Hello from a noob

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by TravelRz, May 12, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. TravelRz

    TravelRz New Member

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    Hi everyone

    I am a noob in the truest sense of the word, since this is not just my first post on this forum, but on any forum ever!

    I recently got hooked on the "credit card signup bonus" craze after getting my first "purposeful" card application - the Barclays Arrival. It was a breeze meeting the mandatory spend, and now I am ready to find my next card...

    I LOVE traveling, but am an absolute noob when it comes to leveraging reward points etc..I am really excited about learning how to figure this out.

    Right now I am considering the 45k bonus with 2k spend OR 50k with 3k both on CITI or the 100k bonus on 10k spend with 450 annual fee - just not sure which is the better deal and how I can meet the spend req and whether the 450 fee is 'worth it'?
    Also, can one get the ChaseBold ink without actually having a "business"?

    Also is it worth actually paying to find out your FICO score? I saw the Arrival now gives a free score but it was not the case when I got my card.

    Thanks!
    Pat
     
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  2. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    Slow down, is the phrase that comes to mind. Stumbling into this hobby can be a very exciting proposition when you realize the possibilities. We have all been there. The best advice I can give you is to take a deep breath step back and figure out what your goals are. Why do you want to apply for the cards you have listed? Why did you get the Barclay's Arrival card? Was it because some blogger sold you on it? Or did you have an actual goal in mind? Set a goal, research what points will get you there, do your homework and go slow. The last thing you want to do is apply for 4 - 6 cards at once have over 20k in spend and be in over your head. Once you have a goal in mind strategize which cards you need to get you there and go for those.
     
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  3. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    No it probably isn't worth paying for your "FICO" score. Most of these sites sell you fake scores even if you pay for them. Use the free services like CreditKarma and CreditSesame (or the free Barclay's "FICO" score you probably got with your Arrival card--log in to your online account and look on the right for the free FICO score link). Beyond that the reason to pay for these services if for credit monitoring.
     
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  4. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    STOP! Before you do anything more, take some time to think about how often you're going to be traveling, where you want to go, when you'll want to go, what class of travel you want to choose, and whether or not you'll be traveling with companions. The optimum points and miles strategy for one person who wants to travel First Class from the US to Japan is completely different from the optimum strategy for a family of four who live in Chicago and want to visit Disneyland. Start planing some dream trips, and then get back to us, and folks will be happy to help you map out the ways to turn those dreams into reality.
     
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  5. TUMD

    TUMD Silver Member

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    Completely agree. My brother was in a similar situation a few months ago. I knew he could only take 1 big trip a year so I told him to think about where he wants to go, how he wants to go and how he wants to stay. After deciding on a couple cities in Europe we went to Awardmapper.com and looked to see what chains had hotels there. Now that we knew the cities of arrival and the hotels located there I could direct him to the best value and appropriate cards.

    In this example he was leaving the Baltimore/DC area and the cities in Europe he selected had several Club Carlson and SPG propreties. Therefore, he and his wife each applied for the 100K Citi AA Exec, 25K AMEX SPG and 80K US Bank Club Carlson (second night free for a 2 night stay is too good to pass up). This gave them points to fly a Oneworld carrier in Business Class RT and have several nights at different hotels, with up to 8 at different Club Carlson's if they stay only 2 nights at 4 different ones (2 per city isn't bad).

    They had to do a little MS but it worked very well for them. If you will be traveling many times a year, in a different class, different departure cities, different arrival cities, or different hotel types than other cards could be a better deal for you. As others have said, set your goals and then see what would be the best values and most appropriate for those goals.
     
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  6. TravelRz

    TravelRz New Member

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    Hi again everyone

    I realize my 'first' post was lacking in details, so thank you for your patience and feedback.

    I am going to try and see if I can do better this time :)

    About me as a traveler - Basically I am a travel junkie and for past few years have traveled 2-3 times a year, mostly international. Typically, its one trip to Asia, one to Europe one to South America. I realized that lack of time and money are serious inhibitors, so am currently looking to make changes that will allow me to travel with more time and less money..

