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Old 03-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #21
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I am moving close to a United hub and was thinking about getting this card.
I actually have the more expensive, tarted up Presidential Plus card because it includes a membership to United club lounges. I travel enough for work that I come out way ahead when you factor in what I would otherwise spend on meals and drinks while killing time in airports. And one trip with the whole family and all their baggage almost pays for the fees given what these guys charge for bags these days. If I didn't fly as much I would probably just switch to the explorer card.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:47 PM   #22
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I actually have the more expensive, tarted up Presidential Plus card because it includes a membership to United club lounges. I travel enough for work that I come out way ahead when you factor in what I would otherwise spend on meals and drinks while killing time in airports. And one trip with the whole family and all their baggage almost pays for the fees given what these guys charge for bags these days. If I didn't fly as much I would probably just switch to the explorer card.
The benefits of the Presidential Plus card look attractive. Unfortunately, United does not offer it anymore on their website. It looks like it will be replaced -more or less- by the upcoming MileagePlus Club card.
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #23
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The benefits of the Presidential Plus card look attractive. Unfortunately, United does not offer it anymore on their website. It looks like it will be replaced -more or less- by the upcoming MileagePlus Club card.
Given the general crappiness of United's "service" compared to all things Continental, I assume they will water down the goodies and charge more.
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Old 03-08-2012, 06:13 PM   #24
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This guy supposedly travelled around the world without paying a dime on airfare and hotels.

Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com
So did I !!!

(but...it was my job! I racked up 4 million FF miles before I was done)
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:03 PM   #25
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I've been churning cards for the past few years and have managed to redeem for multiple journeys long haul first class as well as expensive hotels.

The key thing to me is not get sucked into one of these travel hacking networks where you pay them anything. There is so much free info out there, you can teach yourself.

Blogs I would recommend are as follows:

Frugal Travel Guy
View from the Wing - Putting a little thought into a lot of travel
One Mile at a Time - Tips, Tricks, and Travel with Lucky
Maximize frequent flyer miles, credit card points and hotel points - The Points Guy

Before applying for any new cards I would advise that you read these blogs as well as spend some time on Flyertalk as has been previously mentioned.

We have been able to redeem for far greater value than if we had of had a cash back card.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:06 PM   #26
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Should add that you are probably better off getting a general card like the Chase Sapphire rather than tying yourself into the United Card. With Chase Sapphire you can transfer to a number airline programs as well as hotel chains.

My two go to cards are the Gold AMEX and the Chase Sapphire.

However as I said familiarise yourself with the sites I mentioned so you learn when to sit back and wait for a great offer to come your way.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #27
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Just as a point of reference, I look for $250+ offers or 25-30k airline miles as a minimum to interest me in applying for a CC. Although I did stoop to pick up 5 CC's for $200 each earlier this year. What I'll do for a thousand bucks...

I think Chase Freedom had a $300 promo recently as well. And all cash.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:21 AM   #28
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I get cash back only. I never end up using Frequent Flyer Miles, as I find it better to get the lowest flight price and on my terms. The compliance cost of Flyer Miles, both explicit but especially implicit, is just too high.

I think for someone who is more of a luxury traveler, looking for upgrades and that sort of thing, miles can make more sense.

I am early retired and don't think of this the same way as someone with limited vacation time. On a trip to Asia, for instance, I often have to choose between a trip on Airline A, with 4 hour layover or Airline B with a 2 hour layover. Airline A is $200 cheaper and offers more flexibility to change the return date, but there are 4 extra hours of waiting on a round trip. I look at this as earning $50/hour tax free for surfing the internet or reading a Kindle book in an airport. The last time I did this in Seoul, I even found out that the showers are free and there are special areas to lay down and rest.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:27 AM   #29
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I think it is a myth that FF programs are restrictive on travel. I think where people make the mistake is tying themselves to one program then paying more for flights so they can earn the points as Kramer mentions.

I'm a member of a number of programs, American, Alaskan, Hawaiian, Qantas, British Airways. If I am flying domestically in the US I don't care about flying First Class, however on a long haul if I can do a redemption for points in a premium cabin I will do so. All it really takes is spending on particular credit cards or doing sign ups to get the flight for next to nothing.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:43 PM   #30
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When the United / continental merger was announced I signed up for a United card (50k miles) and a Continental card (50k miles). Late last year you could link the accounts together. BAM! 100k miles.
I cancelled the Continental card after a year.
I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. 50k points. You can transfer that to your United (Continental actually) account. BAM! 150k miles.

I use my United card for everything. I spend about $30k a year, so that generates 30k miles a year. I'm a VIP member in the dining program, so thats like 5 miles per dollar. Rental car and hotel partnerships. And the occasional paid flight on Star Alliance.

I haven't paid for an international flight in years. And with the new United website, it's easier than ever to book reward flights.
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:13 PM   #31
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YoungSaver, I just today received my Sapphire Preferred Card.
And all this advice has been awesome, been going to the links and working to understand how it works.
One question: so I just got the one card, but not one for DH, as I had a friend tell me that I should wait and have him get one in his name once my 3 month bonus period is over. Is that right? Or can I still get him an associate-type card for my account?
Thanks!
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:51 PM   #32
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You can get DH a card whenever you want. I've read that people get an associate card for their spouses and then get their spouses a card of their own with bonus. Using Chase's UR is a great deal because you or DH can transfer miles into each other's mileage accounts.

