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Old Aug 26, 12, 7:27 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 142
help me choose my credit card programs

I posted a question to this forum about a week ago, and got very good replies. Thanks. I want some suggestions about where to go now with my CC accounts. I spend about $1,000 a month on CC. I wish I could put my car payment, mtg payment etc... on a CC, but I can't do that, or dont think I can

Anyways, I want to primarily use my miles for international flights, especially to east asia and south asia. I have a United Miles Plus credit card which is my primary CC. I also have a HHonors visa (not the kind that gets you the 2 weekend deal/gold status deal) and the Am Ex SPG card; the one with the $65 annual fee that is waived each year.

I am a Hampton Inn kind of guy when I stay at hotels, although I might want a luxury hotel for a night or two when I travel internationally and if I take a trip with my 6 y/o son, he might enjoy staying at a "fancy" hotel...but I have no other desires to stay at say a W or Westin as opposed to Homewood Suites or Hampton Inn. Questions:

1. SPG card. I dont think this card will do me much good...I originally got it for the 10,000 *wood points, and initially wanted to dump these points (with no spend requirements) to my United account at a 2:1 ratio, giving me 5000 miles. But, everyone tells me this is pretty dumb, so I might keep it so I can stay at a *wood hotel when I travel to Asia again. I dont think I will try to get 20K miles ($5K spend over 6 months)...do you think I am missing an incredible deal on this to get 30K *wood points? I am assuming transferring the 30K points (which will actually be 35K points) to my United Acct will be seen as pretty wasteful.

I am planning to dump this card before the 12 months is up. Is there any real reasn to keep it once I get the miles, assuming I dont want to stay at many *wood hotels? I am assuming if I dump the card, I can keep my *wood miles, right?

2. HH visa. 40K points for $1,000 spend in four months. This seems to be a very affordable and cheap way to get 40K points. Since there is no annual fee, I am thinking of just keeping this card and not converting the points to my United miles (10:1 ratio!) Does this seem like a good idea? I am a Hampton Inn fan, as said above.

3. Chase Sapphire Premire. I dont have this card yet, but will get it some time in the not too distant future, once I figure out if I should spend enough money on the Am Ex and Visa to qualify for their specials. This card seems like a very good deal...40K United Miles for $2,000 or $3,000 spend.

4. The HHonors card that gets you gold status. I am a bit uncertain about this. My son would love to go to NYC with me (or Chicago etc...) and stay at a very nice hotel there, or this can come in handy if I am to go to Asia and want to stay at a nice hotel, as it gives me two free wkend nights. But, I am not certain about paying $95 for the card, although the hotel stays will probably more than make up for it. Being a general Hampton Inn guy, it doesnt seem that gold status will get me much...do you disagree?

Right now, my plan is to not really use the *wood Am Ex card (and give up the 20K bonus miles); get the 40K on the HHonors card, and after that do card #3 and then #4. Do you think this is a good logical course of action for me? I would like to bump up my United miles (have about 35K now) as quickly as possible, but feel I should at least fulfill my HHonors card to get the 40K points first. Any other suggestions or comments are appreciated.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:11 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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I'm relatively new at this, but the SPG points are much more valuable than HH points, both in terms of hotel stays as SPG has the points+money option which it doesn't appear HH has, as well as the fact that if you DID xfer points to UA, SPG transfers at 2:1 whereas HH transfers at 10:1. So by some metrics 1 SPG point is as valuable as 5 HH points. Unless you really love Hampton Inns :-)
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:12 pm   #3
Moderator: Credit Card Programs and Chase Ultimate Rewards
 
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A few observations:

As someone without any airline elite status, you should be able to book most of the same flights using USAirways miles as United miles. US has extra booking and change fees that are pretty terrible, but you'll do far better to transfer SPG 1:1 to US than 2:1 to UA and a few of the US redemptions are actually cheaper than comparable on UA.

It seems kind of silly to give up your Starwood bonus. That would convert into 30k US miles, or 6 miles/$ on your spend. Pretty fantastic. The only thing that would talk me out of it is if there were a bunch of other cards I wanted and I couldn't meet the minimum spends otherwise.

If you're going to get one of the regular HH cards, get one with a 50k bonus, and get two at the same time.

But the other central theme is - you will do far better with sign up bonuses than daily spend. So the question is, how many cards are you willing to get?

It would be helpful if you researched the award charts of the major airlines and hotel programs to get a sense for what your actual trips would cost and who flies there from where you live. There are several signup bonuses available right now that would EACH cover a round trip to Asia, for example. So you'll need to get more specific.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:18 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Philadelphia
Programs: AA Gold; DL Silver Medallion; UA/US no metal; Hyatt Gold; PC Plat Amb; SPG Plat; HHonors Gold
Posts: 365
I just signed up for the new Chase Fairmount card and will receive upon $1K spend within three months (I've nearly done it in one) two free nights at any Fairmount property worldwide. I will likely choose the Savoy as I've always wanted to stay there and won't spend $700-1000/night for a hotel. It's nice for tacking on a couple of nights in London ahead of a sailing. The Hyatt card has also been good to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samnc0 View Post
I posted a question to this forum about a week ago, and got very good replies. Thanks. I want some suggestions about where to go now with my CC accounts. I spend about $1,000 a month on CC. I wish I could put my car payment, mtg payment etc... on a CC, but I can't do that, or dont think I can

Anyways, I want to primarily use my miles for international flights, especially to east asia and south asia. I have a United Miles Plus credit card which is my primary CC. I also have a HHonors visa (not the kind that gets you the 2 weekend deal/gold status deal) and the Am Ex SPG card; the one with the $65 annual fee that is waived each year.

