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Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)

Citylights18
Established Contributor

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)

In all my years of owning a point redeeming credit card I never had the approach to it that I would save for a full vacation in points.

 

What I've done instead is scalped flights and hotel rooms here and there on shorter stays with the points. I've never had all my points in the same currency either. When you aren't earning in the same currency naturally its going to take longer to have enough points for a redemption but from a multi-year perspective more total points will win out.

 

I get cashback with points when I shop online. Go into something like Raise.com and when you purchase an online giftcard you have the option to either take the discount or take the cashback which is usually a greater percentage. Pay for the item with a credit card for points and then double dip with cashback. At some merchants you can triple dip earning points from a purchase made with a gift card.

 

Thus its not points or cashback but points & cashback to give you the most value.

Official travel point totals as of 7/17/20 (361,553 Total Points)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 152,226
World of Hyatt 94,737
AMEX Membership Rewards 63,796
AA Advantage 15,244
United MileagePlus 13,316
British Airways Avios 11,332
Citi Thank You 2,850
Hilton Honors 2,157
NASA Platinum Rewards 1883
Marriott Bonvoy 1,350
Jet Blue TrueBlue 885
Southwest Rapid Rewards 762
Expedia Points 740
Delta Sky Miles 175
Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points 100
Hotels.com Rewards 6/10 ($135.99)
Message 11 of 24
UncleB
Moderator

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)


@CWA1984 wrote:

@wasCB14 wrote:

Getting a Schwab Platinum can improve cash redemptions to 1.25 cpp.

 

If OP can meet minimum spend for.a SUB, has or can get a Schwab account, and make good-enough use of the credits and perks for a year, it might be worth getting.

 

I understand OP has limited travel. 


I'm really wondering if the charles schwab platinum card is actually the best premium credit card for the cashback crowd.  It gives the perks a lot of them want (lounge access, hotel status, travel insurance, etc.)without having to worry about using transfer partners to get max value or using something like the Chase Travel Portal which usually is not a great redemption option either even getting 1.5 cpp using the CSR.

 

Granted getting 1.25 cpp for every MR point when depositing them into a Charles Schwab brokerage may not give you the most immediate bang for the buck it is straight forward and if you do use it to buy cashflowing equities you can and very very likely will beat current better redemption values over time.  When you factor in using Rakuten for MR points in online shopping and if you have a business or side hustle and get the blue business plus for business expenses the cash deposited into your brokerage account can easily more than pay for the $550 annual fee.

As far as travel purchases not covered by the platinum card you could just get the Wells Fargo Propel and use that instead since it's travel category is broader than the CSR, has no annual fee and from what I read on Wells Fargo you can get the cashback sent to you via check in the mail vs having to redeem go far rewards for travel.  I know this off topic but I also do wonder if this would be the best option for the cashback crowd that want a premium credit card for the perks.  


Replying to ^^^ this specifically, I agree it is the best of the bunch if someone is interested in converting MRs to cash back, but the twist is that someone who travels often enough to enjoy the other perks of the Platinum is also likely to be able to use MRs the way they are intended (travel partners) and will probably not want to convert them to cash.

 

For a one-time 'cash out' the Schwab Platinum can be useful, though, if one times it right and especially if one qualifies for the sign-up bonus on the Schwab itself.  If the bonus on the Schwab isn't available (for whatever reason) the math isn't as attractive but can still work depending on how many MRs need to be redeemed and if any of the other Platinum credits (Uber, Saks, etc.) can be used.

Message 12 of 24
longtimelurker
Mega Contributor

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)


@UncleB wrote:

@CWA1984 wrote:

@wasCB14 wrote:

Getting a Schwab Platinum can improve cash redemptions to 1.25 cpp.

 

If OP can meet minimum spend for.a SUB, has or can get a Schwab account, and make good-enough use of the credits and perks for a year, it might be worth getting.

 

I understand OP has limited travel. 


I'm really wondering if the charles schwab platinum card is actually the best premium credit card for the cashback crowd.  It gives the perks a lot of them want (lounge access, hotel status, travel insurance, etc.)without having to worry about using transfer partners to get max value or using something like the Chase Travel Portal which usually is not a great redemption option either even getting 1.5 cpp using the CSR.

