djrez4 wrote:You're ignoring the value of sticking to a single points currency. To say that one quarter of 5% back on dining with Discover makes the CSP worthless is silly. First of all, you recognize that the value of UR points is in transferring, not in cash. Then, you should also know that a UR point is worth more than a penny if you use it right. It's not hard to get 3Â¢ of value from a UR point. Earning 2 points on each dining dollar then has more value than 5% cash back with Discover. Combine that with the 5x opportunities on Ink and Freedom and you have a good points-earning machine.
If you're getting a value of 3+ out of UR that's a different story, but I've found that's rarely possible for most people. Yes, if you frequently fly a route that just happens to have an awesome redemption rate, or if you do certain hotels or business class (which I don't consider a good deal). Unless a certain route has very low competition, or you're really able to capitalize on a zone or distance formula, I've found a value of 1.5 is much more realistic. But yes, for certain people this is true, so it throws Discover out the window.
With the Ink series, you either get 2x on hotels and gas and not on dining or on gas and dining and not hotels. Carrying an Ink Cash and an Ink Plus is redundant. Carrying an Ink Cash and a CSP is not. The CSP covers a much wider range of travel costs. The 7% dividend doesn't even factor into my calculation. I consider the $95 a year fee to be the cost of being able to transfer points to travel partners.
Ink Plus and Ink Cash can do basically the same thing, and really aren't that much more redundant than CSP is with either of them. CSP is redundant with restaurants and hotels, the Ink Cards are redundant with other categories.
Also, remember that the PRG costs almost twice as much per year and only gives 3x on flights, not on any other travel. You'd have to spend an extra $8,000 on flights to earn enough points to account for the fee difference. You also split your points that way. For most people, earning points in two separate programs spreads things out enough that they'll struggle to earn enough points in either program to redeem for anything fun.
True, which is why I won't get PRG and I think it's only better for people who fly a TON and can get good value out of MR. But the counterpoint is that when you don't fly a ton, CSP's travel category (really the only thing you can't get with Ink cards) is not that spectacular. I'd also argue that having more than one type of points is good. For example, I have Arrival and UR. I can use UR where I can get good value, and save them when I can't.
I have the CSP, Freedom and an Ink Classic (no longer offered - I think the Ink Cash is pretty much the same, other than 2x dining instead of hotels). I keep the CSP around for 2x dining and travel and to transfer points. For a while, I had an Ink Bold as well. Obviously, there was no reason to keep both the CSP and the Bold. I chose to cancel the Bold and replace it with the Classic. My only loss by making that switch was that I could only get 5x on $25k of spending, rather than $50k. That wasn't an issue for me. All of the other earning bonuses remain the same.
That's what I'd originally planned on doing, but since Ink Plus gives retention offers and 2x on gas (relevant if you're actually getting 2-3 cents per point), I'm leaning towards Ink Cash + Ink Plus. All you lose is the travel category, which would be hard to justify a $95 annual fee with. But yes, if you're not counting retention bonuses it could go either way, and they're both good if you can actually get 2-3 cents per point.