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Simplicity: ONE card

SweetRevenge117
Valued Member

Re: Simplicity: ONE card


@Aim_High wrote:

@SweetRevenge117 wrote:

A flat rate 2 percent card. Or I'd try for the AOD 3% card


Good choice, @SweetRevenge117

Do you have one (or more than one) already? 

Which is your favorite and why? 

If you can get that AOD 3% card, I do highly recommend it! 

Great all-around card!


Not sure how to get the AOD card. And I have double cash. Gonna PC my cash wise to double cash soon. Thing is I use cfu more now since I have a csp. But this is for only having one card lol. Also I'd pick double cash over wf due to the redemption requirements. I can at least convert my DC rewards and even if I didn't once I hit 25 I can redeem any amount over. 

Message 21 of 32
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card

For those curious who want to know my list, here is my "Top Ten Countdown." 

 

Some of my cards in the second tier of cards were on the chopping block anyway.  For example, I never use my USAA Rate Advantage Visa or my "Local CU Visa" that have no/low rewards.  I got the Chase Marriott and World of Hyatt cards for the generous SUBS and to eventually bulk up my credit limit on Chase Sapphire Reserve.  Wells Fargo Cash Wise was acquired for a SUB and to bulk up a potential Propel card before they closed new applications.  The 1.5% cash back is not spectacular.  My two Mastercards (Capital One Quicksilver and Goldman Sachs Apple card) offer less lucrative overall rewards also since Apple card only earns 1% with the physical card and only earns 3% in very-selected locations.  And I've upgraded the rewards program on my AFBA/UMB card several times, but it's mainly valued for age.  While it pay 3x points (not cash) uncapped on restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and discount stores, its been rendered mostly obsolete by some of my other cards.

 

(10)  Chase INK Business Cash VS

(9)  American Express GOLD

(8)  Navy FCU Platinum Visa

(7)  PenFed FCU Power Cash Rewards VS

 

I could be pretty content and well-covered from a rewards and perks standpoint with just SIX CARDS.  Two each from Bank of America and Chase and one each from two other lenders.  It would give me reasonable diversity of lenders and options of either Cash Back or Ultimate Rewards points for travel, with great perks on travel.  This list also retains three out of my four oldest cards that date back over 20 years, which was an important consideration for me.

 

(6)  Chase Freedom Unlimited VS

  • One of my four oldest cards (+)
  • Uncapped-uncategorized minimum 1.5% cash back ...
  • However, rewards magnified by CSR for 50% more value in Chase travel
  • Rewards worth 1.5% in cash but worth 2.25% in Chase travel with CSR
  • 3% cash back on drugstores worth 4.5% in travel

(5)  BofA Customized Cash Rewards VS

  • One of my four oldest cards (+)
  • High 5.25%/3.5% rewards on Preferred Rewards program
  • 5.25% on choice of gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • 3.50% on groceries and warehouse clubs; never less than 1.5% back (with Platinum honors)
  • Versatile card with ability to select rewards categories monthly
  • Offers higher $10K cap on higher rewards

(4)  Discover IT 

  • Oldest card (1993) and don’t want to lose the age.
  • Discover has different transaction processing network
  • One of highest limit cards ($50K)
  • Offers 5% on some spending; minimum 1% on everything else
  • Discover has been easy to work with; good fraud and tech support.

(3)  Chase Sapphire Reserve VI

  • 3% cash (4.5% travel) value on dining and travel; uncapped
  • 1.5% minimum value on all other purchases when redeemed for travel
  • 1% minimum cash value
  • $550 AF has easy credits including $300 for any travel
  • Very high limit card $55K (would go higher if closed other Chase cards)
  • Industry leading: Trip protections, Assistance and insurance
  • Purchase protection, Return protection, Warranty manager
  • No FTF

Picking between my last two cards was tough.  I actually thought I'd end up with AOD FCU Visa in top place, but Bank of America Premium Rewards edged out.  I did the numbers and the flat-rate 3% on AOD outearns the 2.625% uncategorized but 3.5% dining/travel on Premium Rewards unless I spend 45% or more of my budget on dining out and travel.  Few people do that.  However, Premium Rewards still won out for the following reasons:

 

(1) size of lender (BofA second largest national bank versus AOD is small CU)

(2) much larger size of credit limit ($85K versus $25K)

(3) extensive travel and shopping benefits on Premium Rewards

(4) comparable (although slightly lower) overall rewards rate.

