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Old Oct 30, 04, 9:25 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: IND
Programs: UA 1K; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; National ExecPlat
Posts: 348
Thinking about dropping my airline cards for Upromise

Since I joined FT, I've read a lot about the declining real value of air miles and the increasing difficulty in using them. I've had a DL SM Amex for years that I use to purchase everything and just pay off each month. I've accumulated well over 350k miles just from having and using this card. It's gotten me biz class IND-HKG-PEK-IND and several domestic trips over the last few years. And I've still got a DL balance >150k.

I also pay the annual fee to get MR points on my corporate green amex. Recently, however, my company implemented the Amex online expense reporting system. For whatever reason, it now takes me longer to get my bills paid and I keep having MR points forfeited. I had some success pleading my case with Amex CS, but I'm now losing over 10k points because of my boss' inability to get my expense reports approved in time to satisfy Amex. (As an aside, I think Amex has trimmed the time they allow for paying off the corp card). In any case, I'm not getting the full value of the fee I pay for MR.

I joined Upromise a little over a year ago when my son was born and haven't done much with it. A couple months ago, though, I started a 529 plan through Upromise with a tiny monthly investment that will add to the $10 or so I'm getting in rebates each month. It seems to me, though, that the benefits of Upromise are greatly enhanced when one gets the Citi Upromise card. By my calculations, if I get this card and use it for all my spending then pay it off each month, rather than using the DL SM Amex, I could get from $35 to $60 each month for my son's college fund. I may or may not continue to do the MR membership on my corporate card; if I end it, I'll put the MR annual fee into the college fund each year.

Has anyone else thought about dumping the airline cards? And has anyone else considered the same thing with Upromise as the alternative?
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Old Oct 31, 04, 6:32 am   #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sunshine State
Programs: Too Many.....
Posts: 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boofer
Since I joined FT, I've read a lot about the declining real value of air miles and the increasing difficulty in using them. I've had a DL SM Amex for years that I use to purchase everything and just pay off each month. I've accumulated well over 350k miles just from having and using this card. It's gotten me biz class IND-HKG-PEK-IND and several domestic trips over the last few years. And I've still got a DL balance >150k.

I also pay the annual fee to get MR points on my corporate green amex. Recently, however, my company implemented the Amex online expense reporting system. For whatever reason, it now takes me longer to get my bills paid and I keep having MR points forfeited. I had some success pleading my case with Amex CS, but I'm now losing over 10k points because of my boss' inability to get my expense reports approved in time to satisfy Amex. (As an aside, I think Amex has trimmed the time they allow for paying off the corp card). In any case, I'm not getting the full value of the fee I pay for MR.

I joined Upromise a little over a year ago when my son was born and haven't done much with it. A couple months ago, though, I started a 529 plan through Upromise with a tiny monthly investment that will add to the $10 or so I'm getting in rebates each month. It seems to me, though, that the benefits of Upromise are greatly enhanced when one gets the Citi Upromise card. By my calculations, if I get this card and use it for all my spending then pay it off each month, rather than using the DL SM Amex, I could get from $35 to $60 each month for my son's college fund. I may or may not continue to do the MR membership on my corporate card; if I end it, I'll put the MR annual fee into the college fund each year.

Has anyone else thought about dumping the airline cards? And has anyone else considered the same thing with Upromise as the alternative?
I never really have checked all this you talked about out,as my wife signed us up for UP. This sounds like a good program I think it merits some looking into...
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Old Oct 31, 04, 6:40 am   #3
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Cambridge, MA 02138
Posts: 2,100
You may want to just get a cashback card instead. (Like AmEx Blue Cash). This will give you over 1% back on all purchases, issued once a year.

Whereas the upromise card gives just 1% back in the form of a college fund.

They old addage says, money today is worth a lot more than money in the future.
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Old Oct 31, 04, 8:26 am   #4
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: IND
Programs: UA 1K; HHonors Gold; SPG Gold; National ExecPlat
Posts: 348
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve100
You may want to just get a cashback card instead. (Like AmEx Blue Cash). This will give you over 1% back on all purchases, issued once a year.

Whereas the upromise card gives just 1% back in the form of a college fund.

