What's your go-to card?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by MyTravels, Jun 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    After reading Gary & Brian’s friendly discussion about their go-to card(s), and since real answer is: It depends - It depends on the cardmember, their spending patterns, travel patterns, points/miles redemption tolerance, etc, I thought it would be good for some folks to share what's their go-to card and why (and maybe a little history if they so chose).

    [Darius threw his hat in the ring with his favorite cards]

    Okay, now what's your favorite card(s) and why?

    Running List

    Cash/Cash Equivalent
    * FIA Schwab 2% (cash is king, no FX fee) [no longer accepting applications]
    * AXP Costco (3% categories)
    * Capital One Venture (2% back, no FX fee, earnings post with each transaction)
    * AXP Blue Cash Preferred (6% back @ grocery stores, 3% at fuel stations & department stores)
    * FIA Fidelity AXP (2% deposited in traditional, IRA or 529 accounts or 2 Aeroplan miles/$)
    * US Bank FlexPerk Visa (Double FlexPoints on highest volume Gas, grocery/office supplies or airline purchases, effectively 4% toward flights)
    * Barclays Travelocity AXP (10%, 4% & 2% if redeemed at Travelocity)
    * BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards (Targeted 2.5% cash back if you redeem in increments of $300)
    * PenFed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards Card (5% on fuel)
    * Chase Freedom (5% in bonus categories which change each quarter)

    Miles
    * BofA Alaska Visa (Online booking bonus & $99 companion Cert)
    * Citibank AAdvantage Visa (Addicted to AA miles; Working toward lifetime status)
    * Chase BA Visa (Spend $30k = 2for1 companion certificate, no FX)
    * AXP Delta Reserve (Send $30k = 15k MQM bonus; 1st Class Companion tix, Upgrade tie-breaker, SkyClub)
    * Chase CO Presidential Plus MC (flex EQMs)
    * Chase UA Select Visa (Bonus for UA & A* purchases, 5k EQM from united.com)
    * Chase OnePass Mastercard (Primary Rental Car Coverage)

    Hotel Points
    * AXP SPG (5k transfer bonus to FF programs)
    * AXP Hilton HHonors (Hotel stays, $20k = Gold HHonors, 6 points in some bonus categories)
    * Chase Choice Privileges Visa (Hotel stays, 2pts/$)

    Utility
    * Chase Sapphire Preferred (x-fer to all three alliances & Hyatt, 2x points on travel, Online Portal, no FX fee)
    * AXP Platinum (Travel Benefits, Airline Expense Reimbursement, Transfer Bonuses @ DL & BA)
    * AXP Air Miles (Canada - No Fee)
    * Visa Gold (Canada - No Fee)
    * AXP Premier Rewards Gold (Spend $30k = 15k MR bonus, Transfer Bonuses @ DL & BA)
     
  2. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    • Schwab 2% Cash Back card (for personal expenditures, cash back is king)
    • SPG Amex (for business expenditures --- can't use a cash back card, the rebate would be taxable)
    • Costco Amex (gas at 3%, but shifting restaurants in August over to the Schwab Visa as Amex is dropping that category down to 2%. Might as well get the credit monthly rather than annually)
    • Alaska Visa (for the 1,000 mile online booking bonus and the $99 companion cert, used for FC travel)
     
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  3. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Great idea for a discussion thread!

    Based on my previous posts, you can probably guess that my go-to card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

    Here's why:
    Shorter Term:
    1) I was lucky enough to get the bump up to 100k bonus points. (although I initially signed up only for the 50k)
    2) My current go-to mileage program is UA/CO, so the 1:1 points transfer works out for me.
    3) I have two planned international trips in the next 12 months, so the no foreign transaction fees is awesome
    4) Annual fee waived the first year!

