Author Topic: Canceling American Express, What card to get?  (Read 11135 times)

caseyzee

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Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« on: March 23, 2015, 09:46:44 AM »
Hi.  I'm going to cancel my American Express card in the next month or so.  I think I've mostly stayed with it because of inertia, but they are raising the annual fee to $95 so it really should go.

I'm looking for a no annual fee, decent rewards card.  I don't think I have the time or attention to churn, so I'm looking at something that will fit me for a few years.  I have a couple of kids that I would like to travel with, so travel points would be nice.  I generally charge about $1200 - $1500 a month, with various one time, bigger ticket expenditures ($800 for summer camp, $239 for car insurance, etc.)

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
-Casey

catccc

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 09:55:22 AM »
I think if you are only a occasional traveler, you should stick with a general rewards card.  Chase Freedom and Discover It come to mind.  They both do bonus points in rotating categories.  Discover sometimes gives you a bump when you redeem for gift cards, which ups the % back a teeny bit.  Basic, but no frills, no fees.

I have been considering the united mileage plus card, which does have an annual fee, but if you use the companion fares and free first checked back (for domestic flights) I think it will easily pay for itself.  You'll get bonus miles if you churn a bit, but even if you don't one trip with your family will probably make up for the fee.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 09:55:45 AM »
Citi Double (haven't got one yet) or Capital One Quicksilver (very happy with it) are the top cash cards with no annual fee.  Both require high credit scores.

WhatIsFrugalAfterAll

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 10:33:00 AM »
I just got a Citi double cash.  2% cash back seems to beat any airline mileage type thing, and I like to get the cash back right away.


livetogive

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 10:34:45 AM »
LOL i like my fidelity american express (2% deposited into a FiDo moneymarket) but citi double sounds intriguing.  We also signed up for airline miles cards, as the deals seem to be pretty good lately for miles.  They will be cancelled within the year though.

neo von retorch

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 10:45:42 AM »
What kind of American Express do you have? Where is most of your $1000-1500 spent? The Blue Cash has no annual fee, but still gets 3% on groceries and 2% on gas.

https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/blue-cash-everyday

FrugalShrew

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 10:49:11 AM »
If you like train travel, I'm a fan of the Amtrak Guest Rewards MasterCard. The card has no annual fee, there's a 5% rebate on Guest Rewards redemptions, and it keeps Guest Rewards points from expiring. You get 2 points/dollar for Amtrak travel and 1 point/dollar on other purchases.

johnny847

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 10:57:34 AM »
I don't know of any travel cards (aside from the Amtrak card just mentioned) that have no annual fee and don't have a terrible earnings rate, other than the Amex Everyday. It earns Amex Membership Rewards points. These can be transferred to 17 airline partners, but the only major US carrier is Delta. Though you can also transfer to British Airways Avios and book flights on US/AA,  the mileage required is distance based (can be good or bad). So this will require some research on your end to see if you can use the points well.
It earns 1x everywhere and 2x on supermarkets (first $6k per year). You earn 20% more points per billing cycle if you have at least 20 transactions during that cycle.


As for cash back cards:
If you want to juggle rotating category cards, the Chase Freedom and Discover It, as catccc mentioned, are great cards.
Other posters have covered the Citi Double Cash and Fidelity Amex for their 2% rewards.

And I would also recommend the Sallie Mae Mastercard: 5% on the first $250/250/750 on groceries/gas/bookstores every month. Amazon counts as a bookstore. Costco, BJ's, and Sam's club are not groceries, they are warehouse stores. Some Targets and Walmarts are coded as grocery stores.
Sounds like you may have trouble fitting in the limits, but if you have an SO, he or she can get one too and effectively double the limit.

GizmoTX

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 11:02:51 AM »
Current 2x cards: Citi Double Cash Mastercard & Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. We have both.
Double Cash doesn't charge an annual fee but does charge a foreign transaction fee, so you don't want to travel out of the USA with it.
Arrival Plus earns miles that you can redeem against travel purchases, doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, & waives the $89 annual fee the first year. It is currently offering 50K bonus points if you spend $3K in the first 3 months.

