End of the Trail?

HanoiIG

Silver Member
#1
My wife and I have about 30 some active cards. We have gotten some good bonuses, like the 100K for AMEX Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve, 60K each for Delta, 60K twice for two different AA cards and a few others.

We don't have a ton of non-travel spend that we can put on cards and how many years in advance do we want to pay our cable bill. Another thing, I guess we should get rid of cable, but that's another story.

We will occasionally need things like a new gas grill or mattress that are pricey enough to earn a bonus, but has that boat sailed for us now? We are still a few months before we are free of 5/24 from Chase so is it even worth looking? We don't have a Marriott/SPG or a Hyatt and I guess there are still a few airlines we could sign up for.

We may also be at an age where we should taper off. Our "bank" includes over 500K Chase URs and the same of LifeMiles, plus the odd balances in other airline accounts. It was so exciting to get big free miles just for buying things we were already buying but now I can't even find anything.
 

heavenlyjane

Level 2 Member
#2
In your situation, there doesn't seem to be much point in collecting more points. You need to start dreaming about how to use all the points you have. If you don't want to travel anymore, gift the points to a loved one.
 

HanoiIG

Silver Member
#3
Oh, we travel pretty much all the time. It's just that I came late to the "hobby" and it ended almost before it began. We got every card for which we applied and now "Is that all there is?"

Now have to see which cards to keep and which to cancel. It's easy to use points if we find availability for First or Business.

Actually hardly ever use for hotel as Accor is our go-to brand and the points are for cash so I use them every year as soon as I get status.

Maybe next "game" can be for airline status. We were once Star Alliance Gold which was super when we flew Economy with preferred checkin and baggage allowance and lounges
 

HariOm

Transcendent Level
#5
My wife and I have about 30 some active cards.

We may also be at an age where we should taper off.
One way to start tapering off would be to cancel some of those active cards and make sure you're not unnecessarily paying annual fees. Also enables you to more easily concentrate spending on certain card(s).
 
#6
It's far from over, but it has changed. I get declined on almost as many cards as accepted now. However, I'm now 24 months since the bonus on Hyatt, 21 months on Marriott, and 23 months since closing my American personal card. It's almost time to apply for them all again (keep them open a year and then close when the fee is due).
 

HanoiIG

Silver Member
#7
It's far from over, but it has changed. I get declined on almost as many cards as accepted now. However, I'm now 24 months since the bonus on Hyatt, 21 months on Marriott, and 23 months since closing my American personal card. It's almost time to apply for them all again (keep them open a year and then close when the fee is due).
I got into this a couple of years ago and both my wife and I got AX Platinum with 100K, CSR with the same and some others like Barclay, Citi and some branded like Amtrak, 2 AA each Alaska and then hotel like Hilton and IHG all with good bonuses.

I'm now reviewing what we have as some should be cancelled as surplus and because of fees. We are getting to the age where we may slow down and to the point where we can pretty much afford to pay but why not use points/miles and do more?

Our main thrust is front of the plane awards as we can no longer fly to Asia in economy. Europe we could but prefer business when going as coming back is not sleep time.

Hotels we are pretty much branded to Accor, though we have Hilton and IHG as backup. My wife has a couple of places where she always wants Mandarin Oriental(Singapore and Bangkok) and some other places where we have favorites like Paris, Danang, Istanbul so it's not just find an award.

I think I got into the "hobby" a bit late but still during the "Golden Age" when it was relatively easy to amass points/miles and use them. I have used Life Miles to good advantage, even purchasing when the 150% bonuses were in. I think that banks now have the capability of tracking people who keep signing up for cards, then cancelling when fees are due and (probably rightly so) are cracking down on them. It's certainly not wrong to do this, but that's not why banks offer bonuses.

I guess when I no longer am 5/24 I may try for some more cards but for now I think I will sit tight.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
#8
I got into this a couple of years ago and both my wife and I got AX Platinum with 100K, CSR with the same and some others like Barclay, Citi and some branded like Amtrak, 2 AA each Alaska and then hotel like Hilton and IHG all with good bonuses.

I'm now reviewing what we have as some should be cancelled as surplus and because of fees. We are getting to the age where we may slow down and to the point where we can pretty much afford to pay but why not use points/miles and do more?

Our main thrust is front of the plane awards as we can no longer fly to Asia in economy. Europe we could but prefer business when going as coming back is not sleep time.

Hotels we are pretty much branded to Accor, though we have Hilton and IHG as backup. My wife has a couple of places where she always wants Mandarin Oriental(Singapore and Bangkok) and some other places where we have favorites like Paris, Danang, Istanbul so it's not just find an award.

I think I got into the "hobby" a bit late but still during the "Golden Age" when it was relatively easy to amass points/miles and use them. I have used Life Miles to good advantage, even purchasing when the 150% bonuses were in. I think that banks now have the capability of tracking people who keep signing up for cards, then cancelling when fees are due and (probably rightly so) are cracking down on them. It's certainly not wrong to do this, but that's not why banks offer bonuses.

