Which reward card is best for me? (I spend over $6k/mo)

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hstraf
 
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Which reward card is best for me? (I spend over $6k/mo)

Postby hstraf » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:49 pm

Hello,

I am totally confused by all the different reward cards and programs available. I read the sticky threads here, and I'm still confused. (My wife says I'm a little slow... :rolleyes: )

My brother said I should consider getting a "rewards" card to try and get either cash back or free plane tickets since I spend so much on my card.

I normally spend over $6k per month on my current credit card (USAA basic card with no benefits) through my business. I put all my business's expenses through my personal card, and then pay it off each month. The charges are for things like website server hosting ($4k/month) and supplies and materials from various stores, etc.

My credit is excellent. I have a $25k limit on my current card, and also have two other cards with a $10k limit each. I pay everything off in full each month, and I have no outstanding debt or mortgage.

We live in France at the moment (although we are American citizens) and so we fly back to the every summer. Total yearly airfare for my family is usually around $7k, so any savings would be fantastic.

We normally fly using whatever airline is the cheapest, using orbitz, kayak or travelocity to find and book the flights. So sometimes it is AirTransat, Lufthansa or Air Canada, or whatever is cheapest. (So a reward card that is tied to one airline would not be beneficial.)

What do you suggest is the best credit card reward program for me? Should I go for a cash-back card or an airmiles card? Which one?

Thanks!


PowerMan572
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Postby PowerMan572 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:36 pm

If you're spending that much then you will see the rewards stack up fast! I am still new to this as well, but I did plenty of research before applying for the correct card and I decided to go with the Barclaycard Arrival. I don't travel as much as you, but I do take 2-3 trips a year.

The Barclaycard Arrival simply gives you 2 miles for every dollar spent. No worrying about special categories each month, blah blah blah. It's just nice and simple :-)

Lastly what I like about the Arrival card is that once you book your flight on the card, you just use your rewards to credit yourself back. That way you get to pick whatever airline you want. No blackout dates, etc.

Oh, and if you spend only $1k within the first 3 months you get 40,000 miles which is equivalent to $400 off your next flight/trip :-) I'm using mine for my ticket out to NYC in May.

lexrj
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Postby lexrj » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:03 am

hstraf wrote:Hello,

I am totally confused by all the different reward cards and programs available. I read the sticky threads here, and I'm still confused. (My wife says I'm a little slow... :rolleyes: )

What do you suggest is the best credit card reward program for me? Should I go for a cash-back card or an airmiles card? Which one?

Thanks!


Barclay Arrival 2% on everything
I have the card and its great!

Since you have a lot of business expenses like server hosting, that's not a spending category usually rewarded by credit cards, so this card is pretty much a cashback card that you earn 2% on everything you spend and can redeem for any travel related expenses bought anywhere (kayak, orbitz, airline website) with the card. You also get an extra 10% of whatever you redeem, which makes the card actually a 2.2% cashback card.
On top of that it has no FTF (foreign transaction fee), meaning you can use in France or anywhere else without paying anything extra, it would be just like using in the US.
So if you run around 6k a month you would get around $1.5k back per yr to spend on travel.
If you do decide to apply for this card, make sure your Transunion report is clean and your overall utilization SHOWING in the CR is below 15%.
If you do get approved, call in (recon phone number) immediately after and ask them to at least match your highest current credit card limit.
---------------------------------------
Current in my Wallet
Amex BCP - 25K (02/12)
Barclaycard Arrival WMC - 15K (10/13)

Future
US Bank Cash +

Socks drawer
Crap One Quicksilver - 1.7K (04/11)
CSP - 15K (03/13)

Scores
FICO EX 772 / TU 765 / EQ 762 - (09/14)
AAoA 2.1

samhradh
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Postby samhradh » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:14 pm

There are plenty of business cards that reward you for those types of expenses. I recommend the Chase Ultimate Rewards program for you. Consider a card with no FTF and versatile points. The Ink or CSP would both make sense for you. AmEx PRG Business is worth considering too. I have the Arrival and it's only good for travel rewards plus they have a more limited definition of travel than Chase.
Citi Forward ($10.1K), AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($30K), Chase Freedom ($12.4K), Discover it ($5.5K), Barclaycard Arrival ($12.5K), L.L. Bean Visa ($5K). FICO 806 (TU), 812 (EQ), 806 (EX).

lexrj
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Postby lexrj » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:01 pm

samhradh wrote:There are plenty of business cards that reward you for those types of expenses. I recommend the Chase Ultimate Rewards program for you. Consider a card with no FTF and versatile points. The Ink or CSP would both make sense for you. AmEx PRG Business is worth considering too. I have the Arrival and it's only good for travel rewards plus they have a more limited definition of travel than Chase.




