$325k+ Spend Per Year - Which Card(s)?

Discussion in 'Other Credit Card Programs' started by AndreaRH, Mar 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. AndreaRH
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    AndreaRH Silver Member

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    I'd like advice regarding credit card spend for my elderly parents. Here's the situation (and I'll try to keep it short)...

    Due to a severe medical crisis, my parents will be spending upwards of $325k this year for in-home nursing care and/or nursing homes. If they stay at home, they'll also be renovating two bathrooms and that will incur some additional expenses as well.

    The original plan was to use their Amex Gold card for most purchases to earn Membership Rewards points. However, the visiting nurse association only takes Mastercard and Visa. I'd like advice on which Visa or Mastercard may be the most lucrative for us.

    We were looking at cash back cards, and that's still in the running, but my parents have asked me if there's any way to get a rewards card that would...

    A) earn points that can be converted into airline tickets from Jacksonville, Florida to Boston (so my sister's family can visit more often without spending their money)

    B) earn points that can ultimately pay for a family vacation to Walt Disney World once my parents are gone (we always used to vacation at Disney as a family and my parents have a dream that their final gift to the children and grandchildren would be another trip for us to come together as a family after they are gone).

    I'm sort of hedging toward having them open a Starwood Amex card and use that instead of Amex Gold for expenses when possible to earn SPG points that could be used at Disney's Swan or Dolphin hotel.

    Then I'd open a Mastercard or Visa to be used for the visiting nurse payments. I just don't know which card to go for. Would you do a cash back card or another mileage-earning card (like Citi AAdvantage)?

    I'd appreciate your input.
     
  2. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    You will probably need a couple of cards in order to charge that much - depending, of course on what the credit limit is. I would suggest you look at the Continental MC with Chase. Has a great sign up bonus right now (50K miles). Remember that Continental miles can be used on United or any StarAlliance airline. By having both your folks get the card it will get you 4 domestic saver tickets to start. Not too many airlines have non-stop flights from JAX to BOS so if you want a non-stop it appears your best bet would be Jet Blue - but they only are tied to the AMEX - not M/C or Visa.

    For hotels, your idea of the Starwood AMEX would be good for use at the Epcot hotels.
     
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  3. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    On the Amex side, SPG should be better than the regular Gold because of the 25% bump when transferring to airlines.

    On the Visa/MC side, it's too bad you can't get a Schwab cash back card, but otherwise, I'd just go with the one for the airline that works best on your routes.
     
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  4. techboyds
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    techboyds Silver Member

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    I know you said you weren't really looking for cash back cards, but if there was ever a time to use the 5% cash back for 6 months AARP Chase card, this would be it, and for once, the application and spending wouldn't even look slightly suspicious. That's a huge chunk of change that could easily be used to buy domestic airline tickets and hotel stays, and the real value in miles is international bookings anyway (Disney Paris?).

    For miles cards, perhaps the best in terms of Visa/MC might be the BA Visa, also from Chase, because it pays 1.25 miles per dollar, and at $30,000 in a calendar year you get a free companion ticket. BA miles can be used on AA routes.

    *EDIT* Another advantage to BA is that they allow family members to pool miles, so if you had to get several cards (and with that much spending, you might), you could put it all together.
     
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  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    The Chase card with unlimited 5% cash back for the first 6 months has to be attractive..
     
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  6. AndreaRH
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    AndreaRH Silver Member

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    Thanks, everyone. These are great suggestions and I'm researching the options now.

    The cash back cards are looking good but may not work since I'm guessing we'll get a 1099 for the cash rebate. Anyone who's had to deal with a "spend down" situation before being able to get a Medicaid bed at a nursing home will know why that's problematic. But I'm going to talk with our estate planning lawyer to get his advice on that.
     
  7. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I know it doesn't really help since the card isn't available, but I've never gotten a 1099 for a Schwab card, and I've gotten well over $10K in a year from it.
     
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  8. techboyds
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    techboyds Silver Member

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    I've never heard of anyone getting a 1099 for a cash back card (and I certainly never have over the years I've used a variety of them), and the consensus has always been that you won't.

    The Wall Street Journal discusses it here: here:

    So I suspect you'd be safe.
     
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  9. AndreaRH
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    AndreaRH Silver Member

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    That's great news that these cash back cards don't issue 1099s! Thank you for that information!
     
  10. chemist562
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    chemist562 In Memorian

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    For the "fat" signup bonuses, I would have each of them apply for both the AAdvantage Visa & AMEX on the same day. Check the AA 75K thread on Milepoint & FT. 150K each on AA. As for a long term card, there may be better. I'm told that the expired links work, even the $1500 spend/card. Since there may be significant spend, the 100K offer for 10K spend may be good.

    If they apply for CC's, apply for them on the same day. See Ingy's www.frugaltravelguy.blogspot.com blog.
    One Chase card each is safe, two is pushing it. My wife applied for 2 Chase cards and initially got turned down on 1 of the cards. After a phone call, she offered her no annual fee UA card (converted from fee to no fee after a year & kept for history). Each can apply for a Chase card & then 2-3 months later, apply for another Chase product.

    Sounds like the 50K CO card is good. The AARP card with 5% cash back for 6 months is quite good.

    Don't forget that they can use household combined income for their applications.

    No 1099's for credit card bonuses since they are considered rebates. Some banking products gets 1099's. Citi is noted for giving 1099's on bonuses (2.5 cents/mile) on savings/checking products.
     
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  11. I open a money market account with Chase last year because they pay me $100 cash, at the end of 2010 they send me a 1099 so make sure you report at your tax, if you don't or forget to report this $100 you will be in trouble because bank report it.
     
  12. Bluto
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    Bluto Silver Member

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    Get the Fidelity Visa. It is 1.5% cash back for the first $15,000 of spend per year and then 2.0% thereafter. If you're really going to spend $325k this year, then you're essentially going to average 2% back. There's also no annual fee. You won't get a 1099. Lastly, if you really insist on having a miles card instead of a cash back card, then don't sign up for the auto-cash redemption feature, and instead use your points to redeem for Aeroplan miles. You'll basically get 2 miles per $1 of spend. Aeroplan miles can be used to redeem Star Alliance flights.

    My other suggestion is to get a Chase Southwest Visa to get the bonus offer for free flights. Orlando International Airport is a Southwest-dominated airport. Chances are, your relatives will have use for free Southwest flights when they converge on Walt Disney World.
     

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