Credit Cards

Category Archives for Credit Cards.

How Many $400+ Annual Fee Cards Is Too Much (or Just Enough)?

Right now, I have 3 ultra premium credit cards with annual fees of $400 and up:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – $550
  • Citi Prestige – $495 (though mine renewed at $450 for one more year)
  • US Bank Altitude Reserve – $400

That’s $1,345 in annual fees! 😵

Still, I find myself wanting the Amex Platinum biz card ($595, but $450 through January 2019) and Amex Hilton Aspire ($450), both for vastly different reasons.

But I can’t justify getting another ultra premium card with a big annual fee. Am I capping out at 3?

I’m really considering downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Getting a 4th – or 5th – would be overkill, wouldn’t it?

ultra premium credit cards

No way I’m dumping the best card for Costco shopping! All my high AF cards have a special utility

Here’s a rundown of the major cards with annual fees – and how I get value from them.

Ultra Premium Credit Cards – How Many Does One Need?

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The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners Are…

Citi ThankYou points are easier than ever to earn.

I plan to put airfare and dining on my Citi Prestige to earn 5X points per $1 spent, and use my Citi AT&T Access More card (not open to new applicants) to get 3X points for online shopping. Between these 2 cards, I’ll be flush with Citi ThankYou points this year.

And peeps with the Citi Premier can earn 3X points on all travel, including gas, and 2X points on dining.

In that light, I’m giving thought to Citi’s 15 airline transfer partners. But in my eyes, a solid 2/3 of them are total caca.

That means only 5 are worthwhile.

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

Man, I gotta get back to Hawaii this year. You can use Flying Blue or Singapore miles to get there cheap!

Let’s take a looky loo, shall we?

The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

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Booking Puerto Vallarta 2.0: $3,000+ Vacation for 131,000 Citi ThankYou Points, Prestige 4th Night Free, & AA Business Extra

Last February, I spent 3 glorious nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. And next month, I’ll spend another 4 nights there! For $0 out of pocket, I used:

  • 131,088 Citi ThankYou points + 4th night free to save $1,721 on the hotel stay
  • 4,000 American Airlines Business Extra points for $1,423 flights
  • Citi Prestige annual travel credits to cover ~$187 in taxes and fees

The total cost would’ve been $3,331. And I used ALL my Citi ThankYou points.

But after slipping the Citi Prestige card back into my wallet this week, I can build up my balance with new 5X earning on airfare and dining. Plus, they’d been hanging around for a while.

Learn more about the best travel rewards cards here.

puerto vallarta points 2019

This time, I saved over $3,000 to go back to Puerto Vallarta for 4 nights 🍹

Here’s how I put it together!

A $3,000+ vacation to Puerto Vallarta for $0

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‘Tis the Season to Use 0% APR Cards to Avoid Interest for up to 21 Months (If You HAVE to Carry a Balance)

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2019! I’m working on travel plans and my credit card strategy – and soon I’ll have gigantic news to share.

If you spent too much over the holiday season, and carrying a balance is inevitable, consider transferring your balance to a new card with a 0% APR period.  They vary from 12 months to a staggering 21 months! This will hugely minimize the interest you’ll pay.

Depending which card you get, you won’t have to pay it off until January 2020 at the shorter end – or October 2020 at the longer end. That’s awesome!

Or if you have a big purchase coming up, opening a card with a 0% APR period gives you time to pay it back.

I’ve used both strategies successfully. But beware – pay close attention to the dates (which are listed on every statement you’ll get), or you’ll be right back where you started.

Still, it’s a LOT better than carrying a balance and paying huge interest rates. NEVER carry a balance if you can help it!

balance transfer cards

Paying interest negates any rewards you earn. Your balance will grow and you’ll get stuck on a debt treadmill – don’t do it!

Here are card options for balance transfers and big-ticket purchases. Because yes, life happens. Just try to control the damage as best you can.

Get unstuck with balance transfer cards

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40+ Easy Ways to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

Credit card spending requirements are getting higher all the time. Not only that, but banks also want you to use your cards for ongoing spending to meet spending thresholds to earn elite status, bonus miles, and other rewards.

Top of wallet” is a term we hear a lot in this industry because every issuer wants their card to be, literally, at the top of your wallet. So they incentivize spending with category bonuses, special offers, and promotions.

To meet credit card spending requirements, use your card for:

  • Everyday expenses like utilities, groceries, eating out, cell phone service, oil changes, and subscription services
  • Semi-regular expenses including dental cleanings, home warranties, memberships, and club dues
  • Gifts for birthdays, graduation, weddings, and holidays
  • Charitable contributions
  • Business expenses if your employer will reimburse them
  • Nearly any bill or service from a company or individual via Plastiq
  • Annual and quarterly tax payments
Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

Meeting minimum spending requirements is top of mind for lots of peeps – and top of wallet for credit card companies

I’ll expand on these categories and give you 40+ ideas to meet your spending in a flash!

The sooner you get your spending done, the faster you’ll get your rewards

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$3,000 or 225,000 Airline Miles From ONE Sign-Up Bonus – But They’re Not for Everyone

Update: This offer is no longer available. Check here to see the latest card offers!

Capital One shook things up this week when they announced mondo 200,000-mile sign-up offers on their Spark Miles and Spark Cash cards. And on the Spark Miles card, those rewards will become transferable to 12 airlines starting December 2018, which is stellar. It’s always good to have more options – especially with flexible rewards programs.