I guess when I no longer am 5/24 I may try for some more cards but for now I think I will sit tight.
It is certainly different, but there is a lot of value. You sound like you have a good financial base (so can afford float) but not much in the way of spend, and this is a good combo. I would aim for 40/24 in your situation. Burn through every card you can get. Focus not being on MS, but on getting a ton of signup bonuses in things you haven't thought of.


Being branded to Accor sounds like you are cattle :) There's a ton of free hotel points and stays out there that don't require payment.. they certainly are harder to gain value from than flights, but I think you could craft at least 2-3 nice trips that you haven't considered yet.
 

HanoiIG

Silver Member
#9
It is certainly different, but there is a lot of value. You sound like you have a good financial base (so can afford float) but not much in the way of spend, and this is a good combo. I would aim for 40/24 in your situation. Burn through every card you can get. Focus not being on MS, but on getting a ton of signup bonuses in things you haven't thought of.


Being branded to Accor sounds like you are cattle :) There's a ton of free hotel points and stays out there that don't require payment.. they certainly are harder to gain value from than flights, but I think you could craft at least 2-3 nice trips that you haven't considered yet.
Float is what? I thought it was the time between charging and paying off, right? No, I don't have much spend. Can't put mortgage or taxes on cards. Even if I could, the vig would outweigh the points. 40/24 is 40 cards? MS is like when you buy things and then cash them out? I've never been able to quite figure that out and at this stage of life, it's not worth my time, at least it doesn't seem to be. So signup bonuses are great but I haven't been able to find many that I don't have and now that even bloody Wells Fargo, the crooked bank rejects me with over 800 credit score.

OK, my wife has certain hotels she likes to stay in regardless of paying or award. Got a great small hotel in the 6th in Paris. Cirigan Palace in Istanbul, La Mamounia in Marrakesh etc. The Accor thing is because we go to NY, Philly, DC a lot and those Sofitels always give us upgrades, including even Presidential Suite a couple of times. We were just in Chicago and they upgraded us to Prestige Suite as "loyal customers" though we hadn't been there in a couple of years. We know a lot of GM's in Sofitels and they always hook us up or send emails to other properties. Even with no "award nights" we get a decent number of points with a multiplier as Platinum. We just spent 8 nights at Fairmont San Francisco and got over 15000 points so nearly 2000/night which is about $45/night. I realize that there are free nights available and wouldn't turn them down but there is also an inchoate value in not having to keep checking for deals on priceline(is there still a Priceline?) or other consolidators. In the cities with sofitels, I check the website rate, then write to my contact at the hotel and ask what he or she can do. Usually it's better and often way better. They don't make me prepay so I can always check for a deal closer to the time. My biggest problem with Sofitel is that not so many of them have a Club Lounge, which is given to all Platinum members, no matter what they book.

I know that TPG and Just Wing It and the other sites get paid to shill for cards but I do check them to see if any special bonuses are out there. I also check this site to see what people are writing. Thanks for the advice, I'll keep watching for bonuses. I know SPG and Marriott are now one and Ritz-Carlton is with them.

Big problem will always be there's not much to buy or spend, other than travel. Our mortgage and all other bills are less than our Social Security and the market has been kind these past few years so my wife's pension is pretty much disposable income. We buy good food and wine but even that isn't enough to generate a lot of points. Our car only has 11000 miles so silly to buy new one and they only let you charge a couple of thousand.

I'm not complaining! I'd rather be in this situation than not being able to afford things.
 

Matt

Administrator
Staff member
#10
Float is what? I thought it was the time between charging and paying off, right? No, I don't have much spend. Can't put mortgage or taxes on cards. Even if I could, the vig would outweigh the points. 40/24 is 40 cards? MS is like when you buy things and then cash them out? I've never been able to quite figure that out and at this stage of life, it's not worth my time, at least it doesn't seem to be. So signup bonuses are great but I haven't been able to find many that I don't have and now that even bloody Wells Fargo, the crooked bank rejects me with over 800 credit score.

OK, my wife has certain hotels she likes to stay in regardless of paying or award. Got a great small hotel in the 6th in Paris. Cirigan Palace in Istanbul, La Mamounia in Marrakesh etc. The Accor thing is because we go to NY, Philly, DC a lot and those Sofitels always give us upgrades, including even Presidential Suite a couple of times. We were just in Chicago and they upgraded us to Prestige Suite as "loyal customers" though we hadn't been there in a couple of years. We know a lot of GM's in Sofitels and they always hook us up or send emails to other properties. Even with no "award nights" we get a decent number of points with a multiplier as Platinum. We just spent 8 nights at Fairmont San Francisco and got over 15000 points so nearly 2000/night which is about $45/night. I realize that there are free nights available and wouldn't turn them down but there is also an inchoate value in not having to keep checking for deals on priceline(is there still a Priceline?) or other consolidators. In the cities with sofitels, I check the website rate, then write to my contact at the hotel and ask what he or she can do. Usually it's better and often way better. They don't make me prepay so I can always check for a deal closer to the time. My biggest problem with Sofitel is that not so many of them have a Club Lounge, which is given to all Platinum members, no matter what they book.

