Drafting the Dream results: Who got which cards

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Last night, Greg, Stephen, and I made our picks: we each drafted our three-card “dream team” of credit cards for our current #3Cards3Continents challenge. For those unfamiliar with the challenge we’re working on, see this post: Challenge! 3 Cards, 3 Continents. Buckle Up!. The short story is that we ran a live draft to each choose a unique set of 3 credit cards to plan an amazing trip to at least 3 continents — and we’ll be taking our trips in September, so you won’t have to wait too long to see our plans unfold.

If you missed the live draft on Youtube, here’s the replay. We had a lot of fun and got plenty of interaction from the audience in the comments.

In terms of the results, here are the cards we each chose:

Nick

  1. Capital One Venture Card
    • Welcome bonus: 75K miles
    • Minimum spend: $4K
    • Total points earned: 83K
    • Annual fee: $95
  2. Amex Platinum (Schwab version)
    • Welcome bonus: 100K Membership Rewards points
    • Minimum spend: $6K
    • Total points earned: 106K Membership Rewards points
    • Annual fee: $695
  3. American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Business card
    • Welcome bonus: 80K American Airlines miles + $95
    • Minimum spend: $2K
    • Total points earned: 82K miles
    • Annual fee: $95 – $95 statement credit = $0 effective first-year fee

Nick’s remaining money from $1,000 starting travel budget: $210.

Nick’s remaining credit card spend (can be put on any of his three cards earning rewards at that card’s base rate): $3K.

Stephen

  1. Amex Platinum card (consumer 150K offer)
    • Welcome bonus: 150K Membership Rewards points
    • Minimum spend: $6K
    • Total points earned: 156K Membership Rewards points
    • Annual fee: $695
  2. American Airlines AAdvantage Aviator Red
    • Welcome bonus: 60K American Airlines miles
    • Minimum spend: $0 (bonus after first purchase, no minimum)
    • Total points earned: 60K miles
    • Annual fee: $99
  3. Chase Ink Business Unlimited
    • Welcome bonus: 75K Ultimate Rewards points
    • Minimum spend: $7,500
    • Total points earned: 86.25K Ultimate Rewards points
    • Annual fee: 0

Stephen’s remaining money from $1,000 starting travel budget: $206

Stephen’s remaining credit card spend (can be put on any of his three cards earning rewards at that card’s base rate): $1.5K

Greg

  1. Amex Gold Card
    • Welcome bonus: 90K Membership Rewards points
    • Minimum spend: $4K
    • Total points earned: 94K Membership Rewards points
    • Annual fee: $250
  2. Citi Premier Card
    • Welcome bonus: 80K ThankYou points
    • Minimum spend: $4K
    • Total points earned: 84K ThankYou points
    • Annual fee: $95
  3. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card
    • Welcome bonus: 5 free night certificates each good for 1 night up to 50K points
    • Minimum spend: $5K
    • Total points earned: 10K Marriott points + 5 free night certificates
    • Annual fee: $95

Greg’s remining money from $1,000 starting travel budget: $560

Greg’s remaining credit card spend (can be put on any of his three cards earning rewards at that card’s base rate): $2K


Each of us clearly thinks we can plan a pretty incredible trip using the cards we have, but that’s going to be easier in some cases than others.

Who do you think “won” the draft by walking away with the best set of cards? What would you have picked? Can you guess the trips we’re going to build?

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WR2

I’m not sure why Stephen went for the Aviator Red in Round 2, especially given the Aviator Biz was still on the board. Why not the CIU then? Then in round 3 he would have had $1500 in MSR remaining, he could have gotten a $1000 MSR card, or fall back on the Aviator Red. I think he kinda got lucky that the CIU was still sitting there in R3. He must have a very specific plan in mind for those 60k AA points. Just confusing.

Stephen Pepper

I only needed 40k AA miles (although I am using all 60k), so getting an AA card with a more generous welcome offer wouldn’t have benefited me.

What did benefit me was its $0 minimum spend requirement. I knew I wanted the Ink Unlimited card, so I needed an AA card that had a minimum spend requirement of $1,500 or less and the Aviator Red is the only one.

If someone else picked the Ink Unlimited card before my final pick, I wasn’t too worried as I could’ve picked the Ink Cash instead. Same spend requirement and same bonus of 75k Ultimate Rewards. The only difference is that spend on the Ink Unlimited would be at 1.5x rather than 1x, so the Ink Unlimited gave me an extra 4,500 Ultimate Rewards, i.e. $45 extra. That’s why only being able to get the Ink Cash wouldn’t have been a deal breaker, but getting the Ink Unlimited was the better choice if available.

