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Spending Strategies: Where You Can Earn More Than 1 Mile Per Dollar Spent, Sorted By Category.

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Below is a list of common spending categories where you can earn more than 1 mile per dollar.
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A quick note on the values of different miles and points:

It’s worth noting that miles aren’t created equal, every airline mile is “worth” a different amount. For me, Continental is the most valuable, but every program has their upsides and downsides.  But the beauty is there is no ceiling to their value.  If I need to go from Cleveland to NYC today I can pay $1,130 for a nonstop flight or I can use 9,000 BA Avios, a value of 12.55 cents per mile. I can transfer points from Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards and get those BA Avios instantly. Generally miles in an airline already can’t be transferred, although you can use those miles to book travel on those airlines partners.

Programs that let you transfer points into miles, like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Starpoints are excellent for their ability to convert points into an array of programs.  However each program has their own set of airlines and hotels that they transfer to, so you should study which programs transfer to which airlines to see what is the best fit for your traveling patterns.  I personally value Starpoints the highest due to their great use for hotels, plus the 25% airline transfer bonus and not charging any transfer fees, then Ultimate Rewards for being partners with Continental and Hyatt, having instant transfers, and not charging any transfer fees, and then Membership Rewards, which still does have some useful transfer options, has instant transfers, and has lucrative transfer bonuses to airlines like Delta and BA.

If you are just going to have one card, make it the Starwood card.  With dozens of airlines to transfer the points to at 20K:25K ratios (or even 20K:50K) and with great hotel options it is the best overall card.  If you want to do better than that you’ll want to read the rest of this post for more ways to optimize your spending.

With points from banks like Capital One you are limited to a penny per point. Try booking a round-the-world ticket in First class with those points. The paid ticket for those flights can easily run $120,000, so the cost in Capital One points would be 12 million points! With airline miles there is no cap to their value and that round-the-world award in first can be had for just a couple hundred thousand points. Opening a handful of cards can get you there easily and the value of your points can be 50 cents per mile instead of a penny a mile!

I used to hesitate to give a value to points, as everyone will have their own value, but for me I consider Starpoints to be worth 2.3 cents, Ultimate Rewards to be worth 1.9 cents, and and Membership Rewards to be worth 1.6 cents each. Of course they can be worth a penny each or 50 cents each, it all depends on how you use them!  The reason why I give a value is to help compare cards, as follows.

Let’s say you have the Freedom card with Chase Exclusives, the Sapphire Preferred card, and the Starwood card. Freedom gives you 1.1 miles per dollar plus 10 miles per transaction and 5 mile per dollar rotating categories. Sapphire gives you 1.07 miles per dollar and 2.14 per dollar on dining, airfare, hotels, car rentals, charges in airports, travel agencies, caterers, timeshares, trains, buses, taxis/limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking. Starwood gives a Starpoint per dollar spent.
Using the values I assigned before reveals that the best spending strategy with these 3 cards is:
-General purchases under $90: Freedom
-General purchases over $90: Starwood
-Purchases where you may want to utilize AMEX Return Protection, Purchase Protection, and Warranty Protection: Starwood.
-Categories where Sapphire has a bonus and the purchase is at least $10: Sapphire
-Purchases made outside the USA: Sapphire
-Categories where Sapphire has a bonus and the purchase is under $10: Freedom
-Freedom rotating categories up to $1,500 total spending per quarter: Freedom

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Anyway here are some of the categories with bonus mile opportunities:

Note that these categories are for domestic purchases!
If you are abroad you’ll want a card like American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Bold which have no foreign exchange fees.

Everyday Purchases:
-American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business: 1.25 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 miles when transferring 20K Starpoints into 25K miles in over 2 dozen airline programs)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
-Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1.07 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Ultimate Rewards point plus a 7% bonus every January or February on all points, for a total of 1.07 points per dollar spent. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)

Airline tickets:
-American Express Premier Rewards Gold: 3 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn Membership Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into miles in over a dozen airline programs)
-Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2.14 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points plus a 7% bonus every January or February on all points, for a total of 2.14 points per dollar spent. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
-American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business: 1.25 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 miles when transferring 20K Starpoints into 25K miles from over 2 dozen airline programs)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
Costco American Express Card 2% cash back.

