cashback wrote:That depends on if you value 1 UR point more than getting 2% cash back with any 2% card. Also, if you just have the Freedom, you do not have access to all the travel benefits of the UR mall. You would need to get either CSP or Ink.
Yes, and it gets quite complicated. The UR claim is based on, as cashback says, using CSP or Ink, and then transferring the points to partners for airline or hotel rewards. If you just use points to buy travel, rather than transfer, 1,000 points are worth $12 rather than the $10 they would be for cash back. But to get those 1,000 points, you would spend $1,000, and the same spend on Fidelity/Priceline would give you $20 back, better than either.
And after the first year, you would be paying $95 for the CSP or Ink.
Citi has a similar thing. If you also got the premier, you cannot transfer points (except to Hilton) but your travel points are now worth 1.3 cents each, still less than a 2% card. But you can also get unlimited flights at 15% off base (still have to pay all taxes and fees) and one companion ticket a year. If you fly a lot, that can be a great deal. If you don't, not so much! And after the first year, Premier is $125
So it depends on which other cards you get, whether you want to transfer points to partners etc, there is no simple answer.
Edit: And the real difference between the cards IS in the category spending. Freedom maxes out at 30,000 points a year (if you manage to max out each quarter), forward has no max but if you don't use Forward's categories much, again that's not so useful.
You have to look at how easy it is to get the points, and that includes, at least in the short term, the sign up bonuses as well.