PSA -Sapphire Reserve with 100K points bonus, LAST CHANCE is Saturday 3/11 at branch...

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purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,178
4,855
126
Sometimes, I wish my spending was higher to justify getting an opening bonus for many a new card. We're looking at an overseas trip next March - my wife wants to go to Japan, but we have a few backup ideas for some places in Europe if flights are too ridiculous.

Though, I did just open up a Bilt card to pay my rent (no transaction fees for rent, and my corporate landlord is a Bilt member) - get 1 point per dollar in rent as long as there are at least 5 transactions per statement period (and 3x points on restaurants, 2x on travel), and they allow 1:1 point transfers to United and AA. That should at least help build up some miles for a flight or two with a major airline given monthly rent in the Boston metro area.
I mean most people who are adults can easily get these "spend $xx in y months" bonuses by just putting all of the spending you can on a credit card. They aren't hard to hit. They are typically like less than $1k/month if you were to go to full term.

Then once you get that bonus, get a new card and eventually cancel the first one. I always cancel cards before or at the annual mark when they charge me. Every time I have requested to have the fee removed they gladly remove it too.

I haven't paid for a flight in like a decade aside from taxes/fees, and aside from during covid, I fly like 3-5 times a year. I've saved easily over $20k in flights. I saved $1500 alone on 4 flights going to Grand Cayman in November using SW points and companion pass. I just had to pay $360 in taxes for 4 tickets. Also flown to Roatan, Florida, and Belize this year, all using either United points or SW points.
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,178
4,855
126
I've got 3 cards we use -- we don't use debit cards for shit:
  • Lowe's
    • Use: Exclusively at Lowe's for 5% discount
    • Originally got this 2 years out of school for 12mo 0% financing for a large purchase
  • Chase Amazon Prime
    • Use: Amazon and Whole Foods (...and Costco)
    • Originally got this to combine with a Prime Day deal for my NAS -- points are pretty excellent at WF and Amazon
  • Amex Gold
    • Use: Everything with exception to Amazon, Whole Foods, Lowe's
    • The points on this are fantastic. I could probably use them for something more useful, but having it linked to our Amazon account and use them to buy stuff I'd normally feel guilting purchasing lol
I have been looking around at other alternatives to the Amex Gold. We travel a fair amount in a normal year -- the United cards seem somewhat attractive, but also the Capital One cards seem a great value. I'm not opposed to a higher annual fee if the juice is worth the squeeze.
On United's site you can find some VERY good deals on their "saver" flights that will be the lowest points you can use. We have a United hub close by so we fly them a lot to places that SW doesn't fly to. I'm glad SW flies to a lot of places in the Caribbean we like to go now.
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,005
2,969
126
Anyone know what the best new card offers are to get CUR right now? Or United points?

We are flying to Italy next summer and most likely will try to fly United and since CUR points can be converted directly to United points, I'm down with either of these. These cards will be in my wife's name who hasn't gotten rewards in 24+ months so I'm open to getting 2 cards with different offers, one after the other too.

And then next year we'll open 2 SW cards in her name to get those points + companion pass.
Non-business Chase UR cards are a bit more challenging of late in terms of UR points generation. If you can get a business card you could do the Chase Ink Unlimited (75,000 points on $7500 spend. It says 'cash back' but these ARE Chase UR points) or Chase Ink Business Cash (Same offer). If your spending is really high there is the Chase United Business card with 150k miles after $20k in spending in 6 months.

If that doesn't work and you want to travel on Star Alliance (United) then Capital One has made some pretty big entries into the points and miles space. They don't transfer to United so you can't top off your United points bank but they do transfer to both Aeroplan and LifeMiles. Even better its stupid easy to combine household Capital One personal and business card points.

There are pros and cons to all three programs. IME Aeroplan can't see all the award space United can - which is, to some extent, because United card holders get access to additional award space (XN and JN fare buckets). But sometimes I just can't get the same options to show up. Aeroplan does allow stopovers for 5k points though which can be a huge benefit if you have the time and flexibility for that. Yes United has the excursionist perk but that has almost become a liability given the constant changing of flight schedules. To the point that I chose NOT to use it for our trip to Norway next year. LifeMiles should show the same award space but their website search is much more of a PITA than United's and doesn't always seem to return award space properly. On the positive side that same jankiness leads to interesting opportunities.

Sometimes, I wish my spending was higher to justify getting an opening bonus for many a new card. We're looking at an overseas trip next March - my wife wants to go to Japan, but we have a few backup ideas for some places in Europe if flights are too ridiculous.

