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Help me choose an airline rewards card

Valued Contributor

Help me choose an airline rewards card

My family and I recently relocated for my job, and later this year or next year would like to start planning trips to visit our families every so often. The main hubs at the airport are Alaska Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, and United (not main). There are a few more, but they are the main ones that fly to everywhere we would be visiting. So, if we were flying on those 3 airlines what would be our best options? I currently don't really have anything for traveling, and my wife has a Venture card (they upgraded her recently it has no AF and is SD now) but we're curious which card(s) would benefit us the most? Between earning miles, upgrades, boarding, bag checks, etc.

 

Thanks,

 

j_casteel

Learning from my past and rebuilding..

BK discharged 1/10/17
scores: EQ 659 | TU 630 | EX 659

QS 3.8K | WF 500 | Cabela's 3k | ACU 500 |

14 REPLIES
Valued Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card

We've always lived close enough to drive but now the closest would be ~30hr drive. We've done it but its not fun. 

Learning from my past and rebuilding..

BK discharged 1/10/17
scores: EQ 659 | TU 630 | EX 659

QS 3.8K | WF 500 | Cabela's 3k | ACU 500 |

Frequent Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card

Lurk through  flyertalk.com people there are gurus when it comes to those type of cards.

Senior Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card

There are really several things that you need to consider and among them are:

  • Your spend.  Miles/points cards tend to be better suited to higher amounts of spend.  If your spend isn't suited for such cards then a cash back card may work better for you from a rewards standpoint.
  • If you want the airline benefits you generally have to go with an airline cobranded card.  If you travel on a number of different airlines you might be better off with a more general travel card that isn't tied to a specific airline.
  • Membership Rewards transfers to Delta.  Ultimate Rewards transfers to United.  I don't know off the top of my head who transfers to Alaskan or American but if you're looking at point/miles cards you need to look at redemptions and see what suits you best.

I'd suggest starting with your spend and seeing which approach to rewards (cash back versus miles/points) makes the most sense for your spend.  Then looking at your preferred airlines and seeing who they're partnered with.  If you want the flight benefits then you need to consider whether you want the airline's cobranded card itself, in addition to another travel card or just a non-airline-specific travel card.

 

In my case my spend is enough that I do benefit from points.  Since I live in a United hub city and 99% of my air travel is on United UR is a given for me.  While I have the United MileagePlus Explorer for its flight benefits most of my points earning is acutally done on my CSP, Freedom & Ink and points are transferred to United.

Senior Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card

I'd suggest at least two cards here.

 

First, get one that's for a specific Airline (Amex Gold Delta is a good one with an EXCELLENT sign up bonus- usually 30k-50k points after 500-1k spend, free checked bag, AF waived first year, AND a $50 statement credit after first Delta purchase!!!) When I got this card, the bonus wound up being worth about $1k.

 

Second, get a card whose rewards can be used towards any travel with no specific company (Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclay Arrival) CSP and Arrival have a 40k point bonus signup (worth $400-600) after $3k spend. If you Bank with Chase, the min spend is lowered to $2k.

 

Finally, you may consider a hotel card. I recently acquired a Marriott Premier Rewards card(the black metal one), and it has been amazing to me.... I will have this card for years to come.

Bonus was 70k points after 1k spend (VERY easy to meet!) Bonus wound up being worth about $1400 for me.

 

Hope this helps!

Marriott PR$25k | BCE $24.5K |BankAmericard Visa $25k| BOA Better Bal $17.5k |Wmt Discover $12.5k | BR Visa $17.5k | Amex Delta Gold $10k | Discover IT $10k | Paypal Extras MC $15k | Amazon Store $10k|Smile Gen $7.25k | Dillard's $10k | West Elm $4k| Express $3.05K | Mypoints.com Visa $4.5k | Freedom Visa $1k| Amex Surpass $1k
Senior Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card


youngandcreditwrthy wrote:

I'd suggest at least two cards here.

 

First, get one that's for a specific Airline (Amex Gold Delta is a good one with an EXCELLENT sign up bonus- usually 30k-50k points after 500-1k spend, free checked bag, AF waived first year, AND a $50 statement credit after first Delta purchase!!!) When I got this card, the bonus wound up being worth about $1k.

 

Second, get a card whose rewards can be used towards any travel with no specific company (Chase Sapphire Preferred, Barclay Arrival) CSP and Arrival have a 40k point bonus signup (worth $400-600) after $3k spend. If you Bank with Chase, the min spend is lowered to $2k.

