Author Topic: No fee credit card  (Read 2802 times)

MountainTown

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No fee credit card
« on: July 27, 2017, 08:37:14 AM »
My wife and I want to get setup on a no fee credit card. Anyone have recommendations?

We fly delta a lot so I am wondering if one of the delta cards would be best? Or should I just go with one of the madfientist no fee recommendations?

geekette

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2017, 09:26:43 AM »
I think specifying "no fee" is costing you money.  Sure, get a Citi double cash or a Chase Freedom Unlimited for the low end and day to day stuff, and a Freedom Unlimited for the quarterly bonus, but if that's all you do, you're leaving money on the table.

Last year my DH got the Chase Reserve card.  A whopping $450/year fee, not waived the first year.  For that $450 we've gotten $600 reimbursement for travel ($300 each calendar year), $2,000 worth of flights, 3 nights in Hyatt hotels, and $100 off TSA Pre-check for the two of us, plus some sort of lounge access we've yet to use.

MountainTown

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2017, 10:30:54 AM »
Geek: Think I agree with you but yes I am trying to find one stable card that we will keep over the years as opposed to cards that we may churn for bonuses...or cancel if we don't feel the perks are worth it anymore. I will look into Chase sapphire but I am not totally comfortable with fees.

Right now she has a gold delta and we just got charged the $95 fee. I can barely justify it with the bag checks but the sign on bonus was worth it. She can upgrade it to platinum, and get a companion fare every year upon renewal, along with 15000 miles. I am considering that one as the $200 would get us a ticket worth about 500 to 600 overtime we go home(we both travel delta to fly across to midwest states)

I will look into Citi Double and Chase Freedom unlimited.

Whoof 450 a year is steep. I would have to really make sure we were gonna spend on those flights anyways!

bridget

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 11:38:27 AM »
Geek: Think I agree with you but yes I am trying to find one stable card that we will keep over the years as opposed to cards that we may churn for bonuses...or cancel if we don't feel the perks are worth it anymore. I will look into Chase sapphire but I am not totally comfortable with fees.

Right now she has a gold delta and we just got charged the $95 fee. I can barely justify it with the bag checks but the sign on bonus was worth it. She can upgrade it to platinum, and get a companion fare every year upon renewal, along with 15000 miles. I am considering that one as the $200 would get us a ticket worth about 500 to 600 overtime we go home(we both travel delta to fly across to midwest states)

I will look into Citi Double and Chase Freedom unlimited.

Whoof 450 a year is steep. I would have to really make sure we were gonna spend on those flights anyways!

The great thing about the Chase cards with ultimate rewards (including the Reserve card) is that you can also redeem them for cash.  I think the current offering is a 50,000 bonus.  If you redeem them for flights, you get $750 in flights for your $450 fee (1% per point, plus a 50% travel redemption bump).  If you redeem for cash, you get $500 cash (1% per point).  Plus, you still get the $300 travel credit, which can be used on non-airfare travel like Ubers, train tickets, parking fees, etc.  Let's say you don't fly, so you don't want TSA precheck so you forgo that benefit, and also forgo the airport lounge pass.

Even if you never ever fly with your ultimate rewards points and just take the cash and $300 travel credit, that's $800 worth of cash/cash-back you got in exchange for $450. 

I fly enough for work that I am planning to pay the $450 every year and keep the CSR as my regular travel card.  I have at least $20,000 of reimbursed travel expenses for work each calendar year.  At a 4.5% redemption rate (3% for travel, plus the 50% redemption bump), I get $900 worth of ultimate rewards points for the low price of $450. 

For non-travel purchases, I have a no-fee Chase Freedom card.  The rotating 5% categories on restaurants, gas, etc. are nice, and for the rest it's just 1% cash back (which again, I transfer to my CSR for an extra 50% travel redemption, but if you don't have a CSR, this won't apply).

MountainTown

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 12:08:50 PM »
So might a good plan be to get both the Sapphire Reserve  and Chase freedom card? I noticed that you can't transfer points from Chase freedom card without a reserve card....did I read that right? In what ways can the points be used?

I dunno. I hate to get involved in to many of the games with credit cards. Travel hacking sounds awesome but sometimes it seems to convolute things.

