Best premium card suggestions

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DoingHomework
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Best premium card suggestions

Postby DoingHomework » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:40 pm

We've had a Visa Signature Platinum card for years and have rarely used the perks except for getting United miles (it's a United card). We might have used some of the concierge services now and then but always forget about them. We do however like the fact that we get rental car insurance for free.

Now, for reasons I will not go into we are looking into getting a MC or AMEX for convenience (Basically we are going to be paying a bill occasionally over the next few years and the place does not take Visa - strange). We could just get a free MC and be done with it. But we are using this opportunity to review what might be best for us. I'm love to hear premium card recommendations from others like us:

-We have impeccable credit. 770+ FICO score
- We pay almost everything with the CC.
- We spend about $60k-$75k per year on the card
-We pay our balance off each month
-We have busy jobs so our ability to travel is somewhat limited. When we do travel it is to a second home in the US
- We have high incomes ($250k+ per year for household)
- We have a high net worth so that something offered in assn with a brokerage account or something might be an option (though most of these are Visa)
- We do not spend wildly. We'd never buy anything at Saks. Most of our shopping is at Walmart. That $60k per year above sounds liek a lot but it includes almost everything.
- When we do occasionally travel we stay at high end hotels but some of these are not chains (think Venetian, Bellagio in Vegas for example)
- We are more likely to go to a rock concert or a local college game than to the symphony or an NFL game. This makes some of the ticket services worthless to us.

So, based on this, most of the premium card perks are lost on us. It has been nice to get the UAL miles but we now have almost half a million of them and it will take several years to use them up. Cancelling the Visa signature card is a possibility in favor of beginning to use a different card.

So, I am looking for help figuring out whether an AMEX Gold or a World Elite MC might be a better choice for us or if there is something else we ought to be looking at. As I said, we need a MC or AMEX for convenience going forward so if we are duplicating what is available by Visa signature then we might cancel the Visa.

It just seems like we don't use most of the perks and we spend enough per year that we earn the card company a lot in merchant fees so we ought to not have to pay a big annual fee. We pay $140 a year for the Visa now.

When we do travel it is usually domestically though we do an international trip every couple of years. So the companion ticket internationally is worth little to us. We get an annual companion ticket and miles from Visa and we have a hard time fully using these.

The card companies are so non-committal when you read the descriptiosn of the benefits. I would love to hear first hand experience from others on here who might be like us.

Any suggestions?


jeffysdad
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just get a simple cash-back card...

Postby jeffysdad » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:17 pm

with no annual fee, visa, mc, amex... you can get 2% cashback if you look around. Fidelity offers Amex and Chas. Schwab offers visa or mc, I forget which. Chase Freedom could get you close to a nominal 2% depending on spending.

You shouldn't be paying a fee for any card unless its amex gold or platinum, which prolly aren't worth it for you.

All the major mainstream cards offer rental car coverage and I think travel death benefits, too.

2% cashback would get you $1,300 with your spending. Since you don't travel internationally doesn't seem like other perks would be worth it. Also, airline miles can expire, be lost in an airline bankruptcy.
American Express: Blue Cash Preferred (groceries, 6%; gas, department store, 3%); Gold Delta SkyMiles (Delta Air Lines, 2 miles/dollar, free checked bag).
US Bank: Cash+ (utilities, phone, internet, restaurant, 5%; drugstores, 2%).
FIA Card Services: Fidelity Amex (everything, 2%); Fidelity Visa (everything, 1.5%).
Chase: Freedom (rotating, 5%); Amazon (Amazon.com, 3%); PriorityClub (IHG hotels, 5 points/dollar); Sapphire (not in use).

*All cards are registered with PriorityClub IDine program for 8 points/dollar at participating restaurants.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:43 am

>>with no annual fee, visa, mc, amex... you can get 2% cashback if you look around.

Thanks, I'll look into a cash back card.

