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UR or MR?

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Regular Contributor

UR or MR?

Another post about the age-old battle between MR and UR... 

 

Currently, dabble in both systems via the CSR and the Amex Gold. Not really looking to build up a collection of cards, but wanting to lean in heavy on trifecta/quadfecta that makes the most sense for me. Pros and Cons for both below: 

 

CSR/UR

Pros:

  • Use for work all work-related expenses - 1-2 weeks per month
    • ~$200-250/month on Lyft - a nice chunk of points 
  • Ease of redeeming points, plus 50% boost via the portal 
  • DW and I mostly travel in economy, which UR is usually better for 
  • Visa for international travel + protection benefits
  • All other banking (non-investment) is through Chase

Cons: 

  • Renewal is after April 1 + plus we have AU card so total fee will be $625 
  • Live in Hub city and fly Delta almost exclusively (both business and personal), so no transfers there
  • Work recently tightened the reins, all flights/hotels must now be booked on a corporate card
    • Only rideshare + meals can be paid on CSR during work travel now 
    • Minimal point accrual in the last handful of months due to work policy changes

MR/Amex 

Pros: 

  • Dining and grocery are heaviest expenses - currently earn ~4-5k MR per month on spend 
  • As mentioned above, Delta loyalist and live in a Hub city 
  • Seems like I could replace some of the CSR earnings (i.e. 3x on travel) with the Amex Green and really lean into MR system
  • Also Marriott loyalist (though I know Marriott transfers are possible in both systems) 
  • Use the Rakuten connection frequently for online shopping to accrue more points

Cons: 

  • Amex isn't accepted everywhere, would still need a Visa or MC
  • Travel internationally 1-2x per year, but still mostly domestic and in economy. Amex seems better for more aspirational travel? 
  • Lounge access isn't a huge deal for us - more of a "nice to have" 
  • No points boost via travel portal 

After typing that out, I'm leaning towards MR (maybe combo of Gold, Green, BBP + CF to have a Visa?). Thoughts? Help is appreciated and thanks in advance. 

 

 

 

Message 1 of 12
11 REPLIES 11
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Mega Contributor

Re: UR or MR?


@Batsamandrobin wrote:
  •  

After typing that out, I'm leaning towards MR (maybe combo of Gold, Green, BBP + CF to have a Visa?). Thoughts? Help is appreciated and thanks in advance. 

 

 

 


I won't contribute to the basic discussion, but just want to say probably not CF if the point of a visa is for international travel, as CF has a FTF

Message 2 of 12
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Regular Contributor

Re: UR or MR?


@longtimelurker wrote:

@Batsamandrobin wrote:
  •  

After typing that out, I'm leaning towards MR (maybe combo of Gold, Green, BBP + CF to have a Visa?). Thoughts? Help is appreciated and thanks in advance. 

 

 

 


I won't contribute to the basic discussion, but just want to say probably not CF if the point of a visa is for international travel, as CF has a FTF


Good point, didn't think about that. Maybe a BoA Premium Rewards card instead?

Message 3 of 12
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Valued Contributor

Re: UR or MR?

If you only fly delta, go with MR. It can get to 1.5-1.6 cpp if you plan carefully, even for domestic economy. If you need an card for intl travels, get a cap1 QS.

 

btw, if you are not allowed to pay flight with your own card, I am not sure what good MR/UR is for....

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Message 4 of 12
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Re: UR or MR?


@FortifiedHM wrote:

 

btw, if you are not allowed to pay flight with your own card, I am not sure what good MR/UR is for....


Non-work travel.  OP, if your spending makes sense, the argument can certainly be made for both systems.  As a Delta flyer, URs and MRs (as well as TYPs, Marriott, and Hilton (although that last one at a horrible exchange rate) can ALL dump into Virgin Atlantic and Flying Blue (Air France/KLM).  Since you live in a Delta hub, direct flights (domestic and international) on Delta booked through Virgin Atlantic can be extremely good value.

Message 5 of 12
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Valued Contributor

Re: UR or MR?


