- Centurion Member
- Posts: 151
- Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:05 pm
- Location: New York, NY
This is a very difficult subject for me, as I constantly grapple with the same thing.
Currently I use the CSP and Freedom exclusively. The only Freedom category that really does anything for me is the Restaurants quarter, since I eat out every day and do not drive. But I only spend about $18,000 a year in total on credit cards, and I'm not sure if I'm earning enough points to justify the annual fee and if the points I earn are worth enough via travel partners to make it worth more than a simple cash back card (like the Double Cash, where everything is 2 cents per dollar, which you're pretty lucky if you manage to get this when transferring to a travel partner via CSP).
Basically, it's hard to calculate if the money I save on the few flights I take every year is more lucrative than straight cash back.
For example, a $186 flight on Southwest that I want to take in March costs 11,135 points, so it's effectively saving me $75 had I paid for that ticket in cash (assuming 11,135 pts is worth $111.35 in cash back on any other card). That is also 1.67 points per dollar, which is less than what the Double Cash would give me (with no AF!)
Even though points are worth more with the CSP than they would be on a cash back card, I can earn a lot more "points" with a card like the Citi Double Cash (where 1 point = 1 cent), so it kind of evens out? While I'm only getting 2x on dining and travel with the CSP (and 5x on dining for 1 quarter with the Freedom), 2x year round on everything is very tempting and I'm not sure it can be beat, even with the value of 1 UR point.
If I had the Citi Forward or if the U.S. Bank Cash+ still did restaurants as a 5% category, this would be a no-brainer, as 5% cash back on restaurants (my biggest spending) with 2% cash back on everything else with the Double Cash would be unbeatable.
There are a lot of intangibles that the CSP provides, though, like being able to book Amtrak trains at the last minute to DC or Boston (from NY) for 4,000 points without having to book way in advance for an affordable seat. Or booking flights that are somewhat refundable (even though you may have to pay a fee to get points re-credited).
SO, in sum, I can't really decide which is more lucrative for me, the Freedom+CSP or straight cash back with the Double Cash (along with ideally some restaurant card).
I also have 150,000 UR points on my CSP right now so I have to figure out what to do with them. It'll take me years (and a lot of annual fees) to use them all.
I would appreciate any thoughts people have on this too...
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