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Thread: Reward Credit Card

  1. #1
    old school BlueDevil50's Avatar
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    Default Reward Credit Card

    So I'm looking to get a new credit card that offers the best rewards, mainly in airline miles. Any recommendations?

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    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I've looked into this A LOT. The bottom line is that 1) the conversion from credit card to miles and then 2) the conversion of your miles into actual seats as allocated by the airlines will greatly deflate any benefit you think you are getting with your card.

    Instead of a "Miles" card, I highly suggest seeking out a "Travel Rewards Card". A "Travel Rewards Card" works like this:
    1. You charge everything you can to the credit card as normal
    2. You earn points based on the amount you charge (I'll get to the numbers in a minute).
    3. Any purchase coded as travel, gets listed in your redemption page of your credit card online (Rental Cars, Trains, Hotels, Flights, Lift Tickets...and a bunch of random stuff you wouldn't believe that is classified as travel)
    4. At any time, you can go in and allocate your points towards those purchased coded as travel. (For example if you have $100 worth of points, you apply that towards a $98 rental car and your point balance is now $2)
    5. The $98 credit shows up on your next statement and you just pay $98 less then next month.

    I've done the math forwards and backwards on this experimenting with many airlines and as long as you are getting 1.5 or more travel points for every dollar, you will beat EVERY airline card out there.

    The clear cut favorite EVERY TIME will be the Venture® Rewards card by Capital One. (Yes, the card you see advertised all over the place). You get 20,000 miles from the start (which is exactly $200 to apply to your first travel coded purchases) and you get 2X Miles (they call them Miles, other travel rewards cards call them points...so don't confuse this as a traditional miles card), the first year is free, and $59 is well worth it after that.

    You'll be hard pressed to find a card giving you more than 2X points. Some may say 3X on gas, 2X groceries, 1X on everything else, but that will never average more than 2X.

    You'll also see "Cash Rewards Cards" out there. They never get you 2X, they just give you cash back no matter what (doesn't have to be posted against travel coded purchases), but are never more than 1.5X.

    And if you want a Hotel Card, SPG is tough to beat. You don't run into the problems redeeming points with Starwood properties that you do with airlines and other hotels (Hilton, etc). They don't have inflation for peak periods, etc....
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Oh and it goes a little without saying, but with a travel rewards card, you can book an any airline or travel site (expedia, priceline....) so you can actually price shop, wheras with an airline miles card, you are limited to that airline and / or their partners.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

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    Member nine day brawl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I recently got an Amex Costco card, and there are some really decent benefits to it. It's a cash-back card where it's 1% for every purchase, 3% for gas, and 2% if you book travel through Costco travel.

    The Costco travel site saved me bank on a recent trip to Hawaii. Packaged prices for hotel, plus rental car, plus breakfast buffet easily saved me $500 than if I booked through another travel site.

    Membership's $55/year, and an additional $55/year for the executive membership (more perks). Renewing the card with your membership renewal credits your card's annual fee.

    Southwest also has a Visa card where if you sign up, you'd get 25K miles after spending $1K in 3 months, which is roughly 1 domestic roundtrip ticket. It's $99/year, but each time you renew the card, they give you an additional 6K miles.
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    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by nine day brawl View Post
    I recently got an Amex Costco card, and there are some really decent benefits to it. It's a cash-back card where it's 1% for every purchase, 3% for gas, and 2% if you book travel through Costco travel.

    The Costco travel site saved me bank on a recent trip to Hawaii. Packaged prices for hotel, plus rental car, plus breakfast buffet easily saved me $500 than if I booked through another travel site.

    Membership's $55/year, and an additional $55/year for the executive membership (more perks). Renewing the card with your membership renewal credits your card's annual fee.

    Southwest also has a Visa card where if you sign up, you'd get 25K miles after spending $1K in 3 months, which is roughly 1 domestic roundtrip ticket. It's $99/year, but each time you renew the card, they give you an additional 6K miles.
    The Costco Amex is a close call, but The 1% on the "all purchases other than gas, etc" really brings the average cash back percentage down.

    While a separate topic, you are spot on with Costco Travel though. It always comes through strong. We originally booked our cruise through Celebrity. We cancelled that reservation, and rebooked through Costco, ending up with a 2nd stateroom in a better class with hundreds of dollars in onboard credit, all for $100 less than the single stateroom booked direct.