In fact, peeps looking for a single-card solution to most points dilemmas finally found their match. You can redeem the points for 1 cent each, and with the Spark miles card, transfer them at a 2:1.5 ratio to useful airlines like Air Canada, Etihad, and Qantas.

They’re excellent deals if you want a rewarding small business card without hassle.  You’ll end up with $3,000 or 225,000 airline miles after the minimum spending is complete.

capital one spark miles

The required spending and opportunity cost are high with this one

But they’re NOT for everyone. I’ll explain why.

$3,000 or 225,000 Airline Miles After a Boatload of Spending

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’Tis the Season for New Credit Cards – and Price Protection!

November is here, and in a couple of short weeks, it’ll be Black Friday. Peeps tend to naturally spend more during the holiday season for presents, travel, and organizing parties.

While there’s a moment of calm, consider you can turn all your holiday spending into 1,000s of points & miles by opening a new credit card and using it to meet minimum spending requirements over the next month or so. If you apply now, it’ll arrive in time for the biggest shopping season of the year.

Plus, with all the sales and deals going on, consider a card with 60- or 90-day price protection – and automate it – to save even more money.

Credit Card Price Protection

Turn those Amazon purchases into award travel! Now’s the time to jump on a new card offer

Here are a few worthwhile sign-up offers, and how to set alerts for price drops.

Holiday time now = an award trip in 2019

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The Best Offer With the Most Miles for Those Over 5/24 (70,000 AA Miles, Small Biz Card)

Update: This offer is no longer available. Click here for the best current offers!

Lord help me, I just got another new credit card. This one’s too good to pass up if you’re over 5/24 and have small business income.

You can earn 70,000 American Airlines miles with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® after meeting reasonable minimum spending requirements. I just signed up and got instant approval!

70,000 American Airlines miles is enough to visit:

  • 4 countries in Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea)
  • Northern South America
  • Literally anywhere in Europe
  • The Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America

And it’s nearly enough for 2 round-trip coach award flights to Hawaii!

citi aa 70k

That fateful moment when you open yet another new credit card

I was running low on AA miles. But now that you can book Air Tahiti Nui and Qatar flights on the AA website (along with other partners), it’s easier than ever to use your miles. You do NOT have to fly on American Airlines – use your miles for partner flights instead!

I’m so close to an around-the-world trip on Cathay Pacific with Alaska miles, and Qatar with American Airlines miles, that I can taste it.

Plus, you can make mortgage payments via Plastiq with this card because it’s a MasterCard, so it’s easy to meet the minimum spending in no time! (That’s how I plan to complete the spending requirements.)

Citi AA 70K miles with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

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Check Your Business Credit Score for Free – Here’s How, & Why You Want It

If you’ve opened small business credit cards, chances are you have a business credit score – one you might not even know about.

Business cards are totally different animals from personal cards, in their protections and how they’re treated by law. In general, consumer (personal) credit cards give you more protection against unwanted activity, and with extended warranties.

But a small business card can be an excellent way to separate your business expenses and earn bonus points in categories lots of personal cards simply don’t have, like office supplies, cell and cable bills, advertising, and shipping – to name a few.

business credit score

If you want to open small business cards, it’s good to know where you stand

Here’s more about your business credit score – and how to check it for free.

What’s a business credit score anyway?

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Right Now Is a Good Time to Use Yearly Credits (Or Get Them 2X!) on Amex Platinum and Gold Cards

October – chilly autumn air, pumpkins, scary movies, the inevitable return of the holidays, then a new year. And for many cards, mainly the Amex Platinum and Gold cards, the last opportunity to use your statement credits. Such is Q4.

And if there’s a card you want, you still have enough time to apply, use the credits for 2018 – then get a fresh batch of credits to use in 2019. You effectively get double the credits for 1 annual fee, which is awesome.

amex statement credit

Treat yo self to an upgrade, checked bag, or something extra this year AND next for 1 annual fee!

Here are cards for an end of the year double-dip.

Get an Amex statement credit 2X in 2018 and 2019

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9 Easiest Signup Bonuses to Earn (7 Under $500, 2 With a Single Purchase!)

This one’s for peeps who think they can’t earn signup bonuses because the minimum spending requirements are too dang high.

When you think about, spending $3,000 (the usual spending requirement) is, of course, $1,000 per month for 3 months – or $250 per week. These cards tend to have the highest bonuses.

The problem with bank marketing is they throw out huge numbers and scare people off. But when you break it down, it appears way more manageable.

In any regard, there are plenty of cards with much lower minimum spending requirements. And some of them are genuine keepers!

cards with low spending requirements

Or rather, they look high – but most of them aren’t that bad once you break it down

Let’s look at 10 of the easiest signup bonuses you can earn.

10 cards with low spending requirements

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9 Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards – All With a 2% or Better Return

Everyone should have at least 1 credit card without an annual fee. When a card is free to keep forever, you never have to second-guess it. And the card works its powers on your credit report to increase available limits, decrease utilization, and help boost the average age of all your accounts.

My oldest credit card is from 2002 and has no annual fee. No matter how many new cards I open, I’ll always have a 16-year-old card to raise the average age of my accounts higher and therefore, my credit score.

When a card has a fee, it’s harder to justify keeping it – unless you get outsized value.

But having a card without an annual fee doesn’t mean you have to give up solid returns. All of the cards on this list can get you 2% back or better.

Chase Freedom is one of the best no annual fee cards – up to 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per year from 5X earning! I’ll share my top faves

Here’s my list.

9 best no annual fee credit cards

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