Capital One Quicksilver earns 1.5x points, is a cash reward card, & doesn't charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. DS has this one, & has just added the Double Cash card.

All these cards require excellent credit. You should not cancel your American Express until after you get accepted for a new card. Believe it or not, canceling lowers rather than raises your credit score, because you are lowering your total credit utilization.


Lis

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 11:43:43 AM »
What kind of American Express do you have? Where is most of your $1000-1500 spent? The Blue Cash has no annual fee, but still gets 3% on groceries and 2% on gas.

https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/blue-cash-everyday

I have the Blue Cash with no annual fee... I have to say AMEX has officially made me a loyal customer (their customer service for me has been phenomenal the few times I needed it).

I'm pretty certain if you call AMEX and tell them you want to trade cards for a no fee one, you'd get the annual fee waived. You'd just need to remember to do that again next year. Well worth it for me, at least.

Edited: Because I'm an idiot who doesn't know basic grammar.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 01:55:17 PM by Lis »

daverobev

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2015, 12:01:44 PM »
KEEP your history with Amex, do not close the account if you can help it (downgrade) or get a replacement, free card (EveryDay? Blue Cash?) THEN cancel the paid one.

Amex backdates all new accounts to the age of your first, and they do global transfers based on your history with them.

randymarsh

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2015, 12:48:05 PM »
KEEP your history with Amex, do not close the account if you can help it (downgrade) or get a replacement, free card (EveryDay? Blue Cash?) THEN cancel the paid one.

Amex backdates all new accounts to the age of your first, and they do global transfers based on your history with them.

Agreed.

GizmoTX

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2015, 12:48:28 PM »
Converting an existing card is usually the better choice than closing a card, unless there are no better products & you are sure you will never use it.

DH & I each had Citi AAdvantage cards, one a Visa & the other a Mastercard, that were each charging a $125 annual fee ($250!) because our versions required higher fees to avoid earning caps, which don't exist anymore on current offerings. We opened both cards in 1987 & they each had built a considerable credit limit, so we didn't want to lose that.

So we called Citi & asked to convert our AA cards to Double Cash cards so we'd retain the history & credit limits, lose the annual fees, & earn 2x on everything, instead of 2x on just AA air purchases & 1x on everything else. We of course lost the AAdvantage CC perks, & are prevented from earning a signup bonus on a new Citi AAdvantage card for 18 months, but we then also opened Barclay US Airways cards, each with a 50K mile bonus for just 1 purchase & $89 annual fee, which will convert to a Barclays AAdvantage card next month when the merger takes place.

WhatIsFrugalAfterAll

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2015, 01:27:52 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

GizmoTX

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2015, 01:36:19 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

johnny847

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2015, 01:49:04 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

It really depends on the individual and the businesses he or she shops at. In all my time here in Atlanta, I've only not been able to use my Amex twice.

Lis

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2015, 01:58:26 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

It really depends on the individual and the businesses he or she shops at. In all my time here in Atlanta, I've only not been able to use my Amex twice.

There's one local Dollar Store that doesn't take my AMEX, and, kinda surprisingly, NYS's Defensive Driver's course online. Only time I've run into issues. Then I just grab my Visa and be done with it.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2015, 02:13:18 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?
Costco doesn't take Visa or MC.  At least not until next April.

epipenguin

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2015, 04:44:45 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This has been changing a lot since many small businesses now use Square. Square allows you to take Amex for the same fee as Visa or MC. It's mostly restaurants now where I come across the "no Amex" thing.

I'm putting in another vote to keep an Amex, but switch to a no fee credit card. My Amex card really helps my credit score, I think, because it's my longest running account. Except it's been through various changes when I have switched cards, but they still all give my original "membership" date.

