Cash back vs points for me?

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medcinmn
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Cash back vs points for me?

Postby medcinmn » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:56 pm

I've been using all cash back cards- AMEX BCP, Discover, BOA privileges but use my cash for airfare reimbursement. Spend about 10k/yr on groceries and 5k gas, 4k dining and the rest miscellaneous.

Recently I considered the AMEX PRG, along w Chase Freedom and CSP.

Using my real life numbers $10k groceries nets $305 on BCP after AF
$5k gas nets $200 on Costco AMEX no AF so total $505

PRG 20,000 points groceries and 10,000 fuel for 30,000 total.

For or our situation, flying domestically am I better off with cash or points? I realize this may be an over simplification, but just trying to figure this out.

Total spending in all categories would probably be $60-75k/yr

All travel is domestic, purchased well in advance.

Thoughts on my current cash back or change to points?


linuxmachine
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Postby linuxmachine » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:54 am

If you fly off peak and buy well in advance your miles won't be as worthwhile, unless you want to fly first or business class. Krisflyer miles have some nice sweet spots for domestic travel on partners. Also something worth noting is that delta allows stayovers. Basically it's a free one way ticket if you know you will fly within the next few months. You can Google for it or just ask if you want to know more.

I usually fly virgin or jet blue, and their rates are pretty good even without miles. I usually end up using amex points just for avios for specific flights, like going to Hawaii for cheap. So it really depends on your travel patterns.

Btw... you grocery spend is over the 6k limit. You should consider a 2nd card like Sallie Mae for more cash back on grocery. Or if you have a spouse, have the spouse get a separate BCP. It'll add another 150+ to your bottom line :-)

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djrez4
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Postby djrez4 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:36 am

Also, consider the 15k bonus for spending $30k on the PRG.
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rockyrock
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Postby rockyrock » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:08 pm

djrez4 wrote:Also, consider the 15k bonus for spending $30k on the PRG.


That could push the PRG over the top...

Do you get that bonus every $30k or just the first $30k?
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Patcell87
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Postby Patcell87 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:55 am

rockyrock wrote:That could push the PRG over the top...

Do you get that bonus every $30k or just the first $30k?


Per the terms, you will get the 15k MR bonus upon reaching $30k in a calender year; you will get this every year you reach at least $30k in spending. You don't get another 15k MR points for reaching $60k in spend though...

medcinmn
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Postby medcinmn » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:33 pm

Using very rough estimates of my spending, I figure I will accrue $1200 of cash (after AF's) using cash back cards or 92,000 points using the PRG (including the 15k bonus) annually. With the information above - we fly domestically, purchase tix in advance and fly coach, which is better?

medcinmn
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Postby medcinmn » Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:42 pm

I guess a better question would be which has more value towards airfare the way we travel: $1200 cash rewards or 92k MR points?

Thx!

linuxmachine
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Postby linuxmachine » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:21 pm

medcinmn wrote:I guess a better question would be which has more value towards airfare the way we travel: $1200 cash rewards or 92k MR points?

Thx!


What are your travel patterns like? You said you fly domestic. Do you fly from one coast to the other? Or do you get on short flights? Do you fly business or economy? MR points can vary depending on how you redeem them. Typically, I find MR points for domestic economy ranges from 1~2 cents. So if you do a good job of redeeming at 2 cents, you are getting 1800 worth in value, which is much better than $1200. But if you don't do a good job and redeem at the lower end, you only get $900 back.

Personally, if I can get more than 1.5 cents/point, I go with points. Otherwise, I don't mind losing just a little bit for the convenience of cash back. But I don't travel much anymore. If I were a frequent flyer, I'd go points no matter what.



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