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Question: Do any of you use credit cards strictly for points and other travel benefits?

#21
This is all great info. Thanks. I am deciding between the Chase Saphire and Capital One. They both have a $95 annual fee from what I can tell. @santacruz skier How did you get no annual fee for capital one or is that an introductory offer?
If you go with the Sapphire and you travel a decent amount...really just one decent sized trip a year, it’s well worth going for the Sapphire Reserve. The $400 annual fee seems completely absurd but it includes $300 back towards travel, which automatically gets taken off your bill. Plus you can get TSA PreCheck fees back, a Priority Lounge Pass for the airports for free, Executive status with National Car rental which gets you free upgrades...and you gain points faster than the Sapphire Preferred.

I feel like I’m sales pitching right now, haha. But having started with the Preferred card and then moved to the Reserved, I’m definitely not sorry.
 

QCskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#22
I recently became a fan of this website: https://thepointsguy.com/ where they have all kinds of useful information regarding credit cards and reward points. I'm in Canada so a lot of the information is irrelevant to me but I still enjoy the other parts of the site like the reviews and travel news sections.
 
#23
Plus you can get TSA PreCheck fees back, a Priority Lounge Pass for the airports for free, Executive status with National Car rental which gets you free upgrades...and you gain points faster than the Sapphire Preferred.
I did not know about the executive status for car rental. Thanks for the tip! I also really like my Sapphire Reserve card and have found it excellent for travel.... it was the reason why I could go to Banff this past spring for spring skiing!
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#24
Thanks all. We went with the Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture. By the time I paid for 2 cruises (6 fares) airfare to Europe and our lodging in Europe and San Juan, PR - I had enough point for 3 airline tickets to San Juan, PC from LA and it's a reasonable flight at reasonable times! Yay. Thanks for the advice. We are not normally credit card people but it just made sense this year.
 
#25
Curious how anyone new to these credit cards is making out, and what the top preferred one is right now. I only have one card right now and it’s LL Bean. Though I love my Bean bucks, I’d rather use my points for flying, especially for ski trips! I’d like to do it quite soon because in around 5 weeks my seasonal ski rental balance is due and that will be a significant amount of points I can gain. This is where Venmo and other electronic pay options really shine, rather than sending a check like I’ve done in the past with no benefit on the back end, if you use Venmo or Paypal with your credit card you can get the points too! I don’t carry a balance on credit cards, I just pay it off each month, so interest rates etc. don’t matter. Which card would you go for that allows for miles being used on different airlines?
 
#26
I'm still very happy with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The initial upfront fee of $450 is indeed a concern, but as soon as you spend more than $300 on travel, you get the $300 credited to your card.

You get 3% back on travel and restaurants, but you get a 50% bonus if you book travel using points through their online portal which searches most major airlines (other than Southwest) and resells Expedia blocks.
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#27
If you were getting a new card, also consider if they offer a big upfront bonus when you hit a certain level.

I have three credit cards. One is for Southwest and I have not paid for a Southwest flight in four years. And that is flying at least two sometimes four times a year. I have the Capital One Venture card, which are use as my daily card right now. It cut my Park City stay in half last year, using those points. And I have a BJ’s Club card as it gives me $.10 off a gallon. I can get that just over the Massachusetts line for a lot less than it cost in Rhode Island. And when I’m going back-and-forth to Vermont there is a place I stop and use that reward too. I treated all as cash and pay it in full every month.
 

Susan L

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#28
I am terrible with using points to travel. I have 3 credit cards - Chase Sapphire (for regular purchases), Citi Costco (for Costco only) and an Alaska Airline (for Hawaii travel only). Annual fee for Alaska CC is $75/yr but it comes with a companion pass for $100 (r/t hawaii is ~$600 for us) plus free luggage so we can travel with our golf clubs, otherwise it is $30 each per way.
I use credit card for 99% of my purchase, not for points, but for keeping track of spending. My biggest chunk of points came from 1. Charging a portion of my car purchase (mistake on the sales guy for allowing it) and 2. A recent vet bill that cost $30k. I think using credit cards are ok as long as you don’t carry a balance or spend more than what you have.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#29
I'm still happy with Capital One's Venture card. I use my points each year for flying out to Diva West, and what I especially like is that the points are good on any airline. As I said in my previous post in this thread, I charge everything, and it really pays off, points-wise.
 
