Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 1
So DW and I are expecting DC (dear child?) #2 in March :)

I want to take her away for a vacation. We havent really done much together in the last 3 years, since DD joined our clan. Problem is, I really dont want to take the money from our e fund, and I also dont have money set for a vacation (we used it taking DD to Disney earlier this year.

So, I am thinking I might open a new rewards card.

The idea being that it could offset trip costs. I dont anticipate any major purchases (we bought the house; we do have a leased car that we need to re-up or buy a car in 2017/18), so I am not terribly worried about near term FICO impact.

There are a couple of rewards options, and I am trying to get a handle on how to compare them. I currently have a discover (love the cashback!) that I use predominately and pay off each month. We also have a Cap1 venture card. This one is easy to figure out: 2% back on everything and each point is worth $0.01. So a $400 flight = 40,000 points

For this initiative, I am considering the three following options (and assuming I qualify--i have over 800 fico score):

Option 1: Amex Starwood SPG card -- 30,000 SPG points bonus / $95 annual fee after first year
Option 2: Amex Platinum -- 100k points (worth up to $1k in travel?) / $450 annual fee (so... that makes it work up to $550 in travel?)
Option 3: Citi Hilton HHonors care -- 75k points / $0 annual fee
Option 4: Chase Sapphire -- 40k points/ $95 annual fee after first year, 40k points enough for $500 flight

Seems that option 3 would translate in to 7500 United OnePass miles or (for a particular date) a 5 night stay in a standard room in a property in aruba that costs $1200 otherwise

Option 1 seems to have the best points transferability.

Option 2 seems like not a great option

Option 3 gives a bonus when redeeming for travel, so 40k points = $500 in airfare/hotel. While I have heard great things about Amex reward points, I have read mixed reviews on chase

Sorry for being so long winded... Any perspective would be appreciated!
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 13
Thinking long term assuming you plan to hold onto the card, I would go with the citi option, generous points with no annual fee.
You didn't mention what you had to do to get the points. How much do you have to charge? And are you planning on charging the vacation to get the points? Or putting all your purchases on the card to get the points? Will the points post by the time you want to go on vacation. If you are due in March, I doubt you will want to go anywhere come January. That leaves the fall and winter when prices tend to be higher with the holidays.

If I were you I would do this. Forget the card. You need to save money for kid#2. By the way, congratulations! Find a B and B in a charming town 40-60 mins away. Go out to dinner, spend the night at the B and B, eat breakfast there, spend the afternoon strolling around and then go home. Depending on your cash flow you may be able to swing it without dipping into the efund.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 6
Any perspective would be appreciated!

WEll, you asked for it...
I think you should stick to your budget and forgo clever strategems.

Reasons:

A 3-yr-old is awfully young to appreciate a Disney theme park, so I suspect that Disney vacation was more for the adults. Instead of a second pricy vacation this year, see if grandparents/aunt/uncle would like to take DD for a long weekend's visit while you & your wife relax child-free at home for a few days.

Back when I was in my 20s-40s (the 70s-90s), middle class parents with preschool and younger children vacationed little or not at all, and then mainly visiting relatives or camping--unless someone else was paying (eg, grandparents paying for the whole clan to rent a vacation house on a beach). The fact that you could afford a Disney vacation is impressive, given that you either have a SAHM or nanny/daycare expenses!

BTW, I took my kids to DisneyWorld when they were elementary school age, and they remember it fondly now as they approach age 40(!). DD is looking forward to taking her own kids--but not for some years as they're now only 2 & 4 1/2.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
lol... The Disney trip was not this Fool's idea, but I have to admit-- DD had the time of her little life (and, as she was just under 3 at the time, was free to the park--big discount).

while I agree that this is not exactly Foolish, I have my reasons as to why I want to do this

Besides, if a B& B is $200 a night, thats already $600. If I can get a week at a resort somewhere for free, the flight $1200, the value proposition works for me.

There is a reason I didnt post this in LBYM ;)

(hope that didnt come off as snarky--I do appreciate the perspectives)

Any other comments? Preferably those with points experience? I really would like to know how those Amex vs Chase Sapphire points measure up

Oh, and most of these require $3k-4k in first 3 months. I believe the Hilton one allows you to pre-book without enough points. Then, a week before the trip you either have to have earned the points or you can buy the difference--score 1 for the hilton option.

