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Best US Airline Or Hotel Reward Credit Card?  
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17821 posts, RR: 46
Posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2891 times:

Anyone have any recommendations for airline or hotel credit cards? Right now I have a Wachovia credit card (not for long, obviously) and I'm thinking of switching to a card that has hotel or airline reward points. However I work for an airline, so I'm not sure if getting an airline reward card is worth it other than maybe lounge access. Anyone love their respective hotel/airline card?

[Edited 2009-02-11 11:46:46]


E pur si muove -Galileo
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePanam330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2693 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2885 times:

The Starwood Preferred Guest card from AmEx. $45/year, with 1:1 transfers to most airlines (sans UA and CO, at 2:1), it's a much better deal than a dedicated affinity card. Those same points can be used for any Starwood branded hotel (which IMO is by far the nicest chain). I've had one for almost 3 years now, and it's great.

EDIT: I forgot the best part. If you transfer 20,000 miles at any given time to any airline, they'll give you an extra 5,000 as a bonus. It's basically getting a free ticket for 20% fewer miles. Sorry if I sound like I'm "selling" it to you, but it truly is a fantastic product.

[Edited 2009-02-11 11:53:53]

User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26128 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2882 times:

AMEX

Under their rewards program you earn points for all your purchases. Can transfer these points to several airline, hotel and car rental programs for rewards. Additionally points can be exchanged for merchandise at many dozen vendors.

Their Platinum card provides airport lounge access to AA, CO, DL, NW clubs. Additionally the Platinum program has all types of other perks including 2 for 1 business class tickets on international carriers, concierge service(very helpful in getting you dinner reservations, tickets to sold out plays, concerts etc.) plus various shopping discounts for many merchants.

Truly don't leave home without your Amex card.  bigthumbsup 

(p.s.-make sure you get the real Amex card. Not co-branded cards as their benefits are often significantly less then the true Amex card.)



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2875 times:

I have a Visa Signature card through Bank of America with WorldPoints. I earn points on every purchase (more for promotions, obviously) and can use them for merchandise, travel, or cash back. The Signature card also has the concierge service similar to an Amex.

Honestly I've never used any of my points nor have I used the Signature services...eh, saving up for a rainy day I suppose  Wink



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlinePanam330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2693 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2871 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
(p.s.-make sure you get the real Amex card. Not co-branded cards as their benefits are often significantly less then the true Amex card.)

Yeah, but they don't carry a $450 annual fee, either. I guess it depends what you value more - lounge access for a large fee, or money in your pocket. I can't say I wouldn't have a Plat card if I had a ton of disposable income (because I would  Wink).


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26128 posts, RR: 50
Reply 5, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2852 times:

$450 for the Platinum card is a great value in my opinion which is paid back many many times over the year.

Just the lounge program benefit covers this annual fee, not counting the other travel perks such as the free companion ticket and the concierge service which I have made use of.

The co-branded cards in my opinion are only good if you are truly interested in frequenting that one specific merchant such as Starwood and quickly building those points. However if you're use is more diverse, and certainly involves travel and entertainment the broader Amex Rewards program is much more flexible. Additionally Amex has established fixed discounts at a wide range of places such as Fedex, Staples, ATT plus tons of regular discount promotions going.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17821 posts, RR: 46
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2789 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 5):
$450 for the Platinum card is a great value in my opinion which is paid back many many times over the year.

Have you run into a lot of places that don't take AMEX?



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineFxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7359 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2783 times:
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I use a Chase preferred debit/check card linked with Continental.

I also have corporate and personal credit cards with Citibank linked with American Airlines.

Both have been great and I get miles/points for just about anything and double rewards often.


User currently offlineCOrocks From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1215 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2774 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
AMEX

Under their rewards program you earn points for all your purchases. Can transfer these points to several airline, hotel and car rental programs for rewards. Additionally points can be exchanged for merchandise at many dozen vendors.

Their Platinum card provides airport lounge access to AA, CO, DL, NW clubs. Additionally the Platinum program has all types of other perks including 2 for 1 business class tickets on international carriers, concierge service(very helpful in getting you dinner reservations, tickets to sold out plays, concerts etc.) plus various shopping discounts for many merchants.