MrChanticleer

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2015, 04:56:21 PM »
Current 2x cards: Citi Double Cash Mastercard & Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. We have both.
Double Cash doesn't charge an annual fee but does charge a foreign transaction fee, so you don't want to travel out of the USA with it.
Arrival Plus earns miles that you can redeem against travel purchases, doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, & waives the $89 annual fee the first year. It is currently offering 50K bonus points if you spend $3K in the first 3 months.

Is this a targeted offer? I just looked into the Barclay Arrival+ and the best sign up bonus I can find is 40k miles after $3k of spend in the first 3 months.

daverobev

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2015, 05:58:37 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

You: "Do you take Amex?"
Them: "Yes" or "No"
You: "OK" (pull out Amex/non-Amex)

I know, it's tough til someone shows you the way, but now you have the knowledge, the world is your lobster!

ria1024

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2015, 06:01:19 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

It really depends on the individual and the businesses he or she shops at. In all my time here in Atlanta, I've only not been able to use my Amex twice.

The problem is that you never know where you'll run into problems, until you do.  For example, the 24 hour emergency vet here in town doesn't take AmEx.  It's random stuff like that which can cause problems if you don't have another card with a fairly high credit limit.

dragoncar

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2015, 06:21:21 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?
Costco doesn't take Visa or MC.  At least not until next April.

If OP has Costco, I'd probably just wait and switch to the new Costco card.

johnny847

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2015, 08:12:15 PM »
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

It really depends on the individual and the businesses he or she shops at. In all my time here in Atlanta, I've only not been able to use my Amex twice.

The problem is that you never know where you'll run into problems, until you do.  For example, the 24 hour emergency vet here in town doesn't take AmEx.  It's random stuff like that which can cause problems if you don't have another card with a fairly high credit limit.

As you said, "if you don't have another card with a fairly high credit limit."
I refer you to
My biggest gripe against Amex, is that 20-30% of small businesses do not take it. I hate having to think about "Was that a Visa logo on the door, or an amex and a visa logo".

Visa and MC work everywhere. Amex works at bigger places. But unless its a lot better than what I can get in Visa or MC, why bother?

This is why we've never had an AmEx card.

You: "Do you take Amex?"
Them: "Yes" or "No"
You: "OK" (pull out Amex/non-Amex)

I know, it's tough til someone shows you the way, but now you have the knowledge, the world is your lobster!
If this is such a big concern for you or any other individual, then just don't make an Amex your only card. Problem solved.
(By the way, this is already implied in the "it really depends on the individual" clause I stated earlier).

rmendpara

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2015, 08:26:46 PM »
Given your stated level of spending, it doesn't seen that there is a compelling benefit to holding multiple cards.

Some high spenders can get away with it, because hitting certain levels on several cards is worthwhile to get the bonuses in each category, and also depending on their needs.

For example, the Delta Amex is nice because of the free baggage limit, and basically pays for itself if you take 4 flights that you would otherwise check a bag. Much faster if you add more travelers. At ~20k annual spend, few of these will offer anything very significant.

Check out Nerdwallet to get some more detailed info.
A handful will avg out to ~2% redemption rewards (citi double - cash back, barclay world - travel rewards), while some also have certain drawbacks which you'll have to weigh separately like annual fees, foreign transaction fees, etc.

Personally, I prefer simplicity and have gone through a handful of cards (maybe 5) in the past 5 years, and settled in late 2014 on the capital one quicksilver. 1.5% cash back on everything and no foreign fees means I am a happy camper. Automatic redemption in $25 increments means I don't really have to think much about it.

I probably spend in the 10-15k annual range, so perhaps if one day when I have a family and that increases to 20+ then there may be benefits in going for point and travel bonuses on some of the cards, but again that does require some level of effort.

All depends on which features are important to you, and how much (if any) effort you want to put into it.

