Author Topic: Travel Credit Card--Concerns and advice needed!  (Read 1135 times)

SNC1829

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Travel Credit Card--Concerns and advice needed!
« on: January 03, 2018, 11:18:33 AM »
Hello All,

I am new to this forum, but not new to MMM.  My first query is if I need to ask my question in a more specific forum on this board...if so I can delete this one and move it over.  It seemed this pertains to several different pool topics (?)

I have read the MMM blog/credit card page (a little outdated), did a brief search on here, did internet research, etc. I feel stuck as to how to proceed in regards to if I should go ahead and try to buy a credit card to earn me points/miles so I can minimize airfare costs when I travel.

My concerns:

1.  I think I am only looking to apply for one card (no churning): As someone who relates with MMM, I don't spend money on a lot of things!  Right now I have a credit card through my credit union that I spend about average $100-150 on each month.  The rest is debit card (maybe $300-400 per month). I do have a big few purchases coming up to help meet spending minimums ($2-$4k max is what I'm looking at), but I don't think the whole "manufactured spending" would be my thing, unless someone has advice stating otherwise?  How did yall meet minimums before bonus kicked in?

2.   Because I am cheap, I many times travel budget airlines where points wouldn't matter.  I wonder if it would even be worth getting a travel credit card or going for something that is cash back. 

I am currently signed up with AA and Delta for their loyalty programs and Delta seems to has a deal on Amex Gold where I can get 50,000 points if I spend $2k in 3 months and I get 75,000 if I spend an extra $1000 within 6 months ($3k total).  It seems like a good deal, but from my internet research most sites point towards Chase or one that is flexible on airlines.  I'm also weary of people touting credit cards only because they are sponsored from that credit card company. 

This would be for international travel.  If there is any other information I need to provide, I can do so! 


I would really appreciate any insights yall may have!


inline five

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Re: Travel Credit Card--Concerns and advice needed!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 11:54:30 AM »
AA has a 60,000 promo too. That's two domestic or Caribbean/Hawaii round trips IIRC. I think the only requirement is to charge something once on it.

SNC1829

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Re: Travel Credit Card--Concerns and advice needed!
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 12:28:33 PM »
AA has a 60,000 promo too. That's two domestic or Caribbean/Hawaii round trips IIRC. I think the only requirement is to charge something once on it.


I wonder if AA gave up on me and stopped sending promos for their credit cards because I was unaware of this---this is helpful to know and I am going to look into this!!  Thanks!

travelawyer

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Re: Travel Credit Card--Concerns and advice needed!
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 12:37:40 PM »
Moving my comment from the duplicate thread to this one, as I'd hate to put all that effort in only for it to get lost in the shuffle based on a later comment in this thread! :)

1.  I think I am only looking to apply for one card (no churning): As someone who relates with MMM, I don't spend money on a lot of things!  Right now I have a credit card through my credit union that I spend about average $100-150 on each month.  The rest is debit card (maybe $300-400 per month). I do have a big few purchases coming up to help meet spending minimums ($2-$4k max is what I'm looking at), but I don't think the whole "manufactured spending" would be my thing, unless someone has advice stating otherwise?  How did yall meet minimums before bonus kicked in?

Churning isn't an all or nothing, 1 card or 25, kind of deal.  I do what I call "churning lite."  I do one new card at a time, and only natural spending, no manufactured spending.  I do spend more than you, so a $3k or $4k min spend in 3 months is not outside of my normal spend, but there's nothing more mustachian about putting things on a debit card vs a credit card.  If you are responsible enough to pay it off every month, all of your expenses should go on a cc for the points, even if you aren't churning.

2.   Because I am cheap, I many times travel budget airlines where points wouldn't matter.  I wonder if it would even be worth getting a travel credit card or going for something that is cash back. 

What budget airlines do you travel on?  I get SOO MUCH value out of my southwest companion pass, which I acquired through churning.  Would that be something you would be interested in?