 

Finally, you may consider a hotel card. I recently acquired a Marriott Premier Rewards card(the black metal one), and it has been amazing to me.... I will have this card for years to come.

Bonus was 70k points after 1k spend (VERY easy to meet!) Bonus wound up being worth about $1400 for me.

 

Hope this helps!


+1,  since you don't seem to have a hotel CC in your sig, i would definitely go for the airline + hotel card combo.   CSP or Arrival/USAir (which will soon become AA) signup bonus is really good....For hotel card, I would consider Hyatt (2 free nights as signup bonus) + 1 comp free stay each yr + Gold passport membership upgrade is very good.  IHG & Marriott are also good. 

 

 

JPM Ritz Carlton $8k I UMP Club $8k I CSP $8k | Chase Hyatt $5k I AMEX Green NPSL I AMEX Delta $2k I Citi AA $2k | C1 QS $4.5k
BOA UNC-CH Alumni $6k I Hawaiian WEMC $3k I Arrival $6.5k I IT $1.5k | Merrill+ $2k | Lowes $12k | Apple $2k | +23more
Scores: EQ:671 (FICO 11) EX:686 (FICO N/C) TU:686 (FICO N/C) *8-5-14*
Overall UTIL: 14% *Gardening Since: 1/20/16*
------------------------------------------------------------
Need to stay out of trouble.... Go Heels!!! ... GC Watchlist ( #1 since 12-12-13)
Valued Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card

Thanks for all the great info and recommendations!

 

I don't think I will have any issues making any spend requirements on the cards if I were to get any. I really like the idea of using the Chase products together and transferring the UR points across the accounts. So it sounds like a good plan would be to get a co-branded airline card for the specific perks related to using that airline, a hotel card, and possibly a general travel reward card. Would the CSP, Freedom, Marriott, United MileagePlus all compliment each other or would that just be overkill? How many cards does Chase allow? lol

 

United isn't the major hub where we live, but they do fly to every place we would travel, and they are one of the cheaper airlines to choose from. So the United MileagePlus could be a good card to have as far as a co-branded card goes. When we travel it seems like we will usually use Priceline to book, but I've noticed a lot of the hotels we have stayed at have been some form of a Marriott.

 

Thanks for the help!

Learning from my past and rebuilding..

BK discharged 1/10/17
scores: EQ 659 | TU 630 | EX 659

QS 3.8K | WF 500 | Cabela's 3k | ACU 500 |

Moderator Emeritus

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card

Well first of all... get rid of that ugly Pistol Pete in your siggy.... maybe try... oh,, I don't know......

 

sooners.jpg

Starting Score: 504
July 2013 score:
EQ FICO 819, TU08 778, EX "806 lender pull 07/26/2013
Goal Score: All Scores 760+, Newest goal 800+
Take the myFICO Fitness Challenge

Current scores after adding $81K in CLs and 2 new cars since July 2013
EQ:809 TU 777 EX 790 Now it's just garden time!

June 2017 update: All scores over 820, just pure gardening now.
Valued Contributor

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card


Shogun wrote:

Well first of all... get rid of that ugly Pistol Pete in your siggy.... maybe try... oh,, I don't know......

 

sooners.jpg


Sorry, I just can't do that.

 

Lol, we just moved to the PNW and now everyone thinks I'm a Beaver fan.

Learning from my past and rebuilding..

BK discharged 1/10/17
scores: EQ 659 | TU 630 | EX 659

QS 3.8K | WF 500 | Cabela's 3k | ACU 500 |

Moderator Emeritus

Re: Help me choose an airline rewards card


j_casteel wrote:

Shogun wrote:

Well first of all... get rid of that ugly Pistol Pete in your siggy.... maybe try... oh,, I don't know......

 

sooners.jpg


Sorry, I just can't do that.

 

Lol, we just moved to the PNW and now everyone thinks I'm a Beaver fan.


Ouch!

Starting Score: 504
July 2013 score:
EQ FICO 819, TU08 778, EX "806 lender pull 07/26/2013
Goal Score: All Scores 760+, Newest goal 800+
Take the myFICO Fitness Challenge

Current scores after adding $81K in CLs and 2 new cars since July 2013
EQ:809 TU 777 EX 790 Now it's just garden time!

June 2017 update: All scores over 820, just pure gardening now.