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Redeeming Credit Card Points: Why Should I Travel instead of Taking Cash?


DonRocks
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I have a fairly ample number of points on my Chase Quicken Visa (I crossed out Quicken because Chase has discontinued their relationship with them). Now that I'm thinking about it, it's actually the blue Chase "Freedom" Visa, which was substituted for the silver Chase "Quicken" Visa sometime earlier this year.

Anyway, up until about a year ago, you could get a discount for air travel, e.g., you could redeem 25,000 points for $400 of travel (as opposed to getting $250 in cash).

However, Chase unceremoniously changed the redemption rules, and now 25,000 points only gets you $250 of travel (as well as the option to get $250 in cash). You have to buy the travel through their own agents, so I don't think there are any discounts or transferable points.

My question is the obvious one: Is there any reason *not* to take cash?

If the answer is "no," then why do these credit cards offer *so many* different types of rewards, when the customers aren't getting any discounts for selecting them? Long-term agreements which they must honor?

From what I see, it makes absolutely no sense not to take the cash, so what reasons are there, if any?

Thanks a bunch in advance.

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The idea of "$250 of travel" assumes the cost of travel is fixed, but it isn't.  That trip to Orlando that the Chase site markets at $250 might be $275 on Expedia and $225 on American Airlines' site, right?  So I don't know if you can measure the value of $XX of travel without comparison shopping, if I'm thinking about it correctly.

Check out The Points Guy's blog.  He's got a ton of good advice on how to get the best redemption from these things.

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2016 at 7:12 PM, DonRocks said:

I have a fairly ample number of points on my Chase Quicken Visa (I crossed out Quicken because Chase has discontinued their relationship with them). Now that I'm thinking about it, it's actually the blue Chase "Freedom" Visa, which was substituted for the silver Chase "Quicken" Visa sometime earlier this year.

Anyway, up until about a year ago, you could get a discount for air travel, e.g., you could redeem 25,000 points for $400 of travel (as opposed to getting $250 in cash).

However, Chase unceremoniously changed the redemption rules, and now 25,000 points only gets you $250 of travel (as well as the option to get $250 in cash). You have to buy the travel through their own agents, so I don't think there are any discounts or transferable points.

My question is the obvious one: Is there any reason *not* to take cash?

If the answer is "no," then why do these credit cards offer *so many* different types of rewards, when the customers aren't getting any discounts for selecting them? Long-term agreements which they must honor?

From what I see, it makes absolutely no sense not to take the cash, so what reasons are there, if any?

Thanks a bunch in advance.

$250 worth of travel might be, on a good day, worth more than $250 in the market.   But even then, avoiding cash is still only a convenience.

For instance, let's say there's an offer for a $250 round trip ticket to Indonesia. 

a ) that offer might only be for points holders.   In which case it would make sense.

b ) but even if was an offer for cash or points, you could just cash your points directly to the travel instead of the interim step through cash - during which time (the cash out to the purchase) the offer might expire. 

Yes, the automatic "baked in" advantage of points ($400 vs $250) is gone.    They have the right to pull the plug on you, and they did.   There seems to be a trend toward the squeezing of points programs.  The strategy seems to (continue to) be to change programs every now and again, gaining the advantage of being the new customer and getting the come-on offers.   That, or avoid them altogether and just be sure you've got the card with the best rates and terms. 

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2016 at 8:21 PM, Rhone1998 said:

The idea of "$250 of travel" assumes the cost of travel is fixed, but it isn't.  That trip to Orlando that the Chase site markets at $250 might be $275 on Expedia and $225 on American Airlines' site, right?  So I don't know if you can measure the value of $XX of travel without comparison shopping, if I'm thinking about it correctly.

Check out The Points Guy's blog.  He's got a ton of good advice on how to get the best redemption from these things.

Yeah, that was always the case too.   You got $400 in points value for using (say) the American Express travel service.   But that $400 in points might have only cost $250 on Expedia, which was the cash value anyway. 

In effect, the programs create a new currency and "value" is relative within the currency and those participating.   But they know the arbitrage game and know that not everyone will bother to do an actual apples-to-apples comparison. 

BUT - through all this, if we pay off our cards in a way that doesn't cost any interest, and have no annual fee, then in fact it is merchants that are funding our points.  Right?  So it's all funny money anyway.   So... I play my skee-ball, get my tickets and go get my army men and crazy pencil erasers.   

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Personally, I find chasing after better "deals" on points and all that type of thing a hassle and not worth the trouble.  I now have two cards that simply give 2% cash back on everything, with no annual fee.  One is only available to Fidelity customers, but the other (Citi Double Cash) is available to anybody.  No muss, no fuss, no need to remember whether you're in a limited time period to get a bigger percentage on certain things (which I do try to get when I remember, on a Discover Card I also have, but not obsessively). Works for me.  I also have a Capital One card that gives me 1.5% back but also has no fee on foreign transactions, so I use that one whenever charging anything not in US dollars, thus saving the usual 3% FEF.

