Can We Talk About Credit Cards and Travel Rewards? (1 Viewer)

Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,361
Age
35
Location
Daphne, Alabama
Online
I just recently paid off all my debt outside of the house and student loans, and I have been planning to convert bill and food pay into rewards because my wife and I want to start traveling.

With that said, tell me some of your experiences with using credit cards to gain travel rewards.

Which cards have you guys had luck with?

Which cards do you all prefer? High annual fee vs low annual fee? Tricks of the trade?

Go!
 

TheRealJRad

The Artist Formerly Known as AgentJRad
Staff member
Tech-Admin
VIP Subscribing Member
VIP Contributor
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
Messages
10,013
Reaction score
10,771
Age
35
Location
Baton Rouge
Offline
Just a drive-by post, as others likely have better insight, but

I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve and I “combine” it with a Chase Freedom. The Sapphire is quite generous in the food/travel classifications. The Freedom (I had it for years is the only reason I have both) has its own rotating bonus categories, so I’ll use it on those purchases for the maximum point accumulation.

Anything with good rewards is typically going to have a high annual fee. The biggest tip is to make sure you don’t overextend. It’s a bit easier to spend outside your budget when you aren’t watching the money come out of a bank account instantly.
 

Twyst

Hall-of-Famer
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
6,545
Location
Finally back in NOLA!
Online
just give me cash back----i'm smart enough to put the $$ towards what i want to spend it on.
Yes but you can get a lot more value out of rewards points than cash back if you know how to play the game.\




Right now there are 2 cards you want in your wallet if you want to maximize your rewards with minimal effort.


Chase Sapphire Reserve for everything but eating at restaurants

Citi Prestige for eating out (mcDonalds or fine dining doesnt matter)

All other spend can go on either of these cards and will get you 1 point per dollar

Chase will give you 3x points on all travel stuff and they have a very loose interpretation of what classifies as travel, and Citi will give you 5x points on Dining. There are other niche areas you can have other cards for, but for ease of use these 2 cards will give you a ton of bang for your buck.

Just remember the number one rule of credit card churning, don't carry a balance so you never pay interest. The high annual fees pay for themselves in credits etc, but you will never out earn interest.
 

Waymer

Waymer
Super Moderator
VIP Subscribing Member
Gold VIP Contributor
Joined
Sep 1, 1997
Messages
11,744
Reaction score
2,670
Offline
Are you looking for "aspirational" type of once/few in a lifetime trips every 5 years? General US travel? A mix?

I've redeemed everything from European vacations to all inclusive trips to the Caribbean and Mexico to just things like week long stays in Chicago or Orlando or other US cities and states. I haven't hit some of the more exciting things like the Maldives or others yet, primarily just due to time constraints.

It comes down to what you think you want. I'm sure many of us can provide lots of tips and tricks as this thread grows.
 

superchuck500

tiny changes
VIP Subscribing Member
VIP Contributor
Diamond VIP Contributor
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
45,073
Reaction score
58,953
Location
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Online
Yes but you can get a lot more value out of rewards points than cash back if you know how to play the game.\




Right now there are 2 cards you want in your wallet if you want to maximize your rewards with minimal effort.


Chase Sapphire Reserve for everything but eating at restaurants

Citi Prestige for eating out (mcDonalds or fine dining doesnt matter)

All other spend can go on either of these cards and will get you 1 point per dollar

Chase will give you 3x points on all travel stuff and they have a very loose interpretation of what classifies as travel, and Citi will give you 5x points on Dining. There are other niche areas you can have other cards for, but for ease of use these 2 cards will give you a ton of bang for your buck.

Just remember the number one rule of credit card churning, don't carry a balance so you never pay interest. The high annual fees pay for themselves in credits etc, but you will never out earn interest.
I have always resisted point cards in favor of cash back - I have just never really felt comfortable understanding that it was worth it. In other words, do the points spend better than cash?

For some, they might. But in general, you also have to look at the value of the points to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. For example, if the relative cash value of a point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is 1.25 cents, that means it pays cash equivalent of 1.25%. If that's the case, a card the pays 2% is superior. Plus cash is more flexible (it's cash - there are no restrictions).