    Longer term:
    1) The ability to use points to book mileage earning tickets - as those EQM really matter to me.
    2) After my impending graduation, I will be hopefully relocating to the west coast for a job and my flying patterns will change.
    2a) I may switch mileage programs, and UR's flexibility in booking any carrier helps me out
    2b) The routes I fly will probably become much shorter and cheaper, and the 1.25 cents per point redemption for airfares < $300 is a better deal than redeeming for saver awards (plus I get the EQM/EQS)

    Now, the longer term benefits (and no foreign transaction fees, and a lower annual fee) could also be satisfied by the Cap One Venture Card (with better(?) earning at 2 points per $), but I missed the sign-up bonus. I -may- switch to the Venture Card if a good sign-up bonus appears. However, with the UR mall bonuses and my spending patterns, I've been able to boost my points earning by about 25% and between that, the 1.25 redemption value of points on airfare, and the 7% annual dividend, I'm earning about 1.6% per dollar spent...

    After I meet the $3k spending requirement for the bonus, I will probably use my UA Mileage Plus Select to earn double miles on gas and groceries and the Sapphire for everything else. At some point I will have make a decision to cancel one, to avoid paying two annual fees.
     
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  4. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    My go to cards are AMEX SPG and AMEX Hilton for domestic spending. For overseas, it's Chase Sapphire Preferred to avoid the fees.
     
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  5. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    After spending about a year going through many new cards and claiming many bonuses, I have settled into the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred as my primary card. It gives me 6% cash back at grocery stores and 3% at gas stations and department stores. Right now the Choice Privileges Visa is my secondary card as it gives me 2 points for every dollar, and I need hotel points.
     
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  6. Jetpuffed
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    Jetpuffed Silver Member

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    I need luggage tags....

    Citibank AAdvantage Platinum Visa. I'm grandfathered with no yearly mileage earning limits. It's my entry onto the OneWorld carriers, especially Cathay First Class! I use the Visa portal to earn 4x miles.

    AMEX Platinum for the international travel benefits.

    SPG AMEX for the 5,000 point transfer bonuses.
     
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  7. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    Except for the Alaska, I'm in almost exactly the same boat. Schwab, SPG Amex, Costco Amex.

    I do also use my AA MC from Citi while I get a bonus for it. But that falls in the category of temporary cards I use, just to get a bonus. I've usually got a stack of those.

    One more note about the Schwab: when I'm out of the country, this is pretty much my exclusive card.
     
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  8. Million Mile Secrets

    Million Mile Secrets Silver Member

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    This is a great discussion!

    I like using my miles and points for experiences which I would NEVER be able to afford such as First or Business class travel.

    Therefore, I don't use cash back cards since a $5,000 business class ticket would require $250,000 in spending with a 2% cash back card! But I completely understand why you'd want to use a cash back card if you, well, just wanted cash or EQMs.

    I am currently using the BA Visa because I want to get the companion certificate which will net me an additional First Class redemption. I know that I will have to pay fuel surcharges and taxes, but then you can't have the best of everything. :)
     
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  9. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    At some point also, cash back makes sense because you've just got too many miles and points and not enough time to use them. Not that I'm going to die soon or anything, but I've got a job, as does my wife, and the kids are in school and we just don't have enough opportunities for trips when we can all go.
     
  10. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    We're in similar circumstances using similar cards. I have miles coming out the wazoo on AS, UA & DL. That's why I'm getting cash back.
     
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  11. penumpang
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    penumpang Gold Member

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    This spring was challenging for me as I applied and was approved for many cards. Now that I've met all the spending requirements, I try to focus on how to maximize the miles/points I get from using the cards.

    1. My CO MC currently has 2x miles for entertainment, dining, and retail purchases until end of July. So, I use it only for those categories. In April-May, it gave 2x miles for dining, gas, and groceries. As soon as the bonus period expired, I stopped using it. I was targeted again for the current promotion. I also use this card to buy things from the CO online shopping portal to get the Twice the Miles bonus.
    2. Premier Rewards Gold Amex is used for gas and groceries for the 2x points and for buying tickets for the 3x points. The annual fee is coming due later this year and I think I will cancel it.
    3. My BA Visa is used for other expenses not covered in (1) and (2) since it gives 1.25 miles per dollar.
    4. My Chase Sapphire is used here and there so that it doesn't look like that I got the card only for the sign-up bonus (even though I did) because I want to get Chase cards in the future :). I was able to get the 100K bonus. The 7% dividend and the ability to transfer to CO, BA and some hotels are nice features. The UR points can be used to top off my UA/CO and BA FF accounts as needed.

