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Credit Cards with good perks??
Old 01-04-2018, 06:00 AM   #1
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Credit Cards with good perks??

I have been a CC minimalist my whole life. I carry just my bank debit card and a MasterCard CC which is through my CU. It earns points but, I don't find them useful since I can't turn them into cash and I am not interested in buying stuff like air fryers or golf bags with flourescent straps!

In the past I tend to use my debit card for almost all purchases. This was to avoid exposing myself to CC interest payments. Now, I realize I am missing out on possible rewards.

Anyway, I wouldn't mind getting a CC that earns real perks like, airline credit or real cash back on purchases.


Would love to hear what other folks are happy with. Thx.

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Old 01-04-2018, 06:35 AM   #2
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Here is a great thread as to what people are doing.

Credit Card Rewards Summary 2017


I rarely get less than a 2% back. I like cash back, not miles. I can spend the cash on anything, and you do not typically get more than 2% back in miles anyway. If you fly budget airlines, the miles are no good. The cash back is tax free, over $3K in 2017.


Mostly I charge stuff like this.

Amazon - 5% back on Amazon purchases. I keep it in a drawer and never touch it. Only used on Amazon.
US Bank Visa Signature - 5% back on fast food, cell phone.
Sam's Club Visa - 5% back on gas, 3% back on travel, 3% back at restaurants
Fidelity Visa Card - 2% back on everything else
Menards - 2% back at Menards, plus 1% contractor. Plus other rebates.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:40 AM   #3
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You might be more satisfied with a universal card that earns everywhere like the Fidelity card on Senator's list that earns 2%......one catch is that you need a Fidelity account to deposit the funds in....otherwise it only earns 1%.
Citibank has a similar card but it earns 1% when you buy and 1% when you sell. Perhaps that would be an incentive to pay currently.

If you don't have a Costco card now, you probably won't get it (since you need to pay for membership) but it's similar to Senator's Sams Club:
4% gas (a bit lower), 3% travel and restaurant, 2% Costco, 1% all others.
Nice combo cards so 2 others can live in the desk.

There are cards w/ rotating 5% categories that, unfortunately, you have to sign up for each quarter: besides US Bank, others include Chase Freedom, Discover IT.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:58 AM   #4
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Most of discretionary spending is food, gas, restaurants or Amazon

The Amazon card looks nice at 5%
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:13 AM   #5
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I
In the past I tend to use my debit card for almost all purchases. This was to avoid exposing myself to CC interest payments.

You also avoided exposing yourself to the legal protections that come with all credit cards, and that are missing from debit cards. The ability to dispute a charge can be a huge plus when dealing with a less than ethical business.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:14 AM   #6
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Always a cash back card. And just one until Costco made me get an Amex and then a MasterCard (at which point I ditched the Amex). Had the debit and business Visa card as backup but seldom required. New chip and pin cards make having a second card more appealing as replacement cards are more problematic.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:18 AM   #7
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A cash back card is best. Most people need at least two of them to maximize the cash-back. Me? Costco Visa for the 4% on gas and the 3% on travel and restaurants and the 2% on Costco purchases. Amazon card for the 5% on Amazon purchases. Fidelity Visa for 2% on everything else.

I generally avoid cards that are restricted to points that must be redeemed for flights, hotel rooms, prizes, etc. It is to easy for the issuer to devalue your points by raising the number of points needed for the free hotel room or whatever. Cash is cash and you can spend it at any airline, hotel, store, etc.

I would avoid cards with yearly fees unless you are pretty sure about your plans and your math.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:32 AM   #8
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Most of discretionary spending is food, gas, restaurants or Amazon

The Amazon card looks nice at 5%
I believe you might need an Amazon Prime Visa card for that....only available for Amazon Prime members, and if you're not already one of those,it costs an extra $100+(?) for that (annually).
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:36 AM   #9
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-Discover Miles is offering 3% back on all purchases for a year.

-Discover It is offering double points for the first year (matching 1% back on most things, 5%/quarter on other caterogies like gas, groceries, Amazon, etc), so essentially 2%-10% back for the first year. They also don't have stupid $20-25 minimum cash back requirements to be able to use your rewards.

-Chase Freedom offers 5% on quarterly categories too. It's a nice pairing to have with the It card. Right now there's also a 30,000 ($300) sign-up bonus.

-Wells Fargo is offering $200 back on $1,000 spending in 3 months.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:37 AM   #10
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I believe you might need an Amazon Prime Visa card for that....only available for Amazon Prime members, and if you're not already one of those,it costs an extra $100+(?) for that (annually).
If you get the Amazon Chase Visa card, it's 3% back if you don't have Amazon Prime.

I believe the Amazon Store Card is now 5% back as well.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:00 AM   #11
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I have 3 cards: one for groceries, one for travel and dining, and one for everything else.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred: 6% cash back on groceries up to $6000 = $360 less $95 fee = $265 cash back (3% cash back on gas but I don't have a car)
Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3 points for travel and dining plus 1.5 points when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards; $475 fee, of which $300 is automatically refunded when used for travel (taxis, trains, planes, hotels). Got 100,000 points when I signed up.
Citibank Double Cash Card: 2% cash back on everything
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:03 AM   #12
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I will reinforce points above:

1 - Do no use your debit card as a credit card, the debit card lacks some of the consumer protections that a credit card does. Also, as the debit card is linked to your checking account, there is also the small chance of a thief draining your checking account by stealing your debit card info.

