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Established Contributor
MojaveMoon
Posts: 536
Registered: ‎08-26-2008

Re: USAA Surprise!

[ Edited ]

Underh20 wrote:

I have been a USAA member for a long, long time and three weeks ago logged on to their website to check on getting new auto insurance.  I noticed a tab called "My Offers" or something like that and clicked on it.  There were a few offers for a pre-approved personal loan, auto loan, HELOC and a USAA AmEx card.  ... I applied.  Instant approval for $25k.  I still can't believe it.

 

They pulled EQ ...



I learned something from your experience. I think this is the first time I've heard someone share the results of applying online for a USAA online preapproved credit card offer. Since there was a hard inquiry resulting from your online application, then I guess this means that USAA online preapprovals are not guaranteed inquiry-free offers.
Message Edited by MojaveMoon on 05-02-2009 12:33 AM
Established Contributor
MojaveMoon
Posts: 536
Registered: ‎08-26-2008

Re: USAA Surprise!

[ Edited ]
Maybe these are standard for every American Express card; since I don't have one, I don't know. But anyways, here is a pdf file that explains what benefits you get from this USAA Amex:

https://content.usaa.com/mcontent/static_assets/Media/AMEXGuideFinal.pdf
Message Edited by MojaveMoon on 05-02-2009 12:36 AM
Established Contributor
MojaveMoon
Posts: 536
Registered: ‎08-26-2008

Re: USAA Surprise!

[ Edited ]
I don't think I spotted whether you said this is a total rewards card or a cash back card.

cash back terms: (link)

total rewards terms: (link)

It looks like if you tend to spend less than $ 4,000 annually, you'll be better off with the total rewards since you can redeem the points for cash at a rate of 0.83%

If you spend more than $ 4,000 annually, then the cash back might be more rewarding since you'll be earning either 1% or 1.25% cash back (whereas with the total rewards your exchange rate for points to cash back won't exceed 0.83% until you earn 20,000 or more points.
Message Edited by MojaveMoon on 05-02-2009 12:46 AM
Established Contributor
MojaveMoon
Posts: 536
Registered: ‎08-26-2008

Re: USAA Surprise!

[ Edited ]
Something else about the total rewards program. If you have a USAA checking account with total rewards, you can pool the points from the checking account total rewards and the credit card total rewards.

The only thing that's ever made me uneasy about USAA's total rewards program is that it's run by Trilegiant who has a shady past:
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/scam_alerts/tlg.html

But in their defense, I've never read any complaints about any shenanigans with the way that they've run the USAA total rewards program.
Message Edited by MojaveMoon on 05-02-2009 12:51 AM
Frequent Contributor
Underh20
Posts: 322
Registered: ‎11-15-2008

Re: USAA Surprise!

You're right and I am sorry I forgot to mention that the card is a Total Rewards card.  I just clicked on the link for the pre-approved offer and didn't bother checking if they had a Cash Back card with equal or better terms.

 

I'm wondering if a call to the CSR will allow me to change between Total Rewards or Cash Back.  Anybody know??

 

I don't mind the hit on my credit file as long as the card really is approved.  What I hate are the HSBCs of the world who say you are pre-approved, give you the hit on your credit file and then decline the application.  What scum!

 

I have noticed when checking my credit file regularly that there are a lot of soft hits from USAA, Crap One and a few others trolling for pre-approval potential applicants.  I never pay attention to them.

Established Contributor
MojaveMoon
Posts: 536
Registered: ‎08-26-2008

Re: USAA Surprise!

[ Edited ]

Underh20 wrote:

I'm wondering if a call to the CSR will allow me to change between Total Rewards or Cash Back. Anybody know??



I don't remember if this is true for the debit card, credit card, or both. But what's cool is that I think a member can go online to request the conversion from one to the other.


Underh20 wrote:

You're right and I am sorry I forgot to mention that the card is a Total Rewards card ... I'm wondering if a call to the CSR will allow me to change between Total Rewards or Cash Back. Anybody know??



Here are some pros and cons that I could think of for the USAA cash back and total rewards:

cash back pros:
- With the cash back Amex, there's a 5% cash rebate on your first $650 of gas, grocery and dining purchases each month for the first year
[if they let you convert to the cash back and since you were just now approved for the Amex, will they let you have this introductory offer for the cash back ?]
- higher cash back rate than the total rewards if you make enough purchases annually; at $15k or more, you earn 1.25%. In comparison the redemption rate for the total rewards for converting points to cash tops out at 1.0%
- I'm not completely sure, but I believe that at the end of the year the cash back rebate is equal to the amount of cash back you've earned. In other words, unlike some other cash back credit cards, I don't think you have to earn a certain minimum amount of cash back before you can redeem the cash back

cash back cons:
- cash back rebates are awarded only every January for the purchases you made the previous 12 months
- tiered cash back is so-so if you spend less than $4k annually:
first $2k, 0.35%; $2k to $4k, 0.75%; $4k to $15k, 1%; $15k or more, 1.25%


total rewards pros:
- for the first twelve months, I believe you earn double points on all purchases
- if you have total rewards for your debit card, mastercard, and amex, ALL the points are pooled
- if you have authorized users, those points are pooled with the points earned by the primary account holder
- I *think* that you can redeem the points anytime you want as long as you've earned the minimum amount of points for redeeming for things

total rewards cons:
- points can be redeemed for cash only when a minimum amount have been earned (i.e., the points can be redeemed only at the levels specified)
- 0.83% redemption rate when you redeem points for cash when you have less than 20,000 points
- and you don't earn the higher redemption rate of 1% when you redeem points for cash until you have 20,000 or more points
Message Edited by MojaveMoon on 05-02-2009 02:50 AM
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Epic Contributor
haulingthescoreup
Posts: 28,115
Registered: ‎04-01-2007

Re: USAA Surprise!

Wow, thank you for the fantastic legwork! I never even think about my points, but I just checked, and I have 27,332. Guess I ought to do something with that! :smileyvery-happy:
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