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Best cards for points toward travel

TampaBAY86
New Contributor

Re: Best cards for points toward travel


@K-in-Boston wrote:

@jcooks wrote:

I really thought he wasn't that bad, just really dislike how he sounds.


He has made a lot of authoritative-sounding statements and writings that were completely misinformed.  I haven't watched his videos, but a few blog articles I can recall:

 

"Chase Marriott cards can't be product changed to other Marriott cards.  Here is my referral link." - Except for the numerous current and other cards not offered to new applicants that they could be changed to.

 

"If you an authorized user on Chase Sapphire Preferred you are not eligible for a SUB if you apply.  Here is my referral link."  LOLWUT?

 

"You can obtain Delta Diamond status without even flying by getting both the personal and business versions of the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards to get all of the MQM bonuses.  Here is my referral link."  Great, except Amex and Delta's terms only allow for one Platinum and/or one Reserve card, either business or personal, to receive Miles Boost (now called Status Boost without the bonus SkyMiles bit with more opportunities to get MQMs at higher spending) so thanks to Sebby you just dropped like $110,000 in spending on the wrong cards and unless you had some extra MQMs earned the old fashioned way, congrats on your Platinum Medallion status!


^^^ DYING lol

Message 11 of 17
disdreamin
Established Contributor

Re: Best cards for points toward travel


@notmyrealname23 wrote:

@jcooks wrote:

 Amex has more affiliates for international flights and Chase has more affiliates with domestic flights.  

 


This is probably not a big deal unless one simply MUST book some awards on Southwest. United can be booked on any Star Alliance partner. American and Alaska can be booked on any oneworld partner. Delta can be booked on any SkyTeam partner. Jet Blue allows transfers from AMEX, Chase and Citi. The exception is Southwest, which is Chase only

 

Frankly if OP can get more transferrable points into a program by using both AMEX and Chase (for that matter, Citibank as well), and potential card overlap in terms of # of annual fees vs. efficient spend (CSP/Citi Premier/AMEX Platinum/Gold, etc.) is simply the cost of an extra few hundred in annual fees for a year, versus not having to pay four or five figures for a business class ticket, there's very little downside, in my opinion (especially if there's downgrade paths to no annual fee cards, which is very much the case with Citi and Chase, less so with AMEX). The end state of "these are the cards I want to keep long term" does not have to be the initial state of "I'm going to load up on as many points as I can for my spend".

It's going to be important to manage Chase 5/24 as well as target cards that are "I think I would like this as a long term keeper" vs. "I'm getting this for a sign up bonus". Also, AMEX can get a little miffed/unwilling to issue SUBs if they think you're fickle. This is a good reason to mix in other cards and issuers into the mix if the goal is some mega-trip.

 


I definitely have my eye on the Chase 5/24 thing (right now I'm 1/24 with CSP as the 1) - my plan is one AmEx in a few months and then probably a card that targets potentially useful hotels for a night or two during our stay. For SO I'm thinking AmEx then CSP if that one goes okay (SO is also 1/24 but the new/only CC - other that AU cards - is with a CU).

 

As far as overlap, I'm trying to keep an eye on that but we are also flexible about airport location, so anything in the northeast area is fair game: Boston, NYC, Philly, Toronto, and any smaller cities in between. I think that helps in case a particular partnership changes in the next 12-18 months and we need to rethink the rough plan. Since I am targeting business class tickets, I'm willing to plunk down a fair amount for annual fees and if travel ever returns to normal-ish I'll be happy to retain at least one travel card long-term that offers good protections such a rental car coverage, trip interruption coverage, etc.

 

Definitely not going whole-hog churning, but the plane tix especially seem to be a sweet spot for international travel. If the hotels and whatnot don't work out, that's fine. I am thinking 2 additional cards for me, 2 for SO plus whatever organic spend brings us in the next ~16 months (assuming we use the cards we end up with wisely to optimize points).

Message 12 of 17
notmyrealname23
Established Contributor

Re: Best cards for points toward travel


@K-in-Boston wrote:

@jcooks wrote:

I really thought he wasn't that bad, just really dislike how he sounds.


He has made a lot of authoritative-sounding statements and writings that were completely misinformed.  I haven't watched his videos, but a few blog articles I can recall:

 

"Chase Marriott cards can't be product changed to other Marriott cards.  Here is my referral link." - Except for the numerous current and other cards not offered to new applicants that they could be changed to.

 

"If you an authorized user on Chase Sapphire Preferred you are not eligible for a SUB if you apply.  Here is my referral link."  LOLWUT?

 

"You can obtain Delta Diamond status without even flying by getting both the personal and business versions of the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards to get all of the MQM bonuses.  Here is my referral link."  Great, except Amex and Delta's terms only allow for one Platinum and/or one Reserve card, either business or personal, to receive Miles Boost (now called Status Boost without the bonus SkyMiles bit with more opportunities to get MQMs at higher spending) so thanks to Sebby you just dropped like $110,000 in spending on the wrong cards and unless you had some extra MQMs earned the old fashioned way, congrats on your Platinum Medallion status!


So I just saw his new video for an airline card in a program I'm kinda sorta familiar with but not really interested in  (oh, and I can read) and he majorly goofed the card benefits (no, you need elite status for award upgrades, it says it right in the terms, and this program actually gives you access to extra economy award space if you hold the card, that's actually an important point you missed).

 

D'oh! (Cringe)

 

Sigh. Got any recommendations for bloggers/vloggers who don't goof like this?

First Tech FCU Choice Rewards World MC 35k
Fidelity VISA Signature 11.5k
Capital One Quicksilver 11k
Amex Gold NPSL
Amex Green NPSL
SoFi MC World Elite 8k
PayPal Synchrony MC 6.4k
Citi AA Mileup 6.9k
Petal2 VISA 6k
AMEX Hilton Aspire 6.2k
DiscoverIt Cashback 5k
Amazon/Synchrony 5k
Hotels.com 5k
AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant 3.1k
Apple Card 3k
Cathay Pacific/Synchrony 2.5k
AMEX Delta Gold 2.2k
Target 800
Ch 13 filed 12/13 discharged as paid 1/19
Message 13 of 17
FormerCollegeDJ
Regular Contributor

Re: Best cards for points toward travel

I don't think this was mentioned yet (surprisingly), but my general understanding is Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are best used for airline flights (especially international or long distance domestic, i.e. Alaska/Hawaii flights) and not for hotel redemptions.  (As was already noted, American Express has a broader range of international airline partners, particularly with non-European based airlines, and may be a better bet for flight reward point transfers/redemptions, though both American Express and Chase have multiple airline partners with the three major airline alliances that have American, Delta, and United as members.)  Most hotel rewards programs have point values below 1 cent/point, so direct transfers to hotel partners are generally a poor idea.  The one exception is transfers to Hyatt, which generally has reward program point values in the 1.5 to 1.6 cents/point range.  Only Chase is a Hyatt partner, so if you want to use credit card issuer rewards programs for the hotels end of travel, your best bet is to use Chase UR on Hyatt properties.

 

In general, your best bet with hotels is get hotel-branded credit cards for your preferred chains.  Some of the low annual fee (<$100) hotel cards, such as Chase's Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott cards, offer annual free nights at many hotels in the chain.  In terms of international footprint, Marriott (both a Chase and Amex partner) has the most international properties followed I believe by Hilton (an Amex partner).

Playing the credit card rewards game since early May 2020.

Current credit cards:
*Discover Cash It, 10/5/94, $10,000 CL
*American Express Hilton Honors, 9/23/96, $16,500 CL
*Kohl's store card, 7/31/00, $2500 CL
*Chase Amazon Rewards Visa, 10/29/06, $7000 CL
*Citi Sears/Thank You Rewards Mastercard, 9/19/09, $2001 CL (LOL)
*Citi My Best Buy Visa, 12/29/11, $4600 CL
*Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard, 10/17/15, $15,000 CL
*Bank of America AAA Member Rewards Visa, 3/9/17, $15,000 CL
*Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa, 6/29/20, $11,000 CL
*Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard, 11/9/20, $9900 CL
*Capital One SavorOne Mastercard, 3/30/21, $10,000 CL
*Wells Fargo Propel American Express, 4/11/21, $10,000 CL

Next target credit cards:
*US Bank Cash+ Visa
*Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa, PSECU Founder's Card Visa, or Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa
*Citi Custom Cash Mastercard
*Elan Financial Services Max Cash Preferred (S&T Bank Visa version)
Message 14 of 17
Citylights18
Established Contributor

Re: Best cards for points toward travel

I think multiple ecosystems are fine because its about total points. You can transfer points from AMEX, Citi and Chase all into Jet Blue and combine them if you want.