2 - I do something similar to what Senator has suggested above. There is just one new card that I'd suggest looking into as it offers the highest across-the-board cash back bonus. Alliant Credit Union's Visa: 3% cash back on everything the first year, then 2.5% cash back on everything thereafter. Visa Signature Card | Alliant Credit Union I don't have one yet, but am probably going to make the switch from Fidelty Visa to Alliant's. It has a $59 annual fee, so it's only a better card long-term if your spending is high enough to make the $59 a non-issue.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:22 AM   #13
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If you get the Amazon Chase Visa card, it's 3% back if you don't have Amazon Prime.

I believe the Amazon Store Card is now 5% back as well.
same thing on the Store card...........Prime Store card is 5%; plain Store card is 3%.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:22 AM   #14
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I made an expensive purchase from a small business (one owner) who charged me at purchase and then "ghosted" me for two months. Phone # on the web site didn't work, email didn't work. Finally I sic'd the CC company on her. Next thing I know, there's an apologetic (sob story) email in my inbox, and my merchandise arrives (really nice - specialty hobby stuff I couldn't get anywhere else).

Without the CC company's help, I wonder if I would have gotten my stuff ever!

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You also avoided exposing yourself to the legal protections that come with all credit cards, and that are missing from debit cards. The ability to dispute a charge can be a huge plus when dealing with a less than ethical business.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:48 AM   #15
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We used the Costco card with 3% cash back on travel and dining a lot in 2017, and 4% for some gas, although we used the PenFed 5% card for gas more often.

I used the American Express 6% for groceries exclusively in grocery stores, and 3% for purchases in large department stores (only one of those in 2017).

All Amazon purchases went through the Amazon Store card for 5% back.

Fidelity 2% card for most of the remaining purchases.

I do use the United Club Card for airfare and rental card. You just get miles, but you get other insurance protections and we get two free checked bags each if paid for by card. I particularly like the primary car insurance for rental cars. Those insurance protections are available on the regular United Explorer card for a much lower annual fee, but DH really likes the Club access when traveling and we have enjoyed the premium access for check-in, priority baggage handling, and extra free checked bags. Between us we often check 3 bags because we are usually bringing stuff for family and somehow have extra stuff to take back.

I have a different set of cards I use in Europe for no transaction fee and some have rewards as well. The Bank of America Travel Rewards card with 1.65% cash rewards and the First Tech card with 2% on most travel related purchases. The Chase United and PenFed cards are no transaction fee so they act as backup.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:54 AM   #16
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Yikes!
I should back down from using debit. Didn't think much about that.

Biggest expenses seem to be gass and groceries
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post
Anyway, I wouldn't mind getting a CC that earns real perks like, airline credit or real cash back on purchases.

Would love to hear what other folks are happy with. Thx.
To get the best deals you need multiple cards. Here are my recommendations:

Credit Card Rewards Summary 2017
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:11 AM   #18
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In the past I tend to use my debit card for almost all purchases. This was to avoid exposing myself to CC interest payments. Now, I realize I am missing out on possible rewards.
Lots of advice on the CC's, but I also wanted to point out that when you use a debit card, you are using YOUR money (so when there is fraud, it's YOUR money that goes missing). When you use a CC, then it's the BANK'S MONEY...not yours. Granted, you would most likely get your money back, but is it worth the risk?

Without fail, we have at least one fraudulent charge that exceeds $1,000 for the last several years. The last one was for an airline ticket of over $3,000. Do you want that amount taken from your bank account? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Edit: OK...here are the cards that I use primarily. If a good deal comes around (say $150 cash back if you spend $500) I will do those too, but I haven't done many of those deals in the last few years.

Amex Preferred Cash ($75 annual fee): 6% Groceries, 3% Gas.
USAA Limitless Cashback (no fee): 2.5% on all purchases.
Chase Freedom (no fee): 5% on rotating categories (they have made it easy to sign up...they send an email with a single-click link to activate).
Chase Amazon Prime (no fee outside of Amazon Prime subscription): 5% on Amazon sold products.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:43 AM   #19
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Since you're a self-described CC minimalist my advice is to replace/add to your current CC a single all purpose cash-back CC. I have multiple cards and optimize to specific spending categories, but there's complexity overhead that may be to much for you as a minimalist. I recommend you open up a CITI double cash CC (effective 2% cash back card - 1% at purchase and another 1% when paid) and that you set it up to auto pay in full out of your checking account. This is a no annual fee CC and a good all around card to use with minimal thought. Don't cancel your current CC as your CC score might be low just to so few trades, and you want to retain your age of oldest account. Just put the old CC in a secure place and generally forget about it.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:47 AM   #20
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Good ideas
I think I could add maybe 2 more CCs. I just don't want the headache of managing many cards and accounts. I'll check my options and get back.
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