Car Rentals and Dining (including restaurants and caterers):
-Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2.14 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points plus a 7% bonus every January or February on all points, for a total of 2.14 points per dollar spent. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
-American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business: 1.25 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 miles when transferring 20K Starpoints into 25K miles in over 2 dozen airline programs)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
Costco American Express Card 2% cash back.
Note: Continental OnePass Plus and United MileagePlus Explorer give free primary CDW insurance.

Gas:
Chase Ink Bold 5/2/1 Program: 2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Ink Classic (with a Chase checking account): 2 miles per dollar spent miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
-American Express Premier Rewards Gold: 2 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn Membership Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into miles in over a dozen airline programs)
Costco American Express Card: 3% cash back.
-American Express Simply Cash Business Card: 3% cash back.
American Express Blue Cash: 2% (Everyday card) or 3% (Preferred card) cash back.
-American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business: 1.25 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 miles when transferring 20K Starpoints into 25K miles in over 2 dozen airline programs)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
-Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1.07 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Ultimate Rewards point plus a 7% bonus every January or February on all points, for a total of 1.07 points per dollar spent. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)

Groceries:
American Express Blue Cash: 3% (Everyday card) or 6% (Preferred card) cash back.
-American Express Premier Rewards Gold: 2 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn Membership Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into miles in over a dozen airline programs)
-American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business: 1.25 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 miles when transferring 20K Starpoints into 25K miles in over 2 dozen airline programs)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
-Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1.07 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Ultimate Rewards point plus a 7% bonus every January or February on all points, for a total of 1.07 points per dollar spent. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)

Hotels:
-Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2.14 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points plus a 7% bonus every January or February on all points, for a total of 2.14 points per dollar spent. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Ink Bold 5/2/1 Program: 2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Ink Classic (with a Chase checking account): 2 miles per dollar spent miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
-American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business: 1.25 miles per dollar spent. (You will earn 1 Starpoint which becomes 1.25 miles when transferring 20K Starpoints into 25K miles in over 2 dozen airline programs)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.2 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 1.1 miles per dollar spent plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
Costco American Express Card 2% cash back.

Office Supply Stores, Telecom (Wireless, Landline) Internet, and Cable:
Chase Ink Bold 5/2/1 Program: 5 miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs)
Chase Ink Classic (with a Chase checking account): 5 miles per dollar spent miles per dollar spent (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which can transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
-American Express Simply Cash Business Card: 3% cash back.

Rotating Categories:
Chase Freedom Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): 5.1 miles per dollar spent on up to $1,500 per quarter, plus 10 miles per transaction (You will earn Ultimate Rewards points which transfer at a 1:1 ratio into several airline and hotel programs if you also have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold card)
For 2012 these rotating categories were:
Q1: Amazon.com and Gas stations
Q2: Grocery stores and movie theaters
Q3: Gas stations and restaurants
Q4: Hotels, airlines, Best Buy, and Kohl’s

-Discover More (0% APR, 0% BT, No BT Fees)
5% cash back in rotating categories for up to $1,500 per quarter:
For 2012 these rotating categories were:
Q1: Gas and Entertainment
Q2: Restaurants and Movies
Q3: Gas, movies and theme parks.
Q4: Department stores, electronics stores and toy stores.

Annual Threshold Spending:
Continental OnePass Plus and United MileagePlus Explorer: 10,000 bonus miles for spending $25,000 in a calendar year (1.4 miles per dollar spent on average)
Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program (with a Chase checking account): Spend $25K in a 12 month period that begins with the month you open you card and get a 7,500 point bonus (1.5 points per dollar spent on average), spend $50K and get another 15K point bonus (1.65 points per dollar spent on average), spend $100K and get another 25K points bonus (1.675 points per dollar spent on average).
-American Express Premier Rewards Gold: 15,000 bonus miles for spending $30,000 in a calendar year.

Open Savings: Get cash back on purchases from these retailers on top of regular points for spending:
Airtran: 5%. Barnes & Noble: 5%, Fedex: 5%, Flowers.com: 5%, Hyatt: 3%, HP: 5%, Microsoft Store: 5%, Courtyard/Fairfield/TownePlace/SpringHill/Residence Inn by Marriott: 5%.
This is valid on all American Express Business cards like Starwood Business, American Express Business Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express Simply Cash Business Card.

