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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:18 am   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Need card recommendation

Hello,
After reading several threads/posts on this forum, I didn't really find the information I was looking for. So, I am creating this new thread. (if this has already been discussed elsewhere, please point me to that)

I currently have the following cards
1. Mastercard from my bank
* My oldest card (13-14 years old)
* Just average rewards (1 point per $ - redeemable for gift cards/cashback)
* No other benefits like extended warranty/rental car coverage etc
* No Annual fee

2. Discover (8-9 years old)
* 0.25% for first 3k in year, 1% for the remainder. (5% bonus categories every quarter)
* benefits like extended warranty, protection for first 90 days of purchase, rental car coverage are included
* No Annual fee

I primarily use my discover card for all purchases (pay off every month). Mastercard only at places that don't accept discover. I think it is time to add another card - a Visa card with hopefully better benefits.

I'd like a card that offers
1. Cashback (or miles that can be converted to cashback with a reasonable conversion factor)
2. benefits like extended warranty, rental car coverage, travel insurance
3. No Foreign transaction fees
4. No Annual fee

After researching, I think I narrowed down to the Capitalone venture rewards. It offers 50% cash back bonus every year, 1% cash back on purchases, plus earn a one-time $100 bonus (after spending $500 in first 3 months). This is a visa signature card with no forex fees as well (no annual fee)

Note 1: I looked at Chase sapphire preferred, and while it does have good benefits, it has annual fee.
Note 2: I also looked at penfed platinum rewards - $250 point bonus (spend $1k in first 3 months), no foreign transaction fees, no annual fees, 5% on gas, 3% on supermarkets, 1% everywhere else - but it doesn't offer any benefits like extended warranty etc.

Is the capital one the best option for my needs? (I'm open to suggestions).

I have well established credit history (I don't foresee any problems qualifying)

Thanks
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:39 am   #2
  
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You may want to break it up into a few cards. And use those cards for where they excel best in. No forex for overseas, higher % back in domestic spends, etc. There will never be one perfect card.

Consider the freedom for category spending, it gives 5% up on up to 1,500 and changes every quarter. Useful categories. Current one is 5% on restaurants/gas. No fee but forex fees, so not good for overseas.

Discover also has a product that has different categories as well that rotate.

It's a bit of a pain to have to carry a bunch of cards but if you want to truly maximize your spending it's necessary.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:46 am   #3
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Thanks Altoid.
I hear ya - that does make sense (just didn't want "too many" credit cards to handle - don't really know what "too many" is - so I went with 3-4 based on various blogs)

The discover card I have does have the 5% quarterly categories, so I guess I don't really need another one for that.
No Forex is good to have, but not a must have (worst case, I can just convert some cash, or use traveler's check)

What card would you recommend for day to day domestic use? (anything better than the capital one that gives 1.5% on everything?)
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:47 am   #4
mia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altoid View Post
...use those cards for where they excel best in....
Agreed, BUT don't collect completely unrelated rewards unless you will accumulate enough in each program to redeem for an award that is meaningful to you. Start by identifying your travel objectives, where do you want to go, how often, in which class of service, with what style lodging. Find the programs which will help you achieve your objectives, and don't be distracted by glittery offers from programs which are irrelevant.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:05 am   #5
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dd14x View Post
Thanks Altoid.
I hear ya - that does make sense (just didn't want "too many" credit cards to handle - don't really know what "too many" is - so I went with 3-4 based on various blogs)

The discover card I have does have the 5% quarterly categories, so I guess I don't really need another one for that.
No Forex is good to have, but not a must have (worst case, I can just convert some cash, or use traveler's check)

What card would you recommend for day to day domestic use? (anything better than the capital one that gives 1.5% on everything?)
Yeah I understand, it is annoying to have to think about the 10 cards in your wallet every time you buy something. Let alone carrying that many. I think you can probably find a good mix at around 3-4 cards. I wouldn't carry any more cards. You should have at least one card with no foreign fees that always goes with you on trips, even if that's the only time you use it. Doesn't matter if it doesn't give you the best cash back, it will pay for it self in no 3% fees on everything. That's what I'm getting at basically.

Honestly I recommend cards that earn points over cash back. That's the way you'll likely get steered towards here since it's flyertalk, and we want to fly! There are still plenty of people who prefer cash back, it's faster and more upfront. (My though is the best mix is sapphire pref and freedom and earning ultimate rewards points.) I know a decent amount about cash back cards since I have friends who prefer those and I try to help with that school of though too.