Also, as you mentioned below, some Chase cards (and some other cards, such as Barclays) give you points that are good for "travel" not just specific airline miles.  You can use them to book travel on any airline, or for travel statement credits, depending on the card.  There are also cash-back cards that don't relate to travel specifically (but you could use the cash bonuses to pay for travel).

I am currently signed up with AA and Delta for their loyalty programs and Delta seems to has a deal on Amex Gold where I can get 50,000 points if I spend $2k in 3 months and I get 75,000 if I spend an extra $1000 within 6 months ($3k total).  It seems like a good deal, but from my internet research most sites point towards Chase or one that is flexible on airlines.  I'm also weary of people touting credit cards only because they are sponsored from that credit card company. 

Lots of people in the churning community will tell you to get a chase card first, because chase has 5 cards in 24 months limit.  I would just ignore this if I were you, because "churning lite" is never going to put you over 5/24 anyway. If you start to get more serious about churning later on, you can rethink your strategy. 

Re the Amex Gold offer, if you are really into Delta that sounds like a reasonable deal, but Delta points are some of the worst, because its hard to find available award seats. 

My advice to you is to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  It's a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, which is good for $625 of travel booked through Chase's website.  The min spend is $4,000 on 3 months.  It has a $95 annual fee, but it's waived for the first year.  My personal favorite card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve (I have this one, and would appreciate the referral if you choose it), but I think for a newbie, the $450 annual fee is a bit scary, although in addition to the 50,000 point sign-up bonus, it comes with a $300 travel statement credit each calendar year, so you could get two of those (one in 2018 and one in early 2019) before your second annual fee hits, as well as some other perks.

The third option, as I hinted at above, is a southwest companion pass.  It's a great time of year to start earning, because you keep it in the year you earn it, plus the next year (2018 and 2019). Just FYI this will require you to get two southwest credit cards in the same year.  (Editing this paragraph to note that as of yesterday, sign-up bonuses are now 50,000 on each card, so all you would need is two sign-up bonuses (on the premier and the plus) and $10k of spend to earn a companion pass.  If you can meet the spend on both cards at once, then apply on the same day and you will only get one credit pull.  I don't have a referral link on these, but would suggest you use someone's and share the love! :)

SNC1829

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Re: Travel Credit Card--Concerns and advice needed!
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 12:51:39 PM »
I tried to delete my duplicate post and there was an error so I will also put my reply here!  Thanks for being patient as I am a rookie:


Here was what was posted on the other thread:
THANK YOU travelawyer for such a thoughtful and in depth reply. I really appreciate it as this is actually all very helpful.

I agree--nothing different from debit card vs credit so might as well start earning points.  I think meeting the spending minimum is what will be most difficult for me (especially if Chase's is $4k).  However, if I can take out 1-2 over the course of a year and save big purchases for those cards to get the bonus, it won't be too hard.

My most recent trip was to the UK and I combined flights through a website called Kiwi.  From JFK to London I was on Norwegian--you don't get a meal, checked luggage, or anything (like Ryan Air) unless you pay for it.  So flights like those and via smaller airlines when I'm flying within a continent like Asia or Europe.  I know some of the smaller airlines are partners with carriers like AA, but sometimes they are not.

Thanks for the heads up about Delta.  I saw some blogs that demonstrated that you didn't get as much bang for your buck on Delta but knowing that it's more in terms of trying to book travel/get a seat makes more sense.  Because I'm a rookie here I accidentally posted this thread twice and another person said AA is having a promo right now for their credit card. I may look into this as they fly out of my city and their points seem pretty good (It was easy for me to use my AA miles to book a free flight back from Ecuador recently without using all my points although I know they're not always the best generally speaking overall).

I will also look into Southwest, for sure.  I don't think the Sapphire preferred would be worth it for me at this point, but if you do run across any referral link to the other Chase I would be happy to use it or if someone else had the Southwest as I'm all about sharing the love :)

THANKS AGAIN and Happy New Year--