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48 Responses to “Spending Strategies: Where You Can Earn More Than 1 Mile Per Dollar Spent, Sorted By Category.”

  1. Chaikel Says:
    1

    When you say “Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program” is that any IB with a Chase account, or is that only the old IB?

    ReplyReply
  2. Dan Says:
    2

    @Chaikel:
    Excellent question. The old Ink Bold cards were automatically upgraded 2-3 months after opening the card and having any Chase checking account to Ink Bold Exclusives.

    The new card is less than 2 months old, so it’s too early to have any reports to see if it’s possible to get switched from the 5/2/1 program to the old Chase Exclusives program.

    ReplyReply
  3. yidel Says:
    3

    A) Dan, why would you use any of those cards for a car rental, if they only conver liability? Doesn’t a card like continental also cover CDW?
    Isn’t that more important factor than points?

    B) Of all those kickbacks you mention for gas, the maximum you get is 2%. Is that still worth more than for example the BP card where you get 5% back?
    U
    C) You have on the list the Discover card, weren’t you just earlier in the post lamenting the Capital One cards because the mileage cards are worth more?

    D) Regarding those “open savings”, all the other cards in also have they’re online mall (including Chase), where you can get up to 20% cash at various online stores!
    Isn’t that worth quite a lot?!

    Good job as usual! Thanks so much! Keep it up.

    ReplyReply
  4. Dan Says:
    4

    @yidel:
    A. You’re a bit confused here. No card gives free liability. Almost every card gives free secondary CDW to your own car insurance if you have any.
    The Continental/United cards give free primary CDW insurance.

    Ideally you rent with your Continental/United card and assuming you return the car accident-free switch the card at the end to Sapphire Preferred.;)

    B. 2 UR points at a value of 1.9 cents each is 3.8 cents. And you’re not limited to BP then.

    C. Capital One gives you 1% or 2% back at most for travel.
    Freedom with Exclusives or Starwood will beat that on any purchase anyday.
    The highlight of the Discover is for the 5% categories, which beats everyday purchases on mileage cards. Plus it has fee-free and APR-free balance transfers.

    D. Open Savings is automatic and a very different program. Walk into Fedex or Officemax or Hyatt, etc, and use your card and you automatically get the cash rebate and the regular points for the purchase. No hoops to jump through at all.

    ReplyReply
  5. yidel Says:
    5

    Thanks
    I appreciate your clarifications.

    ReplyReply
  6. steve Says:
    6

    I think the discover card has balance transfer fee of 3%, no? Only the slate is fee free right now for limited time.

    ReplyReply
  7. steve Says:
    7

    Also dan, does chase freedom current quarter 5% category include amazon payments or is it just amazon?

    ReplyReply
  8. mann Says:
    8

    Dan,
    I took your advice and was able to open up 4 starwood cards. 2 on my name and 2 on my wife’s name. I tried opening up more but i was told that you can only have one preferred and one business per person. Is that correct?

    Additionally, can all these points be on the same account w/ starwood?

    Thanks.

    ReplyReply
  9. Zevi Says:
    9

    @Dan: The new card is less than 2 months old, so it’s too early to have any reports to see if it’s possible to get switched from the 5/2/1 program to the old Chase Exclusives program.

    I just activated my New ink bold 5/2/1 card, I begged them to convert it to the old INK Bold, they wouldn’t budge, no matter what. They said its not available anymore.

    ReplyReply
  10. eli Says:
    10

    for gas you should mention the penfed visa which gives 5% gas cashback

    ReplyReply
  11. Oren Says:
    11

    Thanks. A great summary.

    How much do annual fees play a role in determining the percentages? What percentage of years are you able to get the annual fees waived or reduced?

    ReplyReply
  12. capital one Says:
    12

    capital one has a 2% on everything card. if you are not flying first class, i think it generally beats out the others.

    ReplyReply
  13. avi Says:
    13

    If I have the Sapphire Preferred to what hotel programs do they transfer and whats the minimum amount for transfer.