 

(2)  AOD FCU Visa Signature

  • 3% cashback; uncapped; uncategorized; no fuss
  • $25K CL is lower than others but sufficient
  • No AF; no FTF; no BT fee.

(1)  BofA Premium Rewards VS 

  • 2.625% cashback; uncapped; uncategorized; no fuss
  • 3.5% cashback on dining and travel; uncapped
  • $95 AF has 100% offsetting-credits for airline fee/TSA Global Entry
  • No FTF
  • Very high limit card  ... $85K
  • Modest Trip protections, Assistance and insurance
  • Purchase protection, Return protection, Warranty manager


Length of Credit > 35 years; Total Credit Limits > $500K
AoOA > 28 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Aug 2020); Gardening since 08/15/20.
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 22 of 32
TSlop
Valued Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card


@Aim_High wrote:

@TSlop wrote:

I know I chose the BoA PR if I would have a sole credit card, but the US Bank AR is always in the back of my mind as well. Since I tap to pay in the majority of places I go, 3X back on mobile wallet purchases is sounding better and better to me. Plus, the $400 AF is knocked down to $75 with the credits. I'm not sure if it is permanent, but the $325 in credits is currently expanded to dining, and not just travel. I don't travel enough to make a sole travel card worth it, but knocking down the effective AF below my CSP makes this one appealing. I think if they added in another earning category besides the 3X (I probably wouldn't get much use out of the 5X in their portal), I'd probably go for it. I might have to snag a lower card to get my foot in the door while I ponder this idea.


I agree that US Bank Altitude Reserve would be a great pick, @TSlop  ... although the idea was if you had to downsize from where you are today down to only one card instead of adding one or more to get to a one-card wallet

 

I believe the 3x on mobile wallet is redeemable for 3% cash back which is a pretty good deal on a travel-oriented card.  My reservations about saving a premium AF card until the last slot was that they usually only give great value for travel, but the 3x on mobile wallet with AR is an exception.  And as you pointed out, the credits against the AF make the fee negligible. 

 

Did you consider where your other cards would end up on a top-to-bottom list, such as if you had three or five slots remaining?  That does make it a little easier if you're aiming for a few cards instead of just one. 


If I had to go to 5 cards from my current lineup, I'd do these: CFU, CF, CSP, Discover, and the Amazon. I can keep my UR Trifecta alive, keep my Discover 5% rotator going, and then keep Amazon going. It is sort of a toss up between the Amazon and my BoA CR (which is set to online for 3%), but I think I spend more at Amazon than other online places, so I'd keep that going. Also, it is easier for me to drop cards that get very specific spend, like the HH, Target, and Best Buy. I actually only carry 4 cards in my wallet (the Trifecta and the Discover), so this wouldn't be hard for me to accomplish.

 

If I had to drop to 3 cards, I'd keep the Chase Trifecta going. It would be convenient keeping all my spend in one app and reward system.

 

And, as mentioned before, if I would have to drop to one card, it'd be the BoA PR. Even at the lowest earning tier, I'd still choose it over my PSECU 2% card, since it has additional perks. At higher tiers, it wouldn't even be a thought.


