Author Topic: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?  (Read 2473 times)

evme

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recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« on: July 29, 2018, 03:32:19 AM »
I'm looking for a general travel rewards CC (non-airline specific, although I fly American Airlines most often). I currently have a Chase Freedom which earns 1 pt/$1 spent plus the quarterly rotating categories which earn higher points. I am looking at the Chase Freedom Unlimited which earns unlimited 1.5% cash back and no annual fee or possibly the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I see the Sapphire Preferred has $95 annual fee (free the first year) and earns 2X on travel and dining. I spend about $7000-8000 a year in those two categories so the double points would almost cover the annual fee. Total spend of around $30k annually.

I considered the Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard but I found Barclays a PITA to work with and also read a lot of negative reviews with their customer service. Any other cards I should consider?

Catbert

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2018, 08:27:10 AM »
If you get the CSP and put a fair amount of spend on it call when the annual fee is charged.  Tell them you're considering cancelling and they'll likely give you an incentive to stay.

PizzaSteve

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2018, 08:37:27 AM »
I know you want airline nonspecific, but nothing beats the 2xSWA card -> companion pass travel hack.  I am on my 6th free flight next week and have used less than 50% of free miles earned.

This is still available via aquisition of a business card + personal card bonus.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 10:50:58 AM by PizzaSteve »

JLee

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2018, 08:59:00 AM »
Sapphire Reserve - $300 annual travel credit leaves you with a net annual fee of $150, and triple points on travel / dining takes care of that. You also get a 50% bonus when redeeming Ultimate Rewards points via the Chase travel portal.

Here's my referral link, if you do decide to go that route and are feeling generous!  https://www.referyourchasecard.com/19/WRG99O8VN6
 

bacchi

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2018, 09:15:01 AM »
Why is there so much love for the CSR (besides the 1st year bonus)?

$8000 travel (what the OP mentioned) nets $240. Subtract out the $150 annual fee and it's now +$90. Add in $20k regular spend* and we're at +$290.

A Citi Double Cash is 2%, which is +$160 on the travel spend. Add in the $20k regular spend and it's +$560.



* wasn't sure if this was CC spend or just total spend/year.

JLee

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2018, 09:18:39 AM »
Why is there so much love for the CSR (besides the 1st year bonus)?

$8000 travel (what the OP mentioned) nets $240. Subtract out the $150 annual fee and it's now +$90. Add in $20k regular spend* and we're at +$290.

A Citi Double Cash is 2%, which is +$160 on the travel spend. Add in the $20k regular spend and it's +$560.



* wasn't sure if this was CC spend or just total spend/year.

If you're redeeming points for cash, the CSR is not for you.

$8000 travel is $240 cash value or $360 travel value. All UR points (from any card) can also be transferred to a CSR for the 50% redemption bonus, so your rotating 5% categories on Chase Freedom become 7.5% when used for travel.

CSR also gives you airport lounge access, pays for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, provides primary insurance on rental cars, and some other stuff.

$8k travel spend = $360 travel credit. $20k regular spend = $300 travel credit.  $360 + $300 - $150 = $510.  $50/year difference, ignoring all the other perks of the CSR (and also ignoring the $750 travel credit from the first year, which is 15x that $50 difference).

Now if all you want is a cash back card, then as mentioned - the CSR is not for you.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 09:22:54 AM by JLee »

boarder42

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 09:25:32 AM »
I know you want airline nonspecific, but nothing beats the 2xSWA card -> companion pass travel hack.  I am on my 6th free flight next week and have used less than 50% of free miles earned.

You can't get two personal card Southwest bonuses within 2 years of each other. OP you'd have to do. Business and personal to do this. I doubt this stays around much longer so it should be at the top of your list if you can fly Southwest

OP credit card optimization is an important skill not talked enough about here. Personally you should use cards that get you the most cash back for where you're shopping your cutting off your nose to spite your face if you're thinking you're getting "free" vacations bc of these points. Amex blue cash preferred for gas and grocery 6% on grocery 3% on gas if you spend 4-5k a year on groceries this is the best you can do.

When it comes to travel you should travel hack as in sign up for cards for the bonuses and move on.

But to answer your question the best card to spend on if there isn't a category specific card is currently the amex spg card. It's changing in August so it's going to be slightly devalued but it's pretty high up the list still
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 11:04:43 AM by boarder42 »

JLee

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 09:30:25 AM »
I know you want airline nonspecific, but nothing beats the 2xSWA card -> companion pass travel hack.  I am on my 6th free flight next week and have used less than 50% of free miles earned.

