Which card to use?

Old Nov 14, 11, 10:21 pm
  #1  
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Which card to use?

Hi everyone! I've lurked here for a while but this is my first post.

I have the following cards:
- Amex SPG
- Citi AAdvantage Visa
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature
- Amex Platinum (paid for by work)
- Costco Amex

I don't really know when it is appropriate (most beneficial) to use one of these. I rarely use the Amex Platinum except for getting into airport lounges since it earns me nothing; all the points go to my employer.

I use the Costco Amex at Costco and at the Costco Amex gas station. I signed up for the Citi AAdvantage when they had a 75K miles bonus, I signed up for the SPG card when there was a 30K points bonus and the Chase Sapphire when they were giving away 50K points. I've gotten all of those, and I plan to ask to speak to the respective retention departments when the time comes to fork out annual fees. I use all four (not including the Amex Platinum) for something or the other just to keep them in use.

I don't really know when and what I should use the other cards for. Help! My ultimate objective is to be like the million mile secret guy
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Old Nov 14, 11, 11:31 pm
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Your Sapphire Preferred card earns double points on travel (including public transportation and parking) and dining, definitely use it for those categories.

Your SPG points are more valuable than AA miles, as you can transfer 20,000 SPG points to 25,000 AA miles.

Your most valuable cards for everyday spending are your SPG Amex and your Sapphire Preferred. Definitely use the Sapphire Preferred where they don't take Amex. Really what it comes down to is what currency you value most: SPG or Ultimate Rewards. Lately I've been reading on a lot of blogs that people are emphasizing Ultimate Rewards points more and using Sapphire Preferred before SPG (The Points Guy and Lucky from One Mile at a Time are all using prioritizing the Sapphire card right now, but View From the Wing and Rick the Frugal Travel Guy still seems to prefer the SPG Amex. What is your next travel goal? Would you rather have more AA miles or UA miles or hotel points?

The Million Mile Secrets guy's strategy seems to be to churn as many credit cards for bonuses as he can manage, then put all his spending on his Chase British Airways card to get the free companion pass after spending $30,000 in a year.

Last edited by birdseye; Nov 14, 11 at 11:37 pm
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Old Nov 15, 11, 6:22 am
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Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
Your Sapphire Preferred card earns double points on travel (including public transportation and parking) and dining, definitely use it for those categories.
Dose dining in foreign country count? Like mexico, Europe?
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Old Nov 15, 11, 2:11 pm
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OP: Welcome to FT! it all depends on which miles programs you will be focusing on. Yes you can sign up as many cards as you like, but coming down to where to put your spending, the most popular cards with flexibility are Amex SPG, Amex PR Gold (even with several devaluations this year), and Sapphire Preferred. Of course, if you are loyal to a certain FF program, their affiliate cards MAY be useful as well.

Check out my website for my review on SPG vs. MR vs. UR to gain some basic idea.

Originally Posted by kiyotaka View Post
Dose dining in foreign country count? Like mexico, Europe?
As long as the merchants are coded as restaurants. Plus Sapphire Preferred has 0 forex fees.
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Old Nov 15, 11, 2:16 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by kiyotaka View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdseye
Your Sapphire Preferred card earns double points on travel (including public transportation and parking) and dining, definitely use it for those categories.
Dose dining in foreign country count? Like mexico, Europe?Dose dining in foreign country count? Like mexico, Europe?
Probably, as long as it's coded as a dining establishment.

Last edited by sdsearch; Nov 15, 11 at 8:02 pm Reason: removed inaccuracy pointed out in responses
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Old Nov 15, 11, 2:38 pm
  #6  
mia
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
...Chase Sapphire Preferred has a typical forex fee on foreign purchases (I presume 3%).
Chase Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fee. See post #1:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/16971917-post1.html
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Old Nov 15, 11, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
... Chase Sapphire Preferred has a typical forex fee on foreign purchases (I presume 3%).
Did you even read the post you linked? Your post and the post you linked contradict one another.

Last edited by mia; Nov 15, 11 at 2:45 pm Reason: Prune quotation
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Old Nov 15, 11, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
Your Sapphire Preferred card earns double points on travel (including public transportation and parking) and dining, definitely use it for those categories.

Your SPG points are more valuable than AA miles, as you can transfer 20,000 SPG points to 25,000 AA miles.

Your most valuable cards for everyday spending are your SPG Amex and your Sapphire Preferred. Definitely use the Sapphire Preferred where they don't take Amex. Really what it comes down to is what currency you value most: SPG or Ultimate Rewards. Lately I've been reading on a lot of blogs that people are emphasizing Ultimate Rewards points more and using Sapphire Preferred before SPG (The Points Guy and Lucky from One Mile at a Time are all using prioritizing the Sapphire card right now, but View From the Wing and Rick the Frugal Travel Guy still seems to prefer the SPG Amex. What is your next travel goal? Would you rather have more AA miles or UA miles or hotel points?

The Million Mile Secrets guy's strategy seems to be to churn as many credit cards for bonuses as he can manage, then put all his spending on his Chase British Airways card to get the free companion pass after spending $30,000 in a year.
I spent a lot of time today reading those 4 linked blogs; thank you for that. I honestly don't have a specific goal in mind, but thinking about it I think airline points in general would be my preferred thing. Once I get there, I don't care where I stay.
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Old Nov 16, 11, 2:28 pm
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Originally Posted by needsake View Post
I honestly don't have a specific goal in mind, but thinking about it I think airline points in general would be my preferred thing. Once I get there, I don't care where I stay.
Well, if you mean that last sentence exteremly literally (as in you don't care if you have to sleep on the street ), then you're all set.

However, once you start traveling with these miles, you'll find that sometimes you're in a place where every possible place to stay (even the not-so-nice ones) is extremely expensive, yet there are hotels available for a very reasonable number of hotel points (in one hotel program or another).

While there are some people who collect hotel points to stay in fancier hotels, there's a number of us who collect hotel points mostly to make stays simply affordable in most of the places we fly to (just like we use miles on expensive flights but pay for cheap flights with money).

In fact, if you're not after flying longhaul international in business (or first) class, then it's not even clear that miles are the best thing to collect. The thing that makes miles so valuable is that if you use them for business or first, it only costs 2x to 3x the miles as economy, but if you try to pay for that kind of seat, it easily costs 5x to 10x what the economy seat costs.

That's why miles aren't as good a value when only redeemed for economy seats.

But sometimes hotel points are a great value even when you're not looking for luxury at all, when they simply get you a room for points in a city where the rooms are super expensive with money.

Having said that, collecting meaningful numbers of points from credit card spend, in a program where it's easy to get good redemption values, that's trickier...
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Old Nov 16, 11, 2:45 pm
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Originally Posted by needsake View Post
I spent a lot of time today reading those 4 linked blogs; thank you for that. I honestly don't have a specific goal in mind, but thinking about it I think airline points in general would be my preferred thing. Once I get there, I don't care where I stay.
Next you need to decide what kind of miles you want to focus on first. Sure, you can collect several kinds, but which account do you want to focus on to reach a travel goal first? SPG points will help you add to your AA miles, and Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to UA/CO, British Airways, or Korean. Which account do you want to top off first?

Here is an article on the relative value of airline miles compared to each other. Here is another article by Lucky that might interest you.
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