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Fidelity & Schwab are very reliable companies. I have a brokerage account with both. I just don't have much faith in FIA.

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minggang said: Argyll,
All card in QS are categorized by rewards, also, general consumer, student and small business.
Maybe you want to create a new Category - Rewards Cards from CU Only. Here are the cards I know have more than 1% C@shBack.
PenFed (5% gas, 2% grocery, 1% other)
Fort Knox (5% gas, 1.25% other)


Fort Knox is almost a clone of the Penfed Visa except for the 1.25% since Penfed lowered it to 1%

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dieuwer said: Why is Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards not listed at the beginning of this thread? Something wrong with that card?

IMO, Yes, Capital One is on a lower tier than most of the cards listed in this thread.

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angelmartinez said: Fidelity & Schwab are very reliable companies. I have a brokerage account with both. I just don't have much faith in FIA.

Your comment about FIA reminds me, I've been wondering: what exactly is FIA Card Services? Is it a subsidiary of BOA? Is it an independent company?

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TrueValue said: angelmartinez said: Fidelity & Schwab are very reliable companies. I have a brokerage account with both. I just don't have much faith in FIA.

Your comment about FIA reminds me, I've been wondering: what exactly is FIA Card Services? Is it a subsidiary of BOA? Is it an independent company?


After BoA bought MBNA, they decided to rename the company FIA.

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I have found a card that offers 3% CashBack for the first 6 months and then reverts to a standard 1% CashBack card. In your opinion, is this a card that should be on the quick summary list?

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3% on everything? Yes.

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Looks like another 2% card gone and deleted, 2% Citi Platinum AMEX: In TYP (1TYP = 1c for $100 GCs, comparable for travel, Expedia) $1,500 cap per year, $99 fee, $150 bonus (15K TYP) (also promo for 2 years: 3% supermarkets, drug stores, gas). [Link]

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FWMember00 said: I have found a card that offers 3% CashBack for the first 6 months and then reverts to a standard 1% CashBack card. In your opinion, is this a card that should be on the quick summary list?

My mistake on this post. It only gives 3% back on everyday purchases, which is nothing special.

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Anyone have the venture rewards card from capital one? 2 miles per dollar for everything(2% for travel purchases and ?) $59 AF after first year $100 bonus. Wondering what other rewards options are.

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Hi,
Long time lurker here hoping for FW wisdom.

My company is sending me to Shanghai in late April and I anticipate spending about $6000 USD. I have a business issued AMEX but would prefer to use a personal card which I can get points for (then get reimbursed by my company). However, my local credit union issued Visa will not work in China (I already checked with them). SOOoo...

Should I get another credit card? If so, which one? Is it worth the hassle ? The only debt I have is student loan and mortgage.

I checked out the best reward cards at the app-0-rama link. The Shanghai hotel is Pudong Shangri-La so a Starwood card wouldn't do me any good. They do not accept Discover. The rewards I'm most interested in would be for hotel stays.


Thanks!

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1. Schwab Visa
2. Capital One card with Cash Back
3. Maybe you want double check with hotel. They should accept Discover because almost all hotels in China accept UnionPay, which is Discover's partner. Of course, you will have to pay 2% foreign exchange fee.

Beligirl said: Hi,
Long time lurker here hoping for FW wisdom.

My company is sending me to Shanghai in late April and I anticipate spending about $6000 USD. I have a business issued AMEX but would prefer to use a personal card which I can get points for (then get reimbursed by my company). However, my local credit union issued Visa will not work in China (I already checked with them). SOOoo...

Should I get another credit card? If so, which one? Is it worth the hassle ? The only debt I have is student loan and mortgage.

I checked out the best reward cards at the app-0-rama link. The Shanghai hotel is Pudong Shangri-La so a Starwood card wouldn't do me any good. They do not accept Discover. The rewards I'm most interested in would be for hotel stays.


Thanks!

rated:
I haven't heard about credit cards not working at all in a country. I have one card which suggests I notify them before traveling abroad "to prevent blocked transactions when using your credit or debit card and help ensure legitimate use of your account." Another card (Addison Avenue) says there are no foreign transaction fees (plus it's 1% CashBack).