    The Southwest card is not really a close call. Yea, lots of 'freebies', but the the low point rewards book quickly and even then, you still aren't getting an average of 2% back for total purchases. If you want to go that direction, you may as well go with Chase Sapphire, which gives you a $500 bonus for signing up.
    Last edited by PlayaDelWes; 04-26-2014 at 09:36 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Everything I have read in this thread sounds spot on. One thing to remember, opening and closing credit lines does have some drawback towards your credit but primarily only if you are attempting to apply/takeout a large loan, let's say for a house.

    I have been opening and closing credit cards for the better part of the past 3 years and I just recently checked my credit in February and I was in the 780 range. Keep in mind though, I have no plans on taking out any type of compounding loan that could reflect the opinion of an adjuster or credit company might make if attempting a big loan.

    You may be asking why would I be doing such a thing to begin with!? Well this goes back to the gains versus dollar spent on whatever it is the credit company is willing to fulfill. I usually look out for opening credit deals: spend X.xx amount within 3/6 months, and get a massive return. Things like that. Or simply opening account gains: open a credit line, instant 15,000miles. And so on.
    Quote Originally Posted by fatbastard View Post
    Don't ever use Paul's name again in a posting. YOU GOT THAT YOU STUPID MOTHERFUCKER? Paul was making his bones in the business back when you were just cum in your mother's ear.

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    Coachella Junkie fatbastard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Good stuff. How about advanced health care directives?
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    old school BlueDevil50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Thank you guys for the excellent feedback. I currently have the Expedia Citi card so later I'll see what the main differences are between the two. I've always heard great things about the Venture card though.

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    old school westcoastpirate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Check out myfico credit cards forums. Those guys have the lowdown on all rewards credit cards. One thing to keep in mind are the annual fees and whether the benefits outweigh the fee (if there is a fee). But most of the cards waive the annual fee the first year. We don't travel much so cash back is more valuable in our situation. If you are thinking about international travel look into a card with no foreign transaction fees as well as one on a network that is widely accepted, like Visa or MasterCard. I think Bank of America has a travel card with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and you get 1.5 points on all purchases. It also has the chip in the card.

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    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    This is a very cool thread. Thanks everyone and especially Wes for all the info.

    One other thing that's important to keep in mind is that given all the new government oversight of the financial industries, my understanding is that it's very difficult or maybe even impossible for credit card issuers to open new accounts for students, heirs, or other people who cannot demonstrate that they have a regular paycheck coming in. So if you're currently jobless, you probably want to keep all the credit cards you currently have open because it might be really difficult to get approved for a new one, and if you're planning on taking some time away from work for a gap year or sabbatical or whatever, you probably want to sort out your credit card situation prior to leaving your job.

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    old school BlueDevil50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    Oh and it goes a little without saying, but with a travel rewards card, you can book an any airline or travel site (expedia, priceline....) so you can actually price shop, wheras with an airline miles card, you are limited to that airline and / or their partners.
    So just to reiterate, you don't have to go through the Cap One site to book your travel? Let's say I book a trip on Expedia for $400 and have 40,000 points, is it easy to use those points in this case and get that credited to my next month's bill?

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    old school BlueDevil50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Also, I found this card:https://www.navyfederal.org/products...s/flagship.php

    To me it looks similar to the Venture card.

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    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueDevil50 View Post
    So just to reiterate, you don't have to go through the Cap One site to book your travel? Let's say I book a trip on Expedia for $400 and have 40,000 points, is it easy to use those points in this case and get that credited to my next month's bill?
    Exactly

    -Booking flexibility. You can book travel with points using Capital One’s site, any other site, directly with airlines, or even through your travel agent. Plus, you can even redeem your points after you’ve already charged the travel simply by submitting a travel credit request by clicking on the charge on your online statement.
    I do not have a Capitol One card, but I have one very similar (BankAmericard Privileges with Travel Rewards...which I don't think is offered anymore) and from what I understand, the interface is very similar. I always just retroactively apply the points against whatever charges were coded as travel. I do this every month or two and it takes a good chunk off the bill. Friends who have the Venture Card tell me that's what they do as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueDevil50 View Post
    Also, I found this card:https://www.navyfederal.org/products...s/flagship.php

    To me it looks similar to the Venture card.
    Yes, it does look similar. On the NFCU site, it's hard for me to discern the process of how to apply points towards travel or the scope of what you can apply them against. But, if you figure out that it is the same, the convenience of having your top CC with what I assume might be your primary bank, sounds like an added benefit.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

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    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Courtney, that's good info as well. All the advice I'm giving out is based on the assumption that those taking it are square with their credit card debt and do not carry a monthly balance. If someone does have a balance, by all means go with a card that has the most favorable finance terms.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

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    old school BlueDevil50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Thanks again, Wes. Sounds like the Venture card is a tough one to beat.