I just started "travel hacking" when I learned about it last year through an NPR podcast. We were moving and trying to buy a house, so I didn't start until Jan. We've collected almost 400,000 miles and points so far (we're doing some work on the house and unfortunately, my problem is keeping the applications going).

I would also recommend the United Explorer card if you can get the 50k with first spend. Another great card is the US airways' card, who is a star alliance member. 40k for first spend, people get multiple with the bonus, plus you can play their grand slam in the fall and get up to 100k miles by jumping through their hoops like a circus animal. Also, they pull transunion (usually), and most other banks pull the other two, so chase won't see that inquiry.

I also recommend looking at where you want to go and how, not what your home airport is. For instance, if you just wanted to fly domestically, my father just scored a SW companion pass without stepping on a southwest plane. So now, my father and mother travel 2 for 1 (even on rewards) plus they have 100k+ points to burn through on SW. If you wanted to go to china first class, AA points are probably your best bet.

so much to learn, so little time. I also enjoy mommy points. She isn't over the top and doing the real crazy stuff. her advice is a little more practical.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:35 PM   #33
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I've signed up for two Chase United rewards cards. After the first "free" year, I call customer service and ask if they will waive the Annual Fee. They've always declined to do so and I've always closed that account. In any case, I have scored enough FF miles for two round trip tickets from the USA to Thailand
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:55 PM   #34
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YoungSaver, I just today received my Sapphire Preferred Card.
And all this advice has been awesome, been going to the links and working to understand how it works.
One question: so I just got the one card, but not one for DH, as I had a friend tell me that I should wait and have him get one in his name once my 3 month bonus period is over. Is that right? Or can I still get him an associate-type card for my account?
Thanks!
What I do is sign me up for 1 card, then use a second application to sign DW up for her own card immediately afterward. Also, many of these credit cards will have a business card that parallels their consumer card so you might be able to quadruple up, assuming you own your own business (ie Mongolian Travel Advisors Partnership or something ).

The only time I sign up DW on my account for an extra card is if they offer specific promotions awarding points/miles/$$ for doing so. Amex and Capital One have done this during 2011 - $50 for getting DW an extra card. And $50 more for me getting a card on her account. Or I will get a card in both of our names if there is a big spending requirement (ie $2500) so we can both carry the card in our wallets and use it for everyday spending to meet the min spend.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #35
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fuego, this is what we do as well. Or, in the case of AA, I signed up for two and just gave one to DW to use. The problem is if you can't meet the spend requirements of two cards. There are ways to get around this, but you can only move your spending forward so much, not to mention it complicates things much more (e.g. keeping track of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards).

I should also mention evreward.com we go on there before any purchase and find out who is offering the best "mileage mall" offer for the programs we use. We then buy our stuff and get even more points. it just a couple more clicks.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:29 PM   #36
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Also, many of these credit cards will have a business card that parallels their consumer card so you might be able to quadruple up, assuming you own your own business (ie Mongolian Travel Advisors Partnership or something ).
Becoming the "Everylady" business a few times has worked just fine and led to double the points. Card rep actually suggested that it the first time through when I needed some points to top off an award and didn't qualify for a personal card having had one in the recent past. After that I just followed the FlyerTalk folks through a couple more without issue.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:54 PM   #37
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Becoming the "Everylady" business a few times has worked just fine and led to double the points. Card rep actually suggested that it the first time through when I needed some points to top off an award and didn't qualify for a personal card having had one in the recent past. After that I just followed the FlyerTalk folks through a couple more without issue.
We do have an old business entity DW and I started about 10 years ago that I usually use. My business currently limited to obtaining credit card sign up bonuses , although I may use the same business name again if I start doing some consulting work again.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:07 PM   #38
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I just redeemed my 50,000 chase sapphire points to book a cross country, coast to coast Amtrak ride in the largest bedroom they offer. Regularly a $2,850 ticket. Beats the heck out of just taking the $500 gift card since they don't really discount those train rides very often, if at all.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:57 PM   #39
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I am more than a little annoyed with PenFed credit card right now.
After spending more than hour trying to order a washer and dryer for tenant from Home Depot (it was logistically difficult to make sure that tenant could arrange for delivery not me), I got an email from Home Depot saying the purchase was decline. 10 minutes later I got a call from the Pen Fed credit card questioning the transaction. They then insisted on going through the last 3 days worth of transaction. So I had to call Home depot and reorder everything.

Next day make another purchase from Home Depot, this time they didn't decline the purchase but the fraud prevention again calls me and again insist on going through every transaction.

Get home make an online purchase and once again the card is declined. This is almost in the 3 strikes category. I've run up my $1,000 to qualify for the $250 card card, but Pen Fed sure doesn't make it easy to to buy stuff with their card.

At this point I think I am primarily going to use my Costco AMEX card.

I looking at either United or Delta card to get the free checked baggage for my main Visa card. Curious if anybody has used the Delta card?
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:17 AM   #40
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I just redeemed my 50,000 chase sapphire points to book a cross country, coast to coast Amtrak ride in the largest bedroom they offer. Regularly a $2,850 ticket. Beats the heck out of just taking the $500 gift card since they don't really discount those train rides very often, if at all.
Chase offers an amtrak credit card as well. 30000 or 32000 bonus amtrak points at sign up. Sorry I don't have a link handy. The best redemption option by far is what you reference - sleeper car tickets instead of (in this case) $300 of gift cards.
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