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I am not saying banks do not do it, but all cards I know which block some countries are from credit unions. Maybe it is just because these credit unions do not want to take high risk at those countries.
And, agree that Addison Avenue is a good card for internatioal use and everyone can join the CU to get it.

Argyll said: I haven't heard about credit cards not working at all in a country. I have one card which suggests I notify them before traveling abroad "to prevent blocked transactions when using your credit or debit card and help ensure legitimate use of your account." Another card (Addison Avenue) says there are no foreign transaction fees (plus it's 1% CashBack).

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Beligirl said: My company is sending me to Shanghai in late April and I anticipate spending about $6000 USD. I have a business issued AMEX but would prefer to use a personal card which I can get points for (then get reimbursed by my company). However, my local credit union issued Visa will not work in China (I already checked with them).

I also recommend Schwab Visa. With most of the other cards, your awards will be nullified by the FOREX fee which is 2-3%. Make sure you don't fall for the trick where the merchant charges USD to your card. They end up converting the local currency to USD on the spot at an unfavorable rate. So just use your Schwab Visa and you'll save with no FOREX fee and 2% Cash Back.

ETA: Frommers claims that your hotel accepts Discover btw.

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How many linked accounts do you have to open for the Schwab VISA and what are the minimum balances?

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Argyll said: How many linked accounts do you have to open for the Schwab VISA and what are the minimum balances?

You only need to open one brokerage account with no min balance requirement, where your 2% rewards are automatically deposited to monthly. You can ACH to anywhere you like from this account.

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Deleted

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Have a BofA Visa signature card. Tried to redeem 25,000 for a basic flight award, but the system does not let me pick the flight I want. Shows me only one crappy flight. What a SCAM.
Getting annoyed with these reward programs. It's not worth it.
For the amount of time you fiddle around to sign up for "rotating rewards", digging thru paperwork to squeeze a measly 2%, you could have done consulting job for $250/hour. GRRRR

rated:
Well, don't get an HSBC Mastercard, that's for darn sure.

My payment (in full) was late in arriving (tho still way earlier than the "Pay By" date),
so HSBC CS suggested I put a stop payment on it -- which I did, and let HSBC know about it.
Well, the check finally surfaced at HSBC and they presented it for payment -- which my bank promptly denied.
So HSBC levies a $35 "Returned Check" charge. And then they put a HOLD on my card, so now I can't even use it for the next week!
I asked the CS reps which part of the T&C allows them to do this and they give me a blank look (over the phone).
Sucks

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Argyll said: ...
I hope there are no fees from the cc company. The way I have my CU credit cards set up is: two draw automatically from a savings account so I never have to worry or even do anything at all, and the other two I initiate online from the credit union to make a payment. I have never used Billpay to pay credit cards.

Although very rare, billpay problems can happen. Most of the CUs have fairly liberal late payment policies. One of them assesses a fee only if ten days late. Also, credit unions do not automatically raise your APR if you make a late payment.

If you call the company and tell them the problem, they might be amenable to not assessing a fee.


I bitched and moaned and made enough of a pest of myself that the cc co finally relented and said they'd credit me back the $35 "Returned Check" charge. Damn right they better! I had sent in my payment weeks before it was due, and when the payment got lost, sent in another one. Maybe they don't think much of me as a customer b/c I always paid they bill in full--cheating them out of any finance charges they could have earned.

UPDATE: CC posted transaction crediting me the $35 fee. They're still "working" on un-crediting my initial bounced payment. Pathetic.

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So ... I'm probably on hte low end of spenders on the board, but we are looking to get a new card to use for points.

Credit is decent but not great (mid 700s).

We currently have an old MBNA. Our credit limits were cut pretty severly in hte last year, thanks to a call in we did about something else. I think they are about 10K (which, frankly, will be plenty for us).

Our current plan is to get an Alaska Airlines card. We have a very clear goal associated with this: the plan is to, when we have enough miles, do a first class trip to Australia to celebrate our anniversary (and, conviently, at our spending rate and current number of miles, that will fall right around our 25th anniversary).

I recognize some of the pitfalls of this: Alaska could go out of business; they could significantly raise their redemption awards for trips to the South Pacific; they could drop out of partnerships with the other airlines; it could be almost impossible to find available dates to use out points

We actually do not travel much; we are in the western US, so when we do, most of the time we can fly Alaska, and when we don't we can almost always fly one of their partner airlines.

