Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

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Phil DeMuth
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Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Phil DeMuth » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:38 am

I am thinking of abandoning my airline miles rewards credit cards (Chase, Amex) for simple 2% cash back cards.

My only interest is using airline miles for international business class travel, and these seats now seem impossible to get. Even if I log in at midnight 331 days out (or whenever the seats supposedly become available), there is nothing, and certainly nothing on the more desirable nonstop flights. I am not an elite member of any airline so I have no strings to pull. Worse, my schedule usually does not have much wiggle room.

The game seems rigged: the airlines inflate the currency and pull away the football. Ergo, time to stop playing? While in theory the miles are worth about five cents each on international routes, they are worth less if I have to spend them on 8-track tapes from the SkyMall catalog. I'd be better off getting two cents back and paying cash for the (expensive) tickets on the flights I want.

Is there some way to actually use all these airline miles for upgraded international travel that I am too stupid to know about? Somebody must be doing it....

student
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by student » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:56 am

I have an airline miles credit card but I only use it to pay for airfares. I use other reward cards for everyday purchases. Since you mentioned AMEX, I assume you have a Delta card. For Delta skymiles, you can always use it as cash towards purchasing Delta tickets. Of course, the redemption value is less at 10,000 miles being equivalent to $100.

dbr
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by dbr » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:58 am

Phil DeMuth wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:38 am
I am thinking of abandoning my airline miles rewards credit cards (Chase, Amex) for simple 2% cash back cards.

My only interest is using airline miles for international business class travel, and these seats now seem impossible to get. Even if I log in at midnight 331 days out (or whenever the seats supposedly become available), there is nothing, and certainly nothing on the more desirable nonstop flights. I am not an elite member of any airline so I have no strings to pull. Worse, my schedule usually does not have much wiggle room.

The game seems rigged: the airlines inflate the currency and pull away the football. Ergo, time to stop playing? While in theory the miles are worth about five cents each on international routes, they are worth less if I have to spend them on 8-track tapes from the SkyMall catalog. I'd be better off getting two cents back and paying cash for the (expensive) tickets on the flights I want.

Is there some way to actually use all these airline miles for upgraded international travel that I am too stupid to know about? Somebody must be doing it....
It is not that you are stupid but it may be that you are not smart enough to pull this off, more accurately that you have not worked hard enough to pull it off. It might be a fair statement that the system is rigged in that using miles for international travel in premium classes is hard to do, but I can tell you for a fact that you probably haven't worked hard enough to do it yet, as it is possible. The biggest single factor working against you is not being flexible and not looking far in advance. I don't know what airline you have miles on, but just as an illustration you can make a round trip from Seattle to Tokyo in DeltaOne for 160,000 miles in March where the same ticket would cost you about $5700 in dollars for a return of about 3.6 c/mi. You can ramble around on the various airline sites and dig out whatever you find. Don't want to fly from Seattle to Tokyo in March, then try something else. I think it is generally conceded that using miles to upgrade to higher classes on international travel is a poor bet as availability is low and you have to start with expensive fair class in the first place. Also, these 5 c/mi benefits depend on assuming that you would really spend several thousand dollars on an upper class ticket in the first place. I put the value of business class at about $250 per person each way over economy in the first place. There are no 5 c/mi redemptions in existence. The highest redemption value I have actually used is getting somebody on a last minute domestic economy fare in an emergency where we got an $800 fare for 25,000 miles for a value of 3.2 c/mi.

Realistically the value of frequent flyer miles for real world redemption opportunities is more like 1.5-2 c/mi. Based on that FF miles vs 2% cash back is probably a wash. Without serious effort to use FF miles I think cash back is probably a no brainer.

If you want to make a study of the whole issue, I recommend spending a few dozen hours reading on FlyerTalk.

