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Which credit cards are the best?

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Mega Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@Saeren wrote:

@kerplunk wrote:

I totally agree that you cannot rely on a credit card retaining features/rewards forever, as things are constantly changing, but I'd like to point out that as long as you do business with reputable banks, this should be less of a concern.

 

For example, 4 of my 6 card accounts are 15+ years old. Those cards are:

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Discover it

U.S. Bank Cash+

 

All of those cards started as a different product and I product changed over the years to keep up with the times without reducing my account age.


I also don't think that cash back cards change anywhere near as much as points cards do. My QS hasn't changed since I PC'd it from Plat back in late 2014 or 2015. Other than the logo anyway. 


Maybe, but things have changed a lot there as well.  Plus, the QS was best in class when I got it, now (from a pure rewards value) it has fallen behind, so not changing is not always sufficient.    Thinking of a few of my cashback cards.

 

US Bank Cash +:  major nerf

Citi Forward: major nerf, then discontinued

Amex BCP: major nerf, then more recently an improvement in some other areas

Amex OBC: major nerf

NASA FCU: major nerf

Penfed Plat: major devalue

Chase Amazon: positive change

Citi DC: small positive change (TYP possibility)

so the stability of the QS might be more unusual.  

 

(And this ignores all the "benefit" nerfing that has taken place on many cards)

 

 

Message 61 of 79
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Super Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@longtimelurker wrote:

@Saeren wrote:

@kerplunk wrote:

I totally agree that you cannot rely on a credit card retaining features/rewards forever, as things are constantly changing, but I'd like to point out that as long as you do business with reputable banks, this should be less of a concern.

 

For example, 4 of my 6 card accounts are 15+ years old. Those cards are:

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Discover it

U.S. Bank Cash+

 

All of those cards started as a different product and I product changed over the years to keep up with the times without reducing my account age.


I also don't think that cash back cards change anywhere near as much as points cards do. My QS hasn't changed since I PC'd it from Plat back in late 2014 or 2015. Other than the logo anyway. 


Maybe, but things have changed a lot there as well.  Plus, the QS was best in class when I got it, now (from a pure rewards value) it has fallen behind, so not changing is not always sufficient.    Thinking of a few of my cashback cards.

 

US Bank Cash +:  major nerf

Citi Forward: major nerf, then discontinued

Amex BCP: major nerf, then more recently an improvement in some other areas

Amex OBC: major nerf

NASA FCU: major nerf

Penfed Plat: major devalue

Chase Amazon: positive change

Citi DC: small positive change (TYP possibility)

so the stability of the QS might be more unusual.  

 

(And this ignores all the "benefit" nerfing that has taken place on many cards)

 

 


What I read from this is that Capital One is just a stable lender. Look how many people still have the original Savor with 4% and no AF. Any of the lenders in your list would have moved those people off or closed the cards. Regardless, nothing about my QS has changed - it even still has extended warranty benefits despite being a MasterCard. 



01/2019:
03/2020:

Closed: CareCredit $10K, B&H Payboo $7500
Hover over my cards to see my limits!
Goal cards: Cash+, Freedom.
Message 62 of 79
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Valued Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@longtimelurker wrote:


Yes, you can use it but the fact it takes time doesn't mean a) it was the right decision given current circumstances or b) particularly happy.

See the complaints about the CSR AF.   If you don't value the credits, the value proposition has changed.   Yes, you could (probably) PC to the CSP, but that has impacts too.   Depending on circumstances, it might be time to look at MRs/TYP/Wells Fargo/US AR etc, regretting the sunk time but not being paralysed by it.

 

And useful PCs aren't always available when you need them, Barclays has nothing interesting to PC the Uber too, even if that is allowed, and I would have similar issues with Citi if I cared enough!


As alluded to in a previous post, many members on this forum make up a small community that see credit cards and rewards as some game to min-max. These people are not the majority, or even a large minority. The complaints on the CSR come from the same people who would jump ship at a moment's notice for 4x instead of 3x on a category, nevermind what program those points are in, because hey 4x is bigger than 3x and that must be better right? Or they worship the likes of DoC/TPG and take their spitballed guesses at point valuations as gospel to be punched into a spreadsheet and calculated out, rarely realizing they almost never redeem points at the values published. They'll PC on a dime if there's a bonus involved.

