AMEX/general app advice please

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
7 posts
anatoxin
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: USA

AMEX/general app advice please

Postby anatoxin » Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:01 pm

Hi, I've been reading a lot on these forums and I think I got the "app itch", decided to register and post my own question before making any rash decisions!

About me: 25 years old, average $1500 monthly spending, 4 credit cards:
  • Sallie Mae Barclaycard ($7500)
  • Chase Amazon Visa ($4500)
  • Wells Fargo CC ($7000, my oldest personal card)
  • US Bank Flex Perks Visa ($25k, parents' card that I don't use but am an authorized user for the purpose of good credit history)
I don't carry a balance on any card and my Credit Karma score is about 770. The portion of my spending that's not covered by proper rewards (only 1% cash back) averages $700/m.

I just applied for the US Bank Cash+ card in a branch but have not seen the HP come in yet. I know Restaurants is going away as a 5% category but almost all of my eating out spending is on Chipotle-quality food, so hoping to use the Fast Food category assuming it is remaining intact.

Other than that the majority of my everyday expenses are covered by the Sallie Mae card (5% groceries/gas/Amazon, I don't spend over $250/m in any category). I only travel about once a year to visit family so travel perks are probably not for me.

So my questions are:
1. Should I apply for an AMEX to begin backdating in 2014 even though I will likely not use it much (none of them seem to offer better rewards than what I have)? If so, which one -- a few other threads seem to suggest the EveryDay or Blue Cash Everyday. My SO is a Costco member but I am not, and we don't shop there too often, so I think that card is out.

2. If not AMEX, the Citi Double Cash caught my eye. However, the consensus around here is that it will likely be nerfed, so I'm a little nervous about that. Thoughts on this card or other cards I might benefit from, or should I stick with what I have?

Any advice is welcome, hopefully I provided enough info. Thanks!


Cre
Platinum Member
Platinum Member
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:53 am
Location: United States

Postby Cre » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:14 pm

An AMEX card is shockingly easy to obtain, and the CEO and Board of Directors of Amex have established, as part of their corporate strategy, to make a strong push to attract younger people. In fact, a couple of years ago, the CEO literally brought in a giant life sized photo of a nose ringed, lip ringed, full sleave tatted millenial to a board meeting to emphasize that this is the new demographic that AMEX is aiming for... not the stodgy business suit in first class, but the mobile app'd urban ninja who surfs the wave of every new industry disruption. AmEx recognizes that younger people have to start somewhere, and you already have a substantially established credit history at just 25. I'm sure AmEx will snatch you up quicker than you can click the "I Agree" button.
Current Cards:
AmEx Platinum Charge: NPSL, $450 AF
AmEx Reserve Credit: $30K limit, $450 AF
Chase Slate Visa Credit: $32K limit, No AF
Future Strategy:
Near Term: Need a good MasterCard for places that won't accept AmEx or Visa
Long Term: Will downsize out of one or both current AmEx cards to reduce AFs

User avatar
Vattené
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1208
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:55 am
Location: US

Postby Vattené » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:28 pm

I agree with Cre that you should have no problem getting in with Amex, and it sounds like the rewards are your top priority.
anatoxin wrote:1. Should I apply for an AMEX to begin backdating in 2014 even though I will likely not use it much (none of them seem to offer better rewards than what I have)? If so, which one -- a few other threads seem to suggest the EveryDay or Blue Cash Everyday. My SO is a Costco member but I am not, and we don't shop there too often, so I think that card is out.

Backdating is a great perk to have, but it is only useful several years down the road if you get another Amex card. If you don't think a card will be very useful for you, I wouldn't apply for one just for the benefit of backdating. It was enough to tip me towards going for an Amex when I was looking for a new card, but I don't think it is worth it in itself.

Having said that, if you go for an Amex I would recommend the EveryDay. You don't plan on using the card for a lot of spending, so anything with an AF wouldn't make sense for you. The BCE won't do anything for you since you get 5% for Sallie Mae categories without reaching the cap. All BCE activity would be for 1% cash back, which you can already get with what you have. I say go for the EveryDay (if you decide Amex is the way to go) because it would get you MR points and you have cash back well covered. I know you don't travel much, but you may be able to use MR for travel on the rare occasions you do (for a better return than cash back). If you can't find good redemption options for travel, you can also use MR points for gift cards with no dilution (that is, you can redeem at a return rate of 1%, e.g., 50,000 MR points for a $50 card) as a fallback.

You may also consider the Blue Sky from Amex. It is not heavily marketed, but can be used for travel at a better return than cash back but without the complexity of the MR system. You do earn points, but they are just redeemed for any travel expenses (7,500 points for a $100 statement credit for a redemption rate of 1.33%). I realize it is only marginally better than your cash back option, but I think it's a good route to get in with Amex AND for all your non-categorized spending - and you don't have to worry about the hassle and volatility of the MR system.

anatoxin wrote:2. If not AMEX, the Citi Double Cash caught my eye. However, the consensus around here is that it will likely be nerfed, so I'm a little nervous about that. Thoughts on this card or other cards I might benefit from, or should I stick with what I have?

