Travel Credit Cards

Old Apr 27, 20, 8:38 am
  #1  
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Travel Credit Cards

I noticed a suggestion on one of the popular travel blogs to obtain credit cards through the affiliate links and support the blog. Perfectly understandable.

How would I justify a new credit card, assuming for airline miles or hotel points? While there may be great miles/points redemption opportunities today, no one knows the future of borders; no one knows if a property is going to be suddenly unavailable; no one knows if F or J service will go back to what it last was in February. (If F or J service is no better than Y service, maybe with the exception of a lie-flat seat, but no (or very limited) beverage/food service, no airport lounge, etc., I am likely better off paying for cheap Y tickets when I am able to go somewhere.)

Earning additional points for restaurants has been useful, but restaurants in my area of the US are seemingly developing a plan where you can eat in, in a socially distanced environment, but the food will be served packaged for carryout and only beverages that are sealed will be served (like bottled or canned soft drinks and beer). I'm not going to eat out under those conditions.

I have a credit card with a high annual fee to give me lounge access. It renewed in January, well before the current situation. The credit card provider has made no move toward extending the benefits and/or greatly reducing the fee next year. It is likely that I'll cancel the card in December as the lounge benefit has been its only truly useful benefit to me (and would continue to be under normal conditions). And $495 annually buys me a lot of airport meals, if airport meals can actually be purchased. And then where do I consume that airport meal - will airport establishments even have the capacity for socially-distanced eating? When lounges open again, capacities as well as food and beverage options will be a work in progress.

Finally, I have nothing to spend my money on right now. I am fortunate that I am working full time plus. I have minimal expenses. Even if I wanted another credit card, it would be very difficult for me to meet minimum spend on a credit card, unless I got into MS, but I neither have the time nor interest to move into that arena. Or purchase miles/points via one of the 'deals', but all of the bloggers clearly state that it is not a good idea to purchase miles speculatively.

What is the likelihood that Chase, Citi, AmEx, etc. will do something, i.e. in terms of a fee adjustment and/or extension of benefits for current cardholders with virtually useless benefits for the foreseeable future? (I know that CSR is offering a credit for a future renewal, but that does little good now and for the foreseeable future.)

Stay safe and healthy!
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Old Apr 27, 20, 8:49 am
  #2  
mia
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
What is the likelihood that Chase, Citi, AmEx, etc. will do something, i.e. in terms of a fee adjustment and/or extension of benefits for current cardholders with virtually useless benefits for the foreseeable future? (I know that CSR is offering a credit for a future renewal, but that does little good now and for the foreseeable future.)
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Old Apr 27, 20, 10:56 am
  #3  
 
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Hello lamphs. Your name reminds me of my US Navy days when I was assigned to HSL (Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light) squadrons flying the SH-2F helicopter as part of the Navy’s LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) program which was smaller helicopters flying from surface force ships (cruisers, destroyers, frigates) rather than larger helicopters flying from aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. You asked and courtesy of social distancing I now have time to reply.

The US Navy, in what some officers don’t understand, based selection for promotion in part on “potential for future useful service”, which is a little different than “past performance”. A new points or miles credit card can easily be justified based on potential for future useful usage. At some point you will return to dining out and/or delivery/take-out and you will return to spending and (considering your posting this on this site) you will return to traveling. Even with “F or J service no better than Y service”, many still consider international lie-flat seats to be the best use of points and miles. (Not sure how old you are but with age a lie-flat seat becomes even more important; it’s essentially a go/no-go deal breaker for me, nearing Medicare age, for any flight longer than 6 hours.)

Earn and burn is not right for everyone. Even with devaluations, points and miles retain significant value. I’m quite pleased that I aggressively saved miles in my 40’s and 50’s so that I now have a healthy balance in several airline and multiple bank programs which allows me the luxury of lie-flat seating whenever I like, even at non-saver levels if necessary. Hotel points are helpful in order to stay in nice hotels without feeling ripped-off by their (usually) outrageous rates.

You’re correct, for many people other than bloggers and truly frequent flyers, with crowding and limited offerings, lounge access is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s easy to buy into the “lounge access and elite status” paradigm but for many people attaining it is inefficient spending and not actually necessary.

Re: “Finally, I have nothing to spend my money on right now.” many of us are in the same boat. I too am not into MS, gave up when the low hanging fruit (VR, Bluebird, Redcard) went away. I’ve always met many of my minimum spend requirements via charitable donations. You didn’t mention any current personal financial difficulties, charitable donations might be viable for you also.

FWIW, there’s another boat of people who after being 10/24 or 20/24 for many years, even in this day of reduced dining out and reduced travel and reduced spending, are still unable to find enough viable new applications and would jump on an attainable new credit card bonus in an heartbeat. You will not be alone if you justify a new credit card now. Whether it’s 6 months or a year or more, you’ll be able to use the miles, not unlike a savings account or an investment.

(BTW, many bloggers hawk credit cards through their affiliate links and many of them write about the importance of elite status and lounge access. If you’re a blogger, or very frequent flyer, then you too should strive for elite status and lounge access. If not, please bear in mind that bloggers have only their own skin in the game, they get paid when we use their links and they have no fiduciary responsibility.)

You too stay safe and healthy.
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Old Apr 28, 20, 7:20 am
  #4  
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Thanks Mia. I had seen those threads as well as reviewing Chase's current retention offers. I realize I mixed a generalized thought about applying for new travel-related credit cards with a specific question at the end.