 

Indeed, those people will likely never be happy with a long-term solution because those people can either be swayed to another team over tens of dollars per year or put all of their spend into the SUB-of-the-month so changes to the card make no difference as it will cease to be used after the SUB is hit and awards redeemed.

 

However, there's also a lot of us who don't play those games and happen to like our favorite airline and hotel. Just because some guy on a forum crunched his numbers and decided that MR is the best program today. Switching to MR or BoA or WF or whoever isn't just a wave of the wand and "whee I'm on a new program earning a better return" - now I have to find out how to get those points back over to my airline and hotel, when I had spent years perfecting my process with UR and it was simple and clean to do. So what if I'm pulling in more MR if I have to hop on one leg while juggling bowling pins and signing up for another program to backdoor transfer those MR points over to United for my flight? If anything, I'm paralyzing myself trying to shoehorn myself into a new program.

 

Not saying people shouldn't consider their options every now and then, but I get the impression far too many around these forums just look at points like cashback because they'll take any airline or stay at any hotel, even if those are inconvenient or sub-optimal, if they read that's how to maximize their point earnings on TPG. That's a pretty paralyzing model, too.

Message 63 of 79
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Senior Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?

Cap1 hiked the AF on Venture, at least for new cards. $59 became $95.

 

1.5% cash back card is pretty mediocre to begin with.

 

Freedom lost the +10%/+10.

Sallie Mae became Commence.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, Freedom x 2, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC, ED, QS
Retention games: BCP
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 64 of 79
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Regular Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?

I'd say there is more a point in life where it's more advantageous to pick up cards than others.

At the moment my travel spend is high so going after the miles and points makes sense. There is the points but also having a consistent system to buy travel that I find valuable.

For those just setting up the US Bank ecosystem would get my pick. They offer also a 25k CLOC in addition to the cards. NFCU if eligible is not bad either for a set of cards and CLOC. The size of the SL on the cards doesn't matter too much.

When going for the transfer partner systems how much income you make is a big factor in getting respectable SL. Therefore I wouldn't advise someone out of college to go Chase or Citi, low limits and high APR if they find themselves needing to hold a balance.

Getting a whole ecosystem all at once is a good move as they HP usually only one time. Having more than 2 HP in 24 months will hurt your credit score by 15 points.

That is where SUB chasing can hammer you by racking up HP hurting the chances on mortgages. On the other hand any new mortgage products expect a HP so maybe it's a futile effort trying to garden 800 scores when they aren't sustainable unless you buy nothing.
Official travel point totals as of 3/21/20 (Goal Free Flights)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 163,976
British Airways Avios 11,332
AA Advantage 10,841
United MileagePlus 4,550
Expedia Points 2,523
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1,000
Hilton Honors 481
Delta Sky Miles 123
Marriot Bonvoy 0

Official cashback as of 3/21/20 (Goal Fund Roth IRA)
Acorns 418.87
Retail Me Not 85.12
Top Cashback 39.08
DOSH App 32.64
Raise Cash 27.49
PEI App 24.28
Club Overstock 23.87
Mr. Rebates 14.65
Rakuten 0.00

Other Point Category
Freebird 3,500
Samsung Rewards 2,750
Open Table 1,400
Message 65 of 79
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Senior Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@iced wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:


Yes, you can use it but the fact it takes time doesn't mean a) it was the right decision given current circumstances or b) particularly happy.

See the complaints about the CSR AF.   If you don't value the credits, the value proposition has changed.   Yes, you could (probably) PC to the CSP, but that has impacts too.   Depending on circumstances, it might be time to look at MRs/TYP/Wells Fargo/US AR etc, regretting the sunk time but not being paralysed by it.

 

And useful PCs aren't always available when you need them, Barclays has nothing interesting to PC the Uber too, even if that is allowed, and I would have similar issues with Citi if I cared enough!


As alluded to in a previous post, many members on this forum make up a small community that see credit cards and rewards as some game to min-max. These people are not the majority, or even a large minority. The complaints on the CSR come from the same people who would jump ship at a moment's notice for 4x instead of 3x on a category, nevermind what program those points are in, because hey 4x is bigger than 3x and that must be better right? Or they worship the likes of DoC/TPG and take their spitballed guesses at point valuations as gospel to be punched into a spreadsheet and calculated out, rarely realizing they almost never redeem points at the values published. They'll PC on a dime if there's a bonus involved.

