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MR/UR/TY after recent changes

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Valued Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@FieryDance wrote:

I am a newbie and still haven’t dived into any of the programs yet.  Based on what I read my impression is that MR points are easier to earn for beginners but somewhat harder to redeem on average; Chase URs are the opposite, unless one is open to churning and heavy MS.


Not sure if I follow this logic??  When you say Chase UR points are the opposite, do you mean only in relationship to the shopping portal discussion (such as Rakuten)?  And is that why you referenced the churning and heavy MS?  



Updated 10/08/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Aug 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $538K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:9)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 8/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 10/15/20)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 31 of 60
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Valued Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@wasCB14 wrote:

@Aim_High wrote:

...UR points are worth a minimum of a penny a piece, whether I cash them out or use for travel.  MR points are worth less for cash...

Part of what I like about MRs is that Schwab Platinum gives me a reasonable cash floor at 1.25 cpp (2.5% on spend within BBP's cap) if I find I have more MRs than I can use as miles.


So does the Schwab Platinum version give a higher cash floor than the regular AMEX Platinum non-cobranded card?  Not that I would have it since I'm not with Schwab, but good to know.  I thought the benefits and T&C of all the AMEX Platinum cards were identical except for the cobrand or perhaps the offset of AF's based on investments.



Updated 10/08/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Aug 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $538K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:9)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 8/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 10/15/20)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 32 of 60
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Frequent Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@Aim_High wrote:

@FieryDance wrote:

I am a newbie and still haven’t dived into any of the programs yet.  Based on what I read my impression is that MR points are easier to earn for beginners but somewhat harder to redeem on average; Chase URs are the opposite, unless one is open to churning and heavy MS.


Not sure if I follow this logic??  When you say Chase UR points are the opposite, do you mean only in relationship to the shopping portal discussion (such as Rakuten)?  And is that why you referenced the churning and heavy MS?  


I meant URs when compared to MRs seemed to be harder to earn unless one was open to churning SUBs and MS, but once earned seemed easier to use.  

Message 33 of 60
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Frequent Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes

Yeah Fiery that can be a real concern.  That is why unless you have really significant spend it can be hard to acquire substantial MR/UR to use unless you really go all in on that one program.

 

For Amex you can earn MR pretty hard with Gold + Blue Business Plus if that's your thing.  It would cover groceries, dining, travel and then the BBP would get you 2MR on everything else (cap of $50k annually).  The total AF for that is only $250 and the Gold has a lot of credits that can offset it.  If you want to get fancy you can add the Plat to the lineup and get x5 on airfare, but that is a much steeper AF, although the Plat does come with a lot of other perks and has its own set of credits that can offset the AF.

 

Chase has CSR/Freedom/Freedom Unlimited which is kind of same deal, they all earn UR.  CSR covers travel/dining, Freedom gets you 7.5% off rotating categories (within spend limit each quarter), and Freedom Unlimited gets you 2.25% on everything else.

 

Citi now has Prestige (travel/dining) and Double Cash (2 TYP on everything) if thats your thing.  Some people really like the 4th night free benefit which you can get serious value out of if used right.

Message 34 of 60
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Valued Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@FieryDance wrote:

@Aim_High wrote:

@FieryDance wrote:

I am a newbie and still haven’t dived into any of the programs yet.  Based on what I read my impression is that MR points are easier to earn for beginners but somewhat harder to redeem on average; Chase URs are the opposite, unless one is open to churning and heavy MS.


Not sure if I follow this logic??  When you say Chase UR points are the opposite, do you mean only in relationship to the shopping portal discussion (such as Rakuten)?  And is that why you referenced the churning and heavy MS?  


I meant URs when compared to MRs seemed to be harder to earn unless one was open to churning SUBs and MS, but once earned seemed easier to use.  


I'm not sure you can make a blanket assessment.  It depends on your spending and which cards in each point-system that you carry.  And either one is as easy or difficult to redeem as you choose to make it, depending on how much value you're trying to squeeze out of every point.  Both may give you highest redemption values when transferred but both allow you to use them for direct travel booking  with AMEX/Chase, albeit at a lower potential yield.

 

The SUBs for both AMEX and Chase are both generous and lucrative if you don't have to MS to meet the spending requirements.  In my case, with minimal effort and no real manufactured spending, I was able to meet the Chase SUBs for several cards easily by focusing my normal spending on the particular card at hand until it was paid off.  If you normally spend at least a couple of thousand a month, they aren't hard to meet.  I charged utilities, dining out, groceries, hotel stays, even sometimes gasoline and routine purchases.  (I never use debit cards and rarely use cash.)   In the course of 16 months, with my regular spending and several SUBs, I racked up almost 224,000 UR points. (CSR 50K, CF 20K, INK 80K) plus I earned over 160K Marriott points and I'm well on the way to over 65K Hyatt points.   All that with absolutely no purchase of airfare.

 

If you use the Chase Bi-fecta, Tri-fecta, or Quad-fecta approach, you can combine UR points between cards and earn 50% more redemption value for travel on the UR portal.  For me, that magnification is where the real magic happens with UR points.  You don't get that same magnification with MR points AFAIK.   A point-is-a-point unless you transfer to a travel partner.  I don't have travel partners or plan to roll points over to them, but it's nice that is an option with either Chase, AMEX, or CITI.  As for the bi/tri/quad-fecta, with the CSR/CSP plus the CF and/or CFU and/or at least one INK card, you can combine points all over to your Sapphire card where they are worth 25% (CSP) or 50% (CSR) more when redeemed for travel through Chase URs.  At the same time, you keep cash value at a floor of 1 ccp, so you have flexibility, whereas MR points are worth only 0.6 ccp for cash.  So with my CSR, I'll always earn at least 3% in cash for travel/dining, with Freedom I will always earn at least 5% in category, and with Freedom Unlimited at least 1.5%, but those numbers jump to 4.5%, 7.5% and 2.25% when used for UR portal travel on my CSR.

