Best Credit Card for Paid in Full User?
So I have been for many years a PIF credit card user. I really like benefiting from the travel points I receive. Right now I have the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card. It gives me 1.65% cash back to use towards traveling. What I like about it is how easy it is. It is every purchase and no caps.
That said, I am planning to switch to the citi double cash back credit card. Where you get unlimited 2% back on every purchase. That’s actually a large amount of money each year for my family.
Can anyone recommend the double cash back (or advise against it)? Or does anyone have another credit card that they really recommend?
I have this card and like it. However, remember that the 2% is divided into 1% on the purchase and 1% on the payment. So if you use cash back to get a statement credit, you lose the 1% cash back on the payment part because you didn't pay them any money. Whenever I go in to cash out rewards, I have it direct deposited into my checking account instead.
The Citi double cash is probably the best card out there for everyday spending because it's 2% back with no fee. I still use the Capital One Venture card because I've had the account so long and I do not wish to close it.
However, I use a few other cards that give cash back at a higher rate for specific spending categories that fit our personal spending patterns.
I'm always amused by people who get the cards for 2% on a specific category (and the awards are only redeemable at one place) and 1% on all other spending, and they use that card for everything. They don't understand the fungible nature of credit card rewards and they end up getting a poor return. We cruise on Royal Caribbean, so hang out in some discussion groups, and it's amazing how those people think getting $100 onboard credit is so great, even if it's at a rate of return closer to 1% than 2%.
I have the Citi DoubleCash, the Fidelity 2% Cashback, as well as other 2% travel cards. For straight cash back, there's a newer card that will give you 2.5% from Alliant Credit Union. For the first year, it gives 3%.
I tried to sign up for this Alliant card but I didn't qualify. I have good credit, so I called them when I was declined and they said they'd like to establish a history with me first, so I accepted their offer for their flat-rate 2% and will look to switch over in six months. So, even their second-best card matches what I was getting in my previous primary-spend card.
I don't highly recommend the Fidelity card because Elan financial services the card. Their customer support has a mixed history.
I find Citi and especially Fidelity's websites to have bad enough user interfaces that I would recommend another card. Citi isn't terrible, yet I find it hard to find things even having been a member for years.
Finally, I'm all-in on the Credit Union-issued card instead of a huge bank card, so I recommend the Alliant card personally. You'll have to open an account with Alliant, which they've made pretty smooth. It didn't take too long, but I did have to scan my ID and send it in.
Still, you won't go wrong with the DoubleCash. It was my primary spend card for more than a year.
Perhaps consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred. I know the former seems insane, with its high annual fee, but keep in mind that you get back $300 in travel credits yearly (for which almost anything travel-related, including parking or taxis, qualifies), making the effective fee $150. Then there are a ton of other benefits, including points and lounge access. I've gotten so many reward points and "free" rental cars that the card has been worth it for me. However, it is only for people who pay in full, because the interest rates from carrying a balance would negate any reward savings.
I have the free Amex Blue card. What I don't like about their rewards is that for actual cash back, it's usually 50% on the dollar for redemption. I end up getting gift cards, some of which are 100% on the dollar. I don't use it much. I prefer DS (get an extra 10% or so on redeeming for gift cards), Chase Freedom or the Citi double cash back card.
I have looked at the Alliant card. The issue I have with it is after the 1st year there is a $59 annual fee. That’s $2,360 of spending just to break even.
I have thought about the Chase Saphire cards. But I really am not a fan of annual fees. Plus, I travel a ton for work but I use a company credit card. Otherwise I’d be all for it.
I have also considered having all the cards with 5% back at their respective stores. However, I have to force myself to keep things simple. I want (and my wife really wants) only 1 card we use for everything.
I have the amazon prime card (through Chase) - I use it for everything. Sometimes I apply the points towards an amazon purchase but I also use them for statement credits. I might get the Ally CashBack card (2% cash back at gas stations and grocery stores; 1% cash back on all other purchases) because they offer: a 10% Ally Deposit Bonus when you deposit cash rewards into an eligible Ally Bank account (which I have); and a $100 bonus when you make $500 in eligible purchases during the first 3 billing cycles)
nolesrule .. Thanks for reply ... My latest example: You spend $13000 to get 13000 SPG points. Then I stay at the JW marriott (same plan now) with these points. The cost would have been $750 per night PLUS 67.75 tax PLUS 32.00 tourism tax. This comes to around 6.5% value.
Another example I had. Stayed 5 nights at Snowmass, CO. Price would have been $799 per night. With taxes and fees (not resort fee) , it was $920 or so. So that would have been $920 X 5 = $4600. BUT if you stay 5 nights, 1 of them is free, so the point cost to you is 15,000 X 4 or $60,000 in expenses. So this value is $4600 / $60K = 7.66% return on your expenses.
Also consider using this gives you free Gold status, thus giving you free drinks, free upgrades, etc (worth something).
nolesrule Nothing mysterious here as I am not cherry picking my results. These are my last two stays for vacation. @ Grosvernor House - London was the JW. It can actually be around $1200 per night USD in summer. The Westin Snomass was the other. I can break down all of them if you prefer, but they are all in the same % value range.
I'm only saying if you are smart and not use points in offseason, you get higher % value than any cash back card. Can you waste points on offseason hotels? Sure. The same 12k to 20K points per night apply in low season (like $199/night vs high season $>$700 / night). So the value of this card depends on the user.
GreenBack Hoarder said:
So the value of this card depends on the user.
Which is exactly what I've been saying. Everyone needs to look at their own spending habits to determine the best cards for them, rather than adjusting their spending habits to align with their credit cards.
The rate of return on points cards is going to be variable based on how and when you are redeeming the points.