    ReplyReply
  14. yanky Says:
    14

    dan do you place virgin americas elevate program anywhere near your current list? if i only fly domestically and i can get a rount trip ticket say jfk-lax for 10k points doesnt that sound pretty good?

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @steve:
    The link that I provided has no BT fees and 0% APR.
    Slate does indeed do this as well: http://www.dansdeals.com/go/slatebt

    @steve:
    The 5% is good for:
    Amazon.com
    Amazon.com Magazines
    Amazon Digital Downloads (from Amazon.com and Kindle)
    Amazon Fresh Orders
    Amazon.com Gift Cards (purchased at Amazon.com)
    Amazon Local
    Amazon Marketplace

    It does not appear that it will work for Amazon peer-to-peer payments Payments.

    @mann:
    Lol…never advised such a thing, sorry!
    I do advise opening up 2 or 3 cards from the same bank at the same time with multiple browsers, but that’s for different cards!
    It’s extremely difficult to get approved for 2 of the same exact card at the same time.

    You can call Starwood to transfer points for free between anyone listed as living at the same address.

    @Zevi:
    Good data point, but not conclusive yet.
    Did you try calling, sending a secure message, and talking to a bank manager yet?

    @eli:
    That card is simply unsustainable in my opinion.
    They’ve chipped away at every benefit that card used to have over the past year or 2 to the point that they just sent out letters that any purchase besides gas will only earn 0.25% cash back. With everyone using that card now only for gas, offering 5% is simply an a money losing situation and impossible for it to continue very long. I’d be surprised if by this time next year the 5% was still around.

    If you have the card use it out, but I don’t think it’s worth applying for as a new card, especially without any signup bonus like other cards give.

    @Oren:
    I’m able to get retention to waive the fee or give enough points to make the annual fee worthwhile most of the time.
    See here for more info: http://www.dansdeals.com/forums/index.php?topic=1572

    If I can’t then I open a new card and move over the credit line from the old card to the new card so that my credit score doesn’t get hurt.

    @capital one:
    I humbly disagree. Even when flying coach or staying in hotels it’s not hard to beat 2%.
    In my example in the post a last minute flights from CLE-NYC would run me $1,130.
    That would require 113,000 Capital One points but just 9,000 Avios.
    Plus 7,000 Membership Rewards turns into 9,100 Avios right now (and 20,000 Starwood always turns into 25,000 Avios).

    Same thing for any other last-minute ticket, which is when the miles are really useful as the sky is the limit.

    For hotels Starpoints can reduce the rates of hotels cheap and expensive to as low as 2K points a night. With Capital One that same hotel can be many times that.

    And yes, in business or first class, miles will obviously beat capital one hands down.

    @avi:
    Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, etc.
    Hyatt points are the most valuable, a $1,000/night hotel costs no more than 22,000 points.

    1,000 Chase UR points=1,000 hotel points.

    @yanky:
    I’m not very familiar with the program, but from what I understand the rates track with the current price, so there’s a set value for points that you can’t exceed which isn’t my preference.

    ReplyReply
  16. Steelsnow Says:
    16

    Another gas option for consideration could be the Costco Business AMEX, it gives 4% back on gas at any station that takes AMEX versus the 3% on the standard Costco AMEX.

    ReplyReply
  17. avi Says:
    17

    @Dan: Is there a minimum transfer and is it instant

    ReplyReply
  18. redbull3 Says:
    18

    Dan in your response to Oren about annual fees you said:
    “If I can’t then I open a new card and move over the credit line from the old card to the new card so that my credit score doesn’t get hurt.”

    This doesn’t solve the annual fee problem though does it? Even if your credit line is down to 0, the card is still open and opened cards will get charged the fee. Or am I mistaken?

    ReplyReply
  19. Dan Says:
    19

    @avi:
    As I said, 1,000 and yes it’s instant and can be transferred to anyone.

    @redbull3:
    I mean that I close the old card in the process of getting a new card from the reconsideration folks and have them take the entire credit line from the old card to the new card.

    As long as it’s done within 30 days of the annual fee then they will refund the annual fee.

    ReplyReply
  20. avi Says:
    20

    @Dan: Thank you

    ReplyReply
  21. mann Says:
    21

    Dan,

    Can you post again the best way to convert starwood points into AA points into other airlines to get to israel with the cheapest option in terms of using the least amount of points?

