We’ve all been there…trying to figure out a credit card strategy that fits our personal travel goals. And deciding which card to apply for next!
Million Mile Secret Agent Vince asked:
I’m trying to decide between applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, and/or upgrading to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® from my current Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®.
I also have a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which I’m undecided on keeping because the annual fee is increasing.
Currently, I am caretaker for my elderly mother, so traveling is at a standstill. And being able to use any earned points is impossible for an undetermined time, making the timing of any new card important. But I want to be prepared when the opportunity to travel presents itself again, and would welcome any comments, input or advice on my situation.
Thanks for the great questions, Vince!
Deciding Which Card to Get Next
First and foremost, I always recommend getting any Chase cards you want first. Because they have the most valuable credit cards for getting Big Travel with Small Money! Read more about the best card strategy for beginners.
In deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve, Vince will have to determine whether paying the higher annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it for his particular situation.
Both are currently offering the same 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements. But the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a few more perks that help offset the annual fee (if you can take advantage of them!). Here’s a great post detailing the similarities and differences between the 2 cards that can help you decide!
The other great thing about these cards is both earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which never expire as long as you keep your card open.
So, when Vince gets ready to travel, he can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the best transfer partner for his situation at the time.
For example, if he wants to use his points for a hotel stay, he could use his Chase Ultimate Rewards points for free nights at a Hyatt hotel. Or transfer them to United Airlines for a free flight somewhere!
Just remember, it’s best to leave your points in your Chase account until you have a plan to use them, because you can NOT transfer them back. It’s also a great hedge against devaluations!
1. Don’t Miss Sign-Up Bonuses by Upgrading
With regard to Vince upgrading his Citi American Airlines Platinum card, it would be better for him to get a brand new Citi American Airlines Executive card instead. If it has been more than 2 years since he has opened or closed a card within the same brand, and he qualifies under Citi’s application rules. Because he will NOT earn the sign-up bonus for upgrading.
2. Know Your Spending Habits
Finally, if Vince uses his Capital One Venture card a lot, it could certainly be worth keeping – even with an annual fee. Because Capital One Venture miles are worth 1 cent each toward travel. And the rewards are so easy to use!
Plus, it earns 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining. Whereas the Capital One Venture card earns 2 Capital One Venture miles per $1 on every purchase. And that means he’d earn more rewards with the Sapphire Reserve if he spends a lot on travel and dining.
3. Consider the Minimum Spending Requirements
If possible, Vince could get 2 cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, AND the Citi American Airlines Executive card! But only if he has a plan for meeting the minimum spending requirements for both cards at once.
That way he can benefit from earning even more valuable rewards. And having at least one Citi American Airlines card open will keep his American Airlines miles from expiring as long as he uses the card a couple times a year, which is easy to do.
Million Mile Secrets reader Vince for help deciding which credit card to get next.
For his particular situation, I’d suggest either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve, AND the Citi American Airlines Executive card. That is, if he qualifies for a new Citi American Airlines card, and can handle the minimum spending requirements on both cards.
In general, when deciding which cards to apply for next, it’s important to consider factors like banks’ application rules, bonus categories, and minimum spending requirements. Thanks for the question, Vince!