Author Topic: Best Rewards CC for our situation  (Read 8311 times)

cbr shadow

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Best Rewards CC for our situation
« on: January 23, 2013, 09:47:05 AM »
Right now my wife and i put everything on a Chase Freedom rewards card.  It's 5% back on certain categories, 1% back on everything else.

To make her expenses/tracking easier I want to get a second card that is used only for her work expenses.  Also I dont want to risk hitting our rewards limit on the Chase card and not getting rewards for some of our spending. Based on what she spends money on, what's the best rewards card for cash back?

Flights: She travels by air about 2-3x per month.  She tries to fly Delta, but flies United and American about the same amount.
Hotels: She tries to stay at Marriot (for marriot points) but sometimes ends up in other hotels

The rest of the money she expenses is for FOOD, gas, car rental, etc.

Which card would be best suited for this?  We have excellent credit and pay off in full every month.  I guess we'd prefer not to have American Express since not everyone accepts that card.

Thanks,
Ryan

jpo

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 11:02:21 AM »
I dont want to risk hitting our rewards limit on the Chase card and not getting rewards for some of our spending.
I wasn't aware the Chase Freedom had rewards limits.

ketchup

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 11:31:51 AM »
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/711457/ This is a good master list of rewards credit cards.

I have the Sallie Mae Mastercard, and I would recommend that for 5% back on gas and groceries (and bookstores).  There are a bunch of airline cards if you want to play the frequent flier miles bonus game.  Same goes for hotels. 

If you want a good "general spending" rewards card (and don't want Amex), the Priceline.com Visa is a good one. I have this one too, and it gives 2% back on everything, and allows for rewards to be redeemed as statement credit.

NateDogg

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 11:42:30 AM »
Mr. Stache has a segment on his site for things he recommends, including rewards cards. Those are probably good for most situations.

I've never heard of the Sallie Mae card, that sounds like a pretty good one.

ketchup

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 11:58:43 AM »
I've never heard of the Sallie Mae card, that sounds like a pretty good one.
I'm liking it so far.  A fun fact is that apparently Amazon.com is considered a bookstore, so I get 5% back there too with this card.  Although I get plenty of my "groceries" from places like Costco that aren't considered "grocery stores".

Sylly

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 12:08:46 PM »
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/711457/ This is a good master list of rewards credit cards.

I have the Sallie Mae Mastercard, and I would recommend that for 5% back on gas and groceries (and bookstores). 

Thanks for bringing the Sallie Mae MC to my attention, too. I had been eyeing Blue Cash to up my groceries & gas cashback. So according to that fatwallet link, the $250 limit is separate for gas and groceries. Can you confirm that? How do you find the cashback program in terms of ease of redemption and other redemption options (e.g. discounted gift cards, usefulness of available options). I'm practically convinced I should apply for this over Blue Cash; however, with plans to get a mortgage in the next 1-2 years, perhaps I should wait? Not sure how long the ding on the credit score stays.

NateDogg

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 12:27:33 PM »
Does the Sallie Mae card require you to have student loans to apply the rewards to? Can those of us without student loans just the the 5% as cash?

smedleyb

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 12:39:01 PM »
cbr,
 
Is your goal to amass reward points for travel redemption, or cash back? 






cbr shadow

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 12:53:02 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far guys.

Smedleyb: I'm looking to get cash back, not travel rewards.

I think right now we're leaning towards the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
- $400 sign up bonus if you spend $3000 in 3 months
- 2% for categories (travel, restaurants), 1% everything else
- 7% Annual Dividend
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee (waived for the first year)

 


Here's a review I found: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/chase-sapphire-preferred-review/

ketchup

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2013, 01:02:36 PM »
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/711457/ This is a good master list of rewards credit cards.

I have the Sallie Mae Mastercard, and I would recommend that for 5% back on gas and groceries (and bookstores). 

Thanks for bringing the Sallie Mae MC to my attention, too. I had been eyeing Blue Cash to up my groceries & gas cashback. So according to that fatwallet link, the $250 limit is separate for gas and groceries. Can you confirm that? How do you find the cashback program in terms of ease of redemption and other redemption options (e.g. discounted gift cards, usefulness of available options). I'm practically convinced I should apply for this over Blue Cash; however, with plans to get a mortgage in the next 1-2 years, perhaps I should wait? Not sure how long the ding on the credit score stays.
The $250 limits are separate for gas and groceries. That's how it is in all my documentation, although nothing I've done yet proves this.  I just got the card a few weeks back.  Redemption seems simple, as you can apply them directly to your balance (no check-in-the-mail-4-weeks-later-that-looks-like-junk-mail nonsense like I get with Citibank).  Again though, I have not done this yet.  Also, the limit for "bookstores" (Amazon.com) is $750 monthly.

The ding on your credit report goes completely away after two years, but matters less as a function of time.  I don't know specifics beyond that.  I've heard blanket advice like "Don't apply for any new credit within 6 months of applying for a mortgage or auto loan." but I don't know how sound it really is.

Does the Sallie Mae card require you to have student loans to apply the rewards to? Can those of us without student loans just the the 5% as cash?
No student loans are required or anything like that.  You can redeem as statement credit. I think the minimum cashout for points is either $25 or $50.

smedleyb

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2013, 01:44:22 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far guys.

Smedleyb: I'm looking to get cash back, not travel rewards.

I think right now we're leaning towards the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
- $400 sign up bonus if you spend $3000 in 3 months
- 2% for categories (travel, restaurants), 1% everything else
- 7% Annual Dividend
- No foreign transaction fees
- $95 annual fee (waived for the first year)

 


Here's a review I found: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/chase-sapphire-preferred-review/

Sapphire is a great choice.  Since you already have the Freedom, you can move points freely between accounts.  I have both myself.