 

Granted getting 1.25 cpp for every MR point when depositing them into a Charles Schwab brokerage may not give you the most immediate bang for the buck it is straight forward and if you do use it to buy cashflowing equities you can and very very likely will beat current better redemption values over time.  When you factor in using Rakuten for MR points in online shopping and if you have a business or side hustle and get the blue business plus for business expenses the cash deposited into your brokerage account can easily more than pay for the $550 annual fee.

As far as travel purchases not covered by the platinum card you could just get the Wells Fargo Propel and use that instead since it's travel category is broader than the CSR, has no annual fee and from what I read on Wells Fargo you can get the cashback sent to you via check in the mail vs having to redeem go far rewards for travel.  I know this off topic but I also do wonder if this would be the best option for the cashback crowd that want a premium credit card for the perks.  


Replying to ^^^ this specifically, I agree it is the best of the bunch if someone is interested in converting MRs to cash back, but the twist is that someone who travels often enough to enjoy the other perks of the Platinum is also likely to be able to use MRs the way they are intended (travel partners) and will probably not want to convert them to cash.

 

For a one-time 'cash out' the Schwab Platinum can be useful, though, if one times it right and especially if one qualifies for the sign-up bonus on the Schwab itself.  If the bonus on the Schwab isn't available (for whatever reason) the math isn't as attractive but can still work depending on how many MRs need to be redeemed and if any of the other Platinum credits (Uber, Saks, etc.) can be used.


OT but can't remember.   What does the standard Plat have that CS doesn't (apart from the need for a CS account)? i.e. why don't people go for this first?   Is it a smaller bonus or is it missing a feature?  The 1.25 cashout option  seems worthwhile to have even if never used.

Message 13 of 24
CWA1984
Regular Contributor

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)

In terms of benefits the vanilla platinum card and the charles schwab platinum card are exactly the same except for the cashout feature of the Charles Schwab.  

 

As far as why people don't go for the Schwab card instead of the vanilla platinum

 

-Lack of knowledge about the Charles Schwab platinum card.  Go to Amex site and you won't find the CS platinum card listed on it.  A lot of people don't know it even exists.

 

-People have issues with Charles Schwab for whatever reason and don't want to deal with them in anyway, shape or form.

 

-The vanilla platinum can come with a 100k bonus where the Charles Schwab version doesn't.  So yeah the sub can be better on the vanilla card with the CS usually having a 60k bonus.   


Message 14 of 24
CWA1984
Regular Contributor

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)


@UncleB wrote:

@CWA1984 wrote:

@wasCB14 wrote:

Getting a Schwab Platinum can improve cash redemptions to 1.25 cpp.

 

If OP can meet minimum spend for.a SUB, has or can get a Schwab account, and make good-enough use of the credits and perks for a year, it might be worth getting.

 

I understand OP has limited travel. 


I'm really wondering if the charles schwab platinum card is actually the best premium credit card for the cashback crowd.  It gives the perks a lot of them want (lounge access, hotel status, travel insurance, etc.)without having to worry about using transfer partners to get max value or using something like the Chase Travel Portal which usually is not a great redemption option either even getting 1.5 cpp using the CSR.

 

Granted getting 1.25 cpp for every MR point when depositing them into a Charles Schwab brokerage may not give you the most immediate bang for the buck it is straight forward and if you do use it to buy cashflowing equities you can and very very likely will beat current better redemption values over time.  When you factor in using Rakuten for MR points in online shopping and if you have a business or side hustle and get the blue business plus for business expenses the cash deposited into your brokerage account can easily more than pay for the $550 annual fee.

As far as travel purchases not covered by the platinum card you could just get the Wells Fargo Propel and use that instead since it's travel category is broader than the CSR, has no annual fee and from what I read on Wells Fargo you can get the cashback sent to you via check in the mail vs having to redeem go far rewards for travel.  I know this off topic but I also do wonder if this would be the best option for the cashback crowd that want a premium credit card for the perks.  


Replying to ^^^ this specifically, I agree it is the best of the bunch if someone is interested in converting MRs to cash back, but the twist is that someone who travels often enough to enjoy the other perks of the Platinum is also likely to be able to use MRs the way they are intended (travel partners) and will probably not want to convert them to cash.

 

For a one-time 'cash out' the Schwab Platinum can be useful, though, if one times it right and especially if one qualifies for the sign-up bonus on the Schwab itself.  If the bonus on the Schwab isn't available (for whatever reason) the math isn't as attractive but can still work depending on how many MRs need to be redeemed and if any of the other Platinum credits (Uber, Saks, etc.) can be used.