JanF

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2017, 12:49:18 PM »
https://thepointsguy.com/2017/05/maximize-chase-card-trifecta/

TPG is the go to guy for travel hacking. I have Chase Freedom (not unlimited) and Chase Sapphire Preferred (not reserve). All four are in the Ultimate Rewards family so you can transfer points between them. The main way that you want to use the points is to transfer to them to airline and hotel programs (I think United and Hyatt gets the most value). And you want to use them when you can get the most value.

For example, if you get one of the Sapphire cards and hit your spending requirement (by buying things you would buy anyway), that gets you 50K+ points. A night at Park Hyatt Vendome is often over $800/night but with points it's 30K points per night. We're mustachians so no way in hell we would spend a night at a $800 hotel but as free night it's a nice treat!

bridget

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2017, 12:57:30 PM »
I've found travel hacking to be much less hassle than I expected. I would start with a single card, get the hang of it, and then decide if you want to add another. I use the transfer system between Freedom and CSR because I just happen to have both cards and the Chase website makes it ridiculously easy to transfer in like two seconds.

Basically, I did this order of operations:
- Open a Chase Sapphire Preferred, get the 50,000 bonus (this was like 18 months ago). The annual fee is $95, waived for the first year.
- When the Chase Sapphire Reserve card came out, I opened that, got a 100,000 bonus.
- One year after I opened the Preferred card, I downgraded it to a Chase Freedom to avoid the fee.

Since I have run the numbers and determined that the Reserve card is worth the fee for my circumstances, I have a Freedom and Reserve open for the indefinite future.  I spend like this:
- Is it a travel or dining expense? If so, put it on the CSR for 3% points.
- Is it on one of the rotating categories for the Freedom? If so, put it on the Freedom for 5% back.
- Is it something else? If so, put it on either one.

Once a month, when my Freedom statement hits, I transfer my Freedom UR points earned that month to my CSR UR account, because then if I spend them on travel I get the 50% increase. You could easily ignore this for months on end, and only consolidate points when you are about to buy a plane ticket.


As a super no-pressure aside - if you happen to decide to get a Freedom card, and are interested in using my referral link, PM me. I'd get $100 cash back on my statement. It markets it as you getting a $150 bonus after spending $500, but I'm pretty sure that's just the standard account opening bonus for the Freedom card, so really it profits you nothing, sorry :)

EDITED TO ADD: Because Chase has such great sign-up bonuses, they are pretty strict on only approving you if you have opened (or been an authorized user on) less than 5 cards in the last 24 months.  Because of this, I am pretty careful not to open any cards that won't be super worth it.  So, I would NOT recommend getting a Freedom card right now if you want to travel hack, because it doesn't have a good sign up bonus.  I would sign up for a card with a good sign up bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year (such as the preferred card), and then downgrade it to a Freedom card right before the first annual fee hits.  In this way, you would be getting the benefits of a bonus-yielding card, but effectively making it so you have a no-fee card. 
« Last Edit: July 27, 2017, 01:08:56 PM by bridget »

bridget

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2017, 01:06:13 PM »
Also, I'm going to disagree with JanF here - I have found that most of the time, the most efficient way to use UR points is to directly buy a plane ticket through the Chase site, and not transfer to airline programs.  When you do this, you basically just buy flights at the rate of $1.50 per point, totally tied to the cost of the flight.  It works for any airline.  The great thing is that the airlines code it as a flight paid for with cash (via Chase), so you earn the butt-in-seat miles from the flight as well. You also don't have to deal with that pesky tax/fuel surcharge that airlines often make you pay in cash - the UR points cover everything from start to finish.

Exceptions:
- I have just not quite enough airline points to buy a ticket through the airline.  Say I have 12,000 AAdvantage points but need 12,500 to book a flight.  I'd transfer 500 UR points to AA. 
- The flight is very expensive, like an international flight, whereas the airline points needed are fairly low.
- The flight is less than two weeks away, so that the dollar value is high whereas the airline point rewards stay the same (as long as reward seats are still available).

ketchup

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2017, 01:15:01 PM »
For example, if you get one of the Sapphire cards and hit your spending requirement (by buying things you would buy anyway), that gets you 50K+ points. A night at Park Hyatt Vendome is often over $800/night but with points it's 30K points per night. We're mustachians so no way in hell we would spend a night at a $800 hotel but as free night it's a nice treat!
This is a tricky part to value with travel hacking.