We use the AmEx blue cash preferred as our primary card - buy just about everything. It pays 3% on gas, an outstanding 6% on groceries - without having to deal with rotating categories. It's not completely bad-arse because after $6K spent on gas and groceries, it drops to 1% but I think it averages out strongly - plus pure cash is always more flexible than points.

I do have cards for travel purposes, for the perks that they come with (like preferred boarding and expense reimbursement) and the AmEx platinum comes with range of service that benefit you when you're actually traveling (lost/delayed luggage, rental car damage waiver, etc.) if you have used the card to purchase the airfare or rental cars. So instead of building travel points, I prefer to build cash back and then use the cash to buy the travel.

My sister flies Delta most of the time, and she really likes the SkyMiles AmEx. I don't know anything about it though.
 

Waymer

Waymer
Super Moderator
VIP Subscribing Member
Gold VIP Contributor
Joined
Sep 1, 1997
Messages
11,744
Reaction score
2,670
Offline
Anyone have any experience with the Capital One Venture Card?
It's one of the more basic cards out there. But it's simple. It's not personally for me, but one thing you will learn is that not everyone has the same goal or abilities or plans. If someone ever tells you that card is dumb for you, take it with a grain of salt. It may not work for them but it could for you. Me personally though I tend to go for other more lucrative cards when played right.
 

Waymer

Waymer
Super Moderator
VIP Subscribing Member
Gold VIP Contributor
Joined
Sep 1, 1997
Messages
11,744
Reaction score
2,670
Offline
I have always resisted point cards in favor of cash back - I have just never really felt comfortable understanding that it was worth it. In other words, do the points spend better than cash?

For some, they might. But in general, you also have to look at the value of the points to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. For example, if the relative cash value of a point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is 1.25 cents, that means it pays cash equivalent of 1.25%. If that's the case, a card the pays 2% is superior. Plus cash is more flexible (it's cash - there are no restrictions).

We use the AmEx blue cash preferred as our primary card - buy just about everything. It pays 3% on gas, an outstanding 6% on groceries - without having to deal with rotating categories. It's not completely bad-arse because after $6K spent on gas and groceries, it drops to 1% but I think it averages out strongly - plus pure cash is always more flexible than points.

I do have cards for travel purposes, for the perks that they come with (like preferred boarding and expense reimbursement) and the AmEx platinum comes with range of service that benefit you when you're actually traveling (lost/delayed luggage, rental car damage waiver, etc.) if you have used the card to purchase the airfare or rental cars. So instead of building travel points, I prefer to build cash back and then use the cash to buy the travel.

My sister flies Delta most of the time, and she really likes the SkyMiles AmEx. I don't know anything about it though.
There's a lot of great points here Chuck. That was essentially what I said in my last post. Some cards are better for some people. If you lived in Atlanta or at a Delta hub then a Delta card might have more value for example.

But points definitely can work. Chase Sapphire Reserve is 1.5 cents through the Chase booking portal. So one point may be worth less than 2% cash back. But if you pay for a meal on it just as an example that's 3 points. So 4.5 cents back.

And Chase points have great flexibility. I like to transfer to Hyatt personally where I often get value above 2%.

So I think it's all personal use and future plans. I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that whether you spend $40 a month or $4,000 you have to pay it off or rewards are useless in the long run.
 

Twyst

Hall-of-Famer
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
6,545
Location
Finally back in NOLA!
Online
I have always resisted point cards in favor of cash back - I have just never really felt comfortable understanding that it was worth it. In other words, do the points spend better than cash?

For some, they might. But in general, you also have to look at the value of the points to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. For example, if the relative cash value of a point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is 1.25 cents, that means it pays cash equivalent of 1.25%. If that's the case, a card the pays 2% is superior. Plus cash is more flexible (it's cash - there are no restrictions).
Yes and YMMV, but you can also get some INSANE values per points as well, not to mention 5x points on meals etc.

I just cashed in 245,000 points for first class/suites round trip airfare to bangkok on Singapore Airlines. If I was to pay cash for the ticket on the dates I wanted to travel it would have been about $28,000, I got a vaulation of over 8 cents per point which is insane value when you add in your bonuses. Different things will work for different people with different goals, but you can get crazy valuation with long haul airfare and top end resorts by using points.
 

superchuck500

tiny changes
VIP Subscribing Member
VIP Contributor
Diamond VIP Contributor
Joined
Aug 9, 2004
Messages
45,073
Reaction score
58,953
Location
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Online
There's a lot of great points here Chuck. That was essentially what I said in my last post. Some cards are better for some people. If you lived in Atlanta or at a Delta hub then a Delta card might have more value for example.

