Travel cards over time

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CarefulBuilder14
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Travel cards over time

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:10 pm

I only got into the credit game in 2013, so I have only a limited understanding of what cards were like decades ago.

For people who have been into premium/travel cards for a long time, I'm curious as to how accurate each of these impressions is:

1. Credit standards were stricter.
2. Hotel points were worth a lot more. I've heard a lot of people pine for the "good old days" when Marriott points when went further.
3. Flights had more empty seats, so award availability and point value was higher.
4. Signup bonuses were much smaller.
5. Amex Platinum/Centurion gave elite status with many travel partners.

I know the Chase Hyatt is a comparatively new card, but was IHG much different than it is now?

In what ways have cards gotten better? Have any travel cards been revitalized and significantly improved along the way?
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


rockyrock
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby rockyrock » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:14 am

One way it has gotten better is that you have many more options now. If you have a specific brand you like, there is most likely a rewards program and credit card to go along with it.

Just for reference, I've been in the credit mix since 1994. My first rewards experience was my Sears card (in 1995) which offered a "premium" card to those that spent a certain amount in a calendar year. With that card came special sales, award certificates, special financing, early shopping, etc.

I entered the rewards mix for real in 2005 when I got my Amex Platinum card. Back then in conjunction with the shopping portal it was a good rewards earning card. As we know, rewards for Platinum are now an afterthought.
American Express (2005): Premier Rewards Gold & Blue Cash Preferred
Chase: Freedom & UA Club USAA: Signature Visa & American Express
Discover it Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines WEMC Synchrony Sam's MC
Navy FCU Platinum Visa Citi Double Cash & AT&T Access MC

takeshi
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby takeshi » Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:44 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Credit standards were stricter.

Depends on the timeframes you're comparing. Things were looser prior to 2008. Thing have loosened up a bit since then though.

As for travel cards, specifically, I can't really comment. I didn't have any until 2013 even though I've had credit cards for much longer than that.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:57 am

One DOA thread I'm happy to see revived!

With airline and hotel mergers, occasional spinoffs, cobrand card partnerships changing, and new entrants it seems the landscape is pretty constantly changing. Some changes for good, some for bad.

If SPG is eventually merged into Marriott, I can see that causing a lot of grief!
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

rockyrock
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby rockyrock » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:00 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:
If SPG is eventually merged into Marriott, I can see that causing a lot of grief!


This could be very bad. Starpoints are like the bitcoins of the hotel points. The program itself is much better as well, I love the cash+points options.
American Express (2005): Premier Rewards Gold & Blue Cash Preferred
Chase: Freedom & UA Club USAA: Signature Visa & American Express
Discover it Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines WEMC Synchrony Sam's MC
Navy FCU Platinum Visa Citi Double Cash & AT&T Access MC

inquisitiveman
 
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby inquisitiveman » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:54 pm

I noticed that for my cap1 venture card...if i redeem it for account credit, i get ripped off, but if i redeem it for a gift card, i get a much better deal. Also, does anyone know if i can transfer the points to my paypal account? Thanks.

Brad Bishop
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby Brad Bishop » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:29 am

A couple of thoughts (credit cards since 1988):

At one time the American Express card, in and of itself, was kind or prestigious.

Then it was the Gold Amex... "Oh.. You have a Gold Amex..."

Then the Platinum (invite only) came along and people would look at it and say, "Oh, Silver Amex.. One day you'll get the Gold.." (I kid you not).

To those that knew, the Platinum card seemed to get you noticed a bit more.

Somewhere in there Visa and MasterCard started with their Gold cards and, eventually, everyone has a specialty card which kind of negated the presence of Gold Amex or Platinum Amex.

I think, over the years, Amex has diluted their brand with so many offerings. Having an Amex doesn't mean much of anything. I think of it as a travel card, and that's what I use it for, but, in reality, Visa and MasterCard do fine for travel.

Something else that has changed over the years is Amex acceptance. If you normally relied on your Amex for purchases it wasn't uncommon to be told, "Sorry.. We only accept Visa and MasterCard (and possibly Discover)." That's a LOT less frequent, now.

