PRG - Did I choose correctly?

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Postby Robrus1 » Fri May 30, 2014 7:51 am

CalAlumnus13 wrote:I don't agree with this advice. First, the Arrival Plus is really just a "cash back for travel only" card. You can't transfer the points to any airlines or hotels---it's fixed at 2 cents per dollar in value, basically.

With his spend patterns, he should look at the EveryDay Preferred. Here's how a year of spending would equate to points:

Gas: $4,800 x 2 points = 9,600
Groceries: $1,200 x 3 points = 3,600
Other: $4,800 x 1 point = 4,800
50% Bonus for making 30 swipes per month: 9,000
Total: 27,000

Those 27,000 points are redeemable for a statement credit of $270. But a better use is to transfer them to an airline. For instance, you could fly book a LAX-JFK flight on Delta for 25,000 points and $5. That flight costs $420 if you were to pay cash. This is hardly the best use of Membership Rewards points, but it's a practical, real-world usage of them.

So, in summary, this card would get you over $415 in reward value for $10,800 in spend---a reward rate of over 3.4%.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus would get you a flat 2% on everything ($216), redeemable for statement credit toward travel expenses. Based on your spend patterns, you'd be better off with the EDP even if you just your MR points for a statement credit.

Whether the PRG is a better option for you depends on how much you spend on airfare. But it would have to be enough to counterbalance the extra 1x point on groceries, the lack of a 50% bonus for 30 swipes, and the $80 higher annual fee. I doubt it is.

What about the BCP? It's close.

Gas: $4,800 x 3 percent = $144
Groceries: $1,200 x 6 percent = $72
Other: $4,800 x 1 percent = $48
Total: $264

So the BCP would get you $264 in cash back---Close to the EDP, but not quite there. Of course, the EDP has a higher annual fee, which does mean the BCP is the better choice---*If* you only want cash back. If you think you might want to transfer to an airline, I'd go with the EDP, since the difference between the two cards in terms of their cash back rates is relatively small for your spend profile.

What about the no annual fee versions of Blue Cash and EveryDay?
Gas: $4,800 x 1 points = 4,800
Groceries: $1,200 x 2 points = 2,400
Other: $4,800 x 1 point = 4,800
20% Bonus for making 20 swipes per month: 2,400
Total: 14,000

Blue Cash Everyday
Gas: $4,800 x 2 percent = $96
Groceries: $1,200 x 3 percent = $36
Other: $4,800 x 1 percent = $48
Total: $180

Based on your spend, you'd come out ahead with the annual fee (marginally so with the Blue Cash) compared to the no annual fee version.

(Also, you *could* split your spend between multiple cards to maximize your points/cashback per dollar, but that would make it harder to reach the 25,000 points you need for a domestic Delta flight. If you want to pursue the transfer points option, I'd go all-in on the EDP.)

I made that suggestion before OP stated his/her average spend. Barclaycard Arrival Plus is basically a cash back card for travel, but 2.2%. You get 10% of your points back when you redeem for travel purchases. Signup bonus is good right now too. Given the annual fee of the PRG, average spend is the biggest key factor. 2 miles per dollar on all purchases is not a bad deal.

I started out with the PRG years ago, after much research, I found much more value in UR points so I use my CSP to transfer points to airlines and it seems to be much more beneficial to me. I don't find any value really, in MR points. UR and Starpoints seem to be most valuable for me, but they may not be for others. I suggested what I suggested because they are good cards and they are worth looking into. I don't know what OP will find that best suits his/her needs, I was just suggesting that they be looked into.

1-2 trips per year using Barclaycard points would be beneficial since it earns 2X everywhere and the 2.2% redemption rate isn't just for airlines, but rather any travel expense.
CSP points are probably more valuable when transferred to an airline but they aren't 2X everywhere.
BCP is a great choice for gas/groceries.
I think two cards would be most beneficial. Given my suggestions, I would not keep PRG if I were to acquire any of my suggested cards, unless you just want a charge card in the wallet. In that case, I would PC it to Green.
Amex Platinum
Amex BCP 21K
Amex SPG 5K
Barclaycard Arrival Plus WEMC 5K
Chase Sapphire Preferred 23.5K
Credit Union 10K
Discover IT 7.75K

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Postby takeshi » Fri May 30, 2014 10:20 am

TheSwarm wrote:So my utilization is currently at $3,000 and I balanced transferred it onto a Chase slate that has a limit of $3,500.

Utilization is a percentage. Keep in mind that 3,000 / 3,500 is 86% even if you have a 0% offer.

TheSwarm wrote:Also is it bad that I opened the Chase Slate and the PRG within 1 week of one another?

Applying for multiple cards isn't "bad" in and of itself. It's really a matter of whether one's credit supports it or not. I've apped for 3 within 2 days with instant approvals on all. If you got both approved and didn't end up with the worst terms/limits available then it probably wasn't "bad" but that's a vague word and you'd really need to clarify what you mean exactly.

Impact to your credit is probably what you're actually asking about and it's difficult for us to say. You take hits for the HP's and to AAoA but decreased utilization (or course the PRG isn't relevant here) may mitigate or even overcome those hits.

TheSwarm wrote:Alright cool. So I guess maybe this would be best with an example scenario. Let's say that I will spend $400/month on gas, $200/month on groceries

Off the top of my head (without crunching the numbers or really reading through Cal's post) I'd suggest the BCP or EDP. BCE is rarely the best fit. You definitely need to determine you preference for redemption. I'm also one that doesn't find much use for MR points and instead focuses on UR points so I have the BCP for my grocery spend.

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