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Old 07-20-2015, 10:22 PM   #21
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If your miles are close to expire, go to the airline reward site and subscribe to a magazine (about 800 pts) or donate 1,000 pts to a charity.

Either step will reset the date of expiration to another 1.5 yrs into the future.

I once kept 100,000 AA miles in DH's account from expiring by buying a $15 iTunes gift card through AA's shopping portal. We later used the miles to fly round trip to Madrid in Business Class. Best $15 I ever spent! (Caution: read the fine print. Not all gift card purchases qualify for miles/points,)
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:45 PM   #22
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Point reward cards are only worth getting if
- there is a great sign-up bonus.
- that you will use in 12-18 months (so they don't expire)
- Even better when they waive the first year's fee
- and you cancel at the end of the year.

Right now, there is a Marriott card that gives you 80,000 points + some other pers- that's enough for 5 nights at a decent marriott hotel. There is an $85 annual fee, but you get a one free night voucher in exchange. Still works out to be a good deal for the first year & maybe so for later years too, so thinking about applying.

This is the first year I've tried to take advantage of these offers. I hope it works out and I remember to cancel.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:12 AM   #23
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PenFed Defender Visa for veterans is 1.5% cash back monthly on everything.

No fees on anything and they mean anything (cash advances, late payments, foreign transactions, balance transfers).
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
Point reward cards are only worth getting if
- there is a great sign-up bonus.
- that you will use in 12-18 months (so they don't expire)
- Even better when they waive the first year's fee
- and you cancel at the end of the year.

Right now, there is a Marriott card that gives you 80,000 points + some other pers- that's enough for 5 nights at a decent marriott hotel. There is an $85 annual fee, but you get a one free night voucher in exchange. Still works out to be a good deal for the first year & maybe so for later years too, so thinking about applying.

This is the first year I've tried to take advantage of these offers. I hope it works out and I remember to cancel.
I have this card and I didn't cancel it as it comes with quite a few bennies, you will get a free night cert every year when you pay the fee. I just used ours on an interstate road trip, for some reasons interstate locations tend to be pretty expensive. Stayed at a really nice property where the rate with tax was about 165...and it didn't cost one cent. Read thru the T and C and you will see everything it offers. Same trip, a new property in Moab Utah..rack rate for summer 239 plus tax 5 nites 60,000 points.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
If your miles are close to expire, go to the airline reward site and subscribe to a magazine (about 800 pts) or donate 1,000 pts to a charity.

Either step will reset the date of expiration to another 1.5 yrs into the future.
That's a good tip!
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:18 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by ivinsfan View Post
I have this card and I didn't cancel it as it comes with quite a few bennies, you will get a free night cert every year when you pay the fee. I just used ours on an interstate road trip, for some reasons interstate locations tend to be pretty expensive. Stayed at a really nice property where the rate with tax was about 165...and it didn't cost one cent. Read thru the T and C and you will see everything it offers. Same trip, a new property in Moab Utah..rack rate for summer 239 plus tax 5 nites 60,000 points.

Thanks. I reached the same conclusion last night and got the card.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:46 PM   #27
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I too always used the cash-back option, with 3 different cards. What I never understood, for each of those cards, was the option to redeem for a gift card. In each case, I could redeem the equivalent of $25 for a $25 gift card. Without any discount incentive (like the earlier post about Discover), I could not figure out why anyone would opt for a gift card.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:49 PM   #28
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We've also started playing the credit card games this past year. So far we've opened 4 cards among 3 people with ~$500 in sign up points each, after meeting $1 - $3K in spending requirements. It usually doesn't take too long to meet the minimum spending requirements when we put bills like insurance and property taxes on the cards.

I'll add the Marriott card to my future sign up list. For now I am trying to use cards with cash equivalents like statement credits or gift cards like Home Depot as redemption options.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:05 PM   #29
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We've also started playing the credit card games this past year. So far we've opened 4 cards among 3 people with ~$500 in sign up points each, after meeting $1 - $3K in spending requirements. It usually doesn't take too long to meet the minimum spending requirements when we put bills like insurance and property taxes on the cards.

