Credit Cards for best FF points? Airline vs Reward cards?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by fotomon, Sep 1, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. fotomon

    fotomon Member

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    My son is being transferred to Hawaii in October. He is a Sgt. with the 101st AirCav. He asked me what might be the best CC out there for FF points since he will be making a few trips back home to Charlotte, NC. I use the US Airways MC since US Airways has the most flights out of Charlotte but have never compared it with the others.

    Looks like United and AA have the most flights out of Hawaii but not sure the best thing would be to go with an Airline CC vs a CC where you can rack up reward travel like a Capital One Venture Rewards CC.

    Any suggestions from the group on which might be the best way to go? This will be his first Credit card so any sign up bonuses will figure in.

    Thanks!

    fotomon
     
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  2. flynhwn

    flynhwn Silver Member

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    United or American are good bets. You can usually get better mileage awards with American. United has more flights. Also don't forget flying from or thru the neighbor islands. Paying a one way $74. for to get there from Oahu is definately worth the miles saved for the award ticket. Welcome to the 25th Infantry!
     
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  3. miles and smiles
    Original Member

    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I have flown to Hawaii from CLT a few times. Over time I have flown all four of the majors (UA, AA, US and DL) because of whichever one had better availability for a particular trip. If his goal is to acquire miles for free trips, then it's best to have flexibility. So, my recommendation is for him to get more than one card. AA and US will likely merge next year, so getting those two cards will lead to a good number of miles which will be useful in and out of CLT. UA would be my next choice.
    And welcome to Milepoint!
     
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  4. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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  5. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    It was Chase. A tweet to Frequent Miler was where I saw it.
     
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  6. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Depending upon which airline he will be using most, both AA (Citi) and United (Chase) have good branded cards.

    The Chase Sapphire Prefered (and their Ink Cards) are great for racking up points, which can then easily be transferred to United and a host of other travel programs...
     
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  7. othermike27

    othermike27 Silver Member

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    If this is a first card, I suggest taking a broader view than just FF points.

    Is he already a member of USAA? If not, this would be a good reason to join and apply for one of their cards - they have several choices, including some for newbies. But the real advantage is signing on with an organization focused on serving military/ex-military with a variety of financial services: banking, insurance, investments, etc. They have an excellent reputation for customer service too.

    I agree with the earlier suggestion to consider more than one card, but you might want to make USAA one of the candidates to consider.
     
  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Here we tend to be fans of miles/points cards but military members have some special cases, so I will recommedn teh best financial deals of which I know specifically for active military members:

    I tend to favor cash back for military because deep discounts for travel usually are better than miles redemption will be, especially between Hawaii and CONUS, a difficult place for rewards redemptions. Keep in mind too that military-designed cards also travel well with the rapid change of station that goes with military life and the civilian oriented cars do not always do that.

    First, Chase:
    https://www.chase.com/online/military/military-credit-cards.htm
    These cards give cash back, 2% for all PX/BX purchases, 1% elsewhere but 2% as a promotional offer. Chase has been prominent in military banking for many decades, so they do understand the issues. Full disclosure: I banked with Chase MBF's and once was a Chase officer. I still bank with Chase, after all the mergers.

    Next USAA:
    https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/banking_credit_cards_main?akredirect=true
    USAA lives for military. Full disclosure: I bank with USAA.

    Third credit unions, specifically Navy Federal Credit Union (despite the horrible name, it serves Army too and is probably the most advanced pure active military option (Pentagon fed too, but it is slightly more oriented to the DC community):
    https://www.navyfederal.org/products-services/cards/creditcards/creditcards.php
    These have both cash back and otehr rewards options. Look carefully, the cash back is "up to" not 100% 1.5%

    There are numerous other good options but these three probably will do the best for somebody just starting out in the credit world.

    As an aside, slightly off topic, using autopay is a really good choice for active military since these options will all allow you to have auto pay debit of your payment just after payroll deposit. If there is a good chance of needing revolving credit for your son the best deal will almost certainly be Navy Fed or another military oriented credit union. All of the ones above offer pretty well designed banking services oriented to military, but USAA pays very low interest rates on deposits.
     
  9. boondr

    boondr Gold Member

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  10. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Without being ungracious I think Frequent Miler actually knows nothing about military-specific offers, in particular the travel benefits and discounts available to active military that often cannot be combined with other offers. That is why I did not recommend points cards, with the possible exception of the ones from military credit unions. For anybody who does not know, credit unions have a unique advantage in the US, in that they are not considered federally taxable entities, so their terms are frequently more attractive to borrowers and savers than are those of commercial banks.

    For those of us who are USAA fans, keep in mind that they are 100% profit making and offer purely commercial terms that frequently are less attractive than are others. For me, anyway, customer service has me paying extra for my self-directed brokerage account but my deposit accounts and credit cards are elsewhere. Their customer service is hard to beat, though. Their military auto and home insurance tends to be a good deal too.
     
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  11. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Another advantage of USAA is that they offer a true Chip and Pin credit card (their World Mastercard). Perhaps not so useful in the OP's current situation, but it's a fantastic card for use in Europe at those automated kiosks that don't accept anything but chip and pin cards.
     
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  12. fotomon

    fotomon Member

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    Thanks to all for all the great responses. I have sent my son the link to the discussion so he can sort through the suggestions and look into the options.
    I stand corrected in that he already has 2 CC cards, one of which is through Chase. He plans on calling them to discuss what options he has in acquiring one that will help with FF points. His initial concern with the United Chase version is the need to make $1,000 worth of "purchases" in a limited time to qualify for the sign-up bonus. He plans on seeing if there is any flexibility on that for military. Too bad he didn't think about this right after his last deployment. Could have qualified in a short time! Looks like Mom and Dad will have a chance to score a few FF points in the future now.:)
     
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