Hold off on AOR to see if better hotel offers arise?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by TWA44, Feb 20, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. TWA44

    TWA44 Active Member

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    Hi,
    I am new to the forum and hope to get some advice from more seasoned point collectors.

    Having done my first (mini) AOR in late November (3 cards for my husband and 1 for me) to get my feet wet, I was getting ready to do a bigger one next week (91 days later). Here's what we got in November:

    Sapphire Preferred Visa Chase (in husband's name)
    Hilton Hhonors AMEX (in husband's name)
    US Airways MC Barclays (one for each of us)

    Cards I'd like to add include United MIleage Plus Explorer (Chase), AAdvantage Gold Visa (CITI) and/or Delta Gold (AMEX). In terms of hotels, before the Hilton devaluation, I was looking to add another Hilton card (CITI probably) as well as perhaps Club Carlson (US Bank), Wyndham (Barclays) and/or SPG (AMEX). But I am wondering if I should hold off on the AOR in hopes that some of the hotel credit cards will soon offer bigger bonuses to lure new customers away from Hilton. Maybe Hilton will do it too, as an attempt to appease angry HHonors members with some bonus points?

    I do not see the Ink Bold cards as appealing choices due to the big spend and the issue around proving we are a business.

    So, two basic questions:

    1) Would you recommend holding off a few weeks or a month, to see if some new hotel offers pop?

    2) In view of the Hilton devaluation, is it wiser to use the Sapphire card more? Having made the minimum spends on the new cards already, I now use the Sapphire card for everything except the Hilton AMEX 6X categories (gas, groceries, drugstores, wireless/phone/comcast).

    Thanks for any advice/suggestions you can offer.
     
  2. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Chase UR and Amex MR points are 2 of the more valuable points types, simply because of their flexibility with regard to transfers 1:1 with many partners. So, I'm personally not even using the Hilton Amex 6x as much anymore after the devaluation. 6x Hilton now it would be hard to argue as being a significantly better deal than 1 UR point per $.

    I've been earning around 18k Hilton points each month with the 6x, but that was mainly with drugstores, and that is disappearing in May.

    I would highly suggest keeping your eyes peeled for the next time the Ink changes their min spend down to $5k again. I got in during the last time, and I've been buying all my gas via gas cards with 5x UR points rather than 6x Hilton, and for groceries, you might get an argument from me that even buying 2 $200 gift cards from an office store for 5x UR points (even with the $6 fee each) is worth more than 6x Hilton.

    I'm assuming you're a female and my wife was the exact same way about being cautious about getting a business card, but Chase isn't like Citibank when it comes to business cards, so don't worry about it as much. My personal finance blog which doesn't make any money is my "business", and I also sell stuff on Amazon as a marketplace seller and ebay. Those things qualify as "businesses" under sole props. You don't need a business name or a TIN.

    As for the thought about other hotels offering bonuses, I know that IHG ran a "deval" promo the last time Hilton had a major devaluation in 2010, but I don't believe credit cards were involved. Also, it seems with the news this year that there may be less and less value in chasing hotel points if you're only an aspirational traveler, because of many of the hotels that have gone through devals already this year (SPG, Marriott, IHG, now Hilton, and rumors of Wyndham on the way). There are many Hilton properties now that I was looking at where my value of the new points requirements came out to be more expensive than the cash value of the property for the stay dates, so I'm seeing fewer reasons to continue to chase their points. I would say you should BOTH get a Sapphire Preferred and the US Air card, and then concentrate your other apps on the 50k AA Platinum Select cards (not sure why you mentioned Gold), and at least "try" using the dual browser trick. If you get denied for 1 of the 2 cards each, at least it was only one credit pull.
     
  3. ValF

    ValF Silver Member

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    I'm not an expert, but will put my 2 cents in anyway...
    Of the hotel cards I feel the Club Carlson is still attractive. If you spend $3000 on the card (min. spend for the bonus points is $2500) you'll end up with enough points for 2 nights in a top tier Radisson Blu property. With the "free night when you stay 2" feature of the card, this means you'll stretch those points to 4 nights! Radisson Blu seems well represented in Europe, and there are some nice looking properties in the US also.

    The reason you should consider getting it on your next churn is that USBank is a very fussy lender. They like a credit report without many credit pulls on it. When I added the card to our last churn I could only apply for my husband. In our family I'm the points nut, so my credit reports have lots of pulls. My husband's record is much cleaner. If you wait on this card and decide later to go for it, you may not qualify.

    Just something to think about. Good luck with getting lots of miles/points (whatever programs you choose)!
     
  4. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    They have very limited US penetration, and I'm pretty sure the free night when you stay 2 nets you 3 total nights, not 4. You're right though, it's likely the best offer out there right now, but it's not churnable, so outside of that one offer (maybe per household adult if you're lucky), there's not much more to gain, unless I'm missing something.
     
  5. ValF

    ValF Silver Member

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    Servo,
    Thanks for checking my math - you're right that Carlson makes you have enough miles in your account to book
    2 free nights and then they only charge your account for 1 night. So, with 100k miles in your account you only net 3. US Bank is giving an annual bonus to cardholders of 40k miles, (at the expense of a yearly fee) which will get you almost another night after a year. Will be worth it to me, but not to everybody.
    Guess I should have stuck to a more general point, that I didn't consider when I started out - that different banks are more or less hard to get credit cards from. When I realized I was going to be in for the long term, I should have done more research on which banks to get cards from while my record was still "pristine" and saved some of the easier cards to get for later.
     
  6. TWA44

    TWA44 Active Member

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    Thanks for all the advise. Much appreciated.

