Author Topic: Mustacian credit cards  (Read 15509 times)

MEJG

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Mustacian credit cards
« on: February 17, 2012, 09:48:03 AM »
Can we have a best credit card discussion?

Mr. MEJG and I only have one card, and it has NO rewards, and doesn't support Mint.  Dismal, I know.

We're looking to add one card: with the best benefits, cash back not travel rewards, no annual fee, supported by Mint preferably.

So far I'm looking at
 
Chasefreedom: 0% APR until March 2013, $100-300 cash back (mailed offer vs. current online cash back offer, not sure which is correct), 1% cash back on everything, 5% off of quarterly bonus categories (1- gas + amazon, 2- grocery + movies, 3- gas +restaurants, 4- travel + bestbuy and Khols).

Discovermore: 0% APR for 15 months, No sign up cash back 1% cash back on everything, 5% off of quarterly bonus categories (1- gas + entertainment, 2- restaurant + movies, 3- gas +summer fun, 4-holiday spending).

Obviously the Chase has a sign up bonus..... are there any cards out there that the Mustacians love?

Sparafusile

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2012, 09:56:58 AM »
I have a Chase Freedom and use Mint. I love both.

Physics

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 09:59:22 AM »
We have 3 cards and never carry a balance on any of them (of course!):

1. MasterCard (Bank of America) this one is just kept since it has no fee and we've had it the longest.  I only use it when we are somewhere that doesn't accept AMEX.  If they add a fee, I'm gone.

2. American Express Cash Preferred:  Our main card, $75 annual fee but fantastic rewards that make it worthwhile: 6% back on groceries, 3% back on gas and stores, 1% back on all purchases.

3. Visa (Chase) Marriott rewards: I only have this one due to work, and I only use it for booking company travel at Marriott hotels (rewards are best for this, I get a free night a year, in addition to rewards points that are 5x when the money is spent on Marriotts, so crazy good when applied correctly, I also get bumps to silver status (and then to gold based on usage)).  $85/year fee, but I just got it this year so it is waived, Just the free night makes it worth it, if we use it, so we'll see.  It is also good for International travel.  If it turns out to not be worth it in the future, I'll cancel it.


All 3 work with Mint.

velocistar237

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 10:14:56 AM »
MEJG,

I just got the Amex Cash Preferred with the $75 annual fee, but there's a no-annual-fee version, too. The 3% extra cash back for groceries was more than enough to offset the annual fee, so we went that way. The Everyday card has 3% back on groceries, 2% on gas and "department stores", 1% everything else, $100 sign-up bonus. Sounds like one of these would be a good combination with one of the cards you listed.

http://www304.americanexpress.com/getthecard/learn-about/BlueCash-Everyday
http://www304.americanexpress.com/getthecard/learn-about/BlueCash-Preferred

gestalt162

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 10:47:53 AM »
MEJG,

I'm interested in a new card as well, with basically the same criteria as you.

Chase Freedom looks good.

I like the AMEX ideas as well.

I'm always intrigued by the rewards from discover, then realize that hardly any retail locations accept it.

adam

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 10:49:28 AM »
We have 3 cards and never carry a balance on any of them (of course!):

1. MasterCard (Bank of America) this one is just kept since it has no fee and we've had it the longest.  I only use it when we are somewhere that doesn't accept AMEX.  If they add a fee, I'm gone.

2. American Express Cash Preferred:  Our main card, $75 annual fee but fantastic rewards that make it worthwhile: 6% back on groceries, 3% back on gas and stores, 1% back on all purchases.

3. Visa (Chase) Marriott rewards: I only have this one due to work, and I only use it for booking company travel at Marriott hotels (rewards are best for this, I get a free night a year, in addition to rewards points that are 5x when the money is spent on Marriotts, so crazy good when applied correctly, I also get bumps to silver status (and then to gold based on usage)).  $85/year fee, but I just got it this year so it is waived, Just the free night makes it worth it, if we use it, so we'll see.  It is also good for International travel.  If it turns out to not be worth it in the future, I'll cancel it.


All 3 work with Mint.
The Chase Marriott Rewards card is my primary, but I think my fee is only $65.  The free night does make up for it, although you have a short deadline, like 6 months from issue, to use it.  I haven't had an issue using it though.  Between the 10 free nights you automatically get for signing up (silver status), the nights I end up staying for business (I can't use this card for business, but I get the stay recorded), and the bills we put on the card (I think its 1 night for every $2000 spent) I have been a platinum member for the last two years, which is nice.  I booked my free night for Valentines, I booked two nights at a signature hotel this weekend for points, and I booked a single night at an oversold hotel next weekend (got to bump someone else because I am platinum, told you it had benefits).  I did have to pay for this last stay due to the oversold status, but I otherwise would have enough points to cover it for free.

