In a recent article in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, the editors of the magazine suggested that you should ditch your expensive airline credit card. Instead, they suggest you apply for the no fee Simmons First Visa Platinum Travel Rewards card (www.simmonsfirst.com) or the no fee PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express card (www.penfed.org). To get the PenFed card, you’ll need to join the credit union, which costs $15 for membership in Voices for America’s Troops.
Bottom line: We took a look at both of these cards. The Simmons First Visa Platinum Travel Rewards card offers one point for every dollar charged to the card and cardholders can spend points, starting at 10,000 points, for awards such as air travel, vacations, hotel stays and gift cards. For 10,000 points, you can choose $100 off any airline ticket. For 22,000 points, you can get a roundtrip award ticket within the U.S. with a maximum value of $325. For 28,000 miles, you’ll get a domestic roundtrip ticket with a maximum value of $500. If you’re a big spender, a round-the-world ticket with a value not exceeding $12,000, can be yours for 600,000 points. The PenFed AMEX offers five times the points on airfare purchases, one point per dollar spent on other purchases and 20,000 bonus points when you spend $650 in the first three months of owning the card. There are no foreign transaction fees and awards like big screen TVs, “lifetime” experiences, travel and more are offered. There is no limit to the number of points you can earn, but the points expire five years from earning them.
As with anytime that you are looking for new plastic for your wallet, weigh what you are getting or giving up– free checked bags, cash back, the ability to exchange points for miles, and more.