Jags4186
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Jags4186 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:10 pm

dbr wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:58 am
Realistically the value of frequent flyer miles for real world redemption opportunities is more like 1.5-2 c/mi. Based on that FF miles vs 2% cash back is probably a wash. Without serious effort to use FF miles I think cash back is probably a no brainer.
The difference is that there are many opportunities to earn more than 1 mile per $ spent vs $0.02 per dollar spent.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:13 pm

Phil DeMuth wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:38 am
I am thinking of abandoning my airline miles rewards credit cards (Chase, Amex) for simple 2% cash back cards.

My only interest is using airline miles for international business class travel, and these seats now seem impossible to get. Even if I log in at midnight 331 days out (or whenever the seats supposedly become available), there is nothing, and certainly nothing on the more desirable nonstop flights. I am not an elite member of any airline so I have no strings to pull. Worse, my schedule usually does not have much wiggle room.

The game seems rigged: the airlines inflate the currency and pull away the football. Ergo, time to stop playing? While in theory the miles are worth about five cents each on international routes, they are worth less if I have to spend them on 8-track tapes from the SkyMall catalog. I'd be better off getting two cents back and paying cash for the (expensive) tickets on the flights I want.

Is there some way to actually use all these airline miles for upgraded international travel that I am too stupid to know about? Somebody must be doing it....
We use those points *only* for premium air travel.
And using AAdvantage points for *partner* travel seems to be the best deal we can find thus far.
(And we can now state that first class in JAL and Cathay Pacific are amazing, and not that many more points than business. For flights of ~15 hours, it's a no-brainer to us.)

We were able to get the JAL F award tickets to Tokyo with surprisingly little trouble. I think we had to change from our initial (and somewhat arbitrary) start of travel date by one or two days.
Getting the CX back, routing through Hong Kong, that was a bit tricky.

So we turned, for the second time, to a service that helps with getting these tickets.
What we did was to get 1 First ticket and 1 Business class ticket, and then the service used their own (paid) software to monitor for the second F seat, or for 2 on a different date (one or two days later, our specification).
We figured as long as we were on the same plane, in different classes, we'd be fine. (Apparently some people agree to fly different flights, but that's not "us".)
For the value of those F seats, adding a small amount for this service was an easy call.

As far as I know, the various services (all?) don't charge you until/unless they find you awards seats (flight date/time/equipment if desired) that you approve of. So it's really no "risk" to check with them.
The "monitoring" does cost a bit, and that is non-refundable regardless of the outcome. Our "outcome" was another F ticket on the original flight.

We then needed flights to/from Norway, for a cruise.
That was far more challenging, as the itinerary itself was difficult (one direction involved a small airport; the other, a larger but still "not main" airport).
The service really earned their fee on that one.

We've used two different services. One just does the awards ticketing.
The other is more specialized and is also an affiliate of a premium travel agency.
(They are able to match most of the hotel perks that Amex Plat offers, but the hotel list isn't identical.)

FlyerTalk.com has a list of quite a few of these services, with comments/recommendations, including sometimes if they "specialize".

It's at least worth speaking with one of them (one that doesn't charge unless you accept a routing they've found) to learn more.
We were mighty suspicious at first, and we made a point of charging the services to Amex, because of the good consumer protections, but nothing of the sort was needed.

They can also give recommendations (which are obviously personal) about which Business seats are better than others, by airline and by equipment (which *could* change, of course). DItto F class.
We also did our homework on SeatGuru.com and online photos of the actual seat/beds.
(We try to avoid USA-based airlines when possible, especially in premium classes, for comfort/service reasons.)

And to answer the frequent comment about "would you really spend $25k for round trip F class to Asia?" No.
But we WOULD spend the money for Business class, or else we simply would not take the trip. We chose to spend about $1k more (award points cost) to go First instead of Business. So that's how we calculate the "financial value", with business class cost, for either business or first class awards points.
But IF one wants to calculate the "value" using points vs. $$$ for RT F travel, it's still "worth it". The F experience to/from Asia was *amazing*. We were truly sorry when the flight was ending.
At this point in our lives, we definitely prefer that the travel itself, to/from destination, be part of the "good experience", or part of the "great experience".
NO way would we cash in those points for 2 cents each!