Points showing up in time is a VERY valid concern. We do have a narrow window time wise
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 16
I want to take her away for a vacation. We havent really done much together in the last 3 years, since DD joined our clan. Problem is, I really dont want to take the money from our e fund, and I also dont have money set for a vacation (we used it taking DD to Disney earlier this year.

I don't relate to wanting a second vacation and spending a lot on it, but that's okay. This isn't really about what I would want to do. It's about budgeting and priorities.

So, another vacation with your wife prior to the arrival of your second child is a priority. Okay, it's your priority. How important is it to you?

You've already answered part of that. It's not so important that you're willing to accept a smaller e fund. Okay. What else do you have budgeted that you could forego in favor of the vacation? Can you scrape up enough dollars by not doing/getting something else you want, that you just don't want as badly as you want this vacation?

I dislike the idea of getting a new credit card for the rewards, with the excuse of using it to offset the cost of the vacation. That muddles the thinking of how important the vacation is. If the new card is a good deal as a new card, it's a good deal. If it's only a good deal because it offers a discount on something you wouldn't otherwise buy, it's not really a good deal.

So, think about what vacation you want. Figure out how much it costs. See if you are willing to take the money from something else and do without that something else. If you get that far and can fund the vacation, only then look at how a new card might reduce the cost. That puts the decision in context. You explicitly say, for example, "I want this vacation badly enough to defer replacing my car for two years longer than I had previously planned." Or, "I want this vacation badly enough to use my e-fund then make rebuilding the e-fund a priority that will squeeze out other spending for a while." That's really the kind of decision you're making.

Others are telling you the decision should be, "I don't want the vacation badly enough to give up anything else I had planned on." That's the way I would lean, but it's okay if that's not the way your priorities shake out. Just be honest with yourself. By taking this vacation, you are giving up *something* else. Make sure it's worth it to give up whatever it is you end up giving up in favor of the vacation. Don't let the card rewards confuse the underlying issue.

Rewards are nice. I use rewards cards, though I favor cash over points and travel awards. But the rewards are really a sideshow. Controlling what you spend your money on, and making sure you're spending it on the stuff that is most important to you, is where the real action is.

Patzer
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 7
I would try the "credit as a tool" board as they may have more experience with various cards and maximizing rewards.

Again I would think long and hard about this. You have $0 to spend on this vacation. I and alstroemeria gave you cheaper options (hers was entirely free) and your answer is if it costs $600, why not just spend $1200. Really?
I get you need a vacation, but with yet to be identified home issues, new baby, I wouldn't advise it. Good luck.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
good points.

I will try credit as a tool board as well.

to answer the questions above:

1) I do not want the trip so much as to pull from an efund
2) I do not want the trip so much that I would pay more than a single 2% BT fee if necessary to do it at 0% for 12 months
3) There really isnt much I can defer to pay for this.
4) The trip must be paid for, in full, in 12 months (so I can use 0% offer I have)

I have no outstanding CC balances. I dont pay interest. I have no interest in paying interest

I am only looking at these cards as an intriguing way to offset the cost of the trip. I'd strongly prefer to keep the card, once open. (implies an allergy to the $450 annual fee option)

I feel like I have my eyes open in terms of what I am or am not willing to do in terms of financing the trip.

Its learning about maximizing the points that I feel I would use some help-- so credit as a tool might be a better board?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
kmart00,

You wrote, So DW and I are expecting DC (dear child?) #2 in March :)

...

So, I am thinking I might open a new rewards card.

The idea being that it could offset trip costs. ...



To which I was going to write a detailed response asking what taking a second vacation and getting a rewards card have to do with each other.

But Patzer kind of beat me to it.

- Joel
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
My concern with getting a rewards card to use for a vacation is that you will find yourself buying extras items you hadn't planned for, and will justify the expense by saying it's for the vacation you want. This is something that has happened to others, and we've had many people show up frustrated about how much extra money had gone on the card. They weren't in debt, but they had spent more money than they had planned on, and it had wrecked their budget.

