Moving to BOS, and rethinking Airline/Alliance and Credit Card Strategy

Discussion in 'BOS/MHT/PVD | Boston Area Airports' started by yaychemistry, May 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    693
    Status Points:
    610
    Next month I will start a new job in Boston, and on top of that the annual fee for my Chase Sapphire is due so I have to decide if I want to keep it. So this has sparked a strategy re-think for me and I would love to hear everyone's input/suggestions. Plus, I just got back from a wonderful 3 week vacation, so my mileage accounts are all pretty empty and I'm not feeling all that tied to any program.

    About Me:
    Currently I'm a 2P on UA, though I'm not likely to requalify for next year.
    I fly most often to SEA, OAK/SFO, MSP, and JNU once every other year or so (around 30k miles in a good year).
    The majority of my miles come from c.c. spend.
    I split most of my spending between the Chase Sapphire (hotels, dining, and anything while abroad) and my UA MP Select Visa (gas, groceries, and airfare from UA). The Select Visa is great because it has 2x miles on gas, groceries, and dining plus 3x on airfare. The majority of my Chase points went into UA miles.

    I'm tempted to ditch the Chase Sapphire. I would lose 2x on travel, the flexibility of transferring to Hyatt (the only option I would use besides UA miles), and the waived foreign transaction fees (came in handy the last year, but I probably won't go abroad for a while). The UA MP Select Visa, however, is a great card with 2x on gas/groceries - so I won't lose much earning ability when it comes to UA miles.

    On top of that, upon moving to BOS, I'm also tempted to give up on UA altogether. I feel that my destinations might be better served by a combination of DL and AS, where I can credit all my flights to AS (as well as the occasional AA flight). I would then switch my cards to the AS Visa and/or the SPG Amex. I would lose out on the earnings potential of a 2x gas/groceries card (which is huge), but the AS companion pass would definitely be useful with the non-stop BOS-SEA flight. I would also lose out on the remainder of my UA Silver Status, but... without E+ at booking its not as appealing as it used to be.


    It seems that the crux of the decision is bonus c.c. categories (UA) vs possibly a larger/better route network from the combined AS/DL/AA, and the companion ticket.
     
  2. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    Messages:
    774
    Likes Received:
    912
    Status Points:
    795
    For general credit card advice, check this thread and Gary Leff's View from the Wing blog. I'm no longer using the Fidelity 2% Amex as much, but that might be good card for you. I don't have a Sapphire card, but I do have the Hyatt card. Like the Sapphire, it has no international transactions fees. It has an annual fee, but it also gives you a Hyatt night every year, which easily pays for itself. I wasn't at FT University last weekend, but the credit card debate was extensive -- you may want to check that out.

    As for airlines: I moved to BOS about a year ago and so far have stuck with UA. But I'm a 1K. I'm contemplating AA given the status matches going on now. If you're only a 2P on UA, I'd seriously consider switching -- the recent gutting of 2P perks was a bit extreme. One perk of the UA Select card that you didn't mention were the 5K EQM/year from ticket purchases. Maybe those EQMs can help you retain UA status, if you want it? Little details to keep in mind: UA is split between two terminals at Logan. UA also has several BOS-SFO non-stops, and they've pulled out of Oakland.
     
    yaychemistry likes this.
  3. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,278
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Status Points:
    4,170
    Weigh the value of card benefits vs. the annual fee carefully. With something like sapphire the benefits are really the points, so you need to value the points you get at that amount MORE than what sort of rebate you'd get from a fee-free card. This typically takes a fair bit of spend - spend amounts will be a big determiner here.

    Another option with big spend (if you value status) is getting into bed with Delta and Amex, as you can spend your way to status there. Depending on where you travel redeeming will either be OK or absolutely terrible. Europe would be very easy, elsewhere much more challenging. This is of course assuming that the status quo remains.

    It may be worth diversifying your flying to just shopping price/convenience/how much you like the carrier. You don't fly enough to gain meaningful status, and most of your miles are from CC spend anyway.
     
    yaychemistry likes this.
  4. Sean Colahan
    Original Member

    Sean Colahan Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,608
    Likes Received:
    2,021
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Welcome to the Hub! (side note, us Bostonians should get together for dinner some Saturday night) I digress. I think you might want to give DL a try out of BOS. They have a lot of frequencies out of BOS and Terminal A where they operate out of is a beauty. They are also adding flights and destinations on a sustainable level. The only worry with AA is their cornerstone strAAtegy (aka have become weak when they were once strong at BOS and they have pulled out all Eagle flying.) Now that weAAkness will go away once they merge with US and BOS will be a very solid One World Airport.
     
    yaychemistry likes this.
  5. JetsettingEric
    Original Member

    JetsettingEric Silver Member

    Messages:
    626
    Likes Received:
    705
    Status Points:
    695
    If OAK is more convenient to you than SFO - i would consider switching to US. Many airlines, including UA are droping OAK. Yes - you would need to connect to go to most of your destinations, but...

    * The Delta terminal generally has very long lines at the security checkpoint, i'm not a fan. This might be easier when the former CO flights moves to terminal B, but this is a long time away
    * The US terminal is very underutilized and the Shuttle area is very nice
    * With 30k of flying, you can easily get mid-tier (Gold) on US. 30k of flying + 10k preferred miles from $25k credit card spend + additional preferred miles from the grand slam and club promotions.
    * Upgrades will likely be easiest on US. They have a smaller frequent flyer base and a smaller network (no flights to asia) - so I would expect a good number of upgrades on BOS-PHX, especially on off-peak times.
    * Companion certificate with credit card spend
    * Consider the buy-up to preferred which is a challenge where you get status upfront.
     
    yaychemistry and Sean Colahan like this.
  6. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,278
    Likes Received:
    5,543
    Status Points:
    4,170
    TSA precheck is another consideration.
    TSA Precheck is scheduled to come to BOS for Delta on June 12th, so that could potentially negate many of the security line concerns, depending on implementation details and desire/willingness to participate. Seattle has it for AS but not DL. It's coming to SFO but not sure on the details.

    US has morphed into my second carrier due to convenience and low fares in the SW. I credit the miles to Aegean Airlines - once I get to 20k I'll be able to maintain Star Gold status so would have lounge access and priority security/boarding whenever I fly any of the Star carriers. Redemption rates look OK, with some hoops to jump through.

    In general I would not let 25kmile status level influence the decision too much - if that is all you see yourself maintaining, then I would select based on price and how much you like the product. If you can stretch to 50k status either by flying more or by getting miles via alternative sources with Delta or US, then that is worth considering.
     
    yaychemistry likes this.
  7. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,617
    Likes Received:
    13,489
    Status Points:
    11,070
    With AS you could take advantage of AA or DL options... I do like Terminal A and the SC better than AA's offering on the other side of the airport though...
    :)
     
    yaychemistry and Sean Colahan like this.
  8. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    693
    Status Points:
    610
    Thanks for all the input!

    It seems that there are more DL flyers than UA in BOS... kind of what I was thinking. Since I'm already an AS aficianado, it seems that switching to DL/AS/AA is the better option. I'd hate to "waste" status with UA... but these days 2P doesn't amount to much anyway.

    With the new job, I lose out on some of the larger reimbursable expenses, so having multiple earning cards doesn't make as much sense. Looks like i'm going to ditch my Chase Sapphire... and possibly my UA Select Visa - though I would hope to replace it with another 2x gas/groceries card (perhaps the Amex PRG - but that has such a high fee and doesn't transfer to AS). Or I could go with the SPG Amex.
     
    Sean Colahan likes this.

Share This Page