trying to figure out a churn strategy, where to start?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by cats, Mar 15, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. cats

    cats Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    15
    Status Points:
    30
    Hi everyone, first time poster here...hope this is the right forum.

    My SO and I recently moved into a new apartment that allows us to pay rent on a credit card (with no fees). We've always been a little "eh" on the "spend $X, get huge point bonus" CC offers in the past, because our non-rent spending is often quite low and it seemed like we'd have a hard time meeting the minimum spend requirement on many offers without pulling off a load of tricks. But now it seems like meeting at least a few minimum spends should be no problem, and I've been charged with the task of developing a plan. Yikes!

    Here's a run-down of our situation and goals:
    1. We average about $2500/month in spending that can be charged.
    2. Ideally, we would like to be able to travel once domestically per year (probably around Thanksgiving or Christmas, to visit family), and once internationally per year (top destinations right now are Latin America, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia). We would be flying out of SFO, if that makes a difference. At the moment our vacation time is limited so more travel than that is not really in the picture.
    3. We both have pretty solid, if not amazing, credit scores (700-750 range).
    4. If we somehow wind up with "too many" points for our travel needs, our preference would be to convert remaining points into cash back. I realize this is not always the "best" value for points redemption but it seems better than not redeeming at all!

    It seems like Ultimate Rewards from Chase are a nice one to go for as they are very flexible and you can combine points from different accounts. So I was thinking the Sapphire Preferred card for each of us is probably a good one to start with, and that I would probably pair that with an AMEX card of some kind (as we do most of our grocery shopping at costco....where AMEX is the card of choice). Does anyone have any advice on picking an AMEX card? I have a blue sky rewards card already. Ideally we would like cards with no annual fee or where the fee is waived for a year but I'm not sure how many of those there are.

    Anyway, any advice, suggestions on where to start, etc. would be much appreciated!
     
  2. servo

    servo Silver Member

    Messages:
    736
    Likes Received:
    1,031
    Status Points:
    825
    First off, welcome to Milepoint, cats!

    For domestic travel once a year, and assuming you can transfer points from your partners Ultimate Rewards account to yours, or vice versa, the 2 Sapphire Preferred cards are a great first step. That would get you a good number of points to transfer for airline or hotels, and would satisfy the domestic RT's annually, but likely wouldn't be significant enough for international travel as well. You'd want to supplement that with a card or two that had good award charts to the areas you're interested in. United and AA cards are usually better deals than Delta ones.

    As for your Amex card, there are choices here too. Starwood Preferred Guest Amex is one of the top suggestions, although there are bonuses right now on Membership Rewards Amex cards that might be of value as well. 50k Premier Rewards Gold would be a good option. http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2013/03/14/worth-grabbing-50000-points-for-american-express-premier-rewards-gold/
     
    edekba likes this.
  3. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,462
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Status Points:
    2,145
    servo is good w/the CSP option. Throw in the Freedom & occasionally UA (intl) /Southwest (domestic) you should be good.

    after you've exhausted those, maybe get in on the AA/US airways cards now before the merger and use them for domestic as well ...


    SPG/Club Carlson i think are good options for hotel cards; though if you're not a big hotel type of person hotels.com 10% back is a sweet deal.
    And that's just crazy talk;)too much points hahah.... just earn more till ur next redemption. =)


    But without actual flying (or spending a batman load of money on cards) i don't think people can sustain traveling on points for more than 3 to 4 years based upon sign on bonuses allowed. I think that's something that isnt mentioned often but i've come to realized that. I've been on one intl journey and about to go on my 2nd one. After that I see maybe 2 or 3 more trips then I would've exhausted all of the large sign on bonuses so I don't see how people can sustain that without like i mentioned flying a lot or spending a large amount on their cards.
     
  4. cats

    cats Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    15
    Status Points:
    30

    Yes, I don't really know if it's going to be a super-sustainable long-term strategy, but if we can work it for the next couple of years that will be AWESOME. We are trying to really turbo-charge savings at the moment AND we have a couple of big travel things we would love to do before starting a family, so free/cheap travel through sign up bonuses for the next 2-4 years would be a huge plus and really help us to have our cake and eat it too. After that, we'll see! I'm definitely going to start paying more attention to which cards get the "best" points for different purchases and being a bit more strategic about how we pay for the spending that we do as well. And I recently started a new job that involves some (reimbursable) travel, so that may start turning into a significant source of extra points as well.

    I crunched some numbers and it looks like we should be able to cover domestic travel for this year totally through Chase sign up bonuses (SP for each of us, and then maaaaybe one other Chase card), which I am SUPER excited about. Now working out what we want to do on the international front--I'll be looking into options for United cards as that is SO's preferred airline. Thanks for the reminder about hotel cards also. We are not huge hotel people ourselves, but both have to stay in hotels for work periodically so we should probably try to take advantage of that for those occasional times when we do need a hotel room for our own trips!
     
    edekba likes this.
  5. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,462
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Status Points:
    2,145
    Yeah reason why I first got into this hobby was from Hotels. Work was sending me to Sheratons 15nights a year and I was like why the hell would I not get the SPG card. Then the more I dug the more addicted I became.
    Something to think about though, imo using UR points for domestic air travel (Through UA) is such a bad value. At the very least, get the Southwest Card & then xfer as needed into it; but keep your UR points for UA intl travel as domestic air travel is usually a lot cheaper than intl ...
     

Share This Page