I am one of the people that's expressed doubt about it around here, but it is a good option, too. I just don't see straight 2% back (as cash, not some points system where redemption options are more easily manipulated and diluted) as being sustainable for Citi in the long term. I would rather gets cards from issuers that I can build relationships with and have confidence in (at least at this point - if I get a mortgage and my credit score up higher I would be a lot more comfortable churning). However, 2% back in cash for all spending can't be beat, and I certainly don't blame anyone for taking advantage of it. It may not last several years, but it would still be a great deal while it does.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 827 (4/17) | TU - 812 (4/17)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

anatoxin
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: USA

Postby anatoxin » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:58 pm

Thank you, I really appreciate the advice.

Cre wrote:In fact, a couple of years ago, the CEO literally brought in a giant life sized photo of a nose ringed, lip ringed, full sleave tatted millenial to a board meeting to emphasize that this is the new demographic that AMEX is aiming for... not the stodgy business suit in first class, but the mobile app'd urban ninja who surfs the wave of every new industry disruption.

Although I'm not sure I fall in the "nose ringed, lip ringed, mobile app'd urban ninja" demographic, it's good to know I have a decent shot of getting in with them :)

Vattené wrote:Backdating is a great perk to have, but it is only useful several years down the road if you get another Amex card. If you don't think a card will be very useful for you, I wouldn't apply for one just for the benefit of backdating. It was enough to tip me towards going for an Amex when I was looking for a new card, but I don't think it is worth it in itself.


This is mainly what I'm worried about, but since I have no idea what I'll be doing in 10 years (hopefully jetsetting across the globe on credit card rewards?) I figure maybe it is actually worth it to establish myself with AMEX now. I will have 2 HPs in the last year once my Cash+ app goes through, but since I'm not planning to apply for a loan any time soon it's probably alright to sit on 3 for the next year.
Never heard of the Blue Sky but I will look into it!

Vattené wrote:I just don't see straight 2% back (as cash, not some points system where redemption options are more easily manipulated and diluted) as being sustainable for Citi in the long term. I would rather gets cards from issuers that I can build relationships with and have confidence in (at least at this point - if I get a mortgage and my credit score up higher I would be a lot more comfortable churning). However, 2% back in cash for all spending can't be beat, and I certainly don't blame anyone for taking advantage of it. It may not last several years, but it would still be a great deal while it does.


Agreed, it seems like a really good deal. Honestly though after writing out the original post I'm second guessing this card, since going from 1% to 2% back on $700 a month is only a $7 difference anyway. As you said, it's probably more prudent for me to build a relationship with a lender at this point.

takeshi
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1741
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:12 pm
Location: US

Postby takeshi » Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:38 am

anatoxin wrote:Should I apply for an AMEX to begin backdating in 2014 even though I will likely not use it much (none of them seem to offer better rewards than what I have)? If so, which one -- a few other threads seem to suggest the EveryDay or Blue Cash Everyday. My SO is a Costco member but I am not, and we don't shop there too often, so I think that card is out.

It's really up to you to determine the importance of establishing your MSD. If you can find a no-AF card then that may make it more worthwhile if none of the cards seem to offer rewards that would benefit you. However, we don't really have any information to help narrow down the card options for you since you seem to indicate that your category spend is covered. Do you have any other criteria that we could use?

Can your SO not add you to that Costco membership? Despite the cobranding the TrueEarnings isn't really all that useful at Costco. Aside from gas and travel it's only 1% at Costco. It is 3% on gas with a $4K cap. 2% at restaurants and for travel. If you did shop a lot at Costco the Fidelity AmEx would offer better rewards on most Costco purchases. Be sure to read the details on any card you're considering.

anatoxin wrote:If not AMEX, the Citi Double Cash caught my eye. However, the consensus around here is that it will likely be nerfed, so I'm a little nervous about that. Thoughts on this card or other cards I might benefit from, or should I stick with what I have?

No idea on Citi's potential nerfing but unless you have other category spend that needs covering then the 1.5-2% general spend cards may be worth considering but as you indicate, 2% versus 1% on $700 isn't much of a gain.

Vattené wrote:I know you don't travel much, but you may be able to use MR for travel on the rare occasions you do (for a better return than cash back). If you can't find good redemption options for travel, you can also use MR points for gift cards with no dilution (that is, you can redeem at a return rate of 1%, e.g., 50,000 MR points for a $50 card) as a fallback.

I suggest making sure that you can make use of the MR transfer partners before applying for any MR card. Look at redemptions for the transfer partners and consider your spend and how long it would take to accrue enough MR points to redeem. If the MR card is used for non-category spend, 700 points won't add up very quickly either.

anatoxin
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: USA

Postby anatoxin » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:03 pm

Hey, just wanted to update you guys -- I got a "pre-screened" AMEX offer in the mail yesterday for the Blue Cash Everyday. They were offering a $200 back + Amazon Prime sign-up bonus (instead of $50), so I decided to go ahead and apply for that one and got approved for $10k!
Thank you for all of your advice, and now I'm in with AMEX in 2014 :)

User avatar
Vattené
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1208
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:55 am
Location: US

Postby Vattené » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:05 pm

Excellent news, hope you enjoy the card and getting in with Amex. That targeted introductory bonus is huge. It would take a LOT of spending & time to earn $200 worth of rewards as a marginal benefit over your next best card option. It is easy yo get hung up on return rates when they don't translate into a lot of absolute dollars.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 827 (4/17) | TU - 812 (4/17)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now



Return to “General Credit Card Talk”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests