SPG Amex vs. Citi PPE as new primary card

Old Jun 10, 08, 4:08 pm
  #1  
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SPG Amex vs. Citi PPE as new primary card

Hello all,

Thanks in advance for all of your opinions. I really learn alot from all of you.

I'm looking to make either the SPG Business AMEX or the Citi PPE my primary card. This is for mostly personal use. Business use rarely for things like meals and room incidentals, but not a significant portion.

I'm looking for a everyday primary use card that will maximize free flights for me, preferably in Business, for international destinations, mostly Asia. While I know my spending habits aren't going to get me these flights quickly, I am patient. I saved up 290,000 AA miles using the Citi AA MC over the past 10 years. I donít need to fly any specific carrier in the US, and find it more restrictive anyway because of routes and prices. And besides, I think that all the US major carriers are equally as shabby.

I know there are strong supporters of both SPG Amex and TYN. I'm looking for a card that best suits me.

I read earlier threads about the value of 1 point in each program versus each other and such, but I'm just looking to choose one that will best suited for my needs and uses.

1. I work in travel, and fly to Asia from NYC in economy 2-3 times a year. However I do not get to purchase my own tickets since we ticket them through our air department and it gets settled through the office.

2. My average spending is normally $1000-$3000 per month.

3. I do not need hotel rewards, nor do I stay in Starwood properties, I mainly end up in regional properties, or Four Seasons, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, and an occasional Hyatt. Even so, the company pays for hotels, so I don't earn for credit card spending at hotels, just incidental room charges.

So for the times when I would want to travel on a leisure trip, I would want to use my points/miles to redeem for tickets, preferably to international destinations. I don't really fly US domestic carriers except for the once a year for a ski trip to Colorado. Or maybe once every other year a continental US flight. I do have short US sales trips two times a year, but again, the company pays for flights and hotels.

I believe this argument has changed a little. With air ticket costs increasing rapidly due to fuel costs, I would think that the TYN would be less favorable. While I understand that FF tickets are no picnic due to limited award seats, with devaluation of TY points, and the rising costs of flights, I would think that FF tickets using FF miles works out better. .

So I look forward to all of your opinions. And feel free to ask any further questions to help formulate your opinion.
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Old Jun 10, 08, 5:03 pm
  #2  
hs1
 
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PPE has higher annual fees. $75 vs $45

The main benefit for PPE is if you paid for the ticket, you get additional points for the miles. (You do get 2 points for every dollar you spend at gas stations, supermarkets and drugstores, but there are much better cards for these categories)
If you are not paying for the tickets then this benefit is practically useless. If you are then get PPE. Otherwise SPG is the better card.

Based on the information above, I would suggest the Citi AMEX Platinum as the best card for at least the first 2 years.

https://www.citicards.com/cards/wv/c...o?screenID=927
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Old Jun 11, 08, 6:51 am
  #3  
 
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I would also recommend the Citi Amex Platinum instead of the PPE.

For Asia I tend to have good success with AA or UA miles (so nod goes to SPG). Tickets in business class get mighty expensive when using TY points.

[Edit: oops, I should have mentioned that SPG transfers to UA are at a 2:1 rate so that's not so good. You can transfer to another Star Alliance partner at 1:1 though, like Air Canada]

Last edited by canuck_in_pa; Jun 12, 08 at 5:28 am Reason: forgot about United 2:1
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Old Jun 11, 08, 8:06 am
  #4  
mia
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The downside to ThankYou Rewards is the risk that Citi can devalue Fixed Flight awards at any time, and they have provided only a few weeks notice of previous changes. If this happens it will simultaneously affect all carriers, all destinations and all classes of service. The fallback is to redeem for Variable Flight awards on a penny-a-point basis. While ThankYou points are currently worth up to $0.03 each, if you are planning to accumulate gradually it may be prudent to value them only at the floor level of $0.01 each.

Starwood Preferred Guest is less likely to change their 1:1 transfer value across the board, and it is much less likely that all of their partner airlines would simultaneously change their award flight redemption levels. To illustrate, SPG has already changed their transfer rate to United, Continental and Singapore to 2:1, but there are still 1:1 transfers available to alliance partners of all three carriers.

