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What is the true value of Membership Reward Points? How do you guys maximize it?

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Super Contributor

Re: What is the true value of Membership Reward Points? How do you guys maximize it?


@longtimelurker wrote:

Unfortunately, a fairly common experience here, leading to the unwanted but necessary PSA:

 

Before applying for a card, understand what you are getting!

For reward cards, apart from fees and rules you need to understand:

1) earning structure.   How do you earn points/miles/etc?   This bit is relatively clear to most people, e.g. 4MR at dining places.   Still sometimes needs a little more investigation: is it restricted to the US (usually for Amex)?  Do all my category stores count (e.g. will store X count as a grocery?  Sometimes an issue, particularly for Amex)

2) redeeming structure.   How do I turn the things I have earned into what I want and what will I get?    This is where people get tripped up, having been excited by 4x, 5x etc in part 1.   While the biggest learning curve is on travel cards such as those in the MR/UR/TYP eco-system,  we've seen issues even on cashback cards where an issuer give FOUR POINTS per $!!!! but then people find that the points are only worth 0.25cents each.

 


Yep unfortunatly people rush in and get this card and it really isn't a good fit for them. Even worse some people actively encourage them to rush in and app instead of helping them decide if the card makes sense for them to start with. Its not one size fits all for credit cards. For me I had two recent redemptions with my Amex MRs. I am getting 5 cents per point on singaspore airlines flights that are taking my from NYC to Sydney in business and I am getting a value of ten cents per point for the flight back that is in singapore airlines in suites. I think my record in the points game is probably a redemption where I got 14 cents per point on a CX international flight in first.  

;
Starting Score: EQ: 714, TU 684
Current Score: EQ: 725 7/30/13, TU 684 6/2013, Exp 828 5/2018, Last App 8/5/17
Goal Score: 800 (Achieved!) In garden until Sepetember 2019
Message 21 of 54
Super Contributor

Re: What is the true value of Membership Reward Points? How do you guys maximize it?


@red259 wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:

Unfortunately, a fairly common experience here, leading to the unwanted but necessary PSA:

 

Before applying for a card, understand what you are getting!

For reward cards, apart from fees and rules you need to understand:

1) earning structure.   How do you earn points/miles/etc?   This bit is relatively clear to most people, e.g. 4MR at dining places.   Still sometimes needs a little more investigation: is it restricted to the US (usually for Amex)?  Do all my category stores count (e.g. will store X count as a grocery?  Sometimes an issue, particularly for Amex)

2) redeeming structure.   How do I turn the things I have earned into what I want and what will I get?    This is where people get tripped up, having been excited by 4x, 5x etc in part 1.   While the biggest learning curve is on travel cards such as those in the MR/UR/TYP eco-system,  we've seen issues even on cashback cards where an issuer give FOUR POINTS per $!!!! but then people find that the points are only worth 0.25cents each.

 


Yep unfortunatly people rush in and get this card and it really isn't a good fit for them. Even worse some people actively encourage them to rush in and app instead of helping them decide if the card makes sense for them to start with. Its not one size fits all for credit cards. For me I had two recent redemptions with my Amex MRs. I am getting 5 cents per point on singaspore airlines flights that are taking my from NYC to Sydney in business and I am getting a value of ten cents per point for the flight back that is in singapore airlines in suites. I think my record in the points game is probably a redemption where I got 14 cents per point on a CX international flight in first.  


People tend to encourage people about the products they personally like and have good redemption value with. It's human nature, but still means it's important to do your own research for how you will actually redeem your points for your lifestyle. The Amex Gold definitely isn't for everyone. Just eating out a lot is not necessarily a reason to get it, etc.

Message 22 of 54
Mega Contributor

Re: What is the true value of Membership Reward Points? How do you guys maximize it?


@kdm31091 wrote:


People tend to encourage people about the products they personally like and have good redemption value with. 


Yes, but in my "some people are idiots" mode, I think we also see people strongly recommend cards that they have, without having done research to see if the card is really good for themselves, let alone for the person that they are recommending it to.   But yes, always do your own evaluation, popularity and FotM is no substitute!

Message 23 of 54
Regular Contributor

Re: What is the true value of Membership Reward Points? How do you guys maximize it?


@longtimelurker wrote:

@kdm31091 wrote:


People tend to encourage people about the products they personally like and have good redemption value with. 


Yes, but in my "some people are idiots" mode, I think we also see people strongly recommend cards that they have, without having done research to see if the card is really good for themselves, let alone for the person that they are recommending it to.   But yes, always do your own evaluation, popularity and FotM is no substitute!


Now a days there is so much of Credit card pushing online that u get some times sucked into it. I admit i am not super thrilled with my self regarding the Amex gold app Smiley MadSmiley LOL  It is just a credit card though in the end, worst case cancel it after a year. 

 AU-> 
Message 24 of 54
Super Contributor

Re: What is the true value of Membership Reward Points? How do you guys maximize it?


@kdm31091 wrote:

@red259 wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:

Unfortunately, a fairly common experience here, leading to the unwanted but necessary PSA:

 

Before applying for a card, understand what you are getting!

For reward cards, apart from fees and rules you need to understand:

1) earning structure.   How do you earn points/miles/etc?   This bit is relatively clear to most people, e.g. 4MR at dining places.   Still sometimes needs a little more investigation: is it restricted to the US (usually for Amex)?  Do all my category stores count (e.g. will store X count as a grocery?  Sometimes an issue, particularly for Amex)

2) redeeming structure.   How do I turn the things I have earned into what I want and what will I get?    This is where people get tripped up, having been excited by 4x, 5x etc in part 1.   While the biggest learning curve is on travel cards such as those in the MR/UR/TYP eco-system,  we've seen issues even on cashback cards where an issuer give FOUR POINTS per $!!!! but then people find that the points are only worth 0.25cents each.