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    Coachella Junkie jackstraw94086's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I've been using Venture as my primary card for years and it is pretty neat, truly no hassle.
    I won't want to have to worry about a varying miles schedule for different types of purchases bullshit. And never worrying about expiration.

    At the end of the day if you want to do nothing with the miles I think you can simply buy down your balance at the equivalent of 1%. But you get double that for travel, and the equivalent of somewhere between on other stuff depending on what it is.

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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Compare cards online at Bankrate. If you choose the rewards card filter on the right you'll see some of the cards above in the list. I choose one that gives extra points for charitable contributions.

    2 or 3 cards is a good rule of thumb…limit yourself to opening one card a year

    Closing cards can give your credit score a slight ding. One thing credit is based on is how much of your total credit limit is being used. Try and keep it below 30%. Not using a card at all is similar to closing it. So when I switched over to a new card I kept the old one open with one automatic $7 a month charge on it (hulu).

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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    My girlfriend recently got and American Airlines credit because we have been finding outselves booking with them a lot anyway. Beside getting miles and/or chas back for purchases, she also gets free check bags and priority boarding, which is great.
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I've used the Travelocity Amex since 2010 and it's paying for my trips to California, Mexico and Australia this year.

    http://www.travelocity.com/info/info...LEVELS,00.html

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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    If you bargain hunt and book early and don't mind the cattle call boarding, the Southwest Rapid Rewards card is the way to go to rack up lots of free air travel.

    Not paying for two checked bags doesn't suck either.

    And if you spend/fly enough, you get a free companion pass for a year. You can change the companion three times during that year.

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    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    The companion pass is the best thing ever (especially since you can use it with rewards travel). It's a tough goal to achieve, but the back to back years where my wife and I had each had one did not suck.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    The companion pass is the best thing ever (especially since you can use it with rewards travel). It's a tough goal to achieve, but the back to back years where my wife and I had each had one did not suck.
    You have to use it religiously on every thing you buy.

    It will probably go away for us once we have to stop paying college tuitions, which requires a little shell game in and of itself to make it work.

    Still, two years of this and I think I'm winning. Probably not though.

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    Member ialvarado2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I don't like "travel reward cards", I focus only on "miles" cards and try to maximize redemption values as well as snatching sign-up bonuses.

    As PlayaDelWes pointed, you can typically use travel rewards on any airline or travel expenses but the redemption ratio is very poor, 1 point = 1 to 1.5 cents. Think about it, you have to spend 1 dollar to get 1 reward point. So if you want to redeem for a $600 flight, you need spending of close to $60k dlls.

    Compare that to a traditional "miles" program like AA, United, Delta. If you spend $60k you will have 60k miles (or more if you get bonuses, or special category promos like 2x on gas). You can redeem those 60k miles for a roundtrip flight to Europe in Economy which depending on the cities you pick and time of year can be worth much more than $600. You can get redemption rates of 2-3 cents per mile on economy awards.

    You'll get better redemption values flying business or first class. For example, 125k miles will give you a RT first class flight to Europe and those flights are usually $10-12k. That's close to 10 cents per mile. Much better than 1 cent per point.


    Now, you don't need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do this, just look for a card that offers a good sign-up bonus. Some have figured out how to get "creative" with their spending and are able to get hundreds of thousands of miles per year in multiple programs. I haven't paid for travel in a while (we'll, unless I don't get a minimum of 2 cents per mile).
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    I've looked into this A LOT. The bottom line is that 1) the conversion from credit card to miles and then 2) the conversion of your miles into actual seats as allocated by the airlines will greatly deflate any benefit you think you are getting with your card.

