Author Topic: Travel rewards in 2 player mode  (Read 936 times)


  • Stubble
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Travel rewards in 2 player mode
« on: April 22, 2021, 09:39:40 AM »
Hi all,

If there are posts or stickies I have missed on this (I suspect there are) I'd love to be pointed in the right direction.

My wife and I are looking towards travel rewards for the first time (in lieu of cash back) as she will need to travel for work with her new job and I am just learning how that may be more valuable than cash back cards.  What I've learned so far is that you REALLY need to start with a plan in order to maximize bonuses and get the best value.  This is largely but not entirely due to Chase's 5/24 rule if I understand correctly.  We are looking to save up points for the next 2 to 3 years before we start spending them.

I am working on trying to figure out a long term strategy but would really like to know where to start since we have some fairly big purchases coming up.  Additionally I have a few of pointed questions I was hoping for help getting answers to, with likely more to come as I learn more.

Current situation: Wife's company will reimburse up to $500 on a single card AS LONG AS the card provides some benefit to the company.  Typically this means they want her to get airport lounge access so that she can work while traveling.

1. What card should we start with?  Given the $500 reimbursement I was thinking to start by having her get the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  It's a card we would plan on keeping open as long as she is working for the company she is, and possibly thereafter due to the 1.5x point redemtion value.

2. With accrued points/miles/rewards, etc. How do you prevent them from expiring?  My understanding is that with Chase all you need is to keep the card (or cards) that currently house your ultimate rewards points open.  Is this true?  With American express I read that the rules were different but I don't really know how.
     2a. What about other cards/rewards systems?  Is this whole point just trying to get Chase ultimate rewards and American Express membership rewards?

3. What is a long term strategy of 2 player mode?  Just get all the Chase cards and then start working through others?
    3a. Currently I'm thinking Chase Sapphire Reserve for her (she will need to do work stuff soon) then Chase Sapphire Preferred for me, Followed by Chase Business Ink for her, then for me, then what?

4. Back to the top, I obviously am at the beginning stages of this.  I've read through one online course recommended by a podcast but left feeling confident this will work, and still quite unsure what the plan should be.

5. Does this work past 3 or 4 years?  Eventually you've had, and possibly cancelled so many cards and I assume they won't let you keep repeating the sign on cycle.  (I.E. We'll not be able to get ANOTHER chase sapphire bonus even if we cancel and wait years to open the card again right?)  Is it just that new cards come out often enough for people to keep this up?

6. What sort of tools do people use for keeping track of minimum spends and dates?  I'm confident we will meet minimum spend for a new card ever 2 or 3 months depending on the spend required.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Travel rewards in 2 player mode
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2021, 12:18:25 PM »
Let me talk about 2 player mode.  There are two basic strategies:
1. One person goes for Chase cards and stays around 5/24 while second person gets as many cards as they can along the way even though they quickly are shut out of Chase.
2.  Both people stay around 4/24 or 5/24 so getting cards is spread out and generally if a great offer comes along one play will be able to get it.

We use option 2 so between us we get 5 new cards a year.

Whatever you do, you need good record keeping.  You need to know when you drop below 5/24, which cards you've had and when, etc.  Mine is a hard copy notebook with one page per card although most people use a spreadsheet.

If your wife travels a lot for work and they will let her use her own cc a Sapphire card would be a good one to have.  Look at the difference between Reserve and Preferred.  At the moment the Preferred has a better signing bonus (80K versus 50K points).  One technique woulds be to get the Sapphire Preferred and then product change to the Reserve in a year.  (No bonus on product change and doesn't count against your 5/24/)  I would wait for you to get a Sapphire card.  Each person can only get bonus every 4 years.  We are cycling each player to have CSR for 2 years.

Ill try to get back to you to lunch. 


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Travel rewards in 2 player mode
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2021, 12:53:03 PM »
The Travel Miles 101 course is free and answers all your questions:


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Travel rewards in 2 player mode
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2021, 01:00:22 PM »
Yeah, take the course. ^^^

You also need a goal (or goals). Certain airlines work better flying to different regions. Some hotels are only in the US/North America.


  • Stubble
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Re: Travel rewards in 2 player mode
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2021, 02:19:31 PM »
Yeah, take the course. ^^^

You also need a goal (or goals). Certain airlines work better flying to different regions. Some hotels are only in the US/North America.

