Credit Card Review

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dwade1109
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:36 pm

Credit Card Review

Post by dwade1109 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:53 am

Credit Score: Excellent (~800)

Current Credits Cards:

Chase Freedom

No annual fee
1% cash back purchases, 5% rewards rotate every 3 months

Citi Aadvantage Platinum Select

$99 annual fee
2 miles for AA, Restaurant, and Gas Station Purchases
1 mile for all other purchases
No foreign transaction fee

American Express Every Day Preferred

$95 annual fee
Rewards odd but essentially 3-4% cash back on gas and groceries

Citi Double Cash

No annual fee
2% cash back all purchases

Chase SLATE

No annual fee
No rewards

A couple of years ago I needed increased liquidity temporarily and I opened several extra credit cards to get a cash flow. My credit score was also not as strong so my options were more limited. Time flies and now I look back at my cards and really think I am doing a poor job optimizing my use. Currently I really just use the Chase Freedom for most purchases and my Citi card for gas/restaurants/AA flights (I fly AA a lot for work).

My game plan:

1) Cancel the SLATE card
2) Cancel the AMEX card. I thought it would be useful to have a non Visa/MC but it really has not been needed
3) Utilize the Double Cash card for most every day purchases
4) Utilize the AAdvatage card for gas/groceries
5) Keep the Freedom card for rewards categories

Any recommendations regarding the following:

1) Cards I should look into that would be superior than above?
2) Better option for AA travel than the Aadvantage card (the fee seems steep)

Thank you!
Josh

bloom2708
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Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:25 pm

Two that are hard to beat (if you use their services).

Costco Rewards Visa (4% gas, 3% restaurants, 2% Costco purchases, 1% everything else) + 2% with your Costco Executive Membership

Amazon Prime Visa (5% on Amazon Purchases, must be a Prime member) Rewards are Amazon credits. 5% adds up.


We try to fill up our cars at Costco. Gas is already ~20-25 cents less than other stations. Then you tack on 4% + 2% rewards for gas purchases. Gas 4% is anywhere, doesn't have to be Costco. Adds up to a 30 to 35 cents per gallon savings.

If you don't use either, these are not the droids you are looking for....
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fortfun
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Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by fortfun » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:37 pm

I'd recommend cap one venure and savor for the $500 bonus (each).

citi thankyou has a good travel bonus also.

jcd243
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Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:35 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by jcd243 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:56 pm

My strategy is (full disclosure, I'm a Citibank employee):

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred for any dining or travel. $450 annual fee but a $300 travel credit annually so the net impact is really $150, and I feel you get a lot of value for that $150, including the 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining/travel, priority pass lounge access and a large bonus when redeeming points for travel. I think there is a 50,000 point sign up bonus available now (Sep 2018) but I signed up for it 2 years ago when there was a 100k point bonus. If you don't like a fee there are other no-fee options but this is a great card.

2) Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card for any grocery or gasoline expenses. Annual fee of $95 but card provides 6% back on groceries up to $6,000 and 3% back on gas. I have two boys at home that eat as much as a small football team so we have very high grocery bills. I am considering getting a second card for my wife because I think we easily spend $1,000 /month on groceries. The cash back at 6% is amazing and well worth the fee. There is a no-fee version of the card too (3% back only) but we easily spend enough on groceries to make the fee card worthwhile.

3) Citi Double Cash - for everything else that is not travel, dining, grocery or gas. I'm biased here per my disclosure above but this is the best cash back card on the market. No sign ups, no annual fee, no rotating categories, and 2% back on everything.

I also have an AAdvantage card but I only put a few bucks on it a month to keep my miles from expiring. I don't fly as much for personal travel as I used to and I find the cash back more useful. Honorable mention to Costco as that is also a great product for gas/travel and use at Costco but we don't shop at Costco.

essbeer
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by essbeer » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:22 pm

The AA card has no bonus on groceries, so I assume you meant restaurants. How much do you value AA miles at? Uber card gets you 4% on restaurants (5% at exactly $5000) so it's better if you value AA miles less than 2 cents per point.

If you value AA miles less than 1.5 cents then the AA card isn't much good for anything. You can get gas, airline tickets, restaurants all at 3% or greater with no fee cards.

Personally I'd just sock drawer the Slate and let Chase cancel it.