In practice, I use the cash back to against future credit card bills. .  I think I'm still ahead by having gotten all that previous cash back. If I fly somewhere, I just buy the ticket (and still get my 2% back).

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Thanks for the information - it was very helpful.

Also, just so people (over 50) know, the Chase AARP Visa gives 3% back on restaurants and gas (and 1% on everything else). Plus, you get 10,000 bonus points (worth $100) if you charge $500 in the first three months.

I'm pretty sure they didn't have people like me in mind, but I'm not complaining.

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10 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Thanks for the information - it was very helpful.

Also, just so people (over 50) know, the Chase AARP Visa gives 3% back on restaurants and gas (and 1% on everything else). Plus, you get 10,000 bonus points (worth $100) if you charge $500 in the first three months.

I'm pretty sure they didn't have people like me in mind, but I'm not complaining.

You don't need to be 50 or over (or be a member of AARP) to get the Chase AARP Visa.  I have one, simply because it's the best money back card for dining out.

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If you're a Costco member, the new Costco Visa (issued by Citi) gives 3% cash back on restaurants and travel, but 4% on Costco and other "eligible" gas (whatever that means), 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else.

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2016 at 8:21 PM, Rhone1998 said:

The idea of "$250 of travel" assumes the cost of travel is fixed, but it isn't.  That trip to Orlando that the Chase site markets at $250 might be $275 on Expedia and $225 on American Airlines' site, right?  So I don't know if you can measure the value of $XX of travel without comparison shopping, if I'm thinking about it correctly.

Check out The Points Guy's blog.  He's got a ton of good advice on how to get the best redemption from these things.

I have a Capital One and a Citibank Card.  When it comes to air travel redemption, they all appear to have the same price.  I would check Expedia, Hipmunk, and the credit card website to make sure that I'm not being screwed. 

With respect to Capital One and Citibank, redemption for anything other than travel would be at less than 100 miles per dollar.  You usually have to expend 130 miles for a dollar credit.  So rather than provide you a bonus for travel redemption, they ding you for cash back or other types of credit.

AARP is the first card that I have that seems to offer cash back at the same rate as travel.  I'm of the opinion that I don't need the extra $20 here or there.  Better off just getting a free airline ticket or 2 or 3 a year.

My Capital One has no fees, 2 miles for dollar for any expenditure and no foreign transaction fee.  I use that for everything other than charges to the AARP.

Citibank used to give me 5 miles per dining dollar, but they recently reduced that to 2 miles per dining dollar.  I have discontinued using the Citibank card.

AARP (again, no fee) is 3 miles per dining and gas dollar, so that's what I use for dining and gas when in the U.S. 

That Costco card sounds good but I'm not a member of Costco and would not want to pay a fee to joint Costco.

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In general -- and most travel blogs will say the same -- the best way to get the most out of your credit card points for travel will be to convert them to airline miles, then redeem said miles for aspirational trips (i.e., international tickets in business or first class on the best airlines).  By doing so, you can get upwards of 10 to 20 cpp in "value" of redemption.  That said, the value is somewhat subjective.  Some base it on the price of the ticket that you received, while others say it should be based on the price that you would've paid in cash for the same ticket.  Some airlines tend to make award flights more available than others, though in general I'd say redeeming for business class is way easier than for first class.  Boards like Flyertalk and many travel blogs get into more detail of the mechanics than you could ever imagine, for each of the alliances, frequent flyer, and credit card point programs.

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1 hour ago, silentbob said:

In general -- and most travel blogs will say the same -- the best way to get the most out of your credit card points for travel will be to convert them to airline miles, then redeem said miles for aspirational trips (i.e., international tickets in business or first class on the best airlines).  By doing so, you can get upwards of 10 to 20 cpp in "value" of redemption.  That said, the value is somewhat subjective.  Some base it on the price of the ticket that you received, while others say it should be based on the price that you would've paid in cash for the same ticket.  Some airlines tend to make award flights more available than others, though in general I'd say redeeming for business class is way easier than for first class.  Boards like Flyertalk and many travel blogs get into more detail of the mechanics than you could ever imagine, for each of the alliances, frequent flyer, and credit card point programs.

Can you expand on what you mean when you say "convert them to airline miles?" I've seen this written before, and don't know what it means - I get the feeling I'm missing out on some key piece of information.

I think this is what you're referring to; I just don't know how to do it.

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50 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Can you expand on what you mean when you say "convert them to airline miles?" I've seen this written before, and don't know what it means - I get the feeling I'm missing out on some key piece of information.

I think this is what you're referring to; I just don't know how to do it.

Here's an example: I want to buy two round-trip tickets to France. Let's say they cost $1,250 each, or $2,500 total.

However, "Flying Blue" has an award program that will let me buy them for a total of 100,000 miles + about $300. 