Though, I did just open up a Bilt card to pay my rent (no transaction fees for rent, and my corporate landlord is a Bilt member) - get 1 point per dollar in rent as long as there are at least 5 transactions per statement period (and 3x points on restaurants, 2x on travel), and they allow 1:1 point transfers to United and AA. That should at least help build up some miles for a flight or two with a major airline given monthly rent in the Boston metro area.
For Japan if you can find award space on ANA (the difficulty of which depends on luck and desired departure city) Virgin Atlantic miles are a great option which can be transferred to from Amex, Chase and Citi. ANA miles used to be a good value but they adjust fuel surcharges based on oil price which is....a tad high atm. Virgin Atlantic miles can offer ok value on Delta award flights....if you can find space. Delta is ridiculously stingy with international award space these days

Alaska, AA, United, and Aeroplan are all roughly tied for second to Japan depending on your location and luck. Personally I still get the best general utility out of United miles. It might not always be the cheapest award redemption to a specific city and Star Alliance carriers to Europe are average in terms of business class seat and service but I'm more likely to actually find seats available on them than OneWorld or SkyTeam. If you have a ton of date flexibility that might not matter but we have some pretty rigid dates to work within
 
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Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,005
2,969
126
I have been looking around at other alternatives to the Amex Gold. We travel a fair amount in a normal year -- the United cards seem somewhat attractive, but also the Capital One cards seem a great value. I'm not opposed to a higher annual fee if the juice is worth the squeeze.
After spurning their lackluster program for years they made some huge program changes around the launch of the Venture X card. I've built up a good pile of points with them now and am looking forward to the opportunities of their transfer partners. You won't find the common US airline names here so it takes more work to get value out of them but, with a little time and effort, that means you can get bigger redemptions out of the points
 

JM Aggie08

Diamond Member
Jan 3, 2006
8,068
691
136
How does this stack up against the Amex Platinum? I know the Amex has +$250 in annual fees compared to the Chase.
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,005
2,969
126
How does this stack up against the Amex Platinum? I know the Amex has +$250 in annual fees compared to the Chase.
They have different airline transfer partners with Chase getting the edge in US domestic carriers IMO. But Amex has some airlines that have interesting if a little niche premium redemption opportunities.

Chase has better rental car coverage and flight delay lost\delayed luggage coverage while Amex includes medical evacuation coverage just for having the card (Slight caveat: Something like MedJet Assist lets you make the decision if you need to be airlifted out while Amex will rely on a Doctor's assessment for that. But the coverage is included for you and traveling family members)

Amex Offers can have some really good deals at times with certain vendors. Like $50 off any purchase at Dell of over $100. Its usually in the 15-25% off if you hit close to the spend threshold but occasionally they'll be offers like $35 off $35 of spend with a merchant. Rarely they have even have some offers of $100 off $100 at places like Dell or Home Depot

I think Chase has a better Priority Pass membership included which includes a fair number of restaurants at airports compared to Amex. Amex has some additional lounge partners though like Delta Sky Club (if flying Delta), Plaza Premium lounges and their own Centurion Lounges

Chase has a $300 travel credit vs Amex $200 hotel + $200 airline credit. The airline credit is a bit of a PITA to use though

Chase Luxury Hotels and Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts are pretty close to interchangeable. Pretty close to the same portfolio and price although sometimes one hotel is cheaper through one platform or the other.

Amex also comes with Marriott Gold (marginal utility) and Hilton Gold (a little better than Marriott).

There are some other credits and inclusion differences between the two but those are the bigger differences
 

deadlyapp

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2004
6,488
650
126
They have different airline transfer partners with Chase getting the edge in US domestic carriers IMO. But Amex has some airlines that have interesting if a little niche premium redemption opportunities.

Chase has better rental car coverage and flight delay lost\delayed luggage coverage while Amex includes medical evacuation coverage just for having the card (Slight caveat: Something like MedJet Assist lets you make the decision if you need to be airlifted out while Amex will rely on a Doctor's assessment for that. But the coverage is included for you and traveling family members)

Amex Offers can have some really good deals at times with certain vendors. Like $50 off any purchase at Dell of over $100. Its usually in the 15-25% off if you hit close to the spend threshold but occasionally they'll be offers like $35 off $35 of spend with a merchant. Rarely they have even have some offers of $100 off $100 at places like Dell or Home Depot

I think Chase has a better Priority Pass membership included which includes a fair number of restaurants at airports compared to Amex. Amex has some additional lounge partners though like Delta Sky Club (if flying Delta), Plaza Premium lounges and their own Centurion Lounges

Chase has a $300 travel credit vs Amex $200 hotel + $200 airline credit. The airline credit is a bit of a PITA to use though

Chase Luxury Hotels and Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts are pretty close to interchangeable. Pretty close to the same portfolio and price although sometimes one hotel is cheaper through one platform or the other.

Amex also comes with Marriott Gold (marginal utility) and Hilton Gold (a little better than Marriott).

There are some other credits and inclusion differences between the two but those are the bigger differences
I've found that the CSR "pay yourself back" has really given it an edge for me, getting the same redemption as travel in areas where I spend more (dining, etc). Tied with other chase spend (Ink business card, freedom card) it's hard to beat the overall trifecta. I keep eyeballing the amex card but I'm so tied to United now that the delta privileges and redemption aren't valuable enough for me.
 

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