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-   -   Long time member but out of the loop.[ needs hotel card to replace SPG Amex] (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1983976-long-time-member-but-out-loop-needs-hotel-card-replace-spg-amex.html)

ero2 Aug 21, 19 4:31 pm

Long time member but out of the loop.[ needs hotel card to replace SPG Amex]
 
Hey all! I spent a LOT of time here in 02 ish to get my card spending program established, and have worked it since then. I utilized SPG Amex for EVERYTHING, and whatever cash back card was best at the time. (Chase, Citibank, BofA, etc). With the Starwood card becoming so devalued, for the time being Iíve stuck with the old Amex Blue Cash and BofA cash rewards. We run ~150 a year through the cards and have traveled for free (usually driving and using SPG for hotels) since 02. I loved the ability to stop at a hotel if needed on a trip, and have it be free. I enjoyed upgrades, the club level, etc.

With all of that said; looking to replace the SPG card for another card that maybe is even close for hotel points. We drive most places, so airline points are somewhat negligible with where are family is currently at, but that could change. Any recommendations? I do like having Amex for main purchases (just have always trusted them for safety, security, charge backs if needed), and a visa back up, although am open to getting rid of Amex entirely.

Thanks, as always, Flyertalk fam!

mia Aug 22, 19 8:04 am

This is largely an arithmetic problem. Look at some destinations, and find competing hotels in the price and amenity range that you would typically stay. Look at the corresponding hotel program (Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott) to see how many points are required for an award night at that location. This will allow you to assign an approximate relative value to the "points" issued by each program.

Then, look at the co-branded credit cards for each program to see how much spending is required to earn an award night.

holyPockets Aug 22, 19 3:40 pm

I just did this arithmetic recently for U.S. stays, and it wasn't pretty. I only looked at Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt. My conclusion was that I was better off just paying for Marriott and Hilton nights using their co-branded cards or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It didn't help that Hilton did an unannounced devaluation last month bumping those same sampled properties up by 25%. The exception was that Hyatt, due to their tiered rewards, was worth using the Chase Hyatt card if I put a minimum of $15,000 per account year on it.

Like OP, I used to just set it and forget it with the Amex SPG card. Those days are long gone I'm afraid. I'd recommend either a change to Chase Hyatt card, if the Hyatt footprint is suitable for your needs, and/or just boring old cash back. There are a lot of good CB cards out there right now.

guv1976 Aug 22, 19 3:49 pm

If IHG properties can work for the OP, the current Chase/IHG offer is an exceptional one. ;)

ero2 Aug 25, 19 10:54 am


Originally Posted by holyPockets (Post 31445428)
I just did this arithmetic recently for U.S. stays, and it wasn't pretty. I only looked at Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt. My conclusion was that I was better off just paying for Marriott and Hilton nights using their co-branded cards or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It didn't help that Hilton did an unannounced devaluation last month bumping those same sampled properties up by 25%. The exception was that Hyatt, due to their tiered rewards, was worth using the Chase Hyatt card if I put a minimum of $15,000 per account year on it.

Like OP, I used to just set it and forget it with the Amex SPG card. Those days are long gone I'm afraid. I'd recommend either a change to Chase Hyatt card, if the Hyatt footprint is suitable for your needs, and/or just boring old cash back. There are a lot of good CB cards out there right now.

what CB cards are revered as top tier these days? I have the old blue cash, and use the BofA cash back currently, but am unsure if they truly are my best options.

thanks ALL for the help so far!

bigshooter Aug 25, 19 12:28 pm


Originally Posted by ero2 (Post 31455060)


what CB cards are revered as top tier these days? I have the old blue cash, and use the BofA cash back currently, but am unsure if they truly are my best options.

thanks ALL for the help so far!

Are you attached to a single hotel chain now? If not Chase Sapphire Reserve might be best since you can redeem 1 points for 1.5 cents of travel when booking through the Chase portal. Unless you're using corporate rates or other discounts this could be the most flexible.

You can also transfer Chase UR points to Hyatt if the points redemption rate is lower than just paying @1.5 cents through the portal.

ero2 Aug 27, 19 1:18 pm

Iíve read and read, and it seems like the chase sapphire is the way to go, but mock booking rewards it looks like 1, maybe 1.25%, arenít there cards that pay more?

its revered as the best travel card on the market; but what am I missing if cash back can be earned at a higher rate?

thanks again all, for the insight!

mia Aug 27, 19 7:20 pm


Originally Posted by ero2 (Post 31463019)
....what am I missing if cash back can be earned at a higher rate?

Don't be distracted by the number of points, or the redemption value per point. Instead, look at the redemption value per dollar spent. If you are looking at Sapphire Preferred the nominal redemption value is $0.0125 each (for travel), but you will earn 2 points per dollar in the travel and dining categories. This means you will earn 1.25% on some spending, 2.50% on some. You need to calculate a weighted average to see if you will net higher than 2%. If not, Capital One Venture or Citi Double Cash may be better for you.

