If you were to choose just one card....

Discussion in 'Other Credit Card Programs' started by jazzmanfl, Mar 14, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. jazzmanfl

    jazzmanfl Member

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    If you were to choose just one card for all of your personal, day-to-day expenses, which would you choose to rack up the best domestic hotel/travel/cash back rewards? I'm exploring possibilities, and I'm curious to hear everyone's collective wisdom here.
     
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  2. Dangjr213

    Dangjr213 Gold Member

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    Sapphire Preferred for me...
     
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  3. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

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    By far my highest expenses are dining and travel. Sapphire Preferred makes the most sense for me.
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Bluebird? I hear it's very popular :)

    Okay, maybe not.

    Not sure it makes sense to answer this hypothetical question because there is no reason for virtually anyone here (at least US-based) to restrict themselves to one card.

    Even for my day to day charges, and ignoring the need to meet spend for bonuses, I use different cards for different categories.

    Basically

    - Sapphire Pref for things that fall into its bonus categories
    - HHonors Amex (until recently at least) for its 6x categories
    - UA Club Visa for everything else (1.5 miles)
    - UA Select for UA/*A charges (3x/2x + EQM)
     
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  5. jazzmanfl

    jazzmanfl Member

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    Thank you all for sharing.
     
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  6. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    why limit yourself to just one I think is a bigger question.
     
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  7. jazzmanfl

    jazzmanfl Member

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    As of right now, I have two credit cards. Only one of them earns rewards, and the rewards it offers have declined significantly over the years. I'm hesitant to close any accounts because I don't want it to adversely affect my credit score, so I'm just looking to add one more card to the mix for now, and I intend on it becoming my primary card. I've been exploring different options online recently, and I'm trying to decide on one that provides solid, all-around rewards and maximizes my annual rewards. (My primary goal is to use the rewards to cover domestic hotel stays with the rewards for long-weekend trips here and there.) I posted in this forum and in the Newbies forum (where you kindly offered some very helpful advice, @edekba - thanks again) to see what suggestions people might have.

    I've mentioned this before, but I've been focusing my attention on the Capital One Venture card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I also recently discovered the Fidelity AmEx with 2% cash back. Even though I don't like the 3 credit score pulls that Capital One does, from the number crunching I've done, it appears that the Capital One Venture will offer the greatest value to me over the long haul. I realize CSP has a nice sign-up bonus right now, and I was really hoping to sign up for a Capital One Venture when they're offering a better sign-up. But even with CSP's sign-up bonus, the calculations that I've done make it look like the Capital One Venture will pay me better rewards.
     
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  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Expensive hotels? Road trips?

    I don't know what your spend is, but I think Club Carlson's might be an option worth considering since you get basically one free reward night with every reward stay of 2+ nights. So a weekend of two nights costs you only one night in points. Card earns 5 points/dollar for everything. Just need to make sure Club Carlson properties work for you.

    Priceline or cashback sites (see what Wandering Aramean "preaches") might be ultimately your best bet,
     
  9. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Yeah maybe hotels.com 10% + cash back sites + venture 2% might be the best choice for you
     
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  10. jazzmanfl

    jazzmanfl Member

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    Thanks so much for suggesting the Club Carlson card. It seems like it might be exactly what I'm looking for. The one free reward night with every reward stay of 2+ nights seems pretty amazing. It seems like a great way to rack up a lot of free hotel stays.
     
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  11. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint. If you have a spouse or significant other, you should both get the Carlson card. My wife and I recently got them, and we are able to stay 4 nights for the cost of two by splitting the reservation.
     
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  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Ultimately, do the math for yourself and see what the return is on each dollar spend. A second free night isn't as good if the first night is more costly than if you went with another program. I personally haven't done the math because I got the card to near double the value of the 450,000 points that my wife and I had already acquired (double assuming we mostly do 2-night award stays).
     
  13. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    Sapphire preferred for me! I love to dine and travel!
     
  14. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Questions: what type of hotels do you prefer to stay in? And what brands have a presence where you like to travel? And what's your CC spending pattern? (Is it dominated by travel? Dining? Other random stuff? How much is foreign?)