 

In my wallet right now I'm carrying a Chase Freedom Flex (3x dine, 3x drugstore, 5x gas this quarter) and then a World of Hyatt for non-category spend. I use my AMEX Green primarily for uber eats with the idea of flowing my points to hilton when they offer transfer bonuses. Since uber eats is $10 dollars a month, $120 a year it basically pays for my annual fee. I also have a CSP which I use to move my chase points around to travel partners or Hyatt.

 

Hyatt I earned globalist this year. As a globalist I had a $60 dollar a day bill credit for breakfast so its generous enough to cover two people as my largest bill with tip wasn't even $40. That is a substantial perk. I had 6 nights free between points/certificates and then also two free flights on Southwest round trip with points I moved to SWA on a transfer bonus offer. Overall I got $3300 dollars worth of free travel on points out of this trip.

Official travel point totals as of 1/21/20 (402,672 Total Points)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 147,239
World of Hyatt 92,558
Southwest Rapid Rewards 61,000
AMEX Membership Rewards 53,751
AA Advantage 15,244
United MileagePlus 13,316
British Airways Avios 11,332
Hilton Honors 2,081
NASA Platinum Rewards 1883
Citi Thank You 1,670
Marriott Bonvoy 1,350
Expedia Points 740
Jet Blue TrueBlue 285
Delta Sky Miles 123
Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points 100
Hotels.com Rewards 6/10 ($135.99)
Message 15 of 17
Loquat
Moderator

Re: Best cards for points toward travel

Just chiming in to say that one should really take note of their airline/transfer partner of choice because as of late I'm starting to find that award space is getting harder to find that it already was. American is drying up its space a lot however I seem to find space very easy via their web special...but one has to have AA miles to take advantage of such.

Sucky part about AA is that they're a transfer partner of no one and I believe Marriott allows for a less than stellar transfer rate to them. Shy of being a rev pax or spending on their card, AA miles are some of the hardest miles to earn and unfortunately for me, they dominate in my area.

I'm also starting to see a little bit of such as I look for space on Delta via Virgin.

All of this is constantly changing but something one should definitely consider when starting with a new ecosystem.
Message 16 of 17
disdreamin
Established Contributor

Re: Best cards for points toward travel


@Loquat wrote:
Just chiming in to say that one should really take note of their airline/transfer partner of choice because as of late I'm starting to find that award space is getting harder to find that it already was. American is drying up its space a lot however I seem to find space very easy via their web special...but one has to have AA miles to take advantage of such.

Sucky part about AA is that they're a transfer partner of no one and I believe Marriott allows for a less than stellar transfer rate to them. Shy of being a rev pax or spending on their card, AA miles are some of the hardest miles to earn and unfortunately for me, they dominate in my area.

I'm also starting to see a little bit of such as I look for space on Delta via Virgin.

All of this is constantly changing but something one should definitely consider when starting with a new ecosystem.

Sorry to be so long getting back on these replies, thank you for sharing thoughts!

 

As far as the travel, it's international business class tickets to Japan that I am eyeing. The nice thing is that I will have a great deal of flexibility with departure points (anywhere from DC/NYC/Boston/Toronto and all cities in between) so I think that should work in my favor when I go to book. I tried cross-referencing the airline partners but that might be difficult. However, doing outbound one way on one airline and return on the other may work and is something I'm willing to do as long as there isn't an issue with booking that way when the time comes. The downside is that I'll need two tickets on the same flights which is where things definitely get sticky.

 

For now I'm working on the SUB for CSP and will apply for an AmEx card in 6 months or so as long as things with my CRs are stable. That will give me time to accrue some points in both ecosystems before needing to purchase the tickets (I'm looking 2+ years out for the travel, which is why anything about partner airlines is a rough approximation only lol). Thanks again for the comments and suggestions, much appreciated

 

 

Message 17 of 17
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