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DEBATE: Which card is best? CSR vs Amex Plat vs other premium cards

DEBATE: Which card is best? CSR vs Amex Plat vs other premium cards

Old Jan 30, 2020, 11:45 pm
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DEBATE: Which card is best? CSR vs Amex Plat vs other premium cards

The above is perfectly correct.

Also keep in mind, a lot of people also have AmEx Platinum and probably Gold card too. So AmEx card holders already get Uber and GrubHub/Seamless benefits. Some of us do not use them either. Now you add two more vendors. You need more micro-management skills to keep track of them all.

I can see some young people living in metro area can benefit from ride-share and food delivery. But how many of them have the energy to keep track of saving $2 or $5, here and there? Most of them do not.

Also CSR should be the premium card, targeting the more affluent customers. Those people probably use those "benefits" less often than the young people.

Last edited by StartinSanDiego; Feb 2, 2020 at 6:50 am Reason: Moderator Note: Many posts, including this one, were originally in the CSR Higher Annual Fee thread.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by RedSun
The main purpose of this CSR change is because the original CSR has been about 5 years old. Badly need an update since a lot of the original CC holders have already jumped ship after pocketing the 100,000 UR points. The card holder base and earning are stagnant. Also, its AF of $450 is lower than AmEx Plat and some of the other premium CCs. So Chase made some headline splash to package some junk benefits and raise the AF. On the surface CSR is a more premium card and offers more "benefits" than the original CSR. But Chase actually collects more AF and incurs little costs for the extra "benefits" because of the partnership agreement.
I'm sure that's what their marketing people told them but it only works if people fall for it. The CSR fit a nice niche that no other card really hit before this change so it isn't a sure thing that people felt it was stagnant.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 12:05 pm
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DEBATE: Which card is best? CSR vs Amex Plat vs other premium cards

Originally Posted by richarddd
The tech geniuses and young bankers earning $200k need credit cards and the CSR seems a reasonable alternative. It offers 3x points on travel and dining and has good trip delay/cancel and car rental insurance. It may not be the greatest, but it's not bad. They may not care about a $60 benefit, but they probably also wouldn't care about a $100 increase.

What is the card for the affluent elite? Perhaps the Amex Centurion card, but it's absurd.

FWIW, a while back I asked in the Luxury Travel forum about the preferred credit card and the CSR was the leading answer.
Chase CSR is still a leading premium travel/dine card. But it is not the top one any longer. You would be surprised how many cardholders care about this $100 increase.

The appeal of CSR vs AmEx card is its vendor independence on its travel and dine benefits. But that has been changed. The appeal is gone. CSR is a copycat of AmEx cards now.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by richarddd
The tech geniuses and young bankers earning $200k need credit cards and the CSR seems a reasonable alternative. It offers 3x points on travel and dining and has good trip delay/cancel and car rental insurance. It may not be the greatest, but it's not bad. They may not care about a $60 benefit, but they probably also wouldn't care about a $100 increase.


What is the card for the affluent elite? Perhaps the Amex Centurion card, but it's absurd.

FWIW, a while back I asked in the Luxury Travel forum about the preferred credit card and the CSR was the leading answer.
Many already have Amex Platinum. When CSR was $450 it was easier to justify holding 2 premium cards but not now.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Statman
I am not saying there is not a demand for it. Rather, I am refuting VegasGambler's suggestion that $60 in free food is somehow going to move the needle for some young Tech Bro making six figures.

Those types of people with disposable income are not breaking out calculators to figure out the ROI on credit card rewards.
I don't know if "move the needle" is the right phrase; I think it's more about keeping the existing cardholders in the target demographic happy while Chase jacks up the annual fee. If you use either of the benefits as much as a typical Valley millennial does the fee bump pays for itself even in back-of-the-envelope math, so the initial reaction to the fee hike is "cool, but I get even more benefits". Meanwhile Chase is quietly getting a bulk discount, but more importantly is only promising these benefits through December 2021, whereas the fee hike is obviously permanent.

And I disagree in part on ROI of rewards -- I think the CSR is absolutely targeted at the consumer who is more conscious of the actual cost of card benefits. Chase all along had the angle of trying to bring more of these affluent types into their brand portfolio, and I don't think the CSR was ever going to steal people who don't have the sense to understand that putting non-categorizing spend on an Amex Plat or Centurion card is a terrible financial decision. The whole marketing effort behind the card was focused on the actual cash value of the rewards, not their "bling factor".

The CSR's original sell versus the Plat was that it had actually useful, easy-to-understand benefits.

Last edited by findark; Jan 31, 2020 at 1:09 pm
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by findark
Chase all along had the angle of trying to bring more of these affluent types into their brand portfolio, and I don't think the CSR was ever going to steal people who don't have the sense to understand that putting non-categorizing spend on an Amex Plat or Centurion card is a terrible financial decision. The whole marketing effort behind the card was focused on the actual cash value of the rewards, not their "bling factor".

