Who has the best rewards miles credit card

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by anonymous, Mar 6, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. If all your interested in is receiving miles for purchases what is the best card out there? My family and I are not big travelers. We take one vacation a year and every year we have such a hard time getting seats for all of us on one flight unless you hear "unless you upgrade". Frontier is pretty good United is horrible. We once went to Mexico using United miles, from Denver to Cancun. I went through Kansas City then Houston then Cancun. My son went through Phoenix then Cancun. The wife and daughter got lucky and went Denver to Cancun. And returning was worst. I have to take a different airlines to get back.
     
  2. beaubo
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    beaubo Silver Member

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    The credit card guru is a guy named Rick Ingersol www.frugaltravelguy.com

    Using miles to popular locations like Cancun, especially during high season, is indeed a challenge. While you had to suffer through some funky routing, you at least were able to use your miles. Many others get totally shut out of being able to redeem an award.

    It is actually not a bad strategy to try and break up your family trip into different routings- 2 of you go one route/airline, 2 a separate route/airline. For that strategy, you bet bet is Starwood Amex or Amex Membership Rewards card, as both of them allow transfers into a bunch of different airline programs, providing you the flexibility you need to pull off
    multiple routings/airlines for your next trip.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    Personally I don't believe there is any one best card. So much depends on how much you spend in a year and what you spend that money on as different cards offer points dependent on category.

    Also you need to take into account which cards offer bonus points throughout the year. On both our Chase and AMEX we get promotional offers. On BofA never had an offer in 5 years, it's always 1 point for a $.

    What do you want to spend your points on? Maybe it may be more effective to save the points for hotel redemption rather than flights. Getting a large group redemption flights is going to be tougher than for an individual traveller.

    I think you have to have a ballpark idea as to how many points you can earn in a year to work out what card will work best for you.
     
  4. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Many credit cards are giving 50,000 miles and more for first time applicants. Get a couple new cards with big bonuses on airlines that fly to and from your chosen destinations and you're set.
     
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  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    If you want coach travel from credit card spend, just get a good cash back card (there's a Chase card with 5% back for 6 months, then there are several 2% cash back cards, finally the Travelocity Amex gets 2%+ credit towards travel and 10% on Travelocity spend). Then you don't need to worry about availability.

    If you want flexibility in traditional rewards, still hard to beat the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express.

    There are other really great cards, though, such as:

    Asiana American Express from Bank of America, earn 2 miles per dollar. 80k miles (so $40k spend) gets you business class for 10k miles worth of travel and 5 destinations.. think East Coast to Europe and 5 destinations for $40k in spend instead of $100k or $105k in spend.

    Alaska Airlines Visa from Bank of America, if you live in a city with Alaska service and fly places Alaska serves it's hard to beat the $99 companion ticket that books into whatever class the paid ticket is, valid on any fare. I've used it for US to Hawaii in first class, buy one the second ticket (fully changeable/cancellable) was $99+tax.

    The British Airways Visa from Chase earns 1.25 miles per dollar spent, has no foreign currency transaction fees, and after $30k in spend in a year you get a free companion award ticket which can double the effectiveness of your miles when redeeming on BA metal (but do note the hefty fuel surcharges when redeeming with Executive Club).

    But really it all depends on what rewards you're after. And these are just a few of the cool cards out there.
     
  6. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    I've only been in the redemption game for about three months, so I am something of a newbie. So far the best deals I have found have been using AS miles for AA awards (Puerto Rico and EZE), UA miles for international LH awards, and AA miles fora trip to NYC.

    So far, I am thinking that I probably need more AA miles.
     
  7. flytoeat
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    flytoeat Active Member

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    Now Punki, do explain? I remember you from another board and you are hardly a newbie to the miles game. Expert is more like it. Are you only now beginning to spend your pile of miles?
     
  8. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    I admit that I have developed some decent earning strategies that have served me well over the years, but I am very much a Newbie to the spending game.

    IIRC, I have only flown on three award tickets so far. The first was a big family trip to Spain which is what initially led me to FT back in 1998, the second was our Concorde trip, and the third was our LH biz flight FRA/TLV for Dov's big party. I have spent some miles here and there along the way to bring the girls home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, in coach, and/or support charitable causes, or other friends and family, but mostly I have been working on building the stash. ;)

    Now I am learning how to cash in on the stash. :D :D
     
  9. KyRoamer
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    KyRoamer Gold Member

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    We like the Starwood AMEX card best. many airlines give 25,000 miles for 20,000 points and the hotel choices (particularly cash and points) are excellent.
     
  10. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Agreed on all that mention the SPG Amex...I have both the business and the personal from this past summer's promotion.
     
  11. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Look into the AMEX rewards gold card. 3x points for airfare purchase, 5x if done via amex travel.com and usually have good bonus points for signing and renewing each yr
     
  12. Gary Steiger
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    Gary Steiger Silver Member

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    There are lots of big bonuses for applying for new cards. For spending to receive miles, the Starwood card is best, as it converts 20,000 points to 25,000 miles on many airlines. But even at that rate, some of the cash back cards are better for some purchases. For example, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union card gives 5% cash back on gasoline and 2% on groceries.

    I strongly suggest you take an hour or so to study all of the credit card pages of my website below. There you will find all of the big bonuses from U.S. carriers, the Starwood card, and many cash back cards. Also, there is a section on the Value of Miles to help you understand what I am saying about cash back cards.
     
  13. Punki
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    Punki Silver Member

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    The Starwood AMEX rocks. We were able to trade in 125,000 Starwood AMEX points for 300,000 Qantas miles (thanks for the info Ozstamps) and that financed our Concorde trip.

    Where the heck is that darned "thumbs up" emoticon? ;)
     
  14. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I actually think the Gold AMEX is better than the Starwood AMEX. Sign up bonus works out the same, but for AMEX Gold the spend is $1k vs SPG $15k.

    If you spend $30k on the SPG AMEX that will give you 55k points (25k signup plus 30k from spend). Convert to miles that will give you 65k miles on AA.

    The Gold AMEX $30k spend gets you a minimum of 70k points (25k signup, 15k bonus for spending $30k, min 30k for spend but likely more). At the current transfer rate those 70k points would earn 40% bonus on BA and give you 98k points which can be used on the same AA flights. The points rack up quickly on this card if you use it for flights. This will be my go to card going forward.
     
  15. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    Should add the SPG may be beneficial for anyone who travels at lot and stays at Starwood. But for a regular spender I think the Gold AMEX likely works better.
     
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  16. Sam Axe
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    Sam Axe Silver Member

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    I would just like to say that I really like OP's user name, and I feel stupid that I didn't pick the user name of Original Member.
     
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  17. ahow628
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    ahow628 Silver Member

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    Also, if you spend $30k is a year, you get Gold status at Starwood hotels.
     
  18. tipitai

    tipitai Active Member

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    How do you guys manage the credit card churning process without messing up your credit? how often can you apply for new cards?
     
  19. I find that this has improved my credit score.

    Someone advised a while ago that your score is negatively hit a few points when an agency checks your credit score. They also mentioned that your score can only drop from this once in a 72 hour window. So I usually apply for multiple cards at the same time.

    Also, paying down balances on cards seems to be keeping my score high.
     
  20. jib

    jib Active Member

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    I really like British Airways Visa which from time to time has excellent sign up bonus -mine was 100,000 after using it for $1000 for several months
     
  21. PenFed is no longer 2% groceries. Recently down to 1%.
     
  22. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Any cards currently available that offer Hilton Honors Gold status?

    Thank you!
     
  23. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Kalboz likes this.
  24. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Why not get both!
     
  25. Walt_K

    Walt_K Active Member

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    The point bonuses are cumulative? I didn't know that. I've avoided using the Amex travel site because I thought they added a fee and didn't see that it would be worth it. But if I can get an extra 2x points, it would be worthwhile to pay the fee if the ticket was expensive enough.
     

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