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NFT: Best Credit Card for Intermediate Traveler?

Jim in Forest Hills : 2/10/2018 1:42 pm
Have CapOne Venture right now, its ok. Anything better out there? Usually have 2 overnights in Hotels a month. Fly every other month. Dont mind paying a fee if its worth it. Any recs?
Hey Jim  
allstarjim : 2/10/2018 1:53 pm : link
I used a couple of credit card comparison tools online and it was very helpful the last time I shopped for one.

Here are a few:

https://www.creditcards.com/
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/credit-cards/credit-card-comparison-tool/index.htm
https://www.nerdwallet.com/compare/credit-cards
https://wallethub.com/credit-cards/

My guess is it will be tough to beat your existing card.



I've had the SPG Amex card for years  
MetsAreBack : 2/10/2018 2:33 pm : link
and swore by it up until a few months ago... but not surprisingly, the Starwood/Marriott merger has now led to significantly higher points redemption costs.

So I'm likely looking for a new card myself soon. I'm a spend not lend guy... dont love the airlines cards because they barely/rarely give you 1% back unless you fly at off-peak times, and so restrictive to have to use their one airline on top of it.
VISA!!! International takes VISA  
DennyInDenville : 2/10/2018 2:41 pm : link
Your cap 1 MasterCard/visa should be good

I recommend the "Chase Freedom Unlimited"

Amex and discover are great in the USA but foreign countries take VISA

Of if your specifically looking for air points etc then idk

But the chase freedom unlimited is as reliable as it gets. Cap1 is great also.


Set your travel alerts ahead, takes 5 mins on the apps
Oh shit nevermind  
DennyInDenville : 2/10/2018 2:43 pm : link
Get the Amex travel and pay the fee if your using it to pre book

I was thinking over seas use
I've used my Amex  
pjcas18 : 2/10/2018 2:49 pm : link
in probably 15 countries. I've had zero issues with it anywhere, in fact I believe Amex is one of the better cards internationally.

I would recommend it, but I have the platinum card and my company reimburses the $450 (or whatever it is) annual fee and I travel often, it's really more for more than intermediate travelers IMO.

Even I didn't have the annual fee reimbursed it still is probably worth it, it comes with $200 annual airline credit, $15 per month Uber credits, free membership to all Amex Centurian Lounges as well as all Priority pass lounges (many for immediate family too) as well as automatic gold (or better) membership for multiple hotel and rental car companies (these offers vary and require you to enroll, but there is no additional fee, you just need to see when they're offered and add them)
I have Amex Delta card  
superspynyg : 2/10/2018 3:03 pm : link
Delta flys out of Atlanta so itís the airline I use 95% of the time.
VCap One venture gets great reviews. 2x points on EVERYTHING not just airlines.
We've also used Amex in several countries  
Matt M. : 2/10/2018 3:26 pm : link
They also generally have the best exchange rates of all the cards.
PJ  
MetsAreBack : 2/10/2018 3:36 pm : link
thanks for the tip - the annual fee is unfortunately $550 not $450, and the "$200 airline credit" isnt towards purchase of ticket - its towards incidentals on your flight like snacks, wifi, etc. Have to fly a ton, and in economy (since food is free in first class), to ever see that entire benefit...

I'm also confused if i sign my wife up to my account if she would cost an additional $175 on top of the $550.

But... 60,000 points bonus for signing up basically pays for the first year annual fee. And I'd get all the benefits with Starwood i already get using their card. I'm considering this.
RE: PJ  
pjcas18 : 2/10/2018 3:48 pm : link
In comment 13828546 MetsAreBack said:
Quote:
thanks for the tip - the annual fee is unfortunately $550 not $450, and the "$200 airline credit" isnt towards purchase of ticket - its towards incidentals on your flight like snacks, wifi, etc. Have to fly a ton, and in economy (since food is free in first class), to ever see that entire benefit...

I'm also confused if i sign my wife up to my account if she would cost an additional $175 on top of the $550.

But... 60,000 points bonus for signing up basically pays for the first year annual fee. And I'd get all the benefits with Starwood i already get using their card. I'm considering this.


the credit is also for upgrading seats, if you have to pay for "extra room" or first class or Economy Plus or whatever the airline calls premium seats. I usually use it by the second or third week in January.

