Cancelling CSR- But What's Next?

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Old Jul 11, 18, 11:19 am
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Cancelling CSR- But What's Next? (RC, SPG Lux, or Amex Plat?)

Thinking to cancel my CSR next month before the renewal hits in September but not sure what to replace it with. I am looking at these 3 possibilities...

SPG Amex Luxury
Pros-
  1. $300 credit at Marriot/SPG hotels- Probably the easiest credit for me to use out of the cards I'm considering.
  2. Marriott/SPG gold status- Don't use Marriott/SPG too much (2-3 times a year?) but I like having some type of hotel status, even if its the lower tier.
  3. Annual free night- nice little bonus
  4. 2 Marriot points per $ on every day spend- Not sure if this is a pro, but definitely better than the 1 point per dollar from the CSR (when transferred to Marriott)
Cons-
  1. Probably no signup bonus- I currently hold the SPG Amex, if Amex goes the Chase route of not giving signup bonuses to people who have had the old card, then I definitely won't be able to get the signup bonus (whatever it may be).

Amex Platinum
Pros-
  1. Centurion Lounge access- Tired of getting turn away at Priority Pass lounges because of overcrowding. Most of my domestic travel is between SFO, LAS, and DFW so this is one benefit I look forward to the most.
  2. SPG/Hilton Gold- See above for my thoughts on Marriott/SPG status. I never use Hilton, and generally, avoid the chain.
  3. Merchant credits- $200 Uber credit is nice, I use Uber eats a lot. The new $100 credit at Saks is a nice addition.
Cons-
  1. 1 point per $ for everything that's not hotels or airlines- Don't need explaination
  2. $200 airline credit- Really not sure how to utilize this benefit as I rarely pay any incidental fees while traveling. Buying and storing up AA gift cards seems like a hassle (can you use 10 $50 gift cards to pay for a $500 flight?). Also read somewhere that AA is coding their gift card purchases as gift cards now, so not sure if this trick is going to last?
  3. Low interest in MR transfer partners- Not interested in any of the airline transfer partners. Transfer to SPG is like getting 1/3 point per dollar spent.

Ritz Carlton Card
Pros-
  1. 2 night sign up bonus- Never stayed at a RC, so this could be interesting.
  2. $100 companion discount- Won't use this to often, but can see myself getting $100-200 of benefit from it.
  3. annual free night- New benefit coming end of Aug. Same as the SPG Luxury card.
  4. Gold status
  5. 4 points for gas, phone, cable and dining- Nice to get a higher bonus just for paying my Tmobile bill. Coming end of Aug.
  6. 2 Marriot points per dollar spend- Coming end of Aug.
Cons-
  1. $300 travel credit- seems even more of a hassle to use than the Amex credit. Looking through all the restrictions, I would be lucky to get $50/year back on this.
  2. Chase- I know the card is not subject to 5/24, but I believe I am at the limit of total credit Chase can give me, which means no instant approval and I will have to call them and explain why I need yet another Chase card. Not hard, but just another hassle.
  3. Limited time- most people seem to think this card is going away after Aug 1, coincidentally, the same time the Amex Lux card will be available (probably). As I only want to get 1 premium credit card, either I get the RC by end of this month or wait to see signup bonuses from Amex and risk missing out on the RC card....
Realizing as I type this out, this exercise was really good for me to organize my thoughts on these 3 cards, but there are vast pros and cons to each. The CSR is still one of my favorite cards, but with the improved benefits from the branded cards, it's losing some of its luster. I am interested in hearing your thoughts and what you liked about each of these cards. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by festriaqua; Jul 11, 18 at 11:43 am
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Old Jul 11, 18, 11:33 am
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mia
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Originally Posted by festriaqua View Post
...
SPG Amex Luxury....[*]2 Marriot points per $ on every day spend- Not sure if this is a pro, but definitely better than the 1 point per dollar from the CSR (when transferred to Marriott)...[*]Probably no signup bonus- I currently hold the SPG Amex...
Amex Platinum
....[*]$200 airline credit- Really not sure how to utilize this benefit as I rarely pay any incidental fees while traveling. Buying and storing up AA gift cards seems like a hassle (can you use 10 $50 gift cards to pay for a $500 flight?).[*]Low interest in MR transfer partners- Not interested in any of the airline transfer partners. Transfer to SPG is like 1/3 point per dollar spent.
....

....
1. Comparing two New Marriott points to one Ultimate Rewards point may not be accurate, depending on which Chase cards you hold and how you use them.

2. I expect you will be eligible for a new account bonus on the SPG Luxury card, because it is a new product, but it looks as if Marriott is making these decisions now.

3. If you choose to buy AA giftcards with American Express Platinum you need not buy the $50 denomination.

4. Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for award travel on most any airline that is a member of the three major alliances. This is done by redeeming for partner awards.

5. Starting 8.1.2018 the Membership Rewards transfer rate to Starwood will be 1000:1000.
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Old Jul 11, 18, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
1. Comparing two New Marriott points to one Ultimate Rewards point may not be accurate, depending on which Chase cards you hold and how you use them.
Agreed. What I meant was on a point per dollar basis, without consideration to the actual value of each point.

