.com prices, but I like my approach.)

Occasionally, I want to buy something immediately, and if Amazon offers a competitive price I buy it.

Victoria
I like to use camelcamelcamel.com to automatically track amazon items.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by jcchen » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:26 am

The Costco Visa has NO annual fee so it does not hurt to have the card. Plus it rebates 4% on gas. Why not have both cards?

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:30 pm

mikep wrote:
NorCalDad wrote:
BeneIRA wrote:Agreed. During gas quarters, such as the last one, I stocked up on gas gift cards for the 5% to use going forward. Last year when drug stores were a category, I stocked up on gas gift cards then, too. This quarter they made drug stores/grocery stores one category for the Freedom, which is less than ideal, but the $1500 is easy to max out.

As an added bonus when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal, aside from the flexibility, is that it is considered a revenue fare by the airlines, so you will get frequent flier miles/qualifying miles on purchases.
I clearly need to step up our game - we did not stock up on gift cards for gas. Will look into that for groceries within the max limit, for sure.
I tried this but I went to a few gas stations with the gift card racks and none accepted CCs for the gift cards, so I was out of luck. :annoyed

Grocery stores do but at a $200 per day limit, and when you buy $200 worth of gift cards the manager has to come to the register and look you over like a criminal. So I will be spreading this out over the quarter.
For me, it has always been $500, even at gas stations that I have frequented, and most accept credit cards. Yes, stores have been asking for my ID and credit card to verify if it is me, but I actually appreciate this because before, anyone could steal my credit card and by hundreds in gift cards. Now it is at least slightly more difficult, but spreading it around is fine. For Shell gift cards, for instance, the cashier has to manually swipe each gift card, which takes forever. Instead of annoying them and those in line behind me, I went to a few different gas stations and got gift cards.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by guitarguy » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:37 pm

Woodlake wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
Woodlake wrote:save your points and redeem for saver award biz/first class tickets.....

Hawaii/Europe both good destination to fly on united
Continental US to Hawaii on Flying Blue via Chase UR points...15k miles. 3.1 cpp.

Biz/first class awards I'm sure are nice. I'd rather just fly economy and go on more trips.
flying from east coast to Hawaii is 10 hours, it hurts to sit in economy for 10 hours....
Meh, it's broken up with a connection. We're young. We've suffered through long flights before. Never found it to be that big of a deal.

Never got a taste of first/biz class either. From what I have found it just takes way to many miles to make it worth it. Most of our redemptions are domestic anyways. HI will probably be the longest we'll have to endure.

Maybe someday we'll redeem a biz or first class award to AUS. That's on our list of places to visit.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:42 pm

Woodlake wrote:flying from east coast to Hawaii is 10 hours, it hurts to sit in economy for 10 hours....
You can go to the restroom and break it into 5 + 5 {giggling}

Victoria
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by WhiteMaxima » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:54 pm

Costco Visa gives your 2% in the warehouse and 4% for 1 tier Costco gas
Chase Reserve gives 4.5% on travel if you book through them and has many other benefits.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:17 pm

Responses are great - lot's of good information. I see the benefits of the CSR even clearer than before. I have questions about using the points.

Are the flights limited? More specifically, is it easy to get the 6am flight (who wants to get to the airport at 4am) and not so much the 9am or 10am flights (which my wife and I prefer)? Also, what about availability of non-stop vs connecting flights? We avoid connections if at all possible.

In other words, is the ability to get flights almost the same as if booking directly with the airline?
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by guitarguy » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:22 pm

MikeG62 wrote:Responses are great - lot's of good information. I see the benefits of the CSR even clearer than before. I have questions about using the points.

Are the flights limited? More specifically, is it easy to get the 6am flight (who wants to get to the airport at 4am) and not so much the 9am or 10am flights (which my wife and I prefer)? Also, what about availability of non-stop vs connecting flights? We avoid connections if at all possible.

In other words, is the ability to get flights almost the same as if booking directly with the airline?
It is exactly the same. Chase is paying cash for these flights for you when you cash in your points for travel. If a flight is available for cash you can book it through Chase's portal.

That said, there is often better value in transferring the points and booking a reward flight.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:32 pm

guitarguy wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:Responses are great - lot's of good information. I see the benefits of the CSR even clearer than before. I have questions about using the points.