I'll add the Marriott card to my future sign up list. For now I am trying to use cards with cash equivalents like statement credits or gift cards like Home Depot as redemption options.
The bonuses for this card come pretty often, it's only a good card for people who travel and stay in the Marriott properties, they do have other redemption offers, but the hotel stays are by far the best value, the free certs are only good for 6 months.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:07 PM   #30
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I too always used the cash-back option, with 3 different cards. What I never understood, for each of those cards, was the option to redeem for a gift card. In each case, I could redeem the equivalent of $25 for a $25 gift card. Without any discount incentive (like the earlier post about Discover), I could not figure out why anyone would opt for a gift card.
They can be handy to give as gifts, a big selection and they come right to your home and don't cost you any actual money...I've done this once in awhile.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:25 PM   #31
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The bonuses for this card come pretty often, it's only a good card for people who travel and stay in the Marriott properties, they do have other redemption offers, but the hotel stays are by far the best value, the free certs are only good for 6 months.
They have recently changed the 6 mos. to 12 mos. This will be the first time in a few years we have been able to use the certificate. You may have to make the reservation within 6 mos., but use has been extended to 12 mos. from anniv date. We used to use it for the Marriott at Fisherman's Wharf for a weekend getaway until they recategorized it to a 6 or 7.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:17 PM   #32
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They have recently changed the 6 mos. to 12 mos. This will be the first time in a few years we have been able to use the certificate. You may have to make the reservation within 6 mos., but use has been extended to 12 mos. from anniv date. We used to use it for the Marriott at Fisherman's Wharf for a weekend getaway until they recategorized it to a 6 or 7.
I just got my last cert in April and it was a 6 month cert. I guess the best advice is to check your Marriott account when the cert posts and check the date yourself. Different cards and different offers may result in varying expiration dates.... I don't want to give anybody the wrong info
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Old 07-21-2015, 07:55 PM   #33
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I just got my last cert in April and it was a 6 month cert. I guess the best advice is to check your Marriott account when the cert posts and check the date yourself. Different cards and different offers may result in varying expiration dates.... I don't want to give anybody the wrong info
It appears the change was made at the very end of April. Our anniversary is in May. Another site had extensive discussion about the change and everyone with anniv dates at very end of April and later had certificates expire in 12 mos rather than 6, although there was still some confusion wrt to booking requirements w/in 6 mos. we booked our free night for use in late Dec.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:43 PM   #34
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Yup. Several years ago when we watched our Visa reduce the award points, and the airlines double the miles required for a free ticket, we shopped for a different card. We decided to go for "cash back," which is easy to track. We often use it to just help pay down the Visa bill.

It's easier than tracking points and what they can earn. No time to do that..... if ER is to reduce "workload."
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:57 PM   #35
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If your miles are close to expire, go to the airline reward site and subscribe to a magazine (about 800 pts) or donate 1,000 pts to a charity.

Either step will reset the date of expiration to another 1.5 yrs into the future.
I do this now with my AA miles - I think I have about a half a million of those and about 30 1st class upgrades. I wasn't paying attention right after I retired and somehow I lost several hundred thousand miles, mostly on United and USAir.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:18 AM   #36
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"Show me the Money!" -- cash back that is.


After the original GM card ceased its original terms and I had thousands of dollars accumulated on it towards a new car that were at risk, I have grown to value the difference between cash and "points".


-gauss
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Old 07-22-2015, 04:08 PM   #37
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OP here. I still haven't found a better card for me than the Barclay card. 2.2 % -> 2.1% back on everything is still the best out there. I put like 50k a year on it, and it's a good travel card.


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Old 07-22-2015, 08:57 PM   #38
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Points and Miles for me. We're leaving Saturday for our family vacation. Six first class plane tickets, 7 hotel nights and a week of car rental. All paid with points/miles. If paid in cash, $8,700. We're paying $34.


I've been doing this hobby for about a decade. I'm going to slow way down this year and basically take a year off of new credit cards. We still have over 2 million points/miles left. I'd say that probably 80% of our points/miles were from sign up bonuses, not everyday spending.
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:48 AM   #39
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Was it as easy than before when airlines were struggling and hotels needed to fill rooms? No but there are still some incredible values out there. At the most basic level there is a card offering 2.1% cash back when the points are redeemed on any travel related expense (flight, hotel, train, rental car, etc)
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:50 PM   #40
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I don't make it my life's work, but feel pretty good about the free flights and hotel rooms we get for just a minor amount of travel hacking.
Haven't noticed that it is harder to use (with the exception of the totally worthless Sky Pesos from Delta) but love my Sapphire points that can go to SW and United. United and American are the two easiest for us to get award flights, so I try to focus on those.
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