My girlfriend was traveling for work and stayed in a Four Points for four nights, which burned 8,000 of our SPG points and saved her about $400 off normal price, putting the "cents per point" at 5, which is an excellent redemption rate.  But we also never would have paid $135/night for that hotel given other options, so the "savings" and "cents per point" numbers are less real.  If we would have booked her the Motel 6 instead, that would have cost about $160 extra, so if we throw that number in, her "cents per point" was more like 2, which is still decent. 

But she still got to stay in the fancier hotel.  The actual value we derived from the points is kind of murky.  It's definitely more than 2, but it's definitely less than 5.

MountainTown

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2017, 01:22:06 PM »
Hmmm maybe people can help me evaluate this, too:

Right now we have a Gold delta. We just got charged $95. We tend to travel twice a year using delta...but maybe only once, sometimes twice will need to spend $100 on bags(we usually share a checked bag for weddings and that's $50 a round trip).

This year we are planning a vacation too which might be on Delta. Is it worth it to keep it?

Alternatively she can sign up for platinum and get 15000 bonus points. It's not much ...but she also gets a companion fare every year upon renewal. This has a big value for us because like I said we are always flying to midwest states together so it would save us $500 each time(after the 200 fee)

Or...better to just have her cancel delta, get a no fee card, and work on the next bonus card on the side? I feel like the weakest part of our plan is we don't have one consistent card to keep credit stable.

Another Reader

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2017, 01:55:40 PM »
The everyday cash back card here is the Fidelity/Elan Visa.  Two percent back on every purchase into the taxable Fidelity account.  No fee.

We use the rotating 5 percent cash back categories on the Chase Freedom.  That's all it's used for because the standard cash back is one percent.  No fee.

Bank of America Cash rewards for two percent for groceries and three percent for gas.  We keep cash reserves in a checking account there and get a bonus on the cash back. No fee.

Citi Costco Visa offers four percent for gas, three percent for restaurants, and two percent for Costco purchases.  No fee.

The remaining cards used are from travel hacking and sign up bonuses.  They get cancelled when no longer profitable, as they have annual fees.


bridget

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2017, 03:03:58 PM »
Hmmm maybe people can help me evaluate this, too:

Right now we have a Gold delta. We just got charged $95. We tend to travel twice a year using delta...but maybe only once, sometimes twice will need to spend $100 on bags(we usually share a checked bag for weddings and that's $50 a round trip).

This year we are planning a vacation too which might be on Delta. Is it worth it to keep it?

Alternatively she can sign up for platinum and get 15000 bonus points. It's not much ...but she also gets a companion fare every year upon renewal. This has a big value for us because like I said we are always flying to midwest states together so it would save us $500 each time(after the 200 fee)

Or...better to just have her cancel delta, get a no fee card, and work on the next bonus card on the side? I feel like the weakest part of our plan is we don't have one consistent card to keep credit stable.

https://thepointsguy.com/2016/06/should-you-get-delta-gold-or-platinum-amex/

I do think that people should have at least one no-fee card they never close so that their average age of credit accounts gets better over time.  I've had a basic USAA Signature Visa from my bank that has been open for 10+ years.  Since I do credit card churning most of the time on other cards, it just stays open with my monthly $109 auto insurance bill on it, so it stays active but I can otherwise ignore it.

JanF

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2017, 04:13:27 PM »
Maybe instead of closing the account you can downgrade it to a no fee card. There's a discussion on MMM about selling authorized users line on the credit cards that you don't care to keep. Basically if you get caught all they do is close the account

geekette

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2017, 04:37:19 PM »
There is a no fee Delta Amex - I've had it for years.  It doesn't get you the free luggage, but you get double points for buying Delta tickets. 

You could use a card that give a travel rebate for the luggage fee, or pay that $95 for the upgraded Delta Amex.

MountainTown

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Re: No fee credit card
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2017, 09:36:41 PM »
Ya tried...they won't downgrade. Also tried to threaten to cancel and they were just like "Ok we can cancel."