Not necessarily.  If you travel multiple times a month for business and only once or twice a year for leisure you could be sitting on a ton of MR points with no way to realistically redeem them.  There were posts on here and flyer talk of people who have/had a million if not millions of MR points from travel that they just couldn't redeem due to their schedules and were getting the charles schwab platinum card because they just wanted the cash.   Pretty much what it came down to was the fact that the MR points were basically useless to them because they had so many they couldn't use.  So cashing in 3 million MR points for $37,500.00 made a lot of sense to them.  Granted this is an extreme example but that group of people do exist and the CS made a lot of sense to them for the cashout feature.    

Message 15 of 24
FinStar
Moderator

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)


@CWA1984 wrote:

In terms of benefits the vanilla platinum card and the charles schwab platinum card are exactly the same except for the cashout feature of the Charles Schwab.  

 

As far as why people don't go for the Schwab card instead of the vanilla platinum

 

-Lack of knowledge about the Charles Schwab platinum card.  Go to Amex site and you won't find the CS platinum card listed on it.  A lot of people don't know it even exists.  That's likely due to it being specifically offered for CS customers which would be no different for brokerage clients of Ameriprise or Morgan Stanley, for instance.  Even with the absence of such data, interwebs searches will yield the results for all AmEx Platinum versions. 

 

-People have issues with Charles Schwab for whatever reason and don't want to deal with them in anyway, shape or form.  Seems like the number of CS 'issues' (reported here or elsewhere) are not as prevalent when compared to individuals dealing with AmEx issues altogether. 

 

-The vanilla platinum can come with a 100k bonus where the Charles Schwab version doesn't.  So yeah the sub can be better on the vanilla card with the CS usually having a 60k bonus.   The CS Platinum has been known to offer targeted 100K SUBs (sometimes 75K) just like the 'vanilla' version



 

Message 16 of 24
Sage512MB
Frequent Contributor

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)

I think my only problem with the Gold card is the Airline Fee Credit. As said earlier, it’s an extremely hard credit to use. If I was a normal person with the Gold card without knowledge of what triggers it, I don’t see how you would use it. I’m effectively just letting 50 of it expire this year. (Unless, I can find that 50 will cover Skymiles Select’s 59 fee)

But even with my CSP, I find the Gold just earns so well. It’s my “food” card. For me, a Delta round trip flight from my home airport to MCO is roughly 13K economy. (Yes, Disney nerd) That’s an equivalent 300ish flight. I break even when I spend 3125 bucks a year on just food. That’s pretty easy. That’s just 30ish trips to the grocery store and I have a flight to a trip I plan to take anyway. But if you don’t have that kind of value in mind, it won’t work for you.
Message 17 of 24
CWA1984
Regular Contributor

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)

@FinStar

 

Yeah I don't get what the issue was with Charles Schwab but a member on here said they were getting rid of their Charles Schwab Platinum card because of issues they had with Charles Schwab.  The brokerage is highly rated and hell I'm thinking about switching to them but not everyone has had pleasant dealings with them...whether it's their fault or Schwab's I don't know.  

 

Didn't know about the 100k offer on the Charles Schwab Platinum...the highest I've ever seen is the base 60k then again I don't have a Charles Schwab account.  So are they the exact opposite of Amex?  Schwab giving a 100k offer for customers who have had an account with them for a while where as Amex offers 100k for the vanilla to target new customers?  If that's the case then kudos to Schwab for rewarding loyalty.    

Message 18 of 24
UncleB
Moderator

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)


@CWA1984 wrote:

@UncleB wrote:

@CWA1984 wrote:

@wasCB14 wrote:

Getting a Schwab Platinum can improve cash redemptions to 1.25 cpp.

 

If OP can meet minimum spend for.a SUB, has or can get a Schwab account, and make good-enough use of the credits and perks for a year, it might be worth getting.

 

I understand OP has limited travel. 


I'm really wondering if the charles schwab platinum card is actually the best premium credit card for the cashback crowd.  It gives the perks a lot of them want (lounge access, hotel status, travel insurance, etc.)without having to worry about using transfer partners to get max value or using something like the Chase Travel Portal which usually is not a great redemption option either even getting 1.5 cpp using the CSR.