 

Indeed, those people will likely never be happy with a long-term solution because those people can either be swayed to another team over tens of dollars per year or put all of their spend into the SUB-of-the-month so changes to the card make no difference as it will cease to be used after the SUB is hit and awards redeemed.

 

However, there's also a lot of us who don't play those games and happen to like our favorite airline and hotel. Just because some guy on a forum crunched his numbers and decided that MR is the best program today. Switching to MR or BoA or WF or whoever isn't just a wave of the wand and "whee I'm on a new program earning a better return" - now I have to find out how to get those points back over to my airline and hotel, when I had spent years perfecting my process with UR and it was simple and clean to do. So what if I'm pulling in more MR if I have to hop on one leg while juggling bowling pins and signing up for another program to backdoor transfer those MR points over to United for my flight? If anything, I'm paralyzing myself trying to shoehorn myself into a new program.

 

Not saying people shouldn't consider their options every now and then, but I get the impression far too many around these forums just look at points like cashback because they'll take any airline or stay at any hotel, even if those are inconvenient or sub-optimal, if they read that's how to maximize their point earnings on TPG. That's a pretty paralyzing model, too.


And in switching from one airline or hotel to another there can be a very real dilemma - one I currently face my with AA, BA, and United miles:

 

Now that I tend to fly Delta (and also have some VS miles), how can I best use the miles remaining in these other programs?

 

I still fly the others occasionally...but infrequently enough now, and on short enough notice, that finding award space is a concern.

 

My approach to the dilemma has been:

1. Stop adding cobranded card for a while.

2. Focus on using up miles in the other programs.

3. Try to avoid transferring MRs to new programs for a bit.

4. Focus on earning MRs for future use, as well as cash back.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, Freedom x 2, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC, ED, QS
Retention games: BCP
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 66 of 79
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Valued Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@kerplunk wrote:

For example, 4 of my 6 card accounts are 15+ years old.

  - Chase Freedom

  - Chase Freedom Unlimited

  - Discover it

  - U.S. Bank Cash+

 

All of those cards started as a different product and I product changed over the years to keep up with the times without reducing my account age.


@CardNut wrote:


My Savor used to be a No Hassle rewards card.

My DC was a Platinum Select, 1% on everything.

My BoA used to be an AAA rewards card, and a MLB MBNA card before that ...

My BoA wasn't very useful (until) a year ago (when) they offered floating 3% categories.

Forever doesn't really mean forever.


To build on this topic for our younger members and to show the benefits of keeping credit lines open for the long-haul by product changing, I will offer some of the cards I currently carry with similar histories.

 

I have four cards that are between 19 and 27 years old.  All four of those cards have been product changed at least once over their lifetimes while retaining the age of accounts.  They are the anchor to my AAoA and I value them highly, regardless of other benefits.  Two of them are also two of my highest credit limits at $70K and $50K, and I'm sure the long age played into that.

 

*  My Discover IT (Chrome) started out as the original Discover card, pc'd to Discover MORE and now Discover IT. 

*  My AFBA (Armed Forces Benefits Association) basic Visa card through 5-Star Bank was transferred to UMB (United Missouri Bank) where it added their older rewards program (essentially 1% CU Rewards.)  A few years ago, they allowed a PC to UMB's "Simply Rewards" program that pays 3 points (worth 3%) on restaurants, gas, supermarkets and discount stores with no spending caps.

* My Chase Freedom Unlimited started its' life as a basic no-rewards Chase Slate Visa.

* My Bank of America Cash Rewards card started its' life as a basic no-rewards Bankamericard Visa.




Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 26+ years;
AAoA = 9+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Nov 2019)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $454K. Utilization Less Than 1%. Inquiries until May 2020 (TU:2 -- EQ:2 -- EX:6)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name, CL
Message 67 of 79
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Valued Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?

Interesting, another "what's the best Credit card" topic, and it's 7 pages already. 






Message 68 of 79
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Valued Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@longtimelurker wrote:

@iced wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:


... when things change enough, so do long-term strategies.   We've seen fairly dedicated UR people here switch, or at least strongly consider, a switch to MR, basically upending their chosen eco system.   When partners disappear, or things devalue enough, or a competitor gets much stronger, long-term cards can get dropped very suddenly!


