Who's done the calculation?

Old May 8, 21, 5:10 pm
  #1  
exp
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Who's done the calculation?

Sapphire Preferred is 2X on dining and travel with no FX (supposedly, because I think other no FX cards, such as BoA Cash Rewards, invariably have lower FX rates on transactions) and Freedom Unlimited is 3X on travel and dining.

So with a $1000 in travel spending charged overseas, you get 2000 UR points with CSP while with CFU, you get 3000 UR points but you pay $1030 for them. I believe Chase puts the FX fees as a separate line item and those don't earn ANY points?

Or 2 points per dollar spent with CSP and 2.91 points per dollar spent with the CFU.

So is it worth paying the FX fees?

Of course the value of the additional 1000 UR points varies depending on how people value UR points. Some people say they're worth about 2 cents each?
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Old May 8, 21, 9:07 pm
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Originally Posted by exp View Post
Sapphire Preferred is 2X on dining and travel with no FX (supposedly, because I think other no FX cards, such as BoA Cash Rewards, invariably have lower FX rates on transactions) and Freedom Unlimited is 3X on travel and dining.
So the one issue here is that Freedom Unlimited gets 3x with dining and 5x with travel booked with the Chase travel portal(1.5 URs on normal travel). Lack of flexibility that makes a pretty big difference especially if your plan is to transfer to travel partners.
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Old May 8, 21, 9:16 pm
  #3  
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Ah I thought it was regular travel. Yeah I think there was a thread, the Chase Portal hotel choices were more limited and the prices were higher.

Too good to be true then.
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Old May 9, 21, 8:55 am
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I have yet to see someone truly benefit from holding the CSP vs other Chase cards. Most people who I have seen hold one, did so for one of the following reasons: 1.) Higher signup bonus (because it is profitable). 2.) Lower AF vs CSR. Even before the Freedom cards got the buff, either going CSR or no Sapphire would be the most beneficial scenario for the vast majority of people. The CSR had only a $55 effective AF difference for a lot more benefits. Now? The new CFF and CFU make the no Sapphire card option even more attractive.

I do suppose that whenever the CSR hits its $550 af, it will breathe a little life into the CSP for some. It could shine if you don't travel a ton but when you do utilize its travel insurances, for one example.
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Old May 10, 21, 6:03 am
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Don't forget CSR charges you got $75 for each AU. IMO that should absolutely be factored into the household cost of holding CSR.

Many people in this game have other cards with overlapping benefits with CSR. I find that between my Amex Platinum and Chase Ritz Carlton cards, I have little need or justification to hold a CSR card. I do have CSP so I can easily transfer points into one of the travel partners programs.

To each his own. I know lots of people who are very happy with their CSR. Those tend to not to be the churning type from my anecdotal experience.
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Old May 10, 21, 6:24 am
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Originally Posted by happychic View Post
Don't forget CSR charges you got $75 for each AU. IMO that should absolutely be factored into the household cost of holding CSR.

Many people in this game have other cards with overlapping benefits with CSR. I find that between my Amex Platinum and Chase Ritz Carlton cards, I have little need or justification to hold a CSR card. I do have CSP so I can easily transfer points into one of the travel partners programs.

To each his own. I know lots of people who are very happy with their CSR. Those tend to not to be the churning type from my anecdotal experience.
Curious, what do you have on those two cards that makes the CSR irrelevant, yet gives you value on CSP?
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Old May 10, 21, 6:49 am
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Originally Posted by Super Mario View Post
Curious, what do you have on those two cards that makes the CSR irrelevant, yet gives you value on CSP?
​​​​​​Things that make me value CSP:
-High SUB on CSP + additional referral points
-PYB program
-Ability to transfer to Hyatt, UA, United loyalty programs in case I need to top up for a redemption
-Reasonable AF



What Chase Ritz gives me:
-All the travel protection that CSR gives (car rental insurance, trip delay/interruption insurance even if you only charged $1 on card)
-Also gives a lot of travel perks that CSR gives including Priority Pass access to AUs. Unlike CSR there is no charge for an AU on Chase Ritz account. My immediate family members all have their PP for free through being an AU on my account
-Annual 50k Marriot cert
-$150 retention credit offered every year (I haven't ever had to pay the full $450 AF ever, YMMV)
-$300 airline incidental credit



What Amex Platinum gives:
-Centurion lounge access
-Other lounges like Delta (when flying with Delta), Escape, Lufthansa Lounges and more. I think Plaza Premium is leaving PP but will be accessible with Amex Platinum
-Various travel related incentives - one time $200 credit on Amex Travel portal, ongoing annual $200 airline incidental
-Generous retention credit
-FHR program
-Many Sync and ongoing offers like PayPal, Uber monthly reimbursements
-Some of these perks existed pre pandemic. Some are only for limited time till end of June or this year. A lot of them require some jumping through hoops, which I personally don't mind


I'm sure there's more but these are off the top of my head

Pardon for the format, am on mobile at the moment

Last edited by happychic; May 10, 21 at 9:02 pm
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Old May 10, 21, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by Super Mario View Post
I have yet to see someone truly benefit from holding the CSP vs other Chase cards. Most people who I have seen hold one, did so for one of the following reasons: 1.) Higher signup bonus (because it is profitable). 2.) Lower AF vs CSR. Even before the Freedom cards got the buff, either going CSR or no Sapphire would be the most beneficial scenario for the vast majority of people. The CSR had only a $55 effective AF difference for a lot more benefits. Now? The new CFF and CFU make the no Sapphire card option even more attractive.

