Author Topic: Best card for airlines?  (Read 5168 times)

texastumbleweed

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Best card for airlines?
« on: May 19, 2017, 08:22:39 AM »
So I'm new to hacking a vacation.  I've got a card for groceries and a card for hotels and I'm trying to fly to LA from the east coast for free this summer.  I'm about to make some business purchases for about $5k (plus another $5k this fall).  I'd love to put that on a new card to get some airlines miles.  I could of course just put if on the hotel card and get hotel points, but I've already met my 5k in 3 months on that card so it is just 1:1 now.  Any suggestions for the best card?  Also will that be enough to get a free flight? 

Thanks!

boarder42

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 08:34:04 AM »
southwest dual card hack and get a companion pass is probably your easiest path.  3k spend on the premier card to get 60k miles plus 3k spend on the plus card for 40k miles.  then just spend the extra 4k and you've got a companion pass and 110k points. 

catccc

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 08:40:08 AM »
For a one card hack that (I think?) yields a decent bonus, the chase ink preferred card gets you a 80K point bonus for $5K min. spend.  80K is more than enough for that flight.  There is a $95 annual fee, but their are targeted mailers out there that offer the first year free, and I think they may waive the first year if you apply in branch.

The value of the 80K is definitely much less than the companion pass and 110K points boarder suggested, but the minimum spend is less and you only need to deal with one card.  But the ink is a good option if you want to take a simpler, albeit lower yield, route.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 08:42:46 AM by catccc »

texastumbleweed

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 08:43:05 AM »
Hm, ok so either the chase ink preferred or the southwest card?  Can someone tell me which southwest card exactly because there are a lot of them. 

thanks!

geekette

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 08:51:48 AM »
Do you need a flight for one person or two?  The companion pass means you can use points (or pay) for your flight and your companion flies free. 

I'd recommend starting with the Travel Miles 101 course (offered by a couple members here).  Their credit card page is here, and there's a sign up link.  It's free and well worth it.

texastumbleweed

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 08:57:10 AM »
For this particular trip, just one ticket.  But I'd love to take my wife and kids as well (so five of us.)

boarder42

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 09:06:17 AM »
you should take the course mentioned above

but you and your wife could each get the 2 cards mentioned.  and get 2 companion passes and then you'd just have to pay for 3 flights with points and 2 would fly for free.

geekette

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 09:10:01 AM »
And if you get those cards, you'd probably have enough points to "pay" for the three with points. 

Timing the cards/points correctly means your companion pass lasts longer, but that's covered in the course.

catccc

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 09:17:01 AM »
Hm, ok so either the chase ink preferred or the southwest card?  Can someone tell me which southwest card exactly because there are a lot of them. 

thanks!

I think boarder was suggesting 2 southwest cards, both the southwest premier business for 60K miles, $99 AF, as well as the southwest plus card for 40K, $69 AF.

Also, since you are talking about flying this summer, maybe do the ink now to fly yourself, then do the dual SW cards toward the end of the year, earning the companion pass in early 2018 so you can use it for all of 2018 + 2019?  (you get the companion pass through 12/31 of the year following the date you earned it.) 

DH and I each got Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred cards late last/early this year, but I would consider the southwest deal for one of us later in the year.

Sarah Saverdink

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 10:30:08 AM »
We've had both United and American Airlines credit cards to take advantage of the free miles offered upon initial sign-up/spending. One thing to note - with a lot of credit cards, the annual fee is waived for the first year. When we call to cancel before the annual fee is charged the 2nd year, we've been offered statement credits to keep the card and offset the fee. It doesn't always happen, but I'd give it a 75/25 chance. If they don't offer it, we cancel. We fly both airlines fairly frequently and that is how we picked those cards (priority boarding, free baggage mainly, no foreign transaction fees).

My favorite was when I tried to cancel the United card a few years ago ($95 yearly fee) they offered me $150 statement credit to keep it and offset the fee. Um, yes, please pay me to use your credit card!

bacchi

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 11:41:42 AM »
How does Southwest handle rewards seats and miles? Because it's probably too late to get a rewards seat for this summer with the other big US airlines.

That leaves cards like Sapphire or Flexperk or Arrival+. They're "cash" cards and can be used for a regular seat.

boarder42

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 12:07:37 PM »
How does Southwest handle rewards seats and miles? Because it's probably too late to get a rewards seat for this summer with the other big US airlines.

That leaves cards like Sapphire or Flexperk or Arrival+. They're "cash" cards and can be used for a regular seat.

southwest doesnt have rewards seats.  the points work like dollars at each level if there is a seat available you get it.  Southwest has the best rewards program out there. if you can buy a seat you can book it with points.  the points cost more based on the price of the ticket.  and their cheapest fares are wanna get away which are typically available til 1 week prior to the flight depending on demand.  Oh and if you want to cancel you cancel and get all your points back for free.  Oh and if they run a fare sale after you book you cancel and rebook at the lower price.

billybob

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 02:31:02 PM »
Southwest Rapid rewards card, they are offering 40,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Pretty easy to spend $1,000 right?

clarkfan1979

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 03:39:06 PM »
If you fly with a companion, the Alaska Airlines card is great. You get a $99 companion fare every year, which includes Hawaii. I have the credit card and my wife has one, so we get 2 companion fares each year. When we fly from Denver to Kauai, it's normally about $700 for the one plane ticket, but only $850 for two plane tickets, round trip. The $99 companion fare doesn't include airline fees. First bag of each trip is free ($25 value), which basically pays for the $75 annual fee.