Are the flights limited? More specifically, is it easy to get the 6am flight (who wants to get to the airport at 4am) and not so much the 9am or 10am flights (which my wife and I prefer)? Also, what about availability of non-stop vs connecting flights? We avoid connections if at all possible.

In other words, is the ability to get flights almost the same as if booking directly with the airline?
It is exactly the same. Chase is paying cash for these flights for you when you cash in your points for travel. If a flight is available for cash you can book it through Chase's portal.

That said, there is often better value in transferring the points and booking a reward flight.
I am keeping a Chase United Explorer card and paying $95/year, because its ownership opens up for me some additional reward flight options on the United site.

Victoria
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:40 pm

guitarguy wrote:...It is exactly the same. Chase is paying cash for these flights for you when you cash in your points for travel. If a flight is available for cash you can book it through Chase's portal.

That said, there is often better value in transferring the points and booking a reward flight.
guitarguy, can you elaborate please? I thought redeeming through the UR portal got you 50% benefit whereas points transferred to airline are done 1:1?

Is is because you can get free R/T flights for 50,000 miles that would otherwise cost more than $750?
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:42 pm

VictoriaF wrote:...I am keeping a Chase United Explorer card and paying $95/year, because its ownership opens up for me some additional reward flight options on the United site.

Victoria
To me the big advantage of booking with the CUE card is the one free checked bag for each of two people ($100 value R/T) as well as priority boarding.
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by guitarguy » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:52 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:...It is exactly the same. Chase is paying cash for these flights for you when you cash in your points for travel. If a flight is available for cash you can book it through Chase's portal.

That said, there is often better value in transferring the points and booking a reward flight.
guitarguy, can you elaborate please? I thought redeeming through the UR portal got you 50% benefit whereas points transferred to airline are done 1:1?

Is is because you can get free R/T flights for 50,000 miles that would otherwise cost more than $750?
Exactly. Some of our examples:

15k points transfer to Flying Blue miles to book an award flight on Delta (we live near a hub) to HNL, 7500 Skymiles to island hop, and 15k more FB miles from OGG home. These flights to/from HI are over $450 and up. This trip is still planned...hopefully no devaluation in the coming months!

Booked nonstop flights to SFO at 22.5k United Miles instead of $525+.

Several nonstop flights to DAL on Southwest to visit family, getting about 1.8 cents per mile (we have a lot of SW miles so the last couple flights did not require UR top offs)

Planning on a very nice redemption by transferring to Hyatt on Maui also.

These are all trips we'd take regardless of whether we had points/miles, so I consider it actual valuable savings.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by guitarguy » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:53 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:...I am keeping a Chase United Explorer card and paying $95/year, because its ownership opens up for me some additional reward flight options on the United site.

Victoria
To me the big advantage of booking with the CUE card is the one free checked bag for each of two people ($100 value R/T) as well as priority boarding.
Do you actually have to pay for the flight with the card? Or is simply holding the card enough (similar to the Delta Skymiles cards)...?

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:10 pm

guitarguy wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:...I am keeping a Chase United Explorer card and paying $95/year, because its ownership opens up for me some additional reward flight options on the United site.

Victoria
To me the big advantage of booking with the CUE card is the one free checked bag for each of two people ($100 value R/T) as well as priority boarding.
Do you actually have to pay for the flight with the card? Or is simply holding the card enough (similar to the Delta Skymiles cards)...?
It is "my understanding" that the fare has to be paid for with the card. So I think if using miles for the flight, one would not get the free checked bags or priority boarding. If anyone has experienced differently, I'd be happy to be corrected.

This from the Chase Website:

Free Checked Bag
The primary Cardmember and one traveling companion on the same reservation are each eligible to receive their first standard checked bag free; authorized users are only eligible if they are on the same reservation as the primary Cardmember. To receive first standard checked bag free, the primary Cardmember must include their MileagePlus® number in their reservation and use their MileagePlus Explorer Card to purchase their ticket(s). First standard checked bag free is only available on United®- and United Express®-operated flights; codeshare partner-operated flights are not eligible. Service charges for oversized, overweight and extra baggage may apply.