    Instead of a "Miles" card, I highly suggest seeking out a "Travel Rewards Card". A "Travel Rewards Card" works like this:
    1. You charge everything you can to the credit card as normal
    2. You earn points based on the amount you charge (I'll get to the numbers in a minute).
    3. Any purchase coded as travel, gets listed in your redemption page of your credit card online (Rental Cars, Trains, Hotels, Flights, Lift Tickets...and a bunch of random stuff you wouldn't believe that is classified as travel)
    4. At any time, you can go in and allocate your points towards those purchased coded as travel. (For example if you have $100 worth of points, you apply that towards a $98 rental car and your point balance is now $2)
    5. The $98 credit shows up on your next statement and you just pay $98 less then next month.

    I've done the math forwards and backwards on this experimenting with many airlines and as long as you are getting 1.5 or more travel points for every dollar, you will beat EVERY airline card out there.

    The clear cut favorite EVERY TIME will be the Venture® Rewards card by Capital One. (Yes, the card you see advertised all over the place). You get 20,000 miles from the start (which is exactly $200 to apply to your first travel coded purchases) and you get 2X Miles (they call them Miles, other travel rewards cards call them points...so don't confuse this as a traditional miles card), the first year is free, and $59 is well worth it after that.

    You'll be hard pressed to find a card giving you more than 2X points. Some may say 3X on gas, 2X groceries, 1X on everything else, but that will never average more than 2X.

    You'll also see "Cash Rewards Cards" out there. They never get you 2X, they just give you cash back no matter what (doesn't have to be posted against travel coded purchases), but are never more than 1.5X.

    And if you want a Hotel Card, SPG is tough to beat. You don't run into the problems redeeming points with Starwood properties that you do with airlines and other hotels (Hilton, etc). They don't have inflation for peak periods, etc....
    There's also a Venture card with no annual fee and 12 month 0 APR. The rewards are not as good by any means (only 1.25), but I'm on the lower income end of the spectrum and was in a bind and needed to make a major purchase that would take a few months to pay down, so it worked out nicely. It was the best deal I could find with an intro-APR.

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    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by ialvarado2 View Post
    I don't like "travel reward cards", I focus only on "miles" cards and try to maximize redemption values as well as snatching sign-up bonuses.

    As PlayaDelWes pointed, you can typically use travel rewards on any airline or travel expenses but the redemption ratio is very poor, 1 point = 1 to 1.5 cents. Think about it, you have to spend 1 dollar to get 1 reward point. So if you want to redeem for a $600 flight, you need spending of close to $60k dlls.

    Compare that to a traditional "miles" program like AA, United, Delta. If you spend $60k you will have 60k miles (or more if you get bonuses, or special category promos like 2x on gas). You can redeem those 60k miles for a roundtrip flight to Europe in Economy which depending on the cities you pick and time of year can be worth much more than $600. You can get redemption rates of 2-3 cents per mile on economy awards.

    You'll get better redemption values flying business or first class. For example, 125k miles will give you a RT first class flight to Europe and those flights are usually $10-12k. That's close to 10 cents per mile. Much better than 1 cent per point.


    Now, you don't need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do this, just look for a card that offers a good sign-up bonus. Some have figured out how to get "creative" with their spending and are able to get hundreds of thousands of miles per year in multiple programs. I haven't paid for travel in a while (we'll, unless I don't get a minimum of 2 cents per mile).
    For starters, I mentioned that as long as you have a card with at least 1.5 reward credits per dollar you spend, you will usually beat the miles cards. But, there is no reason you should stop there. Go straight for the 2X points rewards cards with your math. Spend $20,000 and you have $400 worth of dollars to spend on whatever you want. For the traditional miles redemption, especially on domestic flights, they have limited the number of available flights at the 10,000 miles or 12,500 miles mark (per segment) that it's almost impossible to book those. So, for a round trip you'll typically need to spend around 35,000 - 40,000 miles to redeem a reward ticket and it might not even be direct. Your rewards card will beat all domestic miles card, unless you are sitting there hitting reset, booking the lowest non-refundable miles reward the second they are available, limited on only the airline you want to book.

