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Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 12:51 PM   #1
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Best credit card miles or cash

Well I have been retired now for 9 months. To be honest it has not turned out what I expected as yet. But that is another story.

The question I have for the board is which is the best credit card to get, ones that offer cash back or miles. Most cards offer a 1 cent per dollar spent + or - 1 point per dollar for miles. Which means you need to spend $25,000 just to get a round trip flight in the US only. I mainly fly Virgin Atlantic which none of the cards seem to cover( at least none that do not have large annual fee.)Any sugestions

Brit

Retired at 59 1/2 with small union pension and medical.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Virgin has an alliance with the following airlines. You can use any of their cards to earn miles and then transfer them to be used on Virgin

Singapore Airlines, America West Airlines, bmi, Continental Airlines, Virgin Nigeria and Malaysia Airlines
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

At 1 mile or 1 cent back per dollar the two different rebates are worth just about the same. A domestic flight can usually be had (on sale) for maybe $250 or 25k miles so I'll call that a wash.

However when I went to use my recently collected frequent flyer miles I could only get flights at either 6:00 AM or at 9:30 PM. Who wants to get up in the middle of the night to catch a flight at 6:00 ? You get up at 2-3 to dash to the airport in time to catch your flight. - Oh what a bargain !

I ended up purchasing some new tickets rather than fly at those un-godly hours.

So my suggestion is that cash is more useful than FF miles. Go with the cash rebate
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:05 PM   #4
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
At 1 mile or 1 cent back per dollar the two different rebates are worth just about the same. A domestic flight can usually be had (on sale) for maybe $250 or 25k miles so I'll call that a wash.

However when I went to use my recently collected frequent flyer miles I could only get flights at either 6:00 AM or at 9:30 PM. Who wants to get up in the middle of the night to catch a flight at 6:00 ? You get up at 2-3 to dash to the airport in time to catch your flight. - Oh what a bargain !

I ended up purchasing some new tickets rather than fly at those un-godly hours.

So my suggestion is that cash is more useful than FF miles. Go with the cash rebate
It depends on what flights you take. I collect my miles all year long for our annual trip to Hawaii. For 35,000 miles I buy a ticket that always costs $850 - $1,000 with tax.

So, for me the miles are a bargain.

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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:07 PM   #5
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

If you are paying $800 to $1000 for a flight to Hawaii, then you are paying too much.

If nothing else you could catch a cheapo flight to Los Angeles and then jump on a Hawaiian Air flight that you could get on sale for maybe $250. So your net cost at most would be maybe $450.

However, If you look around you can probably find airfare on sale for less than this.

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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:09 PM   #6
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

I go with the cash back cards. I can use it for whatever, and then go and find the cheapo air fare deals later.

A lot of cards now have flexible rewards where you can redeem for plane tix, or hotels or cruises, or gift cards to retail stores and restaurants. I know Citibank and Chase have these type programs. I did that for a while, and I'd get $50 gift cards to target/home depot/kmart or $50 gift cards to Macaroni Grill/Chili's type places.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:11 PM   #7
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

I guess it also depends on where you are trying to fly to. Some cards only require you to have 35,000 points to fly to Mexico or the Caribbean, destinations that may cost much more than $350 to fly to even with discount airfare.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:22 PM   #8
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

We go with the Chase Rewards card for gas, drugstore and grocery store purchases for which we get 5%. Other purchases go on my MBNA (now BofA) MC which returns 1%.

Lately, we've been signing up for the cards such as the Delta Amex. We got 25k miles just for signing up and it doesn't have an annual fee. There seems to be a lot of CC companies offering a ton of miles for signing up, many of them without an annual fee.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:39 PM   #9
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderALot
We go with the Chase Rewards card for gas, drugstore and grocery store purchases for which we get 5%.
That's the exact card I use too. Super walmart counts as a grocery store. So probably 80-90% of my purchases are usually 5% cashback.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:45 PM   #10
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash


Is Chase still doing 5%? It looked like everybody was cutting those rewards down to 2 or 3% except for promotions.

Jim
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 01:53 PM   #11
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan
Is Chase still doing 5%? It looked like everybody was cutting those rewards down to 2 or 3% except for promotions.
Check the Finance forum on www.fatwallet.com. IIRC, there were two Chase 5% cards. One card gave you a $100 bonus when you signed up, but had a $300 max rebate per year. The other card didn't get you any bonus but had a $750 rebate per year.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 02:07 PM   #12
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan
Is Chase still doing 5%? It looked like everybody was cutting those rewards down to 2 or 3% except for promotions.
I think I slid in after they had officially cancelled their 5% cash back promotion, but before they took down their 5% cash back website. I was able to apply and use a special promo code to get the 5% cash back card (this was in ~september or so). Citicards used to have 5% cash back (the same deal as chase), but then they dropped it to 2% on a slightly broader array of store types (that's when I switched to chase). Check Fatwallet as those folks usually keep up with these sorts of deals and what the latest and greatest deals are.