Message 23 of 32
Taurus22
Valued Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card

@Aim_High   I think your choices are well thought out, as well.  As you and I have discussed before, you do quite a bit of travel so BoA and Chase make perfect sense for you. And AOD is that general noncategory that floats to the top.  I also noticed after reading this, that you don't really have any MC's other than the QS1 and the Apple.....hmmm.  (Would switching that BoA CC from a Visa to a MC be of any benefit for you?) And like me, you have the one Discover and one Amex to complete the 4x Issuers.

 

Once I get my structure down to the 10 cards, I will end up with:

Visa x4 , Mastercard x4, Discover x1, and AMEX x1   - So, a conveniently even mix across the board...

 

And honestly, the only card I wish I could find an alternative for is the ($95 AF) Amex BCP.  But then, I would be giving up my Amex reporting, and Amex doesn't have anything else that would fit my structure. And then, what would I use for consistent Grocery spend?.....especially for Neighborhood Walmart Marketplace, since that is my go-to Grocery.  If they would drop that pesky AF and give the card 5% rather than 6%, that would be ideal.

 

@TSlop   You made a good point, I also only keep about 4-5 cards physically in my wallet, depending on the monthly rewards cycles. Typically, for any given day, I need these on my person at all times:

1) Gas - FNBO Ducks UNL 5%

2) Grocery - Amex BCP 6%

3) Restaurant/FastFood - (Will be the Citi CC once I have completed the PC) 5%

4) General Noncategory Spend - AOD 3%

 

Other than that, the rest of my cards are either:

1) Billpay/Online Spend  - USBank Cash+, BoA CR online shop, Affinity amazon, (soon to come Elan MCP)

2) Quarterly Rotators  - Discover, Affinity, (soon to come Chase FFlex)

 

However, Affinity seems to find a way into my wallet nearly all year with the 7% stacking categories, so it consistently gives me that 5th card I carry.  And with my newly-realized appreciation for Discover + Chase FFlex (PayPal Key category), that just adds a whole new facet to the 5% market for me. But those get added to mobile wallet, and don't necessarily need to be carried.

 

Current Wallet
Sock Drawered

On Deck:
Message 24 of 32
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card


@Taurus22 wrote:  @Aim_High  ... I think your choices are well thought out, as well.  As you and I have discussed before, you do quite a bit of travel so BoA and Chase make perfect sense for you. And AOD is that general noncategory that floats to the top.  I also noticed after reading this, that you don't really have any MC's other than the QS1 and the Apple.....hmmm.  (Would switching that BoA CC from a Visa to a MC be of any benefit for you?) And like me, you have the one Discover and one Amex to complete the 4x Issuers.

 

Once I get my structure down to the 10 cards, I will end up with:

Visa x4 , Mastercard x4, Discover x1, and AMEX x1   - So, a conveniently even mix across the board...

 

And honestly, the only card I wish I could find an alternative for is the ($95 AF) Amex BCP.  But then, I would be giving up my Amex reporting, and Amex doesn't have anything else that would fit my structure. And then, what would I use for consistent Grocery spend?.....especially for Neighborhood Walmart Marketplace, since that is my go-to Grocery.  If they would drop that pesky AF and give the card 5% rather than 6%, that would be ideal.


Processing network is a secondary focus of mine, @Taurus22, so yes I have wanted a little more even mixture.  In most cases, though, it has appeared to me that Visa and Mastercard are often accepted at the same businesses, even if American Express or Discover are not, so I think it's a minor concern overall. 

 

I would not want to convert my BofA Customized Cash Rewards to a Mastercard, though!  With Platinum Honors status, I can get 3.5% back on Costco purchases within the $2500/quarter cap and Costco only accepts Visa!    This exercise (cutting down to a handful or a single card) was valuable to me, but I won't get rid of all my Mastercards in practice.  I've considered adding another Mastercard that could be more valuable to me than the two that I have but I haven't made a decision yet. 