Honestly I think the best route if you want cash back, is really just google all the cash back cards you can find. (google "best cash back cards" and read every link). As well as look at your spending patterns. Then use cards who's strength align with your spending patterns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mia View Post
Agreed, BUT don't collect completely unrelated rewards unless you will accumulate enough in each program to redeem for an award that is meaningful to you. Start by identifying your travel objectives, where do you want to go, how often, in which class of service, with what style lodging. Find the programs which will help you achieve your objectives, and don't be distracted by glittery offers from programs which are irrelevant.
Yeah no point in earning rewards you don't want even if they are slightly better. Sounds like OP really wants cashback so best to just aim for best cards that align with his spending habits.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:19 am   #6
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Thank you Altoid, mia
I do travel, but not frequently enough to want miles over cashback

The CapitalOne card that I initially looked at was for miles, but said that it allowed conversion to cashback if needed (but no indication about the conversion rate - called their customer service, Emailed their customer service - nobody seems to know - they just say "it depends", but can't tell me what ti depends on - they then say "we can tell you after you apply and qualify"????)

I did search the web, and the recommendation seems to be Chase sapphire (for miles though), and Capital one, and Amex (variations).
Just wanted to see if Capital one had any shortcomings/issues (their pre-sales customer service didn't really inspire confidence! lol!), or if other options were available.

I realize this is "flyertalk", so miles would be the primary focus for the people on here
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:48 am   #7
  
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IMHO, Cap1 is a quasi criminal enterprise ( and I only say quasi to be kind). The very recent 165 million dollars it paid for cheating credit card customers is just the culmination of many years of bad behavior. http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-mone...card-marketing

It should be avoided--(okay, I confess, I was tempted by the 110,000 bonus points offer they had a couple of years ago, got the card, got $1100 in travel for free and moved on ).

But, I avoid them unless the bonus is overwhelming and I am weak.

On a different point, as has been mentioned above, miles are generally a LOT better than cash back. Perhaps, OP, you should rethink your desires to include some first class flying to, say, Paris?
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:55 am   #8
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Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
IMHO, Cap1 is a quasi criminal enterprise ( and I only say quasi to be kind). The very recent 165 million dollars it paid for cheating credit card customers is just the culmination of many years of bad behavior.
That is true (though almost all CC companies are probably guilty of this to some extent or the other)
I haven't banked with them, so unsure about how their customer service is (though the initial pre-sales experience isn't encouraging)


Quote:
Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
On a different point, as has been mentioned above, miles are generally a LOT better than cash back. Perhaps, OP, you should rethink your desires to include some first class flying to, say, Paris?
My wife got to you already???? Sheeeeeeeeeeesh! lol!
Jokes apart, that is a very tempting thought. Even one overseas trip would easily use up a lot of the miles earned in a year. (I assume the miles can be used for my family tickets - not just my tickets <-- yes, this is probably a dumb question - but I've never really had a card for miles yet)

Any suggestions? (preferably a card that will let me book a wider variety of airlines - not just a specific airline)
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:09 am   #9
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dd14x View Post
I do travel, but not frequently enough to want miles over cashback

I realize this is "flyertalk", so miles would be the primary focus for the people on here
If you prefer straight cash back then I'd suggest (1) Fidelity Amex (2%) on all spend (2) Fidelity Visa (1.5% on first $15K spend then 2% thereafter).

You are right, most of us (at FT) enjoy miles and points far more than cash back. If you don't travel enough by air, then how about hotel points (otherwise why did you come here for input)? Chase has some popular hotel cards without foreign exchange fee, annual fee is offset by free hotel night each year (e.g., Marriott Premier Visa - $85 annual fee offset by annual cat 1-5 free night, Priority Club Visa - 80k signup; $49 annual fee offset by worldwide free night) and both with significant sign-on bonus points.

If you have good credit and not planning to buy a house in short term, it's perfectly okay to apply for several credit cards with good rewards. You need have a clear head with regards to which cards are primarily for sign-on bonus (and recycle as needed), cards to hold for certain benefits, and cards for everyday spend (aside from meeting spend requirement for those sign-on bonus cards).