Also, what if the time comes for the vacation, and you haven't put enough money on the card? Will you cancel the vacation, or take the additional money from somewhere else?

This isn't a course of behavior I'd really recommend, but to each his own.

Nancy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Windowseat,

You wrote, My concern with getting a rewards card to use for a vacation is that you will find yourself buying extras items you hadn't planned for, and will justify the expense by saying it's for the vacation you want.

I don't think it's simply the on-going rewards that kmart00 is looking to exploit. I think he's looking to use the card's initial bonus offers to help fund his vacation.

One of the problems I see with that is he's considering offers with annual fees - even big ones that don't waive it initially. I have no problem with occasionally playing a bank's games to garner a bit of extra cash. But I think some of these offers - especially the Amex Platinum - are a little dangerous and kind of hard to justify just to take an second vacation.

- Joel
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I am not going to weigh in on whether it is wise to get a new card or try to take a vacation as others have done that. I just wanted to weigh in and say that I have the citi Hilton card and it is a fantastic rewards card. The initial bonuses were great, and I like it on an ongoing basis too. It's a great general purpose card and I have gotten gold or diamond status on Hilton ever since I got it a few years ago. If you have a need for a new card for any reason, I'd say it's a good option.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 6
Wouldn't it be easier to just save the money for the vacation?

Minxie
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 26
I want to take her away for a vacation. We havent really done much together in the last 3 years, since DD joined our clan. Problem is, I really dont want to take the money from our e fund, and I also dont have money set for a vacation (we used it taking DD to Disney earlier this year.

So, I am thinking I might open a new rewards card.

The idea being that it could offset trip costs.


and, from another post:

1) I do not want the trip so much as to pull from an efund
2) I do not want the trip so much that I would pay more than a single 2% BT fee if necessary to do it at 0% for 12 months
3) There really isnt much I can defer to pay for this.
4) The trip must be paid for, in full, in 12 months (so I can use 0% offer I have)

I have no outstanding CC balances. I dont pay interest. I have no interest in paying interest


No matter how many times or how many different ways you try to tell yourself (and us) that you don't really want to spend the money, and you are just going to open the credit card to help you 'save' money - it's not true.

Your actions speak louder than your words.

Planning to spend money that you don't have so that you can take a second vacation, especially when you have a significant new set of expenses due in March, is not an action that is consistent with your claims to be fiscally conservative.

No rewards card that you get is going to fully pay for a trip like you are talking about in the timeframe you have. And if you don't get enough points for the Hilton option through spending, you seem to be willing to buy the points for the rest.

While you 'say' you don't believe in paying interest, you seem to fail to realize that a BT fee is just that - pre-paid interest - and the fact that you are willing to pay a BT fee means that you are willing to pay interest. (And, by the way, do you actually have a 2% BT fee offer on a card that's not used for any recurring payments, etc.?)

Your refusal to consider a cheaper vacation at or near home that would get you the 'adult alone time' that you are using to justify the reason for the trip shows that it's not the alone time you're interested in, it's the trip.

I doubt you'll be successful in getting the validation you seem to be seeking about taking out a card here. And if you were actually looking for analysis of the different offers, I don't know that you'll get much more than you've already gotten.

If you're going to take the vacation, go ahead and take the vacation. If you want a new credit card, then go ahead and get the card.
Quit trying to justify the taking the vacation by saying the card will pay for it, because it won't.

AJ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 5
DW and I are expecting...

Congrats!

I want to take her away...

What does she want? Some women, when pregnant, jump at the chance to travel unencumbered while they can. Others don't physically feel up to it, and some go into "nesting mode" and become averse to travel.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
again... this thread wasnt seeking approval nor validation for the trip. I was seeking advice as to how the rewards card stand up against each other.

I expected that I would get drawn into the whole want/need conversation on the LBYM forum, I figured this forum was the right place for this question--credit as a tool might have been more appropriate, I just wasnt familiar with it.

While I appreciate the constructive nudges about whether this is a good idea or not, thats not the theme of the question.

So far, one person has chimed in on the Hilton card (thanks!). Id like some first hand experience with Amex and Chase Sapphire points if anyone has those.