 

I know what you mean about AMEX and cash back cards.  They're just not very exciting or special compared to many other lenders.   While the Blue Cash Preferred is probably the best and distinct offering, it's misleading in the advertised "6%" cash back since the net yield is always less.  After factoring in the AF, it can be no better than 4.4% before adding back in the value of streaming services at 6%, which might get you back up to 5% in heavy streaming cases.  So hoping for 5% with no AF seems way too optimistic, IMO! Smiley Sad Are you able to fully use the $6K annually without going over?   Is streaming a heavy area for you?  I've posted about this before but if you spend less than about $3200, you're better off with Blue Cash Everyday at 3% with no AF.  Between $3200-$6000, it will earn between 3% and 4.4% plus whatever streaming you can add.  And above $6K, it's best to add a separate grocery card since BCP only earns 1% above $6K.  The complexity of this is one major reason I elected for the Gold card instead.   However, the Gold card earnings are more valuable for travel instead of cash back, so that has to be appealing to you.   It has a much higher spending cap of $25K on groceries.   And earns 4x MRs on dining, also is a major category for me.  The 4x categories are worth up to about 8%, depending on redemption.  The AF has credits which can offset the majority with careful use.   Of course, cash redemption value can be as little as 0.006 ccp (6/10) so you could be earning as little as 2.4% on a cash valuation, so gift cards or travel give a much better return, especially when transferred to partners. 

 

I know travel cards/points haven't been a focus for you instead of pure cash back, but here's another consideration.   Do you do at least some domestic travel during the year?  The No-AF base AMEX Hilton card has a rich 150K point SUB right now.  It earns 7x points in Hilton but also earns 5x points (with no spending cap) on all dining, groceries, and gas.  Of course, hotel points can vary in value based on redemption but based on average valuation from thepointguy website at about 6/10 ccp, the 5x categories are earning a respectable 3% with no AF.  Yes, you can do better with your 5% Ducks Unlimited on Gas and 5% on Citi Custom Cash (as long as you don't go over $500 per month.)  And you could downgrade the BCP to BCE and still earn 3%, but with a $6K annual cap.  So the Hilton card might be a reasonable way to save up some hotel points for travel which would be competitive with your cash back strategy.  It gives you the flexibility to focus everyday spend on one card to save up points for travel, without an AF.  It's another way to keep an AMEX card in your wallet that is somewhat useful.  That SUB is worth as much as $900 in hotel stays based on 0.006 ccp.  And I believe they would allow you to move that CL from BCP over to have a higher limit Hilton card.  Just a thought.   Smiley Happy

 

And the card gives automatic Hilton Honors Silver Status, which includes:

   •  +20% Bonus on all Hilton Honors Base Points
   •  Complimentary Standard in-room and lobby Wi-Fi
   •  Receive every 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more
   •  Check-in, choose your room and order ahead prior to your stay with the Hilton Honors App
   •  Late check-out, upon request and subject to availability

 

If you like this idea, you could also consider the AMEX Hilton Surpass card.   It has the same $95 AF as your BCP but earns 6x points on dining, groceries, and gas ... and all without any of those pesky caps.  At 0.006 ccp, that's worth about 3.6% in rewards.  The SUB is 200K points worth up to about $1200 in hotel stays.   It earns 12x points in Hilton hotels. (Unfortunately, you don't earn a free annual night on this card but the earnings in/out of the hotel can add up.)

 

And you would get complimentary Hilton Honors GOLD Status. 

  • +80% Points earning Bonus on Stays
  • Space-available room upgrades
  • Daily Food & Beverage Credit (U.S. hotels only) or Continental Breakfast (non-U.S. hotels)
  • Milestone Bonuses

 



Length of Credit > 35 years; Total Credit Limits > $500K
AoOA > 28 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Aug 2020); Gardening since 08/15/20.
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 25 of 32
Taurus22
Valued Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card

@Aim_High   I completely follow you on the BoA CC with Costco. I know it's a whole 0.5% loss, but you always have the AOD for backup....that's what I currently use, in conjunction with my DucksUNL for Costco gas. Like I say, it was just an observation about the MC and surprising given the number of cards you currently have.