Lastly, here is an existing thread on no fee cards:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...ds-best-3.html

Last edited by deltame; Aug 14, 12 at 11:26 am Reason: typo
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:11 am   #10
  
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Right now I'd take a look at the SPG offer from American Express for 30K in bonuses with, I think $5K spend. http://boardingarea.com/blogs/onemil...a-great-offer/ No reason you can't apply for both personal and biz cards and have wife do the same. That should cover at least a week in a very nice Paris hotel.

Also look at Chase Sapphire Preferred and the several varieties of INK from Chase such as Bold, Plus etc. 40-50K bonus, annual fee waived for first year.

Don't focus on the annual fees. No one says you can't cancel after the first year when fee is usually waived. And, you might even decide the fee is worth it as many have done for the SPG Amex.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:22 am   #11
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Originally Posted by deltame View Post
If you prefer straight cash back then I'd suggest (1) Fidelity Amex (2%) on all spend (2) Fidelity Visa (1.5% on first $10K spend then 2% thereafter).

You are right, most of us (at FT) enjoy miles and points far more than cash back. If you don't travel enough by air, then how about hotel points (otherwise why did you come here for input)? Chase has some popular hotel cards without foreign exchange fee, annual fee is offset by free hotel night each year (e.g., Marriott Premier Visa - $85 annual fee offset by annual cat 1-5 free night, Priority Club Visa - 80k signup; $49 annual fee offset by worldwide free night) and both comes with significant sign-on bonus points.

If you have good credit and not planning buying a house in short term, its perfectly okay to apply for several credit cards with good rewards. You need have a clear head with regards to which cards are primarily for sign-on bonus (and recycle as needed), cards to hold for certain benefits, and cards for everyday spend (aside from meeting spend requirement for those sign-on bonus cards).

Lastly, here is an existing thread on no fee cards:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/credi...ds-best-3.html


Thanks - this was helpful!
I do travel by air, just not to the level where I (initially) saw miles as being more beneficial than cashback. (in my previous post, I amended that - I will update my initial post as well).
I do have good credit, and am already mortgage on a house.

I am really not looking to recycle cards, but am looking to keep cards for certain benefits and cards for everyday use.

I will look at one of the cards you recommended - Fidelity Visa, and the chase sapphire preferred that biggestbopper and you have recommended.

Thanks again
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:28 am   #12
  
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Just echoing biggestbopper here. Avoid Cap1 entirely.
Currently hold 2 of their worthless cards but don't wanna lose the credit history by canceling.
Had 'em since I was young & dumb(er) - only excuse for ever dealing w/ them.
They truly take customer service to new lows.

Consolidate cards? "Nah - we're not gonna do that for ya."
Sync payment dates? "Well - since we move them around all the time, that's not gonna work for us."
Credit limit increase(s) w/ excellent credit? "Not right now - don't ask again for.... undetermined amount of time."

And on and on.... stay away from Cap1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
IMHO, Cap1 is a quasi criminal enterprise ( and I only say quasi to be kind).
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:28 am   #13
  
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Originally Posted by dd14x View Post
I will look at one of the cards you recommended - Fidelity Visa, and the chase sapphire preferred that biggestbopper and you have recommended.

Thanks again
Updated as per latest information on Fidelity Visa (its 1.5% to $15K spend then 2% thereafter).

http://personal.fidelity.com/product...rds_card.shtml
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:34 am   #14
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Thanks fevercity & deltame. Looking at fidelity now
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Old Aug 14, 12, 12:12 pm   #15
  
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Look at Citi Forward 5X TYP Restaurants & Amazon (1 TYP = $0.01 if taken as a check for mortgages or student loans. There are other redemption options like gift cards, or travel. Straight cash is not at great terms).

Then Amex Blue Preferred for 6% Groceries, 3% gas & department stores, $75 annual fee waived first year. Downgrade to no annual fee version (3% groceries) if you spend less than $2500 per year on groceries.

For your non restaurant, grocery, gas or department stores consider the Fidelity 2% Amex listed above.

Finally, get a Chase hotel card for your no forex card - either Priority Club ($49 AF), Marriott ($85 AF) or Hyatt ($75 AF). Each card comes with a free night when you pay the fee, so pick which one meets your travel pattern. Priority Club is a real bargain in that you can redeem at Intercontinental, and the fee is the lowest - however, the Hyatt is the most valuable point of the 3 (IMHO). With the Hyatt if you start to book a room you sometimes get an ad that will link you to an application with a $75 statement credit that effectively waives the first year fee. The other two have the fee waived the first year.

Cap One has no Forex, no annual fee cards if that is a hot button.
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