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2015, 03:55:17 AM »
Our biggest expenditure that we can use a credit card for is groceries, so I'm switching to the Amex Blue since it offers 2% back on that.  I'll probably pick up the new Costco card when it comes out.

daverobev

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2015, 05:42:29 AM »
Our biggest expenditure that we can use a credit card for is groceries, so I'm switching to the Amex Blue since it offers 2% back on that.  I'll probably pick up the new Costco card when it comes out.

Blue Cash is 3%, Preferred is 6% (with fee) on groceries.

However, Sallie Mae is 5%, BofA Cash Rewards is 2% on groc and 3% on gas. You need to crunch the numbers vs the limits and your spending.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2015, 06:25:18 AM »
I have no complaints about the Capital One Quiksilver. I got an email today from AMEX about the Blue Cash one and I'm considering that, because groceries is a big portion of our spending.

caseyzee

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2015, 09:09:35 AM »
Thank you for all of the feedback.

I do have my rollover at Fidelity, so I will look into the Amex that can be tied to the account.

I'm not currently concerned about foreign transaction fees.  I do use Costco.  So I'll look at the 2% cash back cards available - The Citi Double.  Years ago, I did have a rewards card and I kept it for a month and canceled it because it was always being denied, a security/fraud thing I guess.  That never, ever happens with my amex, no matter where I go.  Have you found that to be an issue with the Citi Double?

Quote
KEEP your history with Amex, do not close the account if you can help it (downgrade) or get a replacement, free card (EveryDay? Blue Cash?) THEN cancel the paid one.

Amex backdates all new accounts to the age of your first, and they do global transfers based on your history with them.

Why is this?

Thanks!
-Casey

GizmoTX

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2015, 12:45:09 PM »
Citi has cancelled CC accounts in the past, always because of someone accessing or compromising our account number (not the physical card). Since we do have a number of automatic payments set up, that was a pain to research & re-enter, & occasionally suffer a rejected payment. We seem to have solved the problem by using one account just for trusted automatic payments. We also use a different CC (not Citi) for face-to-face & internet transactions -- if this one gets compromised, it will simply be replaced. So far, that hasn't happened.

neo von retorch

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2015, 01:12:15 PM »
Wow, so this isn't just me. Literally just YESTERDAY my Citi Double Cash card was used for a $3.14 transaction for a made up hotel in Arkansas, immediately followed by a $281+ charge at Walmart.com which their fraud department flagged and declined. So they canceled the card and issued a new one. Since this piddly 2% is my weakest, I use it as a catch-all for occasional purchases and refilling my turnpike account. Just that one sole recurring payment to set back up once I get the new card.

My other cards... Amex Blue Cash $75 annual fee, 6% on groceries, worth it if you spend $3900+ annually (I don't myself but my S.O. and I are in the process of combining our expenses.) Sallie Mae 5% on gas and the rare Amazon purchase, Chase Ink 5% on internet/cell phone.

Lis

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2015, 03:40:56 PM »
Quote
KEEP your history with Amex, do not close the account if you can help it (downgrade) or get a replacement, free card (EveryDay? Blue Cash?) THEN cancel the paid one.

Amex backdates all new accounts to the age of your first, and they do global transfers based on your history with them.

Why is this?

Thanks!
-Casey

I suppose it depends on how long you had the card in the first place and what kind of plans you have for the future, but if you cancel AMEX altogether, you'll lose out on your credit history, and your CH is a decent chunk of you credit score. If AMEX is one of your oldest accounts,  you'll see your credit score go down. Then again, if you haven't had it for that long (if it's one of your newer accounts) it should either not affect you or make your score rise a hair.

Credit scores are important if you're planning on getting a mortgage or refinancing, for example. If you're not planning on making any large purchases in the next few years, or make any decisions that a credit score could impact, I'd shrug it off.

daverobev

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2015, 06:13:03 PM »
Quote
KEEP your history with Amex, do not close the account if you can help it (downgrade) or get a replacement, free card (EveryDay? Blue Cash?) THEN cancel the paid one.