 


Yep unfortunatly people rush in and get this card and it really isn't a good fit for them. Even worse some people actively encourage them to rush in and app instead of helping them decide if the card makes sense for them to start with. Its not one size fits all for credit cards. For me I had two recent redemptions with my Amex MRs. I am getting 5 cents per point on singaspore airlines flights that are taking my from NYC to Sydney in business and I am getting a value of ten cents per point for the flight back that is in singapore airlines in suites. I think my record in the points game is probably a redemption where I got 14 cents per point on a CX international flight in first.  


People tend to encourage people about the products they personally like and have good redemption value with. It's human nature, but still means it's important to do your own research for how you will actually redeem your points for your lifestyle. The Amex Gold definitely isn't for everyone. Just eating out a lot is not necessarily a reason to get it, etc.


Yes, I agree. I think some people just assume that if a card is valuable for them it must be valuable for everyone or that everyone shares the same interests and goals as they do. Also, I think people are really blind to the economics of credit cards sometimes. When you get someone that is just starting out on their credit journey and in their first real job the card may not make sense for them given their current economic state. People for some reason assume everyone is in the same financial position that they are (I do this too) and that is just not the case. You have read between the lines. If they are really young and have a credit card or two with a max limit of $500 people should factor that in to their recommendations because it may (not always) be a sign that their disposable income isn't all that large at the moment and while points that can be transferred to travel partners are great there are costs. Sure you can get a free flight but there are still other costs associated with the vacation that needs to be paid. A person with little to no disposable income may not be able to afford the vacation, they may not have the type of spend necessary to meet SUBs naturally or to really earn enough points for redemptions, they may not have the flexibility necessary to book award travel, because its not easy to find an award if you need to depart and return on specific days, they may end up spending more on AFs than they are getting back in real value from the card. All these things should be considered in determining if a particular card is a good fit. The worst thing is seeing posts later on where people regret applying for particular credit cards because they don't fit their needs, especially when there are AFs associated with said cards. 

;
Starting Score: EQ: 714, TU 684
Current Score: EQ: 725 7/30/13, TU 684 6/2013, Exp 828 5/2018, Last App 8/5/17
Goal Score: 800 (Achieved!) In garden until Sepetember 2019
Message 25 of 54
Established Contributor

2019 best value uses for MR points

I am new to MR points and wondering some suggestions for how to use them, and how not to use them. I have a Gold card and via the CAP program, my SUB should be 50,000 points (it's normally 35,000). I also expect points to accumulate decently from dining and groceries.

 

I don't travel all that much, but I do intend to travel from North Carolina (probably not a direct flight) to the United Kingdom this fall, so, I am particularly interested in airline tickets between those places, and lodging in the UK of the medium/moderate cost variety.

 

But, money is money, so if I can redeem the points for a larger savings elsewhere, that's also good - I can shift the savings toward buying tickets and paying for lodging. My big expenses are typical ones: car payment and insurance, dining, groceries, utilities, gas, streaming services, etc. I shop a lot at Amazon. I am not in any airline or hotel loyalty programs, and have no major preference of airlines or hotel chains. That preamble stated, what is best bang for the buck currently, and, what are the worst uses of MR points that I should make sure to avoid? Thanks!



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Message 26 of 54
Contributor

Re: 2019 best value uses for MR points

Best use is xfer to BA and use for domestic AA flights, or through BA partner for premium class flights to Europe.

With flexible travel, the best use for any points is likely premium class international travel.
Message 27 of 54
Valued Contributor

Re: 2019 best value uses for MR points

worst is redeem for gift card or shop with points.

best is transfer to airline partner and redeem for travel.

 

Awardhacker, while not entirely accurate for every expense involved, can point you to the top options for transfer https://www.awardhacker.com/?utm_source=uscreditcardguide&utm_medium=menu&utm_campaign=uscreditcardg...

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Message 28 of 54
Mega Contributor

Re: 2019 best value uses for MR points


@mystere3 wrote:
Best use is xfer to BA and use for domestic AA flights, or through BA partner for premium class flights to Europe.

With flexible travel, the best use for any points is likely premium class international travel.

But I don't think you want to do award travel on BA to the UK, as they charge a lot of tax.   

 

I just priced out my (economy) flight to the UK in Sep.   Cash price is $370.   With award travel on exactly the same flights, I get:

 

26000 Avios + $ 351.82

 

So $17 costs 26K Avios, a great 0.06cpp redemption!

 

 

Actually, If I book with cash, I then get the option to use avios to reduce the price, best is $116 off for 14.4K Avios, about 0.8cpp

Message 29 of 54
Valued Contributor

Re: 2019 best value uses for MR points

If you don't stay at Hyatt or fly SW or UAL, MR and UR points are now basically the same.  The one caveat is Amex has more transfer partners bonus offers than Chase and MR points are easier to accumulate quicker than UR points.  CSR does offer 1.50x on their travel portal.

 

Homework and more homework needs to be done before picking a reward program.  In addition, stick to one or two reward programs depending on spend and if you have heavy spending you may stretch it to three.  Having a lot of cards is counter productive IMO and just dilutes rewards that are allocated all over the place.

 

Travel rewards will offer you more cents per dollar spent than straight cashback cards, if you redeem them correctly........

 

 

 

 

Personal Cards: Amex Gold, & Plat | Amex Delta Res | Amex Hilton | CSR | Citi AA Exec Business Cards: Ink+ | Amex BGR | Amex Plat
Message 30 of 54
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