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Best SkyMiles + Membership Rewards card combo for family of 5?

Best SkyMiles + Membership Rewards card combo for family of 5?

Old May 3, 18, 9:20 am
  #1  
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Best SkyMiles + Membership Rewards card combo for family of 5?

Hello,

My husband and I each hold Chase UR cards; I have the AmEx SPG, and I recently got the AmEx Delta Platinum.

We are a family of 5, hoping to travel by plane 2-3x per year, so not chasing status, just looking to offset some travel costs.

I figure with my 70k sign up offer plus the companion ticket next year, I can use that to offset 3 round-trip tickets to the Yellowstone area in 18 months.

To get another ticket on points, I'm considering:
- a Delta Gold for my husband, current offer 60k pts plus statement credit
- an Everyday Preferred, we will be able to get at least 45k MR a year on regular spending
- a second Delta Platinum, but that means I'd have about 150k skymiles across two accounts, and would need two paid tickets to use companion tickets.

I guess in the 2nd Platinum scenario, I'd do the companion tickets for one trip, and use points for the 2nd.

My question: which second card makes the most sense for my travel goals? Should I go for a second card noe, or use up my miles first before the next card so to stagger the annual fees?
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Old May 3, 18, 12:16 pm
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Whoops, did I put this on the wrong board?
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Old May 3, 18, 1:14 pm
  #3  
mia
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Originally Posted by iaswafterall View Post
Whoops, did I put this on the wrong board?
No, but not every topic elicits immediate responses. Patience pays.
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Old May 3, 18, 9:35 pm
  #4  
t1c
 
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Originally Posted by iaswafterall View Post
Whoops, did I put this on the wrong board?
Where do you want to go?
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Old May 3, 18, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
No, but not every topic elicits immediate responses. Patience pays.
Originally Posted by t1c View Post
Where do you want to go?
Southwest flies a lot of shorter nonstop routes where we want to go, but in absence of a good deal there, some of the next few years we're considering:

Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, Jackson WY, maybe Hawaii, New York City, maybe a Florida trip.

All but Jackson are easy and cheap routes out of IND on Southwest, but we are going to age out of family boarding in a couple of years, so we will want main cabin with seat assignments soon.

​​​​​​
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Old May 4, 18, 8:15 am
  #6  
mia
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There are two sources of Skymiles: new account application bonuses, and spending. Your plan only scratches the surface for new account bonuses. American Express issues a half-dozen SkyMiles cards (Gold, Platinum, Reserve; personal and business versions) and many cards that earn Membership Rewards (Green, Gold, Platinum, Everyday, Everyday Preferred; with personal and business versions of most, and multiple variants of Platinum.)
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Old May 4, 18, 8:34 am
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I figure I will eventually rotate through most of the AmEx offerings, but I will want to spread it out so to have hopefully a lot of years of points, especially once I start adding international destinations to our list.

I think with our spending patterns, EDP would be a sustainable long-term card for regular spending, and perhaps I can use a different card each year for signup bonus and benefits to boost the balance.

Would love to hear more about how families do this.

It is just that many more points needed obviously, and also I'm not clear if award space starts to become an issue. I suppose in that case, a 1:1 redemption from the travel portal could be utilized.
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Old May 4, 18, 11:04 am
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Remember that this game is a marathon, not a sprint. While signup bonuses are eye catching and certainly rewarding in the short term, you need to look at the long term benefits of the cards you are considering. The Delta Platinum gives you a companion ticket every year, at a cost of $195 for the annual fee. It also gives you 10K bonus miles if you spend $25K in a year, and the usual Delta stuff if you care (earlier boarding, etc). In your situation I would rule out the Delta Gold and the everyday preferred, as for $100 more in annual fees you get a free companion ticket and the 10K miles if you indeed spend at least $45K as you mention. If you travel as a family you should be able to use the two companion tickets, otherwise just spend a weekend away with your honey :-).
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Old May 4, 18, 11:18 am
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In the 2 Delta Platinum scenario, one trip next year would be:

2 paid tickets, two companion tickets at AF*2, 1 ticket on points. The fees are $195-$100 statement credit (and I then have a $50 Delta gift card), so $95 in first year, and $195 in second for a total of $290 in fees for 70k bonus points, one ticket on taxes, and a $50 gift card.

Double it for player 2, plus a 10k point referral bonus, and that is $580 in fees for 150,000 skymiles, two tickets on taxes, and two $50 gift cards.

Quite a bit of an outlay. I need to price some flights to see the savings on the routes I might want to take.

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Old May 4, 18, 12:39 pm
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When I look at $25k in annual spend, I'd get 35,000 Skymiles on the amex Delta Platinum; 37,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards or $562 in portal when paired with CSR; or 55,500 MR (maxing out grocery, calling every other dollar 1.5 for simplicity's sake).

In this case, my preference would be Chase as the highest value for least amount of hassle, plus the flexibility of those UR.

Thanks for giving me your feedback and a space to process my thoughts.
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Old May 4, 18, 2:15 pm
  #11  
mia
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Originally Posted by iaswafterall View Post
When I look at $25k in annual spend,... 37,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards or $562 in portal when paired with CSR; or 55,500 MR ....
If you paired Everyday Preferred with American Express Business Platinum those 55,500 points would buy $855 airfare through the American Express portal -and- you would preserve the option to transfer to SkyMiles. There would still be more complexity than with Chase, but perhaps worthwhile.
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Old May 4, 18, 5:48 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
If you paired Everyday Preferred with American Express Business Platinum those 55,500 points would buy $855 airfare through the American Express portal -and- you would preserve the option to transfer to SkyMiles. There would still be more complexity than with Chase, but perhaps worthwhile.
I would love that card. My "business" is...not likely to be approved by any card issuer. Just some minor nothing blogging; no purchases needed so no idea how to justify to issuer. I'm sure there is a board here for that topic; off to take a look.
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Old May 4, 18, 7:05 pm
  #13  
mia
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In my experience American Express is not even slightly interested in the details of your business.

To begin, suggest you have a look at this thread to understand how the Business Platinum pay-with-points airfare feature works:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...35-refund.html

Last edited by mia; May 4, 18 at 7:15 pm
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