Even though it's a discounted ticket, you get the full amount of miles credit when you make the flight, which is 7,500 miles round trip. After two round trip flights, you have 15,000 miles. You get triple points for paying with your credit card which is $1700 x 3 = 5100 miles. That is 2550 miles for each person. You only need 17,500 points for a one-way flight, which you can get after only flying two discounted round trips. We probably get another $1,500 points/month with regular credit card use, which is another one-way flight. Our biggest charges on the card are Costco, car insurance and health care.

We basically get 3 flights/year at half price. Instead of paying $700/flight, we pay around $350/flight.

boarder42

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2017, 06:01:10 PM »
If you fly with a companion, the Alaska Airlines card is great. You get a $99 companion fare every year, which includes Hawaii. I have the credit card and my wife has one, so we get 2 companion fares each year. When we fly from Denver to Kauai, it's normally about $700 for the one plane ticket, but only $850 for two plane tickets, round trip. The $99 companion fare doesn't include airline fees. First bag of each trip is free ($25 value), which basically pays for the $75 annual fee.

Even though it's a discounted ticket, you get the full amount of miles credit when you make the flight, which is 7,500 miles round trip. After two round trip flights, you have 15,000 miles. You get triple points for paying with your credit card which is $1700 x 3 = 5100 miles. That is 2550 miles for each person. You only need 17,500 points for a one-way flight, which you can get after only flying two discounted round trips. We probably get another $1,500 points/month with regular credit card use, which is another one-way flight. Our biggest charges on the card are Costco, car insurance and health care.

We basically get 3 flights/year at half price. Instead of paying $700/flight, we pay around $350/flight.

You shouldn't be paying anything other than TSA fees to fly. If you are you're doing it wrong.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2017, 06:43:53 AM »
It is not too late to get a fare to California, I just booked on Ameican for 55 K points Boston to LA for one
R/T fare. I do feel the price is high, that ticket is worth 450 cash but you can get an citibank AA card with 50 k -60 K bonus right now.

If you want no blackout dates apply for Barclay arrivals plus, or citibank thank you or chase saffire preffered and either  of those cards you can get a cheap fare  and the points count as cash. For example just book your trip on the card and barclays will re reimburse you 400-500 dollars, with city thank you you book through citi travel portal and it is like citi points are cash  about 400-500 dollars for your travel purchase,  after the minimum spend of course.

boarder42

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2017, 07:05:13 AM »
thats a pretty bad return on AA points.  you can fly one way to hawaii in first class and the other way in coach for that price. 

This is why i think SW is a much better points system where points are equivalent to dollar price of flights not just random zoning rules.

onthewater

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2017, 01:05:29 PM »
Here are my .02 cents....

I hate any 'specific airline' card.... I don't want to be tied to any airline.

I hate when there are any blackout dates or restrictions.

I hate when I earn more points in certain categories and not in others. SIMPLIFY this and just earn 2 points/dollar in ALL SPENDING!

I was using the Barclays Arrival Plus but recently switched to Capital one Venture Card (had to have a visa for costco....)

These two cards for for ANY travel related expenses (airline, hotel) and earn 2 pts per dollar for all money spent.

Anyways, this is what I like, but if anyone sees where my theories are wrong, I would love to learn more!

FLBiker

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2017, 01:09:40 PM »
+1 on the dual SW card to Companion Pass route.  We did that last May and it has been great.  We'll do it again early next year.

Catbert

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 01:44:12 PM »
How does Southwest handle rewards seats and miles? Because it's probably too late to get a rewards seat for this summer with the other big US airlines.

That leaves cards like Sapphire or Flexperk or Arrival+. They're "cash" cards and can be used for a regular seat.

southwest doesn't have rewards seats.  the points work like dollars at each level if there is a seat available you get it.  Southwest has the best rewards program out there. if you can buy a seat you can book it with points.  the points cost more based on the price of the ticket.  and their cheapest fares are wanna get away which are typically available til 1 week prior to the flight depending on demand.  Oh and if you want to cancel you cancel and get all your points back for free.  Oh and if they run a fare sale after you book you cancel and rebook at the lower price.

If you want to see how much it would cost you in points, just go to their website and look for flights.   In the search screen there is a box you can select to see the price in point rather than $.  see if Southwest will get you there and for how much.

boarder42

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2017, 05:54:10 PM »
Here are my .02 cents....

I hate any 'specific airline' card.... I don't want to be tied to any airline.

I hate when there are any blackout dates or restrictions.

I hate when I earn more points in certain categories and not in others. SIMPLIFY this and just earn 2 points/dollar in ALL SPENDING!

I was using the Barclays Arrival Plus but recently switched to Capital one Venture Card (had to have a visa for costco....)

These two cards for for ANY travel related expenses (airline, hotel) and earn 2 pts per dollar for all money spent.

Anyways, this is what I like, but if anyone sees where my theories are wrong, I would love to learn more!

Correct you get all the airline cards for the sign up bonuses rinse and repeat. Use manufactured spend to meet the minimum spend. And then use category cards for everyday spend. BofA cash rewards for gas and amex preferred blue cash for grocery. Discover it for category bonus

Alim Nassor

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Re: Best card for airlines?
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2017, 12:17:05 AM »
We have the AAdvantage Platinum Select and the AAdvantage Business Platinum Select.   We got 60k bonus on the first one, 50k bonus on the 2nd one, any flight booked with points gets a 10% point discount, free checked bag and group one boarding on domestic flights, and I've never been denied group one boarding on international.

  We picked these cards because DFW is our home Airport and AA's major hub.  We pay all our rent house expenses with the business card, including insurance and taxes.  That gets us more than enough miles per year for a free ticket.  At my last employer, I was assigned to live overseas for several years and we stockpiled almost a million miles.  Those miles will be our ticket to travel in Post FIRE.