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Pizzaman
(@pizzaman)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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September 20, 2016 7:53 pm  

Hey, there. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out where to get started. I'm hoping to make that a bit easier by starting an open thread. Ask me a question. If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does.

Don't worry whether your question fits here. Just ask it and we'll take care of the rest!

If you're reading this thread and happen to know the answer to a question, jump in!

I don't have much to say, but you can usually find me saying it here.


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Dublin_rfk
(@dublin_rfk)
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September 20, 2016 9:20 pm  

Great idea!

http://my.flightmemory.com/DublinRFK

"Good judgement comes from experience and experience? It comes from BAD Judgement."
Unique points in 2018: EWR, LAX, SIN, SFO, IAD, IND, ORD, SAT, PHL, RDU, FLL, GRB, CLT, MSN, GRR, SNA, MCI, CLE, SAN, IAH, FRA, CVG, NRT, LAS, ABQ,[SIZE=4"> PDX[/SIZE">


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Begue70
(@begue70)
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Posts: 6
October 2, 2016 11:56 pm  

Hi, I am very new to this and am wondering if I am on the right track and where I should "go" next. Brief description... Have had an AMEX gold business forever. Historically have just used points for gift cards to shop, buy a plane ticket here and there, etc. We currently have 191,000 Amex points. Just upgraded this to a platinum for 50K points once we meet spending requirements. My husband just go a Sapphire Reserve with 100K points (already made requirements). Husband also just got a Premier Gold with a 40K bonus (just made requirements). We love the gas and grocery bonus on that one. Me (wife) has a Delta Amex Gold. Also have a separate Premeir Gold Amex (40K bonus met) and a Marriott rewards (totally regret getting that one due to I'm not sure I like points going to one hotel that we rarely use. Don't know what I was thinking there). For miles I currently have 85K with Delta, Husband has 25K. Goal is a family trip to Europe (3 kids 14-21). Feel like I should have gotten a Hilton or something because I stay in those all the time for horse shows, etc. Should we stop there? Or should my husband get a Delta Amex Gold or Platinum? Or is there another that is recommended. We put anything that can go on a card, on a card and pay balance monthly. Thank you for any help.


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Pizzaman
(@pizzaman)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 4794
October 3, 2016 12:33 am  

Begue70, sounds like you're definitely on the right track. Given your current balances, I think it's probably best to focus on Delta for your overseas flights, even though they could be pricey. You can transfer your AMEX MR points to Delta to secure mileage tickets when you're ready.

Another option would be to use those AMEX MR points with a partner like Virgin Atlantic or AF, but it'll take longer to get 5 tickets if you don't use your available Delta SkyMiles.

Also, keep in mind that finding 5 tickets on the same flight to Europe will be tough. Since the kids are older, you might consider splitting on to two flights.

Since your husband got the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it might make sense to apply for another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can pool points between you and your husband, and you can transfer those points to a variety of hotel chains for your European trip.

More questions?

Happy to help.

I don't have much to say, but you can usually find me saying it here.


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Wandering Aramean
(@wandering-aramean)
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October 3, 2016 10:27 am  

For a family of 5 in Europe I say go AirBnB/VRBO/whatever and pay cash for the lodging while focusing the points on flights. You'll need 2 rooms to make the hotel work and at that point the cost savings are likely to erode and the ability to rent an apartment somewhere is nice IMO.

I do agree with Pizzaman's suggestion of focusing on SkyMiles for the TATL flights. The Chase points cannot go there, of course, but maybe focus on DL/AmEx right now and look at the Ultimate Rewards points for a future trip. Or to pay the AirBnB bill, even if that's not the ideal value it should still be 1.5 cents/point.

Wandering Aramean | Twitter | Travel Tools | World Heritage Sites | Trip Reports


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Pizzaman
(@pizzaman)
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October 3, 2016 11:03 am  

Wandering Aramean brings up a good point about room capacity in Europe. Some hotels can be difficult to get 3 ppl in a room, so a party of 5 will represent a challenge.

If you absolutely need to use points for everything to save cash, he's right about the Chase UR. However, you can get a much better value transferring them to a travel partner. I'd hold them for a future trip.

If you're not going to use Chase UR points on this trip, focus on getting another Delta card and hammering away on bonus categories for your AMEX and Delta cards.

I don't have much to say, but you can usually find me saying it here.


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Wandering Aramean
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October 3, 2016 12:15 pm  

Pizzaman, post: 2760885, member: 24 wrote: However, you can get a much better value transferring them to a travel partner. I'd hold them for a future trip.

Maybe.

I'm assuming that the family of 5 is going to travel in economy, mostly based on the number of points accrued right now and what it would take to get 5 in business on one trip. Depending on season and destination a sub-$1000 r/t flight to Europe is not all that hard to come by, suggesting that the value of those Chase UR points is in the 1.25-1.75 cents range. The Reserve card from Chase makes UR points worth 1.5 cents straight up on the redemption and without pesky availability issues. That they can be used for the specific need at this time also adds some value.

I know that redeeming CC points for bill offsets is not always the popular move but for an economy class traveler it should be considered far more often. Especially if one can also earn for travel spend on the card; 4.5% cash back is a great value proposition IMO.

Wandering Aramean | Twitter | Travel Tools | World Heritage Sites | Trip Reports


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Begue70
(@begue70)
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October 3, 2016 12:41 pm  

Do ya'll think my husband should get a Delta Amex (gold or platinum?), for the sign on bonus? Or should we stop where we are at? As I said, the only regret is that Marriott (although, I'll get 80K points, I just don't know how useful that will be in my life). I just mainly want to offset the cost of the trip, spend less on flights OR lodging, so we can spend more on actual trip. Also, hoping to go in June, so flights will be at a premium. Also, as I wait for the bonus's to post, I know i'm losing out on flights... Will most likely be December before everything posts. Thank you so much for all of your help! 🙂


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satman40
(@satman40)
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October 3, 2016 1:00 pm  

Marriott/ SPG points are great, and can be used at an nearby hotel arriving or departing from the airport.

We attend several conventions, so stay at the convention hotels, but the last night is often spent at the airport hotel,, sometimes we go out to the local airport, and use the hotel for an early departure, and parking.

Attitude and Ability is everything, without Government Laws we would all be equal, until we are Influenced by others.


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Pizzaman
(@pizzaman)
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October 3, 2016 1:14 pm  

Begue70, post: 2760908, member: 217159 wrote: Do ya'll think my husband should get a Delta Amex (gold or platinum?), for the sign on bonus? Or should we stop where we are at? As I said, the only regret is that Marriott (although, I'll get 80K points, I just don't know how useful that will be in my life). I just mainly want to offset the cost of the trip, spend less on flights OR lodging, so we can spend more on actual trip. Also, hoping to go in June, so flights will be at a premium. Also, as I wait for the bonus's to post, I know i'm losing out on flights... Will most likely be December before everything posts. Thank you so much for all of your help! 🙂

If you want to go next June then you're likely going to need more sign-up bonuses. Assuming you're disciplined enough to pay off the cards, then yes, you should apply for more Delta credit cards. If it's a June a few years from now, I'd still apply for the Delta cards if you pay them off, but you might get there via spend without annual fees on multiple cards.

I don't have much to say, but you can usually find me saying it here.


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Pizzaman
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October 3, 2016 1:17 pm  

Oh, and I think you'll find a use for the Marriott points. There are plenty of Marriott hotels that can accommodate 2 rooms for a family of 5 in the US with connecting options. Less so in Europe for all chains, but I doubt they'll go to waste. 🙂

I don't have much to say, but you can usually find me saying it here.


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Pizzaman
(@pizzaman)
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October 3, 2016 1:19 pm  

Wandering Aramean, post: 2760903, member: 23 wrote: Maybe.

I'm assuming that the family of 5 is going to travel in economy, mostly based on the number of points accrued right now and what it would take to get 5 in business on one trip. Depending on season and destination a sub-$1000 r/t flight to Europe is not all that hard to come by, suggesting that the value of those Chase UR points is in the 1.25-1.75 cents range. The Reserve card from Chase makes UR points worth 1.5 cents straight up on the redemption and without pesky availability issues. That they can be used for the specific need at this time also adds some value.

I know that redeeming CC points for bill offsets is not always the popular move but for an economy class traveler it should be considered far more often. Especially if one can also earn for travel spend on the card; 4.5% cash back is a great value proposition IMO.

Specifically for economy flights (and some other areas), sure. But, I think you can find plenty of hotels where you can get a much higher value than that, and likely for families of 5 (though not so much in Europe).

I don't have much to say, but you can usually find me saying it here.


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Wandering Aramean
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Posts: 28707
October 3, 2016 3:16 pm  

Pizzaman, post: 2760920, member: 24 wrote: Specifically for economy flights (and some other areas), sure. But, I think you can find plenty of hotels where you can get a much higher value than that, and likely for families of 5 (though not so much in Europe).

I'll assume you're suggesting Hyatt as the transfer vehicle here. Getting better than 1.5 cent/point is relatively common in that program but when you need to book 2 or 3 rooms to accommodate the whole group rather than a single apartment somewhere I believe the numbers skew. Put differently, if I can get an apartment for $300/night that's probably better than two Category 4 hotel rooms, even if the average cash rate on those rooms is closer to $225/night (which is what I'm seeing for Cat4 results in recent results on Hotel Hustle). Yes, the straight points value is lower, but that doesn't mean it is a worse deal.

If I can get a good lodging option for $X then are the points valued based on redeeming for that price or the other, higher price from a different option I also have available? Somewhat like valuing points for air travel based on full fare F seats rather than what you'd pay anyways.

Also, FWIW, average cpp rates by Hyatt category for searches in the past 45 days:
1 2.529395511
2 2.197223258
3 1.792437981
4 1.710023486
5 1.531198768
6 1.611428163
7 2.809111527

Wandering Aramean | Twitter | Travel Tools | World Heritage Sites | Trip Reports


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Begue70
(@begue70)
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 6
October 3, 2016 4:15 pm  

worst case, I can always just pay for the Europe trip and use all these points/miles to offset (or pay for) a spring break college tour for my daughter. This is certainly very confusing!! But, I am going to try and learn! 🙂 I really appreciate all the advice! BTW, just got my husband the Delta Plat. Amex, with 70K bonus. So, once all the bonus's come through, I think I should be good (plus regular spending). Now the worry will be if any seats are left. But, I will leave that problem for later! I am also regretting bumping our trusty gold amex to the platinum. The bonus will be good, but terrible points earning. We will most likely do most spending on the Gold Premier and the Chase.


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misman
(@misman)
Original Member
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 14906
October 3, 2016 4:16 pm  

[USER=24]@Pizzaman[/USER], is the purpose of this thread to be a starting point, and then move the content to the appropriate forum so it can get more traction?

ETA: And I'm not talking about the super-merging that appears elsewhere.

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