Originally Posted by Dr Jabadski View Post
Hello lamphs. Your name reminds me of my US Navy days when I was assigned to HSL (Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light) squadrons flying the SH-2F helicopter as part of the Navy’s LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) program which was smaller helicopters flying from surface force ships (cruisers, destroyers, frigates) rather than larger helicopters flying from aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. You asked and courtesy of social distancing I now have time to reply.

The US Navy, in what some officers don’t understand, based selection for promotion in part on “potential for future useful service”, which is a little different than “past performance”. A new points or miles credit card can easily be justified based on potential for future useful usage. At some point you will return to dining out and/or delivery/take-out and you will return to spending and (considering your posting this on this site) you will return to traveling. Even with “F or J service no better than Y service”, many still consider international lie-flat seats to be the best use of points and miles. (Not sure how old you are but with age a lie-flat seat becomes even more important; it’s essentially a go/no-go deal breaker for me, nearing Medicare age, for any flight longer than 6 hours.)

Earn and burn is not right for everyone. Even with devaluations, points and miles retain significant value. I’m quite pleased that I aggressively saved miles in my 40’s and 50’s so that I now have a healthy balance in several airline and multiple bank programs which allows me the luxury of lie-flat seating whenever I like, even at non-saver levels if necessary. Hotel points are helpful in order to stay in nice hotels without feeling ripped-off by their (usually) outrageous rates.

You’re correct, for many people other than bloggers and truly frequent flyers, with crowding and limited offerings, lounge access is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s easy to buy into the “lounge access and elite status” paradigm but for many people attaining it is inefficient spending and not actually necessary.

Re: “Finally, I have nothing to spend my money on right now.” many of us are in the same boat. I too am not into MS, gave up when the low hanging fruit (VR, Bluebird, Redcard) went away. I’ve always met many of my minimum spend requirements via charitable donations. You didn’t mention any current personal financial difficulties, charitable donations might be viable for you also.

FWIW, there’s another boat of people who after being 10/24 or 20/24 for many years, even in this day of reduced dining out and reduced travel and reduced spending, are still unable to find enough viable new applications and would jump on an attainable new credit card bonus in an heartbeat. You will not be alone if you justify a new credit card now. Whether it’s 6 months or a year or more, you’ll be able to use the miles, not unlike a savings account or an investment.

(BTW, many bloggers hawk credit cards through their affiliate links and many of them write about the importance of elite status and lounge access. If you’re a blogger, or very frequent flyer, then you too should strive for elite status and lounge access. If not, please bear in mind that bloggers have only their own skin in the game, they get paid when we use their links and they have no fiduciary responsibility.)

You too stay safe and healthy.
Thanks for the feedback Dr Jabadski. I took the time to read a bit about the SH-2F chopper. I see these were used in NZ also. I get the ‘potential for future useful service’ concept.

Certainly, the miles/points I earn are potentially great value for future use. Via the use of miles, I certainly prefer a F or J seat for long-haul travel, but I also want the whole experience when on vacation. I want to go to the airline’s lounge (especially in non-US airports); I want (relatively) decent drink and food on board. If I need to take a few protein bars on a flight, in lieu of drink and food in the lounge or served in the air, I may as well sit in Y. (Still good for a few more years.)

What I am stuck on is do I apply for a new high AF credit card (or continue to pay for an existing high AF credit card) for the primary benefit of non-existent lounge access? I’d be more likely to apply for/renew the card, if there was some acknowledgement that the offered benefits in the current annual fee period are essentially not available, let’s say 6 months best case. That acknowledgement could be the extension of benefits or a prorated credit.

And it is hard to spend now. Good thought re: charitable contributions. I do make all (many) charitable contributions via credit card. But I could not afford to make that same level of charitable contributions to meet minimum spend in 3 months vs. over 12 months. I could pay my property tax via credit card, but I’ve done the math and the ‘fee’ far exceeds the value of any miles earned.

A comment re: hotels. I legitimately (well through 2019 at least) earn Bonvoy Platinum status. I don’t care about recognition at check-in or room upgrades, but I care about the lounge access (and it is productive for me work-wise to access the lounge). I generally pay a bit more for a Marriott room vs. its competitors. When I start traveling again, I’ll have to consider if paying a bit more for a Marriott room is worth it over becoming a free agent.

Everyone’s priorities certainly vary. The next 18 months will be very interesting!

Safe travels!
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Old Apr 29, 20, 11:36 am
  #5  
 
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Thank you lamphs for your consideration of my comments and your thoughtful reply. Nice to read that I’m not the only person who researches relatively inconsequential things.

Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
… Everyone’s priorities certainly vary. …
YES, agreed. I was trying to write that I think many other people inappropriately adopt bloggers’ priorities.

Good luck with the new credit card decisions, high AF or otherwise. I can’t speculate about the likelihood that card issuers will do anything related to fee adjustment of fees and/or benefits. You’re not alone, after being many/24 for many years I’ll get down to 4/24 soon, I too will need to make some application decisions.

Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
… The next 18 months will be very interesting! …
That too. I was going to write "may you live in interesting times" 😊 but, turns out that:
"May you live in interesting times" is an English expression which purports to be a translation of a traditional Chinesecurse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is normally used ironically; life is better in "uninteresting times" of peace and tranquility than in "interesting" ones, which are usually times of trouble. Despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no known equivalent expression in Chinese.
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Old May 1, 20, 3:38 pm
  #6  
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If the uncertainty of future travel is a concern for you, I suggest you simply use a cash back card. There are many 2% cash back cards, some with up front bonuses, and a few 3% ones with spend limits. Modesty prevents me from mentioning where you can find these...
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