Travel credit cards

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arensin
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:38 pm

Travel credit cards

Post by arensin » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:58 am

My wife and I have three credit cards and we greatly appreciate simplicity. We own the Amex blue cash for gas and groceries. The discover it for rotating and miscellaneous. And a Pnc visa which was our initial years ago to build credit. We anticipate buying five round trip flights in the next month for weddings and family events. These will be with assorted airlines.

Would it make sense to apply to the chase sapphire preferred card and quickly use the bonus offer? What’s the turn around time in that? Typically we anticipate 6-8 round trip fights a year going forward if we include her me and my son. I take 2-3 trips a year for work and maybe could purchase these onmy own and get reimbursed.

Alternatively we can stay put and not get an additional card in the interest of simplicity and avoiding another’s credit pull.

dsmclone
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:50 am

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by dsmclone » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:01 am

In your case, I'd actually consider the reserve. Keep in mind that the $450 is deducted by $300 as soon as you spend that much on travel. So many advantages for people that travel a lot.

I went with the Chase Preferred a couple of months ago and spent the $4k within a month and the credits are already showing up. If I was to do it again, I would do the Reserve.
Last edited by dsmclone on Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

sport
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Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by sport » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:04 am

I use the Costco credit card for travel. It rebates 3% for travel expenses (air fares, car rental, hotels, etc.) and restaurants.

ResearchMed
Posts: 6643
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:22 am

arensin wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:58 am
My wife and I have three credit cards and we greatly appreciate simplicity. We own the Amex blue cash for gas and groceries. The discover it for rotating and miscellaneous. And a Pnc visa which was our initial years ago to build credit. We anticipate buying five round trip flights in the next month for weddings and family events. These will be with assorted airlines.

Would it make sense to apply to the chase sapphire preferred card and quickly use the bonus offer? What’s the turn around time in that? Typically we anticipate 6-8 round trip fights a year going forward if we include her me and my son. I take 2-3 trips a year for work and maybe could purchase these onmy own and get reimbursed.

Alternatively we can stay put and not get an additional card in the interest of simplicity and avoiding another’s credit pull.
Welcome to BH!

What type of air travel do you plan?
The best value for points is international premium cabins.
The least value, usually, is domestic economy.
However, you should check the programs/awards value for the airline(s) you would fly, and compare those with something like one of the better cash-back cards.

However, you wouldn't get too far with all of those trips with the family, with one sign-up bonus plus points on the spend. But if you think you'll be traveling a bit in the future, then starting to accumulate points could make sense (again, depending upon the value of the points vs cash back for what your uses would be).

Flyertalk.com has a *lot* of information on the various airlines' awards programs.
(Note: I found there were a few less than friendly comments to newbies. Try to just ignore those, because the helpful responses are well worth getting.)

There are also a lot of old threads here on BH about this topic, so you might want to search by airline name and "award" or such.

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

rich126
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by rich126 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:39 am

It really depends on your needs.

Most likely you both could get the same card and double the bonus depending on your spending ability/needs.

I wouldn't worry about the credit pull unless you got something strange going on (tons of pulls for some reason). I got a ton of cards but have never been denied a loan, card, etc.

Again depending on your needs some cards may provide perks you may find useful:
1. Access to lounges (depends on airport and airlines you fly)
2. Free baggage checking
3. Priority boarding
4. No foreign transaction fees

I'm guessing you don't do international trips but if you do then a Discover card is usually worthless and the American Express card can be limited in its use so you'd be down to one useful card. In that case I'd definitely recommend people having a couple of cards (as well as ATM cards).

The ability to use the miles also greatly depends on schedule flexibility. If you are flexible then usually they can be of good value. I usually take 1 trip to Europe every 18 months with my GF in business or first class and use miles for those trips.

Back to your original question, the miles usually post fairly quickly after you meet the spending requirement (probably shortly after that billing cycle).

I don't usually use the miles for domestic trips but recently my GF had to make a last minute trip from PHX to San Diego and all of the fares were in the $450+ range. We were able to use miles (I think 15,000) for the trip.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by WhiteMaxima » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:50 am

Chase Reserve. $150 annual fee after $300 back. Plus lounge pass, primary rental auto insurance, global pass. Effective 4.5% reward on traveling, eat out.

student
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by student » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:07 am

I echo the Chase Sapphire Reserve recommendation.

Freefun
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by Freefun » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:35 pm

I echo the echo. Unless you enjoy delving into more research for specific needs, the chase cards are pretty easy to use.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

batpot
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Location: Seattle

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by batpot » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:54 pm

The real advantage of the CSR is redemption at the Chase Portal.
We were able to net about 6-7% cash back by redeeming the points for rental cars and Hyatt Hotels.
I never bothered to keep records, but estimate saving roughly $5k with that card over 1.5 years.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:09 pm

I echo the recommendations of Chase Sapphire Reserve. It's an excellent card for those who travel a lot.