Are you saying I can transfer 100,000 Chase Visa points to "Flying Blue," and get 100,000 Flying Blue miles for doing so? In other words, I could get both round trip tickets for the equivalent of $1,300 total?

May 22, 2016 - "Chase Reward Adds Flying Blue as a Travel Partner" on thepointsguy.com

... and apparently, they have "instant transfer," too.

If what I'm proposing is true, it almost doubles the value of the Chase points I have. The problem is that when I sign onto Chase, I don't see how to transfer my points to Flying Blue - does anyone know (assuming I'm correct about this)?

 

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Here's an example: I want to buy two round-trip tickets to France. Let's say they cost $1,250 each, or $2,500 total.

However, "Flying Blue" has an award program that will let me buy them for a total of 100,000 miles + about $300. 

Are you saying I can transfer 100,000 Chase Visa points to "Flying Blue," and get 100,000 Flying Blue miles for doing so? In other words, I could get both round trip tickets for the equivalent of $1,300 total?

Yes, with a bunch of caveats.

The general principle is that you are able to convert 1 Chase Ultimate Reward/AMEX Membership Rewards/Starwood Preferred Guest "point" into 1 mile in certain frequent flyer programs.  The list of available transfer partners for UR and MR is shorter than that of SPG.  For that and many other reasons, SPG points are often viewed as the most valuable currency in the points/travel game.  SPG also gives you a bonus 5K miles when you transfer 20K points to airline miles.  Every so often, airlines will give you a 20 to 50 percent bonus or transferring MR points.  Anyway, the most prominent bloggers view an SPG point as worth around 2.5 cents, whereas one UR point is closer to 1.6 cents.  But I digress.

Typically, the recommended transfer strategy is to pick FF program(s) where the price in points for your desired destinations is cheapest, not where you fly the most.  Between all the FF program devaluations in recent years from the legacy U.S. airlines, including their decisions to go from mileage-based to revenue-based, those are almost certainly the worst places to transfer your miles.

Many international airlines offer sweet spot redemptions in the FF award chart, though with travel blogs and forums publicizing them constantly to generate web traffic, they've harmed the golden goose somewhat.  For example, it used to be possible to redeem 4500 British Airways Avios points for a one-way short-haul (<600 miles) flight in the U.S., when the price for the same saver award ticket would usually cost 10K to 12.5K AA/UA/DL miles.  But BA eliminated these earlier in the year due to their overwhelming value proposition and popularity.  One FF transfer option that remains fairly good is the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program.  Not only do they continue to award miles based on distance flown for Star Alliance (e.g., United) and JetBlue flights, regardless of cheap or expensive fare class in coach, they offer 40K first class round trip tickets in the U.S. that would cost 50K in UA/AA/DL miles.  And 60K round trip tickets to Hawaii that cost at least 20K more in UA/AA/DL miles.  Keep in mind that the FF program whose miles you're redeeming need not be the same airline that you're flying for the award.  They simply need to be in the same alliance (or be one of the airline's non-alliance redemption partners).

Unfortunately, for your situation, there aren't really any FF programs offering sweet spot redemptions for US-Europe awards.  They're going to be 100K virtually everywhere.  The one differentiator is that some airlines charge way less in fuel surcharges for award tickets than others.  $300 for your France ticket is pretty steep.  I don't have firsthand experience with Air Canada's Aeroplan but understand that their surcharges tend to be much lower depending on the carrier.

What I've written is barely scratching the surface of the overall analysis but should help get you and others started.

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On 8/16/2016 at 8:31 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

I think there are specific cards that allow transfers.  My poking around shows that Chase Sapphire Preferred maybe be a good card for this purpose, but they do charge an annual fee and you only get 2 miles per $1 spent on dining and travel.

The "regular" Chase Preferred Freedom Visa allows transfers also on a 1-to-1 basis, with no annual fee (but I think there's a $35 annual fee per card for participating in the travel rewards program, or at least there used to be). The problem is, I don't know how to make the transfer to Flying Blue, and I'd like to get tickets tomorrow. Note: This entire paragraph is *wrong*. See this post.

silentbob, I just now saw your message. What I'm trying to do is this:

1) I just joined the Flying Blue program today, so I have zero miles.

2) I was thinking of transferring 100,000 points from Chase Freedom Visa to them, which is enough for 2 roundtrip tickets to Europe.

3) Each one-way trip (there are four total, since there are two tickets) is 25,000 plus about $30-100 cash, depending on which flight I choose.

4) But I don't know how to make the transfer.

100,000 Chase points + $300 is cheap considering the tickets are selling for about $1,200 each round trip. It's essentially "paying" $1,300 for $2,400-worth of airfare. That's a *great* discount that I didn't even know existed until a few hours ago - I was going to suck it up and pay big bucks, but it's starting to look like I won't have to. 

But how do I make the transfer? Apparently there's an "instant transfer" feature; I just don't know where it is.

