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Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

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Anonymous
Not applicable

Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

Just curious as to what everyone's thoughts are?  My ultimate goal is to have the CSP, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited trio for rewards, but that will have to come later as I am over 5/24.  What would you all say is the next best thing?  Barclays Arrival? Citi Thank you Premier?  Amex PRG?  These are all general travel points rewards cards, but are these the best? or would a card like the Amex Delta Gold or Citi AAdvantage be better?  I guess I should specify that I primarily will use my rewards for flights, not so much hotels (for now).

 

Will also say that I am not really interested in the Amex Platinum due to the really high annual fee.

19 REPLIES 19
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?


@Anonymouswrote:

Just curious as to what everyone's thoughts are?  My ultimate goal is to have the CSP, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited trio for rewards, but that will have to come later as I am over 5/24.  What would you all say is the next best thing?  Barclays Arrival? Citi Thank you Premier?  Amex PRG?  These are all general travel points rewards cards, but are these the best? or would a card like the Amex Delta Gold or Citi AAdvantage be better?  I guess I should specify that I primarily will use my rewards for flights, not so much hotels (for now).

 

Will also say that I am not really interested in the Amex Platinum due to the really high annual fee.


I was pleased with the JetBlue card.

 

But Barclays is a weird bank to deal with.


Total revolving limits 650200 (530700 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 706 TU 714 EX 715

Message 2 of 20
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

I do have the Chase cards you outlined, but I'm also getting the Citi Premier (eventually PC to Prestige) and the Sears MasterCard as a combo for TY points. The Sears MC earns Shop Your Way points by default, but you can enroll the card to earn TY points instead. They periodically send out 10% back offers on gas/groceries/restaurants, which will then be paid out as 10x TY points so this is a potentially great point earning setup. If their transfer partners make sense for you, it's worth considering.
Message 3 of 20
MrDisco99
Valued Contributor

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

Which card is best really depends on which point system works best for you.   There is no one answer that is the same for everyone.

I've actually gotten to where I like having my Amex cards for earning points from regular expenses toward flights.  However, for actual travel purchases I like using my Citi TY Premier and my hotel cards for the added benefits they provide.  At some point I will have to pick and choose between some of these because of AFs but it's nice having options now.

Message 4 of 20
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

How about the Amex Delta Platinum. Free RT flight on anniversary. Historic SUB currently and free checked bags.

Alaska Airlines also gives you a companion pass every year for $99 but first year waived. Only like $75 annual fee.

Amex Platinum gives 5x points for flights plus lounge access.

Ritz Carlton card.l by chase bank is not a part of 5/24 and I believe gives unlimited RT companion passes for $100 for domestic flights.
Message 5 of 20
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

Those are all high AF cards that the OP is avoiding. That said, the Delta card can be downgraded to the Delta Blue which will be no fee after the first year.

The Ritz Carlton card earns a $100 discount on domestic round trip flights when you buy tickets for 2-5 people. So not the same as a companion pass, but potentially more lucrative.
Message 6 of 20
MrDisco99
Valued Contributor

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?


@Anonymouswrote:
Those are all high AF cards that the OP is avoiding. That said, the Delta card can be downgraded to the Delta Blue which will be no fee after the first year.

The Ritz Carlton card earns a $100 discount on domestic round trip flights when you buy tickets for 2-5 people. So not the same as a companion pass, but potentially more lucrative.

The Ritz Carlton card has a $450 AF.  Also you'd have to try pretty hard to make a companion pass redemption worth less than $100.

EDIT: Never mind I see what you're saying.  If you fly multiple times per year, the $100 discounts add up.

 

Message 7 of 20
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

Actually, annual fees are fine.  Max I would go is for the PRG, but $95 is closer to where I would like to be at for the increased benefit and rewards.  I'm just wondering which reward system is best, I don't know much about them or the value other than Chase's.  I guess I should have been more specific.  Ideally, i'm looking for best long term rewards/decent earning rate in addition to a good sign up bonus. 

Message 8 of 20
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

The prime rewards programs that let you transfer points are Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You, and SPG. UR has the best earning potential, imo, with the Freedom and Ink cards able to bolster your Sapphire. Citi TY cards are relatively lackluster in terms of earn potential, but if you have the Sears MasterCard, enroll it to earn TY points, and get the 10% offers (which from what I gather having spoken to phone reps and looking at posts online seems like most if not everyone with the card gets the offers), then the earn potential significantly bolsters what the Premier or Prestige would earn on its own. Amex MR points are arguably more valuable than TY points (and the general consensus agrees), but the earn potential just isn't there, as the PRG and Amex Everyday seem to be the best cards for this. Sadly, this pales to the aforementioned Chase and Citi card combos. I see Amex as great for the perks, I'm mainly getting the Platinum for Centurion lounge access since I fly out of DFW. SPG points are highly valued and can be transferred to major airlines etc, but from what I've seen it's pretty much just the Amex SPG card that earns those points, and that may be something you should look at, the $95 fee is waived the first year. The program is merging with Marriott Rewards so not sure how the SPG program or this particular card will be affected long term.

So in terms of earn potential I'd say:

1. Chase UR
2. Citi TY (with Sears MC)
3. SPG
4. Amex MR

In terms of lucrativeness of transfers:

1. Chase UR
2. SPG (I don't have any experience with this program, I think some would argue that this should be #1)
3. Amex MR
4. Citi TY

In terms of raw point value:

1. SPG
2. Chase UR
3. Amex MR
4. Citi TY
Message 9 of 20
MrDisco99
Valued Contributor

Re: Best travel rewards cards if you are over 5/24?

If you're looking to earn points on regular purchases that can be used toward flights, you really should look at Amex.  The EveryDay Preferred card has a $95 AF, but it also gives you a 50% points bonus if you use it 30 times in a month.  That means you'll earn 4.5x points on groceries, 3x on gas, and 1.5x on everything else.  Those points can be transferred to your choice of over a dozen frequent flyer programs.  You could also pair it with the PRG for 3x on airfare and 2x on restaurants and Amex travel.  Or pair the PRG with the no AF EveryDay card which earns 2.4x on groceries and 1.2x on everything else (with 20% bonus after 20 purchases).

Message 10 of 20
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