Which is better? Airline or Hotel credit card?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by davidtate, Mar 6, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. davidtate

    davidtate New Member

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    My new company lets me book my corporate travel with a personal credit card so I can earn points or miles. Given the choice of using an airline co-brand card or a hotel co-brand card, which usually gives better value?
     
  2. Ninmurai

    Ninmurai Active Member

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    Isn't this a case of YMMV? It entirely depends what you use the points for.

    The SPG card will allow 1:1 transfer ratios to many airlines, but you're probably better off using an Amex gold/platinum or Chase (if you're based in USA --- I'm not!) for the clear diversity of the programmes
     
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  3. particlemn

    particlemn Silver Member

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    I would say it really depends on where you want to travel on your vacation to use the points, do you want your vacations to be many flgihts and a few days in each place as we see so many of these crazy trip reports for, or do you want to goto one place and stay a week, if its the week in one place i think hotel points are much more attractive, we live on the west coast and like going to hawaii, its only 5 hours on the flight so i can suffer through coach for about 400 RT per person, but 7 nights in a nice place can cost aroung 2k. I get more value having my hotel payed for. Also some credit cards like hilton give you gold status and the chance to earn diamond with spend, this gets you free breakfast, internet, and some rom upgrades.
    A few years ago i shifted my attention to hotel points, i still get airline miles from sign up bonuses, but by day to day spend goes to hotel points
     
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  4. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    Another thing to keep in mind if you don't have elite status, if you use an airline branded credit card, depending on the card you'll get Priority access and a free bag.

    And you could use two cards: one for airfare and one for hotels, that way you can earn both. :)
     
  5. JoeCortez

    JoeCortez Silver Member

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    I think this is definitely a case of YMMV, and what you value more. Are you looking for accelerated path to status at hotels? Do you want to be able to take free flights to wherever? Are your allegiances open? Or do you plan on keeping your flights with one particular airline/alliance?

    Based on your newfound freedom, there's several ways you could go with this:
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2 points per dollar on all travel (airfare, hotels, etc.), plus a bonus at the end of the year. Flexible points transfers to many partners make this a viable option. Good startup spend bonus as well (40,000 points after $3,000 spend in 3 months).
    • American Express Premiere Rewards Gold: 3 points per dollar on airfare, 2 points per dollar on gas & groceries. An assortment of good points transfer partners make this also a viable option. Not a great startup spend bonus right now, but not bad, either (25,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 months). Personally, I'm a fan of Amex for the customer service aspect.
    • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest: Offers a jumpstart on SPG elite status (2 stays/5 nights), and points can either be used for Starwood hotels or transferred to many different partners. Decent startup spend bonus on it as well (10,000 on first use, 15,000 additional after $5,000 in spend over 6 months).
    Outside of those three, many of the airline cards offer perks when you're flying that airline, such as free checked bag, annual lounge pass, priority boarding, etc. And there is aboslutely nothing wrong with using different cards for different aspects (one for hotel, one for rental car, one for airfare, etc.). Hope this helps!
     
  6. jpersonette11

    jpersonette11 Active Member

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    I agree with everyone above. I was in the same situation, but couldn't entirely answer what I wanted to use the points for in the future. Instead, I paired off two cards, used an airline for airline travel (free bags, priority, lounge passes, etc) and then used my Hotel award card for all Travel overnights. That way I was building up great multiplies 12x, 10x, at these hotels. It was the right way to start, and since then....I have determined my own future travel plan, so I have tweeked and changed everything I originally did. But none of it hurt me as it just gave me a base to build off of in two categories.

    Good luck though....jp
     
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  7. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    If you are staying at Hyatt, the Amex Gold Business Rewards card gives a 5% rebate, which does not show up on the bill. If you are being reimbursed from the bill, you will be 5% ahead if staying at Hyatt and using that card, which is probably better than any points or miles earned for the stay.
     
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  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am not sure if your new company presents this as an either/or choice, but based on the various posts on this site, I have a sense that this is probably a false choice for most, who happen to carry both types of cards. I too am allowed to use personal cards for corporate travel. For this, I have 3 United Airlines-branded Chase visa cards that I use for airline-associated purchases and 2 Hilton Honnors-branded cards (one AMEX and one Citi visa) and 1 Hyatt-branded Chase visa card, which I use for hotel-associated payments...The circumstances (e.g., avoiding foreign transaction fees) dictate which card(s) I use, but they all earn either airline miles or hotel points. Since you are allowed to use personal cards for your corporate travel, I am not sure why you could not maximize your loyalty points/miles earnings by carrying both types of cards.
     