Sorry but I have to strongly disagree with your recommendation. How would UR make sense to him? He said he does not fly a specific airline and books whatever is cheaper, meaning he would not be gaining much by transferring points. CSP would only give him 2% on Restaurants and Traveling, which is not his main spending category. The Ink would give him 5% but only on a small % of his spending, probably less than $500/mo.
He is the perfect candidate for the Arrival: fly's cheap, not often and spends mostly on 1% categories for most credit card rewards programs.
---------------------------------------
Current in my Wallet
Amex BCP - 25K (02/12)
Barclaycard Arrival WMC - 15K (10/13)

Future
US Bank Cash +

Socks drawer
Crap One Quicksilver - 1.7K (04/11)
CSP - 15K (03/13)

Scores
FICO EX 772 / TU 765 / EQ 762 - (09/14)
AAoA 2.1

whit
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Postby whit » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:01 pm

actually

Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services.*

and he does spend majority of money on supplies and stuff from various stores

depending on what the supplies are, this may benefit him better

you can't say arrival fits one fits all, even if you love it, kudos for you

also depending on whether he gets ink or classic, he gets 2% at gas stations, restaurants or hotels

1% for everything else

ultimate rewards may not have worked in your benefit, but I know quite a few who have gotten awesome deals on flights, it's just a matter of personal use then anything

some people also may prefer having the safe piece of mind of having customer support they can walk into. Barclays, which has investment offices here in US (which btw one of the many vicepres/directors, I've had pleasure of meeting, VERY nice and personable despite having a few assistants)

doesn't have a strong support for the credit card at the moment

I met a fellow who was traveling from Europe, where they're more dominant and he was trying to get service, couldn't connect to the international toll number, and when he called the local Barclays here because the system is diff they couldn't help him either on the banking side, as someone on the more affluent level (or so he tells me) he was not happy

something to consider when applying, as much as you would the rewards, the platform, the company behind the card.

then again he can always try and if it doesn't work, change

samhradh
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Postby samhradh » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:11 pm

Thanks for the backup, whit.

Lex, I encourage you to read more thoroughly the OP as it's quite clear why the Chase cards are a good recommendation.

UR points are transferable to multiple airlines. The Arrival does not have a chip and the OP lives in Europe. The Ink class of cards are arguably the best business cards available right now. The UR mall is way better than the Barclaycard portal. The Chase cards offer an opportunity to build a family of cards to take advantage of various categories: Freedom, CSP, Ink.
Citi Forward ($10.1K), AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($30K), Chase Freedom ($12.4K), Discover it ($5.5K), Barclaycard Arrival ($12.5K), L.L. Bean Visa ($5K). FICO 806 (TU), 812 (EQ), 806 (EX).

lexrj
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Postby lexrj » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:27 am

samhradh wrote:Thanks for the backup, whit.

Lex, I encourage you to read more thoroughly the OP as it's quite clear why the Chase cards are a good recommendation.

UR points are transferable to multiple airlines. The Arrival does not have a chip and the OP lives in Europe. The Ink class of cards are arguably the best business cards available right now. The UR mall is way better than the Barclaycard portal. The Chase cards offer an opportunity to build a family of cards to take advantage of various categories: Freedom, CSP, Ink.