For my card they had an offer last year with free (no annual fee) additional Gold cards for my wife (I think the additional no fee cards are gold not platinum, which still is decent).

$550 is a lot though, not sure how that annual fee competes with comparable cards.

Yes gold cards are free  
MetsAreBack : 2/10/2018 4:21 pm : link
And I suppose you can bring two companions into lounges anyway so it doesn't matter if she has platinum or gold. Though I'm guessing then her spend wouldn't get 5x on certain things.

I already have great status with American (pretty much owns the Miami hub) - now that I'm in Ny I suppose this would be a good way to get delta perks

I think JPM has a few good options too - I'll look around.
Well i went back to the website  
MetsAreBack : 2/10/2018 4:37 pm : link
and they just upped their offer to 75,000 AmEx points to sign up.

but i checked the airlines fine print - upgrades or anything ticket purchase related do not count.... not sure if this is a recent change? Which airline did you pick to get your benefits?

$200 Airline Fee Credit
Benefit is available to Consumer and Business Platinum Cardģ and Centurionģ Members only. To receive statement credits of up to $200 per calendar year toward incidental air travel fees, Card Member must select one qualifying airline at www.americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. Qualifying airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Statement Credits: Incidental air travel fees must be charged to the Card Member on the eligible Card Account for the benefit to apply. Incidental air travel fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $200 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges. Fees not charged by the Card Member's airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits. Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.

The airline must submit the charge under the appropriate merchant code, industry code, or required service or product identifier for the charge to be recognized as an incidental air travel fee.
I used JetBlue  
pjcas18 : 2/10/2018 4:51 pm : link
this year, you can change it once per year, so I usually look when booking a trip of the airline is part of their program and then will consider premium purchases.

So I knew I was flying JetBlue to Vegas earlier this month and my company only pays for economy air travel domestic.

I upgraded my seats with the Even More Speed/Even More Space and I think it was $65 each way and I got the $130 credit back on my card.

When I use my AMEX card overseas...  
rmc3981 : 2/10/2018 6:03 pm : link
I always get charged a foreign transaction fee for every purchase, whether restaurant or hotel (effectively a FTF for every dollar I spend there). It infuriates me. I use my British Airways VISA instead because there are no transaction fees.
Check out this site  
Ron from Ninerland : 2/10/2018 6:14 pm : link
This site has the most comprehensive reviews of credit cards, reward programs and airlines.

Highly rated on this site, and my choice is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Its a $450 fee, but $300 of that you're going to get back quickly. The first $300 per year you spend on travel is reimbursed. Chase takes a very broad view of what travel is. It includes parking, taxis/Uber/Lyft and even mass transit passes such as Metro Cards, LIRR tickets and BART. Also included is the fee for TSA/Pre or Global Entry. It includes a Priority Pass for airline clubs. You get a 50,000 initial point bonus and 3x points for travel, hotels, and restaurants, 1x for everything else. In addition you can also get a Chase Freedom Card which gives you 1.5x points for every thing and charge non-travel expenses on that. Chase actually encourages this. If you redeem your point through Chase you get a 50% bonus, including the point earned with the Freedom card.

Another thing thats often overlooked is that Chase's customer service is second to none.
The Points Guy - ( New Window )
Thanks Ron  
MetsAreBack : 2/10/2018 7:00 pm : link
agree, Chase's card has gotten great reviews - in fact, I dont recall if it was this particular card or another high spend one, but the terms were initially so generous that JPM realized quickly they were losing a lot of money (shareholders weren't happy as it got a lot of press) and had to scale it back.

I went with the Amex Platinum card - see how we like it this year and potentially roll over in a year. Customers do this moreso in foreign markets, but feel like if you rotate these cards every year you get the best deal in that first use year.
RE: Check out this site  
BigBlue2007 : 2/10/2018 9:03 pm : link
In comment 13828706 Ron from Ninerland said:
Quote:
This site has the most comprehensive reviews of credit cards, reward programs and airlines.