  9. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Here's a thread on favourite credit cards that may be useful. It has not been updated in several months, but the advice is still pretty good.

    Many of us carry multiple cards.

    Questions to ask yourself:
    • Would you be better off with a cash back card? (e.g. the Barclays Priceline Visa or FIA Fidelity Amex, both of which earn 2% for no annual fee)
    • What currency do you want to redeem? Airline points tend not to transfer; some hotel points do.
    • How much of your airline spend is with one airline? (If much, an airline-specific card MIGHT be best, but remember that Chase Sapphire Preferred still gives 2.07 points/dollar, Amex PRG gives 3x, and even the Hyatt Visa gives 2x on airfare. It's hard to find an airline-specific card to beat 2 points/dollar.)
    • Likewise, hotel spend?
    • How tolerant are you of the pain of transferring points?
    • Do your travel patterns and reimbursement policy make a no-foreign-transaction-fee card useful? (Chase Hyatt Visa, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and others offer this, but usually with an annual fee. FIA Fidelity Amex is only 1%.)
     
  10. zewilds

    zewilds Member

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    Useful!
     
  11. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I agree with most everyone's statements as well but hey more advise and it's free.

    Take a look at where you travel and how you travel. If it's all or mostly car trips I would just go with a couple good hotel cards. I travel mostly by car and use Priority Club as my main card and Hilton as a secondary when I have to stay in places without a good IHG property. It works in the territory I work but wouldn't everywhere.

    If you travel a lot or mostly by airplane I would go with the main hub carrier in your area. Could be more than one carrier. For example here in St. Louis it pays to have an AA card and a SW card as those are the two main players. You want to build up points on the carriers you use and can redeem one plus be able to take advantage of the card holder perks like priority boarding, etc.

    In addition keep your main cards simple. It might pay to rotate them around as new card sign up bonuses come and go but figure your in it for the long haul. In addition consider churning a few cards a year outside those programs as the required spend may be easier for you on travel expenses than the average person. For example I just churned an Alaska Airlines card as they fly into STL and hey it was an easy 25k which will get me to Seattle someday plus a cheap companion ticket.

    Oh and one other thing use topcash back or some of the other sites like that to get cash back in addition to the points and miles.

    Good luck ! See you on the road :)
     
  12. Hattie105

    Hattie105 Member

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    So far, I have had the best luck with a hotel card. I hate paying so much just to sleep in a bed as usually I am out and about all day and some of the night.
     
  13. chemist562
    Original Member

    chemist562 In Memorian

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    Between my wife & I, we signed up for alot of CC's. I recently applied for 6 CC's and got 6 approvals. I also refinanced 3 rental houses this past summer plus applied for 3 CC's at that time and sold one rental that have equity. My FICO's dropped from 800+ to 740-750 with all this activity. I will give my credit report a rest (min 3-4 months). My credit file is very thick with paid off mortgages, closed CC's, etc. My wife added me as an AU to 2 of her oldest CC's (opened 1984/1985) and that helped my FICO's from dropping too much.

    My wife's FICO's are close to 800 with modest churning. Her file is thinner but very diverse. After I meet my min spends, I hope to get some more CC's in her name. I will be more intelligent when I do her churns. (my most recent 6 CC apps were over a 3 week period--I should have done those on the same day!!--oh well, I got approved for all of them).

    We have been doing more flexible points cards (Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink (biz), etc) plus various hotel cards. We have alot of airline miles (especially AA--1.3MM between my wife & I). Some of the hotel cards are not worth much but some are. My favorite hotel CC is Carlson for our situation. (we each got over 200K pts from the Carlson promos this past summer).

    Bottom line: Which cards to apply for depends on individual situations.
     