Assuming we are approved for the Visa Signature, we get 25000 bonus miles, 1 mile/dollar (with a little better for the few times we purchase airline tickets),one $99 companion ticket, no mileage cap, two boardroom passes, and a couple of Visa Signature benefits.
ANNUAL FEE: $75

I have been considering the Schwab instead. My wife is resistant to the idea.

As an estimate, I'd say we will spend $1000 - $1500/month, average (unless we can fidure a way to pay the mortgage with the CC).
That's about $15,000/ year, predominantly on grocery and gas (although gas is generally purchased at Costco ... so we may try to get a second card specifically for this).

With the Schwab, that would equal ~$300/year.

In the 10 years (approximately) it will take us to save the miles for the trip, we would earn $3000, plus some interest (assuming we always took this money and transferred it to some generally decent interest bearing account). The cost of a first class ticket, from my research, is about $6000. Minus the $750 in annual fees, that makes a difference of about $2000 (accounting some for interest ... but not increase in ticket prices).

The Airlines card seems a risk, but also potentially higher return.

Thoughts? Other cards we should consider?

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kmsandrbs said: ...Credit is decent but not great (mid 700s)....
Our current plan is to get an Alaska Airlines card. We have a very clear goal associated with this: the plan is to, when we have enough miles, do a first class trip to Australia to celebrate our anniversary ...


Some thoughts

* I much prefer cash to pts, so the Schwab shines here
* it may be worth getting the PenFed VISA, so you get 5% Cash Back on gas, vs 2%
* good luck getting better than 2-3% on groceries -- been looking for a card to replace my aging, HSBC 9%), but so far no great deals
* annual fee -- hate those, nevr pay them but it might come to that with the Schwab sooner or later; and in my mind, it would be worth it.

Guessing that 1/3 of your spending is gas, you have:
# 1: Schwab: $1000/mo x 2% = $20/mo = $240/year, no fees
# 2: PenFed (gas): $500/mo x 5% = $25/mo = $300/yr
TOTAL (2 cards): $540/year
In 10 years, you'd have earned $5400 + interest = $6K or so

Compare vs Alaska Air cc:
$1500/mo x 1 mi/$ = 1500mi/mo = 18K mi/year + 25K mi bonus
So after 10 years, you'd have 205K mi, but have paid $750+ in annual fees.

What's 200K mi worth? For US flights, maybe 1 c/mi, so $2000. For international?? Check toi see how many mi you'd need to go from West Coast to AUS, and try to put a $$ value on it.

To my mind, I'd take the cash over the miles, esp for such a long term program. No telling what AS will do the miles as time goes on. Probably make them worth less over time, is my guess.

Note that I had the AS VISA last year; as soon as I got my bonus points, I quit. They fully refunded my annual fee (unusual for a cc, I think).


HTH
Scott

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kmsandrbs said:
Our current plan is to get an Alaska Airlines card.


Only one card? If you're not opposed to inquiry hits, Alaska business + personal cards for each you and DW = 100K miles for the cost of annual fees. Churn and you'd have > 200K miles.

Strongly agree with scottsd on CB. Cash never goes out of style.

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kintro said: kmsandrbs said:
Our current plan is to get an Alaska Airlines card.
>>>>
I recognize some of the pitfalls of this: Alaska could go out of business; they could significantly raise their redemption awards for trips to the South Pacific; they could drop out of partnerships with the other airlines; it could be almost impossible to find available dates to use out points


Only one card? If you're not opposed to inquiry hits, Alaska business + personal cards for each you and DW = 100K miles for the cost of annual fees. Churn and you'd have > 200K miles.

Strongly agree with scottsd on CB. Cash never goes out of style.


Or do a combination of Alaska and SPG and cash. SPG points can be transferred to most airline programs with a bonus for every 20K of 5K, so your effective earning is 1.25. If you get the business and personal for yourself and SO, you are getting closer to doing the trip. One added consideration is getting hotels paid for, SPG can help, then sign up for hilton Cards and Priority Club and Marriott. Since you have a few years, plan on applying every 4-6 months and you should be (YMMV) successful.
After the bonuses hit for each card, use the straight CB. Your travel could happen in 3 years, not 10.