Bortky
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:43 am

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by Bortky » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:15 pm

essbeer wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:22 pm

Personally I'd just sock drawer the Slate and let Chase cancel it.
I agree with this. Don't cancel the card unless there is an Annual fee. Just use it once a year and pad you age of account.

I probably wouldn't look to close the AAdvantage card, but instead product change it to the AAdvantage MileUp Card to avoid the annual fee (do this within 30 days of the next time the AF hits).

As for another AA card, I'd get the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard. Even though you will have to pay another $95 AF, you would get 60,000 points (after first purchase) and you'd get 10% (up to 10k) miles back when you make an award booking.

Depending on how many Chase (UR) points you have and what you want to do, it might be worth it to open a Chase card.

themesrob
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by themesrob » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:14 pm

jcd243 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:56 pm
My strategy is (full disclosure, I'm a Citibank employee):

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred for any dining or travel. $450 annual fee but a $300 travel credit annually so the net impact is really $150
I think you mean Chase Sapphire Reserve, probably -- Preferred is only $95 annually, no travel credit.

OP, I would also strongly recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve -- it would pair well with the Freedom (for the rotating categories) you're already using, and make the UR you've already earned/will earn more valuable since you can transfer and redeem them through the CSR at the better rate. This is my primary combo, and I don't think there's a better card than the CSR at the moment (subject to Chase changing up the UR redemptions, of course). I also have, as another poster mentioned, the Costco Visa (for Costco purchases and gas, usually bought at Costco) and the Amazon Prime Visa (for Amazon purchases, but I know it could be used for other things.) Using these cards in combination will provide significantly more value than the Citi Doublecash. Up to you as to whether the Aadvantage is worth the $99 -- I personally find the flexibility of UR to be more valuable, but I also don't fly as much as I used to and don't have any airline loyalties anymore.

tesuzuki2002
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:26 pm

dwade1109 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:53 am
Credit Score: Excellent (~800)

Current Credits Cards:

Chase Freedom

No annual fee
1% cash back purchases, 5% rewards rotate every 3 months

Citi Aadvantage Platinum Select

$99 annual fee
2 miles for AA, Restaurant, and Gas Station Purchases
1 mile for all other purchases
No foreign transaction fee

American Express Every Day Preferred

$95 annual fee
Rewards odd but essentially 3-4% cash back on gas and groceries

Citi Double Cash

No annual fee
2% cash back all purchases

Chase SLATE

No annual fee
No rewards

A couple of years ago I needed increased liquidity temporarily and I opened several extra credit cards to get a cash flow. My credit score was also not as strong so my options were more limited. Time flies and now I look back at my cards and really think I am doing a poor job optimizing my use. Currently I really just use the Chase Freedom for most purchases and my Citi card for gas/restaurants/AA flights (I fly AA a lot for work).

My game plan:

1) Cancel the SLATE card
2) Cancel the AMEX card. I thought it would be useful to have a non Visa/MC but it really has not been needed
3) Utilize the Double Cash card for most every day purchases
4) Utilize the AAdvatage card for gas/groceries
5) Keep the Freedom card for rewards categories

Any recommendations regarding the following:

1) Cards I should look into that would be superior than above?
2) Better option for AA travel than the Aadvantage card (the fee seems steep)

Thank you!
Josh
If you are using AA card and flights are for work... the fee should be considered a business expense right?

alter
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:27 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by alter » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:50 pm

I would keep any card that has a zero yearly fee. No reason to cancel those. It actually hurts your score and give you nothing positive to close.

I would close the Citi Advantage card (actually do not close at first, first call and ask to downgrade it to a version without a yearly fee), and get the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Large yearly fee but more than makes up for it in benefits if you are a traveler, plus you have the chase freedom and slate which can be used in conjunction and which are complimentary.

Also consider the Uber card, which gives 4% cash from restaurants, and which I also enjoy the free cellphone insurance from.

The Fidelity 2% flatrate cashback is a bit better than the citi double cash in my opinion since they just give you 2% right away, not 1% from buying and 1% from paying, plus the rewards go into your fidelity broker account, which is pretty good for a brokerage. It kind of compels you to invest the cash back rather than spend it.

elcassador
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:40 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by elcassador » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:13 pm

If you qualify for the Platinum Honors tier (100k in combined assets), I would recommend the BoA Cash Back Card.

