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Long-term value of multiple premium cards
I’m very new to the game and I’m after as many airline bonus miles as I can get for travel between NYC and Europe, preferably up front or at least in the middle. I’ve obtained a CSP, Ink Business Preferred and have been a long-time holder of United’s Mileage Plus card and a basic-level AA card for AAdvantage miles, with an Aviator Red coming soon, hopefully. So essentially I’ve gotten many of the high-bonus cards by now. I’ve only got about 175k CUR points and around 200k AAdvantage miles but it’s a start. My United account is down to 40k after a trip this year.
My question is about the long-term viability of holding these cards, and paying roughly $100 a year for each one. Once the bonus miles have all been used up, the trips taken and the bills paid, I’ll still be stuck with at least $500 a year in annual fees, and my relatively paltry spending patterns maybe generating 20,000 points in total every year, at most. That’s $5,000 in ten years, enough for two business-class round-trip tickets or about five coach round trips. Does it make any sense at all to hold onto these premium cards once the bonuses have been used up? I don’t want to give up my CSP, United or AA cards, but beyond that?
I’m not interested in starting in with AMEX or SkyPesos at this time, nor do I care about hotels, since I almost never stay at a chain property; I prefer AirBNB or more rustic local hotels.
If you dont think the cards work for you, dont keep them. Check out the benefits and see if the rewards you earn is worth the annual fee. Ideally, you want to put spend on cards that earn you most rewards but that also make sense for you. You could always cancel teh AA cards and re-apply a few years later for the bonus. Keep Chase, but maybe see if you can make do with either the CSP or Ink Biz Preferred. Also consider getting Chase’s no annual fee cards that earn UR to boost your balance. Freedom has quarterly rotating categories earning 5x and the Freedom Unlimted/Ink Unlimited cards earn 1.5x points per dollar.
[QUOTE=”David W, post: 60152, member: 29″][B]If you dont think the cards work for you, dont keep them.[/B] Check out the benefits and see if the rewards you earn is worth the annual fee. Ideally, you want to put spend on cards that earn you most rewards but that also make sense for you. You could always cancel teh AA cards and re-apply a few years later for the bonus. Keep Chase, but maybe see if you can make do with either the CSP or Ink Biz Preferred. [/QUOTE]
Well the point is, I don’t know all the pros and cons, or whether it’s better to keep them and pay, or just cancel some/all. Problem with AA and UA cards, if you cancel those the accrued miles start to expire, and if I haven’t used up all my points I’m up the creek. I’m probably going to get the Freedom and/or Freedom Unlimited, and if I do, I might drop the CSP since the travel benefits on the Ink Business Preferred are better than the CSP. I just don’t like the 48 month wait to get it back. That’s a real whammy.
I guess my question for the seasoned vets here is should I dump most of my annual fee cards once I’ve used up the bonuses or is there any sound reason to keep them all. For those with 10, 15, or more premium cards, don’t those fees cost more than the “free” travel the points provide [B]in the long term?[/B]
When you cancel the AA/UA cards, it’s still 18 months if inactivity before the miles expire. Both have shopping portals and links to a dining rewards network. If you have some kind of activity via those portals every 18 months, you miles wont expire. Furthermore, Chase partners with UA and you can transfer Chase UR points to UA 1:1. That resets your expiration as well. AA frequently has miles for sale with a bonus and/or discounts.
The Barclay’s AA cards allow for free checked bags on AA and a 10% refund on award tickets up to 10k points a year. If you make use of either of those, then the annual fee pays for itself. UA’s card also has free checked bags.
Your Chase plan seems solid to me. And the 48 month expiration is from when you last received a bonus for a Sapphire card – not when you canceled it, so it should be less than 48 months.