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Your Questions Answered
For the past week I have been asking readers to send in their questions so I can answer them. Here are the related posts:
- Your Questions Answered – Most Common Points & Miles Acronyms
- Credit History with Converted Accounts, Max Number of Amex AUs, Money Orders at Walmart & More
- Ink Bold or Plus, Paying for Someone Else’s Global Entry & Shopping Portal Clawbacks after Returns
- Credit Card Churning – How to Decide Which Cards Stay & Which Cards Go
- Parking Money in Bluebird, Personal Expenses on a Business Card & Funding Checking Accounts with a Credit Card
- How Business Cards Affect Credit & Avoiding a Chase & Amex Shutdown from MS
- Which Points & Credit Cards for Which Airlines, Hotel Free Night Expiration Dates & AA Miles to Hawaii
This will be the last of the Q&A posts for a short while. This has definitely been popular, so I am going to look at making it a weekly series or perhaps bringing it back for a week every once in awhile. Thank you to everyone who has written in and asked a question and let me know in the comments if you have enjoyed it.
Our first question comes from Henry:
Hey Shawn! I was recently approved for the AMEX Platinum card (first year fee waived) and am considering cancelling my Premier Rewards Gold Card. Problem is, my Gold card is my oldest and most established account (30+ years). Will cancelling the Gold Card hurt my credit? Thx!
This is a really great question and sort of ties into what we talked about the other day with average age of accounts. The quick answer is that it will have some effect on your credit in the long term, since the length of your credit history represents 15% of your FICO score calculation.
Thankfully that impact will not be felt right away. If you close your Gold card, that account will remain on your credit for up to 10 years. While it will not get any older, it will still be a 30 year old account which will continue to help your average age calculation overall. Once it drops off, your average age will drop, but hopefully you will have other cards to help with that calculation by then.
If I was answering this question a few months ago, I would have told you something different. American Express used to backdate new credit card accounts to the date you got your first card with them. In that case, your new American Express Platinum card would have shown as a 30 year old card! Unfortunately back in March they supposedly ended this practice.
My best advice is to do what is right for you. Average age of accounts is only 15% of your credit score and you most likely have other older accounts as well. Since the Gold card will remain on your credit for up to 10 years, you shouldn’t feel too much of an impact if any at all. Of course there are a ton of other factors to consider, so the answer to this one lies solely with you.
Update: As PDXDealsGuy points out in the comments, Henry should absolutely try to see if Amex will downgrade it to a no annual fee card like the Everyday. When doing this, make sure the account number and history will remain in tact though, as a few people have reported receiving new account numbers while doing conversions in the past.
Our second question comes from John:
One friend asked me this question, but I have no idea. Is there a tool we can use to find out how many miles we need for redeeming a ticket from point a to point b on a certain day for all the major airlines?
This is a great question, because it can be difficult to figure out which miles currency to use for your trip. Yesterday I talked about the Transfer Partner Master List which helps to show you which flexible points currencies transfer to which airlines. That can be helpful, but there are a couple of other quick tools.
First off, Dan from Points with a Crew has designed the Mile Matrix. This tool allows you to type in an origin and destination region and it shows you how many miles it will cost on most of the major U.S. Airlines. It works really well and even separates the amounts by class of service.
If the airline you are looking for isn’t listed, there is another resource. Travel Is Free has almost every major airline award chart in one place for you to view. While this isn’t automated, it keeps you from having to track down award charts on different websites. (Shameless plug, I have a similar page with Hotel Award charts.)
Unfortunately neither of these are the complete all-in-one solution your were looking for, but they both work well and help to take some of the work out of it. A website called Miles.Biz did a lot of what you are looking for, but it unfortunately seems to be offline.
Our third question comes from R Hirsch:
I used to have serve. i would load via cc. transfer money to bank account. pay cc. and get my minimum spend and my miles. Then that died. So i was just about to start redbird’ing. Then that died. I NEVER spend that much per month to meet minimum spend. So how, these days, do you suggest meeting minimum spend requirements, not via normal daily expenses, but in ways similar to how i used to do it via serve?
The easiest way to do this is to purchase pin-enabled gift cards and load them to REDbird or Serve. I have written about various ways pretty extensively on Miles to Memories, so you should be able to find a lot of content on the matter. If you are looking for the simplest way, it would probably be to buy them at GiftCardMall.
This is also a good place to start looking: Where To Buy Pin-Enabled Gift Cards for Manufactured Spend
At this point I have worked through most of the questions on the original post. If I didn’t answer your question it is because I didn’t feel it fit well within the scope of these posts. I am going to be emailing the authors of the few questions left that are unanswered to go over my advice. As always, if you have a question or comment feel free to email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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