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Answers (9)

Do you guys think this will work

Do you guys think this will work

  1. Anonymous

    Hello everyone,

    I have just started really getting into this rewards travel hobby and I have become an avid reader of this blog. I have learned a lot and I put together a plan for myself that I was wondering if you could take a quick look at and let me know if I am on the right track or if I am missing an opportunity.

    I currently have a 750 credit score and I have 3 current cards (Costco Amex which is going to be discontinued soon, Blue Cash Everyday Amex, IHG rewards World MC from Chase). I also travel for work on United (usually 2ish flights a year to Japan from EWR, however I do not receive premier status because my work requires that we book through our travel agent which uses bulk fares) which gives me about 20k award miles per year.

    My plan was to keep banking the United miles with company international travel, saving them for personal international travel a few years down the line and do my personal domestic travel on Southwest. I was thinking of opening a personal and a business SW card next January (or as soon as they offer a 50k points sign up bonus after next January) which would give me 104,000 points with them. To make up the other 6k points that I would need to earn the companion pass I was thinking of opening a Marriott card offering a 50k sign up bonus at some point this spring and then next January convert 30k Marriott points to 10k SW points which would combine to equal 114,000 SW points at the start of next year, earning me my companion pass. At that point I would cancel the Marriott card avoiding the annual fee. After about 10 months I would also cancel the SW cards to avoid the second annual fee for them (as the first annual fee is not waived for the SW card). I would then have about 1 year and 10 months with a companion pass and 114,000 points to use on SW.

    Do you think this is a good plan or am I leaving something on the table?

    Also, I see that SW points expire 24 months after the last time you have earned SW points. Do you know if taking a flight using reward points extends that 24 months until after the flight that you just took? I believe it works this way on United (spending points also “renews” the account) but I am not sure if it works this way with SW.

    Thank you in advance for answering my question.

    -Anthony

  2. Gaurav

    hi Anthony–you could also put this plan into effect right now unless you don’t think you’ll be doing much companion travel this year :).

    Personally–I would apply for the cards as late as possible in 2016 (Chase usually runs a promo late in the year) and then start putting spend on them as soon the last statement for 2016 closes. That way your points will hit early in 2017 when your first statement in January closes giving you a little extra time with the CP. As for the remaining 6k, I’d try to just put spend on the card to get them instead of converting Marriott to SW points unless you have no other choice. You’ll lose value in the process unless you’re converting as part of a 7 night package.

  3. Anthony

    [QUOTE=”Gaurav, post: 11773, member: 79″]hi Anthony–you could also put this plan into effect right now unless you don’t think you’ll be doing much companion travel this year :).

    Personally–I would apply for the cards as late as possible in 2016 (Chase usually runs a promo late in the year) and then start putting spend on them as soon the last statement for 2016 closes. That way your points will hit early in 2017 when your first statement in January closes giving you a little extra time with the CP. As for the remaining 6k, I’d try to just put spend on the card to get them instead of converting Marriott to SW points unless you have no other choice. You’ll lose value in the process unless you’re converting as part of a 7 night package.[/QUOTE]

  4. Anthony

    Thanks Gaurav!
    I was thinking of doing the Marriott this year because it is hard for me to put 10k of spend on a card in 3-6 months and I would want the companion pass ASAP..
    If you don’t mind could you answer 1 other question for me?
    Will there be any negative to closing the Marriott and 1 southwest card less than 1 year since I opened them? I don’t want to get blacklisted by Chase or for anything to hurt my credit score, but I also don’t want to pay all of those annual fees.
    Thanks again!

  5. Gaurav

    [USER=1404]@Anthony[/USER]–well you’re really not putting an extra $10k–you’ll need an extra $6k since you need $4k to trigger the bonuses anyway right? If you prepay for some services and buy gift cards it should not be too hard but as always, do what works well for you.

    No body other than the banks know what will or won’t black list people. I would hold the cards through their one year anniversary and cancel either right before the AF hits or shortly after (Chase will refund the annual fee in full if you cancel right away).