1% on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 each quarter - then an added .75% booster to your rewards balance when you cash out into a BoA account. There is no annual fee and also a sign up bonus (which is eligible for the .75% booster as well). Open up a MerrillEdge CMA and a basic checking account - you can cash out to the CMA and add to your taxable investments or checking account to apply it to the balance. You also get a high # free trades per month with the CMA. There are additional benefits that I haven't really explored yet, but after about 8 months I have no complaints. There are some purchases where it isn't the most efficient (dining for instance) so we use a Chase Sapphire Preferred, but overall it's tough to beat.

investor4life
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:45 am

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by investor4life » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:56 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:25 pm
Two that are hard to beat (if you use their services).

Costco Rewards Visa (4% gas, 3% restaurants, 2% Costco purchases, 1% everything else) + 2% with your Costco Executive Membership

Amazon Prime Visa (5% on Amazon Purchases, must be a Prime member) Rewards are Amazon credits. 5% adds up.


We try to fill up our cars at Costco. Gas is already ~20-25 cents less than other stations. Then you tack on 4% + 2% rewards for gas purchases. Gas 4% is anywhere, doesn't have to be Costco. Adds up to a 30 to 35 cents per gallon savings.

If you don't use either, these are not the droids you are looking for....
I don’t believe that you get the 2% Executive bonus for gas.

ZinCO
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:42 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by ZinCO » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:01 pm

dwade1109 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:53 am

2) Better option for AA travel than the Aadvantage card (the fee seems steep)
Remember that $99 annual fee gets you free checked bags on AA also. Depending on your status and whether you fly AA for leisure also that may be of value to you.

Vanguard Fan 1367
Posts: 755
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:09 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:36 am

I like for simplicity the 2 percent back on everything. I have the Fidelity Card but the one that you have I agree with the Citi employee that it is great.

I once in a while have an issue of losing track of the bill or the payment and have to pay penalties and interest for a late payment. If you can juggle all those cards and keep up with the payments more power to you. I appreciate John Bogle giving me ideas for simplicity in my investments. I also like simplicity in my Credit Cards.

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wabbajack
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:05 pm
Location: Indianapolis

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by wabbajack » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:19 am

I would cancel the Amex. I used to have one like that because it gave me 6% back on groceries, but groceries stopped being my biggest expense - traveling and dining out are. Plus, Costco does not fit into the grocery category and they stopped taking Amex years ago.

I personally have had the Chase Sapphire Reserve for almost 2 years now. It has been my favorite card, hands down. I've redeemed travel expenses at 1.5x rate my points, and then gotten reimbursed by my employer. That alone has covered the annual fee many times over. I have no loyalty to airlines, although it's worth noting that you cannot book flights from Southwest using the Chase UR portal. It's a bit of a hassle as I found out, but nothing a phone call couldn't solve.

Finally, if you earn Chase Freedom rotating categories 5% cashback points, you can transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve and redeem them at 1.5x for travel expenses. That's 7.5% return on your dollar for a few minutes of work. Nutters.

bloom2708
Posts: 4662
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:23 am

investor4life wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:56 pm
I don’t believe that you get the 2% Executive bonus for gas.
Gas doesn't count towards my purchases? Assuming I didn't use my Costco Visa. Interesting. I don't know why that would be.

Because I pay for my Costco Gas with my Costco Visa, I only get the 4% from the Visa for gas purchases.
Where to spend your time: | 1. You completely control <--spend your time here! | 2. You partially control <--spend your time here! | 3. You have no control <--spend no time here!

dwade1109
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Credit Card Review

Post by dwade1109 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:38 am

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts!

I do not live near a Costco or drive a ton. I think the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card sounds brilliant and I appreciate the value of keeping a card open now.

I am going to cancel Amex, call AAdvantage and see if I can do the step down to a non-annual fee card (I have enough miles/EQMs to still be gold), and open a Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Fidelity Rewards card sounds great but not a huge advantage over the Citi Double Cash and I already feel slightly overwhelmed with the amount of cards I have open.

My only question is I have >180k AA miles...is downgrading my card to the non-fee putting me at risk of expiry?

Addendum: I looked into the other AA Card and honestly for the perks I get I would rather pay the 100 bucks a year and keep the AA card I have.

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