It’s also why I picked the AA card before my Ink card – I was concerned someone else might pick it. Turns out my concerns were well-founded seeing as Nick had his eye on it too.

Grant

There should be a reader poll to see who we *think* drafted the best cards…

My vote goes to Stephen, but I’m excited to see if Greg and Nick can create the more awesome trip.

Allyson Scott

I am excited for your challenge! Can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Aloha808

The way I look at it is Nick got about 271k Airline points/miles and has about $210 + $200 (platinum) travel credit, depending on how he uses the points from the Schwab plat.

Stephen got about 216k Airline points/miles and has about $956 + $200 (platinum) travel credit, since the UR points can’t be transferred to partners since he didn’t select CSP/CSR/CIP.

Greg got about 180k Airline points/miles, the 5x50k Marriott certificates and 10k Marriott points, and has about $560 in travel credit.

The big question marks right now are: how will Greg use his Marriott certs, and what will Nick use his Schwab Platinum points for?

Last edited 6 days ago by Aloha808
Aloha808

Excuse me… Stephen actually got about $1070 or so instead… plus the $200 from the Platinum.

Captain Greg

Initially after the draft, I thought Stephen won. I still feel that way, but it’s important to note that Greg has $350 more in cash than the other two players. So, to better compare, it’s as if Greg drafted a 4th card that gets a $350 cash bonus with no AF and no spend requirement. That makes for a compelling argument for him winning the draft.

Zzz

Technically, Stephen has more raw cash (and more miles) because of taking the ink unlimited – $1,091 if his remaining spend goes on that card for 1.5% back. Greg’s 5 FNCs vs Stephen’s extra cash + points for lodging will be a key factor. In the end, creativity will be what wins the day and what gives Nick a fighting chance.

Captain Greg

Totally agree with your points, but don’t understand the math in the first sentence. By my count, Stephen will have 85,250 UR points, which means $852.50 in cash.

Zzz

He has $862.50 from the SUB: 0.01*(75,000 + 1.5*7,500). Then taking the sum of his remaining $206 and an additional $1.5k spend on the CIU at 1.5% back, his total is $1,091.

Edit: to be clear, I’m not saying Stephen has $1,091 more than Greg, just $1,091 total.

Last edited 6 days ago by Zzz
Captain Greg

Ah, didn’t realize that you were adding in his leftover cash. Also realizing now that Nick should’ve put down 86k UR points (or 86250 to be exact) for Stephen, not 83k.

MrCashIsKing

Great Job guys! Really enjoyed it.

DaninMCI

After listening to the initial podcast but missing the Youtube event, I’m still a little foggy on how the travel funds work. It seems like Greg won the draft because he ended up with decent hotel certs, decent points for flights, and more travel budget remaining. For international travel, it’s hard not to have at least a few hundred in taxes and fees on awards. I am a bit surprised that no one went with the Chase Sapphire cards as the travel credits are easier to use than the Amex credits. I could outright buy some decent airfare for $300 on the CSR.

Cavedweller

Quick question if ur card (Ink)has a Ins.thing and your Ip has trouble Do u Get to ADD $$$ that to the Trip ??? Hmmmmm

David

I’d like to know what draft hopes & plans were foiled by the selections made by others. It sounded like Nick would not have gone with the Schwab Platinum if he had gotten the Aviator Red. What was the alternate card?

TimR

Nick’s alternate card was the Amex Gold Biz (130K MR, 10K spend). Given that he chose Venture in round 1 (4K spend) his 3rd card needed to be 1K spend or under with his alternate choice

Last edited 6 days ago by TimR
David

Thanks!

LivelyFL

From my (points uneducated) vantage point…I would say Greg got the wrong end of the deal.

Summit

Super excited to see how it turns out.

Article needs a small correction:

  1. Amex Gold Card
  • Welcome bonus: 90K Membership Rewards points
  • Minimum spend: $6K

Minimum Spend is $4k, which means

Greg’s remaining credit card spend (can be put on any of his three cards earning rewards at that card’s base rate): $2k. 🙂

Last edited 6 days ago by Summit
A B

Still needs correction: Greg gets 94k on the Gold, not 96k

A B

I got all excited because I thought for a moment that Amex gold paid time and a half.