  6. PhatMiles

    [USER=1404]@Anthony[/USER] – If you apply for the SW cards now, by the time you get your bonus posted it will be at least 6 weeks from now. If you are OK with holding a CP for only 22 months rather than 24 (almost) months [B]OR [/B]if you know you are not going to travel much in the first quarter (Jan-Mar) in the next 2 years then it is OK to aim for the CP right away. If you have big plans to use the CP in 2018 first quarter [B]AND [/B]not going to use that rest of this year then it is better to hold off till the end of the year.
    Coming to the 6K additional SW points you would need – I personally prefer not to apply a card (any card) just for 6K points. To get 6K in SW you have to transfer 30K marriott points (Marriott – SW: 10K : 2k, 20: 5K, 30K :10K) without which you will lose more.
    It is better to figure out a way to spend 6K on the SW cards. If not, why dont you buy off those 6K points for $200 cash value?
    May I ask what kind of hotel points to you accrue during your company sponsored trips? If there is any scope you should think of transferring few of those to SW for the CP sake. Have you thought of Rapid Reward shopping portal to boost your SW balance. You don’t even have to wait to get your cards. You can start right away.

  7. Anthony

    [QUOTE=”PhatMiles, post: 12056, member: 522″][USER=1404]@Anthony[/USER] – If you apply for the SW cards now, by the time you get your bonus posted it will be at least 6 weeks from now. If you are OK with holding a CP for only 22 months rather than 24 (almost) months [B]OR [/B]if you know you are not going to travel much in the first quarter (Jan-Mar) in the next 2 years then it is OK to aim for the CP right away. If you have big plans to use the CP in 2018 first quarter [B]AND [/B]not going to use that rest of this year then it is better to hold off till the end of the year.
    Coming to the 6K additional SW points you would need – I personally prefer not to apply a card (any card) just for 6K points. To get 6K in SW you have to transfer 30K marriott points (Marriott – SW: 10K : 2k, 20: 5K, 30K :10K) without which you will lose more.
    It is better to figure out a way to spend 6K on the SW cards. If not, why dont you buy off those 6K points for $200 cash value?
    May I ask what kind of hotel points to you accrue during your company sponsored trips? If there is any scope you should think of transferring few of those to SW for the CP sake. Have you thought of Rapid Reward shopping portal to boost your SW balance. You don’t even have to wait to get your cards. You can start right away.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the reply!! I accrue IHG points most of the time and I also hold the IHG chase card.. I would prefer to use these points for hotel stays though since I also have platinum elite status with the hotel due to having the card. Unfortunately however I do not get to actually USE my IHG card when I stay on business because I have to use the corporate card which I get no points on purchases. I do however get 50% bonus points due to my status because of the card.

    I completely get your point and once again thank you for responding but you see its not just putting 6K on the cards its putting 10K since I already had to put 4K to hit the bonus on both cards.. That is what will be difficult.. I usually only spend about 1K per month on my cards so even hitting the 4k (to get the bonus) would be done by a lot of advance spending.

    All this said though I don’t even know if my play would work with the Marriott card because I found out through another blog that points transferred to SW through the Chase ultimate points (sapphire) do not count toward the companion pass.. That said I think I would actually have to figure out how to put 10k on the SW cards in the first few months.

  8. Gaurav

    UR transfers are different than hotel transfers. The former does not count towards CP while the latter does.

    I’m still not sure why you are considering 10k vs 6k? The 4k spending is a given (sunk cost) to get the bonuses so what you are looking at is an additional 6k in spending. And given that you’d be spending $2k for the Marriott sign up bonus, you’re looking at an extra $4k in spending.

  9. Anthony

    [QUOTE=”Gaurav, post: 12185, member: 79″]UR transfers are different that hotel transfers. The former does not count towards CP while the latter does.

    I’m still not sure why you are considering 10k vs 6k? The 4k spending is a given (sunk cost) to get the bonuses so what you are looking at is an additional 6k in spending. And given that you’d be spending $2k for the Marriott sign up bonus, you’re looking at an extra $4k in spending.[/QUOTE]
    Thanks for the info that the hotel points would work!!
    The difference is that I can hit the Marriott bonus this year so I can hit that 2K lets say April 2016 and May 2016.. Then in January 2017 I can hit the 2K per SW card (only spending 4K that month) and transfer the Marriott points that I earned in 2016 to get the companion pass.

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