Advice on next churn...

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Free2travel, May 16, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Free2travel

    Free2travel Silver Member

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    Hi,
    Thanks to points, our family of 5, just returned from our second vacation this year. AirTran/Southwest cards got us to Aruba for next to nothing! Hurray.

    Our 2015 goal is St. Maarten. We travel from either Boston or Manchester, NH. I was thinking our best choices would be using either US Air or United. Thoughts?

    Current CC:
    Sapphire Preferred (60K balance)
    Barclays Arrival World MC (59K balance)
    Airtran (will be closing soon)
    Discover and Chase Disney (oldest cards - no annual fees)

    Closed:
    Delta Gold AE
    Southwest Plus and Premiers

    Thinking of the following churn:
    US Air Premier
    United Mileage Plus
    Wells Fargo American Express

    I was going to do the American offer but I won't have 10k in spend( not interested in manufactured spend at this time). Also, not sure American is the most reasonable airline to fly on out of Boston.

    I am open to any thoughts or suggestions! It should be noted that I'm not expecting to fly all 5 of us for free but using points certainly drops the price to a comfortable level. Thank you ! Thank you !

    Michelle



    Advice? Suggestions?
     
  2. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    If you don't have $10k in spend and can't or don't want to play around with MS then great, don't apply for the Citi AA Exec. Correct call.

    I assume you know that US Air and AA will be combining sometime in 2015, though. So just to clarify: you can already use AA miles to purchase US Air tickets. There are currently 50K miles offers out there for the Citi AA Platinum VISA with $3K in spend in 3 months you could consider.

    You and your husband could/should both apply for the US Air cards. They'll be going away soon so you might as well apply for them now. Also they have no minimum spend so other than the $89 fee there's little cost. Just remember to cancel before the next fee hits in a year.

    If you weren't going to do the US Air cards though an Arrival would be a good choice, since you could use the points earned to pay for say United tickets. So if you're committed to United then an Arrival might pair up nicely with some United miles.

    Chase Ultimate Rewards points convert instantly to United Miles so a good choice would be to apply for a Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus card. There's a 60K points offer out right now which would get you 60K United Miles. A nice amount. But the Ink Cards are business cards so you'll have to have or pretend to have a business. If you're not comfortable with this, don't worry about it.

    The points from an SPG card would transfer to airline points. But I think the best current offer is 25K points. And they probably also take $5K in spend, though over 6 months I think. For US Air miles they transfer 1:1 (plus a 5K bonus when you transfer 20K points). So that would be 30K US Air miles. But the transfer rate for United is lousy, 2:1 so probably not worth the trouble.

    Generally there have been United Club offers out there with $0 in spend the first year. These include access to the United Club so nice deal if you're going to use them. The nice thing about this card I think is that it earns 1.5 miles/$ for general spend, so could help to rack up the points on normal spend anyway. Generally no miles for applying/bonus on initial spend for this card though. I'd certainly go for the United Explorer first.

    You could also use British Airways miles on American or US Air. So a) you could apply for the Chase BA card or b) you could go for one of the many American Express Membership Rewards cards. MR points convert to BA miles 1:1. Something like the nice Everyday preferred say? Or one of the more expensive cards like a Gold MR if the first year fee is waived.
     
  3. Free2travel

    Free2travel Silver Member

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    Thank you for all the suggestions. I did forget that the US Air/AA merger was happening next year. Thank you for reminding me! Maybe, I should focus on earning those points. I'm having a hard time deciding between US Air and United.

    Does anyone have experience with either company as to how easy it is to get reward tickets with them? Is one airline easier than the other?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. flynhwn

    flynhwn Silver Member

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    We do both programs. USAir is almost impossible to get a low level award ticket. AA is getting that way. This is sad since my wife and I are Lifetime Platinum. I'd check their award availability currently and plan from there. Also have a friend that writes code for UA/CO and the problems they had will be the same as AA/US. The problem i two mainframes that don't speak to each other.
     
  5. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    US Air offers up to 2 other friends on the companion pass in the lower 48, for $99.00 each that is a real perk, for girls or guy trips.

    This is the last year...
     
  6. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    I would start collecting Avios if you like to fly to Caribbean. Between AA and US you should have plenty of options.
     
  7. Free2travel

    Free2travel Silver Member

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    You've got me on Avios. I've heard of it but have no clue how to start collecting those points (which cards, companies, etc.). Off to research...

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to advise me. I still haven't made a decision on this churn.
     
  8. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    Avios is the points currency for British Airways. They partner with Alaska (helpful for Hawaii) and American/US Airways. Avios are terrible for anything long distance because the award chart is distance based. Avios, however, have amazing value for short distance flights, i.e. domestic or to the caribbean. Avios also charge miles per segment. Best thing for you would be to research which east coast cities American and US have direct flights to the caribbean and plan accordingly. Here is a blog post by Milenomics you may find helpful. http://milenomics.com/2014/03/how-to-book-aa-flights-with-avios/


    You can earn Avios with the British Airways card, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Amex Membership Rewards. There are probably some other ways that aren't jumping out at me but those are three main ways.
     
  9. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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  10. mmargel

    mmargel Silver Member

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    If you book with Avios I would recommend you take out your BA Executive number and replace it with your AAdvantage number. That allows you to use your trusted traveler number in your profile as well as opens up seat selection if you have any AA status at all
     

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