Again, thank you for the constructive discussion, but I'd really appreciate it if the discussion can focus on the rewards aspect.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
One of the problems I see with that is he's considering offers with annual fees - even big ones that don't waive it initially. I have no problem with occasionally playing a bank's games to garner a bit of extra cash. But I think some of these offers - especially the Amex Platinum - are a little dangerous and kind of hard to justify just to take an second vacation.

I have a Barclaycard that has an $89 annual fee after the first year. I got it last January and put my daughter on the account. The reason was that she was spending a semester in Ireland. The card is a chip & pin card so she could use it in place where you couldn't use chip & signature. There is also no foreign transaction fee. There was a 40,000 mile bonus for signing up that you could also use as credits towards travel charged to the card. We ended up getting over $700 in credits towards travel. I'll close the card before the first anniversary of the card.

http://www.findmybarclaycard.com/barclaycard-credit-cards/ar...

PSU
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
I personally have never been a fan of points, I like cash as its good anywhere.

My cards (in order I like them)

Fidelity Amex 2% back
Fidelity Visa 1.5% back Used to have a marketplace you could get bonus point
Discover - had it 20 years seldom use is and the categories never align with my spending and they closed Shop Discover.

I have a Delta Amex (75$) purely for travel since the free luggage pays for the card.

I've been hard pressed to be 2% - yeah some places offer 5% on various categories but I (personally) feel its a mugs game to try to time it. I live alone no wife or kids. Perhaps with a family I've get better with grocery/Upromise/gas points). My thought is avoiding spending money is a good way to save that (for me) trumps rewards.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
exeter17: I personally have never been a fan of points

Me neither, especially when the points are used to buy the crap they sell in their own Rewards Catalog.

My Wells Fargo credit card pays 1% toward my Wells Fargo mortgage, and I put as much as I can onto that card. So with it I pay for stuff that I otherwise would have written a check or used a debit card. At the same time I transfer the equivalent amount from checking to savings to let it earn interest until I get the credit card bill.

This might sound strange, but I actually look forward to getting bills in the mail. I love knowing that when, for example, I pay my $100 electric bill, one dollar is getting shaved off my mortgage. On average an extra twenty bucks a month gets applied to the principal, and I estimate that my mortgage will get paid off three months early just by using one piece of plastic over another.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
That is a cool idea - if I had a mortgage I might do the same even as 2% is better than 1% the power of a mortgage pay off is better. I used to charge 40K a year (for the boss)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I personally have never been a fan of points, I like cash as its good anywhere.

What about miles that can be converted into statement credits?

PSU
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Well, that what my Fidelity does - points I can deposit as cash into the IRA or Fidelity checking. I guess I was unclear in what I define as points :)
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
Well, that what my Fidelity does - points I can deposit as cash into the IRA or Fidelity checking. I guess I was unclear in what I define as points :)

I asked because I'm not a fan of miles cards but I made an exception with the barclaycard. I could covert every 10,000 miles into a $100 credit towards any travel expenses. There was a 40,000 mile bonus for getting the card so I converted all the bonus into a $400 credit towards my airline tickets.

I think a lot of people would quickly sign up for a $400 cash back signing bonus but some people wouldn't look at the terms of a 40,000 mile bonus and realize its a cash bonus if used correctly.

PSU
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Any other comments? Preferably those with points experience? I really would like to know how those Amex vs Chase Sapphire points measure up

Sorry for the late reply. After using both Amex Gold and Chase Sapphire, I dropped the Gold card some time last year because the Chase points are more valuable on Amazon, which is the only place I use them. The Chase points are $0.0001 each, and the AmEx points were less. I forget by how much, but it was pretty significant IMO. I think maybe $0.00007 or 8.

This decision didn't involve analyzing my purchases to see if I was getting 2X point bonuses with AmEx or anything, it was simply based on the value of the points on Amazon.

I now find myself in the market for a rewards card, because we are going to be doing a lot of flying next year, so please post your final decision here, if you decide to move on this.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
wow. I havent been back on this thread in a while.. Great info!

I ended up opening a Marriott Visa, with 80k points. Unfortunately, we didnt use them for the babymoon, so I'll keep banking until the new baby is old enough s owe can either do a family trip, or leave the kids with family to take a well deserved break at some point in the future.
Print the post Back To Top