I'll chime in even though I don't have a lot of experience with MR. I've had the ED for over a year, but I'm building them up relatively slowly and haven't actually ever redeemed any yet.
I think the most important considerations should be what is your credit like now and do you anticipate any big credit needs in the near future? Personally, I've already got a mortgage and *fingers crossed* shouldn't need a car loan for a couple of years, so I would happily take this offer myself.
swipe_masta wrote:What can I do with MR points? What do you do with your MR?
There are a lot of options. Some give MR a great value and some give them a terrible value. Generally speaking, you get the best value out of transferring to partners for airline/hotel loyalty points. To get the most out of them, your best bet would probably be an international first class flight. Of course, if you wouldn't be making an international trip anyway you'd be spending a lot more money than you'd be saving. I believe
2-3 cents per MR point is easily achieved this route, but people have gotten higher.
You can get gift cards to places (like Saks Fifth Avenue or Home Depot) for 1 cent per point (eg, $50 gift card for 5,000 MR).
Worst-case scenario is you take a statement credit at a value of .6 ccp (eg, use that 50,000 bonus to wipe out $300 in charges). [Actually, you can get Amex prepaid gift cards at .5 ccp, but why would anyone do that?] Assuming you'll still get no AF the first year, it will cost you $195 to have the card for 2 years, so even that isn't a bad
option in my opinion.
swipe_masta wrote:Do you think opening/closing the card will have an adverse effect with Amex? I still have a BCE and do not want to be on bad terms.
Amex won't like
it by any means, but I wouldn't worry about it. It would be within their rights to close your BCE (they can close an account if they want to), but it is highly unlikely. Don't expect any stellar mailers in the near future, but I would expect to keep using any accounts you already had with them. You'll only be on "bad terms" if you don't pay the bill.
swipe_masta wrote:Apply>meet spending requirement>get bonus>spend bonus>close card... Is it that simple?
I've never done it personally, but that should be all there is to it. You can close an account at any time, just like a creditor. You might as well use it for at least a full year; it wouldn't cost anything. I've heard of Amex offering MR as a way to entice people into keeping their account (I don't think they directly waive or even reduce the AF), but again I wouldn't expect it if I were calling up to cancel a charge card before the AF comes due and after I've gotten use out of a good sign up offer.
In short, if you have a strong credit profile (mid-700s FICO with some history behind it) I wouldn't worry about the impact to your credit. It's a good enough offer to provide a lot of value even if you don't use MR in a way that maximizes their redemption. I'd say go for it. You might find you love the card and its perks, then decide on keeping it.