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

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car733
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Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by car733 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:43 pm

Chase Sapphire Reserve for everything except Amazon. No regrets.

arensin
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:38 pm

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by arensin » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:22 am

Great. Sounds like csr it is. Our flights are irregular with a 2 yr old to boot. But I figure even with 5 or 6 round trip flights a year this would be the best deal. Especially if I can buy my work trips (2/year) on the card to amass points. Thanks everyone

ResearchMed
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:25 am

arensin wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:22 am
Great. Sounds like csr it is. Our flights are irregular with a 2 yr old to boot. But I figure even with 5 or 6 round trip flights a year this would be the best deal. Especially if I can buy my work trips (2/year) on the card to amass points. Thanks everyone
Yes, DH tries whenever possible to pay for his work travel on our cards, and then get reimbursed.
It all adds up :happy

RM
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MichCPA
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Re: Travel credit cards

Post by MichCPA » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:53 am

The CSR is the way to go if you travel a lot. If you find it isn't providing you good value, you can always product change to CSP and save $350.

rj49
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by rj49 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:22 pm

You can check prioritypass.com to see what lounges are available where you travel, since it’s included under the CSR. The credit for TSA precheck/global entry can also save you lots of time and hassle.

The AMEX platinum is also an option, although it’s $200 travel credit is tied to expenses on one airline. At the same time, they offer access to more lounges and offer 5x points. They also offer a monthly Uber credit. If you want in-depth reviews of the card, check out thepointsguy.com, which explores strategies, points portals, recent cutbacks in the CSR benefits.

If you want to keep it simple, there are no-fee travel cash back cards where you don’t have to bother with points. I use an Uber VISA that gives 3% back on flights and hotels and a 2.5% on everything USAA card. Most of my travel is on Alaska so I prefer their card for free bags, and my other travel is on Norwegian Air and cruises, neither which can be booked through points portals. I have a NEXUS card, which gets me TSA/Global Entry, and I found that some priority pass lounges are turning into zoos, due to premium card popularity and the ability to bring friends and family—I prefer finding a quiet gate area or friendly USO.

As with any card, the bonuses and points and extras and shiny metal card are there to get you to spend more than you normally would in order to chase points, and loyalty to a portal or airline means you can miss out on cheaper options.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:51 pm

rj49 wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:22 pm
As with any card, the bonuses and points and extras and shiny metal card are there to get you to spend more than you normally would in order to chase points, and loyalty to a portal or airline means you can miss out on cheaper options.
You cut to the chase.

When I make travel decisions, I favor the programs I have. And when I make purchase decisions, I favor the credit cards that give me more points. While I admit to these decision making biases, I believe that overall I am coming out ahead. I try to keep my spending prudent by using several strategies:
1. When I am booking flights, I start with Google flights. If I find an inexpensive flight on a strange airline, I book it instead of trying to use award miles.
2. When I am looking for lodging, I rarely use my hotel points. My preference is for single rooms at hostels. I accumulate hotel points by staying at event hotels that I can't avoid. My primary goal for these points is transfers to airlines. But recently, I started staying at airport hotels on the nights before morning flights. Airport Marriotts and Holiday Inns require relatively few points, and if they don't, I use Accor or other inexpensive airport hotels.
3. When I need to meet minimum spend on a new credit card, I pay estimated taxes with it. This removes the pressure to make frivolous purchases.

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

WhyNotUs
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by WhyNotUs » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:55 pm

I got the CSR when the bonus was 100k and expected to dump it after receiving the second year credit and before the second year $450 fee. In the end we kept it as the benefits actually came in handy. The Priority Pass lounge access has proven worthwhile and now they are even offering restaurant credits. Never thought anyone could talk me into a $450 a year cc but it happened....
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

Whakamole
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by Whakamole » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:16 pm

WhyNotUs wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:55 pm
I got the CSR when the bonus was 100k and expected to dump it after receiving the second year credit and before the second year $450 fee. In the end we kept it as the benefits actually came in handy. The Priority Pass lounge access has proven worthwhile and now they are even offering restaurant credits. Never thought anyone could talk me into a $450 a year cc but it happened....
It's really $150 with the $300 travel credit - and "travel" is a very generous category, as I've been reimbursed for paid parking garages and Uber rides, even at home. I also intended on dumping the card as soon as I received my 100K miles and yet I still use the card regularly.

Priority Pass can be nice, it's worth looking up the airport(s) that you travel to/from to see what kind of value you can get. Sometimes the covered lounges are nice, sometimes they at inconvenient locations (end of a terminal, or a terminal you don't fly from), sometimes they are closed to PP members during the busy parts of the day. Smaller airports like Love Field in Dallas or Houston Hobby may not have a lounge at all. Loungebuddy.com and Yelp have lounge reviews if you have a long layover and want to know where to get some decent grub and plenty of space.

Maybe the biggest downside to CSR - one I haven't had to deal with yet - is that Chase cards are not chip and PIN, which means you may have problems using them in Europe to buy train tickets from automated stations and the like. There are alternatives for that.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Travel credit cards

Post by WhyNotUs » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:54 am

FWIW, I used my CSR recently in Spain and Portugal including for transit passes without incident.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

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