I never really used the Platinum for it's extra features. I remember one time that I bought a jacket and it tore two days later and I thought, "Oh, Amex buyer's protection! I'll use that!" What you see on TV is: You bought something. It broke. They replaced it. In reality it's: You bought something. It broke. Now they'll send you a bunch of forms and it'll take 4-6 weeks for them to make a decision so that you can go out and replace said item.

... I just had my wife sew it back up.. It was easier than all of that.

Diners Club was similar to Amex with regards to being a travel card except that it was almost exclusively travel. You could book a flight, rent a car, buy gas, get a hotel room, and buy food at a restaurant with it but it wasn't accepted at a large number of places outside of those categories. I had a Diners Club card from around 1995 to 2005. When I'd use it most people looked at it and said, "Oh, I've never seen one of these.." I don't know anyone else who ever had one, personally.

Diners has the airport lounges but it is (was?) limited to something like LAX and JFK for the USA. Amex lounges (and they include Delta) are far more universal. I never used them for that.

Overall, most of the benefits that Amex, Diners, or other card tout, I really haven't used in practice. I think they are "check box" benefits. "Roadside assistance" is a check box benefit. They have a contract with someone. You're not likely to get the same service from that credit card's roadside assistance as you would from AAA, for example. It's just there for the perceived benefit, not for real-world use.

With regards to 'tighter controls'. As stated, Amex Platinum originally started out as invite only. You had to have an account with Amex, be in good standing, and spend a good bit of cash on their card. Today, anyone can get any card (with the exception of a few of the very high "elite" cards). If you're not a dolt and have decent credit then you can probably get an Amex Platinum. You can't get a Diners Club if you're in the USA, currently, but that's a separate matter. When I applied in the mid-1990s it wasn't like there was some special qualification other than filling out the paper form.

kdm31091
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby kdm31091 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:58 am

Brad Bishop wrote:Overall, most of the benefits that Amex, Diners, or other card tout, I really haven't used in practice. I think they are "check box" benefits. "Roadside assistance" is a check box benefit. They have a contract with someone. You're not likely to get the same service from that credit card's roadside assistance as you would from AAA, for example. It's just there for the perceived benefit, not for real-world use.


This statement I agree with most of all. People harp about these listed benefits but in reality, how often are people actually using them? Outside of myfico/CCF/etc most people probably aren't even aware or care about these benefits, so I'd think the usage is very low. Like you said, warranties/purchase protection and the like tend to be a pain to actually make use of, and in many cases you don't want to wait while the company decides to replace your item. Not that these benefits have zero merit, but the merit is definitely overstated IMO.

To me it's more important to look at the "real" benefits: rewards on daily spending, redemption rates, etc.

Brad Bishop
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Re: Travel cards over time

Postby Brad Bishop » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:14 pm

kdm31091 wrote:
Brad Bishop wrote:Overall, most of the benefits that Amex, Diners, or other card tout, I really haven't used in practice. I think they are "check box" benefits. "Roadside assistance" is a check box benefit. They have a contract with someone. You're not likely to get the same service from that credit card's roadside assistance as you would from AAA, for example. It's just there for the perceived benefit, not for real-world use.


This statement I agree with most of all. People harp about these listed benefits but in reality, how often are people actually using them? Outside of myfico/CCF/etc most people probably aren't even aware or care about these benefits, so I'd think the usage is very low. Like you said, warranties/purchase protection and the like tend to be a pain to actually make use of, and in many cases you don't want to wait while the company decides to replace your item. Not that these benefits have zero merit, but the merit is definitely overstated IMO.

To me it's more important to look at the "real" benefits: rewards on daily spending, redemption rates, etc.


That was one of the things that hit me with the Amex Platinum and the purchase protection on the coat: "I'm cold now! I don't want to wait until the late Spring or early Summer to find out my coat's been replaced (if they honor it)."

Something else to consider with the "insurance" business is who their customer is. If you go to a car rental company and actually pay for the coverage you're not really the insurance company's customer. The rental agency is. If they can weasel out of it, and have the rental company's backing (there's a contract there) then they'll likely take that path. You are your insurance company's customer and your credit card company's customer so if they have coverage or offer it as a minimal cost (Amex does this which is quite nice) then take that. Then the problem becomes between the credit card company's insurance (which is representing you) and the rental car company. That's a far better plan than the rental car company's contracted insurance agent saying, "We did a lot of digging and found a reason we shouldn't cover this..."



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