Adelphos Aug 28, 19 7:38 am


Originally Posted by ero2 (Post 31463019)
I’ve read and read, and it seems like the chase sapphire is the way to go, but mock booking rewards it looks like 1, maybe 1.25%, aren’t there cards that pay more?

its revered as the best travel card on the market; but what am I missing if cash back can be earned at a higher rate?

thanks again all, for the insight!


Originally Posted by mia (Post 31464003)
Don't be distracted by the number of points, or the redemption value per point. Instead, look at the redemption value per dollar spent. If you are looking at Sapphire Preferred the nominal redemption value is $0.0125 each (for travel), but you will earn 2 points per dollar in the travel and dining categories. This means you will earn 1.25% on some spending, 2.50% on some. You need to calculate a weighted average to see if you will net higher than 2%. If not, Capital One Venture or Citi Double Cash may be better for you.

You said you used to run $150K annually through the SPG Amex. What were you spending that money on? Based on your travel patterns (driving, redeeming points for hotels), your travel spend may be minimal. If you aren't spending a lot on restaurants, then you may just be earning 1 point per dollar spent on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which isn't that helpful to you.

Also, how many nights a year are you spending in hotels?

I would consider these cards:

Hilton Surpass - You earn 6x Hilton points on gas, groceries and restaurants (seems like you may spend a lot on gas) and 14x on Hilton spending. Comes with Hilton Gold, and with your spending, you will earn a free night and Diamond status. $95 fee
Capital One Venture - 2x "miles" on all spending. You spend 150K, you get 300K "miles" that can be redeemed for $3,000 in travel spend (hotels, airfare, car rentals, etc) - $95 fee
Citi Double Cash - 1% cashback for purchases, 1% cashback when you pay off your balance - no fee
Discover It Miles - 3% cash back (in the form of travel reimbursement) on all spending in the first year, 1.5% cash back in second years - no fee

I would also maybe consider the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant, mainly because your spending means you would be Platinum status and earn about 300,000 Marriott points annually (which could still get you a lot of free nights)

ero2 Aug 28, 19 6:29 pm

Seeking to replace devalued SPG...
 
Hey All! I am seeking to replace my Amex SPG and my BofA Cash Rewards cards now that SPG has been so heavily devalued. I am not tied (other than SPG/Marriott) to any specific program, and like the idea and flexibility of being able to utilize points how I like, and with whom. I have been an amex "fanboy" since I turned 18, and have just always felt very supported for any of my credit needs since having them. I'm not stuck to Amex, but if there is a card that's slightly less earn, but is an Amex vs Visa, I probably would go that route.

I run about 150k annually through the card.
I do not travel a lot for work, or personal currently, but would like to travel for free or a greatly reduced rate with my family. (4). We truly enjoyed spontaneous trips, usually weekend, where we could utilize points and just go!
We do eat out pretty frequently so bonus for dining is nice, but not mandatory. I would say we are average on groceries, gas, and other "normal" bonus categories.

Off the top of my head the Sapphire card, the Amex Gold Rewards (Or Amex Preferred or Everyday Card). The southwest card has also been a thought, but ties me down, clearly.

Any information or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

mikesyr18 Aug 28, 19 6:53 pm


Originally Posted by ero2 (Post 31468010)
Hey All! I am seeking to replace my Amex SPG and my BofA Cash Rewards cards now that SPG has been so heavily devalued. I am not tied (other than SPG/Marriott) to any specific program, and like the idea and flexibility of being able to utilize points how I like, and with whom. I have been an amex "fanboy" since I turned 18, and have just always felt very supported for any of my credit needs since having them. I'm not stuck to Amex, but if there is a card that's slightly less earn, but is an Amex vs Visa, I probably would go that route.

I run about 150k annually through the card.
I do not travel a lot for work, or personal currently, but would like to travel for free or a greatly reduced rate with my family. (4). We truly enjoyed spontaneous trips, usually weekend, where we could utilize points and just go!
We do eat out pretty frequently so bonus for dining is nice, but not mandatory. I would say we are average on groceries, gas, and other "normal" bonus categories.

Off the top of my head the Sapphire card, the Amex Gold Rewards (Or Amex Preferred or Everyday Card). The southwest card has also been a thought, but ties me down, clearly.

Any information or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Hyatt has an excellent rewards program, but a smaller footprint than other hotel chains. You can transfer URs to Hyatt and get 2-4 cents per point in most cases. If you combine Sapphire with a Freedom Unlimited or Freedom, it makes the UR ecosystem even better for you.

If you want to go the AMEX route, the Hilton cards are solid. You would just have to read through all of them to figure out which one suits you best. I wouldn't recommend going the MR route because you get devalued transfer ratios compared to earnings on the Hilton cards.


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