---

Separate subject, sort of.

Is there any advantage to me getting a "luxury" card? Considering how much I spend on dining (a LOT), and also considering that I'm going to be traveling much more going forward, there may be some benefits (such as airline clubs) that could be very useful. At the end of the day, all I care about is maximizing net worth, and I'm not worried about twenty bucks here-or-there, and I'm certainly not worried about "prestige" (although superior customer service, insurance, hotel upgrades, etc. would be perks that have value to me).

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28 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I think there are specific cards that allow transfers.  My poking around shows that Chase Sapphire Preferred maybe be a good card for this purpose, but they do charge an annual fee and you only get 2 miles per $1 spent on dining and travel.

In about one week, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will be available, offering a 100K point bonus for $4K spend in the first three months and awarding 3 points per $1 spend on dining and travel!  The annual fee is hefty at $450 but you get $300 in value just from the travel credit reimbursement and $100 in Global Entry fee reimbursement, plus Priority Pass lounge access and many other perks.  I'll definitely be signing up for this despite having the AMEX Platinum (ostensibly its competitor card) already.

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18 minutes ago, silentbob said:

In about one week, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will be available, offering a 100K point bonus for $4K spend in the first three months and awarding 3 points per $1 spend on dining and travel!  The annual fee is hefty at $450 but you get $300 in value just from the travel credit reimbursement and $100 in Global Entry fee reimbursement, plus Priority Pass lounge access and many other perks.  I'll definitely be signing up for this despite having the AMEX Platinum (ostensibly its competitor card) already.

I'll be damned - you have E.S.P.

What's "travel credit reimbursement?" Never mind, it's on your link. This sounds like it might be the card for me. 

Is the "Priority Pass Lounge" for one specific airline?

Global Entry is that sped-up security thing, right? I was going to do that - this *all* sounds like it's *exactly* what I'm looking for, and it will easily pay for itself - the first year is a no-brainer. 

On the other hand, I just got my AARP card, which I'll no longer need - does it mess with your credit score canceling accounts, or moving up in the credit card world? I like to keep things simple, and I already have too many cards, meaning I'd definitely prefer to cancel at least one if I get this Sapphire Reserve.

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1 minute ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Sounds like a great card.  I guess this card will fulfill all my needs - no foreign exchange fee, 3x miles on dining and travel.  The miles get a bonus for travel rewards.   Is the Chase travel portal pricing the same as other travel websites?

Eric, what do you mean by "travel portal?" I might be able to answer your question.

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19 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

On the other hand, I just got my AARP card, which I'll no longer need - does it mess with your credit score canceling accounts, or moving up in the credit card world? I like to keep things simple, and I already have too many cards, meaning I'd definitely prefer to cancel at least one if I get this Sapphire Reserve.

I've canceled cards before without any meaningful hit to credit score.  That said, I'm nowhere near credit card churners (Google that phrase to reveal a whole world of the points/miles/manufactured spend-obsessed) who are constantly applying for new cards and bonuses, though Chase and AMEX are starting to shut down that game.

If you're referring to an AARP credit card, I don't know much about its value proposition, but an AARP membership is still worthwhile though if you ever plan to fly on British Airways simply for the up to $400 discount on their flights.

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12 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Hmm....I wonder if the travel portal produces all available flight options or just flights from certain airlines?  A business class seat on Iceland Air ain't worth the money.  Similarly, I'd never fly Frontier again.

When I've booked through Chase, I've found my own flights, then called them and made the booking for the flight that I found.

If you're referring to an AARP credit card, I don't know much about its value proposition, but an AARP membership is still worthwhile though if you ever plan to fly on British Airways simply for the up to $400 discount on their flights.

I'd never give up my AARP membership - it's like $20 a year. Two nights in a hotel pays for that.

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16 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I'll be damned - you have E.S.P.

What's "travel credit reimbursement?" Never mind, it's on your link. This sounds like it might be the card for me. 

Is the "Priority Pass Lounge" for one specific airline?

Global Entry is that sped-up security thing, right? I was going to do that - this *all* sounds like it's *exactly* what I'm looking for, and it will easily pay for itself - the first year is a no-brainer. 

On the other hand, I just got my AARP card, which I'll no longer need - does it mess with your credit score canceling accounts, or moving up in the credit card world? I like to keep things simple, and I already have too many cards, meaning I'd definitely prefer to cancel at least one if I get this Sapphire Reserve.

This is different from what bob said above, but in general my understanding is that canceling a card will or may negatively affect your credit score for two reasons: (1) it reduces your ratio of credit use vs. credit available, and (2) if the card is one you've had for a while it reduces the average age of your credit accounts.  I don't think the second one affects you in this case, but the first one might.  In general, you want to keep accounts for a while and you want to avoid too many credit inquiries such as when you apply for a new card, both of which give lenders comfort that you pay your bills on time and aren't risky.  That said, I can't say whether any such negative impact would be material to you.  Probably not unless you are contemplating a major borrowing such as a home purchase and the difference in credit rate would have a significant impact.