Priority Boarding
The primary Cardmember and companions traveling on the same reservation are eligible for priority boarding; authorized users are only eligible if they are on the same reservation as the primary Cardmember. To receive priority boarding, the primary Cardmember must include their MileagePlus® number in their reservation. Priority boarding is only available on United®- and United Express®-operated flights; codeshare partner-operated flights are not eligible. MileagePlus Explorer Cardmembers can board the plane before general boarding, after MileagePlus Premier® members, customers with Premier Access® and travelers requiring special assistance.
Last edited by MikeG62 on Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Da5id » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:16 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:...I am keeping a Chase United Explorer card and paying $95/year, because its ownership opens up for me some additional reward flight options on the United site.

Victoria
To me the big advantage of booking with the CUE card is the one free checked bag for each of two people ($100 value R/T) as well as priority boarding.
Do you actually have to pay for the flight with the card? Or is simply holding the card enough (similar to the Delta Skymiles cards)...?
It is "my understanding" that the fare has to be paid for with the card. So I think if using miles for the flight, one would not get the free checked bags or priority boarding. If anyone has experienced differently, I'd be happy to be corrected.
I used miles for a flight and got charged $11.20 for fees. Put that on my United card, got free bags.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:17 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:...I am keeping a Chase United Explorer card and paying $95/year, because its ownership opens up for me some additional reward flight options on the United site.

Victoria
To me the big advantage of booking with the CUE card is the one free checked bag for each of two people ($100 value R/T) as well as priority boarding.
Do you actually have to pay for the flight with the card? Or is simply holding the card enough (similar to the Delta Skymiles cards)...?
It is "my understanding" that the fare has to be paid for with the card. So I think if using miles for the flight, one would not get the free checked bags or priority boarding. If anyone has experienced differently, I'd be happy to be corrected.
I don't know the answer, but when I am booking United flights I am always using the CUE card because that's the only way to keep it active and earn additional points on it. And even mileage-based flights have some associated taxes which are charged to the card.

Victoria
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:37 pm

guitarguy wrote:
MikeG62 wrote:Responses are great - lot's of good information. I see the benefits of the CSR even clearer than before. I have questions about using the points.

Are the flights limited? More specifically, is it easy to get the 6am flight (who wants to get to the airport at 4am) and not so much the 9am or 10am flights (which my wife and I prefer)? Also, what about availability of non-stop vs connecting flights? We avoid connections if at all possible.

In other words, is the ability to get flights almost the same as if booking directly with the airline?
It is exactly the same. Chase is paying cash for these flights for you when you cash in your points for travel. If a flight is available for cash you can book it through Chase's portal.

That said, there is often better value in transferring the points and booking a reward flight.
This one is really YMMV. For me, usually, booking through the UR portal is the better option if I am using points. I only book economy and economy prices are usually reasonable. Especially domestic where it usually takes 25,000 miles one way when the one way price is usually cheaper than that. On the other hand, I would never book a Premium Economy and up flight on the Ultimate Rewards Portal. It costs a very high number of points.

Internationally, to Europe, an average roundtrip can run 60,000 miles on an airline rewards program. But the cash rate for an average roundtrip can be about $600 and I am probably overshooting that a bit if booked off-peak and probably underestimating if booking during the summer. Using Chase, I can get that flight for 40,000 points instead of the 60,000 United would cost, plus the fees. However, if the flight is $950, then the 60,000 miles looks better. It would be about 63,500 UR points versus the 60,000 miles. Definitely check both. The UR Portal has really grown on me in recent times.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:57 pm

CSR :happy

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Gronnie » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:43 pm

mikep wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:When gas stations were a 5x category, I was buying Amazon gift cards to round up to $1,5000. This quarter I will be buying Amazon GC at grocery stores and drug stores after I know how much I will have spent naturally.

Victoria
I never got into the gift card thing. So the idea is you buy Amazon gift cards at the grocery stores to round up to $1500? But then you are stuck having to spend your Amazon gift cards- more accounting, more things to consider, more time, labor and effort. I imagine that would also encourage increased spending, and lock you psychologically into buying things specifically from Amazon (which sort of bothers me). And don't the cards cost money above and beyond their face value? I don't know if all that would be worth it to me. I already have enough points to last me quite a few years. I'd rather just take advantage of another promotion when I need points.
Amazon.com GCs do not carry any fees.

