October 2014 Garden Cult thread - Chose Which Bureau You Wanna Garden!

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:33 am

Different airlines have different hub cities, and flight pricing can vary a lot. For some people, myself included, MR points only transfer to the airlines that often have higher-priced flights on the routes I travel.

If you make 20 different round-trip flights in a year, then you can probably make great use of MR points since you'll get some great bargain flights. If you make 2 or 3, it can be cheaper (and a lot simpler) to just find a ticket at a convenient time with a low cash price and use a general-purpose travel card like CSP or Arrival.

Adjusting for inflation, the price of domestic plane tickets has actually gone down somewhat in recent years. Edit: That's for the US, I don't know about Canadian ticket prices.

Factor in taxes, limited seating for points users, and the need to monitor several different FF programs, and a lot of people just find it a hassle compared to using Expedia/Travelocity/Priceline.

Edit: The rules about transfer partners change, the point prices change, airlines merge and programs close. Unless you fly frequently, or are planning a major trip, it isn't worth spending hours upon hours learning the new rules and looking at a dozen different flight options just to save $30 on each round-trip flight. Maybe it's just a function of my travel, though, that I can usually find something cheap. If I had to pay $700 round-trip for a short flight, then I would see more value in points. But if I can take a short domestic flight for $250 round trip, I'm happy to not bother with points.

MR points are very easy to use, but they are also easy to waste, and it can be tricky for an infrequent flyer who mainly uses a certain airport to use them well. Getting 5% cash back on a purchase next month is usually better than getting an uncertain amount between 0.5% and 10% a year or two from now.

I will look at the BA and Air Canada programs more, though, as trans-Atlantic flights are not likely to be cheap and MR points could be useful there soon.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
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Yoshiofthewire
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Postby Yoshiofthewire » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:07 am

My wife and I are planning a trip to Europe some time in 2016, and since my wife already has some crazy number of US Air mails, and US Air is the only direct carrier between us (PHL to PHX) it was a no brainer to switch over. The problem is I now have 5K MR points that I can either try to swap over, or I get a gift card a 1 cent per point.

Man, I really wish I hadn't PCed my Zinc, even if MREs are worthless.
[size=60]
American Express PRG - NPSL ('10) - NONE - Replace with BCE in 2015
US Airways barclaycard - $20,000 ('14) - Catch All - PC to Arrival in 2016
BankAmericard | Cash Rewards - $8,200 ('99) - Gas, Groceries
Discover It - $8,700 ('14) - 5% categories, ShopDiscover
[/size]

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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:16 pm

Thanks for a super writeup and explanation.

I believe for someone like myself who does not know all the rules and tricks to best use and book points for air travel, MR points are a safe bet. Will I get the best real, likely not but then the risk of me paying too much is reduced.

So if I read this correctly, using MR points to fly business or first on the major airlines is a 'good' deal then?

Have to find out what the point transfer is from MR to the respective airlines. If it's 1 to 1 or not.

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Different airlines have different hub cities, and flight pricing can vary a lot. For some people, myself included, MR points only transfer to the airlines that often have higher-priced flights on the routes I travel.

If you make 20 different round-trip flights in a year, then you can probably make great use of MR points since you'll get some great bargain flights. If you make 2 or 3, it can be cheaper (and a lot simpler) to just find a ticket at a convenient time with a low cash price and use a general-purpose travel card like CSP or Arrival.

Adjusting for inflation, the price of domestic plane tickets has actually gone down somewhat in recent years. Edit: That's for the US, I don't know about Canadian ticket prices.

Factor in taxes, limited seating for points users, and the need to monitor several different FF programs, and a lot of people just find it a hassle compared to using Expedia/Travelocity/Priceline.

Edit: The rules about transfer partners change, the point prices change, airlines merge and programs close. Unless you fly frequently, or are planning a major trip, it isn't worth spending hours upon hours learning the new rules and looking at a dozen different flight options just to save $30 on each round-trip flight. Maybe it's just a function of my travel, though, that I can usually find something cheap. If I had to pay $700 round-trip for a short flight, then I would see more value in points. But if I can take a short domestic flight for $250 round trip, I'm happy to not bother with points.

MR points are very easy to use, but they are also easy to waste, and it can be tricky for an infrequent flyer who mainly uses a certain airport to use them well. Getting 5% cash back on a purchase next month is usually better than getting an uncertain amount between 0.5% and 10% a year or two from now.