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scottsd said: kmsandrbs said: ...Credit is decent but not great (mid 700s)....
Our current plan is to get an Alaska Airlines card...


Some thoughts
* I much prefer cash to pts, so the Schwab shines here ...


I want to suggest one or two alternatives to consider:
1) Starwood Preferred Guest cc -- get 1 pt/$; when transfer to your airline FF program, get a 25% bonus if you transfer
20K mi; eg transfer 20K pts, get 25K miles; not sure (you can check) if transfer to AS is at 1:1 rate; some nice things about SPG card -- new account bonus (currently 10K, plus additonal 15K pts if spend $15K 1st 6 months); points last forever (as long as you use the card from time to time); only $45 annual fee; CS is by AMEX;

2) AMEX Hilton Hhonors: also comes with a sizeable new account bonus; get 3 or 6 pts/$ spend; BUT -- restricted to hilton chain, or can transfer to an airline FF program but not always at 1:1; no annual fee (tho they do offer an enhanced cc with a fee);

3) Finally, consider one of the other AMEX cc that accumulate membership rewards points, which you can usually transfer to an airline at 1:1.

So consider a card like one of these, not tied into a particular airline. Note that each of the above also give you a bonus if you exceed a spending target during the year (off the top of my head, it's like 15K pts for $30K spend) -- something you don't typically get with a single-airline cc.

Also -- whatever card you get, consider getting two (2), so both you and your wife can each get the new account bonus; then just pick one card an use that for all your purchases. Also get a the business version cc, to pick up the new account bonus on that as well. SPG has that, not sure about hilton.

PS Just saw Aitchly's earlier posting which covered all this!

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Oaky ... so, possible plan and more notes:

Apply for Alaska personal and business (each of us), accrue bonus, then cancel card (so no long-term annual fee) (we don't really care about the other bennies)
Also apply for CB (I'm assuming Schwab) (use after have hit minimum needed for rewards to kick in)

Then, as time goes on (about every 6 months), apply for additional for bonuses, then go back to CB, including:
Apply for SPG: (Potentially try for a time whan there will be a significant expense to get the extra 15K ... but not sure will be able to do that) - can cancel after have transferred miles, before one year
Then hotel cards
Then, reapply in the future.

1) I don't care about credit hits (just bought a house, decent rate, so no plans to refi anytime soon, so aside from CC apps, I don't need to have great credit; good credit, yes, but not great)
2) Wife has no current income - does this cause any issues (or can she just put down family income)?
3) After cancelling, generally how long before you can reapply and get the bonus again (or is this really just card-dependent)?

Thanks, I hadn't really though of the apply/cancel route. I had looked at SPG, but my reading had lead me to believe that you could use the points to fly on any airline, not that they could transfer; the transferring is nice to know (we actually have a good start to our miles on Alaska).

rated:
very informative..thanks

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very informative..thanks

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kmsandrbs said: ...we are looking to get a new card to use for points...to do a first class trip to Australia to celebrate our 25th anniversary...I'd say we will spend $1000-$1500/month (unless we can figure a way to pay the mortgage with the CC)...


I remember reading last year about a checking account that came with a VISA as overdraft protection. Each time a check cleared, it would trigger a charge (not cash advance) to the VISA, and you'd earn points (1%) which could be used for merchandise and other stuff. I've searched my memory (and my email) for particulars. Here it is: it's the BB&T Free Checking account.
It's been awhile since I last looked at it, but it may be worthwhile for you. Looks like you pair it with the
BB&T Visa Platinum Credit Card (which appears now to have a small (waivable?) annual fee. You get a few bonus points for the new account. And you spend points on "retail and restaurant gift cards, BB&T gift cards, merchandise, travel and more".

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kmsandrbs said: ...possible plan...After cancelling, generally how long before you can reapply and get the bonus again?...I had looked at SPG, but my reading had lead me to believe that you could use the points to fly on any airline, not that they could transfer; the transferring is nice to know (we actually have a good start to our miles on Alaska).

The question "how long to reapply?" -- it really dfepdns on the card, as yoiu say. More and more seem to restriuct you to one lifetime bonus award-- eg if I reapplied today for the AMEX Delta cc, since I'd previously got the bonus, I'd only get a new bonus that was over and above what I'd previosuly got (read the fine print/T&C).

And yes, SPG does sell air flights -- go to spgflights.com. Flights are priced (in SPG points) in steps, based on the $$ cost of the flight; eg a flight costing $200-$250 costs 20K points (I think); and one costing $300-$350 costs 30K pts. So a flight on the upper end of its bracket costs the same # points as one on the lower end. I got my son a ticket this way last winter for 20K pts. So it can be a good deal.

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A little off topic here, has anyone tried the American Express Zync card? Is it worth the annual fee?

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intex45 said: A little off topic here, has anyone tried the American Express Zync card? Is it worth the annual fee?

So it costs you an annual fee, pays "1 point per dollar" (whatever that means) and if you don't pay the balance in full every month, they cancel your card.

I read through some online reviews and they are basically wetting themselves at the prospect of getting a crippled credit card (charge card). Basically AMEX is forcing you to pay it off every month, because you can't control your own spending.

Why would anyone want this?

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UseTheForceJesus said: intex45 said: A little off topic here, has anyone tried the American Express Zync card? Is it worth the annual fee?

So it costs you an annual fee, pays "1 point per dollar" (whatever that means) and if you don't pay the balance in full every month, they cancel your card.

I read through some online reviews and they are basically wetting themselves at the prospect of getting a crippled credit card (charge card). Basically AMEX is forcing you to pay it off every month, because you can't control your own spending.

Why would anyone want this?


Maybe if you can't get approved for a Blue or Clear?

rated:
hapsnn said: UseTheForceJesus said: intex45 said: A little off topic here, has anyone tried the American Express Zync card? Is it worth the annual fee?

So it costs you an annual fee, pays "1 point per dollar" (whatever that means) and if you don't pay the balance in full every month, they cancel your card.

I read through some online reviews and they are basically wetting themselves at the prospect of getting a crippled credit card (charge card). Basically AMEX is forcing you to pay it off every month, because you can't control your own spending.

Why would anyone want this?


Maybe if you can't get approved for a Blue or Clear?


You can get approved for the Schwab card. (2% Cash Back on everything, no fees). I got mine and I had no credit history whatsoever.

rated:
scottsd said: Well, don't get an HSBC Mastercard, that's for darn sure.

My payment (in full) was late in arriving (tho still way earlier than the "Pay By" date),
so HSBC CS suggested I put a stop payment on it -- which I did, and let HSBC know about it.
Well, the check finally surfaced at HSBC and they presented it for payment -- which my bank promptly denied.
So HSBC levies a $35 "Returned Check" charge. And then they put a HOLD on my card, so now I can't even use it for the next week!
I asked the CS reps which part of the T&C allows them to do this and they give me a blank look (over the phone).
Sucks


My tenant had an HSBC mastercard where one of the VNA nursing home "caregivers" helped herself to my tenant's charge card. HSBC. Fur coats were fraudently charged as well as daily ATM withdrawals made. I contacted HSBC to report fradulent charges because no way the invalid tenant made any ATM withdrawals across town in the wrong part of the neighborhood when she was in a nursing home and bedridden. They said they'd cancel the card and alert fraud dept. instead of waiting for the dispute to be settled, HSBC charged her card for the unauthorized withdrawals every month. They take care of you all right.

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Didn't see it listed at the top of this thread...but what about the Fidelity Private Client AMEX? Seems like a decent deal....2% points on all purchases...lots of travel benefits...including Priority Pass Prestige. All for $200/yr annual fee. The Priority Pass Prestige is $399 alone.

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I got a discover card a few years ago with 0% balance transfers for life, as long as you made two purchases per month. I am desperate to find something similar again, I would even be happy with 2.99 or 3.99 on balance transfers, if I could get it for life. Anybody seen anything like that lately??

rated:
It doesn't appear anyone is going over 12 months for 0% transfers:

http://www.CreditCards.com /balance-transfer.php

PenFed has 24 months at 4.99% which would be cheaper than the others if you intend to go 24 months.

rated:
Argyll said: It doesn't appear anyone is going over 12 months for 0% transfers:

http://www.CreditCards.com /balance-transfer.php

PenFed has 24 months at 4.99% which would be cheaper than the others if you intend to go 24 months.


Can you provide a link for the PenFed card?

Thanks

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