I am wrestling with this right now because I want to cancel the only card I have that has an annual fee and I don't really need it any longer (I have kept it because it offers primary rental car insurance which has value if you rent cars a lot which I don't any longer).  But I have had it for over 40 years so it helps my credit rating some, and I'm a credit rating junkie.  But I'll probably let it go next time.

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1 hour ago, johnb said:

This is different from what bob said above, but in general my understanding is that canceling a card will or may negatively affect your credit score for two reasons: (1) it reduces your ratio of credit use vs. credit available, and (2) if the card is one you've had for a while it reduces the average age of your credit accounts.  I don't think the second one affects you in this case, but the first one might.  In general, you want to keep accounts for a while and you want to avoid too many credit inquiries such as when you apply for a new card, both of which give lenders comfort that you pay your bills on time and aren't risky.  That said, I can't say whether any such negative impact would be material to you.  Probably not unless you are contemplating a major borrowing such as a home purchase and the difference in credit rate would have a significant impact.

I am wrestling with this right now because I want to cancel the only card I have that has an annual fee and I don't really need it any longer (I have kept it because it offers primary rental car insurance which has value if you rent cars a lot which I don't any longer).  But I have had it for over 40 years so it helps my credit rating some, and I'm a credit rating junkie.  But I'll probably let it go next time.

Interestingly, my ratio of credit used will probably go *up* because I'll be trading in my AARP Visa for a (probably) higher-limit Sapphire. And also interestingly, my average credit age will pretty much stay the same, since I got my AARP Visa just this year, and all my other accounts I've had since 1998 (!) - so on these two items, I'm okay; it's just a matter of whether or not they'll balk at me canceling a card after having it for only six months to trade up.

My feelings are that credit ratings - unless you're going to do some serious borrowing, like buying a house - are overrated (no pun intended) once you're past a certain score, and it's best not to lose sleep over them. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is your net worth.

Now, if someone could tell me how to transfer my Chase Preferred Freedom miles to an airline, that would be greatly appreciated. ^_^

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1 hour ago, DonRocks said:

Now, if someone could tell me how to transfer my Chase Preferred Freedom miles to an airline, that would be greatly appreciated. ^_^

I'm only familiar with Chase Ultimate Rewards points as their currency, in which case the process for transferring them to Flying Blue is outlined here.  Are "Chase Preferred miles" a completely different animal?

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1 hour ago, silentbob said:

I'm only familiar with Chase Ultimate Rewards points as their currency, in which case the process for transferring them to Flying Blue is outlined here.  Are "Chase Preferred miles" a completely different animal?

No, the Chase Freedom Visa (I was mistakenly calling it "Chase Preferred Visa") uses the Chase Ultimate Rewards system. The problem is that, no matter what I sign into (Chase, or the airline), I don't see an option to transfer points.

I emailed Chase customer service, and should get a reply today, so all should be well. I really appreciate people chiming in and helping (that's what I like best about this community - other people are so quick to jump in and help if someone has a question or problem). 

I'm pretty jacked about this Chase Sapphire Reserve card that silentbob mentioned - I think that's the answer to all my problems, and sounds like *exactly* what I want going forward.

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18 hours ago, silentbob said:

In about one week, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will be available, offering a 100K point bonus for $4K spend in the first three months and awarding 3 points per $1 spend on dining and travel!  The annual fee is hefty at $450 but you get $300 in value just from the travel credit reimbursement and $100 in Global Entry fee reimbursement, plus Priority Pass lounge access and many other perks.  I'll definitely be signing up for this despite having the AMEX Platinum (ostensibly its competitor card) already.

You know you get free Global Entry and TSA PRe-check with Amex Plat right?  Just making sure.  

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3 hours ago, ktmoomau said:

You know you get free Global Entry and TSA PRe-check with Amex Plat right?  Just making sure.  

My three month-old daughter needs Global Entry to travel overseas with us next year!

Also, my understanding of the AMEX Platinum benefit is that you get reimbursement of either the Global Entry or Pre-Check application fee only once per card every five years.  I used mine shortly after my three year-old son was born.  :P

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7 hours ago, DonRocks said:

My feelings are that credit ratings - unless you're going to do some serious borrowing, like buying a house - are overrated (no pun intended) once you're past a certain score, and it's best not to lose sleep over them. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is your net worth.

AS long as you have a rating of 760 or so you are in the "best" risk category.  Anything higher is just for fun.  I actually got a perfect 850 recently, which I may frame and hang on the wall, but hitting that is mostly by chance and doesn't last.

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I wrote Chase and asked about the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here was their reply - good luck deciphering it:

Let me share, we will be launching a new Sapphire product 
next week. We will post more information about it on 
Chase.com when the card is available. Official details 
will be provided at launch next week. Then reinforce that 
we will post more information on Chase.com when the card 
is available.