RM
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DaftInvestor
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:20 pm

I gave up many years ago - now I just go with 2% cashback.
The only thing I do now is occasionally sign backup for the one-time introductory bonuses (then cancel before a yearly fee kicks in).

dbr
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by dbr » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:38 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:10 pm
dbr wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:58 am
Realistically the value of frequent flyer miles for real world redemption opportunities is more like 1.5-2 c/mi. Based on that FF miles vs 2% cash back is probably a wash. Without serious effort to use FF miles I think cash back is probably a no brainer.
The difference is that there are many opportunities to earn more than 1 mile per $ spent vs $0.02 per dollar spent.
Yes, absolutely right. I didn't address that. Earning opportunities for credit cards have to do with playing the bonus game. You can accumulate bonus miles at a rate of perhaps 50,000 miles per $3000 spending (actually 53,000 miles). The game here is that bonuses are variable, offers are open for time slots, credit card companies are becoming more strict on once in a lifetime, or limiting card opportunities etc. If you value the miles at 2 c/mi you have gained close to 33% benefit on spend for a bonus. The issue is complex as the actual miles accruing are a combination of bonus miles, spend miles, and actual spend and travel on airfares. The calculus for frequent flyers enrolled at elite levels is quite different also.

The whole game is a hobby that requires time and expertise to practice. If you are not particularly interested in indulging in that hobby then probably a cash back card is a better option.

Texanbybirth
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Texanbybirth » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:50 pm

dbr wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:38 pm
The whole game is a hobby that requires time and expertise to practice. If you are not particularly interested in indulging in that hobby then probably a cash back card is a better option.
Ding ding ding, you figured it out. I applaud the people who have the patience, expertise, and/or time, for this as their hobby. They certainly reap great rewards.
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

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greg24
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by greg24 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:11 pm

I have found that US dollars are a more flexible currency than airline miles, so I stick to cash back.

TravelforFun
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:19 pm

Texanbybirth wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:50 pm
dbr wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:38 pm
The whole game is a hobby that requires time and expertise to practice. If you are not particularly interested in indulging in that hobby then probably a cash back card is a better option.
Ding ding ding, you figured it out. I applaud the people who have the patience, expertise, and/or time, for this as their hobby. They certainly reap great rewards.
I would like to know how some no-money 30-year-old kids constantly fly around the world in first class and stay at 5* hotels. Credit card signing bonuses can only take you so far. I've done my share of credit card sign up and could only get to the companion pass status from Southwest.

obgraham
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by obgraham » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:27 pm

I would like to know how some no-money 30-year-old kids constantly fly around the world in first class and stay at 5* hotels.
Take a wander round places like downtown Seattle, with the Amazon/Microsoft kiddies, or Google-land. The amount of money these people run through will amaze you.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by obgraham » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:29 pm

I hang onto my airline cards mainly because I despise paying baggage fees.

4nwestsaylng
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:36 pm

I restrict my airline card to airline ticket purchases, where I get usually triple miles per dollar. One advantage of my card is that Alaska Airlines allows cardholders to check one bag free, avoiding the $25 charge.I also get the $99 annual companion fare coupon, but rarely use it. Wish the card would include a free membership to the lounge, as it might be more restful than waiting at the gate.

One advantage, at least psychologically, has been when I have to take a last minute trip, I use miles, it eases the pain of a high last minute airfare.

My other cards are a Costco card for Costco and Costco gas. I also use a hotel loyalty card, pick up a few free nights which I bank.

Cash back probably makes more sense, but some perks like the "free nights" and upgrades are just nice to have. The cash back I would spend and forget what happened to it.

