All 3 of us at this blog have a daytime job IRL. We make enough to make a living… but we do not make enough to fly in premium cabins all over the world all the time.
Which is why we use airline miles to book our flights in business class and first class.
Recently I came across a situation where I wasn’t sure which credit card I should use to make a purchase at a local liquor store.
A) I could use my Platinum Delta American Express card and get 2 miles per $1 spent thanks to Amex’s current small business bonus that’s good until the end of the year.
B) I could use my Chase Freedom Unlimited and get 1.5 miles per $1 spent anywhere.
Superficially, the Amex seemed like the better choice since you get more miles.
However, it’s important to think of what you want to use your miles for.
For example, if you wanted to fly business class on Delta to say Japan, the cheapest level 1 business class (Delta One) tickets are 80,000 miles each way. So theoretically, I’d have to spend $40,000 at small businesses using the Delta Amex to book a one-way business class ticket. (Although I do believe the small business bonus is capped at a certain amount.)
However, one could also book that same Delta flight using 62,500 Korean Airlines miles. (Since both Korean Airlines and Delta are part of the SkyTeam Alliance.) Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Korean Airlines 1:1, so you’d need to spend $41,666.70 on your Chase Freedom Unlimited to book the exact same flight.
In the end, the Delta credit card is better for that particular redemption. However, it was much closer than you’d expect considering the difference between a 2x bonus and a 1.5x bonus on the credit cards. And of course, that’s assuming you only use your Freedom Unlimited. If you were mixing in your points from your other Chase cards (some of which get 5 miles per dollar spent), you’d get to your end goal way faster than using your Delta Amex exclusively.
All the travel bloggers out there assign arbitrary values to airline miles and credit card points… but we all have different travel wants and needs. So it’s important to think about what your travel goal and plan out your credit card spending accordingly.