MP Club + Sapphire Preferred + Freedom Combo

Old Apr 18, 13, 9:12 pm
  #1  
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MP Club + Sapphire Preferred + Freedom Combo

I'm considering adding the MP Club. Anyone use this combo? Is it worth it? Anyone tried it for a year then ditched the Club? I never hit *Gold so I never have lounge access therefore definitely a nice added plus however, my biggest reason for wanting MPClub is the points:
Club: 1.5x everything
Freedom: 5x Categories
CSP: 2.14x Travel/dine

Or is the 1.5x overrated? I tried doing the math and I THINK it make sense adding the Club card. What were your experiences, pros and cons?
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Old Apr 18, 13, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperKirby View Post
I'm considering adding the MP Club. Anyone use this combo? Is it worth it? Anyone tried it for a year then ditched the Club? I never hit *Gold so I never have lounge access therefore definitely a nice added plus however, my biggest reason for wanting MPClub is the points:
Club: 1.5x everything
Freedom: 5x Categories
CSP: 2.14x Travel/dine

Or is the 1.5x overrated? I tried doing the math and I THINK it make sense adding the Club card. What were your experiences, pros and cons?
1.5 is a great perk. I use it anytime I can not get a category bonus. I recently used it for a down payment on a car. Nice chunk of miles. I use the United Club often so I will renew when my free year is up. The 1.5 just made that decision a little easier.
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Old Apr 18, 13, 10:31 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperKirby View Post
I'm considering adding the MP Club. Anyone use this combo? Is it worth it? Anyone tried it for a year then ditched the Club? I never hit *Gold so I never have lounge access therefore definitely a nice added plus however, my biggest reason for wanting MPClub is the points:
Club: 1.5x everything
Freedom: 5x Categories
CSP: 2.14x Travel/dine

Or is the 1.5x overrated? I tried doing the math and I THINK it make sense adding the Club card. What were your experiences, pros and cons?
I've had the Club card for a little under a year. I charge everything on it, including reimbursed business expenses. I'm probably going to put about $60k on it this year. The 1.5 bonus will give me an extra 30k RDM; at 1.5 cpm, that's worth $450 alone, more than the $395 annual fee. The club access is gravy, which I also enjoy and often use on both ends of a flight (it's nice to stop in and get a free cup of coffee and a danish at the end of a red eye - something you may not think about until you can use it).

Even if I make gold this year, almost all my flying is domestic and so *G wouldn't give me UC access anyway.

So even though the other benefits are pretty much useless to me (I don't travel overseas so don't use the no foreign transaction fee and I don't generally use Avis or Hyatt), I'd say the club card is definitely worth it.

As for the travel benefits, if you're a silver, it gets you an extra bag and that's about it; but if you have no status, the benefits are excellent - group 2 boarding, 2 bags with priority tags, premier access security lines, etc.
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Old Apr 18, 13, 10:33 pm
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My struggle is between the old CO President's Club card with Flex FQM miles vs. New club card at 1.5 miles.....

Not sure if I should switch to 1.5 miles
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Old Apr 18, 13, 11:12 pm
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Originally Posted by tasnam View Post
My struggle is between the old CO President's Club card with Flex FQM miles vs. New club card at 1.5 miles.....
what good are FEQMs to an 1K?
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Old Apr 18, 13, 11:24 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
what good are FEQMs to an 1K?

No good......but "IF" I had a year that I could not meet the 100k then, I have them to get me to 75K.....anyhow that has been my reasoning...hence my struggle.

I read about the Old UA Card holders who are grandfathered and I believe they had a pretty good deal and would not want to give up their cards; So I have held on to my PC card just in case my travel slows down.
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Old Apr 18, 13, 11:26 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperKirby View Post
I'm considering adding the MP Club. Anyone use this combo? Is it worth it? Anyone tried it for a year then ditched the Club? I never hit *Gold so I never have lounge access therefore definitely a nice added plus however, my biggest reason for wanting MPClub is the points:
Club: 1.5x everything
Freedom: 5x Categories
CSP: 2.14x Travel/dine

Or is the 1.5x overrated? I tried doing the math and I THINK it make sense adding the Club card. What were your experiences, pros and cons?
That's the exact combination I use. I have enough non-category bonus spending that the extra .5x on the Club card makes up for the fee. With the extra points and the other benefits sh76us mentioned, I plan to continue paying the annual fee for the foreseeable future.
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Old Apr 18, 13, 11:49 pm
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It depends on your spending amount and the frequency of united domestic flights. Personally I do not like club credit card because of its huge annual fee. For 1.5 miles per dollar, united explorer card gives you 1.4 miles per dollar for first USD 25000 and the annual fee is 95 with the first year fee waived. And it also gives you two united club passes. I also have business version of united explorer card with same perk and 2 dollar per mile in restaurant.
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Old Apr 19, 13, 12:29 am
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<raises hand>

I'd argue yes, but as always it depends on your circumstance.