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On 8/16/2016 at 9:01 PM, DonRocks said:

Is the "Priority Pass Lounge" for one specific airline?

I forgot to respond to this.  The answer is no -- PP lounges may include those that are airline-affilated (including ones in terminal A/B at IAD, but none at DCA).  The U.S. legacy airline lounges are not accessible via PP unfortunately.  Here is a good summary.

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On 8/17/2016 at 6:43 PM, silentbob said:

My three month-old daughter needs Global Entry to travel overseas with us next year!

Also, my understanding of the AMEX Platinum benefit is that you get reimbursement of either the Global Entry or Pre-Check application fee only once per card every five years.  I used mine shortly after my three year-old son was born.  :P

Well if you get Global Entry you automatically get Pre-Check (so it isn't really one or the other) and they are good for five years, so that is why they do the benefit like that, BUT both Hubby and I got ours reimbursed, despite the fact that I am an authorized user and we don't have separate accounts.  But that doesn't help for your daughter.  

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On 8/17/2016 at 3:30 PM, DonRocks said:

No, the Chase Freedom Visa (I was mistakenly calling it "Chase Preferred Visa") uses the Chase Ultimate Rewards system. The problem is that, no matter what I sign into (Chase, or the airline), I don't see an option to transfer points.

I emailed Chase customer service, and should get a reply today, so all should be well. I really appreciate people chiming in and helping (that's what I like best about this community - other people are so quick to jump in and help if someone has a question or problem). 

I'm pretty jacked about this Chase Sapphire Reserve card that silentbob mentioned - I think that's the answer to all my problems, and sounds like *exactly* what I want going forward.

Damn, I was told my Chase Preferred can't transfer points to airline programs - this is different than what ThePointsGuy said in his post - all I can hope for now is that they'll let me transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card if/when I get one (and *then* I'll be able to transfer to the airline programs - although it won't help me for my upcoming trip).

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43 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Damn, I was told my Chase Preferred can't transfer points to airline programs - this is different than what ThePointsGuy said in his post - all I can hope for now is that they'll let me transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card if/when I get one (and *then* I'll be able to transfer to the airline programs - although it won't help me for my upcoming trip).

You need to have one of the "higher-end" Chase cards (Sapphire Preferred, Ink+, Sapphire Reserve) with an annual fee to be able to transfer points. Then when you log into Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll have an option to "Transfer to Travel Partners" under Use Points. The bonus is that if you have just one of these cards, you can combine your points from any other Chase cards (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited) to your high-end card and transfer the points that way. The idea is to get you locked into the Chase ecosystem with their various cards - which is pretty successful. Time to downgrade my Sapphire Preferred for the Freedom Unlimited and apply for the Sapphire Reserve...

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Whew!  Reading through this thread reminds me of why I decided to just get unlimited 2% cash back cards with no annual fee.  KISS. From the proceeds I can buy my own airline tickets when needed; I'm also lucky, at least when flying United or other Star carriers, that I have a life membership in their club (bought for $500 from Eastern in the early eighties -- no longer offered), so that solves that problem.

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26 minutes ago, johnb said:

Whew!  Reading through this thread reminds me of why I decided to just get unlimited 2% cash back cards with no annual fee.  KISS. From the proceeds I can buy my own airline tickets when needed; I'm also lucky, at least when flying United or other Star carriers, that I have a life membership in their club (bought for $500 from Eastern in the early eighties -- no longer offered), so that solves that problem.

No way man - the *day* that Chase Sapphire Reserve becomes available (which might be as early as tomorrow), I'm applying for it. It's the biggest no-brainer I've ever seen, and I've done a *lot* of research on it. If you dine and travel even a moderate amount, this is *the* card for you.

2 hours ago, Shaho said:

You need to have one of the "higher-end" Chase cards (Sapphire Preferred, Ink+, Sapphire Reserve) with an annual fee to be able to transfer points. Then when you log into Chase Ultimate Rewards, you'll have an option to "Transfer to Travel Partners" under Use Points. The bonus is that if you have just one of these cards, you can combine your points from any other Chase cards (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited) to your high-end card and transfer the points that way. The idea is to get you locked into the Chase ecosystem with their various cards - which is pretty successful. Time to downgrade my Sapphire Preferred for the Freedom Unlimited and apply for the Sapphire Reserve...

Yes, I'm going to be transferring all my Chase points to the Sapphire Reserve, and selectively transferring them to whichever airline program I need them for when it comes time to buy a ticket - I figure with my dining and travel expenses, it will all amount to about a 6% discount which is *huge*. That doesn't even account for free airport lounges, free *primary* rental car insurance, airline frequent-flier discounts, etc.