  14. erick.villalobos

    erick.villalobos New Member

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    I recommend Airline credit card, if you travel, this card will always be used with your airline
     
  15. paladin87
    Original Member

    paladin87 Silver Member

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    A difficult choice. I was JUST having this discussion today with a friend over what is more valuable...UA points or Hyatt points and where to transfer from UR...as an example. I mean, if I could use 120k points and get 1 free business ticket to Asia, or a First ticket to Europe...that is super valuable. However, that is also almost 6 free Category 6 Hyatt nights, or almost 7 free Cat 5 nights. Now, from a pure $$$ perspective...I WOULD pay 2 or 300 a night to stay in a hotel, so getting a $300 a night room for free is actual guaranteed money in my pocket. I would never pay 5 or 10k on a plane ticket though, so I cannot really say getting the plane ticket "saves" money. If you could spend 600 and go in economy but save 1800 on 6 free room nights, you are coming out ahead financially, rather than getting a free business ticket and paying for the hotel or staying in lesser place. However, there is a quality to being able to be in business or first for a 10-15 hour flight that cannot be quantified. At the end of the day, I think the valuation is purely situational for each case.
     
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  16. nurse traveler

    nurse traveler Active Member

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    As others have said, YMMV. I am in the exact same situation. I can use my own cards for about $50k per year. I have:

    Chase Marriott
    Chase Hyatt
    Chase BA
    Citi AA (x2)
    Amex SPG
    Ink Bold

    I am required to book via our travel portal so I don't get any bonus for "booking directly with airline." I only use the hotel branded card where I am staying. Otherwise, it depends on what goals I'm trying to reach.

    GL
     
  17. anpe

    anpe Active Member

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    It all depends on your travel goals and also distribution of points/miles in your portfolio, e.g. if you are rich in hotel points but short in air miles, then you would go to one or the other.

    Another point of view, do you shoot for the status with airline or hotel? Spending $50K will almost give a Silver status on Delta without ever stepping onto their plane (by using Delta Reserve card). Several hotel cards also help toward status -or- give you free night/status point at some spend points (e.g. 10K spent on Hilton Reserve would give a free night, 12K spent on Chase Fairmont would give a free night, etc).

    Out of your choices, I think Chase Marriott is the worst of all (personally put least value of their points).
     
  18. nurse traveler

    nurse traveler Active Member

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    For me, I can pay however I want, but I am limited on the places I can stay based on corporate travel policy. I split my spend about 70/30 in favor of Marriott/Starwood because I can either stay at those properties or La Quinta.

    If I have a choice (meaning there is a Starwood property), I stay at Starwood. For me, it is making the best of the situation. It still allows me to get several promotion nights so my family can go out of town on a whim somewhere relatively local (play in the snow, see grandpa, whatever) without paying for a room. I like JW Marriotts so I use my points for them. However, if I had my druthers, I'd be staying at Starwood.
     
  19. brettenwolf

    brettenwolf New Member

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    Chase Hyatt has one of the best paybacks and flexibility I have found ....
     
  20. anpe

    anpe Active Member

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    This absolutely makes sense to use Marriott card if you are staying at Marriott, for extra bonus.

    (I apologize if I misunderstood your original post) My response was related to spending at places where no special bonus category applies (i.e. where all things being equal).
     
  21. nurse traveler

    nurse traveler Active Member

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    Couldn't agree more. I don't use the Marriott card anywhere but Marriott. Better cards for other spend.
     
  22. SelBee

    SelBee New Member

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    Chase Sapphire Platinum allows you to earn according to what you spend as does a hotel card but then if you book through the Chase website you get a discount and will earn miles from the airline you are flying.
     
  23. MPerski

    MPerski New Member

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    I use Citi/AAdvantage card to rack up miles. One suggestion though: Use ONLY ONE card. If you use multiple cards/multiple programs, it takes forever to accum enough miles for a free flight.
     
  24. basiface

    basiface Silver Member

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    You confused yet?:confused: Like everyone is saying, it really depends on what perks you value most. I think my AA miles are more valuable. Not only for flights, but for hotels! I just booked a night at a Hilton with 12k miles that would have cost me 35k HH points. I'm a leisure traveler so I'm paying out of pocket, I think its easier to find a deal on a hotel than on a flight so miles are more valuable to me.
     
  25. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Also keep in mind the higher priced cards also give you status or quasi status. (Citi hilton reserve get you hilton gold. Plus the top chase/ua and citi aa cards not only give you priorty access, boarding and free first bag but airline club access as well). Like others have said, you just have to decide what works best for you and go from there.
     

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