For gradual accumulation I would be more comfortable in a multi-partner program such as Starwood Preferred Guest, Diners Club Rewards, or American Express Membership Rewards.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 11:42 am
  #5  
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So it sounds like you are all saying SPG is the answer for me.

The Citi Plat. Amex looks nice, but are you saying its better than the PPE for me because I won't be earning points from flying? I already have the Ameriprise World Elite MC for unlimited Priority Pass lounge access. What is the main reason why the Citi Plat. Amex is such a great card? The thread for that card is very long and convoluted. Would there be another benefit to getting the Citi Plat. Amex over the SPG? Especially if I already have a Priority Pass membership from my other card?

As things are starting to come together I think I'll go with the SPG Amex for all use, and then use my AA MC for the rare times when Amex isn't accepted. And keep my Ameriprise World Elite MC for the Priority Pass and the 2% Forex fees for international travel.

Last question. SPG regular vs. Business card. I read in other threads, you don't need to have a business. The annual fee is the same and you get the Amex One merchant discounts. Are there reasons why I should not apply for the SPG Business Amex?
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Old Jun 11, 08, 11:53 am
  #6  
mia
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Originally Posted by dko3tgk View Post
... Citi Plat. Amex looks nice, but are you saying its better than the PPE for me because I won't be earning points from flying?
For the first 24 months Citi Platinum American Express earns more ThankYou Points (TYP) per dollar than PremierPass Elite even after accounting for the bonus points earned purchasing airline tickets.

Citi Platinum American Express earns 3 TYP per dollar for general spending, 5 TYP per dollar for Grocery, Pharmacy and Gasoline. After the first year there is a $125 annual fee. After the second year you will cancel the card because it then earns only 1 TYP per dollar.

Citi PremierPass Elite earns 1 TYP per dollar for general spending, 2 TYP per dollar for Grocery, Pharmacy and Gasoline. PPE also earns one Flight Point per mile flown, but Flight Points serve only to double TYP earmed by spending. Therefore, you would effectively earn 2 TYP for general, and 4 TYP for the targetted spending.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 12:20 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by dko3tgk View Post
Last question. SPG regular vs. Business card. I read in other threads, you don't need to have a business. The annual fee is the same and you get the Amex One merchant discounts. Are there reasons why I should not apply for the SPG Business Amex?
I believe that with SPG regular you can get an additional 15k bonus points after you spend $15k within 6 months of opening account. I don't think this is available with the spg business card, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong and it is. Both cards do get the 10k points as a sign-up bonus. So if you like, you can get both cards to maximize the bonus points and get the merchant discounts on the business card.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 1:50 pm
  #8  
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ok. So I just applied and got approved for the SPG Amex personal card. I figure I'll try to hit the $15k spending in the next 6 months. In about 2 months from now, I'll apply for the SPG Business Amex as not to apply to two cards at the same time. After six months put the personal card in a drawer, and cancel it before the annual fee is due. And use the Business card from the 6 month mark onwards.

Thnak you everyone for your opinions.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 2:35 pm
  #9  
mia
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Originally Posted by friedablass View Post
...additional 15k bonus points after you spend $15k within 6 months...
Only if you apply through a link which mentions that bonus.
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Old Jun 11, 08, 3:13 pm
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Well I hope he applied through that link - it's not hard to find and it's also heavily advertised on flyertalk.
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Old Jun 12, 08, 9:15 am
  #11  
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yes I did use the Flyertalk ad link. thanks for bringing up the bonus. I wasn't aware of it, and wouldn't have realized the SPG Business card didn't have it.
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Old Jun 12, 08, 12:28 pm
  #12  
 
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Starwood Axex link

I have tried to get the Starwood link to work from the banner on Flyertalk to no avail. Can anyone provide another link for the best bonus value? Amex web-site only showed 10,000 points?
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Old Jun 12, 08, 6:53 pm
  #13  
 
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This is the link for the application with the 10k plus 15k bonus points:
https://www201.americanexpress.com/c...BK78GyMd21kXGg
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