    I agree, that on first class international travel, miles will typically stretch much much further. Miles cards also help you gain status if you find yourself needing an extra boost or the other benefits, like a free checked bag, or priority boarding on the same airline. I just don't find myself flying first class international as much as I do domestic coach, so a Rewards Card is much better. The points guy, sums it up pretty nicely:

    THE BOTTOM LINE
    This card isn’t great for first or business class rewards because the redemptions are tied to the price of the ticket and premium cabin tickets are usually outrageously priced.
    Instead, this card is ideal for people who don’t want any surprises when it comes time to redeem points and prefer the flexibility of booking any ticket. This is also great for families who need multiple seats on the same flight, since there is no limit to how many tickets you can buy on any given flight. I have a lot of family members who have this card, because they refuse to book connecting flights and have limited flexibility with respect to time off of work, which is often needed when using airline’s own frequent flyer miles.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

  26. #26
    Member ialvarado2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    For starters, I mentioned that as long as you have a card with at least 1.5 reward credits per dollar you spend, you will usually beat the miles cards. But, there is no reason you should stop there. Go straight for the 2X points rewards cards with your math. Spend $20,000 and you have $400 worth of dollars to spend on whatever you want. For the traditional miles redemption, especially on domestic flights, they have limited the number of available flights at the 10,000 miles or 12,500 miles mark (per segment) that it's almost impossible to book those. So, for a round trip you'll typically need to spend around 35,000 - 40,000 miles to redeem a reward ticket and it might not even be direct. Your rewards card will beat all domestic miles card, unless you are sitting there hitting reset, booking the lowest non-refundable miles reward the second they are available, limited on only the airline you want to book.

    I agree, that on first class international travel, miles will typically stretch much much further. Miles cards also help you gain status if you find yourself needing an extra boost or the other benefits, like a free checked bag, or priority boarding on the same airline. I just don't find myself flying first class international as much as I do domestic coach, so a Rewards Card is much better. The points guy, sums it up pretty nicely:

    I've been spending lately on Amex that gives 2x on gas and groceries and 3x on travel expenses. Pretty good since I travel for work almost every month. In addition I use a British Airways card that gives 1.25 avios (miles) per dollar and most of my amex points end up in British Airways or Air France.

    In BA, I have no problems redeeming on AA, plenty of availability for low priced awards. I typically travel to Texas and an advantage of BA is that rewards are 'distance' based. So instead of using 25k miles to do LAX-ELP or LAX-DFW I can use 15k BA avios for the same routes. AA (specially now that you can book on US) and Alaska offer very good availability to travel with Avios. Using a rewards card I would have had to spend about 30,000 points to do the same routes.

    For european flights I rather stick with Air France, KML and their partners (Aeromexico for example). As long as you're booking a few months in advanced and are a little bit flexible it is very easy to get cheap awards. Aeromexico has very good awards availability from LAX to places like Cabo, Mexico City and Cancun. You have at least 3-5 flights per day available on cheap awards even 4-6 weeks out.

    My only bad experience has been with Delta, up to recently they were not letting you book one-way awards and their cheap awards are almost impossible to book. I still have about 45k miles with them that I haven't been able to use. On the other hand, I have trips to Texas planned every two months for the rest of the year (during holidays) and I had no problems finding awards through AA.
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    QOTSA-Lorde-PetShopBoys-MGMT-EmpireOfTheSun-CageTheElephant-Chvrches-CapitalCities-Temples-Naked&Famous-Mogwai-HolyGhost-WhiteLies-theInternet-LauraMvula-

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  27. #27
    Member nine day brawl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I've got a BA card with Avios, too. You're correct in that it's distance-based with their reward miles, which is a huge plus. The drawback is that they set a low reserve of reward seats for members using their FF miles, and their blackout dates are kinda ridiculous.
    Arctic Monkeys - 10.25.14 - Comerica Theater
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  28. #28
    Member nine day brawl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    Here's a good blog detailing how to take advantage of reward credit card deals:

    http://millionmilesecrets.com/
    Arctic Monkeys - 10.25.14 - Comerica Theater
    Coachella - 4.10.15 - 4.12.15 - Empire Polo Grounds

  29. #29
    old school Robin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    I'm looking to apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card. If I get approved, I'm unsure on what to do with the cards I have. The Barclay would become my primary card. I currently have a Marriott Visa card that I don't use often (only a few hundred dollars a month) and my primary card, the Capital One Venture. My Marriott has about $4,500 more on the credit limit than my Capital One.

    Do I close the Marriott because I don't use it as often and the rewards aren't as great?
    Do I close the Capital One because it has a lower CL than the Marriott?
    Do I just keep them all open?

  30. #30

    Default Re: Reward Credit Card

    You should max them all out and marry someone rich.

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