Help choosing a card with travel rewards

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Tasha89
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Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby Tasha89 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:35 pm

Hello everyone.

I would like to add a credit card that has travel rewards to the Discover it students card I have, but I am not sure which card would be best for me. As you can tell by my one lonely card, I am pretty new to credit cards and I don't have a large credit history. I'm 26 years old and my oldest credit is a car loan I have had for three years which I have always paid on time and will be paid off in three months (ahead of the 6 year life of the loan). My next oldest credit is my student loan which I started in Fall of 2014 and I'm currently still racking up and not making payments on. My newest is the Discover card that I got a year and four months ago. I pay off my Discover card at the end of every month so I never have to pay interest. My FICO score according to Discover is 788.

I would like help picking the card that is best for my spending habits.
I am a college student and only work part time. I know I don't want to charge more than I can pay in a month on my card. The most I ever put on my Discover card in one month has been $782, but Discover says my average monthly spending for the card has been $186, and I've spent a total of $2,970 since I've opened the card.

I don't put everything on my Discover card. I tend to use my debit card from my credit union for a lot of my everyday purchases, and the Discover card for online purchases. According to my credit union I have spent an average of $1,020 a month in the last three months (June-August) on my debit card. So between the $1,020 on my debit card and the $193 on my Discover card, I've spent an average of 1,213 a month in the last three months. I should note that this will not keep up when I go back to school in September as I won't be working as many hours during the school year as I did in the summer. As of now I don't really travel, but I'm hoping with this card and the points, I can change that. I am toying with the idea of doing a study abroad to France next year, and a friend of mine would like me to fly to California to see them, so traveling is not out of the question.
I hope that gives you guys an idea of my habits.

I've looked at the Chase Sapphire Rewards card but there is no way I would spend $4,000 in 3 months to get the 50,000 bonus points and I've read on here that card is better for heavy spenders (which I don't think I am).
I also looked at the Capital One Venture/VentureOne Rewards Card, but I've read of several people having trouble with customer service and redeeming their points so that has kind of scared my away from that one.

I would like to be able to have a card with points I could use to fly Air Canada. I live in south east Michigan, and a flight to France from Detroit Metro is around $1398 whereas flying from Windsor which is right next door in Canada would be $692, so I definitely want to fly out of Canada instead of the U.S. if I do an international trip.

I realize I probably don't spend as much as many of these cards would like, and getting enough points to make a difference will take a long time, but I would like your opinions on what card you think will give me the most bang for my buck.

Thanks!
Discover IT for Students: $2,000


kdm31091
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Re: Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby kdm31091 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:44 pm

You're correct in assuming that your spend won't allow you to justify a "real' travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You just won't rack up enough points to get to anything within a reasonable amount of time.

At that spend level I'd suggest keeping it simple. Get a flat rate cash back card. Capital One Quicksilver, Citi Double Cash ,Freedom Unlimited, whatever you prefer -- they're all similar.

Whichever you choose, I'd focus the majority of your spend on it to get the biggest bang for your buck. If you dilute your spend across many cards, especially when the spend is low, you'll have a very hard time getting to anything useful. Keep the Discover as a backup card. They're a solid lender.

With your score you are unlikely to have any trouble getting basically whatever card you want. I just suggest that less is more. And you're wise to know your monthly spend and not want to exceed it for the sake of a bonus. Good for you, because that wisdom is lost on a lot of people.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:15 pm

If there is no way you'd spend $4k in 3 months, then I'm guessing $3k is unlikely. A lot of serious airline/travel cards require $3k+ spend in 3 months to get the bonus.

One exception is the Amex Premier Rewards Gold. There are different offers floating around, but one offer I got in 2014 was for 50k MR points for $1k spend in 3 months. You may find some link or advertisement for the same or a similar offer. Air Canada Aeroplan is an MR transfer partner, so you could earn 50k Aeroplan miles for only $1k spend.

There is a not-insignificant $195 AF due if you keep the card for 13 months, but you can always cancel it before then and not owe the AF.