Assuming you value a mile at $0.02 *and* allocate no costs to any of the other perks from the card, as long as you spend at least $11,167 on the card every 12 months you'll break even.
$395 (anual fee) - $60 (1K credit) = $335 out of pocket cost for the card.
$11,167 spend will yield 16,750 M+ miles.
16,750 miles at $0.02 equates to $335.
The Freedom card does not matter as there's no annual fee (so no need to cancel it) and the 5x categories tend to be useful, or at least to me.

The Sapphire Plus allows 2x on dining and 2x on travel *AND* allows you to transfer the points to partners, something the Freedom card does not. (And remember, you can always move UR points on the Freedom card to the Sapphire card and then transfer to an airline, hotel, etc.)

Granted the Sapphire does come with a $95 fee but again using $0.02 as a value for a UR point (as 1 UR : 1 M+), you only need to spend $2,375 on travel/dining (2x) or $4,750 on everything else to break even.

I'd argue the 1.5x on everything is "the" feature of the Club Card, in addition to the lounge membership, and can be a useful way to score a bonus on all expenses that fall outside whatever promos Chase is offering for their UR products.

Arguably one of the better deals was the $506 spend at OfficeDepot for their Visa gift cards on an Ink product (as that would earn 5x UR), but since the music stopped on that one the straight and steady spend bonus for the Club card is an easy one to score.

Bottom line: with the right amount of spend you'll get something out of it and the extras (1K rebate, lounge membership, Hyatt status, etc.) are the icing on the cake.
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Old Apr 19, 13, 12:54 am
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Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
...
Assuming you value a mile at $0.02 *and* allocate no costs to any of the other perks from the card, as long as you spend at least $11,167 on the card every 12 months you'll break even.
$395 (anual fee) - $60 (1K credit) = $335 out of pocket cost for the card.
$11,167 spend will yield 16,750 M+ miles.
16,750 miles at $0.02 equates to $335.
....
assuming the alternative is 1 mile/$ on another card you already have, only the .5 extra would count as a benefit. If so, then I think you need $33.5K is breakeven on miles (@2 cpm) only (and not considering other benefits).
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Old Apr 19, 13, 3:28 am
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If you have united explorer card, you also have 1k rebate.

Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
<raises hand>

I'd argue yes, but as always it depends on your circumstance.

Assuming you value a mile at $0.02 *and* allocate no costs to any of the other perks from the card, as long as you spend at least $11,167 on the card every 12 months you'll break even.
$395 (anual fee) - $60 (1K credit) = $335 out of pocket cost for the card.
$11,167 spend will yield 16,750 M+ miles.
16,750 miles at $0.02 equates to $335.
The Freedom card does not matter as there's no annual fee (so no need to cancel it) and the 5x categories tend to be useful, or at least to me.

The Sapphire Plus allows 2x on dining and 2x on travel *AND* allows you to transfer the points to partners, something the Freedom card does not. (And remember, you can always move UR points on the Freedom card to the Sapphire card and then transfer to an airline, hotel, etc.)

Granted the Sapphire does come with a $95 fee but again using $0.02 as a value for a UR point (as 1 UR : 1 M+), you only need to spend $2,375 on travel/dining (2x) or $4,750 on everything else to break even.

I'd argue the 1.5x on everything is "the" feature of the Club Card, in addition to the lounge membership, and can be a useful way to score a bonus on all expenses that fall outside whatever promos Chase is offering for their UR products.

Arguably one of the better deals was the $506 spend at OfficeDepot for their Visa gift cards on an Ink product (as that would earn 5x UR), but since the music stopped on that one the straight and steady spend bonus for the Club card is an easy one to score.

Bottom line: with the right amount of spend you'll get something out of it and the extras (1K rebate, lounge membership, Hyatt status, etc.) are the icing on the cake.
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Old Apr 19, 13, 12:42 pm
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I called in about renewal/retention options - in a past secured emails to Chase, they have said there were none, but I complained about two issues pertaining to luggage (2nd bag) and award upgrades, and they offered me a $100 statement credit. (Also indicating they would refund luggage fees incurred)

I have not really put much spending on this card simply because I had planned to cancel it, but I feel $295 is reasonable - considering my 1st year was free. Chase also issued 10,000 U.R. for Ink Bold retention. I gave up the Sapphire opting for the Ink products, tho my partner and his family still use their Sapphire accounts for travel. It's getting harder and harder to acquire the precious U.R. points - I just finished booking out to the end of the year 160,000 U.R. ($2,000)! Though, seldom mentioned is Fidelity's 2x AmEx with $0 A.F. & <$400 25,000 fixed point awards which has gotten me to Seattle more than once.

