- Centurion Member
- Posts: 1201
- Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:55 am
- Location: US
You're right to point out that a good sign-up bonus can be the equivalent of rewards on a lot of spending. There's no reason to assume you'll be using one card exclusively for the foreseeable future, so the bonus might be a legitimate factor to weigh in besides just the return rate on rewards. This is exactly why other factors should be taken into consideration. The Citi Double Cash would probably be best for you in the long run if that is all you used for five years, but how realistic is that assumption?
The same goes for annual fees. A card with an annual fee can net you more in rewards than one without, but it just depends on your personal spending. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express offers 3% back on groceries; however, the Blue Cash Preferred has 6% back with a $75 annual fee. If you only use the card to purchase $1,000 a year on merchants categorized as grocery stores, you net $30 back on the BCE ($1,000 * .03) vs. a loss of $15 on the BCP ([$1,000 * .06] - $75). If you only put $3,000 on the card at grocery stores, that changes to $90 back on BCE vs. $105 on BCP. It's fine if you want to completely rule out anything with an annual fee, but realize you could potentially be losing out on rewards if you do. Annual fee cards also have much better introductory bonuses (it takes a lot more to get one to sign up for something with a yearly cost).
Chase Freedom occasionally offers a $200 bonus. You can also find a $150 offer for the Discover It through special links. Both cases are special offers that aren't always available, so your only recourse is waiting around and jumping on them if you come across them. If you are dead set on a card with no annual fee, $100 is as good of a standard introductory bonus as I've seen.
Have you looked into the Discover It Miles card? No annual fee and 1.5% back on everything, which is pretty respectable. In lieu of a traditional introductory bonus , they double the rewards at the end of your first year. 3% back on a full year of spending - particularly if this will be your main card for everything - is pretty hard to beat.
EX - 809 (3/17) | TU - 794 (3/17)
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