But points definitely can work. Chase Sapphire Reserve is 1.5 cents through the Chase booking portal. So one point may be worth less than 2% cash back. But if you pay for a meal on it just as an example that's 3 points. So 4.5 cents back.

And Chase points have great flexibility. I like to transfer to Hyatt personally where I often get value above 2%.

So I think it's all personal use and future plans. I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that whether you spend $40 a month or $4,000 you have to pay it off or rewards are useless in the long run.
I have heard that Chase really stepped up their card programs, I haven't delved into it. I was on a self-imposed Chase boycott for many years - but I now have some investment working through Chase so I suppose I'm already doing business with them. Might as well explore their cards.
 
OP
OP
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,361
Age
35
Location
Daphne, Alabama
Online
There's a lot of great points here Chuck. That was essentially what I said in my last post. Some cards are better for some people. If you lived in Atlanta or at a Delta hub then a Delta card might have more value for example.

But points definitely can work. Chase Sapphire Reserve is 1.5 cents through the Chase booking portal. So one point may be worth less than 2% cash back. But if you pay for a meal on it just as an example that's 3 points. So 4.5 cents back.

And Chase points have great flexibility. I like to transfer to Hyatt personally where I often get value above 2%.

So I think it's all personal use and future plans. I think the one thing everyone can agree on is that whether you spend $40 a month or $4,000 you have to pay it off or rewards are useless in the long run.
My goals are to take 1-2 trips per year, and have my airfare paid for. I would also be interested in building points for anything travel related. The whole point of delving into this is strictly to travel cheaply. I have no brand loyalty. I just want to start traveling more and doing it cheaper than I would if I wasn’t taking this route.
 
OP
OP
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,361
Age
35
Location
Daphne, Alabama
Online
Yes and YMMV, but you can also get some INSANE values per points as well, not to mention 5x points on meals etc.

I just cashed in 245,000 points for first class/suites round trip airfare to bangkok on Singapore Airlines. If I was to pay cash for the ticket on the dates I wanted to travel it would have been about $28,000, I got a vaulation of over 8 cents per point which is insane value when you add in your bonuses. Different things will work for different people with different goals, but you can get crazy valuation with long haul airfare and top end resorts by using points.
What card do you use?
 

Twyst

Hall-of-Famer
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,173
Reaction score
6,545
Location
Finally back in NOLA!
Online
What card do you use?
I churn so I go through a lot of cards strictly for the signup bonus then ditch the cards, but the three cards I keep are Chase Sapphire reserve, Citi Prestige, and amex plat. Dining only on the citi prestige or when I can use their fourth night free perk (which can generate crazy value on its own). Sapphire reserve most other travel stuff except airline tickets which go on the amex plat for 5x points. My everyday spend (non bonus) is usualy going on some card Im just trying to hit the minimum spend on to get a welome bonus before ditching the card.
 

dtc

VIP Subscribing Member
VIP Contributor
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
27,958
Reaction score
25,717
Location
Redneck Riviera
Offline
Just a drive-by post, as others likely have better insight, but

I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve and I “combine” it with a Chase Freedom. The Sapphire is quite generous in the food/travel classifications. The Freedom (I had it for years is the only reason I have both) has its own rotating bonus categories, so I’ll use it on those purchases for the maximum point accumulation.

Anything with good rewards is typically going to have a high annual fee. The biggest tip is to make sure you don’t overextend. It’s a bit easier to spend outside your budget when you aren’t watching the money come out of a bank account instantly.
I have had an AMEX platinum for 20 years or so and used it exclusively until about 2 years ago when I got the Chase Saphire.

Besides the initial sign up bonus points, it gives me a much higher return on travel and dining which adds up to a bunch. As for building materials and the like, it's a wash with my amex so what I've done is use Chase for any dining, air fare and hotels while still using Amex for anything else.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Similar threads




Saints Headlines (The Advocate)

Headlines

Top Bottom