>> Also, airline miles can expire, be lost in an airline bankruptcy.
Yes, that is definitely a concern. United miles though do not expire unless there is no activity for 18 months (was 3 years until recently). Using the credit card constitutes activity so expiration is not an issue. Plus, we do manage to take at least one or two United flights a year so expiration from inactivity is not really a concern.

But I am very concerned about a possible bankruptc or other wholesale elimination of miles sometime in the next few years. And with half a million miles racked up already I see no point in earning more with them.

In any event, thanks for the help.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:21 pm

You mention the Fidelity AMEX card. Does that require a Fidelity account? Because as far as I know they only offer load funds. It does not ever makes sense to pay a load on a mutual fund! There are plenty of better funds available for no load and minimal management fees from Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, and others.

jeffysdad
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Fidelity...

Postby jeffysdad » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:15 pm

Yes, Fidelity card requires a Fidelity account. It can be either a retirement account or a regular brokerage account.

The card itself is offered by FIA Card Services, which is part of Bank of America. Bank of America acquired the affinity card business of MBNA. The FIA cards use the same web interface for account management as the MBNA cards used to. It's rather nice, in my opinion, as it displays all of your transactions immediately after they're made. That is, new transactions are posted on the website as "pending" until they clear.

As for Fidelity itself, they do offer no-load funds. In fact, I think all the Fidelity funds are no-load, or at least the vast majority of them. That does not mean that they do not have fees, though, as all mutual funds do. When you buy shares in a Fidelity fund through a Fidelity brokerage account, there is no transaction fee. As far as I know they also do not charge annual maintenance fees on brokerage accounts, unlike Vanguard. That is one reason I moved one of my Roth's over to Fidelity with my other accounts.
American Express: Blue Cash Preferred (groceries, 6%; gas, department store, 3%); Gold Delta SkyMiles (Delta Air Lines, 2 miles/dollar, free checked bag).
US Bank: Cash+ (utilities, phone, internet, restaurant, 5%; drugstores, 2%).
FIA Card Services: Fidelity Amex (everything, 2%); Fidelity Visa (everything, 1.5%).
Chase: Freedom (rotating, 5%); Amazon (Amazon.com, 3%); PriorityClub (IHG hotels, 5 points/dollar); Sapphire (not in use).

*All cards are registered with PriorityClub IDine program for 8 points/dollar at participating restaurants.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:26 pm

Ok, thanks. I'll look into it. I used to have Fidelity funds in a 403b. But that was over 10 years ago. At that time they had a 3% load.

I have most of my funds with T. Rowe Price. They have very low fees, similar to Vanguard and no real account fees if you have enough total with them. My wife has a Vanguard retirement account and they also have minimal fees. But I'm not as wild about Vanguard because I think they have worse customer service. But that may be just because of one bad experience. TRP has been excellent though.

The interface you describe is very similar to what I see on Chase. New charges show as pending within minutes, depending on when the merchant charges them.

I would do this through TRP but they only offer a Visa card and my basic problem is that I am going to need a MC or AMEX. For some stupid reason Visa has a rule that makes it difficult for schools and government agencies to accept Visa. It seems kind of dumb and short sighted to me!

I have a merchant account for a business and I know that the terms for V and MC are almost identical...but not exactly.

So, this is a good time to rethink everything about teh card I carry and use most.

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Cucumber
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Postby Cucumber » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:56 am

DoingHomework wrote:For some stupid reason Visa has a rule that makes it difficult for schools and government agencies to accept Visa. It seems kind of dumb and short sighted to me!


Really??! :confused: You're saying they accept Amex but not Visa? That's odd.
OBAMA
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DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:02 pm

Yep, you can use MC, AMEX, and Discover but not V at many schools. I think that is the case for tax payments as well. The reason seems to be that Visa requires these entities to pay their merchant fees up front or something like that. I do not know the details but I know that I can't use my Visa to make tuition payments to a major university for someone. This is apparently fairly new and hopefully temporary but is still an issue for me.



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