Elite Rewards

Old Mar 25, 07, 2:18 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 342
Elite Rewards

I've been reading up as much as I could on the different travel based rewards cards (though with untrimmed postings with info that is years old, it was a bit difficult!) and I haven't seen anything on the Elite Rewards program. It seems to be that the Starwood Preferred Guest is the "card of choice" and while it has a nice selection of hotels as well as a few 1:1 ratios of exchange for US airlines, the Elite Rewards seems to have a pretty good program as well. It was more difficult for me to find information on the program, but once I did it looked pretty good.

20k miles for 1 coach ticket inside 48 contiguous states, couldn't get exact airline names, all I got was "No blackout dates or seat restrictions on over 125 U.S. based airlines". There is no annual fee on the card. The hotels you can use the Elite card for are of a much lower quality, but I'm drawn to the ability for an even greater flexibility in using my points in terms of airlines. There is a 7500 pt cap per month however, which while it won't be a problem for me, may be a problem for some.

Anyway, signup bonuses aside (10k starpoints is very nice of course) what experience do you guys have with this card, or what are your opinions?

silam is offline  
Old Mar 26, 07, 8:44 am
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 6,898
You redeem points to reduce the price of an airline ticket. The number of points required depends on the current market price. So unless the ticket is already pretty cheap, you don't really get a free ticket. This is similar to Capital One Rewards. I guess it's also similar to the "choices" program from Chase. Also, each point is tagged with a 4-year expiration date, and there's a $35 booking fee.


Significant restrictions apply to air travel rewards, including 21-day advance booking, no layovers more than 4 hours are permitted, and Saturday night stay is required. Airline ticket can be booked a day before departure date when redeeming for the $150 off airline ticket at the 15,000 point redemption level and the $250 off airline ticket at the 25,000 point redemption level. Tickets are non-refundable, non-exchangeable, coach or first class. Maximum ticket value is calculated based upon 1.25% of the 30,000 point redemption level and 1.40% of the remaining redemption levels. (e.g. 30,000 redemption level permits a cardholder to obtain a maximum ticket amount of $375). A thirty-five dollar ($35) booking fee shall apply per airline ticket redeemed through the Program using Elite Rewards Points. Elite Rewards Points expire 4 years from the end of the quarter in which they are earned. Certificate/Card expiration dates vary by independent retailer. Elite Rewards Points and Certificates/Cards have no cash value under any circumstances and may not be used to pay your credit card balance. Taxes are the responsibility of individual Program participants. The terms of the Program may change at any time. Other restrictions apply; see the Guide to Rewards for details. The Guide to Rewards will arrive within 30 days of the account opening . The Program is void where prohibited by law. The Program (other than the credit card) is administered by Affinion Loyalty Group, Inc. Travel agency services are provided by Cendant Travel, Inc.
rrgg is offline  
Old Mar 26, 07, 11:00 am
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Welcome to FT!

Two other problems with cards like these are:

(1) Points you collect in their program can't be combined with points from other sources. You have to earn awards solely through charging with that card. If, like many other people, you also travel a bit and earn miles/points in airline/hotel programs, you'll end up with more, but smaller, piles. These can be harder to use for rewards than one or two big ones. That's why most people around here tend to prefer cards that give them additional miles/points in programs where they're already earning them in other ways.

(2) Some of the highest-value redemption options involve buying a cheap economy fare to somewhere, usually another continent, and then using airline miles to upgrade. Since these cards work by having the credit card company buy your ticket and airlines don't sell upgrades separately, this option isn't there.

(3) Along similar lines, premium-class travel awards are also good values in most airline programs. They're generally far less expensive in miles, relative to an economy award, than they are in money: on the order of 2x miles, where they might be as much as 10x or more in $$. Since in this system the credit card company pays the airline in money, premium-class travel is generally out of the question.

This is not to say these are evil. If you charge a lot and want economy class travel awards, they can work well if you read the fine print. (They say "no blackout dates," for example: technically true, but to popular destinations at popular times tickets that fall within their price restrictions are likely to be unavailable even though the date is not explicitly blacked out.) There's a lot more about them in the credit card forums (fora?).
Efrem is offline  

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