    ReplyReply
  22. Shmelly Says:
    22

    @Dan:
    Per the link you provided for Discover More: “Balance Transfer
    Intro fee of 3% of the amount of each transfer for transfers that post to your account by 7/10/2012 with the 0% intro APR balance transfer offer described above. After that, either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.”

    ReplyReply
  23. Dan Says:
    23

    @mann:
    Slightly out of date: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/15417

    @Shmelly:
    Fixed the link, try again now.

    ReplyReply
  24. Mark & Stella Says:
    24

    Dan,

    My apologies that this is only tangentially related but your input is very much appreciated.

    I applied for the INK Bold as per your recommendation. I got denied. When i called they told me i have no credit history with Experian. Ive had Credit cards for years. I dont know how this is possible. I also have the Saphire Preferred (Approved for $35k) and regular Saphire approved for $8k. They said i dont have those long enough.

    What could have happened to my credit history?

    Is it worth another hit on my credit to have them look at Transunion?

    What do i do to find out what happened to my credit history? I checked my FICO score 6 months ago and i had an 800 rating.

    FYI I also bank with Chase for 4 years-personal and business- and have been a good customer keeping high balances in the accounts, as high as $100k or more.

    Finally, i intend to apply for three more Chase cards that you recommended. How does that play into all this? it seems that the personal and business are completely separate vetting processes. Is that correct?

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyReply
  25. Dan Says:
    25

    @Mark & Stella:
    You should have called back. Most reps will take $5K off an existing card to approve a new card.
    Plus there are multiple different reconsideration numbers you can try calling. I don’t give up until I find a good rep.

    ReplyReply
  26. yehuda Says:
    26

    can i just call up sapphire preferred and have them take some of my credit line to the ink bold card or do i need to start a new app for ink bold? i got my 50 for sapphire and i want to get it now for ink bold..thanks dan

    ReplyReply
  27. Dan Says:
    27

    @yehuda:
    You need to make a new app and then “reconsideration” or “credit analyst” departments can move credit lines around to approve a new card if you don’t get approved automatically.

    ReplyReply
  28. moshe Says:
    28

    discover card gives 5% back on gas till april

    ReplyReply
  29. yehuda Says:
    29

    @Dan: thanks Dan! enjoy the BreakFast

    ReplyReply
  30. Dan Says:
    30

    @moshe:
    I wrote that in the post.

    @yehuda:
    Counting down the minutes!

    ReplyReply
  31. me Says:
    31

    i am not sure why you dont unclude thank you points in any of this.
    officially their points are worth 1.3 cents but u get an additional point per $ spent from flying points. and thats besides bonus points in certain categories. on top of that when u redeem the miles u are still getting miles for ur trip.
    for ex. i recently looked up a flight from lax to johannesburgh. it was around 89,000 points or to purchase $1200. so besides that that is 45,000 points doubled. u get all the mileage and that includes all fees. u dont pay any taxes or fuel surcharges.

    ReplyReply
  32. DaBomb Says:
    32

    @capital one: Capital one is the worst and very misleading. They call double miles with the venture, the cash value of their miles is .5 cents per mule, so basically you pay a yearly fee for 1% cash back (get the bank of America cash card, or many others, and you’ll be able to redeem your points for straight up cash).

    They do however offer their miles at 1 cent to the dollar (mile), but only when redeeming for travel. I booked a flight through them, and they actually charged a fee and wouldn’t allow me to add money to get the flights I wanted (was $15 more and they wouldn’t budge, I even offered them $30, but they said they couldn’t take it).

    Capital one officiallly sucks!

    ReplyReply
  33. al613 Says:
    33

    @Dan You can not get a ticket for today with Avios. BA only let you book award tickets 24 hours in advance. When did you buy a ticket for same day last time? :)))

    ReplyReply
  34. al613 Says:
    34

    @DaBomb Capital One Venture card gives you 2 cents back on every purchase. You can redeem them on all previous travel. For example, book a ticket on United for $200 and when it posts to your statement redeem 20000 points to get your $200 credited back. It’s a great program for people who don’t fly Business/ First class and don’t buy last minute tickets. One can argue that spg point is worth over 2 cents, but it’s only if you are after luxury. If you are ready to stay in Motel 6 and fly Spirit you will not get 2 cents return on an spg point.

