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pretty good affinity credit card
Old 07-22-2006, 09:59 AM   #1
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pretty good affinity credit card

is the Chase Cash Plus Visa that First USA bank offers.

I just cashed a check for $200 - got the card in March and charged about $6600 to get the $200. The mechanism is a little funky, supposedly their system tracks every grocery, gas, & drug purchase and counts 5% for those, all else is 1%. After having the card several months and seeing no reduction in my bills I called and asked exactly how I was getting that "cash back" they touted. The lady sweetly told me I just had to request "gift certificates" (for various restaurants, hotels, the usual line-up) or "a check" for the same amount. You know which one I chose.

So the drill is you can call up and request a check everytime enough points accumulate for at least a $50 check. I guess if there's a drawback it may be the inconvenience of phoning up every so often or spam mailings associated, but I can live with that.

I like credit cards that don't have an annual fee and offer something extra. Back in the days that Discover was readily accepted I used to use that for the 2% discount you got on the bill. The last three cars we bought were GM because the GM card gave you 5% up to $3.5K on a new car. (And it wasn't part of the "deal" - the deal was done before I put in for the affinity $).

I don't like airline affinity cards. Maybe if I was a big time business traveller always on same airline. Otherwise small return and blacked out dates and aggravation to score a $300 or so ticket after $20K plus spending.

At the same time I got the Chase card I got an Amtrak affinity card - sounded like me and the family would be cruising to NYC in the Acela in no time flat for free. Fuller understanding has now dawned and I'm going back to my one card (the Chase) habit and using plain old money to buy the train tickets when I want them.

We are generally a one credit card family (drives me crazy trying to track expenses with more than one) and put about $3 to $5,000 a month on credit cards.

Oh, I do keep that LL Bean card just for the free shipping.
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card
Old 07-22-2006, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card

Quote:
Originally Posted by zaniew
iWe are generally a one credit card family (drives me crazy trying to track expenses with more than one) and put about $3 to $5,000 a month on credit cards.
Understand the work in keeping track of several accounts. I like hat idea but also feel we should have two cards as it is always possible to have a problem with one and it might be unavailable for a while. (we lost a card and it was a week or two getting a new one, and there are identity theft issues.)

So we also have an American Express card from Costco. The only card they take, works well overseas and gives back 3% on restaurants. The AMEX & Mastercard both give back 1% on all purchases. I know tthere are some other good deals but this works for us.
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card
Old 07-22-2006, 12:42 PM   #3
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card

Quote:
Originally Posted by zaniew
So the drill is you can call up and request a check everytime enough points accumulate for at least a $50 check.* I guess if there's a drawback it may be the inconvenience of phoning up every so often or spam mailings associated, but I can live with that.
I just call my Chase "1% back department" once a year and cash in whatever bonus points I have at that point. If it was a big travel year for me, I can easily get over $300 back from all the travel costs (hotels, tickets, etc). Since my travel expenses are reimbursed by my clients, it's basically free money
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card
Old 07-22-2006, 03:51 PM   #4
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card

Hey Zaniew. Thanks for your review of the CC world. It is not an easy place to travel in is it?

Quote:
After having the card several months and seeing no reduction in my bills I called and asked exactly how I was getting that "cash back" they touted.
I think that the reason that CC companies do stuff like this is that they figure many folks will not be proactibve and as time goes by they will forget to take advantage of the extra benefit.*

No doubt they have marketing studies that indicate that the more road blocks/steps that customers have to take in order to get the benefit, the less number of folks will actually take advantage of the deal. More $$ for the CC co.

I have been using the Discover card for about 20 years with a Gold MasterCard as a back up and run just about all of our purchases thru this and get back about $400-$500 each year (about $40/month).
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card
Old 07-22-2006, 04:43 PM   #5
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card

Two of the 5% gas/grocery/pharmacy citi cards and a discover card turn us about $800 a year. We max both citi cards and get a bit back from the discover.
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card
Old 07-22-2006, 04:53 PM   #6
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Re: pretty good affinity credit card

Quote:
Originally Posted by zaniew
Oh, I do keep that LL Bean card just for the free shipping.
That may end soon as my wife is about to put LL Bean out of business based on the free shipping alone. Oh, wait.
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