#30
I have 3 cards, southwest, united and a delta card. SW gets the most use I fly them alot hard to beat 11.50/round trip :-) I do have annual fees but the free baggage, free seating and other perks makes up for it for me.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#32
We got Saphire preferred and Capital One. We used them both to pay for our cruises and the upfront bonuses paid for 3 airline tickets to Puerto Rico. It also paid for global access for bothBob and I. We will continue using the Saphire for travel expenses because it provides cancellation insurance and will cancel the Capitol One.
 

Littlesonique

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#33
I use Amex for personal and business. I even pay my property taxes on Amex! Everything that I can, I do. I haven't had to pay for an airline ticket in over 20 year. And we fly a lot! I have taken my family +2 to Europe first class... Bahamas first class... many back east trips, Florida first class, Hawaii first class, Utah multiple times a year and so many more!
 
#34
This is where Venmo and other electronic pay options really shine, rather than sending a check like I’ve done in the past with no benefit on the back end, if you use Venmo or Paypal with your credit card you can get the points too! I don’t carry a balance on credit cards, I just pay it off each month, so interest rates etc. don’t matter. Which card would you go for that allows for miles being used on different airlines?
I’m still beyond happy with the Sapphire Reserve. I’d agree about considering something with a large bonus though (not sure what the Reserve has for a sign on bonus right now).

Also, I believe Venmo charges something like 3% when you use a credit card, so make sure the points are worth more than 3% of the total purchase before paying that way. I know I’ve been tempted before, but I don’t think it’s ever come out to be worth it.
 
#35
I’m still beyond happy with the Sapphire Reserve. I’d agree about considering something with a large bonus though (not sure what the Reserve has for a sign on bonus right now).

Also, I believe Venmo charges something like 3% when you use a credit card, so make sure the points are worth more than 3% of the total purchase before paying that way. I know I’ve been tempted before, but I don’t think it’s ever come out to be worth it.
Interesting, I use my card with Paypal all the time and have never been charged a fee that I know of. Will have to watch that on Venmo specifically.
 
#36
Hmm okay maybe I was wrong, I must have been using my bank account link in the cases where a fee was stated for credit card transfers and only using my cc for purchases which don’t have a fee. Darn! Thanks for pointing that out!
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#37
I've been using my bank's CC as I get points for all kinds of things. But I want them for travel. I also have a business card that is the same. So this summer I used the company points to go to Regina. I'm saving my cards points for next year for spring camp and maybe the trip to France.

I have been putting a lot of monthly expenses on the card this year. That racks up the points!!
 
#38
Hmm okay maybe I was wrong, I must have been using my bank account link in the cases where a fee was stated for credit card transfers and only using my cc for purchases which don’t have a fee. Darn! Thanks for pointing that out!
Sorry to be the Debbie Downer on that one. :frown:

PayPal doesn’t charge a fee when you pay invoices or to a business....not sure about when you send money to other people though.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#39
Whoever is collecting Paypal money pays a fee. Our Lake Association has a paypal account and we lose a % on the transaction. Paypal will have to pay a fee to the CC company for the transaction, so they collect it from the "store" that you purchase from.

But as a person paying someone, no, I don't pay a fee. And if I use a CC with points, I get points!!
 
#40
I have more cards than I’d like. I have Costco Citi VISA for Costco, restaurants, gas, and travel (but not anymore). I have the Chase United MileagePlus card for flying United. I get one free checked bag, a carry-on plus personal item, and priority boarding, even on the lowest basic economy fare. And the two United club passes every year doesn’t hurt. I have USAA VISA Signature with 1.5% unlimited cash rewards for everything else. The whole family are on that card and we practically charge everything. Technically I pay for my flights. Since money is fungible, however, the cash back I get from Costco and USAA had indeed paid for my flights and then some. I also have Discover which I rarely use (even for the quarterly 5% purchases). I keep it more for nostalgia (have had it since 1988). Needless to say I pay them off every month.

Costco stopped the travel benefits (trip cancellation, etc.) as of 9/22/2019. None of my other cards have comparable benefits. So I am the owner of a brand new Sapphire Reserve, on which I put all my expenses in the last month and blew by that $4K-in-first-three-months in no time to get 40,000 sign-up bonus points. The Sapphire is my go-to card now for travel and restaurants. Except for United flights, for which I’d still use the United card for the benefits. I’m going to see how far the Chase reward points get me on hotels, car rentals, and on non-United flights. I usually fly United or Southwest and I like that I can transfer points to them one-for-one. So far, car rentals are still more expensive than what I can get through Costco (but I don’t think I have to pay with the Costco card though). On the other hand, hotels look promising, especially taking into account the 50% bonus through the Chase reward center.

I feel like I need a degree in logistics to figure out how to stretch my spending power.
 

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