Time to Cash Out

Old Oct 21, 20, 3:23 pm
  #1  
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Time to Cash Out

I am sitting on 2,918,195 American Express points. Don't ask me why. I just never got around to using them. I think it's time to cash-out.

Until COVID-19 hit, I was a road warrior with the Amex Platinum Card for business expenses, plus an Amex Gold Card for personal expenses. Points earned on both cards have flowed into just one pot. I'm in my mid-sixties, I don't really have a desire to travel the world - and even if I did, I don't think the world will be back to anything resembling normal for at least 12 months and possibly twice that long.


My average charges on the two Amex cards every month range from $7,500 to $10,000. I think my choices are some combination of these:


1. Get rid of the Platinum Card (and stop paying, what, nearly $600 a year for perks I really didn't use before COVID-19 hit and perks I'm certainly not using now. But keep the Amex Gold Card going so I don't lose the points, at least until I figure out the best way to cash out.


1A. I could quit my .....ing, keep just the Gold Card going and then perhaps once COVID-19 is "over" take my entire family, kids and grandkids to some fabulous resort and blow the whole damn pot of points on one single memorable trip.


1B. Again, figuring it'll be another 12-24 months before COVID is mostly-gone, figure I'll use the points for me and the wife to take some serious trips once we're both retired (probably 3-5 years from now), which also assumes my health will be OK.


2. Figure out the best way to monetize the Amex points...I don't need anything from Amazon, or any other stores, for that matter. I suppose I could transfer some/all into one of the airline programs (my city is best-served by United and Delta, but we're not a hub and United keeps devaluing their points program, so this option doesn't seem terribly prudent.


3. Since I really don't care about online concierges, airline clubs, the Priority Pass or having my credit card reimburse me for Global Entry or drinks on the plane, it's probably time to stop putting charges on any Amex card and, instead, get myself the no-fee CitiCard Double-Cash card that pays me back 2% on ALL purchases. If I'm charging, say, $108,000 a year, that would be a cool two-thousand bucks a year back into my pocket.


Before I sign-off, let me put this in perspective. I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I am grateful for everything I have, I devote a lot of time towards philanthropic activities and I ache for those that are truly suffering during this pandemic. So I know my problem doesn't really amount to a hill of beans. But it IS a problem. Anyone out there have a good solution or two?
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Old Oct 21, 20, 3:40 pm
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You are going to want the Schwab version of the Platinum card so you can cash out at 1.25cpp. You have more the $36K worth of points, the Schwab card is a no-brainer for you.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 5:26 pm
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Originally Posted by time_stamp View Post
You are going to want the Schwab version of the Platinum card so you can cash out at 1.25cpp. You have more the $36K worth of points, the Schwab card is a no-brainer for you.
Is this a cash back option? While I only have about a third of the points of the OP, I question whether I'll be able to use them within the next few years and wouldn't mind considering a cash out of ca. $10k. How does the Scwhab card work? I have a Schwab account but don't keep a substantial balance in it (I opened it because it was the best option for a large forex transfer a while back).
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Old Oct 21, 20, 5:33 pm
  #4  
mia
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Originally Posted by SusanDK View Post
Is this a cash back option?....
Discussion here: American Express to Partner with Schwab. Applications online 3.21.2016.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 5:36 pm
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Thanks, mia.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 5:44 pm
  #6  
mia
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Originally Posted by Cleve111 View Post
1. Get rid of the Platinum Card ...

2. .... transfer some/all into one of the airline programs (my city is best-served by United and Delta....
1. Call American Express and see if there is a retention offer. American Express retention offers It might be money or it might be points, but it buys you time to decide.

2. Membership Rewards does transfer to Delta, but not to United. However, you can use MR points for flights operated by any airline in the three major alliances: Transfer Membership Rewards points to which airline or hotel program? Membership Rewards hotel transfers are weak, focus on the airlines.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 9:26 pm
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I had that problem a few years ago. I knew my traveling days were winding down and honestly I didnít care about accumulating miles any more. I switched to a cash back card and started burning miles, couple of nice trips to Europe, Hawaii, even domestic trips to see the kids, plus donating some to charity and such. Down from 2.9 million miles in various programs to about half a million now. And of course thereís no place to go at the moment nor frankly do I have any desire to travel. Now the extra $1,000+ in the bank account every year is a nice perk.
I too am very grateful for all I have. Iíve been very fortunate.
Not a solution for everyone but you might consider it.
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Old Oct 21, 20, 10:14 pm
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It seems like you might be well served with a 2 prong approach:
1. Obtain or downgrade to a no annual fee card that will keep your MR alive. Use it sparingly so your account isn't closed. If you qualify, the Blue Business Plus card seems like a good option but there are consumer cards too. Most won't let you transfer your MR to miles but it seems likely that you could upgrade to or apply for such a card when you're ready to travel.

2. Get a different card for primary spending that meets your needs/goals, perhaps a cashback card as you mention.
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Old Oct 22, 20, 12:41 am
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I'm finding great value with the current MR->Honors 40% transfer bonus. I'm getting about 1.3cpp redemptions.
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Old Oct 22, 20, 4:47 am
  #10  
mia
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
I....about 1.3cpp redemptions.
Per Honors point or per Membership Rewards point?
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Old Oct 22, 20, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Per Honors point or per Membership Rewards point?
Per MR point.
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Old Oct 22, 20, 10:14 am
  #12  
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necker island is always an option, could ask virgin about moskito island as well

its interesting how chase makes cashback and 'miles' equivalent, but amex does not
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Old Oct 22, 20, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by AsiaTraveler View Post
It seems like you might be well served with a 2 prong approach:
1. Obtain or downgrade to a no annual fee card that will keep your MR alive. Use it sparingly so your account isn't closed. If you qualify, the Blue Business Plus card seems like a good option but there are consumer cards too. Most won't let you transfer your MR to miles but it seems likely that you could upgrade to or apply for such a card when you're ready to travel.

2. Get a different card for primary spending that meets your needs/goals, perhaps a cashback card as you mention.
This. The AMEX EveryDay has no fee and will keep your MR safe (and you'll get 2x at grocery stores if that's of us to you). AMEX EveryDay MR is the exact same as the MR you receive from Platinum, Gold, Green, Corporate (if eligible), EveryDay Preferred -- of course that could change in the future but that is one way to maintain your MR without paying an annual fee.

Then grab something that meets your primary spending goals. Either straight cashback with the Double Cash or something like the Chase Freedom Unlimited which gives you 1.5% on everything but goes up to 3% for restaurants and pharmacies (so if you have a lot of restaurant spend that 1.5% could make up for the 0.5% that you lose on everything else vs. the DoubleCash).
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Old Oct 22, 20, 5:19 pm
  #14  
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I also vote for the Schwab option, given the OP's circumstances. That's about $34,000 (1.25 cents per point). Simple, quick, and a reasonable return on your points.
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Old Oct 23, 20, 2:47 pm
  #15  
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forgot about schwab, that beats chase, presumably done because of what chase offered
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