 

My primary beef with the Amex BCP is the AF, as I would really like to have no AF cards at all. I do spend enough to get the full 4.4% return, but as far as Streaming....the only one that hits the BCP is Netflix.  My Disney+ subscription is a special rate via Verizon and tacked onto my Cell Phone bill monthly....which will soon be covered with the 5% Elan MCP.....so I can't do anything to redirect that subscription. My girlfriend takes care of our HBOMax along with her Amazon Prime subscription, so that's not tied to my accounts.

And in regards to the Amex Gold.....nothing about a $250 AF appeals to me....lol. I know those of you experienced with it can make good use of the perks to offset the AF, but I'm not in that experience group.

 

Regarding the Travel cards, you and I have had some extended conversation about this.....and the best way I can explain it is this: 

I don't know if you have ever had the experience of skydiving or not....I'm seasoned now, but I remember my first experience vividly. That moment when you're finally in the door and you have absolutely no idea what you're jumping into, how it will feel, if you will be able to handle it, etc.  It's entirely foreign to you.

 

That's the way I feel about Travel cards/points/upgrades/passes/perks/luggage.....it's all foreign to me. I haven't been blessed enough to experience very much travel, none outside of the contiguous U.S. The only travel I feel I will ever be able to experience at this point would be planned vacations, which would require $thousands$ to experience a week of paradise, only to return to the reality of realizing I've spent half the cost of a vehicle to borrow a bungalow and a few palm trees.  *smh*

 

My focus on cashback return has recently again morphed into a new goal. Money I've already organically spent, returned to me as cashback (primarily 5%)  Rather than recycling that back into my monthly spend, I'm going to now invest that, adding it into 401k to get even higher returns. By doing that however, it makes it unrealistic to attempt to build on any MR, UR type systems because my spend is already being designated.

 

Ultimately for me, it seems I am destined to pay out-of-pocket for any travel/vacation experiences like that. I think I'm in a stage of mid-life crisis.  Smiley Sad  And it becomes very deflating to realize that most middle income folks like myself rarely get to do these things without entirely putting yourself into debt.  It really doesn't have anything to do with Travel cards or managing points.....it really comes down to income. The travel points originate from spend, so whether you save points or save your cashback, you're still limited by spend/income. There's a secret to wealth out there that I just haven't found....and by the time you build up enough 401k, etc. you'll be too daggum old to really enjoy it.

 

Current Wallet
Sock Drawered

On Deck:
Message 26 of 32
Aim_High
Senior Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card


@Taurus22 wrote:

@Aim_High 

 

...  it was just an observation about the MC and surprising given the number of cards you currently have.

 

Yes, it surprises me sometimes how much VISA has taken over the market when Mastercard used to be much more dominant.  It seems most of the better cards now are in Visa format.  I've been aware of that deficieny in my lineup and thought of how to address it.  My Capital One Quicksilver and my Goldman Sachs Apple cards are both decent rewards cards but in the grand scheme of things, they lag my others since I'm blessed with some great cards. 

 

My primary beef with the Amex BCP is the AF, as I would really like to have no AF cards at all ... in regards to the Amex Gold.....nothing about a $250 AF appeals to me....lol. I know those of you experienced with it can make good use of the perks to offset the AF, but I'm not in that experience group.

 

Lol ... nothing about paying a high fee appeals to me either!  I didn't pay any AFs for about 25 years.  Back in the 80's and 90's, it wasn't uncommon to have a small AF on even basic VS/MCs without rewards.  But since I got rid of those as other alternatives came along, I didn't pay fees until I applied for a Chase Sapphire Reserve.  Since then, my mindset has changed a little.  My willingness to pay an AF depends on the card and the value I get back from it.  And everyone's situation is different, as to whether those cards can or will deliver enough value.  While there may be some people who blindly pay AFs without calculating the value, I think most of us have had (and continue to have) that inner discussion over AF cards.  But if they don't make sense to you, they just don't make sense. 

