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Best card to use for points accrual on a cash fare EWR-DUB-SNN-EWR

Best card to use for points accrual on a cash fare EWR-DUB-SNN-EWR

Old Jan 26, 19, 8:32 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2018
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Question Best card to use for points accrual on a cash fare EWR-DUB-SNN-EWR

Hi all,
My wife and I will be doing an open-jaw return to Ireland this summer. Because we're saving our points for a much longer flight in J or F, we've decided to pay for this relatively short trip with cash, rather than points.

Both my wife and I have a United Explorer card, she with about 140k on it, and my with about 45k. I also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred and an Ink Business Preferred, with about 225k Unlimited Rewards points thus far. What would be my (or our) best options for this? We'll be flying on United, so we can either use our Mileage Plus cards for FF miles (with each of us getting base points and spend points), but that seems to be a waste since the two CUR cards offer bonuses for airline spend.

My gut is telling me to put both tickets on the Ink Business Preferred since it offers 3X points on travel and just eat the checked bag fees, then use the UA card for onboard WiFi and drink/food purchases (we'll be in Premium Economy over and coach comfort-plus back). Is there any reason that I should put that spend on either the Sapphire Preferred or United card, or am I right in keeping everything on the Ink Business Preferred?

Thanks in advance!
NJRadioGuy is offline  
Old Jan 27, 19, 8:07 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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The points you’ll earn on this purchase is a drop in the bucket. If using United card saves you checked bag fees, then use the United card!
dukerau is offline  
Old Jan 27, 19, 8:52 pm
  #3  
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I don't think I'd call a $2800 booking a drop in the bucket. If I use the United Explorer card that's 5600 UA miles for the tickets (if I understand the benefit correctly), plus the miles we each accrue for the actual travel (not sure how many these days) for our own two segments.

Conversely, if I use the Ink Business Preferred, that's 8400 Unlimited Rewards points that I could later transfer to UA if needed, plus the various trip, delay, and baggage insurance benefits if things go sideways. I'm not sure what one checked bag on UA trans-Atlantic costs these days but I'm betting it's not much or maybe free on a paid P.E. fare?? About the only thing I could see being a distinct benefit would be advanced boarding, but again, in P.E. wouldn't I get that anyway?
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Old Jan 28, 19, 10:00 pm
  #4  
 
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I’m not well versed in the United card, but from a cursory search it looks like it has identical travel coverages as Ink Preferred. Plus you wouldn’t have to worry about being asked for proof that the trip was for business purposes if you make a claim.

That said, the big question is bag fees. From your first post it sounded like you would owe them. You get a free checked bag in PE I believe but not in Economy Plus. Comparing bag costs to the 2,800 incremental points (+ the flexibility of UR vs UA), I value points in this situation at 1 cent. So if bag fees are less than ~$30 in total, use Ink for more point earn and pay the bag fees. Otherwise use United for free bags. You can set your own point valuation of course.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 10:20 pm
  #5  
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While the bag fees might come in to play, the double UA miles versus triple (more-versatile) UR points was the sticking point for me, and the reason for my question. Part of the trip is business (a conference in Dublin), so it's not a question of having to justify anything to anybody. I've never heard of expenses being questioned by a card issuer, to be honest.

While United is generally my carrier of choice simply because I live within a stone's throw on Newark, I'm hesitant to put all my earned points in their program since I may need to transfer them to another partner at some point. And if I do need them on UA it's a fast, instant transfer.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 11:15 pm
  #6  
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There's no absolutely right answer here, but personally I'd go with Chase for the extra and more versatile points.

And you're right: You can use a business credit card for anything. Neither Chase nor any other cc company will care or question whether you used it for a business purposes or not. The more you spend on it, for any purpose, the more they like it.
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jan 29, 19, 12:18 am
  #7  
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Yeah, that's what I figured. I primarily use the Business Preferred for all my business spend at the moment, but later this year I'll apply for the Unlimited for the 1.5x points on my regular expenses. Phone/Internet/Staples on the Cash card, and travel/postage on the Preferred. I also have the Sapphire Preferred, but that's going to sit dormant for a while, I think. I don't carry a balance on any of them.

To me the case is clear for the Business Preferred, but honestly I'm asking for a second opinion about using the United card for the airfare purchase. Am I seeing the big picture or focusing too much on the Unlimited Rewards points and maybe missing something else?
NJRadioGuy is offline  

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