I am a Hampton Inn kind of guy when I stay at hotels, although I might want a luxury hotel for a night or two when I travel internationally and if I take a trip with my 6 y/o son, he might enjoy staying at a "fancy" hotel...but I have no other desires to stay at say a W or Westin as opposed to Homewood Suites or Hampton Inn. Questions:

1. SPG card. I dont think this card will do me much good...I originally got it for the 10,000 *wood points, and initially wanted to dump these points (with no spend requirements) to my United account at a 2:1 ratio, giving me 5000 miles. But, everyone tells me this is pretty dumb, so I might keep it so I can stay at a *wood hotel when I travel to Asia again. I dont think I will try to get 20K miles ($5K spend over 6 months)...do you think I am missing an incredible deal on this to get 30K *wood points? I am assuming transferring the 30K points (which will actually be 35K points) to my United Acct will be seen as pretty wasteful.

I am planning to dump this card before the 12 months is up. Is there any real reasn to keep it once I get the miles, assuming I dont want to stay at many *wood hotels? I am assuming if I dump the card, I can keep my *wood miles, right?

2. HH visa. 40K points for $1,000 spend in four months. This seems to be a very affordable and cheap way to get 40K points. Since there is no annual fee, I am thinking of just keeping this card and not converting the points to my United miles (10:1 ratio!) Does this seem like a good idea? I am a Hampton Inn fan, as said above.

3. Chase Sapphire Premire. I dont have this card yet, but will get it some time in the not too distant future, once I figure out if I should spend enough money on the Am Ex and Visa to qualify for their specials. This card seems like a very good deal...40K United Miles for $2,000 or $3,000 spend.

4. The HHonors card that gets you gold status. I am a bit uncertain about this. My son would love to go to NYC with me (or Chicago etc...) and stay at a very nice hotel there, or this can come in handy if I am to go to Asia and want to stay at a nice hotel, as it gives me two free wkend nights. But, I am not certain about paying $95 for the card, although the hotel stays will probably more than make up for it. Being a general Hampton Inn guy, it doesnt seem that gold status will get me much...do you disagree?

Right now, my plan is to not really use the *wood Am Ex card (and give up the 20K bonus miles); get the 40K on the HHonors card, and after that do card #3 and then #4. Do you think this is a good logical course of action for me? I would like to bump up my United miles (have about 35K now) as quickly as possible, but feel I should at least fulfill my HHonors card to get the 40K points first. Any other suggestions or comments are appreciated.
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Old Aug 26, 12, 9:24 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hautecouTours View Post
I just signed up for the new Chase Fairmount card and will receive upon $1K spend within three months (I've nearly done it in one) two free nights at any Fairmount property worldwide.
Really depends on which side of the quantity vs. quality debate wins out. As a counterexample, the Priority Club Visa has an 80k signup bonus which is easily worth five nights in a nice Holiday Inn Express, with Internet and breakfast included. Will be interesting to see how this central tension plays out for the OP.

(And please don't quote an entire long post when you reply.)
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Old Aug 26, 12, 10:40 pm   #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 142
ok, i won't give up the 30K points (actually, extra 20K) on the am ex. I will probably xfer them to a US Airways account I will create.

Right now, I have no real loyalty towards any airline, but I guess United by default. I heard from prior posts that it is a pain in the ... to redeem the US Airways miles (and they hit you with junk fees) and you have to call them via telephone for int'l flights, and the times where you can book with less miles is limited, but i guess i can worry about that later on.
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Old Aug 27, 12, 8:54 am   #7
Moderator: Credit Card Programs and Chase Ultimate Rewards
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samnc0 View Post
ok, i won't give up the 30K points (actually, extra 20K) on the am ex. I will probably xfer them to a US Airways account I will create.
20k bonus + 5k earned from spending + 5k transfer bonus = 30k

Quote:
Originally Posted by samnc0 View Post
Right now, I have no real loyalty towards any airline, but I guess United by default. I heard from prior posts that it is a pain in the ... to redeem the US Airways miles (and they hit you with junk fees) and you have to call them via telephone for int'l flights, and the times where you can book with less miles is limited, but i guess i can worry about that later on.
For a trip from USA to Asia, there's a $40 call center fee plus a $50(?) processing fee. But most people would say that $90 is worth it for an award to Asia. (As long as you don't need to make any changes, the change fee is irrelevant.)

Yes, you do have to call, but the availability should be the same, on Star Alliance airlines, as you would get from United. The economics end up working out in your favor, since 10k miles are easily worth $90.
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Old Aug 27, 12, 9:17 am   #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samnc0 View Post
ok, i won't give up the 30K points (actually, extra 20K) on the am ex. I will probably xfer them to a US Airways account I will create.
You might as well get that card too. 40K miles on first purchase. 5K discount on award bookings if you fly US Air, 10K additional miles each year if you pay the annual fee (waived for year 1).

I'd prefer the no Fee Amex for 50K than the Citi version for 40K, if nothing else because it gives you access to the AXON redemptions. Although that generally pays best at the higher category properties.
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Old Aug 27, 12, 6:05 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: PDX
Posts: 130
...and the US Airways card provides a companion pass for domestic travel!

As for Hilton, you may want to check out the One Mile At A Time blog:

Earning a lot of HHonors points from Credit cards:
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/onemil...it-card-churn/

Converting Starwood and MR points to HHonors
:
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/onemil...vorable-ratio/


The Points Guy blog had a great post on AXON and GLON awards:
http://thepointsguy.com/2012/07/maxi...grade-rewards/

Since you have just a bit per month, I would suggest picking one award and concentrating on it. Of course, ancillary cards can help with status, benefits, and other travel aspects.

Good luck!
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