I do suppose that whenever the CSR hits its $550 af, it will breathe a little life into the CSP for some. It could shine if you don't travel a ton but when you do utilize its travel insurances, for one example.
For me the CSP pencils out better than the CSR with the $550 AF, the $75 AU fee, and the fact CFU is 3x's on dining. Of course, chase has given me a $100 credit for the CSR twice now, so I haven't make the switch. Once that become a hard $550 ($155), I will not be keeping the CSR.
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Old May 11, 21, 8:17 am
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Originally Posted by happychic View Post
​​​​​​Things that make me value CSP:
-High SUB on CSP + additional referral points
-PYB program
-Ability to transfer to Hyatt, UA, United loyalty programs in case I need to top up for a redemption
-Reasonable AF



What Chase Ritz gives me:
-All the travel protection that CSR gives (car rental insurance, trip delay/interruption insurance even if you only charged $1 on card)
-Also gives a lot of travel perks that CSR gives including Priority Pass access to AUs. Unlike CSR there is no charge for an AU on Chase Ritz account. My immediate family members all have their PP for free through being an AU on my account
-Annual 50k Marriot cert
-$150 retention credit offered every year (I haven't ever had to pay the full $450 AF ever, YMMV)
-$300 airline incidental credit



What Amex Platinum gives:
-Centurion lounge access
-Other lounges like Delta (when flying with Delta), Escape, Lufthansa Lounges and more. I think Plaza Premium is leaving PP but will be accessible with Amex Platinum
-Various travel related incentives - one time $200 credit on Amex Travel portal, ongoing annual $200 airline incidental
-Generous retention credit
-FHR program
-Many Sync and ongoing offers like PayPal, Uber monthly reimbursements
-Some of these perks existed pre pandemic. Some are only for limited time till end of June or this year. A lot of them require some jumping through hoops, which I personally don't mind


I'm sure there's more but these are off the top of my head

Pardon for the format, am on mobile at the moment
Fair enough for the perks. I still question the CSP though in this thread of "math". I see no mention of where you actually earn rewards. I would assume it is through Chase since you talk the most about point redemption there. Using PYB would net you 25% less. If you are earning travel rewards, it is also another 25% less. Dining would be another 25% loss, but that is easily mitigated through CFU or CFF. If we can talk about the Ritz retention, we can also talk about no one really paying $550 for CSR yet either.
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Old May 11, 21, 10:32 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by happychic View Post
Don't forget CSR charges you got $75 for each AU. IMO that should absolutely be factored into the household cost of holding CSR.

Many people in this game have other cards with overlapping benefits with CSR. I find that between my Amex Platinum and Chase Ritz Carlton cards, I have little need or justification to hold a CSR card. I do have CSP so I can easily transfer points into one of the travel partners programs.

To each his own. I know lots of people who are very happy with their CSR. Those tend to not to be the churning type from my anecdotal experience.
We're in a similar boat, with existing Plat and Gold cards from Amex, as well as the CSP and a handful of other minor cards. The value offering of the CSR is pretty awful in that scenario.

CSP is a $95 annual fee with 2x UR on non-airline non-FHR travel spend (. For an extra $155 (or $225 with an AU) per year, the only marginal benefit is an additional UR point per dollar on hotel and generic travel spend.
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Old May 11, 21, 10:59 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
CSP is a $95 annual fee with 2x UR on non-airline non-FHR travel spend (. For an extra $155 (or $225 with an AU) per year, the only marginal benefit is an additional UR point per dollar on hotel and generic travel spend.
Pre-Covid the Priority Pass restaurant benefit alone made up the AF difference between the CSR and the CSP for me. Obviously I am “lucky” that many of my trips require a connection at airports that have participating restaurants (and in the case of PDX no lounge option).

During Covid the PYB cash-out option of the CSR helped me redeem bucket-loads of points (got $600 more than if I had used a CSP), and as I recall there were some grocery spend promos that were adding a bit of value, too (don’t recall what promos CSP got).

I have the Amex Plat as well. Primarily for the Centurion Lounge (and similar) access and the 5X airfare earnings. Pre-Covid it saw very little other spend, but over the course of the last year I have, of course, partaken in the various spend offers (streaming, cell service, PayPal) that basically eliminated the AF cost.

For the moment I am comfortable with the cards I have. We will see what happens next. YMMV.
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Old May 11, 21, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
Pre-Covid the Priority Pass restaurant benefit alone made up the AF difference between the CSR and the CSP for me. Obviously I am “lucky” that many of my trips require a connection at airports that have participating restaurants (and in the case of PDX no lounge option).