Highly rated on this site, and my choice is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Its a $450 fee, but $300 of that you're going to get back quickly. The first $300 per year you spend on travel is reimbursed. Chase takes a very broad view of what travel is. It includes parking, taxis/Uber/Lyft and even mass transit passes such as Metro Cards, LIRR tickets and BART. Also included is the fee for TSA/Pre or Global Entry. It includes a Priority Pass for airline clubs. You get a 50,000 initial point bonus and 3x points for travel, hotels, and restaurants, 1x for everything else. In addition you can also get a Chase Freedom Card which gives you 1.5x points for every thing and charge non-travel expenses on that. Chase actually encourages this. If you redeem your point through Chase you get a 50% bonus, including the point earned with the Freedom card.

Another thing thats often overlooked is that Chase's customer service is second to none. The Points Guy - ( New Window )


I have this card. Itís been a year so far. Itís an incredible card. I totally recommend. When I signed up it had a 100,000 point bonus. Now it is at 50,000. You have to spend $4000 to get it. Itís still a good deal.

I have the Marriott Visa  
EricJ : 2/10/2018 9:51 pm : link
and a corporate Amex.

The Marriott card is great for someone who travels. I think that hotel points are worth more than airline points. Usually, the resort costs more than the flight in most vacation situations. When you use that card to pay for your marriott stay, you rack up A LOT of points.

A few times per year when I get to the front desk, I hear the comment that they have never seen this many points before. Yes, I have a lot of stays but the points total is really due to that card.
Regardless of what card you go with ....  
Beer Man : 2/11/2018 8:57 am : link
Call and let them know you will be travelling out of country. I had my card rejected in Canada once because they flagged it as suspicious.
Most would be better off with a cash rewards card  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/11/2018 1:08 pm : link
You have to travel a lot for a long time to make travel rewards cards a better deal.
RE: Most would be better off with a cash rewards card  
Ron from Ninerland : 2/12/2018 1:19 pm : link
In comment 13829115 Jim in Fairfax said:
Quote:
You have to travel a lot for a long time to make travel rewards cards a better deal.
I don't know about that. The most generous cash rewards cards out there pay 2 cents per dollar, most are more like 1 cent per dollar. There's also no sign up bonus with Cash rewards cards. Airline cards and premium travel cards generally come with a 50,000 mile/points sign up bonus or more. Thats enough for a trip or two right away. The value of those points can be up to 5 cents per dollar ( Amex Platinum is 5 cents, Sapphire Reserve is 3 - 4.5 cents ). Plus with these cards you get other goodies of interest to travelers such as free bags, upgraded status in hotels, insurance, airline clubs and TSA/pre paid for.

For someone who doesn't travel a cash rewards club may be a better bet. But someone who does travel will get more value from a points card.
RE: Regardless of what card you go with ....  
pjcas18 : 2/12/2018 1:24 pm : link
In comment 13828979 Beer Man said:
Quote:
Call and let them know you will be travelling out of country. I had my card rejected in Canada once because they flagged it as suspicious.


Amex is great about this, if I book travel with them or even just add-ons to a flight, they're smart enough to know that a charge in the country I booked travel to is expected.

I also have a Bank of America cash rewards card I use for non-travel use. It's great, 2% back on gas and groceries, 1% on everything else, but they're awful about traveling. Multiple times I have had charges declined while traveling that I did not want to use my Amex for b/c BofA has very strict guidelines on fraud I guess.

Which I guess is fine, but in quite a few cases has become a pain in the ass. Sometimes they'll text me and I just need to reply with a yes I made the charges and they allow them to be re-processed, other times they just rejected the charge.

And I agree with some other posters, travelers can't addition benefits from some travel cards but cash rewards cards have a purpose too.
I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve  
Mike in ramapo college : 2/12/2018 1:31 pm : link
I think it is plenty worth the $450 annual fee (+$75 for my wife), as they provide a $300 annual travel credit, pay for TSA Global Entry, and offer 3x points on T&E and dining. Priority Pass Select is pretty decent for the airline lounges, more so for when I am traveling for personal vacations.

The 50% reward bonus when booking travel is hit or miss depending on the deals you can find elsewhere -- often it is better for hotel and car rentals than it is for airline tickets.