I'm not a fan of the 13% interest rate, but we usually don't have an issue paying it off.  Compared to my 5.24% BOA Mastercard it seems criminal though.

So overall, for $65 I usually get 3-4 nights a year for free between the free night certificate, and the marriott rewards points earned.  Plus I get the preferred Platinum status with Marriott.  Oh and there's a concierge service because it is a platinum visa signature card.  I've only used it once to buy concert tickets for my wife's christmas present, so its value remains to be seen (this is that oversold hotel stay.  February has been busy).

Given an average nightly cost of say... $200, 4 nights = $800 - $65 annual fee, I guess I'm about $735 ahead of the game every year.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 10:52:09 AM by adam »

Physics

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 11:00:34 AM »
Good to hear that the Marriott card works out, I figured I did the calculation right.

I guess the offer has changed slightly since you got the card, as mine is indeed an $85/year fee, but I get 15nights credit per year.

adam

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 11:08:30 AM »
I should also point out that when you are a Platinum member you get access to the Concierge lounge if the hotel has one.  This means free breakfast, snacks, dinner and drinks M-F.  That saves a lot of money as well.

Personally, I value these benefits over straight cash back, but that might just be me.

tannybrown

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 11:23:18 AM »
We currently only have Perkstreet debit cards (2% cash back on everything w/ $5k in checking).  The $5k in checking seems like a loss at first but it is essentially half of our emergency fund, and that $5k earns more in rewards on our entire annual spending (more than $5k) than it would in, say, a savings account.

I just recently signed up for a Southwest Airlines Chase card that gives us 2 free domestic flights w/a $99 annual charge.  I'm conflicted on it.  It's probably a win over just buying flights on our own, but I suspect there are better card deals out there.

MMM

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 12:47:56 PM »
I've become a big fan of the cards that pay you a hefty fee just to sign up. Then offer at least 1% cash back on an ongoing basis. And have no annual fee.

Credit card companies have started forwarding me links through this blog's advertising account - to try to get me to promote them on this blog. Most of them are crappy, so I can't promote them. I personally use the Chase Ink card (5%/3%/1%) for business and Travelocity Amex (10% on travel/2% everything else) for personal. But I don't have links for those ones - you can just seek them out at chase.com and travelocity.com

One link I did receive that looks good for people in Canada (where the card offers aren't quite as generous) is the MBNA "smart cash" mastercard. 3% cash back on gas and groceries (actually 5% for the first six months), 1% on everything else. No annual fees. For Mustachians, this is a good deal since a large portion of our spending is on groceries.

Here's a link to the application for that for any interested Canadians:
Smart Cash MasterCard® Credit Card
http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3474611&fot=9999&foc=1
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 03:02:18 PM by MMM »

AJ

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 01:05:49 PM »
We also use the PerkStreet debit card. The $5k doesn't earn interest, but we get more in rewards than we would get in interest. It took me a while to get used to debit after using credit cards (money comes out right away, so no float), but we really do spend less. We'd do even better if I could get back to using cash, but old habits die hard. Not that we were ever spend-a-holics or anything, but we did a couple of trial months on cash and it really did change our habits. Its just so easy to slip back into paying with plastic...need to work out my self-control muscles and form a new habit. :)

We also use PenFed Cash reward card for gas only (5%).

MacGyverIt

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 08:59:37 PM »
This has been helpful for me to determine the best card based upon need (points, balance xfer, etc.)

https://www.google.com/advisor/uscredit

judgemebymyusername

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2012, 04:11:53 PM »
To answer the posted question:

I recently debated between the Chase Freedom card and the Capital One Cash card, and decided on the Capital One card. It is effectively 1.5% cash back on everything, with no limit and no rotating categories.

A quick note after seeing that many of you are using a debit card for rewards purposes. Please remember that credit card and debit cards are covered by different federal laws. If you discovered unauthorized purchases on your credit card, the card issuer is liable and will cover the costs. When using a debit card, the card issuer should cover the losses, but you may have a $0 account balance for a week or a couple months.

MsLogica

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2012, 04:21:58 PM »
I'm a Brit, so some of the cards you're talking about aren't accessible to me.  However, I'm currently using the Bank of America credit card offered through Amazon.  I don't carry a balance, and I use it for most day-to-day purposes for the Amazon gift certificates you receive (I think it's £10 for every £1000 put on the card?).  I would imagine there are better reward schemes out there, but I don't fly and I don't have a car so most benefits are of no interest to me!  I do own a Kindle though and I like "cheating" Amazon by buying their Kindle books with free gift certificates!