    Currently in the drawer: Capital One Venture. I have claimed the 100,000 miles.

    My next goal is to focus on getting hotel points since I already have enough airlines miles.
     
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  12. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    On the cash back front: I may be opening a can of worms here, but we have two Schwab card accounts, each with two cards. One, my wife's, we use for personal expenses. The other, mine, I use for business. Unlike dgreen12, I don't consider the cash back to be taxable. Maybe I should, but my accountant says to ignore.
     
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  13. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I've done this in the past, but as the number of cards in my stack has increased greatly, I've given up on the practice. And I don't think it's hurt me - I got the Sapphire, at least.
     
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  14. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    If I was just getting 2 % cash back, it wouldn't be such a big deal. But I'm getting 6% for necessities (groceries) and can also be used for gift cards for 6% cash back at various other stores and online retailers. For me, that puts cash back into another territory completely.
     
  15. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    I have two to go cards, Visa Gold and American Express air miles card. I pay no fee for either, would never think of paying for a credit card. And my to go is to go and pay them off prior to my statement date. Have NEVER been late paying and never have I incured a fee.
     
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  16. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    I'm a CPA, purchasing business expenses for my accounting firm --- so I'm being cautious on the cash-back side --- it's hard to argue that "I didn't know".
     
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  17. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    Everyday spend is SPG Amex. I am thinking of switching that to an Amex Plat (which I have form the 100k bonus). Anyone have any suggestions?

    When I can't use my Amex cards I used my old AA MC (also good at some dining places around me for extra mileage).
     
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  18. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    Is that for discipline or is there another reason you pay prior to the statement cut?
     
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  19. Toula
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    Toula Gold Member

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    I've actually found it rather distracting over the past 12 months having to continually shuffle cards to meet spends for new cards.

    In 2011
    AMEX Gold - like this card because the points stack up so quickly. We've just hit the $30k spend so will dial back all spending on this one with the exception of flights which offer 3x points.
    Chase Sapphire - Was recently approved for this one and majority of spending is going in this direction to allow us to gain points in the Star Alliance where our current balance is 0.
    Hyatt Visa/Priority Club Visa/SPG AMEX/Hilton Surpass - We usually just use these cards when we stay at the linked hotel chain,

    In 2012
    BA Card - Would like another 2-4-1 voucher so first $30k will be on this card.
    AMEX Gold - Hopefully we can crack the 30k on this for the bonus points as well.
    Chase Sapphire - Will be next man up if I crack the above two goals.

    On the chopping block
    Capital One - They did a good job but this is an orphan card for me and I would like to simplify my financial life in 2012
    Citibank AA - As above
    BOA Hawaiian Visa, BOH Hawaiian Visa - We used to fly with Hawaiian regularly, however future flights we will credit to a different alliance so no need to keep these two cards
     
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  20. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    What bonus do you get on Amex Gold after 30k spend?
     
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  21. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    I added it to the first post summary - 15k MR bonus if you spend $30k
     
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  22. sunspotzsz
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    sunspotzsz Silver Member

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    I can't believe nobody is mentioning Fidelity Amex card, which I believe is the best card for general use.
     
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  23. Lufthansa Flyer
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    Lufthansa Flyer Gold Member

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    Amex Gold Reward card for everything. 3x for any airfare. 5x for airfare through amextravel.com plus 2x for gas. had 50k bonus offer last year to join, and 15k points for 30k spent each yr. Already over 300k MR points. The Coins help out a lot!
     
  24. AZguy

    AZguy Silver Member

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    American Express Platinum
    With the great sign-up bonus, transfer bonuses, lounge access, and airline expense reimbursement this is a great overall card
     
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  25. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    I think many got in on the Schwab card before the Fidelity came out and if you have Schwab there isn't a compelling reason to switch. Also not everyone can have/wants a Fidelity account and/or frequently purchases from merchants that don't accept AXP.
     
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