I will look at the BA and Air Canada programs more, though, as trans-Atlantic flights are not likely to be cheap and MR points could be useful there soon.
Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero!

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:29 pm

FastSRT8 wrote:So if I read this correctly, using MR points to fly business or first on the major airlines is a 'good' deal then?


That is something I've heard is generally true, but the details vary from airline to airline (complexity I try to avoid). I'm certainly not an authority on the matter.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:08 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:That is something I've heard is generally true, but the details vary from airline to airline (complexity I try to avoid). I'm certainly not an authority on the matter.


Perhaps it's the right time to book a flight from NY to Singapore on Singapore Airlines in First.

I hear that the flight is not only long but the service is exemplary
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TheSwarm
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Postby TheSwarm » Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:58 pm

I've officially been in the garden for 24 hours. It feels good.

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Postby TheSwarm » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:13 pm

FastSRT8 wrote:Perhaps it's the right time to book a flight from NY to Singapore on Singapore Airlines in First.

I hear that the flight is not only long but the service is exemplary


I heard the same thing. I've been doing a little research on the ins and outs of the award tickets. I'm not really good at it yet, but I did search that Singapore airlines JFK to SIN in First/Suites class. Round trip it is normally 220,000 miles + $790 fuel surcharges. But Singapore gives you a 15% miles discount for booking through them so it comes out to 187,000 miles + $790 in fuel surcharges. Which actually seems like a wonderful deal since the flight normally is like $14,000.

But personally I feel like the fuel surcharges suck. So if the award seats are open to any partners who do not pass on those charges you could make out like a bandit. The only partners I know that probably wouldn't pass on the surcharges are United and Aeroplan. Unfortunately United isn't a transfer partner for AMEX, but it is for Chase.

Maybe you'll get lucky and find some availability through Aeroplan and they won't pass on fuel surcharges.

I'm probably going to dump the MR system all together since its transfer partners don't really appeal to me either. Like Carefulbuilder said.

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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:04 pm

Wait wait. Are you telling me it's 'only' 220,000 miles to go first class from NY to Singapore on Singapore Airlines?

220,000 MR points? Or some other kid of points?

How do I calculate how many MR points I need for a single return first class ticket?

Thanks.

TheSwarm wrote:I heard the same thing. I've been doing a little research on the ins and outs of the award tickets. I'm not really good at it yet, but I did search that Singapore airlines JFK to SIN in First/Suites class. Round trip it is normally 220,000 miles + $790 fuel surcharges. But Singapore gives you a 15% miles discount for booking through them so it comes out to 187,000 miles + $790 in fuel surcharges. Which actually seems like a wonderful deal since the flight normally is like $14,000.

But personally I feel like the fuel surcharges suck. So if the award seats are open to any partners who do not pass on those charges you could make out like a bandit. The only partners I know that probably wouldn't pass on the surcharges are United and Aeroplan. Unfortunately United isn't a transfer partner for AMEX, but it is for Chase.

Maybe you'll get lucky and find some availability through Aeroplan and they won't pass on fuel surcharges.

I'm probably going to dump the MR system all together since its transfer partners don't really appeal to me either. Like Carefulbuilder said.
Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero!

TheSwarm
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Postby TheSwarm » Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:04 am

Well that's kind of how it looks to me. I just logged into my KrisFlyer account at singaporeair.com and searched for a 2 week trip from JFK to SIN. I selected First/Suites class and chose book with points.

Basically it looks like to me if you had 187,000 MR points you could transfer them to KrisFlyer directly through the rewards part of your American Express website. Then you could book with those points.

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FastSRT8
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Postby FastSRT8 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:23 am

Wow thanks for the update and clarification.

This is a 'regular' seat meaning even though I am paying with MR points, it's not limited like most award seats where there is only 1 or two available per flight right?

I would be looking for at least two seats on the same flight.


TheSwarm wrote:Well that's kind of how it looks to me. I just logged into my KrisFlyer account at singaporeair.com and searched for a 2 week trip from JFK to SIN. I selected First/Suites class and chose book with points.

Basically it looks like to me if you had 187,000 MR points you could transfer them to KrisFlyer directly through the rewards part of your American Express website. Then you could book with those points.

Image
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