    ReplyReply
  35. Dan Says:
    35

    @me:
    The points are only worth 1.3 if you have a Premier card.
    Either way 1.3 doesn’t excite me that much.

    @al613:
    Not true, plenty of DDF’ers have booked BA within 24 hours and I went all the way until the last page and nothing stopped me as well.
    Even if they do give you the 24 hour rule, just book it outside the 24 hours and then do a date change.

    Just tried it again now and it works fine:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ba.png

    @al613:
    Still disagree. Even if you don’t want to fly business or first and don’t ever need a last minute ticket you can still do better with miles.

    There are plenty of SPG category 1-2 hotels in most cities that are much nicer than a motel dive that will cost just a few thousand points. I’m talking about anywhere from the Sheraton Gateway LAX or Cleveland to the Le Meridian Dead Sea Israel or Chiang Mai Thailand. The values you can get with SPG even in basic hotels can far exceed 2 cents, you don’t need to be chasing luxury.

    You can fly to Israel for as low as 20K Starpoints with surcharges or as low as 40K Starpoints without surcharges, again far exceeding 2 cents without aiming for luxury.

    Just look at flights like CLE-YUL that are typically $600 even in advance that can be had for 17.5K AA or 20K Continental round-trip.

    The versatility alone that SPG and UR gives you for hotels and flights, luxury or otherwise, beat Capital One hands down.

    The spreads only get much larger when dealing with luxury or last-minute.

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  36. clevelander Says:
    36

    @al613: I personally bought 4 tickets on the way to the airport back in august when i was going cle-lga. It always works!! I suspect you are doing something wrong!!

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  37. creditor Says:
    37

    itdan, why don’t you state that the Sapphire preferred has 20:25 transfer to airlines when done throuh Chase booking online?

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  38. Dan Says:
    38

    @creditor:
    Because it doesn’t.

    You can use it for 1.25 cents towards travel, but that would be downright criminal as the miles or points are worth more than that.

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  39. Chani Says:
    39

    I hate to disagree. I have the capital one Spark business, It gives me 2% cash back (not for travel)on all spending, Its available instantly. I don’t fly a lot so it beats all the other point cards. I did need to fly a few times this year and I got cheap tickets that wouldn’t be worth using miles for. I also have the American express blue that gets me 5% cash back on grocery’s, Drug stores and pharmacies (after spending $6500.

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  40. Dan Says:
    40

    @Chani:
    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions 🙂
    But the next time you want to take a well deserved vacation or need to book a last-minute ticket somewhere and the airlines want $$$$ you may be sorry that you never banked real airline miles that can be worth far more than 2%.

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  41. creditor Says:
    41

    “use 20% fewer points when you redeem for travel. Just book your flight, cruise, or other trave through Ultimate Rewards(SM)” doesn’t that mean 20:25 into mileage

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  42. Yaakov Says:
    42

    Hi Dan.
    I have 85k starwood points is there any chance of squeezing 2 tickets out of it from YYZ to TLV for succoss?
    Thank you

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  43. Bigalan Says:
    43

    dan,

    i have a buisness and we spend approx 75,000 – 100,000/yr i have several employees. and in the past used a regular wells fargo busness card. we fly, use hotels and make office purchases. what card do you recomend

    ReplyReply
  44. Yankel Says:
    44

    Hey dan, How’re you?
    Wondering, how come you don’t usually mention the Amex “zync”?
    Aren’t the 10,000 points worth $25(which prob will be prorated)?

    ReplyReply
  45. Josh Says:
    45

    when it comes to cash back on supermarkets, do those purchases have to be at one of the large chain supermarkets, or will i still get that back at my local kosher supermarket

    ReplyReply
  46. ym Says:
    46

    how does the British Airways card fit into all this?
    1.25 points on everything?

    ReplyReply
  47. D Says:
    47

    May want to caveat the biz card advice for rental cars. There are coverage issues if the rental is not business use.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credit-card-programs/1254433-business-vs-personal-cards.html

    ReplyReply
  48. rots5 Says:
    48

    is there an updates list?

    ReplyReply

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