Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
8 posts
plastico
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:56 pm

Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby plastico » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:18 pm

Characteristics: high spend (just learned that lingo here today; please go easy on the abbreviations...); card on file with a lot of merchants (airlines, car rentals, online vendors, etc.); travel abroad occasionally -- once per one or two years; limited in the amount of complexity I'm willing to handle; always pay in full, on time.

Recent card history:
--Last year transitioned away from Fidelity Amex (2% cash back on everything) due to too many declines, and roughly every nine months a database breach somewhere that caused a new card to be issued costing me a couple of hours online at the various merchants/vendors;
--Transitioned to Barclaycard Arrival Plus, sorta-2+% cash back but requiring a somewhat tedious redemption process. But today got a letter from them saying they're in effect making cash back harder to get effective Nov. 17. So I'm looking for a new card...

What I like about the Arrival Plus that FIA (Fidelity Amex) didn't have: confirming questionable purchases via text message instead of declining; no declines or card number changes in 10.5 months; download transactions directly to Quicken instead of having to download and then import a file (not crucial); no foreign transaction fee; chip. What I don't like: annual fee, and the new terms.

Thanks for suggestions...
Last edited by plastico on Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.


User avatar
kcm7
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:05 pm
Location: TX

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby kcm7 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:53 pm

I'd say the Citi Double Cash fits *most* of your requirements. If you pay in full and on time, you're getting 2 percent back on all spending. However, it *does* have foreign transaction fees. The simple structure of rewards (basically identical to the Arrival Plus) would be very familiar to you.

Another option might be replacing the Arrival Plus with the basic Arrival (no annual fee). You'd have to take a cut in your rewards, however. You'd only be earning double on travel and dining. Also, I've heard Barclaycard won't allow downgrades from the Plus to the basic Arrival -- you'd have to close your Plus and do a new application (which it seems you're willing to do anyway).

There's also the Venture from Capital One. Cap One is on the s*** list for many around these parts (because of customer service). But for a lower annual fee than you were paying for the Arrival Plus ($59), you get 2 miles/dollar AND no foreign transaction fees.

Maybe the BofA BankAmericard Travel Rewards card would be an option? Again, similar to the Arrival (you redeem for statement credits against travel), and you get 1.5 points/dollar. No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees.

There are a TON of other cards obviously (some of which might be even "better" if you're a heavy spender), but you stated you wanted a simple rewards structure. All my suggestions fit that bill.
Cards:

-Capital One Quicksilver
-Barclaycard Arrival (no AF)
- US Bank (no rewards)
-IHG

plastico
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:56 pm

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby plastico » Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:12 pm

Thanks! I'll check those out.

Another nice but not crucial feature I forgot to mention is ApplePay compatibility.

User avatar
Vattené
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1157
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:55 am
Location: US

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby Vattené » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:28 am

Another option I think would be a good fit for you is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It does have an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year, plus a nice introductory bonus of 40,000 points for $4,000 in spending in the first three months), but the rewards should easily compensate if it will be your main card, you travel, and you have a high spending level. It also offer 2X points on restaurants and travel. If you are willing to tolerate a little more complexity, you could also add a Chase Freedom card (for no annual fee) to boost your rewards rate (5X in points that can be combined with the points your CSP earns) in categories that rotate every quarter.

There are no FTF and it is compatible with Apple Pay.

The CSP isn't as simple as a cash back card, but it's power comes from the ability to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to airline/hotel loyalty programs. I recommend it because you do travel regularly, but not frequently enough or with the brand loyalty required to make good use of a co-branded card with a specific airline, for example. It may not be as straightforward as cash back, but it offers good flexibility for a travel card and your return rate on rewards can be higher than any cash back card depending on how you redeem. You would need to make sure their transfer partners would be useful to you before applying, but I think the CSP could be a strong contender for you.
-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

plastico
Green Member
Green Member
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:56 pm

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby plastico » Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:37 am

Vattené wrote:Another option I think would be a good fit for you is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It does have an annual fee of $95 (waived the first year, plus a nice introductory bonus of 40,000 points for $4,000 in spending in the first three months), but the rewards should easily compensate if it will be your main card, you travel, and you have a high spending level. It also offer 2X points on restaurants and travel. If you are willing to tolerate a little more complexity, you could also add a Chase Freedom card (for no annual fee) to boost your rewards rate (5X in points that can be combined with the points your CSP earns) in categories that rotate every quarter.

There are no FTF and it is compatible with Apple Pay.

The CSP isn't as simple as a cash back card, but it's power comes from the ability to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to airline/hotel loyalty programs. I recommend it because you do travel regularly, but not frequently enough or with the brand loyalty required to make good use of a co-branded card with a specific airline, for example. It may not be as straightforward as cash back, but it offers good flexibility for a travel card and your return rate on rewards can be higher than any cash back card depending on how you redeem. You would need to make sure their transfer partners would be useful to you before applying, but I think the CSP could be a strong contender for you.


Thanks, Vattené! I will check out the Chase offerings.

... One thing I've noticed so far in looking at the card web sites is that usually the redemption process is not described, nor are some interesting details shown such as whether an auto-pay option is available.

User avatar
Vattené
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1157
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:55 am
Location: US

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby Vattené » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:26 am

You're welcome!
I don't have anything with Chase so others would be more helpful than I here, but I would bet money they have the option to set up auto-pay. Just about every major credit card provider does. That also means I can't be too helpful with redemption details, but I have an Amex EveryDay card, which has a similar transferable points system, and while I haven't used any yet, I know one needs to set up an account with a partner (take British Airlines, for example) then go through the process on the Amex website to convert to Avios points. If Chase is like Amex, one can only tranfer points in large increments (like groups of 1,000 points). Once the transfer has been made, everything goes through the partner, just as if you had earned the points directly by taking flights.

When I was applying for my Amex, I had the same frustrations about wanting access to more information. I believe you should at least be able to find Chase's transfer partners online, though.

And for what it's worth, Amex offers several cards worth considering (2 traditional credit cards, and a spectrum of charge cards that must be paid off in full every month) that earn a similar Membership Rewards points system; however, if you want any kind of respectable return rate you pretty much have to be committed to transferring your points for travel. Like Chase's Ultimate Rewards system, you can redeem for cash if you want, but you get much less value per point.
-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

Vermonster
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 725
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:09 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby Vermonster » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:28 pm

I believe Chase is also 1000 point increments. I only looked at transferring when I was buying tickets through Air Canada, and they wanted multiples of 1,000. But I found that buying tickets through the Chase portal with my CSP granted a significantly reduced price. Plus you get a 20% discount on travel that way.

I've never taken a statement credit, but I believe there is a minimum of $25 on almost every card.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

kdm31091
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:35 pm
Location: Claymont, DE

Re: Newbie seeks help in selecting a new card

Postby kdm31091 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:30 pm

Unless the FTF is going to come up super often, I'd opt for Double Cash...2% on any purchase redeemable for full value no matter what. The no fee Arrival is an option, but only pays out 2% on travel redemption, so there's no real advantage outside of the no FTF.

The other option is the BOA Travel Rewards, 1.5% towards travel only...but no FTF. I'd say that's a better option than the no fee Arrival because at least the reward rate is consistent, but I think you still get less than 1.5% outside of travel redemption



Return to “General Credit Card Talk”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests