Credit Card Air Miles

Jul 16th, 2003, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 70
P.S. I forgot to mention that American Expres points don't ever expire so even if it takes you longer to accrue enough points to use, you can still come out ahead.
Alexis823 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,968
If you decide to go with an Amex charge card with the Membership Rewards program, make sure you do not select one of their new card products that have the Membership Rewards OPTIONS program. While cards with the Membership Rewards Options program come with a lower annual fee than cards with the regular Membership Rewards program ($65 vs. $110 for the green card), the Options program gives you only 1/2 an airline mile for every point.
Patty is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 262
I have a free flight via miles to Australia from 1990.... Continental, is this even still an airline?
Carib_Ruby is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 262
I didn't mean to make it sound like I have free ticket TO Australia, but a free ticket BECAUSE of a flight to Australia
Carib_Ruby is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 882
Since you can usually get a 21 day advance ticket to most anywhere in the U.S. (lower 48) for less than $300, I find it un-beneficial to pay anything for a credit card. However, I do have a Bank USA card that is free and allows me to earn points on NWA & Delta.
Pumpy is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,968
I agree that a $300 ticket is not worth spending miles on. However, there are a lot of redemption options other than the domestic coach ticket.
Patty is offline  
Jul 17th, 2003, 04:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,204
I've been mulling over this issue for awhile now and am grateful for this discussion. I'm not good at math, so maybe I haven't figured this out correctly.

We need to renew our American Express card next month and I was thinking of switching to a FF miles program over what we have now--which is 2% cash back. But then I started figuring things out and it seemed to me that if we spent, let's say, $50,000, we'd be getting back $1,000 compared to either 50,000 FF Miles points (based on 1 mile per $) or 100,000 FF Miles (based on 2 points per mile--which I didn't see, but still...)

So, for the top benefit of 100,000 FF Miles we could get 2 RT tickets to Europe. But I recently purchased 2 RT tickets from Seattle-Malaga for $900., so by getting the 2% cash back it seems I'm actually ahead $100.

Maybe I've miscalculated somewhere, but it seems to me we're better off with the 2% cashback than the FF Miles.

We also have a Marriotts reward card, but I'm really disappointed in the transfer to airline miles--it's something like 3 or 4 points to every mile, although I am using rewards for our hotel in London, but I still feel that 2% cashback would have been better.

artlover is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 04:57 AM
Posts: n/a
It all depends on what value you place on airline miles. Personally, I value miles at about 1.35 cents each, so 2% cashback is a better deal. Some people value miles at over 2 cents each. However, I am not aware of any credit card that pays 2% back on ALL charges. Frequently credit cards give cashback in increments, i.e. .5% up to $5000 in charges, then 1% on the next $10,000, etc., maxing out at 2%. Artlover, I am curious about which credit card you have.

As for Marriott Rewards points, I value them at less than airline miles at 0.87 cents each (less than a penny). Transferring points/miles from one program to another usually results in a significant loss of value so should be done sparingly.

My primary credit card is the Starwood AMEX card. This card provides 1 Starpoint for each dollar charged and the points are transferrable to most airline programs (except United) on a 1 to 1 basis, with a 5000 mile bonus if you transfer 20,000 points at one shot. That effectively gives you 1.25 airline miles per dollar. The card is only $30 per year. Actually the Starpoints are more valuable when used for Starwood (Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Four Points) hotel stays. I value them at 1.81 cents each, with many people valuing them at 3-4 cents each.

My backup card, for when AMEX is not accepted, is the Hilton HHonors VISA card which provides 2 HHonors points per dollar for all charges (3 per dollar if charge is at an HHonors property like Hilton, Hampton Inn, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, etc.).

You can search for numerous discussions on the value of miles/points and the best credit cards.
Jul 18th, 2003, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,968
I have an old (opened over 12 years ago) Citibank card that does give me an actual 2% rebate on all of my charges. They actually send me a check each time my rebate balance reaches or exceeds $100 instead of just once a year. But I'm not aware of any current products that offer a 2% rebate starting with the first dollar spent either.
Patty is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,204
MileKing, thank you for explaining this so Patty suggested, this may be a really old card that's giving 2% back, or it may actually be wrong about something (LOL) and we may not be getting 2% back on all purchases which would make Carib-Ruby's Amex card at double miles a better deal. Will check this out and get back to you.
artlover is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 12:47 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,111
Jeannette-another option is what my husband and I do. I got a AA Citibank card with my husband as a co-user. So both of us are charging but all miles then go into my AA account. When we had enough for one domestic ticket, my husband opened up his own AA Citibank account (getting those bonus 5000 miles for a new account) with me as a co-user. So then all miles go into his AA miles account. That way, we always only have to end up paying for only one ticket - its usually not difficult to get a FF seat with a paying fare. We've actually both gone to Cayman on miles, are booked for Hawaii in September on miles and thanks to our recent kitchen remodeling I myself already have enough for a Hawaii and domestic ticket in miles. So for us AA has been great!
cruisin_tigger is offline  
Jul 19th, 2003, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,204
MileKing, you're right. My husband read the small print and the 2% cashback is for unpaid balances, which we never have and which would be counterproductive considering the 18% interest!

Carib-Rudy--I've been checking into the Amex Platinum, but it seems that it's only double Membership Rewards on certain purchases. Do you know when you got your card and if that's changed?

Patty, thank you for pointing out that the Options program gives only 1/2 airline mile for every point. This is unclear in the information I have pulled off their website.

I really think these programs are intentionally unclear for a reason and the information shared here really helps in getting through some of this confusion.
artlover is offline  
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