 

Regarding the Travel cards ... I don't know if you have ever had the experience of skydiving or not.... That's the way I feel about Travel cards/points/upgrades/passes/perks/luggage.....it's all foreign to me. 

 

No, I've never skydived!  Smiley Surprised  That's a position where everyone starts out, and I'm far from an expert.  But ... nothing ventured, nothing gained?  Maybe dipping your toe in the waters would be a start and you can always reserve that cash-back strategy for a backup plan.  Smiley Wink   I maintain both point and cash back cards.  I think having a backup cash back plan is a worthwhile strategy for even hardcore point enthusiasts. 

 

The lack of experience you've told me about before was one reason I suggested trying out the Hilton cards.  Hotel cards are much easier and more straightforward to play with than more expensive convertible currency cards that earn MRs, URs, and TYs.  You could try it out for a year or two, earn some points, redeem the SUB, and then just go back to cash back if you don't find it worthwhile.  I think you'd get comfortable with that, though, and get enticed to pursue it further! 

 

My focus on cashback return has recently again morphed into a new goal. Money I've already organically spent, returned to me as cashback (primarily 5%)  Rather than recycling that back into my monthly spend, I'm going to now invest that, adding it into 401k to get even higher returns.

 

That's a great strategy, and will make you feel like you're doing something good with your savings for the long term!  Or, putting it into a separate savings account to put towards that special vacation you mentioned.  The cash back could still fund the vacation if you keep the funds separated from everyday spending.   A bonus in your case is that you know what that cash-back savings will buy upfront instead of determining the points value after you redeem them, which is one of the shortfalls of points.  You can't predict future value precisely like you can with cash back.  With your focus on 5% cash back in main categories, you're getting a return that may be hard to beat with travel points, depending on how you redeem. 

 

The travel points originate from spend, so whether you save points or save your cashback, you're still limited by spend/income.

 

This is true, but keep in mind it's all relative.  I believe that most people, except for special splurges, tend to target travel that is in line with what their budget would normally fund.  For someone on a $50K budget, they might "save" points to pay for a week's vacation at their favorite beach resort.  Someone on a higher $500K budget might "save" enough to pay for annual first class tickets for a european vacation at expensive hotels.  On a lower budget, you just have to perhaps forgo the annual vacation to go on a special trip every few years, but the principle is the same.  It's all about expectations.  Points can still be a handy way to 'save' for those trips and may provide the opportunity to enhance the value you get for your dollar, regardless of your travel goals or budget.   I hope this helps.  I'm not trying to convince you that travel points are a good fit for you, but at the same time, I think it's easy to dismiss them without giving them a fair shake.  


 



Length of Credit > 35 years; Total Credit Limits > $500K
AoOA > 28 years (Jun 1993); AoYA (Aug 2020); Gardening since 08/15/20.
* Hover cursor over cards to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 27 of 32
MrNeo
Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card

+1 for USB AR primary car rental primary coverage plus 3% mobile payments makes it a top contender. 

 

However, I can't ignore the CITI Costco Card, not so much for the 2% at Costco but overall good earning categories. I'd probably get the most value with this card.

 

 

Message 28 of 32
MrNeo
Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card

That's a really interesting point on the AMEX Hilton Surpass. I might consider this, I'm currently loyal to Marriott, but I used to be loyal to Hilton and might consider switching teams.

Message 29 of 32
liquidtree
New Contributor

Re: Simplicity: ONE card

3 cards = PenFed PCR, Chase Amazon, US Bank Cash+

2 cards = PenFed PCR, Chase Amazon

1 card = PenFed PCR

 

If I was really limited to one card, I'd probably go through the trouble of trying to get the AOD 3% card.

Wallet:


Panty Drawer:
Message 30 of 32
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