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Confused on right credit card to use

Discussion in 'Vistana Signature Experiences (formerly Starwood)' started by Grandma2016, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. Grandma2016

    Grandma2016 Guest

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    We are 5 star elite owners in Maui. We use our SPG AmEx for a majority of all our purchases. We are not concerned with hotel points as we rarely use our points for hotels. We never convert our options to points. We build up points and then transfer for airline miles. Is my AmEx still the best to use for this purpose. Again we are not big hotel people. I'm a little confused about all the posts on getting new cards because of new point values and conversions.
     
  2. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Your SPG AmEx is automatically upgraded to the new card starting on August 1, with some amount of deflation. SPG/Marriott hotel spendings will be at 6X Points (new term)... which is really 2 SPG points, converted to the new name. All other spending only yield 2X points, which is deflated... where currently 1 SPG point gets converted to 3 Points.

    Your new card also give you one 35K night certificate each year, and 15 nights towards elite status, which is not needed since you are already Platinum, through 5 Star Elite status.

    Direct conversion of SPG points to miles had not been great value, I have done it myself several times... It has been of great value on the Marriott end when we convert travel package, comprising miles and hotel nights. Starting August, the great conversion essentially ends, as all good things must come to an end. Direct conversion to pure miles only post August, is very similar in terms of value to pre-August.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  3. Sicnarf

    Sicnarf TUG Member

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    If you wait for the airline promo which give you 20% on top of the 25% SPG gives you, the exchange is very attractive. For 60,000 SPs, you'll get 75,000 +15,000 = 90,000 miles!
     
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  4. Grandma2016

    Grandma2016 Guest

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    Yes I did this in April because I read about it on here. Do you know how often those promos happen
     
  5. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    American Airlines typically runs a promo once and sometimes twice each year.
     
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  6. duke

    duke TUG Member

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  7. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    I have read everything, but I have one question: We very seldom stay in hotels, (have lots of timeshares and a vacation home.) We have always transferred our AMEX StarPoints directly to airline miles and got the bonus for transferring in increments of 20K SP's.

    So, should we just go with our favorite airline card? Currently we have 2 airline cards: Alaska Air and Hawaiian Air. Those are our primarily airlines. What's the best airline card?
     
  8. taterhed

    taterhed TUG Member

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  9. Grandma2016

    Grandma2016 Guest

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  10. Grandma2016

    Grandma2016 Guest

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    My question is the same. We want to continue to get the 5k bonus and points with the 20k spg spend points. When we transfer 20k spg to american air we get an extra 5k. This is what we use amex for a d it is tied to spg.
     
  11. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    For travel, do you have the SPG Amex currently or just the Alaska Air and Hawaiian Air cards?
     
  12. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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    I have all 3 cards, because some places don't accept AMEX.
     
  13. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    Denise I was going to put a formula together for you but it is really as simple as how much do you want to pay in annual fees versus the benefits each card provides. The following goes with the assumption you stated that your primary goal is to accumulate miles.

    Both the Hawaiian and Alaska cards provide 3 miles for each $1 charged for their respective airfares. Everything else is 1 mile per $1.

    The SPG Amex (post August 1) will provide 2 miles for each $1 charged for Vistana MFs and Starwood/Marriott hotel charges. (I am trying to get the Vistana MFs verified in writing.) For everything else the SPG Amex will only provide 2/3 of a mile per $1 charged. Therefore, this is not the card to charge anything to except those charges listed above.

    The three cards have a total of $269 of annual fees. Alaska - $75; Amex - $95; Hawaiian - $99

    If you have several thousands of dollars of Vistana MFs and charge as much as possible to your villa when staying at a Vistana property, then it is probably worth keeping the SPG Amex. This is especially true considering the 5,000 mile bonus (25%) when transferring 20,000 Starpoints (60,000 Marriott points in the future). Additionally, if you don't have elite status with Starwood/Marriott the card will give you Silver status. Silver status doesn't have many great benefits but it does provide a 10% bonus on points awarded for stays at Starwood/Marriott hotels. Also going forward this card will provide annually one free night in up to a Category 5 property.

    As to the two airline cards, both out earn the SPG Amex (even considering the 25% bonus) for charges of Alaska and Hawaiian airfare. Additionally, if you do not have elite status with either airline, the first bag free baggage limit on both of those cards can easily pay for the annual fee with just a couple of roundtrip flights. Those cards also provide an annual companion fare/discount.

    If it were me and my number one goal is the accumulation of miles, then I would keep all three cards assuming I had enough Vistana charges/MFs to make the SPG Amex worth having.

    That's my two cents worth.
     
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  14. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I just prepaid my Vistana MF using my SPG AmEx and I did get 2X SPG points, just posted today in my SPG account.
     
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  15. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    There are some who believe the 2X SPG Starpoints (post-August to be 6X Points) will not be honored post-August for Vistana MFs. I've sent a request to Vistana and Amex to verify what the earnings per $ of Vistana MFs will be.
     
  16. dioxide45

    dioxide45 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Are you still using the old SPG Amex card?

