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sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 11:32 am

First rewards card advice...
 
I'm looking to get my first 'rewards' card and am looking for a bit of advice.

I've only ever had one credit card that I received through my credit union. Just the type of guy I am I don't like the idea of having multiple cards and its easier to keep track of my spending.

The other day I was looking through my statement and realized there is no real benefit to using this card. No real incentives.

I REALLY love to travel. Sometimes domestic, sometimes international. Just got back from Belize 3 weeks ago which was amazing! I'm currently in the planning stages to go to Honduras in May.

Started doing some research online and came across the chase sapphire preferred credit card. Seemed to be exactly what I'm looking for!

I probably go on 5-6 trips a year and it seems like this card has a fairly simple straightforward approach which appeals to me. Also if I'm not misunderstanding if you book travel through the UR site you get 3-1 points? Is doing it that way competitive compared to booking it through other websites?

Initially I was planning on this card (if I decide to go with it) to be my new one card. I usually pay off the balance every month. I probably wont close the other one but I will pay it off.

I came across an article that talked about the Chase freedom card. Apparently there are promotions every quarter that are worth 5-1 points with the freedom card, and you can add the points earned with that card to the same account as your Sapphire preferred... Am I understanding that right?

If so would you recommend applying for both (after a few months grace period perhaps)? I'd rather buy gas and get 5-1 than 1-1!

Thanks for this great resource! I had no idea how much information was available and how little I know!

gk17 Dec 18, 12 11:59 am

Welcome to FT.

Before jumping on those credit cards since you mentioned traveling internationally and domestically, which airline is that for? Chase and other banks offer bonus miles which you can take more advantage of in the beginning. Sapphire Preferred is still a good choice as it allows you to transfer those points to airlines plus you get 20% point redemption rate for travel rewards.

Yes, you do get extra points if you book through the Chase ultimate Rewards Mall. It varies depending on which site you go for (Travelocity, Expedia, etc.).

What do you mean you"usually" pay off your balance every month? You should pay it off in full every month. No point getting interest charges and not sure how, if any, it will affect your credit. I always pay in full.

That is correct. As long as you sign up for those quarterly bonuses, you can get an additional 4 points per dollar plus your original 1 point per dollar spent.

Depending on how long your credit history is and what's your FICO credit score, you might want to look into getting cards from Citi and American Express also.

sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 12:18 pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by gk17 (Post 19880519)
Welcome to FT.

Before jumping on those credit cards since you mentioned traveling internationally and domestically, which airline is that for? Chase and other banks offer bonus miles which you can take more advantage of in the beginning. Sapphire Preferred is still a good choice as it allows you to transfer those points to airlines plus you get 20% point redemption rate for travel rewards.

Yes, you do get extra points if you book through the Chase ultimate Rewards Mall. It varies depending on which site you go for (Travelocity, Expedia, etc.).

What do you mean you"usually" pay off your balance every month? You should pay it off in full every month. No point getting interest charges and not sure how, if any, it will affect your credit. I always pay in full.

That is correct. As long as you sign up for those quarterly bonuses, you can get an additional 4 points per dollar plus your original 1 point per dollar spent.

Depending on how long your credit history is and what's your FICO credit score, you might want to look into getting cards from Citi and American Express also.

When I say usually I just mean some particularly busy months it might carry a small balance a few hundred or so. (usually from small purchases like gas) I never let big purchases sit.

Honestly I dont have a preferred airline. I usually just go online and look for the best deal and book it.

Just refinanced my house and I believe my credit score was in the 760s.

Funny you bring up AMEX. I just got my mail and I've "been selected to apply for the Premier Rewards Gold Card." Whats interesting is they're offering 50,000 points if I spend 1000 in eligible purchases. Which would be easy considering the aforementioned trip to honduras. Since its a charge card it would definitely simplify it. I dont see myself spending 30k a year on this card though.

Which citi cards were you thinking?

gk17 Dec 18, 12 1:26 pm

The popular airline cards for Citi are the AA cards. If you are also looking for hotel stays, the Hilton card can be added to the mix. Both Citi and AMEX offer the HHonors cards (free and annual fee versions).

There are other offers for the AMEX PRG card that reached 75K points recently but it will require a higher spend to get them.

You will have to see which airline is worth the best value flying to Honduras. Each program has its advantage where one might not have an airline to transfer to and the other does.

sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 1:52 pm

Good point. I'll have to adjust for honduras and other future trips.