This is now dead. You can't get two Southwest bonuses within 2 years of each other.

OP credit card optimization is an important skill not talked enough about here. Personally you should use cards that get you the most cash back for where you're shopping your cutting off your nose to spite your face if you're thinking you're getting "free" vacations bc of these points. Amex blue cash preferred for gas and grocery 6% on grocery 3% on gas if you spend 4-5k a year on groceries this is the best you can do.

When it comes to travel you should travel hack as in sign up for cards for the bonuses and move on.

But to answer your question the best card to spend on if there isn't a category specific card is currently the amex spg card. It's changing in August so it's going to be slightly devalued but it's pretty high up the list still

It's also beneficial to keep an eye on Chase Freedom's rotating categories. They've had 5% back on gas for two quarters in 2018 and grocery stores for one quarter.  That's 7.5% back for the CSR crowd!

homelesshobbit

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 10:26:24 AM »
If you don't have the Chase trifecta/quadfecta complete (or haven't gotten bonuses on the below cards in the last 24 months), you can do the following:
Single/Double Dip (apply for one or both simultaneously) of the CSP and CSR (50k points each)
Apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited (15k points) - 1.5 points on everything
Apply for the Chase Ink Unlimited (50k points) - 1.5 points on everything
Apply for the Chase Ink Cash (50k points) - 5 points/$ on phone/cable/internet/office supplies

I sent you an PM as well

DealingWithDreams

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2018, 12:44:26 PM »
I recently applied for 2 travel cards that have bonuses for signing up...I have one with Delta that I have $33,000 miles now (I had to spend around $2k in the first 2 months, which I did and have paid off) and then I have another card specific to America Airlines that I will get 50k miles if I spend $2500 in three months. This is as far as I've gotten with this...I haven't booked any travel just yet...maybe someone on here can elaborate more on these particular cards...the Delta card is through American Express and the AA card is through Citibank.

boarder42

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2018, 12:46:02 PM »
I recently applied for 2 travel cards that have bonuses for signing up...I have one with Delta that I have $33,000 miles now (I had to spend around $2k in the first 2 months, which I did and have paid off) and then I have another card specific to America Airlines that I will get 50k miles if I spend $2500 in three months. This is as far as I've gotten with this...I haven't booked any travel just yet...maybe someone on here can elaborate more on these particular cards...the Delta card is through American Express and the AA card is through Citibank.

You need to be looking for top bonuses. That Delta bonus is low. Should be 50k and 70k for gold and Platinum minimum before you get another Delta card

DealingWithDreams

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2018, 12:58:19 PM »
yes, compared to the AA one, it does seem low now! :/

boarder42

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2018, 02:28:30 PM »
Bonuses vary throughout the year on most cards. Amex notoriously does this alot so wait for the higher ones and then jump my signature will have links when they hit the best I've seen usually.

chasesfish

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2018, 02:36:20 PM »
I basically rotate through the following in a 24 month period:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Citi Thank You
Capital One Venture
Barclay's Arrival

The signup bonuses on each are worth $500 or so and all are flexible travel reward cards in their own right.

DealingWithDreams

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2018, 06:45:05 PM »
so...if you see a sign up bonus and you already have that particular card...do you apply for another card (maybe upgrade to platinum or gold) even though you already have one (maybe a more basic one? will the cards allow that?

evme

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2018, 07:24:59 PM »
I basically rotate through the following in a 24 month period:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Citi Thank You
Capital One Venture
Barclay's Arrival

The signup bonuses on each are worth $500 or so and all are flexible travel reward cards in their own right.

Are you saying you cancel each of those cards and re-signup every 2 years?

boarder42

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2018, 07:42:56 PM »
so...if you see a sign up bonus and you already have that particular card...do you apply for another card (maybe upgrade to platinum or gold) even though you already have one (maybe a more basic one? will the cards allow that?

Amex cards are once in a lifetime bonus. Which really means once every 7 years. I've held all 4 Delta cards at the same time business and personal gold and Platinum.

chasesfish

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2018, 08:19:54 PM »
I basically rotate through the following in a 24 month period:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Citi Thank You
Capital One Venture
Barclay's Arrival

The signup bonuses on each are worth $500 or so and all are flexible travel reward cards in their own right.

Are you saying you cancel each of those cards and re-signup every 2 years?