Originally Posted by mia View Post
2. I expect you will be eligible for a new account bonus on the SPG Luxury card, because it is a new product, but it looks as if Marriott is making these decisions now.
This is good news and would make the SPG Lux's offerings more attractive. Do you know of any sources or posts that have discussed this issue?

Originally Posted by mia View Post
5. Starting 8.1.2018 the Membership Rewards transfer rate to Starwood will be 1000:1000.
Did not know about this. Thanks!
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Old Jul 11, 18, 12:29 pm
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mia
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Originally Posted by festriaqua View Post
Agreed. What I meant was on a point per dollar basis, without consideration to the actual value of each point....
What I meant is that you may often be earning more than one UR per dollar, and the transfer ratio to Marriott isn't the only consideration.
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Old Jul 11, 18, 10:35 pm
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If you choose United for the AMEX platinum airline credit you'll get internet charges credited (not for select gogo flights). United processes these charge themselves in most cases.

While I generally avoid Hilton too (I'm a lifetime Marriot platinum), Gold gets you breakfast at Hilton. The new Marriott gold will be somewhat similar to today's SPG gold which doesn't have breakfast as a perk.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 2:36 am
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If you add the no fee Amex BBP in addition to the Amex Platinum you will get 2x points on all general spend up to 50k annually.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 7:14 am
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How is your UR balance? Instead of canceling the CSR, would it perhaps be more beneficial to downgrade it to a Preferred? If your point balance is nil, or you have another card earning UR's, then it's not as big of a deal.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 9:26 am
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Originally Posted by thunderlounge View Post
How is your UR balance? Instead of canceling the CSR, would it perhaps be more beneficial to downgrade it to a Preferred? If your point balance is nil, or you have another card earning UR's, then it's not as big of a deal.
I have the CFU, so that will let me keep the UR balance. In addition, my wife has her own CSR and is planning to keep it so we can still take advantage of the 1.5cent per point by booking through Chase.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by festriaqua View Post
Ritz Carlton Card
Pros-
.....
4 points for gas, phone, cable and dining- Nice to get a higher bonus just for paying my Tmobile bill. Coming end of Aug.
.....

Cons-
$300 travel credit- seems even more of a hassle to use than the Amex credit. Looking through all the restrictions, I would be lucky to get $50/year back on this.
AFIK the 4 points you described above are for the Marriot Business card not the Ritz card. Those were never Ritz’s categories. The change is the restaurants, car rental companies and airline tickets purchased directly from airlines going from 2 points per dollar to 3 points per dollar.

As for the con – I find it much more relaxed than the Amex one. Yes, it does require more work, but it is not tied to one airline, and offer a lot of flexibility to use it for things that automated system will not be able to catch up.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by festriaqua View Post
I have the CFU, so that will let me keep the UR balance. In addition, my wife has her own CSR and is planning to keep it so we can still take advantage of the 1.5cent per point by booking through Chase.
Sounds like a good plan then. Good luck deciding!
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Old Jul 12, 18, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by MD/DC Flyer View Post
AFIK the 4 points you described above are for the Marriot Business card not the Ritz card. Those were never Ritzís categories. The change is the restaurants, car rental companies and airline tickets purchased directly from airlines going from 2 points per dollar to 3 points per dollar.
Oops, my mistake.

From the looks of it, it seems a lot of people here are recommending the Amex Plat, mainly for the benefits and to put the spending on another more rewarding card. Would Amex frown on low annual spend Plat card holders? I.e if I just use it for the benefits and max out the bonus categories?
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Old Jul 12, 18, 11:25 am
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mia
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Originally Posted by festriaqua View Post
.... Amex frown on low annual spend Plat card holders?....
No. American Express can monetize your membership through marketing, similar to the way Chase offers banking services to cardholders.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 3:35 pm
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There are at least a handful of other threads debating this question at great length, but it is not outrageous to hold both the CSR and Amex Plat. I have for several years now and am happy with the arrangement, even if the gross fee spend still stings.

Amex won't (AFAIK) turn you away from a Centurion lounge because it's too crowded, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to find a place to sit. Centurion Lounges are very nice but they are somewhat a victim of their own success, especially if you tend to travel at peak times.

You also haven't said what you like about the CSR. If you like the 3x points earning categories and get a lot of value out of them, none of these cards offer much of a replacement for that. (Which is the crux of the argument for holding the CSR + the Amex Plat, one offers points and one offers benefits.) Though having only one CSR account between you and your wife, with the other person as an authorized user, could be a way to continue earning the 3x points without having to pay 2 CSR annual fees.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by festriaqua View Post
Thinking to cancel my CSR next month before the renewal hits in September but not sure what to replace it with. I am looking at these 3 possibilities...
PCing your CSR to a Freedom is what I would do. Surely 2-3 quarters will be of UR value to you.
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Old Jul 12, 18, 3:46 pm
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Oh and BTW signup offers for the Amex Plat can vary so it's worth making an effort to get a good one, since it's a once-in-a-lifetime (or at least once-in-7ish-years) opportunity. Check the CardMatch Tool and see if you have a 100K points offer, which is the target. If the 100K offer doesn't show there, could be worth calling Amex and see if they'll extend the offer to you, and/or wait a while and see if such an offer pops up.
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