Looking For Some Veteran Advice

Discussion in 'Other Credit Card Programs' started by stm69, Dec 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. stm69

    stm69 Active Member

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    Have not posted much here - mostly trolling, but have been able to glean some great information. Glad to see such a great resource for sharing one's experience with relative newbies like myself. (apologies in advance if this gets wordy)

    UA 1K for several years now w/no card strategy outside of trying to put everything into UA miles - bank @ Chase, so had the UA debit card until that went away, wife puts all the household expenses on Chase MP Select Visa, and I use a United Club Visa for business expenses & lounge access. Kids can't fly due to allergies, so miles go towards my annual fee on the club, merchandise, etc., while I expect not the best value, convenience is nice.

    I am currently doing a challenge w/AA & using the initial flights to evaluate & determine if I want to make the switch in 2013. Obviously, if I switch to AA, I'll need to change my CC strategy a bit.

    Handful of cards in the drawer & not used (Merrill Lynch Visa, BofA Visa, Diners Club, Amex Gold), some of which I may get rid of (definitely dropping DC). Since we drive everywhere for vacations, I'm thinking hotel cards are probably the way to go, but still formulating a strategy & therefore looking for some advice. I have to book my business travel through our travel agent, but that's generally limited to flights - I can usually do my own thing when it comes to hotels & cars.

    When traveling, I tend to frequent the following chains:

    SPG (Platinum 2012/2013) - Have access to a corporate rate, which is a really nice benefit - rate usually gets me into a Westin for the cost of a 4 points or aLoft; Just learned that the SPG Amex gives a 2-stay credit towards elite status each year, so applied for that this morning & was approved.

    Hilton (Diamond 2012, will drop to whatever - gold? in 2013) - Probably the best in terms of availability of properties where I travel (primarily Western U.S.), but these are mostly HGIs - dependable, but boring.

    Hyatt (Plat 2012, Diamond 2013) - The United Club card comes with automatic Platinum @ Hyatt, so I decided to grab more stays there this year (instead of Hilton) to see what Diamond does for me. First stay as Diamond will be next week @ a Regency property; most Hyatt stays will probably be at Hyatt Place, which aren't great & status doesn't get you much.

    Tend to carry a balance on my wife's card, so I'm thinking of switching that to something like a Slate card - giving up points in favor of lower rate. I will have the SPG Amex to use at least @ SPG properties - does it really make sense to grab a Hilton and/or Hyatt card too to max out point opportunities with those programs, or better to upgrade the Amex Gold to Platinum, which addresses the lounge issue, and know that I can use MR pts @ SPG & Hilton if needed?

    Alternative would be to carry hotel cards & just use AA miles to cover my club access once I accumulate what I need. I'll most likely pick two hotel programs & stick with them - only enough stays in a year to warrant the highest status with two programs generally- Hyatt is nice, but I'll probably end up back @ Hilton due to the availability of properties where I travel. Saw something here earlier about SPG Lifetime Platinum - maybe I just ditch Hilton & Hyatt altogether, go SPG all the time & shoot for that....

    Credit rating is not an issue - should have no issues being approved anywhere. Not really interested in churning cards frequently to max out signup offers, etc. - would rather keep it simple assuming I can find something that makes sense.

    Opinions welcome, advice greatly appreciated-
     
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  2. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    First question is why you "tend to carry a balance" on you wife's credit card. Never a good thing to do.

    As for credit cards, since you appear to be more interested in hotels, I would suggest the HHonors surpass card (9 points per $ for Hilton charges). Also gives you Diamond status after $40K in spending.

    Other than that, I think you have answered your own questions.
     
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  3. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    For road trips, if you don't mind the Club Carlson properties, their new card might be worthwhile as it basically gives you a free award night with each award stay.
     
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  4. stm69

    stm69 Active Member

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    I may have- you're right. Not carrying by design, but always seems to take longer than we hope to put it away.

    Thx for the help-
     
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  5. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    Since you aren't using your miles for flying, why not get a cash back card. You'll get a better conversion rate and redemption.
     

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