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Rewards Points help

Regular Contributor

Rewards Points help

Would someone kindly take the time to explain to me if there's a "better" points system than others? The purpose of points are meant to be versatile correct?  Potentially more so than cash back? You can use them for gift cards, retailers and travel plans if I'm not mistaken. I'm a cash back fan myself, but I've my eye on the CSP/freedom when my current scores and cards age a bit more. I always thought cash back was best since I'm not a big restaurant or travel spender in general. If I did decide to travel more which I will be throughout this year and the next (which I went for the arrival+) I could just redeem my saved cash back as a statement credit. However, I know many people mentioning CSP as having a high yield when converting UR points to it and then to a travel partner or using the Chase portal. In my mind it does seem that it could be the best of both worlds...cash back or travel. My hang up is I know Amex uses member points and Citi uses thank you points. Are they all essentially the same thing? Does one typically give you a higher return on redemption than the others? Is there one points card that's better than say needing two cards like the freedom/CSP to maximize spend categories? I don't like the idea of an annual fee in general but for the right card it's not such an issue. Lastly, are points cards truly better than cash back or is it simply based on the spender?

 

I only want these answers for general knowledge at the moment but for those that will want to ask, I consider myself a general spender because YTD based on Discover info my categories rank #1 Services $2600 (rent, bills, etc) #2 Merchandise/Retail $1300 #3 Restaurants $683 #4 Gas $430. All other categories are small values and my spend on my other 3 cards would barely make a few hundred dollar difference if that. I just now converted all spend to my Barclay for the bonus. Thanks in advance for any clarity

7/3/17 FICO 8 Ex: 681 Tu: 672 Eq: 687...BK7 Discharge: 8/2015
Cap One Quicksilver-$18,250| Cap One Venture-$10,000| Barclay Arrival-$6,500| Discover it Student-$6,000| Discover it Miles-$7,000| BoA Cash Rewards-$500| Garden since: 6/1/17
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Regular Contributor

Re: Rewards Points help

The key differentiator between Chase's Ultimate Rewards, Amex's Membership Rewards, and Citi's ThankYou Points is where the points transfer to.  Chase points transfer to Hyatt and United at a 1:1 ratio for example.  Hyatt points tend to be one of the best uses of Ultimate Rewards points because Hyatt gives you a lot of value when redeeming one Hyatt point.  However, you aren't able to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Delta or Hilton because those are Membership Rewards partners.  So look and see which hotels and airlines match up best with your travel goals and what airlines actually fly out of your local airport (you're likely to get some of the best deals if you live near a hub for a particular airline). Citi does not have any major airline as a transfer partner, but, arguably, it has something better.

 

However, this isn't the whole story.  These points programs also let you use points like cash when booking through that program's portal.  For the most part expect 1 point equals 1 cent.  This resembles the Barclay Arrival Plus.   But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for example, those points become 20% more valuable when used this way.   If you have a Citi ThankYou Premier card, you can use these points for 1.3 cents each towards American Airlines purchases (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this--I don't use Citi points). The Citi Prestige card bumps this value up to 1.6 cents per point. 

 

All this being said, if you don't have plans to do traveling in the near or medium future, stick to cash back.

 

Update: fixed a few typos--probably shouldn't type posts on my iPad...

Amex Platinum: NPSL | Amex BCP: $6,100 | Amex Everyday: $15,000 | Amex SPG: $5,000 | Amex Delta Gold: $5,000 | Chase Sapphire Reserve: $15,000 | Chase Freedom: $1,500 | Chase Freedom Unlimited: $3,000 | Chase Slate: $3,900 | Marriott Premier Rewards: $5,100 | Hyatt: $5,000 | 1st Financial: $8,300 | Citi Double Cash: $6,200 | Discover It: $8,700 | Quicksilver: $24,000 | Arrival+: $12,500 | Citi Best Buy: $4,000 | Costco Visa: $8,500
Message 2 of 4
Regular Contributor

Re: Rewards Points help

Completely forgot about my quicksilver. Added that in without getting into particulars, also removed some one time purchaSes, and it brings my monthly average to about 2700

7/3/17 FICO 8 Ex: 681 Tu: 672 Eq: 687...BK7 Discharge: 8/2015
Cap One Quicksilver-$18,250| Cap One Venture-$10,000| Barclay Arrival-$6,500| Discover it Student-$6,000| Discover it Miles-$7,000| BoA Cash Rewards-$500| Garden since: 6/1/17
Message 3 of 4
Regular Contributor

Re: Rewards Points help


cardfan wrote:

The key differentiator between Chase's Ultimate Rewards, Amex's Membership Rewards, and Citi's ThankYou Points is where the points transfer to.  Chase points transfer to Hyatt and United at a 1:1 ratio for example.  Hyatt points tend to be one of the best uses of Ultimate Rewards points because Hyattgives you a lot of value hen redeeming one Hyatt point.  However, you aren't able to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Delta or Hilton because those are Membership Rewards partners.  So look and see which hotels and airlines match up best with your travel goals and what airlines actually fly out of your local airport (you're likely to get some of the best deals if you live near a hub for a particular airline). Citi does not have any major airline as a transfer partner, but, arguably, it has something better.

 

However, this isn't the whole story.  These points programs also let you use points like cash when booking through that program's portal.  For the most part expect 1 point equals 1 cent.  This resembles the Barclay Arrival Plus.   But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for example, those points become 20% more valuable when used this way.   If you have a Citi ThankYou Premier card, you can use these points for 1.3 cents each towards American Airlines purchases (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this--I don't use Citi points). The Citi Prestige card bumps this value up to 1.6 cents per point. 

 

All this being said, if you don't have plans to do traveling in the near or medium future, stick to cash back.


Thanks for the info cardfan. this is what I was looking for. I will be doing some traveling as I am visiting some college campuses out of state and my fiance and I are planning a getaway but I guess those classify as one time trips. At most i will probably plan travel/vacations once or twice a year. Figured I was doing the right thing by sticking with cash back. Thanks again!

7/3/17 FICO 8 Ex: 681 Tu: 672 Eq: 687...BK7 Discharge: 8/2015
Cap One Quicksilver-$18,250| Cap One Venture-$10,000| Barclay Arrival-$6,500| Discover it Student-$6,000| Discover it Miles-$7,000| BoA Cash Rewards-$500| Garden since: 6/1/17
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