I know that TPG and Just Wing It and the other sites get paid to shill for cards but I do check them to see if any special bonuses are out there. I also check this site to see what people are writing. Thanks for the advice, I'll keep watching for bonuses. I know SPG and Marriott are now one and Ritz-Carlton is with them.

Big problem will always be there's not much to buy or spend, other than travel. Our mortgage and all other bills are less than our Social Security and the market has been kind these past few years so my wife's pension is pretty much disposable income. We buy good food and wine but even that isn't enough to generate a lot of points. Our car only has 11000 miles so silly to buy new one and they only let you charge a couple of thousand.

I'm not complaining! I'd rather be in this situation than not being able to afford things.
Float is your cash/asset reserve that you have available to spend in order to put large amounts on a credit card, and clear them off without needing an external event.

Float in MS is if you buy a $500 gift card and have $10,000 in the bank, you can (it isn't advised) hold onto that giftcard for 1yr and it won't make a lot of difference, you can afford to pay off the card in full. Negative Float situations would be if you have $500 in the bank, and you buy $10,000 in gift cards. If you aren't able to turn those giftcards back into cash (liquidation) then you have a $10K credit card bill and no way to pay it off... so you are in deep trouble.

So.. if you have a 'enough' money (which you allude to here) then you are able to Float.

I understand you (and your wife) like certain hotels. That is fine, and I encourage you to use points to leverage, not to limit your travel, so you shouldn't start collecting Wyndham points for a cheap stay in Paris if you will be resentful of the room and wish you were in your boutique. Rather, I would suggest that you fill in gaps via points, and also, if you can, you leverage 'cash like' points. EG, I use Altitude Reserve for boutique hotels, and their signup bonus is 50000 pts valued at $750. A little spend on that, and you've covered a couple of nights in a fancy hotel.

I was suggesting that you chase signup bonuses VS regular spend, and use your float to cover the liquidation cycle and risks. For example, if you can find a 5% fee to roundtrip spend to liquid, you would be way ahead if you are using signup bonuses. You'd be way behind on regular spend.

EG, Altitude Card = 50000 pts for $5K spend, 3x for Applepay (I think.. this is from memory) so you find a way to buy $5K of loans on Kiva using Applepay, and you 'loan out your float'. You'd net 65000 pts for putting $5K at risk which is $975 of free travel... or you pay some service 3-5% for a similar set up, and you pay a flat fee of up to $250 to get a 4x multiple on your costs.
 

HanoiIG

Silver Member
#11
Float is your cash/asset reserve that you have available to spend in order to put large amounts on a credit card, and clear them off without needing an external event.

Float in MS is if you buy a $500 gift card and have $10,000 in the bank, you can (it isn't advised) hold onto that giftcard for 1yr and it won't make a lot of difference, you can afford to pay off the card in full. Negative Float situations would be if you have $500 in the bank, and you buy $10,000 in gift cards. If you aren't able to turn those giftcards back into cash (liquidation) then you have a $10K credit card bill and no way to pay it off... so you are in deep trouble.

So.. if you have a 'enough' money (which you allude to here) then you are able to Float.

I understand you (and your wife) like certain hotels. That is fine, and I encourage you to use points to leverage, not to limit your travel, so you shouldn't start collecting Wyndham points for a cheap stay in Paris if you will be resentful of the room and wish you were in your boutique. Rather, I would suggest that you fill in gaps via points, and also, if you can, you leverage 'cash like' points. EG, I use Altitude Reserve for boutique hotels, and their signup bonus is 50000 pts valued at $750. A little spend on that, and you've covered a couple of nights in a fancy hotel.

I was suggesting that you chase signup bonuses VS regular spend, and use your float to cover the liquidation cycle and risks. For example, if you can find a 5% fee to roundtrip spend to liquid, you would be way ahead if you are using signup bonuses. You'd be way behind on regular spend.

EG, Altitude Card = 50000 pts for $5K spend, 3x for Applepay (I think.. this is from memory) so you find a way to buy $5K of loans on Kiva using Applepay, and you 'loan out your float'. You'd net 65000 pts for putting $5K at risk which is $975 of free travel... or you pay some service 3-5% for a similar set up, and you pay a flat fee of up to $250 to get a 4x multiple on your costs.

OK Thanks a lot. I think I get it now. My biggest problem is finding a way to use non-transferable points. Right now I have about 35K Barclay points and have to find some sort of travel expense of $350 to put on that card. I guess I haven't had enough experience. When we went on our World Cruise, I booked Viator and other such excursions on the Barclay so could use those. I guess I'll figure it out.

Probably if we go to somewhere that we don't have a relationship with a hotel, we can stay in an indy place and use points to partially or fully pay. We aren't home a lot, but during the next couple of months, I intend to check all of our cards and tweak a bit. My wife and I both signed up for several cards to get big bonuses, but now probably don't both need to keep those cards. I already cancelled her Amtrak card, which got us a free bedroom on the California Zephyr this summer and we certainly don't both need two AA cards. Amtrak is funny because mots of our trips are to PHL or NYP and the Senior fares make it a bad bargain to redeem points. Boston is probably better.

I'm checking out the Altitude but have to find out if I have to be US Bank customer already. At least you have me thinking.
 
Top