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Travel rewards

Internationally Known

Travel rewards

So, we all obviously LOVE our Barclay Cards, but what other reward programs do you use and really benefit from? This could be airline frequent flier programs, hotel programs, cards, etc... Right now we only have delta frequent flier miles and belong to IHG rewards. I'm looking to expand our travel points/program portfolio so we get the most bang for our buck. 

 

Thanks!

12 Replies
Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

I have written a long reply but don't know why it disappeared. I was experiencing browser error as well.

 

In sum:

 

Barclay AA: For the 10% miles back on flight redemptions up to 10,000 miles/calendar year but unfortunately they will be discontinuing this perk as of May 1, 2019. 

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x Ultimate Reward points on travel and dining. These flexible points can be transferred 1:1 to partners such as Hyatt, United, Delta. Complimentary trip delay and trip cancellation insurance. 

 

Chase IHG: Free annual night in exchange for $49 annual fee. 

 

Discover It: Quarterly rotating 5% categories. 

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

Kranzie10,  this could be a lengthy response, I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible.

 

Flexible Rewards like Chase Ultimate Rewards are fantastic.  You can earn them through several cards but I’ll stick with personal cards since that is what I have.  I started with the Chase Saphire Perferred it earns 2 x’s points on travel and dining and 1 pt on all other spends.  If you book through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal the points are worth 1.25 cents each, it has an AFof $95.  As soon as the Saphire Reserve came out I got it and after earning my signup bonus I canceled my Saphire Perferred.  The Reserve earns 3 x’s on dining and travel, has an annual $300 travel credit, PriorityPass lounge access and earns 1x on all other expenses.  There is a lot more to the Reserve but not enough space.  If you book through the Ultimate Rewards portal the Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents each. It has a $450 AF.  Both Saphire cards have numerous airline and hotel travel partners you can transfer points to.to compliment my Reserve card I have the Chase Freedom card that has a quarterly revolving 5% earning categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited which earns 1.5 % on everything.  Both Freedom card’s points can be transferred into my Reserve account so the points are worth more and more flexible. 

 

IHG is a good card, I have that one also.  I also have a Hyatt card mainly for the free annual night other than that it’s earnings aren’t that great.  My other favorite card (Other than my Saphire Reserve) is my AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire card.  It is also a premium card with a $450 AF but don’t let that scare you.  The Aspire card is probably, among the premium cards, the one that has the best benefits.  I have already made money on mine this year.  I have already gotten reimbursed for $250 Southwest expense and $250 Hilton expense.  The point earning potential is fantastic (14 points per dollar(ppd) at Hilton).  But there is more above and beyond that that I have gotten and will get in the near future.  It also comes with a free annual weekend night.  It also comes with the top tier Hilton Honors membership, Diamond, which has a lot of benefits.  If The AF seems too much there is the AmEx Ascend, a really good card with good benefits.  AmEx also has a no AF Hilton Honors card.

 

There are so many good cards out there.  I have the Barclays Arrival + of course which I use a lot on nonbonus category spends.  Barclays Hawaiian Airlines, so-so benefits, Barclays Choice Privilages, Choice has issues with having reward night availability but it has no AF so I hang onto it to keep my points alive.  

 

Citi Thank You Perferred is a decent card, it’s points are flexible but not as flexible as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards.  The Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red and Citi’s American Airlines Platinum are decent cards, but the Citi American Airlines MileUp (no AF) is easierto earn points for non American Airlines purchases (2 ppd on groceries).  

 

I have never ever flown On Delta but I got the AmEx Delta Gold card when they offered a 60,000 points signup bonus.  The earning rates for that card are terrible except for spending on Delta.  They also have a no AF card.

 

lets thrown in the Chase United Explorer card with Priority boarding and a free checked bag, two United Club passes each year and TSA Pre/Global Entry credit, $100 every 5 years (it is one of many cards that has that credit now).  Southwest has a few different cards, I have the premium with 6,000 points a year bonus on your anniversary, not a great point earner except 2 ppd on Southwest.  Your better off with one of the Saphire cards and transfer points to Southwest.  

 

I should cut cut off here, that’s too much to digest already.  I barely scratched the surface on the benefits so it would be best to look them up online for full benefits.  This is obviously my main hobby and since my retirement I have dove head first into learning and I have a lot more to learn.  Getting a handle on how to earn points is just the beginning.  You, I, have to learn how to make the most of travel from the hard earned points.  

 

I hope this helped some.