The CSR's original sell versus the Plat was that it had actually useful, easy-to-understand benefits.
I think this is overstating the case here...
1) Putting non-bonus spend on an Amex Platinum is not a "terrible" financial decision. It is just a decision that doesn't necessarily maximize rewards. Overlevergaing, defaulting on loans, overspending, etc, are "terrible financial decisions."
2) Tons of people put non-bonus spend on a CSR when they could get 1.5x by also holding a CFU - are they making a "terrible decision" as well?
3) There was, and is, a ton of bling factor in the appeal of CSR - look, this card can get me to Paris, Maldives, Bora Bora, Tokyo, etc...

At the end of the day, this is a hobby. Some extremely smart and successful people don't care all that much and put all their spend on one card. Some analyze every penny.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Adelphos
1) Putting non-bonus spend on an Amex Platinum is not a "terrible" financial decision. It is just a decision that doesn't necessarily maximize rewards. Overlevergaing, defaulting on loans, overspending, etc, are "terrible financial decisions."
2) Tons of people put non-bonus spend on a CSR when they could get 1.5x by also holding a CFU - are they making a "terrible decision" as well?
Okay, I exaggerated a little bit. It's a financial choice which performs strictly worse in all scenarios. It's probably akin to burning a $1 bill - it's not going to actually cause most people financial strain, but it's also unequivocally not the best choice.

There are plenty of wealthy people who couldn't care less about optimizing that $1, but the CSR is not the card for them - and no "Lyft Pink status" is going to sway them on that.

Originally Posted by Adelphos
3) There was, and is, a ton of bling factor in the appeal of CSR - look, this card can get me to Paris, Maldives, Bora Bora, Tokyo, etc...
Obviously it's a matter of opinion (and anecdotal), but I find it hard to believe that one. I don't know anyone who got a CSR and is sharing what a "luxury experience" it is - I know lots of people who talk about the dollar value of what they get out of it. In contrast, the people I know with Amex Plats are more likely to talk about the status comps, Centurion Lounges, or concierge.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by findark
Obviously it's a matter of opinion (and anecdotal), but I find it hard to believe that one. I don't know anyone who got a CSR and is sharing what a "luxury experience" it is - I know lots of people who talk about the dollar value of what they get out of it. In contrast, the people I know with Amex Plats are more likely to talk about the status comps, Centurion Lounges, or concierge.
It's hard to get useful data. We're all likely overly influenced by the information readily available to us, rather than having access to a representative data set.. Single data point example - the desk person at the Aman Tokyo said the CSR was his favorite card and he sees it frequently.

I do wonder about the target demographics for the various premium cards. The people I know who who do "luxury experiences" tend not to care particularly about status comps and Centurion Lounges. For example, if you're traveling international J or F on a major airline, status doesn't get you much and you get lounge access. On the other hand if you need benefits from a card to get the luxury experience, these can be very valuable benefits.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by richarddd
It's hard to get useful data. We're all likely overly influenced by the information readily available to us, rather than having access to a representative data set.. Single data point example - the desk person at the Aman Tokyo said the CSR was his favorite card and he sees it frequently.

I do wonder about the target demographics for the various premium cards. The people I know who who do "luxury experiences" tend not to care particularly about status comps and Centurion Lounges. For example, if you're traveling international J or F on a major airline, status doesn't get you much and you get lounge access. On the other hand if you need benefits from a card to get the luxury experience, these can be very valuable benefits.
Not true. See the Amex forum for those who spend $1m on their platinum just to receive Centurion invitation.

on the other hand, if you buy J or F and stay in RC/St Regis/etc., Amex offers way better benefit/savings through IAP and FHR.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by snowmt
on the other hand, if you buy J or F and stay in RC/St Regis/etc., Amex offers way better benefit/savings through IAP and FHR.
Also depending on your domestic travel patterns, the Centurion Lounge may well be the best lounge option money can buy.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
This is also not the target market for lyft or doordash, or for the CSR. It's the target market for public transportation, Safeway, and the Amex Everyday. On the other hand if I go out to eat with 4 people from work, at least 3 of them pull out the CSR at the end.

That's not true. They may not care in a "life or death" kind of way, but everyone likes a good deal. I certainly do. (Not that $200k is really that much in SF or Manhattan... $70k in taxes; $50k in rent... it goes fast)
You said I was kidding. But you did not answer my question that, how many of those 4.5 millions college graduates are tech genius and are targeted by Chase as its key demographic?
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by findark
I don't know if "move the needle" is the right phrase; I think it's more about keeping the existing cardholders in the target demographic happy while Chase jacks up the annual fee. If you use either of the benefits as much as a typical Valley millennial does the fee bump pays for itself even in back-of-the-envelope math, so the initial reaction to the fee hike is "cool, but I get even more benefits". Meanwhile Chase is quietly getting a bulk discount, but more importantly is only promising these benefits through December 2021, whereas the fee hike is obviously permanent.

