Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
New Airline award company
Considering American Airlines’ upcoming award chart devaluation, what company should we begin switching over with the most lucrative chart? I earn most of my miles through credit cards, thus I could also get a credit card that transfers to a good airline.
[USER=1164]@phize[/USER] – a lot of it depends on where you’re based and where you like to travel/plan to use the miles. That’s one reason accumulating a transferable currency (like Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, SPG points or Thank You Points) makes sense. You can wait and transfer them to whichever airline makes sense for where you want to go.
The different alliances have different areas of strength as far as which regions of the world they serve. Also, if you live near a hub for one alliance, it might be worth it to you to pay more miles for a non-stop flight vs. having to route to a different alliance’s hub city.
If you give us a little more info about where you’re based and where you want to travel, perhaps we can give more specific advice.
Hi there [USER=184]@MidSouth Skier[/USER] and other readers
I am based in NYC. Thus, I have a plethora of options of what airline I could fly. Many airlines from all of the big 3 alliances fly into either JFK or EWR. I spend over $500,000 on credit cards (Business) annually and I pocket those points. Thus, which credit cards transfer to the most airlines? I have heard great things about the SPG card, Ultimate Rewards, and Thank you points (Much like you stated). Because I do not want to hurt my credit, I would only want to get one card (I am fine paying a high annual fee). In addition, does anyone know about the benefits of the Amex Centurion Card? Is it worth the $3000 annual fee? I may be able to justify the expense if the benefits are good.
With that much spend, I think you’d be better off diversifying your points across several programs – though of course it’s your prerogative not to do so. But if you haven’t done so already, click on the Start Here tab above then on Beginner’s Guide. From that page click the link that explains about credit cards and credit scores.
Assuming your business credit cards have the business tax id associated with them, they should not impact your personal credit score.
Having multiple cards (that you pay off each month) can actually *help* your credit score. Say you had a card with a $10K limit (just for an illustration) and at any given time you’ve got a balance of $3K on the card. You’re using 30% of your available credit. If you had 3 cards, each with at $10K limit and spread that same $3K of spend over the 3 cards, now you’re only using 10% of your available credit and that will help to give you a better credit score.
Several of us juggle a dozen or more personal cards yet still maintain excellent credit scores because we have a lot of credit available to us yet our utilization remains low.
As for transferring points, [URL=’http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/06/24/transfer-partner-master-list/’]check out this post from Frequent Miler[/URL]. It’s old now but contains a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet that is kept up to date. The spreadsheet shows which kinds of points transfer to which airlines and hotels and at what ratios. This will show you which currencies have transfer partners that are most attractive to you. There’s no one “best” currency nor is there a “best” transfer partner; they each have their strengths and weaknesses. The best combination is the one that gets you where you want to go for the fewest points and that will vary depending on available flights and destinations.
For example, SPG points are great for SPG stays, of course, and can be transferred to more airlines than any of the others. Plus you get a 5k mileage bonus on most airlines when you transfer 20K points at a time. But transfers are not instant, so you could transfer the points on Monday but they won’t hit your airline account until, say, Thursday. Meanwhile on Tuesday someone comes along and grabs that award seat you had your eye on.
Ultimate Rewards points transfer in near real-time while Membership Rewards may take a few minutes or an hour. It all depends on the interface between the two systems. (I’m not sure how fast Thank You Points transfer.)
And then there’s the question of destinations – where do you want to go? AA miles are great to South America but if you want to avoid fuel surcharges using AA miles to Europe your choices are more limited. UA doesn’t impose fuel surcharges but only offers low-level award space on trips where the longhaul leg is on UA metal. So if you want to fly Lufthansa you’ll pay significantly more miles.
So as long as you can manage multiple cards you’re really better off having them. The cards even have different bonus categories so you can use one card (like Chase Ink) for office supplies and another (Amex Business Gold) for shipping, etc.
Hope this isn’t too overwhelming but if I’ve just confused things, let us know and we’ll see if we can’t clear things up.
[USER=1164]@phize[/USER] [USER=184]@MidSouth Skier[/USER] has given you a lot of excellent information here. The only thing I would add is that the Centurion card is overrated. Over time quite a few of the unique features it had have been stripped away. I think the only current unique thing it offers is automatic DL Platinum qualification. You’re better off saving the money unless you’re looking for a status symbol.
Have to agree with [USER=79]@Gaurav[/USER] about the Centurion card, it’s mostly overrated these days.
If you are after earning Amex points, one of the Gold cards would be better to be honest.
You can get a lot of the benefits the Centurion card has offered historically by simply holding various hotel and airline credit cards these days.