AF cards that offer little value?

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CarefulBuilder14
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AF cards that offer little value?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon May 18, 2015 11:28 pm

What do people think are the worst values among prime (not like Credit One or First Premier) rewards/perks cards with annual fees? Let's assume you keep the card past any "trial year", can't get the AF waived, and can't get a retention/anniversary bonus unless it's guaranteed in writing.

I'd say Amex Gold (regular, not PR), Amex Green, and Arrival+ aren't good values. For people who have a lot of money in cash and securities, there are a bunch of "private banking" cards than can be extraordinary rip-offs.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card


Vermonster
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby Vermonster » Tue May 19, 2015 10:30 am

For me, many of the airline cards offer little value. I have never been brand loyal to an airline, I am price loyal. The few times a year we do travel never need a checked bag, and rarely have a layover long enough to use a lounge. From my experience Delta is at least 10% more expensive than another flight which wipes out any savings I would get from a Delta card.

Airline cards also tend to offer little incentive to use the card outside of buying tickets for that airline. I think cards like the CSP and EDP offer better rewards to us regular spenders that aren't hopping on a jet every month. I think if either of those AF goes up to $125 it puts it in the same category of the Gold.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue May 19, 2015 12:02 pm

Vermonster wrote:For me, many of the airline cards offer little value. I have never been brand loyal to an airline, I am price loyal. The few times a year we do travel never need a checked bag, and rarely have a layover long enough to use a lounge. From my experience Delta is at least 10% more expensive than another flight which wipes out any savings I would get from a Delta card.

Airline cards also tend to offer little incentive to use the card outside of buying tickets for that airline. I think cards like the CSP and EDP offer better rewards to us regular spenders that aren't hopping on a jet every month. I think if either of those AF goes up to $125 it puts it in the same category of the Gold.

Airline cards are great for some people (those who are loyal to an airline, fly often, check bags, and/or fly with a companion who also has a bag).

One airline card I don't get is Citi AA Gold. It has a good signup bonus for a $50 AF card, but I don't see why anyone would keep it past the first year. It doesn't offer a free checked bag or lounge access - just boring rewards and savings on in-flight purchases. If someone flies AA enough to really benefit from savings on in-flight purchases, then that person would probably be better off getting a higher-tier Citi AA card.

EDP and CSP can justify the AFs easily - at least with my spending. I know Chase did some trial run of CSP at higher annual fees, but I think they are back to $95 for everyone.

I could see EDP with a higher AF. Maybe Amex thinks it's too new to be nerfed without irritating customers, but Amex seems intent on raising fees, and EDP seems too good a value as it is. They could also raise the 30-swipe threshold to 40 or reduce the 50% bonus to 25%. EDP already has the $6k grocery constraint that BCP once suffered, so I don't think BCP can give hints.

On the other hand, maybe Amex wants to keep value-focused EDP customers and won't nerf the card for a while. Maybe they figure that most of the people who still have the Gold won't object to further nerfing.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

Vermonster
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby Vermonster » Tue May 19, 2015 1:23 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:those who are loyal to an airline, fly often, check bags, and/or fly with a companion who also has a bag).


I think that you would have to hit every single one of those to benefit though. While they sound great, and offer some kickass signup bonuses, I think most people don't fit the demographic that should be using them. Most cards have some pretty big hoops to jump through to get the perks. Or at least it looks that way to me, I honestly have no experience with any of them. Reading the T&C doesn't exactly inspire confidence though.


I also see some Cap One cards have an AF. Personally I don't think many Cap One cards are worth it, but these definitely are not worth it. They must have more lenient underwriting, otherwise it is a complete and total waste.

Edit: Also I don't think the Disney card is worth even the $49 unless you go to Disney a lot.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

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kcm7
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby kcm7 » Tue May 19, 2015 3:12 pm

While they sound great, and offer some kickass signup bonuses, I think most people don't fit the demographic that should be using them.


I had a Citi AA card. I usually fly with only a carry-on for domestic flights, so the free-bag benefit didn't do much for me. But I usually still got my annual fee's worth when using American domestic flights to connect to international gateway cities (and was traveling with a large bag that needed to be checked). My boyfriend was usually with me for those trips, so free bags for both of us -- a $100 value on a single trip. Not bad.

Recently, a few more airlines are flying out of my city, and American rarely wins on price anymore. So I ditched the card.
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-Capital One Quicksilver
-Barclaycard Arrival (no AF)
- US Bank (no rewards)
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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue May 19, 2015 3:34 pm

Vermonster wrote:I also see some Cap One cards have an AF. Personally I don't think many Cap One cards are worth it, but these definitely are not worth it. They must have more lenient underwriting, otherwise it is a complete and total waste.

Edit: Also I don't think the Disney card is worth even the $49 unless you go to Disney a lot.

Capital One Venture is very much like the Arrival+, just with a lower AF and worse customer service. All other Capital One AF cards (at least, that I can think of) are meant for subprime customers.

Chase has a Disney debit card with most of the same benefits as the credit card, so the $49 AF is worth avoiding, even for a Disney regular.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed May 20, 2015 1:13 pm

I'm puzzled when I see people with many cards, including EDP and/or old CSP accounts, who also keep Arrival+ or Venture into the second year.

(All four have annual fees; EDP's is (at least generally) not waived for the first year.)

It makes me wonder: Are they serious about MRs and URs or not?

If you're trying to get 2+ cpp for UR or 1.5+ cpp for MR, then keeping a 2% or 2.2%-ish cash-back card probably isn't worth the AF. Heck, unless you can get some extra advantage from the card (like special rewards or wider acceptance), the card probably doesn't warrant any spending - using one just slows you down from earning your next flight or hotel room.

I suppose Arrival+ would be the rational choice if you shop at Sam's Club a lot or make a lot of online transactions at places that don't take Amex. And yes, some people can get AFs waived and may like WEMC benefits, but they are in the minority. Other people just rent a lot of cars and like to use CSP for the special insurance.

For most people, downgrading (if possible) to Venture One or regular Arrival would seem to make a lot more sense, They could then keep them open with minimal activity for times when the cards would be convenient. I know downgrading is not guaranteed, especially for Arrival+.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

Vermonster
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby Vermonster » Wed May 20, 2015 1:50 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:I'm puzzled when I see people with many cards, including EDP and/or old CSP accounts, who also keep Arrival+ or Venture into the second year.


Look at some on the MF forums. I saw someone with over $1800 in AF. I can't really fathom taking advantage of more than a few of the prestigious cards. I think having a Plat and TYP is a bit of a waste as you split you spending between two very different programs. They must have the income to support it, but you know what they say; you don't get rich by spending money.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed May 20, 2015 2:06 pm

Vermonster wrote: you know what they say; you don't get rich by spending money.

Unless you travel for work and get all your expenses reimbursed. In those cases, the more expensive a flight or hotel is, the better!

I suppose most employees who travel are kept on a pretty tight (or, at least, inflexible) budget.

Incentives can lead to strange behavior.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

takeshi
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Re: AF cards that offer little value?

Postby takeshi » Thu May 21, 2015 8:32 am

Vermonster wrote:For me, many of the airline cards offer little value. I have never been brand loyal to an airline, I am price loyal.

I'm not brand loyal but I do live in a United fortress hub city so effectively all my travel ends up being on United.

Vermonster wrote:
CarefulBuilder14 wrote:those who are loyal to an airline, fly often, check bags, and/or fly with a companion who also has a bag).

I think that you would have to hit every single one of those to benefit though.

Unless you meant to say "I'd have to hit every single of those for me to benefit":

Not necessarily and requirements are going to vary by individual. I don't fly very often but I do check bags and even flying alone that's a $50 savings on a single round trip. Throw in priority boarding and gravy items like the pair of club passes each year, no expiration on MP miles and the UMPE is easily worth it to me. As with worth on any subject, YMMV.

Vermonster wrote:Airline cards also tend to offer little incentive to use the card outside of buying tickets for that airline. I think cards like the CSP and EDP offer better rewards to us regular spenders that aren't hopping on a jet every month.

True on the first part but I don't hop on jets every month and find both the UMPE and CSP useful. You have be careful using subjective terms like "regular" and making sweeping generalizations. It's really the specifics for any individual that matter. The CSP and EDP aren't suited to everyone either and another card may be a better fit depending on one's spend.

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:I suppose most employees who travel are kept on a pretty tight (or, at least, inflexible) budget.

We have guidelines and restrictions but I wouldn't call it tight. Depends on the company as to what their travel policies are.



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