@K-in-Boston wrote:

@FortifiedHM wrote:

 

btw, if you are not allowed to pay flight with your own card, I am not sure what good MR/UR is for....


Non-work travel.  OP, if your spending makes sense, the argument can certainly be made for both systems.  As a Delta flyer, URs and MRs (as well as TYPs, Marriott, and Hilton (although that last one at a horrible exchange rate) can ALL dump into Virgin Atlantic and Flying Blue (Air France/KLM).  Since you live in a Delta hub, direct flights (domestic and international) on Delta booked through Virgin Atlantic can be extremely good value.


I agree. If a person can afford to dabble in both systems without spreading themselves too thin, then it can be very useful alternate where necessary. 

 

While Delta doesn't work for me that well locally, I have found uses for them in the unlikeliest of places. Just recently I discoverd that I could book an award filght on Delta from ICN to NRT. I knew that they had 1,000's destination but never even considered this to be an itinerary.

Been trying to find a way to unload some of my points/miles while on my trip, Delta is at the top as I want to get out of that system.






Message 6 of 12
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Regular Contributor

Re: UR or MR?


@K-in-Boston wrote:

@FortifiedHM wrote:

 

btw, if you are not allowed to pay flight with your own card, I am not sure what good MR/UR is for....


Non-work travel.  OP, if your spending makes sense, the argument can certainly be made for both systems.  As a Delta flyer, URs and MRs (as well as TYPs, Marriott, and Hilton (although that last one at a horrible exchange rate) can ALL dump into Virgin Atlantic and Flying Blue (Air France/KLM).  Since you live in a Delta hub, direct flights (domestic and international) on Delta booked through Virgin Atlantic can be extremely good value.


What you're describing (redemptions on Virgin Atlantic) is part of what's led me to consider our plan moving forward. Most of what I've read seems to discuss Virgin redemptions in the context of MR transfers, which is why I was looking to lean more heavily into Amex. Good to know that UR is a transfer partner as well. Every once in a while it'd be nice to book a few seats in the front of the plane. 

 

I also have a stack of Marriott points (Platinum last year, most likely will hit Titanium this year) - would you recommend transferring those to an airline as well? 

Message 7 of 12
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Valued Contributor

Re: UR or MR?

I wouldn't, the redemtion rate is horrible 3>1. 






Message 8 of 12
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Valued Contributor

Re: UR or MR?


@Batsamandrobin wrote:

@K-in-Boston wrote:

@FortifiedHM wrote:

 

btw, if you are not allowed to pay flight with your own card, I am not sure what good MR/UR is for....


Non-work travel.  OP, if your spending makes sense, the argument can certainly be made for both systems.  As a Delta flyer, URs and MRs (as well as TYPs, Marriott, and Hilton (although that last one at a horrible exchange rate) can ALL dump into Virgin Atlantic and Flying Blue (Air France/KLM).  Since you live in a Delta hub, direct flights (domestic and international) on Delta booked through Virgin Atlantic can be extremely good value.


What you're describing (redemptions on Virgin Atlantic) is part of what's led me to consider our plan moving forward. Most of what I've read seems to discuss Virgin redemptions in the context of MR transfers, which is why I was looking to lean more heavily into Amex. Good to know that UR is a transfer partner as well. Every once in a while it'd be nice to book a few seats in the front of the plane. 

 

I also have a stack of Marriott points (Platinum last year, most likely will hit Titanium this year) - would you recommend transferring those to an airline as well? 


UR does transfer to Virgin, althought MR system have a history of offering transfer bonus in the range of 25-50%. You can check the record of these bonuses at DoC.

 

You may want to also take a look at Virgin and check to see if you can actually book the delta routes you need. Virgin can book delta flights, esp. direct flights, but it can't book all delta flights.

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Message 9 of 12
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Moderator

Re: UR or MR?

The rate is 2.4:1 when you transfer in 60,000 points increments (60k Marriott to 20k miles + 5k bonus). Pre-merger I would have said yes absolutely. Now it would only make sense if you are going to get huge value out of them for an award fare vs an award stay. For something like a Delta One from MSP-AMS absolutely it might be a great way to go.
Message 10 of 12
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