Watch out for the $300 limit - I don't spend a ton, but I'll be up against it soon - you may want to get 2 cards if you think you might hit the cap... One for you and one for DW or something. Switch cards on July 1.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 02:11 PM   #13
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
If you are paying $800 to $1000 for a flight to Hawaii, then you are paying too much.

If nothing else you could catch a cheapo flight to Los Angeles and then jump on a Hawaiian Air flight that you could get on sale for maybe $250. So your net cost at most would be maybe $450.

However, If you look around you can probably find airfare on sale for less than this.

Depends on what you think has more value. Personally I don't like taking a redeye and then waiting in an airport.

BTW: If you can find a way to fly from Chicago to Maui for $450 I would be very suprised. I just looked at orbitz and with 3,6, or 9 months notice the cheapest tickets were $733 with tax and that's with two stops. No thanks!


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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 03:07 PM   #14
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
Depends on what you think has more value. Personally I don't like taking a redeye and then waiting in an airport.

BTW: If you can find a way to fly from Chicago to Maui for $450 I would be very suprised. I just looked at orbitz and with 3,6, or 9 months notice the cheapest tickets were $733 with tax and that's with two stops. No thanks!
Well air tickets typically go on sale for travel around 1 month (or less) out in time so your search is too early to find anything on sale for your travel dates. Right now most of the airlines have a winter sale going on for January/early Feb travel. Look at those fares.

If you think that the frequent flyer tickets are going to be at better times than the sale fares then you need to go look at my original post. The FF flights that I was offered were at horrible times.

My original point was, is that cash is more flexible. Rather than having to fly on one particular airline that you have FF miles on, you could use the cash to fly on any airline with a deal. And it was my experience that you'll get better/more desirable flights too.

However with many things one could always find an exception.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 03:12 PM   #15
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Hmmm, I am actually wondering what to do with the huge wad of miles I now have on my Schwab Visa. Good for cash, airline tickets, and a bunch of overpriced crap consumer goods. I didn't quite have enough miles to get tickets for the 4 of us next month for a vacation, so I paid cash. Wondering whether the miles are worth keeping or if I should just cash them in.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 03:26 PM   #16
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
Well air tickets typically go on sale for travel around 1 month (or less) out in time so your search is too early to find anything on sale for your travel dates. Right now most of the airlines have a winter sale going on for January/early Feb travel. Look at those fares.

If you think that the frequent flyer tickets are going to be at better times than the sale fares then you need to go look at my original post. The FF flights that I was offered were at horrible times.

My original point was, is that cash is more flexible. Rather than having to fly on one particular airline that you have FF miles on, you could use the cash to fly on any airline with a deal. And it was my experience that you'll get better/more desirable flights too.

However with many things one could always find an exception.
I've had nothing but good luck with frequent flyer miles so we will just have to agree to disagree. I never take vacations on less than a months notice (rarely on less than 6 months) and I still don't think you can get from Chicago to Maui for $450 no matter what the time.

Also, I have status on AA so I never fly any other airlines.

I got a free offer from Amex for a rewards gold card that included 50,000 membership rewards points just for signing up. They were so useless for buying airline tickets that I just used them to buy a home theater system for our new house.

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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 03:33 PM   #17
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

I'm a big fan of Amazon's rewards card (by Chase). It gives the 1% (1 point per dollar) spent on any purchase, and then 5 points per dollar for Amazon purchases (I buy just about everything from Amazon, electronics, books, games, etc). You get gift certificates in the mail once you hit 2000 points ($20). Just type in the code, and you have "free" money to spend at Amazon

Much better than points you can only spend on certain things like Sony's crap card, or AA's points, etc.
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 03:59 PM   #18
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceberon
I'm a big fan of Amazon's rewards card (by Chase). It gives the 1% (1 point per dollar) spent on any purchase, and then 5 points per dollar for Amazon purchases (I buy just about everything from Amazon, electronics, books, games, etc). You get gift certificates in the mail once you hit 2000 points ($20). Just type in the code, and you have "free" money to spend at Amazon

Much better than points you can only spend on certain things like Sony's crap card, or AA's points, etc.
Ceberon, are you sure you get 5 points per dollar? I just checked my account and am only getting 3 points. In fact, I just called them and they verified the 3 points per dollar credit.

If there is a way to get 5 points, please share it. Thanks!
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 04:16 PM   #19
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
I've had nothing but good luck with frequent flyer miles so we will just have to agree to disagree. I never take vacations on less than a months notice (rarely on less than 6 months) and I still don't think you can get from Chicago to Maui for $450 no matter what the time.
Don't think man, use the internet
Farecompare shows today $565 (with taxes included) to OGG, and OP was right - you could get there for $450 - see the red line on the graph for November and December: http://www.farecompare.com/search/ye...estination=OGG
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash
Old 01-11-2007, 04:32 PM   #20
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Re: Best credit card miles or cash

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor
Don't think man, use the internet
Farecompare shows today $565 (with taxes included) to OGG, and OP was right - you could get there for $450 - see the red line on the graph for November and December: http://www.farecompare.com/search/ye...estination=OGG
That's an interesting site. Although it shows seats available at $565 when you actually go through it says that it's $605 (and that no seats are available)

I will however keep using my miles to fly direct.
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