People who let their travel be dictated by their cards will probably switch ecosystems in a significant nerfing. People who let their travel dictate their cards, not so much. A career United flyer isn't going to jump ship to Delta and MR just because of DoorDash or a $100 AF increase, just as career Delta flyers stuck with American Express even before their recent boosts. Partner changes can affect that, but those are fairly unusual.


I was thinking more about the "road warrior" class here.  I don't think they would characterize themselves as letting cards dictate travel.  With enough skill and knowledge, the ability to book on alliance partners makes any of the systems somewhat airline-neutral. 


That's a good point.  There are many on the forums like myself who have a premium travel card or two and who doesn't qualify as a business "road warrior". 

 

As I mentioned in another post on this thread, it appears to me those premium travel cards are less stable over time with AFs, reward systems, and benefits changes versus the basic credit cards or no-AF cash-back credit cards.  Things change much more often with the premium cards as banks adapt to new competitive products, benefits costs, and profits.

 

So it appears to me the postings about dropping their premium cards or switching entirely based on program changes tends to come more from those "road warriors" who may already have thier toes in multiple rewards programs, have business spend to support it, and can easily swing back-and-forth chasing the best system for their needs. 

 

In my case, while I'm not pleased with the changes to my Chase Sapphire Reserve since the added benefits are of little use to me, I'm benefiting enough from my Chase card lineup overall and the quadfecta that I'm not likely to drop CSR or switch programs.  It's not worth chasing other products at this time for me and my casual travel spending.  Even with the $550 AF, I think I'm still coming out ahead but I'll reevaluate as time goes on.




Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 26+ years;
AAoA = 9+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Nov 2019)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $454K. Utilization Less Than 1%. Inquiries until May 2020 (TU:2 -- EQ:2 -- EX:6)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name, CL
Message 69 of 79
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Valued Contributor

Re: Which credit cards are the best?


@Aim_High wrote:

@kerplunk wrote:

For example, 4 of my 6 card accounts are 15+ years old.

  - Chase Freedom

  - Chase Freedom Unlimited

  - Discover it

  - U.S. Bank Cash+

 

All of those cards started as a different product and I product changed over the years to keep up with the times without reducing my account age.


@CardNut wrote:


My Savor used to be a No Hassle rewards card.

My DC was a Platinum Select, 1% on everything.

My BoA used to be an AAA rewards card, and a MLB MBNA card before that ...

My BoA wasn't very useful (until) a year ago (when) they offered floating 3% categories.

Forever doesn't really mean forever.


To build on this topic for our younger members and to show the benefits of keeping credit lines open for the long-haul by product changing, I will offer some of the cards I currently carry with similar histories.

 

I have four cards that are between 19 and 27 years old.  All four of those cards have been product changed at least once over their lifetimes while retaining the age of accounts.  They are the anchor to my AAoA and I value them highly, regardless of other benefits.  Two of them are also two of my highest credit limits at $70K and $50K, and I'm sure the long age played into that.

 

*  My Discover IT (Chrome) started out as the original Discover card, pc'd to Discover MORE and now Discover IT. 

*  My AFBA (Armed Forces Benefits Association) basic Visa card through 5-Star Bank was transferred to UMB (United Missouri Bank) where it added their older rewards program (essentially 1% CU Rewards.)  A few years ago, they allowed a PC to UMB's "Simply Rewards" program that pays 3 points (worth 3%) on restaurants, gas, supermarkets and discount stores with no spending caps.

* My Chase Freedom Unlimited started its' life as a basic no-rewards Chase Slate Visa.

* My Bank of America Cash Rewards card started its' life as a basic no-rewards Bankamericard Visa.


If I had a card for 25 years, I'd tag it as too old to cancel. They could convert it into a no rewards card and I'd still use it. They'd have to cancel it as I would keep it for the rest of my life otherwise. 

 

Picking a card that fits and PC it when possible to keep it a good fit makes it a best card to have in my opinion. Cards that only work short term I do not considered the best cards.

Scores, HPs/24 mos. (updated 4/08/20):
    Experian FICO Score 8 = 827, 2/24
    Experian FICO Score 9 = 834, 2/24
   TransUnion = 832, 1/24
    Equifax = 834, 0/24

Total 2019 rewards, incl. offers/deals = $1,709.07
Avg. rewards rate, incl. offers/deals = 3.92%

Total CL: $264,500

Cards (hover over for CL | interest rate | Date Opened):
Message 70 of 79
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