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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: KES on December 02, 2013, 08:12:03 AM

Title: To Change Credit Cards, or not to change?
Post by: KES on December 02, 2013, 08:12:03 AM
I have an American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles account.  I was wondering if I'd do better with a Chase Sapphire account (from what I've heard, the points would be easier to convert and I wouldn't be married to Delta and their airline partners).  We and our kids all have Delta Skymiles accounts, my account has the most points at about 58,000.

My husband's parents live in Europe and can't come here for health reasons, so we have to travel there a lot for the kids to see their grandparents.

On our last 2 trips we haven't earned any skymiles for flying because we went with different airlines because of cheaper prices on expedia. 

Given that I'd like most of my points to go to travel because of that heavy expense, would it make sense to change cards and lose what I have for a potentially better reward in the future (i.e. being able to use the points with a cheaper airline), or should I just stay the course?

Title: Re: To Change Credit Cards, or not to change?
Post by: Left on December 02, 2013, 08:43:29 AM
I've been thinking about the starwood card myself :S mostly because it gives the same points/dollar as the rest of the cards... All the extra bonus/categories where you earn more by spending nights in hotels/renting cars... I just don't do that really. I'm looking at this one because they have a hotel right outside my work. I'm thinking I could use it if I get snowed in and can't get home. Not a big deal, employer provides a room with cots for many employees but if I wanted a room to myself...

But if it's just that, I also looked into the US Bank perks+ card for 5% cash back but I don't use those categories either much :S. The one I would use most are the grocery store + gas and I can only choose one at 2% and the other at 1% :(. But if you use their categories, it might help you. No miles but if you get 5 cents/dollar, it comes out ahead of most miles/dollar rewards

edit: not to hijack thread... but if anyone has this card, is there a benefit to signing back up with them each year? Because of the fee... do I get a free night each year out of it? Or is it to just keep points active? Because I can convert them to miles and be done with the card, I wasn't sure if there was an incentive to keep it. @op, maybe this will help you decide too?
Title: Re: To Change Credit Cards, or not to change?
Post by: bennion on December 02, 2013, 10:39:56 AM
The basic rules of credit include a rule that you should have a few old accounts that you never close, so that your average account history isn't too short. If your old account is your American Express Gold Delta, then that kind of sucks because it has a relatively large annual fee that you have to pay to keep it open. So hopefully you have other old accounts that don't have large annual fees, because otherwise you've gotten yourself stuck in a hard place. You can't close it without hurting your credit, and you can't start a new miles program because they all have annual fees. If it is one of your only old accounts, the best thing to do would be to open some accounts without annual fees that are good to have (like Chase Freedom, or maybe BAC cash back or some cards like that), and then wait for a couple of years, so that you have a few old accounts to help you out.

Assuming you have other old accounts that don't have annual fees, it wouldn't kill you to close one. But 58,000 miles is a lot, so I would try and use up all your miles or nearly all of them before switching. The people that really game these programs usually keep several old accounts always open (that don't have annual fees), and then go for the sign-up bonuses, because it's an easy way to rack up tons of miles. Then they close the new accounts within a year to avoid the annual fee. If you have several old accounts and just do this with 1 or 2 cards each year, it doesn't hurt your credit.
Title: Re: To Change Credit Cards, or not to change?
Post by: Left on December 02, 2013, 11:28:38 AM
you might keep miles by converting to a fee free card, just to keep account open. Use it once in a while for something to keep account activity?
Title: Re: To Change Credit Cards, or not to change?
Post by: madage on December 02, 2013, 11:37:31 AM
What about the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard (

This card earns two miles per dollar spent and the miles can be redeemed at a rate of $0.01/mile on travel purchases made with the card. You also get 10% of the miles you redeemed back - e.g. redeem 10,000 miles for a $100 travel purchase, then receive 1,000 miles for the redemption - the $100 travel purchase only "cost" you 9,000 miles and $4,500 in spending, so it's really a 2.22% cash back on everything card. There is an $89 annual fee, waived for the first year, and a 40,000 point ($400 in travel) bonus after meeting the minimum spending. I've had this card for a few months and now use it for nearly everything.
Title: Re: To Change Credit Cards, or not to change?
Post by: jesstach on December 02, 2013, 03:56:42 PM
Make sure that all of the Delta miles get transferred into your Delta account (they should be once your statement closes). Then, you can cancel the card without losing any miles. They will remain in your Delta account, not AMEX. When does your annual fee come due? I would wait until it is almost due or has just hit and then call to cancel. They may even offer to waive the fee.

I have the Sapphire Preferred and Freedom. With Chase, you can use points to pay for travel directly, get cash back, or transfer to their partners. Partners include United, Hyatt, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic. With the Sapphire you get 2X points dining and travel, it has no foreign transaction fees, and now it has the chip technology. The Freedom has 5X categories every quarter (groceries, gas, amazon, etc.) and, if you have the sapphire as well, you can transfer points to partners. I think the sapphire bonus is 40k points and freedom is 10k points, so you'd end up with at least $500 worth of free travel.