Which Amex?

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Old Jul 8, 18, 8:34 am
  #1  
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Question Which Amex?

I'm going to open a new Amex and need help deciding which one. Let me give you the facts and hopefully you guys can help me figure out what direction to go. I'm wresting over facts like the travel card (one specifically), points vs miles, annual fee (which I'm becoming ok with a smaller one) and cash back.

First up, not a business. I'm (newly) single. Hope to start travelling more. Soon. I'm having an issue grappling with the long game at the moment as I'm recently unemployed and still pounding he pavement. As far as travel, I'm in Atlanta. That means Delta (have a few Skymiles, but not a ton). I'm not bound to any hotel program although I think I still have status at Marriot unless that has lapsed (status gained from work - which no longer exists, lol). Not a big restaurant goer, so few points back from that (although, yes I'm set up for dining miles thingy).

(currently operating off a Visa, but prefer an Amex; had blue cash back one which was recently closed - *ahem* recently single - and pay off every month)

Thoughts on which on I should go with?
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Old Jul 8, 18, 11:26 am
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Since you're not a restaurant goer, what do you spend on? What do you spend the most on?

As you're currently not working will you be able to meet minimum spending in the time frame to get the signup bonus?

Are you hoping for any additional perks from the card?

Which card(s) do you already have?

Are you planning on traveling soon as paid tickets or are you hoping to acquire miles/points quickly to use soon?
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Old Jul 8, 18, 2:06 pm
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Thanks for the reply. Working on the employment front. No worries on meeting the min spending limits. Right now I just have a BoA visa, nothing exciting there. I've never really used 'other perks' other than cash back on previous Amex (and some amex fraud detection). As far as miles/ points. Do miles and points work the same? Flights will most likely be with Delta since I'm in ATL. Let me put it like this. I want to take a big trip to the pacific. Just me, so don't care about any companion benefits. Past that, I'm trying to determine a 'what next'.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 2:18 pm
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On what routes, and in what class of service, do you hope to redeem your points/miles for free travel?

Just because you are in Atlanta does not necessarily mean that you have to fly on DL, even though DL surely serves more nonstop destinations from ATL than other carriers.

Whether you would be better off earning miles or travel credits will likely depend on the relative cost in cash vs. miles for the particular flights you want to book.

And even if your paid travel will be primarily on DL, that does not necessarily mean that you must credit those flights to DL: DL flights can be credited to any of DL's Sky Team partners.

Occasionally, offers for the Amex PRG with 50,000 MR points after $2,000 in send will pop up; some people have reported getting it when going to the Amex site from a Chrome incognito browser.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 2:27 pm
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There are two ways to earn Delta Skymiles with American Express cards.

1. American Express issues Delta co-branded cards. These earn Skymiles directly. Generally $1 spent = 1 Skymile, and the miles are automatically credited to your Delta account at the end of each billing period.

2. American Express issues card which earn Membership Rewards points. These points can be transferred to various airline and hotel programs. The transfer rate to Delta is 1000:1000. There is a small fee for transfers to airlines headquartered in the USA, including Delta. There is no fee for transfers to foreign carriers. In general $1 spent = 1 Membership Rewards point, but some cards award more points for spending in certain categories. The points are awarded at the end of the billing period after the one in which the spend occurs.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 2:50 pm
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You can earn points into a program like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards or Citi Thank You points which then generally have a cash back value and transfer partners of airlines, hotels and some others.

When you earn miles/points via a card such as the Amex Delta Skymiles or Amex Hilton cards you instead earn points in the associated program's award program.

Each has its limitations and perks. Airline cobranded cards can beat out entry level cards but often fall behind the premium cards. For example the Amex Delta cards earn 2 Skymiles per dollar spent on Delta whereas the Amex PRG earns 3x Amex MR points which can be transferred to Delta I think at a 1:1 rate and sometimes even a nice bonus for doing so. With the Amex Platinum a purchase on an airline would be 5x points which yields a nice premium over the Delta cobranded cards and comes with the flexibility to transfer to any of the Amex MR program transfer partners and not only have the miles go to Delta. But the Delta cobranded cards come with benefits that can help a regular Delta traveler obtain perks and status easier than a general passenger. Many of the airline cobranded cards come with free luggage as a perk which can save a lot of money compared to the annual fee. Some cards, such as the Amex Hilton Ascend, come with elite status without any travel needed which boosts earning rates and get perks at hotels.

Each program's transfer partners have their their sweetspots. Amex has ANA as a partner and they have a great rate for US-Asia Business Class redemptions. I just booked an SFO-TPE-PVG, HKG-HND, NRT-INC, ICN-JFK all in Business Class for 95k MR points transferred and ~$300 in taxes. Chase has UA as a redemption partner which can be a great transfer partner particularly for premium 1-way awards.

