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Help Out A Newbie Maximize His CC and Airline Points

Help Out A Newbie Maximize His CC and Airline Points

Old Apr 7, 14, 7:01 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6
Help Out A Newbie Maximize His CC and Airline Points

Hey all,

I've always been a pretty heavy recreational traveler, but I never gave much thought over using CC points to maximize my travel experience and never was loyal to one airline over another.

It's pretty much always been: I'm going to X -> find the cheapest ticket to X -> get to the destination.

However, I've recently accepted a job in Vietnam that will have me doing considerable regional travel through Asia for leisure and business. Additionally, I will be making 3-5 annual Trans-Pacific flights annually.

All in all, I could see myself flying 50-75k annually. Enough to move me decently high enough in the food chain to warrant selecting an airline and becoming exclusive to them.

Here's where the problem comes in: Being completely new at this, I have no idea where and how to begin. The wealth of information is completely overwhelming and has left me more confused than when I began. So much so, that I'm tempted to play the 'ignorance is bliss' game and forget about CC's, miles, points etc. and just look for the cheapest flights.

I'll give you a rundown of what I've figured out so far and would appreciate some valuable feedback on how to move forward.

Hub Airports:

JFK
HAN

Frequent Flyer Programs

BA Executive Club: I've already flown enough on BA and AA to move into Bronze status in 2014.

Delta Skymiles: I'm about half-way to silver so far this year.

Credit Cards

Help is needed here. I'm interested in applying for one of the elite CC's, but am unsure whether to go for the Citi Prestige, AmEx Platinum, or the Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard.

I value:
1. Lounge access(JFK - HAN is not direct and create some sloppy layovers on certain days)
2. Ability to collect points and upgrade efficiently(A couple of those Trans-Pacific flights will need to be business class flights)

Airline

My CC selection ties in closely with the airline/alliance I choose.

Vietnam Airlines seems most logical, but I don't know much about them. Anyone have info to share on the FF program/upgrades?

Anyone have info to share about a JFK - HAN itinerary who flies it rather frequently?


I would appreciate any help in assisting me with creating an efficient CC/FF plan that will maximize my spending and allow me to move up the ranks in a FF program.

If you have questions for me, ask away. I'll be away from the computer today, but I'll share any details you feel are important.
conman718 is offline  
Old Apr 7, 14, 10:25 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Florida
Programs: IHG, American airlines , BA club and others
Posts: 81
I will let others chime in with specific airlines recommendations for your particular situation. As far as credit cards, I strongly recommend you consider Citi Executive AAdvantage card, that comes with 100000 miles sign-up bonus, $450 annual fee and $200 credit. You can find a thread and a link to it in this section. It's a very good deal if you can meet $10000 minimum spend.
You could also try www.creditcards.com, go to "offers matched for you" and see if you can get targeted for Amex Premier Rewards Gold, that comes with 50000 points bonus.
milesforfamily is offline  
Old Apr 7, 14, 3:34 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by milesforfamily View Post
I will let others chime in with specific airlines recommendations for your particular situation. As far as credit cards, I strongly recommend you consider Citi Executive AAdvantage card, that comes with 100000 miles sign-up bonus, $450 annual fee and $200 credit. You can find a thread and a link to it in this section. It's a very good deal if you can meet $10000 minimum spend.
You could also try www.creditcards.com, go to "offers matched for you" and see if you can get targeted for Amex Premier Rewards Gold, that comes with 50000 points bonus.
Thanks. I agree the AAdvantage card is great with the 100k miles, but I'm trying to sell pretty much everything I own in the next three months. It doesn't seem practical to spend 10k on stuff I will not be taking with me when I move abroad.
conman718 is offline  
Old Apr 8, 14, 4:37 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 43
Hey,

I picked up an AA Executive in addition to my Platinum since I could take advantage of the signup bonus, and intend to see how the benefits compare over the next year. However, my expectation is that the Amex is oriented much more strongly toward international travel, where the Citi cards may be better suited to domestic business travel.

For reference, I'd shared a comparison spreadsheet in this thread that includes these two cards, plus a third you did not mention (United Presidential Plus): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1988862965

A couple points in favor of Amex to consider:

1) Global Entry and/or TSA Precheck (Prestige covers this too I believe)

2) Lounge coverage

Priority Pass Select is primarily valuable abroad, you might benefit from this quite a bit. There is an online guide here, if you want to check out possible locations: http://www.prioritypass.com/mobile/lounge.cfm

Also, I haven't been to their Centurion lounges yet (going to check out DFW this spring) but hear they are pretty great, and Amex is building new ones in La Guardia and San Francisco, just in case you'd ever fly out of LGA vs JFK.

3) Airline Partners

I've not yet flown to the region, but it might be worth noting that several of Amex's partner airlines are Pacific-based and also happen to be ranked as some of the best carriers internationally (All-Nippon, Singapore, etc) though I'm not sure if they fly direct routes from the US to Hanoi.

Also, British Airways and Delta are also partners if you have some history with them already; in the latter case, you get free Skyclub access as one of the benefits if you are flying Delta.

4) Premium Global Assist

This sounds like a genuinely helpful emergency program, I've dug up some real testimonies of them coming through on this.

Not sure what if any car rental and hotel program benefits you can take advantage from any issuer. I'm currently curious but a little skeptical of how service and benefits World Elite MasterCard work in practice vs Amex. On paper, the former only provides benefits if booked through their designated travel agent.
SpunkyGD is offline  

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