    I am not really an aspirational traveler. I will be happy to fly business class and stay at good but not extraordinary hotels, two or three times a year. I will apply for the Carlson card but maybe Hilton is not such a bad thing for me. I noted Gary Leff's comment in View from the Wing today, which was something I had been thinking myself:
    "If you're using your points for lesser hotels, or small cities, you may do fine and even see point requirements drop." So I am not going to count out Hilton.

    I need to sit down and figure out which cards I should apply for, and which I should apply for for my husband. Because he makes the money and I am basically a homemaker, I expect he'll qualify more easily than I will. Last time around, he was approved immediately for all three I tried, but I had to call the recon line to get approved for the US Airways card. But I am going to be a little more aggressive this time around.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. pilotb757

    pilotb757 Silver Member

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    I have a different approach than churners who apply for 6+ cards in one day, I apply for big offers only once available, i got 100k for amex plat,personal and business 75k for business gold and 50k for personal, 30k for Spg business and personal, BA visa 100k etc. I never apply for cards which will net me points or miles that are of little use to me, also i hardly cancel cards as long as the card meets my needs.
    As for the Club Carlson card , i think it is a good one to have if your destination is Europe where they have some nice hotels , in North America only the Radisson Blu Chicago and a few in the Caribbean.
     
  8. TWA44

    TWA44 Active Member

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    Thanks, PilotB757!
     
  9. ValF

    ValF Silver Member

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    A correction - Frequent Miler (and also one of his readers) just reported that he was able to book 2 free nights with only enough points for one in his account. So I guess you can get 4 free nights from the getting the Club Carlson card. Great news for me!
     
  10. TWA44

    TWA44 Active Member

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    That's good news! I had my husband apply for the Club Carlson yesterday and a call today to the bank said the app is going to final evaluation and it looked very good. We should hear for sure in 48 hours and the guy said to expect the card on Thursday. I am wondering if it makes sense for me to apply too!
     
  11. chemist562
    Original Member

    chemist562 In Memorian

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    I applied for the Club Carlson card with moderate credit inquiries. (I refinanced 3 rental properties plus several CC's--got approved in spite of those inquiries--my FICO's were over 800 at the time of application). I already used some points for 2 for 1 award stays at Country Inn & Suites an upcoming 8 day trip in upstate NY in early August. Between using FF miles. Hertz pts for the 1 week rental car and Carlson nfor the hotels, our trip will cost next to nothing. My Carlson pts from 2K spend (will have well over $2500 spend by next month) posted and I am back over 150K. My wife has over 200K from the last Carlson promos this past summer!

    This CC has been quite valuable to us. Due to medical issues, my travel is limited to the USA for now. ( I have stage 4 cancer and presently in the hospital in San Diego (100 miles from home) due to a fractured hip--I am doing well with recovery and hope to be released to rehab close to home soon).

    I do not let my medical issues keep me from doing what my wife & I do best--travel!! Of course, we do the travel under approval from the Doctors.

    We will apply for CC's for the travel benefits. Those bonuses made travel for us very inexpensive!!
     
    marekam and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  12. TWA44

    TWA44 Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply. We did an AOR last week for my husband. He was approved for the Carlson card and we are waiting to receive it. Also got a Citi Hilton Honors and a Citi AA MC, both of which arrived today. Looking at the minimum spends we now need to meet, and a snail mail offer from US Airways to get 15,000 miles if I spend $750 in each of the next three months, I think I am going to delay my next AOR just a bit anyway. Maybe in the meantime, another hotel offer with a good bonus, or something else good, will pop up. Since 91 days have passed as of today, I can jump on it.

    I think if I keep our AORs smaller, at least at first, it will be easier to keep all the records straight. Not living in a state with any CVS stores, I do not have the Vanilla Reloads as much of an option. 4 out of 5 times, either Walgreen's has none, or the clerk will not accept a credit card, so for the most part, I need to make the spends the "ol-fashioned" way.

    Great that you can continue traveling! Hope that you recover quickly from that fracture and that your overall health improves too! Thanks again for replying.
     
  13. mooeyjc

    mooeyjc Active Member

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    I like your small AOR idea.
    I am actually new to the point game, but I've known this idea for a long time and have collected some in the past, just never occurred to me that there is this whole big picture when one dive deeper and I thoroughly enjoying it.
    VR is quite sparse now and I don't think it is a very viable way. Plus I think new comers such as myself shouldn't go quite wild at the beginning, so maybe you could consider the AMEX Target card to do the reload game. That's what I did and I find it suit my current spending needs.
     
  14. TWA44

    TWA44 Active Member

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    Thanks. I will check it out.
     
  15. chemist562
    Original Member

    chemist562 In Memorian

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    With all the activity on my credit report, I will give my applications a "rest" for 3- 4 months (or longer!). I sold one of my rental houses so 1 mortgage and one small HELOC (8 % utilization) got paid off. Also, I applied for 6 CC's (I did not do those in one day but over a 3 week period. (dumb on my part!)). Good news are I got 6 approvals out of 6 on the CC's!

    My scores dropped from 800+ to 740-750.My scores may even drop more but they will recover!! I am working on min spends and the dropping off a 15 yr old mortgage and 7 yr HELOC plus 6 CC's dropped my scores. I have a very thick credit file so the FICO drops were not too bad. I will just wait patiently for my scores to recover!

    Bottom line: We all have something to learn and I am learning lots every day. Since our primary residence and cars are paid for, we have no loan needs for the future. The CC's signup bonuses will give us lots of free/cheap travel in the future!!!
     
    marekam likes this.
  16. restonva

    restonva Active Member

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    I think there is merit in your approach pilotb757. I have been reading the message boards but haven't seen it discussed before. Thanks for posting.
     
    pilotb757 likes this.

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