Airline cards are not what they used to be for sure, even Alaska, which once promised "we never take away your miles". Sure, they just double the miles per flight segment, like all the others. Still my favorite domestic.Southwest good but not in my region now, besides the jokes got old.

jodydavis
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by jodydavis » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:43 pm

Have you considered shifting to hotel points (or flexible points with hotel options)? Like you, I have given up collecting airline miles (after logging million+ miles on AA, etc.), because I personally don't have the flexibility required to maximize values given the increasing restrictions on award availability, so was having a hard time getting any more than 2 cents per mile. Instead, I've shifted to collecting hotel points (e.g. Hyatt via Chase UR, SPG), and routinely get 5-10 cents per point at high-end hotels, which are generally not capacity controlled (so far, fingers crossed). For that reason, I haven't shifted to cash back yet.

JBTX
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by JBTX » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:54 pm

I'm with the OP. The value airline miles are diminishing. It seems like on a practical level they are worth a penny a point. Availability of lowest point fares is always low and typically makes them practically unusable plus now there are copays-fees even when you do use the miles.

I am sure if you had unlimited flexibility of schedule and many hours to research you can make them work for you but not for the amount of time spent. I'm sitting on over 200k American miles and have a hard time using them in a manner I would deem economical.

Agree that hotel cards are better value but I don't have any of those either.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by flamesabers » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:11 pm

Phil DeMuth wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:38 am
My only interest is using airline miles for international business class travel, and these seats now seem impossible to get. Even if I log in at midnight 331 days out (or whenever the seats supposedly become available), there is nothing, and certainly nothing on the more desirable nonstop flights. I am not an elite member of any airline so I have no strings to pull. Worse, my schedule usually does not have much wiggle room.
I think you answered your own question with this paragraph. Once a rewards program becomes more trouble then its worth or otherwise too hard to make use of, I think that's a compelling sign that it's time to switch to a different rewards program.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Da5id » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:12 pm

The real wins at this point appear to me to be sign up bonuses. You may be able to win using points from regular spending, but it is apparently more marginal than it used to be. I'm newish to the game, but have gotten 300K+ bonus points in last 2 years with minimal effort on my part, though most recent spend ($7500 for Citi Prestige) is a bit more of a stretch than most.
Last edited by Da5id on Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dbr
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by dbr » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:19 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:54 pm
I'm with the OP. The value airline miles are diminishing. It seems like on a practical level they are worth a penny a point. Availability of lowest point fares is always low and typically makes them practically unusable plus now there are copays-fees even when you do use the miles.

I am sure if you had unlimited flexibility of schedule and many hours to research you can make them work for you but not for the amount of time spent. I'm sitting on over 200k American miles and have a hard time using them in a manner I would deem economical.

Agree that hotel cards are better value but I don't have any of those either.
My average is closer to two cents a mile and I don't play the game of a business class ticket I would never actually buy being worth $5000 or something. But you make a fair comment about the marginal value of these things. One also needs to allow in credit card annual fees less cost benefits of holding the card. Copays can be minimal or onerous depending on the airline and route. The worst are those on BA going through London. I doubt for most people the net benefit objectively computed would be more than a few thousand to a few tens of thousands of dollars all in over many years. As a fraction of total expenditure on travel my benefit is more in the category of amusement than of substantial economic impact.

Actually one of the single biggest motivations in my book for traveling on miles is that cancellation and exchange is much more flexible than on cash tickets, as a rule. The main difference is getting redeposit of miles rather than a credit voucher.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Soul.in.Progress » Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:24 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:20 pm
I gave up many years ago - now I just go with 2% cashback.
The only thing I do now is occasionally sign backup for the one-time introductory bonuses (then cancel before a yearly fee kicks in).