I've become spoiled at the crappy stateside UAL and AA (Platinum card) clubs (tho I am liking the Chocolate Pretzels), but we travel a lot internationally and most international clubs (*Alliance Partners & Priority Pass) trend to be much nicer! Especially after getting off a 13+ hour flight and a quick shower gets you all refreshed!

The 2nd checked bag, upgrades on Awards and $0 close in's are all nice bonuses too. But if you don't have status and do not fly often, I'd actually suggest the monthly Lounge Refund program of AmEx SkyGuide - $20 annual enrollment (assuming it's still out there) gets you a single free entry (to any Lounge, not just United) each month (Mail-In-Refund).

Between BlueBird & ThankYou (GGD), Freedom (Restaurants), and other purchases I've been putting on my Club Carlson card… that’s been our strategy for now, but I may go back to using the UA Club card for other purchases. TopCash ended 5.5 at Staples (now 3) but will match UPromise 5. Tho I think that is too much work...

Last edited by djc205; Apr 19, 13 at 1:14 pm
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Old Apr 19, 13, 1:20 pm
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Originally Posted by SuperKirby View Post
I'm considering adding the MP Club. Anyone use this combo? Is it worth it? Anyone tried it for a year then ditched the Club? I never hit *Gold so I never have lounge access therefore definitely a nice added plus however, my biggest reason for wanting MPClub is the points:
Club: 1.5x everything
Freedom: 5x Categories
CSP: 2.14x Travel/dine

Or is the 1.5x overrated? I tried doing the math and I THINK it make sense adding the Club card. What were your experiences, pros and cons?
That's exactly the combo I use. The extra .5 basically pays for the annual fee (and then some) and the family appreciates that everybody gets to use the lounge.
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Old Apr 19, 13, 2:29 pm
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CSP, Freedom, Ink, Hyatt and MPE or MPC will probably be my main combo for a while unless the underlying programs change.

Let me take a contrary view, however, on the Club.

Freedom can get 1.1 if you use it for non-bonus spend and bank with Chase. If you spend exactly $25,000 in 1x UR spend MPE adds 10,000 miles so it is really 1.4x.

So, I use = IF(B18<25000,0.006*B18,37.5+0.006*(B18-25000)) in my spreadsheet to calculate the value of 1.5x. Basically, I value United miles about 1.5 cents each and I calculate differently whether I spend under or over $25,000. I should also probably bake in the fact that I am not earning Starwood points or whatnot on this spend, but this is already perhaps too much thought given to the issue.

Also, I value cutting the security line at around $5 for a flight when it didn't matter and only more when I am cutting it close. I value lounge visits at $15 or so. Waiving up close booking is really worth $75 per ticket. The second bag is only worth $35 if I couldn't have packed differently without the restriction.

I suppose I should value the Club Card starting at $95 because it has all the Explorer benefits. However, I read that most people are able to offset some of that fee by threatening to cancel.

So, the upshot is that even with high spend it really matters how often I decide to take last minute trips and how often I really need that second bag whether I decide to go with Club or Explorer. It's going to be close.

EDIT: The chocolate pretzels are the bomb, though.

Last edited by highops; Apr 19, 13 at 2:32 pm Reason: (very) mild wit added
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Old Apr 19, 13, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by highops View Post
....
Let me take a contrary view, however, on the Club.

Freedom can get 1.1 if you use it for non-bonus spend and bank with Chase. If you spend exactly $25,000 in 1x UR spend MPE adds 10,000 miles so it is really 1.4x.

So, I use = IF(B18<25000,0.006*B18,37.5+0.006*(B18-25000)) in my spreadsheet to calculate the value of 1.5x. Basically, I value United miles about 1.5 cents each and I calculate differently whether I spend under or over $25,000. I should also probably bake in the fact that I am not earning Starwood points or whatnot on this spend, but this is already perhaps too much thought given to the issue.

Also, I value cutting the security line at around $5 for a flight when it didn't matter and only more when I am cutting it close. I value lounge visits at $15 or so. Waiving up close booking is really worth $75 per ticket. The second bag is only worth $35 if I couldn't have packed differently without the restriction.

I suppose I should value the Club Card starting at $95 because it has all the Explorer benefits. However, I read that most people are able to offset some of that fee by threatening to cancel.

So, the upshot is that even with high spend it really matters how often I decide to take last minute trips and how often I really need that second bag whether I decide to go with Club or Explorer. It's going to be close. ....
it's all about assumption, benefits used and values you place on benefits.
A previous poster valued UA miles at 2 cpm and you use 1.5 cpm.
You bank at Chase, so that brings a different set of benefits with other cards, others bank elsewhere for a different set of benefits.
Your appraoch is comprehensive -- but all these analysis will yield different results for different folks, and different results in different time periods for the same individual as circumstance change.
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