Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

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swipe_masta
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Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

Postby swipe_masta » Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:48 pm

Been a long time! Hope everyone's new year has started off well!

So, I got a mailer from Amex with a pretty great offer- PRG spend $1000 in 3 months and get 50k MR points. Thing is, I don't need the card at all and am not really the person who applies for cards just for the sign-up bonus and calls it quits. However, this is a very tempting offer, but I'm not too familiar with MR points since my only Amex card is a BCE that I only keep for the ShopRunner 2-day free shipping. So... should I do it?

Questions:
What can I do with MR points? What do you do with your MR?
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.
Apply>meet spending requirement>get bonus>spend bonus>close card... Is it that simple?


Nixon
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Re: Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

Postby Nixon » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:28 pm

The most interesting redemptions have been diluted over the last couple of years, I'd say get it, but sit on the points until a nice bonus redemption promo arrives.
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Vattené
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Re: Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

Postby Vattené » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:40 pm

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.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

takeshi
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Re: Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

Postby takeshi » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:15 pm

swipe_masta wrote:What can I do with MR points? What do you do with your MR?

Take a look on the MR site. You can see redemption values for the different options but, as pointed out above, better value is generally attained by transferring to travel partners for premium cabin international travel. Even if you're not considering premium cabin international travel you may want to look at transfer rates and then look at redemption rates for airline partners that you could use.

You really have to do this sort of thing for any scuh rewards program, including Ultimate Rewards, Thank You, etc.

swipe_masta wrote:What do you do with your MR?

Not very much in the way of value. Maybe 0.8 cents/point so we probably won't keep the MR card that we have.

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.

Your credit profile is really a much bigger deal than whether or not you open a card for its sign on bonus and then close it out. AmEx isn't a fan of churning but that's why they have the one time bonus limit per product.

Vattené wrote: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).

Somehow I overlooked those. The other half does shop at Saks and we can certainly use stuff from Home Depot.

Vattené wrote:You might as well use it for at least a full year; it wouldn't cost anything.

+1 Take it for a spin. Try out the other features and benefits. Hit FlyerTalk and see if you can make full use of the airline fee credit. We just made use of ours for 2016 to add to our United gift registry. If you hang on to the card long enough you should be able to do with twice (one per calendar year) before the fee hits.

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Vattené
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Re: Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

Postby Vattené » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:02 pm

takeshi wrote:
Vattené wrote: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).

Somehow I overlooked those. The other half does shop at Saks and we can certainly use stuff from Home Depot.

Could be a good option if you've got some MR laying around and don't have a good alternative way to redeem them (for a respectable value). Also, if you don't have that many you can get statement credits against McDonald's purchases at 1 cpp (AFAIK it's the only merchant that isn't .6 cpp).
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

kdm31091
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Re: Pros/Cons of PRG 50k Sign-Up Bonus

Postby kdm31091 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:17 pm

MR points are generally redeemed at the highest value by transferring to partners and obtaining first class international flights. As noted though, don't take an international trip just because of the points. It only makes sense if you were going to do it anyway. The only downside as far as sitting on the points is that mile/loyalty programs can be and are sometimes devalued, so you risk getting less out of the points in the future.

The gift cards aren't a bad option, considering you get full value. I'd definitely try to find a useful gift card vs redeeming for the statement credit at 0.6 cpp. While that's still better than nothing, I'm sure in most cases you can find a gift card to get use out of and the full 1 cpp.



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