New primary card?

Old Apr 17, 18, 7:27 am
  #1  
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New primary card?

There HAS to be an existing thread but I can't find it for some reason. In any case, I've had a SPG Amex since 2004 as my primary card. With the merger and program merger announcement yesterday, my understanding is that the SPG Amex will no longer give the best bang for the buck it had previously. What should I make my new primary card?

The only other cards I have are:
1. PenFed cash rewards Visa (gives 5% cash back on gas, but I really just have it because at the time it was one of the few chip and pin cards available plus no foreign transaction or annual fees)
2. BofA MC that sits in a drawer...used to be the University of ILlinois affinity card that I got in college
3. Chase Sapphire REserve - this is the card that my husband and I share

I'd like something with travel rewards of some sort, but am open to ideas. Suggestions? Thanks!
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Old Apr 17, 18, 11:21 am
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I am kind of in the same boat. Currently have the Chase Freedom, CSP, and SPG AmEx. Currently put any spending in the bonus categories on the Chase cards and all other spending on the SPG AmEx (where accepted). Thinking about replacing the SPG with the Hilton Ascend Card. My spending last year would have earned me about 64,000 MR points (under the new 2X scheme) or 140,000 HH points. Any thoughts?
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:33 pm
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For most churners the primary card is the one that needs the minimum spend hit next; at least it is for me. Other than that it seems to me that I value UR points higher than others so it would be whatever card has the spend bonus category for whatever I am buying at the time
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:58 pm
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Good distinction: I am not much of a churner. I'm looking for a card that provides the highest-value rewards for everyday spending at the lowest annual fee. For a long time for me, that was the SPG Amex (especially when its annual fee was only $40 or so). It got me many a free night at nice hotels around the world.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
Good distinction: I am not much of a churner. I'm looking for a card that provides the highest-value rewards for everyday spending at the lowest annual fee. For a long time for me, that was the SPG Amex (especially when its annual fee was only $40 or so). It got me many a free night at nice hotels around the world.
Well, a Marriott/SPG post-merger card will still get you many a free night a nice hotels around the world, just somewhat slower than the current SPG card perhaps. But it may be a Chase card (that is coming soon but not yet in existence today) that may make more sense than an Amex card, given the Amex will only have business and high-end (costly few not that great benefits) cards in the new program, Chase will get the "normal" cards.

It's not clear whether another card for a different hotel program will get you a free night at nice hotels around the world any faster. Hilton cards earn points faster but you often need more points at Hilton for free nights than at Marriott. A WyndhamRewards card might get you free nights faster (since all hotels in their program are 15k points a night), but they have comparatively few nice hotels. Etc.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 2:39 pm
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You should really consider just a simple, no-fee, cash back card. For most who don't work the system pretty hard, that's the best, most flexible, and easiest answer.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by gfunkdave View Post
There HAS to be an existing thread but I can't find it for some reason. In any case, I've had a SPG Amex since 2004 as my primary card. With the merger and program merger announcement yesterday, my understanding is that the SPG Amex will no longer give the best bang for the buck it had previously. What should I make my new primary card?

The only other cards I have are:
1. PenFed cash rewards Visa (gives 5% cash back on gas, but I really just have it because at the time it was one of the few chip and pin cards available plus no foreign transaction or annual fees)
2. BofA MC that sits in a drawer...used to be the University of ILlinois affinity card that I got in college
3. Chase Sapphire REserve - this is the card that my husband and I share

I'd like something with travel rewards of some sort, but am open to ideas. Suggestions? Thanks!
Amex BBP and/or US Bank Altitude Reserve. I have both and they are both pretty good. For in-person and in-app transactions I use AR with Samsung Pay, which nets me 4.5% cashback on all transactions. For online I use Amex BBP (2x MR) or Citi AT&T Access More (3-4x TYP). This covers all non-category spend. AR has effective AF of $75, Citi ATT has $95 (thinking about downgrading it to no AF version after it stopped to give me 3x on Plastiq), and Amex BBP has no AF.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 5:36 pm
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I may have to rethink this one as well. My current primary cards are the PRG, SPG and Marriott Biz.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 7:29 pm
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Originally Posted by sdsearch View Post
Well, a Marriott/SPG post-merger card will still get you many a free night a nice hotels around the world, just somewhat slower than the current SPG card perhaps. But it may be a Chase card (that is coming soon but not yet in existence today) that may make more sense than an Amex card, given the Amex will only have business and high-end (costly few not that great benefits) cards in the new program, Chase will get the "normal" cards.

It's not clear whether another card for a different hotel program will get you a free night at nice hotels around the world any faster. Hilton cards earn points faster but you often need more points at Hilton for free nights than at Marriott. A WyndhamRewards card might get you free nights faster (since all hotels in their program are 15k points a night), but they have comparatively few nice hotels. Etc.
What sort of new Chase card are you hinting at? Are you talking about a new Marriott card?
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Old Apr 17, 18, 7:59 pm
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If you are focussed on hotel benefits, I think the Citi Double Cash card with no annual fee is a good bet. $15K spend on the Citi card would get you $300, which is usually good for a night stay in a decent MR/SPG/HH hotel in NYC. $15K spend on a SPG or MR card after the upcoming deval likely won't get you a night,

May be premature to predict the level of devaluation, but we were already on the bubble where the SPG point accrual made more sense than 2% cash back. I think the tipping point is upon us.
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Old Apr 18, 18, 4:00 pm
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I'm in the same boat, but I was using SPG points to convert to airline miles, not for hotel redemptions. My current card lineup consists of 2 BofA AS cards (which I have purely for the companion certs), a BofA Premium Rewards card (which I just got last week), a Chase BA card (also only for the companion cert), a Chase SR and the aforementioned Amex SPG. I tend to shift spend around based on what I've maxed out or earned (for example, once I've earned the companion cert, I shift over to the Amex SPG).

I like having an Amex in the mix because I've gotten some good deals with their merchant promos, but I'm not sure there's another Amex that suits my needs...
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Old Apr 18, 18, 4:32 pm
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I like the Amex Everyday Preferred card. A lot of credit cards out there have dining and travel as bonus categories. Amex Everyday Preferred has groceries and gas as bonus categories, so it complements nicely as an additional card. If you charge 30x or more in a month, you get 4.5 Amex MR points per dollar spend on groceries, 3 points on Gas and 1.5 point on anything else. Note that this card does have foreign transaction fee.
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Old Apr 18, 18, 5:27 pm
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The chase reserve card has been my go to since it came out. Dumped SPG awhile ago; no way is it worthwhile with the upcoming 33% point devaluation.
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Old Apr 18, 18, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Travel22 View Post
What sort of new Chase card are you hinting at? Are you talking about a new Marriott card?
Yes, Chase has announced they're introducing a new $95/year Marriott card in May, which is somewhat similar to but a bit different from the current $85/year Premier card (for example, the current gives an annual renewal cerrtificate good for hotels priced up to 25k points/night, while the new card gives one for 35k points/night).. It's in the voluminous web pages about the upcoming consolidation of the Marriot/Ritz/SPG programs, which you will be barraged with links for if you go to either the Marriott or SPG websites.. Some, but incomplete, info about the card has been released to date.
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Old Apr 18, 18, 8:07 pm
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For anyone who has CSR, Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good place to start. 1.5x everywhere, and points can be moved to CSR freely. That's equivalent to 2.25% cash back via the UR portal and can be significantly more via transfer partners. With Hyatt as a UR transfer option, it's arguably also the best hotel card out there for unbonused spend.
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