 

Granted getting 1.25 cpp for every MR point when depositing them into a Charles Schwab brokerage may not give you the most immediate bang for the buck it is straight forward and if you do use it to buy cashflowing equities you can and very very likely will beat current better redemption values over time.  When you factor in using Rakuten for MR points in online shopping and if you have a business or side hustle and get the blue business plus for business expenses the cash deposited into your brokerage account can easily more than pay for the $550 annual fee.

As far as travel purchases not covered by the platinum card you could just get the Wells Fargo Propel and use that instead since it's travel category is broader than the CSR, has no annual fee and from what I read on Wells Fargo you can get the cashback sent to you via check in the mail vs having to redeem go far rewards for travel.  I know this off topic but I also do wonder if this would be the best option for the cashback crowd that want a premium credit card for the perks.  


Replying to ^^^ this specifically, I agree it is the best of the bunch if someone is interested in converting MRs to cash back, but the twist is that someone who travels often enough to enjoy the other perks of the Platinum is also likely to be able to use MRs the way they are intended (travel partners) and will probably not want to convert them to cash.

 

For a one-time 'cash out' the Schwab Platinum can be useful, though, if one times it right and especially if one qualifies for the sign-up bonus on the Schwab itself.  If the bonus on the Schwab isn't available (for whatever reason) the math isn't as attractive but can still work depending on how many MRs need to be redeemed and if any of the other Platinum credits (Uber, Saks, etc.) can be used.


Not necessarily.  If you travel multiple times a month for business and only once or twice a year for leisure you could be sitting on a ton of MR points with no way to realistically redeem them.  There were posts on here and flyer talk of people who have/had a million if not millions of MR points from travel that they just couldn't redeem due to their schedules and were getting the charles schwab platinum card because they just wanted the cash.   Pretty much what it came down to was the fact that the MR points were basically useless to them because they had so many they couldn't use.  So cashing in 3 million MR points for $37,500.00 made a lot of sense to them.  Granted this is an extreme example but that group of people do exist and the CS made a lot of sense to them for the cashout feature.    


I was careful in my post avoid language that implies the ability to cash-out points isn't useful (on-going) since there are always exceptions and corner-cases, and the example you provide is valid but most certainly isn't common (you agreed it was 'extreme').  The folks on this site are not representative of the credit world in general, and I would go so far as to say that many of the folks who frequent Flyer Talk are even more extreme outliers. 

 

I'm a corner-case myself when it comes to a few of my cards, in that while I'm not in the demographic the issuer intends (and markets) the card toward I'm able to make it work for me quite well, and I'm sure that's also the case with some others and the various flavors of Platinum.  While there are almost certainly some who have large hoards of MRs with no way to use them for travel, I would suggest these people are not representative of Amex Platium cardholders in general. 

 

I still highly suspect that the average/"normal" Platinum cardholder is able to use MRs for travel or the other perks of the card (if not both).  Having the ability to cash-out via the Schwab Platinum (either on-going or one-time to exit the MR system) is a very nice option in any case, of course.  I wish Amex would make redeeming for cash easier - I would even be happy with a 1:1 valuation (like Chase) - but I don't see that happening.

Message 19 of 24
FinStar
Moderator

Re: Cash back vs travel (Amex Gold)


@CWA1984 wrote:

@FinStar

 

Yeah I don't get what the issue was with Charles Schwab but a member on here said they were getting rid of their Charles Schwab Platinum card because of issues they had with Charles Schwab.  The brokerage is highly rated and hell I'm thinking about switching to them but not everyone has had pleasant dealings with them...whether it's their fault or Schwab's I don't know.    Understandable.  I take a variety of 'reviews' with a grain of salt depending on what the reported issue might be.  Some can be legitimate instances while others may lack relevant information as to the root cause of the issue.  As a customer of CS, I've been pretty satisfied so far.  That said, they're far from perfect (as with any other institution), but given the variety of brokerage firms and the versatility of products, they seem to be fine.

 

Didn't know about the 100k offer on the Charles Schwab Platinum...the highest I've ever seen is the base 60k then again I don't have a Charles Schwab account.  So are they the exact opposite of Amex?  Schwab giving a 100k offer for customers who have had an account with them for a while where as Amex offers 100k for the vanilla to target new customers?  If that's the case then kudos to Schwab for rewarding loyalty.    The targetted offers can vary, I've personally seen the 75K SUB (missed the train on that one).  Then, there was the 100K SUB offer (first time reported for CS) which was shared by one of our members a few months ago.

Message 20 of 24
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