I avoided credit stuff for almost a week before I tried to book a domestic award flight (NYC area to Los Angeles area) using MRs. I tried Delta, Virgin America, and American via BA Avios. I can definitely understand more thoroughly the complaints I've heard about poor MR value for domestic travel, even with indirect flights and lesser airports. I thought Virgin America would be a great deal until I remembered the MR:Elevate transfer ratio was 2:1.
Having many airlines fly a particular route doesn't help me get an award flight if none of those airlines' award charts offer a bargain award on that route. That's a fundamental truth I didn't fully appreciate before. Fortunately, I have some decent options for paid flights on Delta and United.
I do see the appeal of churning cobranded airline cards for bonuses. MRs and URs have more power because you can use them on many partners, but there is a certain crude simplicity in just getting a huge number of miles, using them only semi-efficiently, and then just dropping the card.
With heavy and efficient EDP use from regular spending, 30+ transactions every month, as well as extras like the Whole Foods bonus MRs and even a modest retention offer, I might earn 50k MRs in a year (along with plenty of URs and some Discover cash). 50k is pretty good - except that it could also be accomplished with the signup bonus(es) from one or two cobrand cards.
I'll have another transatlantic flight before too long, and maybe find a decent Delta award rate to use my MRs.
I know I can't get a card now and have the miles become available in time for a December/January round trip flight. I am definitely in the garden through 2015. That temptation has passed.
But within the first few months of 2016, I think it will be time to PC EDP to ED and let the bonus hunting begin! I'll have 11 cards with an AAoA of about 15 months, and only 4 new accounts within the last year. Amex cards (PRG, ED, BCE) will be for offers and credits only, and more spending will go towards URs and cash back when I don't have an initial bonus to work on. I already have a lot of credit from Amex and Chase, but I will go for some nice miles bonuses from BofA, Barclaycard, and Citi.