I keep a spreadsheet and tend to cancel at month 11 before the annual fee kicks in.   My wife and I both carry the cards so we hit 8-10 signup bonuses every two years.

evme

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2018, 10:16:20 PM »
I basically rotate through the following in a 24 month period:

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Citi Thank You
Capital One Venture
Barclay's Arrival

The signup bonuses on each are worth $500 or so and all are flexible travel reward cards in their own right.

Are you saying you cancel each of those cards and re-signup every 2 years?

I keep a spreadsheet and tend to cancel at month 11 before the annual fee kicks in.   My wife and I both carry the cards so we hit 8-10 signup bonuses every two years.

Huh, no kidding. I'm surprised they allow you to keep receiving the various signup bonuses time after time.

chasesfish

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2018, 05:20:41 AM »
@evme

I know it sounds crazy, but everyone but Amex will qualify you for a signup bonus every two years.  Amex is a bit longer.   Brad Barrett of ChooseFI originally put together his Travel Miles 101 course years ago off this message board.

There are four big Visa/Mastercard issuers that give $500+ signup bonuses, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Barclays.  We rotate through those, usually for cash back but occasionally for miles, each two years.  Its the easiest $2,000/year we can make for simply managing a spreadsheet and being willing to call and cancel a card (Chase's retention department is the most aggressive)

katsiki

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2018, 07:29:11 AM »

There are four big Visa/Mastercard issuers that give $500+ signup bonuses, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Barclays.  We rotate through those, usually for cash back but occasionally for miles, each two years.  Its the easiest $2,000/year we can make for simply managing a spreadsheet and being willing to call and cancel a card (Chase's retention department is the most aggressive)

Thanks for the list.  I have not ventured beyond Chase and Barclays much as of yet.

bacchi

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2018, 08:29:41 AM »

There are four big Visa/Mastercard issuers that give $500+ signup bonuses, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Barclays.  We rotate through those, usually for cash back but occasionally for miles, each two years.  Its the easiest $2,000/year we can make for simply managing a spreadsheet and being willing to call and cancel a card (Chase's retention department is the most aggressive)

Thanks for the list.  I have not ventured beyond Chase and Barclays much as of yet.

Watch the Citi 1/24 rule. It's probably the trickiest.

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/new-citi-rules-limit-one-bonus-per-24-months-per-brand-american-airlines-expedia-hilton-citi-typ/

Quote
Basically you canít get the sign up bonus on a new card if youíve opened or closed a card within that brand (e.g American Airlines, Expedia, Hilton or Citi ThankYou points) within the past 24 months.

The game is much easier in 2 player mode.

PizzaSteve

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2018, 09:50:22 AM »

There are four big Visa/Mastercard issuers that give $500+ signup bonuses, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Barclays.  We rotate through those, usually for cash back but occasionally for miles, each two years.  Its the easiest $2,000/year we can make for simply managing a spreadsheet and being willing to call and cancel a card (Chase's retention department is the most aggressive)

Thanks for the list.  I have not ventured beyond Chase and Barclays much as of yet.

Watch the Citi 1/24 rule. It's probably the trickiest.

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/new-citi-rules-limit-one-bonus-per-24-months-per-brand-american-airlines-expedia-hilton-citi-typ/

Quote
Basically you canít get the sign up bonus on a new card if youíve opened or closed a card within that brand (e.g American Airlines, Expedia, Hilton or Citi ThankYou points) within the past 24 months.

The game is much easier in 2 player mode.
Great link and info Bacchi.  Thanks.  I am likely to bump against this 5/24 rule soon and will need to consider timing of card cancels.  Wife helps extend our travel options, but the golden deals may lessen.

Details for citi https://www.doctorofcredit.com/citi-24-month-churning-rule-explained-detail/
« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 10:05:22 AM by PizzaSteve »

chasesfish

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Re: recommendation for travel rewards credit card?
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2018, 10:22:53 AM »

There are four big Visa/Mastercard issuers that give $500+ signup bonuses, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Barclays.  We rotate through those, usually for cash back but occasionally for miles, each two years.  Its the easiest $2,000/year we can make for simply managing a spreadsheet and being willing to call and cancel a card (Chase's retention department is the most aggressive)

Thanks for the list.  I have not ventured beyond Chase and Barclays much as of yet.

Capital One Venture is a straight $500 statement credit against travel.  Citi is useful in either the Thank You points or the AA miles.

Agree with the "2 player mode" comment