+1. This is the decision we also made a few years ago. In general, the hassles of trying to use FF miles were frustrating, so we go with cash. Works for us.
Start by doing what is necessary; | then do what is possible; | and suddenly you are doing the impossible. | -- Francis of Assisi

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:40 pm

I would. I spend my miles right away. I know if I save them they would be worthless eventually. But I did get 2 free economy tickets from LAX to LHR through Amex Delta miles through Virgin Airways. AA miles is pretty worthless and very expensive. You need 20,000 miles for going one way to Hawaii. I spent 60,000 miles for one way from Barcelona to LAX. So now I've used all of my miles from those airlines. Don't care anymore. But I keep Avios, I transferred Amex Reward points to Avios, recently there was a 250 Amex Reward points to 350 Avios. So I took advantage of that and gave my daughter and her roommate 2 free tickets from LAX to LHR for 64,000 miles. But these miles are getting worthless by the year. Last year, it only took 50,000 miles for business class ticket to go from LAX to LHR, this year it's going to be 62,500 miles. I only have Avios now, I can use Avios to fly on JAL or Cathay Airline to Tokyo or British Airways to London or American Airline to Hawaii. I closed everything else. But the tax through London is a pain. But at least with Business class you can skip the line in London.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by DiMAn0684 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:05 pm

Really depends on how much effort you want to put in this. 2% cash back is decent, but if you play bank points game right (Citi TY, Chase UR, AMEX MR) you can come out way ahead of 2% return and still retain pretty good flexibility with your rewards. Comparing UA, AA, Delta cards vs 2% card for all everyday spend I'd probably go for a cashback card.

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Phil DeMuth
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Phil DeMuth » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:18 am

Thank you all for this terrific range of replies and opinions. This is exactly why the Bogleheads forum is a national treasure.

I will go cash back for now and then see how it goes trying to use my existing Money Bin of miles, probably using a service to find flights for me. If it goes well I can always switch back, since somebody will usually pay you to do so.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by amarone » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:22 am

I had a Delta card and found it aggravating how infrequently I could get flights I wanted except by paying boosted numbers of miles. Then I saw a survey that showed only 13% of the time could Delta FFs get the flights they wanted (I believe it has improved since then). I swapped to cashback and never regretted it. There are no blackout days for cash.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by soc2003 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:53 am

I agree with the OP. Airlines miles are very difficult to redeem. I am putting most of my charges on a Hilton AMEX card that has no annual fee, as I find I can always find a Hilton brand hotel at a reasonable point redemption.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:02 pm

I use them for coach international travel and have had very good luck, including on last minute trips. I think the answer for you is obvious- if you cannot use the miles on trips you are taking in the class you want, go with cash back. I don't think there is any magic trick to get mileage seats on these flights. They are very expensive flights and the airlines would rather sell them or put some of their best customers in them.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:16 pm

Phil DeMuth wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:38 am
My only interest is using airline miles for international business class travel, and these seats now seem impossible to get. Even if I log in at midnight 331 days out (or whenever the seats supposedly become available), there is nothing, and certainly nothing on the more desirable nonstop flights. I am not an elite member of any airline so I have no strings to pull. Worse, my schedule usually does not have much wiggle room.

...

Is there some way to actually use all these airline miles for upgraded international travel that I am too stupid to know about? Somebody must be doing it....
I mostly use my miles for international business class awards (not upgrades). Occasionally I buy domestic tickets when the fares are high and awards available at a reasonable cost. I don't have a lot of flexibility with my travel dates, but I also travel enough that if I can't get an award on a particular trip, I will have one coming up later that will likely work.

It's a myth that awards are always released 330 days out and need to be booked at that time. It's the earliest time you can book them, but airlines usually release most award seats when they determine that they will not be able to sell them for cash. And that is often closer to departure (they obviously have historic data, too).

All of my credit card spend earns more than 1X (the minimum is 1.5x UR with the Freedom Unlimited), so if I get 2c value out of a mile/point, I am ahead of 2c cashback.

Regarding hotel points, I collect them and have a lot of cards, but I generally only use them for hotel spend that has significant bonus earnings. Other than that, regular spend doesn't earn enough on most hotel cards (except SPG). My hotel cards earn their space in my safe with "free" night awards (Marriott, IHG, Hyatt) and "free" elite status (Hilton).

