Milecards

Advertiser Disclosure

How do the FlexPerks Gold Amex and FlexPerks Visa stack up?

by on Thu June 30, 2016 • 1 Comment
Google+TwitterFacebookEmailLinkedIn

flexperks

US Bank offers some interesting credit cards that earn a points currency called FlexPerks.

While FlexPerks are not transferrable to airline or hotel partners, they’re a good way to earn rewards that can be used toward travel. There are a few quirks that you need to know about in order to maximize your FlexPerks that we will go over in this post.

The two most powerful cards to earn FlexPerks points are the FlexPerks Gold American Express with and $85 annual fee and the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa with a $49 annual fee.

Which card makes more sense?

We’re going to get into more detail below, but the short answer is:

  • Get the FlexPerks Gold American Express Card if you spend a lot of money at restaurants and/or can make use of the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee credit. Double FlexPerks at gas stations and on airline purchases is nothing to laugh about either – this is equivalent to 4% back if you maximize your purchases. Overall, get this card if you are looking for a more all-around spending card.

  • Get the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card if you spend a lot of money with charities and can focus your gas station, grocery store, or airline spend on this card because you will earn double FlexPerks only in the category that you spend the most. If you maximize your redemptions, this means that you will be earning 4% back for your spend in one of those categories. Overall, get this card if you are looking to focus spending in specific categories in order to maximize your overall credit card rewards, or if you have significant spending with charities.

Here’s a rundown the the main features of each card:

FlexPerks Gold American Express Card

  • flexperksgold170Earn triple FlexPerks at restaurants, double FlexPerks at gas stations and at airlines, and one Flexpoint per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Redeem points for travel on 150 airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees, or for other travel, gift cards, statement credits and more.
  • Get a $25 airline fee allowance for every award ticket that is good for baggage fees, preferred seating, or in-flight food and beverage
  • Enjoy a fee credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application.
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad.
  • $85 annual fee not waived the first year.
  • The signup bonus is currently 30,000 FlexPerks after you spend $2,000 in net purchases within the first four months of account opening.

flexperks170FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature

  • Earn triple FlexPerks on charitable donations, double FlexPerks on the category you spend the most on (gas stations, grocery stores, or airlines) and at most cellphone providers, and one Flexpoint per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Redeem points for travel on 150 airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees, or for other travel, gift cards, statement credits, and more
  • Get a $25 airline fee allowance for every award ticket that is good for baggage fees, preferred seating, or in-flight food and beverage
  • No foreign transactions fees on purchases made abroad
  • $49 annual fee (waived if you spend $24,000 or more within your 12-month cardmember year)
  • The signup bonus is currently 20,000 FlexPerks after you spend $3,500 in net purchases within four months of account opening.

How You Redeem is Important

For both of these cards, how you redeem your miles is really important if you want to maximize the value you are getting back from your credit card spending. FlexPerks are worth different amounts depending on what you redeem them for. Understanding this is key to getting the most value out of your FlexPerks.

Here’s what they are worth:

  • 1 cent per point when redeemed for cash (so, 10,000 points = $100 in cash value)

  • 1 cent per point when redeemed for gift cards or merchandise

  • 1.4 – 1.7 cents per point when used to pay the card’s annual fee (exchange 5,000 points for $85 annual fee on FlexPerks Gold Amex (1.7 cents per point), 3,500 points for $49 annual fee on FlexPerks Visa(1.4 cents per point))

  • 1.5 cents per point for travel (excluding airfare)

  • Up to 2 cents per point for airfare

From this alone, it is clear that redeeming for airfare can stretch your points furthest, but even how you redeem for airfare is important and must be done in a specific way to get the full 2 cents per point in value.

Airfare redemptions start at 20,000 FlexPerks. A redemption of 20,000 FlexPerks gives you the ability to book a ticket that costs up to $400. If you book a ticket that costs exactly $400, you are getting the full 2 cents per point in value, but if your ticket costs anything up to $400, it will still cost 20,000 Flexpoints.

For example, a ticket that costs $100 would still cost you 20,000 Flexpoints. This would only give you half of a cent per point in value – considerably less than the 2 cents per point that you should be hoping to get.

Here is the full table of redemption costs when using FlexPerks for flights:

Ticket Price Range

FlexPerks Required

$0 – $400

20,000

$400.01 – $600

30,000

$600.01 – $800

40,000

$800.01 – $1,000

50,000

$1,000.01 – $1,400

70,000

$1,400.01 – $2,000

100,000

$2,000.01 – $3,000

150,000

$3,000.01 – $4,500

225,000

$4,500.01 – $7,000

350,000

$7,000.01 – $10,000

500,000

In short, to maximize the value you are getting for your FlexPerks, you always want to redeem your points at the top of one of the ranges. If you are purchasing a ticket that costs $990, you will be getting almost 2 cents per point of value, whereas if your ticket costs $1,010, you will only be getting 1.4 cents per point of value.

Now there is a bit of a workaround in case you don’t have travel plans that fall neatly into the upper part of these ranges.