Also didn't hurt that the initial bonus was 100k points for signing up. I believe it has now been cut to 50k.
RE: RE: Most would be better off with a cash rewards card  
Jim in Fairfax : 2/12/2018 4:58 pm : link
In comment 13829975 Ron from Ninerland said:
Quote:
I don't know about that. The most generous cash rewards cards out there pay 2 cents per dollar, most are more like 1 cent per dollar. There's also no sign up bonus with Cash rewards cards. Airline cards and premium travel cards generally come with a 50,000 mile/points sign up bonus or more. Thats enough for a trip or two right away. The value of those points can be up to 5 cents per dollar ( Amex Platinum is 5 cents, Sapphire Reserve is 3 - 4.5 cents ). Plus with these cards you get other goodies of interest to travelers such as free bags, upgraded status in hotels, insurance, airline clubs and TSA/pre paid for.

For someone who doesn't travel a cash rewards club may be a better bet. But someone who does travel will get more value from a points card.

You also pay an annual fee of @ $500 year for those cards you mentioned. Most cash back cards have no annual fee.

I get a minimum of 2% back on my cards, 3% for some categories, and 5% for Amazon purchases. I also get occasional bonus periods on one card, and no foreign exchange fees on another. And I did get signup bonuses on two of my cards, though not as big as the cards you mentioned.

Iím sure some frequent travelers can end up ahead on travel cards, but most people are better off with good cash back cards.
I think both answers are right  
MetsAreBack : 2/12/2018 5:22 pm : link
Cash cards and travel/hotel cards cater to vastly different demographics.

If you are a high spender, a $500 annual fee card where you realize $1,200 (give or take) in benefits plus normal points accrual... not to mention perks that just make you feel good (like use of airport lounges)... makes a lot of sense for someone putting $75-100K/year on their card.

Cash cards, conversely, are great for lower levels of spend, particularly on everyday purchases like gas and food. And many have (or at least used to have) annual spending limits. Caters to more of a middle class/upper middle class crowd, and that's perfectly fine too.

And then affinity cards like a Disney one are great for freaks like my Dad who loves all things Disney - good for him.

I think the common theme though is no matter your card, stay on top of market trends and offerings - dont get lazy with one card just because you're used to it. After the first year, the perks arent what they were, there's usually some company in the market out there with a great new deal (Chase Sapphire a year ago for example), and over time general value propositions change. I can tell you 5 years ago my AAdvantage card was my go-to ... now American raised its mileage awards, reduced its inventory, changed so many features - its become lousy and they dont care... they'd rather keep the 80% "lazy" money and lose the other 20% than give everyone better economics.
RE: I think both answers are right  
Ron from Ninerland : 2/12/2018 7:04 pm : link
In comment 13830264 MetsAreBack said:
Quote:
Cash cards and travel/hotel cards cater to vastly different demographics.

If you are a high spender, a $500 annual fee card where you realize $1,200 (give or take) in benefits plus normal points accrual... not to mention perks that just make you feel good (like use of airport lounges)... makes a lot of sense for someone putting $75-100K/year on their card.

Cash cards, conversely, are great for lower levels of spend, particularly on everyday purchases like gas and food. And many have (or at least used to have) annual spending limits. Caters to more of a middle class/upper middle class crowd, and that's perfectly fine too.

And then affinity cards like a Disney one are great for freaks like my Dad who loves all things Disney - good for him.

I think the common theme though is no matter your card, stay on top of market trends and offerings - dont get lazy with one card just because you're used to it. After the first year, the perks arent what they were, there's usually some company in the market out there with a great new deal (Chase Sapphire a year ago for example), and over time general value propositions change. I can tell you 5 years ago my AAdvantage card was my go-to ... now American raised its mileage awards, reduced its inventory, changed so many features - its become lousy and they dont care... they'd rather keep the 80% "lazy" money and lose the other 20% than give everyone better economics.
Agree except for one thing. Like your dad I love all things Disney. I have the top annual pass at Disneyland, I drop a small fortune in their restaurants and I go on Disney cruises as often as I can drag my wife onto them. That being said the Chase Disney card is one of the worst deals out there. The basic card gives you only one point per dollar, even on Disney stuff. The points are in the form of Disney dollars which are a pain in the ass to administer. You get a small discount on Disney merch, but an AP holder or DVC member gets that anyway . They have a premium card that gives you 2 points per dollar on Disney stuff and maybe airline tickets, but not much else. The Chase Sapphire Reserve + Freedom Unilimited is a better way to get rewarded for Disney spending. Its 1.5 points for tickets , passes and merchandise , 3x for hotels, transportation and food.

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