Another option is a limited deal for the AMEX Business Gold card, $175 fee waived the first year, 75,000 point bonus after spending 10K in 4 months, 3X points on airfare, some other categories (just throwing it out there).

https://www262.americanexpress.com/business-card-application/business-gold-charge-card/apply/45152-286-0

Chase also has a couple of business cards (Ink Bold and Ink Plus) which have a slightly higher spend requirement ($5K) but which kick off 50K ultimate reward points, plus some bonus categories.  For a business card applications, I just put in my SS number.

https://www.chase.com/online/business-credit-cards/ink-bold.htm

Does your family travel at all?  I find Chase points to be incredibly lucrative for airline ticket redemptions.


cbr shadow

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2013, 03:10:09 PM »
Thanks for those links - i'm going to look into that Chase Ink card and compare it to the Sapphire prefered to see which is better for us.

We do travel together for a big vacation (Europe usually) 1x per year, and then a couple small vacations in the states (weekend in Denver for hiking, or Vegas to visit family + hiking).

Thanks again!
-Ryan

smedleyb

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2013, 03:29:26 PM »
Thanks for those links - i'm going to look into that Chase Ink card and compare it to the Sapphire prefered to see which is better for us.

We do travel together for a big vacation (Europe usually) 1x per year, and then a couple small vacations in the states (weekend in Denver for hiking, or Vegas to visit family + hiking).

Thanks again!
-Ryan

I only ask because given the amount your wife travels and your obviously judicious use of credit (paying it off monthly), there is tremendous potential for you to reap thousands upon thousands of dollars in airline and hotel points every year by churning through a few (2-3) cards each for you and your wife. 

Redeeming tickets to Europe, however, is a tricky proposition since most carriers tack on huge fuel surcharges and fees to reward tickets, making point redemption less than worth it (there's ways to do it but it's detailed).  But Chase points transfer 1 for 1 to United and Southwest reward programs, and can be redeemed for roughly 1.7-2 cents per point for domestic travel.  If you use these carriers at all, think about redeeming your points for tickets, not cash, to double their value. 

Good luck and my pleasure.   

mlipps

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2013, 03:47:55 PM »
Thanks for those links - i'm going to look into that Chase Ink card and compare it to the Sapphire prefered to see which is better for us.

We do travel together for a big vacation (Europe usually) 1x per year, and then a couple small vacations in the states (weekend in Denver for hiking, or Vegas to visit family + hiking).

Thanks again!
-Ryan

I only ask because given the amount your wife travels and your obviously judicious use of credit (paying it off monthly), there is tremendous potential for you to reap thousands upon thousands of dollars in airline and hotel points every year by churning through a few (2-3) cards each for you and your wife. 

Redeeming tickets to Europe, however, is a tricky proposition since most carriers tack on huge fuel surcharges and fees to reward tickets, making point redemption less than worth it (there's ways to do it but it's detailed).  But Chase points transfer 1 for 1 to United and Southwest reward programs, and can be redeemed for roughly 1.7-2 cents per point for domestic travel.  If you use these carriers at all, think about redeeming your points for tickets, not cash, to double their value. 

Good luck and my pleasure.

I've never used FF programs before, but we got the Chase Sapphire preferred card very recently w/the intent of using the signup bonus for our honeymoon flight to Peru. Can you clarify something for me? I keep reading that United is the best value, then Southwest. Is this because two flights that cost (for example) $100 on either airline, cost less points on United than on Southwest? And then more points still on the other airlines still? I'm just a little confused about this detail. The flights I'm looking at are 20,000 pts each way+$20 on United if that helps.

smedleyb

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2013, 04:00:39 PM »
I've never used FF programs before, but we got the Chase Sapphire preferred card very recently w/the intent of using the signup bonus for our honeymoon flight to Peru. Can you clarify something for me? I keep reading that United is the best value, then Southwest. Is this because two flights that cost (for example) $100 on either airline, cost less points on United than on Southwest? And then more points still on the other airlines still? I'm just a little confused about this detail. The flights I'm looking at are 20,000 pts each way+$20 on United if that helps.

Where are you flying out of, and what are your travel dates?

Just so you know, I'm looking at Peru myself for next winter.

edit: check out this cool link of 2 theoretical travelers doing Peru on nothing but points:

http://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2012/09/churning-challenge-machu-picchu.html
« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 04:26:03 PM by smedleyb »

ceh

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2013, 04:09:16 PM »
Not sure who you bank with, but Bank of America's cash rewards card is decent.  No annual fee, 3% back on gas, 2% groceries, 1% on everything else.  Gas and groceries is limited to $1500 every 4 months, so it's pretty reasonable.  You also get an extra 10% when you redeem the points into your Bank of America account.  haha, I guess this is sounding like a commercial for Bank of America, but it's worked for me so far. 

mlipps

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Re: Best Rewards CC for our situation
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2013, 08:27:48 AM »
I've never used FF programs before, but we got the Chase Sapphire preferred card very recently w/the intent of using the signup bonus for our honeymoon flight to Peru. Can you clarify something for me? I keep reading that United is the best value, then Southwest. Is this because two flights that cost (for example) $100 on either airline, cost less points on United than on Southwest? And then more points still on the other airlines still? I'm just a little confused about this detail. The flights I'm looking at are 20,000 pts each way+$20 on United if that helps.

Where are you flying out of, and what are your travel dates?

Just so you know, I'm looking at Peru myself for next winter.

edit: check out this cool link of 2 theoretical travelers doing Peru on nothing but points:

http://www.frugaltravelguy.com/2012/09/churning-challenge-machu-picchu.html

From Chicago, probably in September this year but it's not 100% for sure yet.