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by hoppy08520 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:11 pm

I get the airline credit cards for the bonus sign-up miles but I only use them to buy flights so I get priority boarding (helpful to ensure I can find room in the overhead binds for my carry-on bag), free checked bag (although I rarely use it) and 2 miles per $1 spent on airfare for that carrier. I don't use these cards for other purchases. I believe that I might also get better options for booking reward flights when I use my airline CC. Depending on the CC you might also get free lounge passes which have come in handy and save me money on meals.

mt
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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by mt » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:39 pm

I am getting ready to drop my Alaska Airlines credit card. It used to be easy to find round trips for 25K miles, now it takes 60K and often the flight options are poor. It was a good card for the last 10 years, but apparently the deal has changed and it has become much less useful to me. I'll be switching to a 2% cash back card.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by midareff » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:49 pm

Wife and I travel 4-6 times a year., generally for trips in excess of a week ranging to three weeks. Airline card is $95 which gets free checked bags both ways for two, a $100 charge avoided. Additionally, it gets us priority boarding where there is still overhead space readily available. At one round trip flight a year it is worth it to us. If I didn't plan to use the airline once or twice, or more annually I would cancel the card.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:55 pm

mt wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:39 pm
I am getting ready to drop my Alaska Airlines credit card. It used to be easy to find round trips for 25K miles, now it takes 60K and often the flight options are poor. It was a good card for the last 10 years, but apparently the deal has changed and it has become much less useful to me. I'll be switching to a 2% cash back card.
It's one of my weakest cards as far as mileage earnings are concerned. For now I keep it for the companion ticket (I live in the PNW, so AS is one of my main carriers), but put next to no spend on this card. 1X on all spend except AS/VX is just not competitive these days. Factoring in the $75 AF, the $125-ish companion ticket really costs about $200, so the card saves me maybe $200-300 per year.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by drk » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:59 pm

4nwestsaylng wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:36 pm
Wish the card would include a free membership to the lounge, as it might be more restful than waiting at the gate.
I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which comes with a lounge program membership (Priority Pass). It's been a great perk. I've been underwhelmed by the quality of the lounges, but the ability to have a glass of wine while sitting in a comfortable chair with an outlet is good enough.

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Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by Da5id » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:03 pm

drk wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:59 pm
I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which comes with a lounge program membership (Priority Pass). It's been a great perk. I've been underwhelmed by the quality of the lounges, but the ability to have a glass of wine while sitting in a comfortable chair with an outlet is good enough.
I agree, have been underwhelmed. Few I've been in are not as nice as United lounges. And many airports don't have, or have in the wrong terminal...

drk
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:33 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by drk » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:07 pm

Da5id wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:03 pm
I agree, have been underwhelmed. Few I've been in are not as nice as United lounges. And many airports don't have, or have in the wrong terminal...
I've been lucky my last few trips with lounges in each of my departure terminals. Before this stretch, I considered swapping for an AmEx Platinum, but the card's other benefits have kept me onboard.

drk
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:33 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by drk » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:09 pm

TravelforFun wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:19 pm
I would like to know how some no-money 30-year-old kids constantly fly around the world in first class and stay at 5* hotels. Credit card signing bonuses can only take you so far. I've done my share of credit card sign up and could only get to the companion pass status from Southwest.
Have you considered that they have money and may even travel for work?

lynneny
Posts: 218
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:23 pm

Re: Should I abandon airline credit cards for cash back?

Post by lynneny » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:37 pm

I switched a few years ago to 2% cash back, credited to my credit card balance every time the cash back reaches $100.

Agree with others that trying to get frequent flyer awards is doable if you have time to pursue it as a hobby + flexibility, but I don't.

My international business travel is almost all on American, our company's preferred airline, so that's where most of my miles are, and it's not the best airline for awards. I have enough status on American through job-related travel to get priority boarding/free checked bag/early online seat selection, all of which are important to me. I agree hotel cards can be better value for awards, but over the last few years I've switched mostly to Airbnb for personal travel, so it doesn't really make sense to rack up Starwood or Hilton points.

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