Quick question. These cards that offer points. Say for example I'm an American Airlines reward traveler. Purchases I make can have those points converted into AA miles as well? So I'd be getting points for flying AA and also for using my card to purchase the tickets?

aarif1 Dec 18, 12 1:58 pm

The Amex PRG 50K point offer is not publicly available, so that's a good one to jump one, IMO.

sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 2:54 pm

Any comments on the online interfaces between the amex and the sapphire preferred? Ease of use etc?

Also I know AMEX isnt accepted everywhere... I do have my original Visa but maybe I'd be better of grabbing the Sapphire Preferred, AMEX PRG, and then eventually cancelling my original?

sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 8:28 pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by gk17 (Post 19881089)
The popular airline cards for Citi are the AA cards. If you are also looking for hotel stays, the Hilton card can be added to the mix. Both Citi and AMEX offer the HHonors cards (free and annual fee versions).

There are other offers for the AMEX PRG card that reached 75K points recently but it will require a higher spend to get them.

You will have to see which airline is worth the best value flying to Honduras. Each program has its advantage where one might not have an airline to transfer to and the other does.

I do a lot of flying on American and United both domestic and international. It doesnt look like the AMEX has partnered with them specifically. Since they partner with BA, could I transfer the Amex points into Avios and use them with American Airlines?

The Sapphire Preferred covers United AND BA. So I'm assuming I could transfer the UR points directly to United and BA. If transferred to BA I could then use the avios to book AA flights?

Sorry for all the questions just want to make sure I understand everything.

wcj Dec 18, 12 9:15 pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by sarcazmo (Post 19881663)
Any comments on the online interfaces between the amex and the sapphire preferred? Ease of use etc?

Also I know AMEX isnt accepted everywhere... I do have my original Visa but maybe I'd be better of grabbing the Sapphire Preferred, AMEX PRG, and then eventually cancelling my original?

I think if you search around here, you will get some very sound advice on NOT canceling your original card EVER. Lots of discussions with search terms "average age of account" "credit utilization" , etc. If you read a few of those threads, you will find out why, probably more than you want to know, to keep that card open and to take it for a spin every so often.

CSP has a very easy online interface.

member7777 Dec 18, 12 9:48 pm

we don't allow anyone on these boards to carry a balance on their credit cards-small or "a couple hundred"-ever. If you can't understand that, you should not even have a card.
Wake up.

gk17 Dec 18, 12 11:10 pm

Is there a reason why you want to cancel your original card? Definitely hold onto it. If it's because it has an annual fee, call them up and see if you can downgrade to a card without the annual fee.

Can't check now but I think AMEX does allow you to transfer their points to Avios miles. I would wait for a promotion by AMEX since they usually give bonus miles like 30% that I remember seeing recently. Yes, you should be able to book through AA website using Avios miles.

Yes, you can also get the British Airways card by Chase. It's not as lucrative like earlier in the year but can be rewarding if you can meet the minimum spend for 100K points.

sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 11:28 pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by member7777 (Post 19883828)
we don't allow anyone on these boards to carry a balance on their credit cards-small or "a couple hundred"-ever. If you can't understand that, you should not even have a card.
Wake up.


To all those that have responded constructively so far thanks! To those that live their lives on a pedestal above everyone else... Thanks for the laugh! ^

I'll make sure to hit it extra hard @ the gym tomorrow morning! I'm going to make sure I'm sufficiently awake enough to appease the almighty keyboard warriors that inhabit the internet!

Back on topic... Since I fly mostly united and AA, it seems like of the two cards listed the Sapphire would be the preferred choice. (Although from what I've read converting your BA points to use on AA flights might be a giant pain)

Thanks again for the help! Please let me know if I'm overlooking something.

sarcazmo Dec 18, 12 11:33 pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by gk17 (Post 19884187)
Is there a reason why you want to cancel your original card? Definitely hold onto it. If it's because it has an annual fee, call them up and see if you can downgrade to a card without the annual fee.

Can't check now but I think AMEX does allow you to transfer their points to Avios miles. I would wait for a promotion by AMEX since they usually give bonus miles like 30% that I remember seeing recently. Yes, you should be able to book through AA website using Avios miles.

Yes, you can also get the British Airways card by Chase. It's not as lucrative like earlier in the year but can be rewarding if you can meet the minimum spend for 100K points.

Ah the reason Id cancel it would be due to an unfortunate set of circumstances I had with this card several years ago. Also I've never been too happy with their CS although an emotional response closing the account probably isnt the best idea.

I did see something where if you transfer your AMEX points you can get more points into Avios... Maybe 30%. http://thepointsguy.com/2012/12/30-a...nuary-14-2013/ Ah there it is.

Just to make sure British Air avios and AA use different forms of mileage rewards... But if you go through BA you can redeem your Avios for AA flights correct?


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