Best Way to Accumulate Points for Travel

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ajacks108
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Best Way to Accumulate Points for Travel

Postby ajacks108 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:10 pm

Hey Guys,
Trying to plan a trip for me and my girlfriend in August of this year to Europe! Probably just London so she can do all the site seeing stuff and I can hopefully catch a Spurs match.

I have 69k UA Miles Chase Mileage Explorer
Just recently redeemed ALL my UR Points (Freedom) to help pay for black friday over spending
And I will have 25k + 4k in Amex MR points. (Premier Gold)

I've been using my Amex to buy everything to see if I can hit the $30k per year but after doing some calculating and realizing after bills and taxes and rent etc I don't even make $30k i may return back to balancing my purchases between all my cards.

So my question is. What do you guys think is the best way to get to Europe.
a. Fastest card to earn rewards on.
b. best ratio of reward points to miles
c. etc
[size=80]Amex Premier Gold
Chase Freedom - CL $8,000
Chase United Mileage Explorer card - CL $6,900
Banana Republic - CL $4000
Chase Slate - CL $3,000
Target - CL $2000
Ann Taylor Loft - CL $1000[/size]


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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:31 pm

Cheapest - American/US Airways off-peak Europe award tickets. It's only 40k round-trip, per person. United is 60k per person.

My suggestion - get 100k AA miles and use those to get to Europe. Apply for a at least 8 days after. Meet the minimum spend as quickly as you can (use AP, get a Bluebird and buy some VR, etc). You should be able to get the bonus miles posted to your account within a month or two if you put your mind to it. Read the wiki here for more info.

Your alternative is to apply for a Chase Ink Plus/Bold and transfer the UR bonus to United. The 69k UA that you have, plus the 55k UR you'll get, will get you 124k UA miles. You need 120k for the tickets.

No way you rack up the miles you need any other way.

EDIT - double checked the off-peak dates. They start October 15, so American is out. Chase is your only hope.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]
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takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:04 am

If you don't want to app for either of the Inks the CSP has a 40K bonus with spend. You could use it and your Freedom to get the remainder of the needed points if your spend is suitable. CSP will also enable to you transfer UR points to UMP miles.

ajacks108
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Postby ajacks108 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:49 pm

Thanks for the help guys. I'm trying to decide if maybe I should go the CSP route which I think I could make up the 10k difference. Or go UA one way and get an Amex SPG to combine my MR points and take a different airline back. I want to go the CSP route because it would be more convinient to go back and forth on UA. However I do not know when I would use the CSP card on a daily basis having already the Amex PremGold and United MIleage Explorer. Verses the SPG I do not yet have a Hotel rewards card.

Thoughts?
[size=80]Amex Premier Gold

Chase Freedom - CL $8,000

Chase United Mileage Explorer card - CL $6,900

Banana Republic - CL $4000

Chase Slate - CL $3,000

Target - CL $2000

Ann Taylor Loft - CL $1000[/size]

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:50 pm

Then you have to consider other factors:

  1. Does the second airline offer one-way award flights? (Some charge full round-trip pricing even if you only fly one way.)
  2. Do Amex Membership Rewards and SPG both offer transfers to the second airline?
  3. Are there fuel surcharges on the second airline? (Probably, yes.)

Both programs transfer to:
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada/Aeroplan
  • Alitalia
  • All Nippon (ANA)
  • British Airways
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific and 20 other partners)
  • Delta
  • Flying Blue (Air France & KLM)
  • Hawaiian
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Of those, Aeromexico and Hawaiian are useless.

Delta charges round-trip miles for one-way awards.

Alitalia charges more than 50% of a round-trip for one-way but adds fuel surcharges.

ANA, Asia Miles, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are distance-based award charts. If you're on the East Coast, they may work. If not, they're expensive. BA and Virgin add fuel surcharges of $500-$750.

Air France/KLM and Singapore offer one-ways for 50% of the round trip cost and add fuel surcharges.

If you can find Delta award space using Flying Blue miles, you can get a one-way flight and avoid the surcharges.

So, unless you spend a lot of time reading up on frequent flyer programs and the hotspots in each program, it's probably best to book a simple round-trip flight on a single airline. Stick with Chase, transfer the miles to United.

Final thought - United devalues their chart on February 1. Economy saver awards to Europe remain the same at 60k miles, round-trip, per person. If you can't find saver space on United, each ticket jumps from 110k to 130k miles. Economy awards on Star Alliance partners stay at 60k as well. Saver business class tickets on United jump from 100k to 110k and non-savers jump from 250k to 300k. Partner business class awards jump from 100k to 140k.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]

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ajacks108
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Postby ajacks108 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:21 pm

hey dj,

In a previous post you mentioned getting a bluebird account and using vanilla reloaders. I've read this elsewhere but never anywhere that gave me details on how to get it done. The gist i've gotten is just that i would need to buy VR's somewhere and then use it to load my bluebird account. Are there any exceptions to this. for example i know most cards say you don't get rewards points on purchases of gift cards but are they able to tell?/the way other posts i've read stated it i would need to buy it a certain store? do you have any insight or link to a thread that explains it better. Because i would really like to hit that 30k annual spend on my amex.
[size=80]Amex Premier Gold

Chase Freedom - CL $8,000

Chase United Mileage Explorer card - CL $6,900

Banana Republic - CL $4000

Chase Slate - CL $3,000

Target - CL $2000

Ann Taylor Loft - CL $1000[/size]

wiivile
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Postby wiivile » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:42 pm

With British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, you can get a roundtrip to the UK for just 40,000 UR points plus $900 in taxes and surcharges!
    Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature: 11/2013, $15,000 CL
    Chase Freedom Visa: 11/2009, $4,700 CL
    U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature: 11/2013, $11,200 CL

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:12 pm

Ts&Cs generally say no points on GCs, but they can't tell, yet.

VRs from CVS, load to BB online, dump in a secondary bank account.

Or, VGCs, load to BB at WalMart, dump in a secondary bank account.

One you pass the $5k monthly limit on BB, you can buy MOs at Walmart. Again, deposit in secondary account.

Never deposit BB or MO into an account with a bank you want points from.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]

[/RIGHT]

samhradh
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Postby samhradh » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:15 pm

While this isn't a Bluebird thread you may find this interesting: I recently successfully completed my first GC > BB > CC payment. I didn't want to do MS due to the financial risk so after I opened a BB a couple months ago I bided my time. My job recently gave me a gift card for sales success. Perfect test.

I registered the card online with my address. I couldn't change the name. BB specifically says online the card must be in my name to deposit funds as a debit. But I figured: what's the harm in trying? I added the gift card as a debit and used the pin I got online. Transaction went through immediately! I waited a couple days then did BB bill pay to Chase. It processed within two business days.
Citi Forward ($10.1K), AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($30K), Chase Freedom ($12.4K), Discover it ($5.5K), Barclaycard Arrival ($12.5K), L.L. Bean Visa ($5K). FICO 806 (TU), 812 (EQ), 806 (EX).



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