There are several hotel cards that only require $1k spend, but it sounds like you just want Aeroplan (or Star Alliance/partner) airline miles and not hotel points.
Love: IHG, Platinum, Sallie Mae, AA Plat, CSP
Like: Discover, ED, BCE, Hyatt, Arrival, Freedom
Might drop: BrooksBros, Prestige (Costco PC?)
Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

Tasha89
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Re: Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby Tasha89 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:30 pm

kdm31091 wrote:You're correct in assuming that your spend won't allow you to justify a "real' travel card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You just won't rack up enough points to get to anything within a reasonable amount of time.

At that spend level I'd suggest keeping it simple. Get a flat rate cash back card. Capital One Quicksilver, Citi Double Cash ,Freedom Unlimited, whatever you prefer -- they're all similar.

Whichever you choose, I'd focus the majority of your spend on it to get the biggest bang for your buck. If you dilute your spend across many cards, especially when the spend is low, you'll have a very hard time getting to anything useful. Keep the Discover as a backup card. They're a solid lender.


Could I use these other cards to get travel points? Traveling is my goal, so I'm not sure I'd want to open another card if it was just a general rewards card unless it there is some other advantage to it like creating a stronger credit report/history or something like that. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, I'm not entirely savvy on how many credit cards you need to have a strong credit history or if you even need multiple cards to do so.

With your score you are unlikely to have any trouble getting basically whatever card you want. I just suggest that less is more. And you're wise to know your monthly spend and not want to exceed it for the sake of a bonus. Good for you, because that wisdom is lost on a lot of people.


Thanks. I've watched my dad struggle with credit card debt nearly all my life, so it made me scared to get one for a long time which is why I did not open a card until I was 26.
Discover IT for Students: $2,000

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:22 pm

Do you have any financially stable and VERY reliable relatives or friends who you could make purchases for, who could then reimburse you quickly with cash?

I disagree that less is more. So long as you're not buying things you don't need, and have a specific and fairly necessary use in mind for the miles, travel bonuses can offer a lot more value than boring cash back cards.

Yeah, there's a time to close the cards...maximizing bonuses and minimizing "bad" annual fees is a bit of a dance...but a lot of people get garbage cards and end up closing them, anyway.
Love: IHG, Platinum, Sallie Mae, AA Plat, CSP
Like: Discover, ED, BCE, Hyatt, Arrival, Freedom
Might drop: BrooksBros, Prestige (Costco PC?)
Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

Tasha89
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Re: Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby Tasha89 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:39 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Do you have any financially stable and VERY reliable relatives or friends who you could make purchases for, who could then reimburse you quickly with cash?

I disagree that less is more. So long as you're not buying things you don't need, and have a specific and fairly necessary use in mind for the miles, travel bonuses can offer a lot more value than boring cash back cards.

Yeah, there's a time to close the cards...maximizing bonuses and minimizing "bad" annual fees is a bit of a dance...but a lot of people get garbage cards and end up closing them, anyway.


Unfortunately I don't have such relatives.

All of my credit accounts are fairly young so I'm not sure I want to open a card and then close it after a year, that might leave a bad mark on my credit score.
Discover IT for Students: $2,000

yfan
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Re: Help choosing a card with travel rewards

Postby yfan » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:44 pm

Tasha89 wrote:Could I use these other cards to get travel points? Traveling is my goal, so I'm not sure I'd want to open another card if it was just a general rewards card unless it there is some other advantage to it like creating a stronger credit report/history or something like that. Sorry if that doesn't make sense, I'm not entirely savvy on how many credit cards you need to have a strong credit history or if you even need multiple cards to do so.

IMHO, the "travel" branding can be misleading. Any card you earn rewards from you can consider a "travel" card, as long as you can use those rewards for travel. That's certainly true for cash. Discover Deals actually has pretty decent travel partners, and it will often earn you 5% back if you go through their portal. Just use the cashback you save up to pay for all or part of your travel.

But if you have got to have a "travel" branded card, there is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card (1.5x points per dollar, redeemable as credit against any travel purchase), or the Orbitz Rewards Visa (or another no-AF OTA card), which will give you 5% back on all Orbitz purchases, 2% back on everything else, with the catch that you have to use the currency to pay for hotels booked and paid for through Orbitz.



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