New Churn - Focused on Cash Back or Hotels, Not Miles

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by nonstopski, Oct 14, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    Due to the amount of miles I have at the time, and my travel plans for the next 2 years, I am going to focus on cash back cards versus travel cards. I'm also secondarily interested in hotel cards since I have no points in the area. However, if the card is good enough I might be interested in miles (as I'm up for a churn and nothing wrong with racking up more miles).

    Here is my list currently. Picking 3 max, probably. I'm most interested in the thoughts on the IHG card.

    Citi ThankYou Preferred (20k points ($200) after $1,500 in 3 months)
    Barclay Arrival Card (40k after 3 months 1,000.) - $200 or 440 for travel
    Discover it card (no annual fee ever)
    Chase IHG Card (Hotel points. 80k, no annual fee first yr, $1,000 in 3 months)
    Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card (50k miles if few united miles in account, $1k in 3 months)
    Citi Dividend Card ($100 back after $500 in 3 months)
     
  2. mikeef
    Original Member

    mikeef Silver Member

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    So I'll give you my thoughts on the Chase card. I am not a big ICH guy but this card is great for me. Why? I get one free ICH night per year, and we have a great property in Boston. It makes for a heck of a date night for the $45 annual fee.

    Mike
     
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  3. tomsam

    tomsam Silver Member

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    What cards do you currently have? Based on your statements it seems like you might be a good candidate for Ultimate Rewards points (Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus/Bold, Chase Freedom) that could give you flexible transfer options to several hotels or airlines? AmEx Membership Rewards points would do the same.
    I love the Chase IHG Card. Agree with Mike that the annual free night more than makes up for the $49 AF. Plus IHG has a good selection of hotels worldwide, and the card has no forex fees. Here's a link to MMS's perspective on this card -
    http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/09/25/priority-club-visa-80000/
     
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  4. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Since you want to concentrate on cash back cards this time, I'd definitely add the Chase Freedom card to the list (if you don't already have it). The rotating 5x bonus categories let you rack up points fast. And it's a no annual fee card. I'd also go for the Citi Thank You Preferred for the 2x points on dining (but only if you don't already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which also offers 2x on dining and works synergistically with the Chase Freedom card).
     
  5. LAM

    LAM Silver Member

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    If you want cash take a look at the Fidelity Amex. You get 2% back on everything but you do have to deposit it in a Fidelity account (but you can withdraw it immediately) This use to be my go to card before the miles/points bug hit me.
     
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  6. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    As usual, there is a distinction between cards you get for the sign-up bonus, cards you actually want to put spending on, and cards you want to keep on an ongoing basis for other reasons. Let me suggest some cards you didn't list above:
    • FIA Fidelity Amex: no sign-up bonus and no annual fee, but 2% cash back on everything. A great card for ongoing spending. Downside: it's issued by FIA rather than Amex, so you're dealing with their less-generous support if you have disputes. I think 2% on everything beats Citi Dividend's 1% + 5%.
    • Chase Hyatt card: nice sign-up bonus of two nights in any Hyatt (Hawaii? Park Hyatt Paris?), nice ongoing bonus (one night/year in category 4 or lower with no spending requirement). This is a keeper even if you never put any spending on it. No foreign transaction fees.
    • Marriott card: various generous sign-up offers + a one night/year offer. Again, a keeper even if you never put any spend on it.
    • Fairmont card: sign up offer of 2 nights + one night/year, with $12k spend. This one might be a "get it for the bonus then drop it" sort of card.
    • Various Costco Amex cards: 3-4% cash back on fuel, 2% cash back on travel. Unlike the Fidelity card, they're real Amex's, but they don't have some of Amex's nicer benefits, like Return Protection.
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred and Freedom. UR points can be redeemed for cash or transferred to hotel (or air) programs. Depending on your tolerance for annual fees, CSP could be a keeper or not. Some folks add an Ink card or three to the mix (one per business!).
    Unless you need the UA-specific travel perks (free bag, early boarding), I see little point to getting the UA Explorer card -- instead go for Sapphire Preferred. The sign-up bonus is comparable, points transfer to UA, and you get 2 points on all travel spend, not just UA. One minor reason to get the Explorer card: it has primary rental car protection.

    The choice of which hotel card(s) might be based on where you like to stay. Fairmont's footprint is tiny, and its rates are high. Hyatt and Marriott have a larger range of properties and price points. IHG is huge, but their hotels aren't really to my taste.

    I still have the Barclay's Priceline Visa, but I got mine when it was a 2%-on-everything card. It's now only 1%. If you're using Priceline, it can still be worthwhile (5% cash) but otherwise stick with the Fidelity Amex.

    You might also consider whether you need a card with no foreign transaction fee. Most of the Chase cards mentioned above offer that. The FIA Fidelity Amex charges a relatively modest 1%.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
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  7. nonstopski

    nonstopski Silver Member

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    should have mentioned: I have the CSP, Freedom, Citi AAdvantage Visa and Amex.
     
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  8. satman40

    satman40 Gold Member

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    Hyatt works for me, and is part of the Chase Family.
     

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