I second the opinion. The AMEX is great. I only have a gold though so I don't get the lounge access, but that does not bother me much as my company pays for that.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26128 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2772 times:



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 6):
Have you run into a lot of places that don't take AMEX?

Potentialy at small mom-pop stores, but certainly its happily accepted by airlines, hotels, restaurants, most retail establishment that are of any size and places online that I frequent.

I suppose its always safe to have a back up Visa/Mastercard but the overall benefits gained from Amex far outweigh the occasional time that I cant use the card someplace.

Your mileage will vary, just for me having used various airline specific cards the Amex provides the widest level of perks and flexibility. I can certainly see why some people like to stick to specific co-branded cards if they are strongly interested in only a single program.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineAa757first From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3350 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2718 times:



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 6):
Have you run into a lot of places that don't take AMEX?



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):

I suppose its always safe to have a back up Visa/Mastercard but the overall benefits gained from Amex far outweigh the occasional time that I cant use the card someplace.

That's what I was thinking. Amex is usually considered a little higher end than the other cards and, therefore, you might have problem using it certain places. For example, Neiman Marcus accepts only Amex (or NM/Bergdorf Goodman), but I've seen plenty of "regular" stores that accept only MasterCard/Visa.

Easiest thing to do would be to get a MasterCard or Visa debit card.


User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8913 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2696 times:

SPG AmEx is the best card out there.

As for having an AmEx, it's my primary card. Pretty much every place I go takes it - the only two places where I need to break out my Visa is in the cafeteria at work and my local pizza place. Everywhere else I've been has gladly taken my AmEx.


User currently offlineRwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3133 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2667 times:

I will agree that the Starwood Amex is one of the best. My favorite thing about it is that you can avoid capacity controls - if there's a room, you get it. Case closed. With the airlines and the other hotels, you're at the mercy of their "capacity controls", which probably means there's only a seat or two per flight, and maybe 1-2 hotel rooms per night that everyone's fighting over.

As with any hotel/airline card, it's important though that you actually earn points by staying in that hotel or flying with that airline in order to top off your account. With Starwood, you'd need at least 15,000 points in order to earn a free room at a nicer property in a larger city, and that's a lot harder if it's based only on card charges. Same with an airline - the main perk of FF programs in my opinion is scoring free international premium class tickets .... and it's going to be a lot easier with a combo of flying/charging rather than just charging all of the miles.


User currently offlinePanam330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2693 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2622 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 5):
if you are truly interested in frequenting that one specific merchant such as Starwood and quickly building those points.

The Starwood card isn't a regular affinity card where the points can only be used at the co-branded company. Points can transfer to pretty much any mainstream airline in the world as well as the Starwood-branded hotels. He wants an airline or hotel card, and the SPG card gives it to him. Sure, the Plat card does this too (very well, I might add), but not everyone is willing to drop $450 even if the value is there. But for travel-only rewards at a low annual fee, the SPG card is the best value. I will say that if you're willing and able to drop $450 in exchange for lounge access and incredible customer service, go with the Platinum charge card.


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3713 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (5 years 10 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 2593 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
(p.s.-make sure you get the real Amex card. Not co-branded cards as their benefits are often significantly less then the true Amex card.)

Or get both....I rarely put anything on my chargecard but use the it for Amex FHR and the other benefits I don't get from the Amex credit card. My wife and I tend to put the vast majority of our spend on the SPG Amex for BA miles.

We have BA Visa Signature from Chase as an airline miles earning backup. At the moment there's some good promotion on so we're diverting all our spending to the BA Visa.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 6):
Have you run into a lot of places that don't take AMEX?

A lot? No. Some, yes.

I couldn't get rid of a Visa or Mastercard but it isn't like Diner's Club or anything! When I'm at stores and hand over an Amex and they say they, 'That's the only one we don't take' as I'm putting my card back in my wallet and thinking of the other options I ask 'Diners?'    (No, I don't have DC but you can bet they won't accept it if they don't take Amex!)

[Edited 2009-02-14 06:47:56]


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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