I honestly don't see it, I'm not saying is a bad recommendation but based on what the OP stated I truly believe on a mathematical and pragmatical point of view that the Arrival is a better fit. I've been to 7 countries in Europe last yr (including France where op lives) with both Arrival and CSP, chip&sig makes absolutely no difference to regular non chip cards.
Barclay portal looks identical to the UR mall, I could swear they are the same mall just re-branded, even the extra points rewarding are the same.
whit mentions customer service, let's not forget that the OP resides abroad, he isn't travelling, so not being able to reach someone immediately isn't that big of a deal. I do agree that customer service with CSP is the best even though I never had a problem with Barclay. But again, customer service is a 100% personal preference matter, OP is looking for the best rewarding card for his spending, not the best customer service.
As far as transferring points, UR points are only higher valued if used for booking "premium " cabins, which OP clearly stated not be interested on.
I think you also mentioned Amex PRG, I'm not really familiar with the MR points but I've been reading more and more that it's constantly being devalued, on top of that, AMEX is very poorly accepted in Europe.

samhradh - you mostly made broad statements about your personal preferences for the Chase products, which I have nothing against, but you never really addressed OPs concerns or spending habits. For example:
-OP mentioned he spends a lot with hosting for his biz, that's not a 5% category for any Chase biz product.
-OP mentioned he books whatever is cheaper using Orbitz and etc. UR booking not always shows the best rate nor shows all available flights. I can affirm that based on personal experience when trying to book and comparing search results from Kayak and the UR booking website. That also means that OP would not benefit from transferring points since his not interested in "premium" cabins, which is when transferring is most valued.
---------------------------------------
Current in my Wallet
Amex BCP - 25K (02/12)
Barclaycard Arrival WMC - 15K (10/13)

Future
US Bank Cash +

Socks drawer
Crap One Quicksilver - 1.7K (04/11)
CSP - 15K (03/13)

Scores
FICO EX 772 / TU 765 / EQ 762 - (09/14)
AAoA 2.1

samhradh
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Postby samhradh » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:32 pm

Chase Ink offers:
-20% off travel when booking flights with points through UR. Saying UR points are only good for premium cabins is subjective. I have not had the same issues as you when comparing Kayak flights to UR flights.
-50K point sign up bonus worth $625 in travel
-I assumed web hosting is qualified as an internet service but this is something OP will need to determine for themselves (5 points up to $25K per year). If it is, I suggest having both the Plus and Bold to maximize your point earning since $4K per month is $48K. If it isn't, then I agree he will need to determine how much of his expenses are in the business category.
-Lounge Club membership

UR mall and Barclaycard are a toss up in terms of who offers more bonuses (EX: Kohls 10 extra UR vs 2 extra miles, Hotels.com 5 UR vs 4 miles but Staples and Magazines.com are the same). Shouldn't have said "way" better originally. That's my bad. In the past I had better luck with UR Mall.

I find the Barclaycard Arrival more restrictive for redemption. You have to do it in increments of $25 which is not the case with Chase UR points.

Was never trying to say the Arrival is NOT a good idea, I just felt the Ink cards met his expense categories better. Without more to go on it is hard to say. Also unclear whether he plans to get an American or foreign version of this card and pay currency exchange rates all the time?

For AmEx EBG you get 3 points on airline travel booked directly with airline, 2 points on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping, at gas stations, and made directly from select computer hardware, software, and cloud computing providers. 1 pt on everything else. You also get access to OPEN savings and can pay your bill with points. MR points are not the most valuable out there anymore but it's still a great business card. I still recommend a Visa or MC first, though.
Citi Forward ($10.1K), AmEx Blue Cash Everyday ($30K), Chase Freedom ($12.4K), Discover it ($5.5K), Barclaycard Arrival ($12.5K), L.L. Bean Visa ($5K). FICO 806 (TU), 812 (EQ), 806 (EX).

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:39 am

hstraf wrote:I am totally confused by all the different reward cards and programs available. I read the sticky threads here, and I'm still confused.

Generally speaking you want to match your spend to the highest possible rewards earn and redemption. If you're spending $6K/month and $4K of that is hosting I'd also recommend verifying whether or not your hosting provider would qualify for the Ink's 5% on internet (Classic & Cash are limited to $25K spend while Plus & Bold are limited to $50K spend) as that could a be a lot of UR points. It's up to you to determine if UR points would be useful to you. Take a look at their redemption partners and redemption rates.

What you'd get from cash back is generally more straightforward (spend x % back).



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