    Here are some cards I would consider for a "general" user:
    • Fidelity Amex (issued by FIA). No annual fee. 2% across the board. 1% foreign transaction fee. Caveat: FIA's customer service is sub-par.
    • Costco Amex. $55 Costco membership/year. 3% gas, 2% dining and travel, 1% otherwise. Unlike the above, it's a "real" Amex, with their dispute handling.
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred. Tough call versus the above: do you value Hyatt/United/etc. points more than cash? Is it worth the annual fee? No foreign transaction fee.
    Note the dominance of cash back cards on that list rather than point cards. Especially since you're looking at weekend hotel stays, I suggest you consider one of the cash back cards and then use Priceline for the hotel stays. Weekends (at least where I usually travel) tend to have lower hotel rates, which makes using cash more tempting than using points. Priceline enhances that value proposition. If you're travelling to markets where weekend rates are high, that advice might flip.

    I would ALSO consider getting some hotel cards, but primarily for the signup perks. The Hyatt and Fairmont cards' two free nights are tempting, assuming they have hotels where you want to go. The Carlson card, despite the cool value proposition, might not make sense unless you already have a points balance with them.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  15. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Thinking about this a little more: if you want to use points (v. cash) for the hotels, this may become more a question of picking your hotel program(s) than your card(s), noting that Chase UR points transfer to all of Hyatt, Marriot, and Priority Club (ICHG). Here are a thread and a blog post about choosing a hotel program:

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/best-hotel-loyalty-program.49696

    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewf...or-free-nights-the-results-will-surprise-you/

    All-in-all, I still suspect you'll be better off with a cash back card, but I'll wait for the answers to my earlier questions.
     
  16. Zomby Woof

    Zomby Woof Silver Member

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    Chase Sapphire Preferred.
     
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  17. Fishing4Deals

    Fishing4Deals Silver Member

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  18. rockyrock

    rockyrock Silver Member

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    Sapphire Preferred for me. The UR Mall offers many chances at bonus pts and you can move points to several hotel and airline programs. Plus you have the benefits of Visa Signature and a live US based CSR every time you call.

    The Amex SPG isn't bad as you have many transfer options (not to mention a great ratio) with Starpoints. If you are doing 20k points you even get a 25% bonus. The downside is earning points is rather slow unless you stay at Starwood often...
     
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  19. Fishing4Deals

    Fishing4Deals Silver Member

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    I think the 25% bonus on the SPG card is overrated. It seems to me the best use of star points is to top off various FF accounts such as USAIR, Delta, Amtrak, or Southwest so you have enough points for an award. With that strategy, you would not get the benefit of the 25% bonus. I don't think using the points to stay at hotels is very worthwhile. You can almost always get a room in the same hotel on Priceline. That's my bias.
     
  20. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    Yeah, the 25% sure is a great way to top off an account. But I'm not fond of the card either. Especially when I'm spoiled by Chase who gives me one free night every year with their Hotel cards! Come on Amex, where u at? Slackin'!
     
  21. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Since Ink Bold for 5% back via gift cards doesn't work, I'd go with Fidelity for 2% cash back. Chase Sapphire Preferred is very good but locks you into travel rewards with select providers and may return less than 2%.
     
  22. rockyrock

    rockyrock Silver Member

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    I just kind of boned myself with the SPG card; I stayed at a Sheraton overseas and wanted to use my SPG card for two reasons: initial spend and of course the extra points. Well I'll get both as well as a FTF...I know I researched initially but it's 2.7%. Probably negates any point gain but still helps satisfy the initial spend so no big deal this time I guess. Amex should waive FTF on branded cards when you spend with that brand.

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
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  23. 949

    949 Active Member

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    CTY MC card for 5x GGD stores until the one year promo is over... otherwise, my backup card would be the CSP MC for all other charges
     
  24. WhiteDesert

    WhiteDesert Silver Member

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    My Sapphire Preferred is my go-to card, because there are so many places in my everyday movements that won't take my Amex SPG (e.g., the little mom&pop grocery store on my block; my dry cleaner). For non-bonused spend, I almost always use one of these cards if I'm not working on the minimum of some other new card. And it often ends up being the CSP. I have yet made the jump to adding in a cash-back card, but it's something I have my eye on.
     
  25. vickers

    vickers Gold Member

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    If I had to go with just 1, I may consider the Capital One Quicksilver. No Annual Fee. 1.5% rewards on all purchases. But again, thats with only one choice. Others would be Chase Freedom, SPG Amex, Marriott Visa. To name a few.
     

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