Just as an example, the ticket I want to France now costs about $1,250 round-trip (multiple that by two, and it's ($2,500); instead, I could pay with 100,000 "Flying Blue" points plus about $300 in cash, which would save me about $1,200 *just on that one purchase*. 

This credit card will be worth thousands of dollars per year to me. Finally, after *so many* decades of living frugally, I'm going to be dining and traveling like a human being.

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On 8/16/2016 at 8:56 PM, silentbob said:

In about one week, the Chase Sapphire Reserve will be available, offering a 100K point bonus for $4K spend in the first three months and awarding 3 points per $1 spend on dining and travel!  The annual fee is hefty at $450 but you get $300 in value just from the travel credit reimbursement and $100 in Global Entry fee reimbursement, plus Priority Pass lounge access and many other perks.  I'll definitely be signing up for this despite having the AMEX Platinum (ostensibly its competitor card) already.

I'm finding this whole thread a fascinating discussion and just one of the many reasons I value DR.com.  I'm curious about this Chase Sapphire Reserve.  If I already have an AMEX Platinum, in what ways would the Chase Sapphire Reserve be a better option?  I get that there are lots of perks for signing up, but over the long-haul, what benefits does it offer over AMEX Platinum?  Thanks!

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12 minutes ago, LauraB said:

I'm finding this whole thread a fascinating discussion and just one of the many reasons I value DR.com.  I'm curious about this Chase Sapphire Reserve.  If I already have an AMEX Platinum, in what ways would the Chase Sapphire Reserve be a better option?  I get that there are lots of perks for signing up, but over the long-haul, what benefits does it offer over AMEX Platinum?  Thanks!

This travel blog from earlier today performs the comparison of value propositions.  I think it comes down to Ultimate Rewards points being a somewhat more flexible currency than Membership Rewards, and the 3x food/travel category bonus.  That said, AMEX has great sync offers from time to time, and the Platinum card offers both elite status to certain car rental/hotel programs plus access to Centurion Lounges (best in the U.S. by a mile, great if you travel through SFO/LAS/DFW/LGA/MIA/LAS regularly).  On balance, I think the Sapphire Reserve will be slightly better but having both is a no-brainer for reasonably frequent travelers IMO.

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

No way man - the *day* that Chase Sapphire Reserve becomes available (which might be as early as tomorrow), I'm applying for it. It's the biggest no-brainer I've ever seen, and I've done a *lot* of research on it. If you dine and travel even a moderate amount, this is *the* card for you.

Well, at my stage of life and given where I live, eating out and air travel are less than even moderate.  However I do find myself ponying up for some fairly costly cruises from time to time, so maybe I'll be forced to have a look at it.

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1 hour ago, LauraB said:

I'm finding this whole thread a fascinating discussion and just one of the many reasons I value DR.com.  I'm curious about this Chase Sapphire Reserve.  If I already have an AMEX Platinum, in what ways would the Chase Sapphire Reserve be a better option?  I get that there are lots of perks for signing up, but over the long-haul, what benefits does it offer over AMEX Platinum?  Thanks!

Personally, I don't think I'd have more than one "mega-card," but I'm starting from peasant-level, so the jump up will be dramatic and clear-cut. If I already had a luxury card, I'd have to think long-and-hard about whether I wanted to switch, but for me, in my position, it's a non-decision.

I think if you already have one of these "things," and you don't incur alien levels of dining expense (with anticipated high levels of travel expense), the benefits are probably in the "tens," possibly "hundreds," of dollars, and not worth worrying about; unless I'm missing something, for me, there seem to be *thousands* of dollars at stake (I have a fairly hefty dose of Ultimate Rewards points, and if I can transfer them to frequent flier programs when I need to, we *are* talking about thousands of dollars).

Laura, if you already have a card that allows you to transfer your points to airline points, I wouldn't be losing much sleep over this - with Chase Freedom (which is the low-level Visa that I currently have), I'm stuck at a 1-cent-per-point value, with no means to increase that value.

I originally got this card (formerly the "Chase Quicken Visa) because I could download my transactions into Quicken, and it simplified my tax returns; then, Chase discontinued that program in 2015. No more Quicken for me (thank goodness, because that nasty software forced me to upgrade every two years).

But they began offering double points for restaurants, and I thought I'd struck gold. (Then, they began offering an AARP Visa with triple points for restaurants, and it became ridiculous.)

However, they took away the travel benefit being greater than a 1-1 ratio (in other words, with the Chase Freedom card (which I was involuntarily sent when they discontinued the Chase Quicken Visa), I may as well just take the cash). Up until last year, I could redeem 25,000 points for $400 worth of travel; no longer (*).

Now, I'm discovering that I might be able to roll those points over into a higher-tier card, which in turn will allow me to roll those points over to airlines.

Warning: I read on one of the travel blogs, or travel forums - I don't remember where - that there have been instances of newly created frequent-flier accounts (for example, if you just signed up for Flying Blue two days ago) disallowing points transfers *when the transfer is the very first transaction you make in that frequent-flier account*, and sometimes canceling the accounts altogether! I am 100% certain I read this within the past couple of days; I just don't remember where. Make *sure* you read that warning, over-and-over again, until you understand it.

Just to be perfectly clear, I heard back from Chase, and they specifically told me that the Chase Freedom Visa *does not* allow you to transfer points to airlines, so the only chance I have is:

1) Get a higher-level Chase Visa
2) Transfer my Chase Freedom Points to the higher-level Chase Visa
3) Transfer my higher-level Chase Visa points to the airlines

Hello Don,

Thank you for contacting Chase about transferring the 
rewards earned on your Chase Freedom account to a frequent
flyer program. 

I regret to inform you that the option to transfer the 
rewards earned on your Chase Freedom account to a frequent
flyer program is not available. 

The option to transfer rewards to supported partner 
programs is only available on the Chase Sapphire 
Preferred, J.P. Morgan Select, J.P. Morgan Palladium, Ink 
Plus, Ink Bold, and Chase Corporate Flex Cards.

(*) My guess - and it's just a guess - is that when Chase eliminated the travel benefit, they figured everyone would simply cash in their points at a 1:1 ratio ... there was *no reason* not to. About a year went by with this being the only option for Chase Freedom Visa holders (which is one of the most popular credit cards in the world). Chase remained mum (and still remains mum) about there being ways to increase your points value to something above a 1:1 ratio, and I suspect the vast majority of Chase Freedom Visa holders took the cash. Ironically, the only reason I didn't was out of sheer procrastination and laziness - now, it looks like it may have been to my advantage that I procrastinated, and that I still have the points, just sitting there. "Better lucky than good," I always say.

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On August 20, 2016 at 2:01 PM, DonRocks said:

Just as an example, the ticket I want to France now costs about $1,250 round-trip (multiple that by two, and it's ($2,500); instead, I could pay with 100,000 "Flying Blue" points plus about $300 in cash, which would save me about $1,200 *just on that one purchase*. 

How are you getting to that?  What kind of tickets, how many miles per ticket, and why  cash?  I thought classic award premium economy btwn u.s. And Europe is 50,000 per ticket?

to get 100,000 miles, you only need to spend $33,333 on dining and travel?

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32 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

How are you getting to that?  What kind of tickets, how many miles per ticket, and why  cash?  I thought classic award premium economy btwn u.s. And Europe is 50,000 per ticket?

to get 100,000 miles, you only need to spend $33,333 on dining and travel?

Yes, spending $33,333 on dining gets me 100,000 points - both on Chase AARP Visa, and (in theory) Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa (which hasn't come out yet, but is supposed to this week). Chase AARP gives 3 points per 1 dollar on dining; Chase Sapphire Reserve gives 3 points per 1 dollar on dining *and* travel.

Bear in mind that you can not directly transfer Chase AARP points to airline programs. You have to make a transfer to a Chase premium Visa first, and then transfer those points to the airlines. I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that you can do both of these.

Flying Blue is pricing each leg, per person, at 25,000 miles + a small amount of cash, depending on the ticket. Examples:

Screenshot 2016-08-21 at 16.23.01.png

For my upcoming France trip, several things all had to happen within one week for me to use miles:

1) Chase had to roll out the Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa (hasn't happened yet)
2) I had to apply and get accepted
3) I had to be able to get my new card, and transfer my Chase Freedom Visa points to it
4) I had to be able to transfer my Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa points to the airline program
5) I had to purchase the tickets with the airline points

I didn't have the stomach to wait for all five of these things to happen (they needed to happen in sequence, pronto), so I bit the bullet and paid cash for my tickets (I found the tickets I wanted, at a not-too-crazy price) - I'll use the Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa in the future, should all this come to pass.

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15 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Took a couple of minutes to apply, but I should be getting one mailed to me soon.  I'll just cash in my AARP miles and close it down.

Transfer your AARP miles to the Reserve card before you cash them in - you'll get more for them (especially if you make subsequent transfers to airlines - I suggest you join all the frequent-flier programs you can conceive of now instead of later (read my warning above about transfers being canceled)). I'm in the exact same position; one thing that bothered me is that there were no comments on the application - I wanted to say that I was going to shut down the AARP account (this is going to make *five* Chase Visas, and I'm wondering if I won't even qualify), but there was no option to say anything on the application.

Should I pay off all my card balances right now, or does that even matter? (I pay them all off each month, so I assume they'll notice that.)

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55 minutes ago, dcs said:

How to know when it’s time to ditch your travel reward credit card, by Jonnelle Marte, August 22, 2016 on washingtonpost.com.

Thank you, sir!

I got approved - my suggestion is that if you're going to apply, do it quickly because they're going to be flooded. The only reason I got approved so quickly is because I've had Chase credit cards for so long, and they see that I've been responsible with my credit.

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