 

It appears to me that where MR points really excel is for frequent fliers who regularly purchase airfare and rack up a lot of MR points that can be later used for international cabin-class upgrades and transfers to partner airlines.  AMEX has about 19 airline partners and 3 hotel partners versus Chase's 10 airline and 3 hotel partners.  I believe CITI has 14 airline partners.  So UR/TY points can be used for that to some degree as well, but AMEX has the larger network.  Using any point system for transfer to partners to achieve maximum value can take some legwork and attention to detail.  Using them for travel purchases directly with AMEX or Chase may yield lower value but is much easier and straightforward. 

 

Chase_CSR_UR_Points.jpg



Updated 10/08/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Aug 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $538K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:9)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 8/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 10/15/20)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 35 of 60
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Mega Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes

While I use URs on the portal (with CSR) as well, IMO the problem with advocating Chase for this is that there are cheaper alternatives, albeit without the earning potential of the Freedom (although that is capped).   Wells Fargo has the Propel+ Visa Sig, which allows points to be used for 1.5cpp and the propel earns 3x in useful categories, with no AF.

 

And then, with an AF, the Altitude Reserve earns 4.5% for travel wherever you can use mobile pay.

Message 36 of 60
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Frequent Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes

So many great ideas in this thread.

 

It isn’t easy to decide on the best program to one’s individual needs until one gets down to the nitty gritty.  Even then the differences may not be significant or directly comparable.  And changes and nerfs happen frequently enough there is no use to plan too far ahead, except it is so much fun.  Smiley Tongue

 

As a newbie my tentative plan is to take the first good offer from any one of the programs and start from there.  I am open to some shifting in my traveling patterns in order to better benefit from the programs but nothing drastic and no plan to ms.  I also foresee at some point leaving some profit on the table and am perfectly ok with that. 

 

The key is not to spread out too thin and not to be too greedy.  

 

Fun times ahead!  

Message 37 of 60
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Valued Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@longtimelurker wrote:

While I use URs on the portal (with CSR) as well, IMO the problem with advocating Chase for this is that there are cheaper alternatives, albeit without the earning potential of the Freedom (although that is capped).   Wells Fargo has the Propel+ Visa Sig, which allows points to be used for 1.5cpp and the propel earns 3x in useful categories, with no AF.

 

And then, with an AF, the Altitude Reserve earns 4.5% for travel wherever you can use mobile pay.


Yes, there are many alternatives and ways to do this, so that's why it's an interesting topic (for some of us).  There is not a single correct answer that applies to every consumer and situation. 

 

That 4.5% on AR's mobile wallet is a nice feature but not universally useful. 

 

Propel is an attractive card also, but not the only other no-fee option.  Another no-fee example is my Citi-Costco Visa that gets 3% on travel and dining out.  (Before my CSR, it got heavier use.)  And there are tons of cards that pay a flat 1.5% to 2.0% or higher on anything with no AF.  The rotating category cards (Discover IT, Chase Freedom, USB Cash+) are all no-AF also.  There's also the UBER Visa with 4% on Dining and 3% on Airfare/Hotel or the Capital One Savor/Savor One with 3 or 4% on dining.   So for someone who wants to focus efforts on higher cash-back redemption without the further bonuses available on the premium travel cards, there are many ways to do it.

 

I admit that Chase UR does work best when used for travel instead of cash-back, either through the UR portal or transfer partners but that argument could be made for all the higher-fee premium cards.  If you're not going to use them for that, I agree that there is no reason to pay the Sapphire AF, or the ones on the AMEX Plat/Gold or CITI Prestige either for that matter. Either go for travel cards and use them for that or go for the cash-back route.  If your spend justifies it, you can use more than one travel program or a mixture of travel and cash back to diversify options and banks.



Updated 10/08/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Aug 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $538K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:9)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 8/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 10/15/20)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 38 of 60
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Mega Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@Aim_High wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:

 

Propel is an attractive card also, but not the only other no-fee option.  

 

 


I was referring to the combo of Propel + the Visa Sig card.   That makes the 3% categories of Propel worth 4.5%, same as CSR (and AR for that matter!) with no AF.

Message 39 of 60
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Super Contributor

Re: MR/UR/TY after recent changes


@Aim_High wrote:

@wasCB14 wrote:

@Aim_High wrote:

...UR points are worth a minimum of a penny a piece, whether I cash them out or use for travel.  MR points are worth less for cash...

Part of what I like about MRs is that Schwab Platinum gives me a reasonable cash floor at 1.25 cpp (2.5% on spend within BBP's cap) if I find I have more MRs than I can use as miles.


So does the Schwab Platinum version give a higher cash floor than the regular AMEX Platinum non-cobranded card?  Not that I would have it since I'm not with Schwab, but good to know.  I thought the benefits and T&C of all the AMEX Platinum cards were identical except for the cobrand or perhaps the offset of AF's based on investments.


Yes. On the Home dashboard the card has an extra button for Schwab deposits at 1.25 cpp:

Schwab MR - Copy.JPG

And there is a "loyalty credit" of $100 per year at $250k or $200 at $1M.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
SUB: JetBlue, Amex Platinum
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 40 of 60
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