Amex backdates all new accounts to the age of your first, and they do global transfers based on your history with them.

Why is this?

Thanks!
-Casey

I suppose it depends on how long you had the card in the first place and what kind of plans you have for the future, but if you cancel AMEX altogether, you'll lose out on your credit history, and your CH is a decent chunk of you credit score. If AMEX is one of your oldest accounts,  you'll see your credit score go down. Then again, if you haven't had it for that long (if it's one of your newer accounts) it should either not affect you or make your score rise a hair.

Credit scores are important if you're planning on getting a mortgage or refinancing, for example. If you're not planning on making any large purchases in the next few years, or make any decisions that a credit score could impact, I'd shrug it off.

When you close an account, it doesn't fall off immediately. It takes years.

With Amex specifically, when you open a new account with them (while having another), the "open since" date will be reported to the bureaus as your oldest "open since" with Amex.

Eg:

Jan 2010: Open brand new account with amex, card1 - on bureaus shows as 'open since' 2010/01
Jun 2012: Get a charge card with amex, card2 - on bureaus shows as 'open since' 2010/01
Jan 2013: Close card1
Jun 2014: Open new credit card with amex, card3 - on bureaus shows as 'open since' 2010/01
Aug 2014: Close card2
Jan 2015: Open new charge card, card4 - guess what, it ALSO shows as 2010/01

Feb 2015, move to the UK, or Canada, or one of a number of other countries. Uh-oh, no credit history - ok, if you have a job the bank might give you a crap card, sure. But if you apply via the 'global transfer' system you can get an Amex because of your good history... in the new country... with an account open since... you guessed it, 2010/01.

That's a big deal.

johnny847

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Re: Canceling American Express, What card to get?
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2015, 06:40:59 PM »
Quote
KEEP your history with Amex, do not close the account if you can help it (downgrade) or get a replacement, free card (EveryDay? Blue Cash?) THEN cancel the paid one.

Amex backdates all new accounts to the age of your first, and they do global transfers based on your history with them.

Why is this?

Thanks!
-Casey

I suppose it depends on how long you had the card in the first place and what kind of plans you have for the future, but if you cancel AMEX altogether, you'll lose out on your credit history, and your CH is a decent chunk of you credit score. If AMEX is one of your oldest accounts,  you'll see your credit score go down. Then again, if you haven't had it for that long (if it's one of your newer accounts) it should either not affect you or make your score rise a hair.

Credit scores are important if you're planning on getting a mortgage or refinancing, for example. If you're not planning on making any large purchases in the next few years, or make any decisions that a credit score could impact, I'd shrug it off.

When you close an account, it doesn't fall off immediately. It takes years.

With Amex specifically, when you open a new account with them (while having another), the "open since" date will be reported to the bureaus as your oldest "open since" with Amex.

Eg:

Jan 2010: Open brand new account with amex, card1 - on bureaus shows as 'open since' 2010/01
Jun 2012: Get a charge card with amex, card2 - on bureaus shows as 'open since' 2010/01
Jan 2013: Close card1
Jun 2014: Open new credit card with amex, card3 - on bureaus shows as 'open since' 2010/01
Aug 2014: Close card2
Jan 2015: Open new charge card, card4 - guess what, it ALSO shows as 2010/01

Feb 2015, move to the UK, or Canada, or one of a number of other countries. Uh-oh, no credit history - ok, if you have a job the bank might give you a crap card, sure. But if you apply via the 'global transfer' system you can get an Amex because of your good history... in the new country... with an account open since... you guessed it, 2010/01.

That's a big deal.

Specifically, it takes ten years for an old cc account to fall off your report.

Also, you've got a small error in your examples. Amex backdates only the year to that of your first card. The month of the application of the new card is used. So card 2 & 3 will show open since June 2010, not January 2010.