It looks like you need to sign up for this course via email.  I'm always a little hesitant to add another recurring email.  Are they really going to only let me see one post a day if I sign up (which is what their signup seems to indicate) or will I be able to access the whole thing and read through it at my own pace?  (Note that I did take the travel rewards 101 course through choose FI but once you enter an email...literally any email... they give you a table of contents from which you can access the whole thing.  After reading that course I'm convinced that there's a better path than just spending on a cash back card, but I'm still left scratching my head about lots of details)


1. First, I want to open a card for my wife to use for work (and home) expenses.  We are holding off on several large-ish expenses and I'd really like to get started with the minimum spend on one card while I learn more.  Since her work pays up to $500/year I am still leaning towards the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  What is the downside is to just opening this card?  I mean, we'll actually earn money due to her work covering the fee and us getting a travel credit... Also, points with that card are worth 1.5x if redeemed through the portal vs 1.25 so would opening that right now to get started be a bad move?

2. Eventually travel for cheap or free (This is intentionally vague as there's no specific destinations we are thinking about... or more specifically, we want to go lots of places so whatever points we get they'll be useful)

3. Amass Travel currencies (miles, points, whatever) that WON'T expire on us between earning them and wanting to use them

4. In general at this time I am focused on America/Canada travel. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Orlando, Chicago, etc. and we'd fly out of boston or Bradley (connecticut)

*We have small children and don't plan to do a lot of travel with them at the moment, especially with coronavirus still a large concern


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Travel rewards in 2 player mode
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2021, 02:56:58 PM »
I'd second or third the travel miles 101 course.  I went through it a while ago and although I knew a lot already I learned a number of additional good things.  I don't think they spammed me after completing the course (which takes only a week or three?), so the recurring email is a short term thing and quite well-behaved.

On expirations

Most points and miles expire, although some don't.  The way I manage it is to keep a list in a spreadsheet like this of program, current balance, and expiration date:

Delta Skymiles   13,242   4/21/2023
Citi TYP              12,141   12/31/2021

I then just highlight the rows that have high balances (for me anything over about 10K) and the next two or three upcoming expiration dates chronologically.  I then have a tickler in my todo file to extend the expiration dates on the expiring miles or points.  It's generally pretty easy to either use miles or points from the relevant programs (aka churn and burn) which usually also extends the expiration date, or to buy a magazine or accrue a point or two somehow to reset the date.  There are plenty of web resources, just google "How do I extend the expiration date on my Citi TYP?" or whatever.

Some point programs don't expire as long as you keep the associated credit card open.

Last two questions

I'm only single player, I think two player makes it easier to accomplish but harder to keep track of.  Although in theory if you're organized well it should be reasonably possible.

Even in single player mode, I've been doing credit card bonuses and bank bonuses since 2007.  You'd think it would slow down, but it really hasn't yet.

First, the credit card companies keep introducing new cards with new bonuses.  So even though I've had the AMEX Charles Schwab Superb Fantastic card and gotten the bonus, I haven't yet received the AMEX Charles Schwab Preferred Amazing card with it's bonus (obvs made up names).

Second, some card offers are what's known as "churnable", meaning you can get the same bonus on the same card repeatedly.  Often you have to cancel the existing card and reapply.  Usually there are rules for how long you have to wait in between - with Chase it was 48 months on some cards, although I haven't kept up with the changes so their rules might have changed.  Others are more lax in their restrictions, I think BofA is famous for having churnable cards.

Third, some card offers don't have the "once in a lifetime" restriction in the offer language for whatever reason.  If you find those, you can use those application links and get the offer a second time even when you normally would not be able to.  I've done a few of those and they generally work.

And fourth, if you have two players, you can each get each "once in a lifetime" offer, and you can tradeoff the waiting times, so you essentially have twice the opportunities that single player mode people do.

As for your last question in your OP, I use a collection of Excel spreadsheets.  I have one that keeps track of my applications for a series of cards (I still apply for cards en masse, which was a trick from a long time ago that doesn't work but I haven't given up on it yet), as well as how much of the spending I've met, whether I've received the bonus, etc.  I have one that keeps track of my reward programs (as mentioned above), and then I have one that keeps track of my current open cards and balances.  I could probably come up with a simpler or more coherent approach, but this works for me.