I have an active Amazon.com account and end up using all my credit there. I am the first one to argue that having credit and gaining points have psychological effects of overspending. But I manage to justify it to myself {laughing at myself}

Here is what I actually do. I keep on Amazon several topical Wish Lists with the items I want, or may want. In the notes field, I enter the lowest price I've seen for that item. When the price drops, I update the lowest price. Thus, I have a good sense of when the current price is a bargain. (There are other ways to track Amazon.com prices, but I like my approach.)

Occasionally, I want to buy something immediately, and if Amazon offers a competitive price I buy it.

Victoria
I like to use camelcamelcamel.com to automatically track amazon items.
This! camelcamelcamel is amazing! When we found out we are pregnant we put a ton of baby stuff into there with alerts near historically low prices and have been able to get a ton of stuff at, well... nearly historically low prices I suppose.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:15 am

Da5id wrote:...I used miles for a flight and got charged $11.20 for fees. Put that on my United card, got free bags.
That is good to know. It appears they have a broad definition of "use their MileagePlus Explorer Card to purchase their ticket(s)". :thumbsup
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BW1985 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:38 am

Woodlake wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
Woodlake wrote:save your points and redeem for saver award biz/first class tickets.....

Hawaii/Europe both good destination to fly on united
Continental US to Hawaii on Flying Blue via Chase UR points...15k miles. 3.1 cpp.

Biz/first class awards I'm sure are nice. I'd rather just fly economy and go on more trips.
flying from east coast to Hawaii is 10 hours, it hurts to sit in economy for 10 hours....
Doesn't hurt my 5'2'' wife. Hurts me though so I pay the cash price for premium economy bulkhead seats.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by BW1985 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:43 am

protagonist wrote:
NorCalDad wrote: As an added bonus when using the Ultimate Rewards Portal, aside from the flexibility, is that it is considered a revenue fare by the airlines, so you will get frequent flier miles/qualifying miles on purchases.

And there are no additional surcharges.

This winter I flew Cathay Pacific RT from NYC to Saigon for less than 40K UR points using the portal- could pick any flight, any date, and no additional charge.
The portal is cash pricing though, are you saying the cash price was less than 400?

I haven't checked the portal that much but when I do it works out much better to transfer points instead.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Kiter » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:41 am

I have not read all posts here but do not understand the 3% cash back on the CSR? I have the CSR ,received it in Nov.2016 . Received 100k points with expected spending,$ 300.00 credit for travel ,TSA/Global entry for 2016 and $300.00 credit for travel in 2017. Signed the CSR card up for Dining points program ,when I eat at participating places (10X) I get 5 miles per dollar$ on a airline program in addition to 3 points to UR . I think I understand the program...?Where is the cash back ?Am I missing something ?

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by MikeG62 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:52 am

Kiter wrote:I have not read all posts here but do not understand the 3% cash back on the CSR? I have the CSR ,received it in Nov.2016 . Received 100k points with expected spending,$ 300.00 credit for travel ,TSA/Global entry for 2016 and $300.00 credit for travel in 2017. Signed the CSR card up for Dining points program ,when I eat at participating places (10X) I get 5 miles per dollar$ on a airline program in addition to 3 points to UR . I think I understand the program...?Where is the cash back ?Am I missing something ?
If you go to the UR website, one option is to cash out your points at one cent per point. So if you have 100K point, you can get $1,000 sent to your bank account. However, points can be worth more so better to use on UR website for travel or transfer to airline or hotel partner for free travel/stays.
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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by killjoy2012 » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:18 am

OP -

1) I'd consider downgrading your CSR to CSP once the first year is up. The second year's $450 AF is not worth the extra % over CSP IMO.

2) Keep in mind that points are only worth what YOU redeem them for. Don't fall victim to some of the blogger sites stating they're worth $x, since most of those same sites are using non-typical, sub-optimal scenarios in their value calculations. For example, for their value calc, they often use the most expensive hotels in basing their point value. So if you visit Paris or Toyko, for the same point spend, would you want to stay 1 night in an $800/night luxury hotel, or 3 nights in a Hyatt-level hotel? You get the best personal value with the latter, but best $/point with the former... and most of the blog sites uses the former in making their point valuations.

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Re: Citi Costco Visa vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Post by Kiter » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:34 am

Thx. I was aware of cash out value but thought SOMEWHERE in the long disclaimer I had missed something else. :oops: Can happen.Now to keep up with calls about retention offers .

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