If you want to go Amex I'd look at the Amex Everyday Premier and Amex Hilton Ascend as both have low annual fees and good earning options for travel. Combining the Premier with the Amex PRG or Platinum bonuses over a 6 month to 2 year period can yield you a nice vacation.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 4:49 pm
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The Hilton Ascend has reasonable earnings for spending (in Hilton points, which may or may not please you) has a modest fee, and gives PriorityPass access for ten airport lounge visits a year. Google PriorityPass if you arenít aware of it. Hilton has a good footprint of places to spend the points, and you get Hilton Gold Status which is pretty useful. Having lounge access without paying a mid-three figure annual fee is pretty cool, which is the main reason I mention it here.

otherwise, Iíd suggest looking at the AMEX Everyday or Everyday Preferred.
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Old Jul 8, 18, 5:27 pm
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Can you get a new credit card if you're currently unemployed?

Assuming that you're going to continue living in the Atlanta area, DL flights would have the most convenient schedules, but often the highest prices. If you're going to be flying DL much, having a DL AmEx credit card is good--for instance, for the asomewhat earlier boarding zone and free checked bag--but look for good sign up bonus offers and document the one you use when you apply for the card, preferably on line and not by phone. Note that once you've picked a DL AmEx card, you cannot upgrade it to a different one within the first year. Also, there are lifetime bonus restrictions for the introductory offers.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 2:59 am
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DO NOT get fixated on Delta. I also live in Atlanta, have a lifetime pass on Delta, yet rarely ever fly them.
There is a reason for the word "skypesos".
For Domestic you can use Southwest with URs as well as United.
International is well served at ATL by a bunch of transfer partners using MRs, URs and TYs.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 9:03 am
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Thanks everyone. I've gotten a couple of key pieces from responses here. If I get the seat I want... something better than back of the bus... I'll be closer to the front of the line (for delta, that doesn't really mean much in ALT tho, lol). Checking of the bag, well, I can suck it up. And it seems that using points allows you to use something other than Delta. Occasional option in ATL.

So it sounds like we are now looking at cards that go with points, there are a few options. The everyday and good old standard cards. And then for cool kid cards (AKA those w/ an annual fee). (APR isn't really an issue)

And I wasn't going to open anything until I was employed - working on it. (or at least wasn't going to try till there is a good new card offer for whatever card I decide to go with.

Will investigate PriorityPass.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 10:09 am
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If you are able to effectively utilize the airline credit, Uber credit, and now Saks Credit, the very best combination is the Platinum Card and the Blue Business Plus Card. For an effective annual fee of $50, you’ll be earning 5x Membership Rewards on all airfare and prepaid hotel bookings through AmexTravel, 2x Membership Rewards on all other purchases up to $50,000, in addition to SkyClub access when flying Delta, Centurion Lounge Access, Priority Pass, and a couple hotel elite perks.

If you’re not comfortable with the Blue Business, get an Everyday Card (preferred or regular).

I’m an Atlanta flyer as well, and I would recommend you not getting a Delta co-branded product if you are planning on utilizing miles to get to Asia. You’ll be spending on your card and flying for eternity to get enough miles. For instance, if you’re going to Tokyo on Delta in October for a week in Delta One, it will cost you 545,000 Skymiles, or 80,000 Skymiles in main cabin.

If you’re not able to use the Uber Credit and if the Airline Credit becomes difficult to use, get the Everyday Preferred if you do a fair bit of grocery shopping, or the Premier Rewards Gold if you book a fair bit of airfare, fuel, and dining.

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Old Jul 10, 18, 10:50 am
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No need for a business card (*ahem*, unless someone needs a freelance BA). How do you finagle the $50 annual fee? I don't see that number anywhere? Occasional Uber rider and more groceries than out, so it is sounding Everyday. Preferred or regular?
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Old Jul 10, 18, 10:58 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by duckboxxer View Post
No need for a business card ....
You need not have a business to open a "business" credit card account.


How do you finagle the $50 annual fee? ...
$50 is the "net" cost, not the amount you would pay. The personal Platinum Card's annual fee is $550. There is a $200 airline fee reimbursement in 2018, and again in 2019. There is also an Uber credit, a Saks credit etc.

Last edited by mia; Jul 10, 18 at 11:06 am
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Old Jul 10, 18, 11:02 am
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You need the Amex BBP for 2x points on all non bonused spend.
The $50 fee is net after all credits on the Amex Platinum.
I tend to agree with the poster who suggested this combo.
You could also get a Visa or MC for places that
do not take Amex. My vote would be the Citi Premier which has 3x on all travel, even gas.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 8:17 pm
  #15  
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Ah, the net of everything. Gotcha. I already have a Visa, so no need to open another one. I try to keep things to a minimum. I see one of the big benefits of the Plat card is automatic status at hotels and car rentals.

Just curious what the credit rating penalty might be if I close a card and open another one (the $550 is steep if you end up not using all the benefits).
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