As a side note to Brits, because this card is from an American bank, I also have none of the security hassle when shopping online.  I don't know how long this "benefit" will last, but at the moment it's very satisfying not to have to remember a gazillion passwords each time I want to make a purchase!

Rich M

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2012, 07:02:14 PM »
I say if you always pay them off, why care about the interest rate?  Get the one that makes you the most in return and doesn't have a fee.  After that it comes down to how they treat you.  But regardless of the rate, pay the sucker off.  Perhaps a higher rate will increase the odds that it's paid off.  Cards are evil if not paid off---or especially if they are paid late.

I have a Citibank MC, 1% dividend and bonuses here and there, but I hate their service---I'm switching to (or at least adding a)  Capitol One dividend card but have no experience so far.  I also have a credit union card as a backup.  If it wasn't for the dividend, I would just use the credit union card.

Whatever is done, I think people need a backup credit card.  There might be a miscue if you travel where they lock your card due to suspicious purchases.  It's best to call them ahead but I like having a backup.


Mike Key

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2012, 10:16:10 PM »
Caring a balance under 30% of available credit can help build your credit. I prefer to only ever use 21% of available credit and pay it off at the end of the month.

foodguy

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012, 10:22:01 PM »
Due to an annoying change to one of my current cards I just opened a Chase Freedom.  So far, so good.  The categories don't bother me, as I spend on at least one of those categories each quarter (who doesn't buy gas or groceries?  I suppose an argument can be made for no gas depending on your locale).  My requirements were no annual fee and substantial cash back, statement credit, or some other reward.  The signup bonus was nice.

Check bankrate.com for a good listing (thought I'm not sure how complete it is) of credit cards that meet certain criteria.  Rewards, travel, no annual fee, etc...

Somnambulist

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 07:52:46 AM »
Chasefreedom: 0% APR until March 2013, $100-300 cash back (mailed offer vs. current online cash back offer, not sure which is correct), 1% cash back on everything, 5% off of quarterly bonus categories (1- gas + amazon, 2- grocery + movies, 3- gas +restaurants, 4- travel + bestbuy and Khols).

Discovermore: 0% APR for 15 months, No sign up cash back 1% cash back on everything, 5% off of quarterly bonus categories (1- gas + entertainment, 2- restaurant + movies, 3- gas +summer fun, 4-holiday spending).

Obviously the Chase has a sign up bonus..... are there any cards out there that the Mustacians love?

We have both of these cards. The Chase card happened sort of by accident. All of our old cards we crappy Chase cards that we consolidated to one and they converted to a rewards card for us. We keep it because it is our oldest line of credit, the rewards suck and are a pain to manage.

Discover rules. We used them for our main card for two years. The Shop Discover website offers additional cashback if you use them from 5-30% in some cases. We got 15% back on a computer purchase from Dell once.

Right now we use American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card for most purchases:

http://www304.americanexpress.com/getthecard/learn-about/BlueCash-Preferred

    Get 6% cash back at supermarkets
    Get 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores
    Get 1% cash back on all other purchases

One thing that kicks ass if you can redeem on this card in $25 increments instead of $50 like Discover. We generally use the Amex for most things unless a Discover 5% category is active or something is available from Shop Discover and then we use Discover.

I like American Express, I love Discover. I wish they both paid like 2 or 3% all of the time and dropped the other sign-up / category stuff.

smedleyb

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2012, 08:08:58 AM »
For those interested in travel rewards cards, here is the master CC page from Flyer Talk:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/1177334-special-credit-card-offers-master-thread.html

Not every link mentioned works, and not every working link shows the best offer available.  But it's a good base for those looking to radically cut travel costs by exploiting generous CC sign up bonuses. 

Moneyisntlove

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2012, 08:18:56 AM »
We're a military family and I just found out that shopping at the commissary apparently doesn't count as "groceries" for the Chase card -- and that's our main spending category. 
We'd like to get SOME kind of rewards vs. the nothing we get with our USAA cards.  Does anyone have any suggestions for cards that give you airline points or anything like that? (We also never carry a balance though we use credit cards a lot).

Mike Key

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2012, 09:34:59 AM »
I really like the American Express Preferred card. But does anyone have any recommendations for cards that give even more back at the Gas Station? That's something I'm very interested in.

