Ultimately all your mileage and points earning cards should be put in play, but here is my thinking on each of them and why I’m using them with the US Mint deal.
1. The Citi Platinum American Express Card pays 3 thank you points per $ in the first two years of ownership of the card. Thomas sent me an email this morning saying he could not find that offer so I called them. We just got the card last week and those are the promos we are signed up for. I suggest you call to apply and confirm your promos. I have now confirmed that that offer was pulled last week and it is now 2 points for new cards, but still 3 for those that had a card under the previous offer.
2. The Starwood American Express card earns points that I can safely say are worth 2.4 to 2.75 cents each. How do I know, read my blog post from several days ago about the story with my brother (ahem). As an alternative more conservative thought, the SPG points are worth 1.25 airline miles when converting in blocks of 20,000 each into as many as 30 different airline programs worldwide. When I am carrying a box of coins, I just as soon have them worth 1.25 miles as 1 mile with a standard airlines card. My value here runs from 2500 x 1.25 miles at 1 cent each = $37.50 to as high as $68.75 in other methods of redemption
3. The hotel reward cards like Hilton Amex, Hilton Surpass, Marriott Visa etc, offer more than 1 point per $ in most categories, but do not have the ultimate value of an SPG point, or 3 for 1 thank you points. If I earn 3 Hilton Honors points I value them at .7 cents each or a return of 2500 x 2.1= $52.50 per box.
4. The Citi Aadvantage Cards with AA miles. Many of you are applying for the 15K to 30K sign up bonus. Good for you. But once you have reached the minimum spend of $750 required, why not switch to the SPG card and get an extra .25 miles per $$. Disregarding the sign up bonus, and you must after you have achieved it, and AA mile is worth about 1.5 cents each or 2500 x 1.5 cents = $37.50 per box.
5. All you other cards. Some will place the Bank of America Asiana Airlines card ahead of other cards in this general category as it earns 2 miles per $ spent. Personally, I’m a meat and potatoes guy and will stick primarily with the US based cards, airlines and hotels I have. I value these at 1.1 cent for DL to 1.4 cents for UA so somewhere between $27.50 to $36.00 per 2500 coin box.
Why Each Card ?
Citi Platinum American Express Card with TY points. We use it for the mint deal to generate thank you points that will later be turned into mileage earning airline tickets for the future. I can’t just earn award points. I need a source of cash for future flights and this in essence is it, as I earn miles on these future tickets.
Starwood Preferred Credit Cards I use this card for the high value per point, ability to transfer into other programs including American Airlines where I am in pursuit of 2 million lifetime miles and lifetime Platinum status.
Hotel Rewards Cards This personally is not my play, but others will swear buy it for the Marriott Travel Package awards and hotel points earned. I am going to use it for $40,000 of play to obtain Hilton Diamond status with the Hilton Surpass card in any one calendar year.
Citi AAdvantage American Airlines Cards Absolutely for the minimum spend requirement on a new card, but then it loses priority and I resort back to the SPG card for the extra .25 miles on transfers.
All the Others
If you need to top off an account to reach an award level or just love your certain airline or hotel program, then by all means load up with the Mint deal.
Remember that this deal will not run forever and you have a limited window of opportunity based on the size of your credit limit, the number of cards you can put it play and how often the Mint can ship coins. Backorders are the word of the day. Order early and order often keeping in mind that your credit score will be negatively impacted with purchases closer to your credit limit than you may be used to doing. They will rebound on payoff, but it does take time for the payments to your cards to cycle.
Please be careful and use some caution. “Pigs get Fat and Hogs get Slaughtered”
As long as this deal exists, we are getting our points and miles for free. And there is nothing a frugal guy likes better than free.
Keep it Frugal
Priority Club Visa Card Offer
Dan sent me an email about a new Priority Club/Chase credit card offer that pays 30,000 points on first purchase and and other 15K if you spend $15K within the terms and conditions guidelines. The nice thing about this offer is two fold. The annual fee is only $29 with the first year free and if you can hit on some pointsbreak hotels, the sign up bonus will actually get you 6 free nights. Not a bad deal if you ask me. There is also a business card offer with the same terms and conditions.