If you can find a refundable airfare that prices out in the top portion of a redemption price range, you can purchase the ticket with your FlexPerks and then use the airfare credit with the airline to change to another flight / destination / date when you’re ready. You can also save the unused credit with the airline and book up to a year after you buy your ticket.

How to Maximize the Signup Bonuses

In order to maximize the signup bonuses from each credit card, you will want to redeem your FlexPerks for a flight that costs as close to the upper end of the allowable range as possible.

For the FlexPerks Gold American Express card, you will have at least 32,000 FlexPerks available after you complete the minimum spending requirement.

You have two options here: you can either redeem 30,000 FlexPerks for a flight costing as close to $600 as possible, or you can redeem 20,000 FlexPerks for a flight costing as close to $400 as possible and have 12,000 FlexPerks left over for your next flight redemption.

If you decide to get the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card, you will have at least 23,500 FlexPerks after completing the minimum spending requirement. If you would like to redeem your points for maximum value, you should look for a flight that costs as close to $400 as possible. You will have 3,500 or more (depending on category spending) points left over for your next FlexPerks flight booking.

If redeemed in this way, you will receive close to two cents per point in value from your FlexPerks.

Now we will look at the pros and cons of each card and help you decide which card makes the most sense for you.

FlexPerks Gold American Express Card

Pros

  • The 30,000 Flexperks signup bonus is worth up to $600 in flights

  • Good points earning opportunities. If redemption is maximized according to the outline above, the rebate from this credit card is effectively 6% back on restaurant spending, 4% back on gas station and airline spending, and 2% back on everything else. These rebate rates are by far higher than the average credit card offers.

  • If you don’t have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck yet, you can have your application fee reimbursed with the FlexPerks Gold Card. If you’re a frequent traveler, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck is a must have because it will save you a TON of time. Even if you only travel a few times a year, it might make sense to get… especially if it’s an included card benefit.

  • Every time you book an award ticket with your FlexPerks, you’ll receive up to $25 of airline fee reimbursements to use for baggage fees, preferred seating, and in-flight food and beverage.

  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad. Again, a pretty standard benefit now on cards that charge an annual fee, but a very important benefit to have if you plan to travel abroad!

Cons

  • Maximizing your FlexPerks is a little bit of work. Not that redeeming transferrable points currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards is the most straightforward, but FlexPerks is a bit of a different animal. Make sure you take a look at the section above about how to redeem FlexPerks so that you know you are maximizing your value. Any other redemptions made this card a significantly less good option for your spending.

  • Higher annual fee ($85) compared with the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card. Annual fee is not waived the first year.

FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature

Pros

  • The 20,000 Flexperk signup bonus is worth of up $400 in flights

  • Reasonable rebate earning opportunities. If your redemptions are maximized according to the outline above, you will effectively be getting 6% back on charitable contributions, 4% back on your category of most spending (airlines, gas stations, or grocery stores) and with most cellphone providers, and 2% back on all other purchases.

  • If you spend a lot of money on this credit card, you have the ability to have the annual fee waived. You must spend $12,000 on your card within the cardmember year you will receive 3,500 bonus FlexPerks which is enough to reimburse the annual fee. Even if you don’t get the annual fee waived, it is a relatively low $49 per year.

  • Every time you book an award ticket with your FlexPerks, you’ll receive up to $25 of airline fee reimbursements to use for baggage fees, preferred seating, and in-flight food and beverage.

  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad. Again, a pretty standard benefit now on cards that charge an annual fee, but a very important benefit to have if you plan to travel abroad.

Cons

  • Again, just like for the FlexPerks Gold Amex card, you’re earning Flexpoints which require a slightly different redemption strategy in order to maximize your value than transferrable points currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards or various airline miles. Make sure you read the section above about redeeming FlexPerks – it’s very important that you understand the strategy behind the redemption if you want to maximize the value from this credit card.

Does having both make sense?

Possibly. The main reason that we would recommend carrying both of these credit cards is if you spend a lot with charities over the course of the year but are still looking for a good all-around card. In order to earn enough to offset the annual fee of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card, you would need to spend at least $817 on your credit card with charities over the course of the year. Of course – this is just the breakeven point, in order for it to truly make sense you would want to be spending more than that.

Which card is right for you?

Even though the FlexPerks Gold American Express card has a higher annual fee, it probably makes more sense than the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card for most people. It has good earning rates across many common spending categories and will reimburse your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

The FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card will make more sense for those of you that spend significant amounts with charities over the course of a year – and pay with your credit card. We’re taking a few thousand dollars or more. The FlexPerks Visa also might make more sense if you are able to focus your spending in just one category (airfare, gas stations, grocery stores) on the card and maximize your spending in other categories with other credit cards.

Large amounts of charitable spending is a factor that should majorly tip the scales in favor of the FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature card instead of or in addition to the FlexPerks Gold American Express card.

Ultimately, the choice of which card is right for you depends on your travel preferences and goals as well as how much you want to complicate your finances by having multiple cards, and you can see how they stack up based on your own spending patterns using our tool.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

One thought on “How do the FlexPerks Gold Amex and FlexPerks Visa stack up?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *