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

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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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