Need advice on getting a new credit card (or a few)

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Floydian
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Need advice on getting a new credit card (or a few)

Postby Floydian » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:00 pm

So here's my situation. I'm 27 and I have 3 credit cards. My primary card is Chase Freedom which I use to purchase everything. I pay my balances before they are due so that they never carry over and pay interest. The other 2 (Bank of America Plus and Banco Popular MasterCard) were gotten when I was younger and I was just trying to establish credit so I rarely use them.

My father put me on as an authorized user on his two oldest accounts (Amex and Citi) so my average age of account is close to 10 years and oldest card history is 26 years. My credit history is solid so I should be approved for most cards.

I'm itching to get a new card (or two) and I'm a little torn between a few:

Sallie Mae MasterCard: 5% cash bank for groceries and gas up to $250 per month. This sounds amazing and it would fill the gap for the months that the chase freedom doesn't have 5% in these categories.

Discover IT: I really like the idea of getting a free TU credit score every month plus their great 5% rewards (similar to chase freedom) along with their great customer service.

Amex Everyday: Although the rewards points aren't as good as Sallie Mae, I do want to get my foot in the door with Amex as I feel their extended warranty protection and other services are second to none.

I haven't had any hard inquiries on my credit for the last two years so I don't know if I should do 1, 2, or all 3 of these cards. Anyone have any advice for me? Is there any cards that I am overlooking? I'm not interested in cards with annual fees. My primary spend categories are restaurants (fast food which I'm trying to cut back on), gas, and groceries. I take a trip about once or twice a year.

Thanks in advance.


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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:29 pm

As someone with a similar lineup, I think I can help.

I get much more of my food from Costco and traditional grocery stores than from restaurants. I routinely hit or come close to the Sallie Mae $250 limit, and I use the PRG or BCE beyond that. It requires some monitoring to see how close to the $250 I am, but it's great as a no-AF, no-swipe-minimum solution. 5% on $250 groceries and $250 gas every month is definitely useful. Most things on Amazon qualify as bookstore purchases. Sallie Mae gives a free TU FICO, but it updates irregularly.

Discover has good customer service and the 5% categories are good, but it's online shopping cash back that makes this card really great for me. The online shopping rewards may be imminently reduced, so this is something to check again in a week.

If you're an authorized user on your father's Amex - assuming it is a card issued by Amex (like a Green or Gold charge card) and doesn't just use the Amex network (like the Fidelity Amex) - then you should already be 'in' with Amex at some basic level. You presumably have established a 'member since' date which will help you in the future - mostly if you decide to churn cards for signup bonuses or if you have money problems and need to rebuild your credit some day. So I don't see a rush to get an Amex Everyday.

I have a BCE, which is comparable to the Amex Everyday. I use it, but there's nothing terribly special about the rewards.

Since you eat a lot at restaurants, maybe look at the Barclaycard Arrival.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:17 pm

I'm thinking that going for the Sallie Mae and Discover would be a good approach for you. Discover has 5% on gas this quarter and your Freedom is currently on groceries, so if you agree with this you might find it best to wait until April to apply for the Sallie Mae if you think the extra time could help your chances (it wouldn't do much for you until then anyway).

The Sallie Mae will always have you covered in major categories, and the Discover makes a good compliment with the Freedom card (at least for 2015) in addition to having a restaurants quarter. It doesn't look like an Amex will do much for you, especially if the main reason you are interested is the built-in benefits. Discover has many similar benefits (like purchase protection, extended warranties, price protection, and return guarantees). I've never used them personally, though, so I can't speak as to how they compare to Amex benefits.

@CarefulBuilder14 - I don't have any special information, but I just looked on ShopDiscover and see about 25 or so new deals added since the new year. However, after glancing at expirations the latest I see is 1/31 with most saying "ongoing."
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
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

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:34 pm

Vattené wrote:@CarefulBuilder14 - I don't have any special information, but I just looked on ShopDiscover and see about 25 or so new deals added since the new year. However, after glancing at expirations the latest I see is 1/31 with most saying "ongoing."


It's the 70-ish offers that say "Expires 01/08/15" that make me uneasy. IIRC, most of those were "ongoing" when they were part of ShopDiscover. Now that they are part Discover Deals, I'm very suspicious that the ones they add won't be good enough to replace those. Maybe the idea is that they were just a holiday special, but I have grown to expect them year-round.

Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and most will return - but it's not very clear if that's the case.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

Floydian
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Postby Floydian » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:08 am

Thank you guys for the replies. So the best course of action would be to get the Discover IT now and wait until April to get the Sallie Mae card? I was sort of leaning towards this route too. I agree that Amex wouldn't do much for me other than name. My dad's Amex I believe is the Amex Blue so technically I am in (for the future if needed).

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:34 am

Floydian wrote:Thank you guys for the replies. So the best course of action would be to get the Discover IT now and wait until April to get the Sallie Mae card? I was sort of leaning towards this route too. I agree that Amex wouldn't do much for me other than name.

Depending on your spend the Sallie Mae, or one of the Blue Cash or Everyday cards could be a good fit for your grocery and gas spend. You really just have to run the numbers on rewards and determine if you can leverage MR points or prefer cash back.

I'm still looking for a replacement for the cash+ for restaurants and have not found anything that really stands out IMO. There are a number of cards that offer 3% but that's not really much more than the 2x I'm getting with my CSP in the meantime.

I don't care for relying on rotators like the Freedom or the it for major spend categories but it's really up to you to determine if you want to go that route. If you have significant non-category spend then you might want to consider a 2%, 1%+1% or 1.5% card.

Floydian wrote:I'm not interested in cards with annual fees.

Always run the numbers for total cost/benefit. Don't just avoid AF's.

Floydian wrote:I agree that Amex wouldn't do much for me other than name.

Depends on when you were added as an AU and your MSD was established. If it's sufficiently long ago it may help with AAoA.

Floydian wrote:My father put me on as an authorized user on his two oldest accounts (Amex and Citi) so my average age of account is close to 10 years and oldest card history is 26 years. My credit history is solid so I should be approved for most cards.

Keep in mind that a number of scoring models and creditors disregard accounts where you're an AU.



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