    I typically fly solo and international trips are my focus. I have flown coach most times except once when I was recuperating from an injury and needed to fly, so went first class (by paying for it!). I typically stay in 'affordable' accommodations (hostels/budget hotel/friends) so have not yet considered any hotel loyalty programs. Iused to have HH, but that was before I really understood the power of points and lost all of the points when they expired - so I decided never again! (unless there is a really good reason to go after that)

    Where I want to go- I plan to eventually see every country in the world. For the immediate future, to narrow it down, I am looking at Africa and Australia/NZ later this year.

    Why I got the Arrival card - Primarily because it has 2x points for any purchase and has points flexibility. I currently have AA and Delta FF status (lowest tier) and while it would be nice to maintain it, it may not be possible this year. I have been loyal to Skymiles for a while but their recent changes may not make it possible / viable for me to maintain status which is why my focus is now as much "free" travel / upgrades as possible.

    Why am I looking to get another CC - I am looking at some upcoming spend that I would like to leverage by getting a card whose signup bonus will complement my Arrival and/or delta/aa miles.

    As I began my research it dawned on me that there is no way one person can ever comb through and find EVERY single deal or make foolproof plans. One of the biggest reasons I logged on here is to meet other 'travel junkies" with whom I can share ideas and questions.

    Hope to hear more from all of you seasoned milepointers!

    Pat
     
  7. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    If Australia and New Zealand are your goals, I suggest Alaska Airline Miles. Award tickets to this region are very hard to come by and I think Alaska's partners give you the best options and most generous routing rules, i.e. a stopover in Hong Kong on your way to Australia. For more info check out my blog post on the subject http://www.portlandtraveltips.com/2...ileage-plan-awards-to-australiasouth-pacific/.

    For Africa, I would probably concentrate on Membership Rewards points. This will give you a variety of options to choose from. Specifically, I'm thinking Air Canada (Star alliance), Air France/KLM, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Lastly, Alaska Airlines has a gem of a long haul award to South Africa. For 70k miles you can fly Cathay Pacific First Class from North America to South Africa. You can also build in a stopover in Hong Kong on this award as well. So for 70k you get two trips for the price of one in first class. I would probably transit home through Europe so a one way would work for me but if you wanted a roundtrip award you can book the same flight roundtrip in business class for 125k, also a great deal.
     
  8. TravelRz

    TravelRz New Member

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    Thank you sharris503. Your blog post was also very informative, thanks for the link as well. I already have a delta amex so I am not eligible for any new signup bonus offers though I was thinking of canceling this card now to be eligible in a few months maybe? Not sure what their 'wait time' is to become eligible again.
    Being in the Midwest puts a bit of a damper on having Alaska as a carrier - not a lot of their flights on this side apparently, although I can probably fly over to their start point and then get their flight onwards...
    Since Alaska partners with AA, maybe getting the AA Citi card with 45k is a better deal?
     
  9. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    Having Delta cards should not preclude you from an MR Amex card, but read the T&C's.

    AA being partners with AS only means you can use AA miles to fly on AS per AA's award chart. If you want to take advantage of AS's award chart and partner redemptions you need AS miles.

    AA also partners with Cathay but they do not allow stop overs which Alaska does.
     
  10. TravelRz

    TravelRz New Member

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    Hmm, ok, so I need to do some more analysis on acquiring miles - Alaska seems to have a 25k bonus thou in the past they have had 50k..Would probably be better to look for the higher bonus.

    I'll also see if any other cards allow AS mile transfers like chase sapphire does..
     
  11. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    AS cards can be churned and the SPG card transfer to AS. In theory, as always YMMV, but between the AS personal and business and the SPG personal and business you could earn at least 150k AS miles over the course of 12-18 months.
     
  12. marianparlors

    marianparlors New Member

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    Being a noob doesn't mean you dont have the right to access anything.. You need to learn through the steps and enjoy every step of the way!
     
  13. howtofreetravel

    howtofreetravel Active Member

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    Get a chase sapphire ,an amex platinum( with the huge ass bonus if you can get it) , citi 75k miles AA , Some hotel cards , etc
     

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