 

Jeff

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

As I said previously,  I have barely scratched the surface on explaining all the benefits of the cards I mentioned.  I did forget to mention Alaska airlines.  Their reward program has about the highest if not the highest point value but you cannot transfer any flexible points (ie, Chase, Citi, Capital One, AmEx, etc) to their Program.  

 

I didnt really mention Capital One Cards because I don’t know a lot about them except they are really strict with their qualifications.   Another excellent card is the AmEx Platinum but you better be willing to pay $550 a year, if they haven’t gone up again already.

 

If you are looking to add a card or two or three to your portfolio try and get the card when the signup bonus is high.  And if you are interested in any Chase cards I recommend applying for your top pick first and before any other cards.  Chase has what they call the 5/24 rule.  If you have applied for and qualified for 5 cards in the past 24 months you will not qualify.  So get your Chase cards first then go from there.  

 

 

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

Thank you so much for your responses! It is a lot to take it, but  I definitely appreciate it.  I'm a true believer in getting as much bang for your buck as possbile and I feel like your info will help me start working on this :) 

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

Some more cards that are worth mentioning:

 

I had Chase Ink Preferred business card (CIP) that I have since closed and regretted closing it. This card came and still comes with a 80K UR sign up bonus, 3x Ultimate Reward (UR) points on travel, internet, cable and phone services (Ebay seller fees earned the 3x UR as well!) and postal/courier services. Annual fee is $95. 

I ended up spending over $16K on travel and $2K on dining in 2018, so I would have been much better off holding the Ink Preferred.

 

I recently got approved for United Explorer Biz card when they were running 75K miles sign up bonus. This United card (as well as the personal version) gives extra access to award space.

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

Everyone here has already offered really great tips, but I'll offer my two cents as well...

 

The most lucrative and valuable point systems out there are Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. The reason for this is not only because each one has a long list of transfer partners, but because they have so many cards that earn these rewards and you can really rack up a ton of points.

 

Chase has become the most restrictive, as they've implemented a 5/24 rule which means you can't have opened 5 or more cards in the last 24 months or else they will not approve you for any of their cards. This is why starting your points journey with Chase is important. If you are under 5/24, Chase has excellent cards that can boost your Ultimate Rewards balance fast. Get a few business cards from them (CIP for 80K, CIC for 50K), and a few personal cards (CSR or CSR for 50K), and you'll have a couple hundred thousand Ultimate Rewards points before you know it. Having multiple Chase cards also ensures that you always earn more than 1x on any purchase - for instance, the Chase Freedom rotating categories for 5%, travel/dining on the CSR earns 3%, etc.

 

American Express is similar. They have tons of cards (both personal and business cards) that can help you get a lot of Membership Rewards points fast. See if you are targeted for an American Express Platinum card for 100K. If so, that is one of the best sign up bonuses out there. The annual fee is steep $550, but you can more than make up for it in Uber credits, airline incidental reimbursements, and 5x points on flights. If you have a partner who is also into earning points, Amex lets you refer each other when you open a new card and the referrer will earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

 

Despite all of the replies here, we haven't even scratched the surface with what you can actually do and earn with points. 

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

This is lots of good info but wanted to add that Chase cards are 5/24 and now restrict bonuses for once every 48 months, up from 24.

 

I agree with lots of the above, and might add that I have found that utilizing shopping portals like cashbackmonitor.com to doall of your online shopping through CC portals can go a long way towards accumulating points more.

 

For me, I don't usually stay at fancy hotels, but I agree with Gefe that the Hilton Cards are a great value. This year I am going to France for 2 weeks and I am covering my Air BnBs with my Barclay card but we are ending the trip with a Astor Hilton stay. This will be a really fun change from our usual travel style. While I can't really value it at the $900 it would normally have cost since I would never pay that much for a hotel, when it essentially cost me the $95 AF for a luxury stay like that during peak travel times I can't complain.

 

I'd also add that I find the AA miles extremly hard to use and have not really gotten as much value out of that card as I would have liked.

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

Teebeetoo, the shopping portals are great I use them when the opportunity arises.  I would also add if you use United they have the United MilagePlus X app.  Check it out it’s for shopping as well.  I’ve earned a lot of miles through that.  There are dining reward programs for a lot of the major airlines and hotels also.  

 

I have ave never flown on AA yet but I have heard the award seats are hard to find.  

 

 

Internationally Known

Re: Travel rewards

teebeetoo, I agree that AA miles can be very hard to use. However, they have some sweet spots. For instance, you can regularly find flights from the Caribbean to the East Coast for 12.5K AA miles. And we just booked round trip tickets from DC to the Maldives on Qatar Airways business class for 280K round trip for two. It can be exhausting to keep searching, but if you find the right flight, AA miles can be VERY valuable.