Does Gold or EDP make more sense for me?

Old Apr 9, 19, 3:08 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Programs: Starwood, Marriott Rewards
Posts: 47
Does Gold or EDP make more sense for me?

Summary:
- Have ~300K Marriott Rewards points left over from the merger; plan on draining those first
- Moved spending towards acquiring Membership Rewards last year
- Currently using Amazon Visa for Amazon & Whole Foods, EDP as daily driver, and CFU where Amex not accepted
- Have about 150K MR now
- I have no trips currently planned
- I travel once or twice a year, usually domestic
- CFU going from 3% cash back to 1.5% next month

Based on the above, I'm trying to figure out how to optimize my spending going forward. Given that I don't travel that much, I'm wondering whether I should move to cash back for the time being, at least until I drain my Marriott Rewards.

Looking at my spending, I would make more using the Gold card for groceries and restaurants than if I used the EDP for just groceries and gas. I'd also have to add a few other charges every month to get 30 transactions for the EDP bonus. I also consider the 1.5 points for non-bonused spend to be roughly a push against the Alliant Visa's 3% cash back the first year.

Questions from all this are:
Q1. Does moving to cash back make sense given my lack of travel, at least for the time being? Alternatively,
Q2. If I continue to go after MRs, should I stick with the EDP or get the Gold card?
Q3. Related to my current lifestyle wrt travel, am I correct in thinking that neither Chase Sapphire card makes sense, at least at the moment, so I might as well cash out the money I've gotten from the CFU over the last year?
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Old Apr 9, 19, 4:59 pm
  #2  
mia
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 38,639
To account for the differences between Gold and Everyday Preferred we would need to know your approximate annual spend in these categories:

Dining
Grocery
Amazon

I also consider the 1.5 points for non-bonused spend to be roughly a push against the Alliant Visa's 3% cash back the first year.
This means that you value Membership Rewards at $0.02 each. How do you achieve this on domestic travel?
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Old Apr 9, 19, 6:32 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Programs: Starwood, Marriott Rewards
Posts: 47
I'll continue to use the Amazon Visa for Amazon purchases, and it will more than cover the annual cost of Prime.

As for the others:
  • Gas: $2700
  • Groceries (including Whole Foods): $9800
  • Dining: $3500
So:
  • (Groceries + Dining) * 4 = 53,200pts <-- Gold card scenario
  • ((6000*4.5) + (Gas*3)) = 35,100 MR pts for the EDP, assuming 30 transactions, and using up the $6000 and leaving $3800 to manage between the Amazon Visa (WF) and cash-back, and not counting the other transactions I'd have to add at 1.5x to achieve 30 transactions per month
Which looks like a clear win for the Gold, but then there's that $250 AF vs the $95 of the EDP. By my calculations, the point value at which the Gold card makes more sense than the EDP (assuming only using each for their bonus categories) is $0.0085. Which leads to your second question.

I don't really have a good feel for how much I'd personally value MRs, because I haven't tried to redeem any yet (I only redeem for air travel currently, and have only ever used Starwood Points for that, if that helps). A more accurate statement would have been that the 1.5pts is a push given the most optimistic valuation that I've seen (the Points Guy). Not having redeemed any yet myself, I use the midpoint between OMAAT and TPG, which is $0.0185. Even is that is overly optimistic, I'm confident is stating that I value pts significantly more than $0.0085, or I wouldn't be doing this at all .

Going back to my main questions:
Q1. Does moving to cash back make sense given my lack of travel, at least for the time being? This is my main question, any help would be appreciated
Q2. If I continue to go after MRs, should I stick with the EDP or get the Gold card? It would seem that the answer is yes, if I can get a cash-back Visa with a nice return (CitiDC or Alliant)
Q3. Related to my current lifestyle wrt travel, am I correct in thinking that neither Chase Sapphire card makes sense, at least at the moment, so I might as well cash out the money I've gotten from the CFU over the last year? I'm pretty confident the answer to this is no, but I wanted to run it by the experts before dismissing it outright.

Thoughts?
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