They old addage says, money today is worth a lot more than money in the future.
According to the Upromise website, you can get from 1% to 5% back from the card on certain grocery purchases in addition to the 1% to 5% back from the food companies (like Kraft, Kelloggs, and Proctor&Gamble). You can also get something like 2% to 10% back on purchases at certain retailers like BedBathBeyond but only when you use the card. The way I figured it, it's likely to be more than 1% on average.

The catch is that Citi caps the standard 1% cash back at $300 per year ($30k spend). So maybe the blue cash card is a better choice after all. There are just so many choices!
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Old Oct 31, 04, 9:59 am   #5
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Cambridge, MA 02138
Posts: 2,100
Assuming you do NOT carry a balance, and any charges over the first $6,000/year the Amex Blue Cash gets you 3% cashback at SuperMarkets, Gas Stations, Drug Stores, and Home Improvement Stores and 1 1/2% cashback on all other purchases.

Note: If you do carry a balance, you will actually get more cashback, but it is offset by the finance charges. I also say any charges over $6,000 because the first $6k per year is a tiered cashback scheme with pretty low cashback amounts. So, this card is great if you charge a lot per year and do not carry a balance. For more details, see: https://www66.americanexpress.com/ca...5/20/n&from=10
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Old Oct 31, 04, 10:02 am   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Los Angeles, California
Programs: Ritz-Carlton Club Owner
Posts: 27
Cap for cash back.

I didn't realize the cap for cash back until last month.
I got no cash back last month because of over the cap.
I am not going to use this card any more. It is better off to go with other cash back card without cap if you spend more than 30,000.

LuxuryVacationClub


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boofer
According to the Upromise website, you can get from 1% to 5% back from the card on certain grocery purchases in addition to the 1% to 5% back from the food companies (like Kraft, Kelloggs, and Proctor&Gamble). You can also get something like 2% to 10% back on purchases at certain retailers like BedBathBeyond but only when you use the card. The way I figured it, it's likely to be more than 1% on average.

The catch is that Citi caps the standard 1% cash back at $300 per year ($30k spend). So maybe the blue cash card is a better choice after all. There are just so many choices!
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Old Oct 31, 04, 10:41 am   #7
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Cambridge, MA 02138
Posts: 2,100
Blue Cash also has a cap - it is $50,000/year.
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Old Oct 31, 04, 11:28 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Programs: SPG, HH, AA, DL, UA
Posts: 74
Boofer,

As this hasn't been mentioned, I thought I would throw my 2 cents in ..

Consider the Citibank Dividends Card. 5% in gas, grocery, and drug stores. Max of $300 in rebates per year. You receive a check automatically with $100 in dividends saved, or you can request a check even at the $50 level. It is a check made out to you, so you can spend it or save it any way you like. If you are married, get a separate account for your wife .. and now your max. is $600 because the accounts are not linked.

I still use the SPG amex becuase it suits my purposes best, but my family members (old and young) have all gotten this Dividends card and are happy with it. They have even gotten the checks as stated in the above paragraph.

I would also caution you to consider the possiblility of higher fees or mandatory minimum investments with the Upromise funds. As I don't have kids I haven't looked much into it, but I seem to remember that I found the fees and minimums to be a bit high, as I was looking for beneficiary gifts for nephews/nieces/etc.

But the Upromise card is really worthwhile if you shop at grocery stores such as Randall's where you have to use a "Member" card in order to receive the discounts in-store .. then through the linkage to that "Member" shopper card, purchases of Upromise groceries such as Land-o-lakes Butter are added to your Upromise account automatically.

Their iDine program is worthwhile if you are not using the card attached to a FF account.

In the end, it looks like you will need to look into getting at least 1-2 cards to maximize your potential because of the spending limits.

Rob.
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Old Oct 31, 04, 11:47 pm   #9
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Arizona
Posts: 3,117
<<I also pay the annual fee to get MR points on my corporate green amex. Recently, however, my company implemented the Amex online expense reporting system. For whatever reason, it now takes me longer to get my bills paid and I keep having MR points forfeited. I had some success pleading my case with Amex CS, but I'm now losing over 10k points because of my boss' inability to get my expense reports approved in time to satisfy Amex. (As an aside, I think Amex has trimmed the time they allow for paying off the corp card). In any case, I'm not getting the full value of the fee I pay for MR.>>

I know you say the card is a green corp card but I would pull my credit report to be safe and make sure they are not reporting on that corp card because a good credit rating will save you alot more in interest expenses than any miles you could ever earn.
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