And I disagree in part on ROI of rewards -- I think the CSR is absolutely targeted at the consumer who is more conscious of the actual cost of card benefits. Chase all along had the angle of trying to bring more of these affluent types into their brand portfolio, and I don't think the CSR was ever going to steal people who don't have the sense to understand that putting non-categorizing spend on an Amex Plat or Centurion card is a terrible financial decision. The whole marketing effort behind the card was focused on the actual cash value of the rewards, not their "bling factor".

The CSR's original sell versus the Plat was that it had actually useful, easy-to-understand benefits.
Originally Posted by snowmt
Not true. See the Amex forum for those who spend $1m on their platinum just to receive Centurion invitation.

on the other hand, if you buy J or F and stay in RC/St Regis/etc., Amex offers way better benefit/savings through IAP and FHR.
Originally Posted by findark
Also depending on your domestic travel patterns, the Centurion Lounge may well be the best lounge option money can buy.
Some people are married to the CC they committed. So they won't listen....
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 4:51 pm
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Just some background info.

AmEx clearly targets the more affluent business executives and professionals. The original AmEx cards are status symbols for wealth and wealthy people. A lot of them do not even care about the annual fees. Also AmEx has a lot of travel services with various sizes of corporations and businesses. A lot card holders carry AmEx corporate cards. This is how the brand royalty was built. And more, the original AmEx cards are charge cards. The wealthy and business cardholders do not carry balances. So AFs and other travel related fee revenues were the main and still the main revenue base for AmEx. Look at the current AmEx Platinum offerings. None of the other premium CCs offer anything close to Platinum benefit package: Global Lounge; Fine Hotels & Resorts; 5x on flights; both Hilton and Marriott Gold; International Airline Program; Departure Magazine; No fee Gold card with Global Entry/Pre-check; and $175 for 3 sub cards.

As a commercial bank with deposit base, Chase targets individuals and families. CSR was designed for the busy professionals and families. With its record jaw-dropping 100,000 UR bonus, it generated a lot of publicity and the card went viral. The rest is all we know. So Chase did not compete with AmEx for the business travelers.

I think in general, this CSR product update is negative as a whole. I do not think it helps Chase to acquire more card holders. The 100,000 point excitement is long gone. Chase CSR still have its solid following, but it is just another premium travel credit card. The competitive landscape is wide open.

Going forward, I expect AmEx continues to maintain its status symbols and for its value of global lounge and other travel benefits. The Citi DC and BofA preferred Reward, Cash Reward and Travel Reward offer very strong tremendous value and are much easier to use for the mass consumers. Chase CSR is still "one of the premium" travel cards. But it is not the king of travel card any more.
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 4:59 pm
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Originally Posted by synzero
I actually think Chase might WANT to be culling its audience a bit, because these benefits are focused on urban dwellers of a certain income range. I happen to fit the demographic perfectly, I use both rideshare and food delivery services enough that the benefits in the first year are a huge win for me financially. In fact I'm currently working in downtown LA at a WeWork (I am here because of the Amex Plat WeWork benefit), I had an appointment 10 blocks away so I hopped on a Lyft scooter (for free, thanks to Lyft Pink), my company DOES reimburse my rideshare to/from the airport, so all in all these changes are great for me. For $100 I easily get well over $100 in annual benefit from these changes.

But -- if Lyft Pink expires and a bunch of these other benefits expire, then I'll have to recompute it again then. One year at a time.

One other positive of so many people cancelling the card -- PP lounges might get less crowded??
The youngsters in my family already married to Uber and Uber eats. They do not even use GrubHub/Seamless. They have no intention to switch. I think very soon the their companies will issue them corporate credit cards, probably AmEx cards to cover Uber rides and possible food and food delivery for working late hours.

No, they never had my CSR, but they carry the AmEx Plat cards and they enjoy Centurion, Delta lounges and international lounges overseas.... Also AmEx Platinum cards all have different card numbers. They can pay their own bills. Chase CSR can't do that....
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Old Jan 31, 2020, 5:05 pm
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https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31691527-post113.html especially the last sentance

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31693733-post122.html

For me, the main value of the Amex Plat would be IAP, but the few tests I've had people run have not shown much value. I don't see value in their lounges and see many reports of overcrowding https://www.google.com/search?q=cent...ge+too+crowded Virtuoso and other TAs seem to provide more value than FHR, even with the hotel status. Credit card as status symbol? Magazine? This no doubt colors my view of Amex.

I agree that the CSR update is a negative as a whole.
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