When I traveled with my friend in the summer of 09 across the US we where using his American Express (forget which one) which was giving 7% back at the pumps. I don't think they have that offer anymore, but maybe someone else does?

tannybrown

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2012, 01:58:50 PM »


A quick note after seeing that many of you are using a debit card for rewards purposes. Please remember that credit card and debit cards are covered by different federal laws. If you discovered unauthorized purchases on your credit card, the card issuer is liable and will cover the costs. When using a debit card, the card issuer should cover the losses, but you may have a $0 account balance for a week or a couple months.

I believe if you use the "credit" option when checking out at the register, rather than using your pin, you get the exact same protections from Visa/Mastercard.

Additionally, at least with Perkstreet, you only get the rewards if you run the card as credit.

judgemebymyusername

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 02:46:38 PM »
I believe if you use the "credit" option when checking out at the register, rather than using your pin, you get the exact same protections from Visa/Mastercard.

Additionally, at least with Perkstreet, you only get the rewards if you run the card as credit.

True, fraud protection is increased if you use your debit card for "non-pin" transactions, aka, run it as a credit card and sign the receipt.

But, the funds will still be withdrawn immediately from your account even if they are fraudulent. It is good to have the credit card company as a buffer.

Mike Key

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 03:32:59 PM »
I believe if you use the "credit" option when checking out at the register, rather than using your pin, you get the exact same protections from Visa/Mastercard.

Additionally, at least with Perkstreet, you only get the rewards if you run the card as credit.

True, fraud protection is increased if you use your debit card for "non-pin" transactions, aka, run it as a credit card and sign the receipt.

But, the funds will still be withdrawn immediately from your account even if they are fraudulent. It is good to have the credit card company as a buffer.

With my credit union, everything is usually pending for a few days when it goes thru Visa, which is actually the only way Navy Federal allows you to use their check card.

I've had my card stolen twice, and they usually refunded me with a credit the day of. However, Credit Unions typically are better and more on top of this sort of thing verses your regular bank.

td

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 07:48:27 PM »
I just added the Chase Freedom to my wallet and have to say I'm pleased so far. One of the most positive surprises was activating the card - instead of an automated system, you talk to a real person with an American accent. I could understand them perfectly and they were very informative - and not a single attempt at selling add-on services! It's sad that that was one of the best phone CSR experiences I can remember.

BUT - when applying, if you go the online route, the bonus is currently $100-$200. I made the mistake of applying directly on Chase's website. That will only get you the $100, but it comes with 0% APR for the first 6 months (which you won't care about since you pay in full each month). In order to get the "unadvertised" higher cash back (with regular interest) you have to click on an affiliate link like the one at bankrate.com or your favorite blogger. They get some sort of meager commission off of it, and you get an extra $100.

Edit: To those of you using Discover and AMEX, do you keep a backup card? Very few merchants in my area accept them - only the big box stores that I try to avoid unless necessary. For example, if I wanted to get groceries with either of those, Walmart would be my only choice.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 07:56:39 PM by td »

smedleyb

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 06:56:20 AM »
td,

the key when applying for cards offering a bonus is to comb to internet to make sure you haven't passed up a more generous bonus:

https://applynowdc1.chase.com/FlexAppWeb/renderApp.do?SPID=DN52

That link is for $300 cash back after spending $500 in 3 months for anyone interested in the Freedom card.

And yes, Chase customer service is one of the best I've ever dealt with.  Sometimes I have to call to get my application approved because I've applied for about 4 Chase cards in the past 5 months, which all together have given me around $1100 in cash back (Sapphire, Ink) and roughly $1700 in travel (Chase Marriott, 70K; Chase Southwest, 50K).  All these cards have fees (waived first year) and I'll cancel most after 10-11 months before the fee is due (save Southwest, which cost $100 up front).   

td

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 10:34:00 AM »
smedleyb,

I did learn my lesson on that one. And now I've learned I missed out on not $100, but $200!
I opened the card primarily to build credit at this point, but it's still disappointing to learn I missed out on free money.

Guitarist

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 10:42:35 AM »
We're a military family and I just found out that shopping at the commissary apparently doesn't count as "groceries" for the Chase card -- and that's our main spending category. 

That's some major BS right there.

Somnambulist

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Re: Mustacian credit cards
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2012, 12:28:22 PM »
Edit: To those of you using Discover and AMEX, do you keep a backup card? Very few merchants in my area accept them - only the big box stores that I try to avoid unless necessary. For example, if I wanted to get groceries with either of those, Walmart would be my only choice.

Yes, I think my wife and I are over prepared / zealous? We have American Express Blue Preferred, Discover More, Chase Freedom, and Capital One World Mastercard. I find that most people (90%) take Amex and Discover now.