    When 8/1 rolls around, is Amex just changing everyone over to the new card program or do you need to reapply for the new card like Chase MR credit card holders are having to do? Perhaps if they are keeping the old card, the old multiplier will still apply. It is also possible that Amex has the Vistana MF Payees programmed for the multiplier and they won't change that for the new card. I guess we won't know until after 8/1. It would be nice if the new Amex and new Chase credit cards earned the multiplier on Vistana MF payments.
     
  17. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Yes I am still using the "old" SPG AmEx card. There will not be a re-issue of a new card and no re-application needed as the Membership Fee remains the same. We received notification, twice already, about what the new benefits that are coming in August 2018.

    I have 2, this SPG AmEx and the new Marriott Premier Plus through 20K bonus upgrade, and my husband just received his new Marriott Premier Plus. Between the 3 cards we should get 3 35K certificates each year. My SPG AmEx annual membership fees just appeared in my account today, still discounted, so I am happy. In case you have not read my other postings, my SPG AmEx membership fee is discounted from standard rate. I assume it is because we put on too much spendings on it each year. ;)
     
  18. Grandma2016

    Grandma2016 Guest

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    I haven't paid too much attention to points I'm getting with my amex and how its transferring in my spg account. Do you know if I can go back and verify the 2x earning for charging maintenance fees? My fees are close to 20k per year and I always use my amex but I dont feel like I got 2x points. Also how do i check on those other perks I should be getting.... and lastly are u saying going forward I will only get 2/3 of mile for any charges going forward, we probably put around 50 to 75k on this card annually. TIA
     
  19. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    If objective is accruing airline miles, then for everyday spend (non MF or hotel) the airline CCs are best at 1 mile/ $. The Marriott point to airline miles redemption is 3:1, per the points guy:
    https://thepointsguy.com/news/in-depth-look-new-marriott-airline-transfer-partners/

    $1 everyday spend on spg amex would only give overall 2/3 of a mile.

    Marriott(?) gives 5K bonus miles too on transfer of 60K pts, making transfer ratio at best 2.4 pts : 1 mile. Still not as good as airline card since $1 Amex CC spend yields 2/2.4 = approx. 0.8 miles, which is still less than 1mile/$.

    If new Spg amex gave 6 pts/$ for MF spend , then Spg amex will accrue more miles than airline CC per MF $
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  20. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    Did you pay your AMEX bill after you charged the Vistana MF?
    Looking at our bill statements, when DH pays AMEX the points are posted by the next day in his SPG account. He usually pays after the billing period closes, not before. So I don't know if paying ahead of billing close date will cause points to post right away too.
     
  21. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    My AmEx closing statement was on July 9th. SPG points posted yesterday, July 13, including an extra line for the bonus.
     
  22. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    Points post within two to four days after your statement closing date regardless of whether the statement has been paid at that point. Pre-paying the Amex statement will not cause points to post. They post only after the statement closing date.
     
  23. controller1

    controller1 TUG Member

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    Yes, you can go to your Amex online account and pull up the PDF of the billing statements and verify that your maintenance fees received 2x Starpoints.

    And yes, after August 1 the equivalent earning for everyday purchases (not hotel stays or maintenance fees) will be 2/3 of a mile per $.

    The SPG Amex has been our go-to card. However, after August 1 it will be used only for Starwood/Marriott hotel stays and our Vistana maintenance fees. Amex will be losing approximately $150K in annual billing on our account.
     
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  24. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    What will you be using for everyday charges like groceries?
     
  25. duke

    duke TUG Member

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    Denise: You are in same situation as me. Don't pay for hotels (timeshares) and don't pay for airfare (points).

    Bottom line is that if you fly Coach your best bet is to use a cash-back card and then pay cash for your flights.

    Paying cash for your flights lets you EARN mileage for those flights.
    AND all the flights are available!

    You may want to consider the Alliant Credit Union Signature Visa.
    Pays 3% cash back on ALL purchases first year and 2 1/2% every year after.
    $59 annual fee waived first year.
    Easy to join - anyone can join.
    See Doctor of Credit post:
    https://www.doctorofcredit.com/alli...-back-first-year-2-5-59-af-waived-first-year/

    Other than that the Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you great benefits (primary rental car insurance) and earning (3X points on travel and restaurants worth 1.5 cents each = 4.5% return) using these points to purchase your ticket through the Chase travel site yields an air ticket that represents purchased for cash (there by earning air miles flown) and by cancelling your other cards this card will cost you nothing.
    NOTE: Chase Sapphire Reserve will earn 3X points on Vistana timeshare fees regardless of any merger or changes made by Vistana, SPG, or Marriott.

    All in all, earning 1 mile per dollar spent on your airline cards is the worst option.

    And for all you credit card hounds.....
    Best cards for us are:
    1. Alliant Credit Union Signature Visa - everyday spend
    2. Chase Sapphire Reserve - travel and restaurants (note: just charging the airfare or hotel or rental car tax gets you all the benefits)
    3. Citibank Costco
    4. Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa - free cell phone insurance
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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