During Covid the PYB cash-out option of the CSR helped me redeem bucket-loads of points (got $600 more than if I had used a CSP), and as I recall there were some grocery spend promos that were adding a bit of value, too (don’t recall what promos CSP got).

I have the Amex Plat as well. Primarily for the Centurion Lounge (and similar) access and the 5X airfare earnings. Pre-Covid it saw very little other spend, but over the course of the last year I have, of course, partaken in the various spend offers (streaming, cell service, PayPal) that basically eliminated the AF cost.

For the moment I am comfortable with the cards I have. We will see what happens next. YMMV.
It's a handy difference in PP benefits if you'll get use out of it. I did use the benefit occasionally when Amex offered it, but it's not something I miss by any measure. The addition build-out of Centurion Lounges is worth more to me based on my particular travel habits, but that one is a clear YMMV.

The real gem, especially during COVID, has been the Amex Gold. The 4x points on dining and restaurants constitute the bulk of my family's spend even during pre-COVID times. During the pandemic it's been unbeatable. We exclusively transfer and don't use cash-out features like PYB.

A few years ago, I think it was unthinkable to put any actual un-reimbursed spend on the Plat unless you were taking advantage of something like IAP. The introduction of 5x points for airfare has been a real game-changer.

Like you, we're in a pretty comfortable spot for the moment. I think once we finally return to pre-pandemic levels of travel, we'll have to re-evaluate. I think it's going to be some of our minor cards (like the Citi AA) that ultimately get dumped.
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Old May 11, 21, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
We're in a similar boat, with existing Plat and Gold cards from Amex, as well as the CSP and a handful of other minor cards. The value offering of the CSR is pretty awful in that scenario.

CSP is a $95 annual fee with 2x UR on non-airline non-FHR travel spend (. For an extra $155 (or $225 with an AU) per year, the only marginal benefit is an additional UR point per dollar on hotel and generic travel spend.
This is how I look at it. I dumped my CSR months ago so I could reapply for a CSP. I was counting on the 80k bonus returning and luckily enough, it did.

In a year, I can decide whether to upgrade to CSR or not. I will likely not do that, unless something changes. $155 is not worth that extra point for travel, and I already get 3x restaurants with CFU. The $95 for CSP already pays for itself with car rental protections and transferability with partners for me. But who knows, maybe something will change in the calculation between now and then.
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Old May 11, 21, 1:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
We exclusively transfer and don't use cash-out features like PYB.
Yeah, pre-pandemic I always transferred UR from my various cards to Hyatt or UA. When PYB was introduced, I was still sitting on 250k UR and (too) many more points in Amex MR and airline/hotel programs. Enough for 2021 and perhaps even 2022 travel (factoring in potentially some revenue spend to re-earn AS status). So instead of sitting on my growing stockpile of UR for a year, I started whittling it down. Much of it was earned with 3X or higher (and at the least 1.5X from my CFU), so the cash back value was quite nice.
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Old May 11, 21, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Super Mario View Post
Fair enough for the perks. I still question the CSP though in this thread of "math". I see no mention of where you actually earn rewards. I would assume it is through Chase since you talk the most about point redemption there. Using PYB would net you 25% less. If you are earning travel rewards, it is also another 25% less. Dining would be another 25% loss, but that is easily mitigated through CFU or CFF. If we can talk about the Ritz retention, we can also talk about no one really paying $550 for CSR yet either.
I actually didn't say that the cost of CSR is $550, you did

But even taking the existing AF into account, with one AU, the total fee for one year of holding CSR is $525. Using the existing $300 credit on groceries, the effective fee can be $225.

With the CSP being $95 AF (and no AU fee), the difference between CSR and CSP is $130. If you take into account CSP gives 20k more UR in SUB than the CSR, that is an extra $250. This is a total of $380 in the first year a CSP card holder will save in AF and SUB.

As far as redemption goes, using PYB, a CSR card holder can redeem each point for 1.5cent. Since a CSP holder can redeem each point for 1.25cent, this is a difference of 0.25cent (not 25% as you pointed out, but 20%).

On dining and travel:
CSR: charge $1 = 3 points = 4.5cents PYB
CSP: charge $1 = 2 points = 2.5cents PYB

This is a difference of 2cents

$380 / 2cents = $19000

One will have to charge $19000 on dining and groceries before the end of Sept (when the existing PYB categories will end) to make the CSR fee worth its while for a first year card holder. This is a lot of money committed to dining out and groceries. Not to mention, there are several cards with lower or no AF that will give great or even better returns on dining and groceries.

After Sept, the PYB categories will end. It is hard to tell at this moment if it will be extended again or if there will be other categories that will be as lucrative. If one will continue to spend thousands on dining and travel, sure, I can see that the CSR being worth its while.

It's really hard to do the math for everyone as everybody's usage pattern is different. To each his own. For my household, these are the numbers I ran with in my head and decided that I'd much rather sign up for the CSP than the CSR.

I am curious - how do you figure that your CSR that makes it so much more valuable to you compared to CSP? I wonder if I am missing something. The appeal of CSR is truly lost on me.
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Last edited by happychic; May 11, 21 at 8:53 pm
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