|by Mr Credit Card|
I started this site in 2004 because I could not find a site that really reviews cards. Hence the birth of askmrcreditcard.com (which actually had a different domain when I started). Today, I wanted to disclose (in fact I already have) the cards that I and my staff (or ex-staff) are using to put into perspective where we are coming from. We also recommend cards that we do not have. That simply means they are not suited for our purposes.
I have several credit cards, but only use a couple. Here’s what’s in my wallet.
Platinum Card from American Express – The main card I use at the moment is the Platinum Card. I actually upgraded to the Platinum Card from the Gold Card a couple of years ago. There were several reasons for the upgrade. Firstly, I wanted to review the card. And to be honest, you cannot just write a review of such a card without having owned one. There was also a slight ego factor when I upgraded (it is after all the Amex Plat – though not BLACK!). Since getting the Platinum Card, I have been using more of its features like companion airfare tickets, and especially its concierge service, which I use to most of my entertainment booking. One of the great perks of this card is that you can get notified of events that are sponsored by Amex and get access to tickets before the general public could. At this moment, this is the main card that I use.
Past favorite – Blue Cash – If you were to ask me two years ago what was my main card, I would said Blue Cash hands down. It is still a great card. But since my kids are older now, we find that we are taking more vacations and earning points seems like a better way to use credit cards. The Blue Cash has a tiered rebate system, but I spend enough to make it worthwhile. On average, I get over 2% in rebates (which is better than getting a straight 2% card like Schwab Credit Card). One of the great things about this card is that rebate formula has hardly changed. Yes, it has a tier, but look at Citi Dividend and Chase Freedom, each year, their rebates gets reduced. For anyone looking to a cash back card, this would be a card to consider if you are a big spender. Supplement it with the Discover Card and you can earn lots of cash rebates! For now, this one is going to take a back seat!
Chase Flexible Rewards Card – The only reason I got this card was that I needed a Visa Card and I wanted to review the reward program which Chase did not put on their website (you could not see the rewards until you got the card!). When I first got it, the rewards were really bad (as in really bad), but it has improved a lot since. I just got a mail recently that this card will be changed to the Freedom Card at the end of October. So I guess I will get the Freedom card with the chance to review Chase’s new Ultimate Rewards program!
Merrill Lynch Visa – Only reason I got the card was again to review the reward program. Use it as a spare Visa.
2 weeks ago, I applied for and got approved for the Plum Card (I applied from my site off course). It was really easy and I got a response literally in 60 seconds (as Amex claims) that I got approved. So the Plum Card is now the official card used by Ask Mr Credit Card for all our business expenses. Previously, when I was using my Blue Cash, the Platinum Card was used for this site. I thought about getting a separate Platinum Business Card, but the thought of paying another set of fees didn’t sit well with me. I then considered getting the Gold Card to earn Membership Rewards. But Mrs Credit Card thought we should try to earn cash rebates instead (even though our personal cards are now geared towards earning rewards!). Getting a card with no preset spending limit was important because I do advertise on the internet and sometimes the cost can skyrocket! You do not want a card with a fixed limit. The card also gave me the flexibility of deferring my payments for an additional month with no interest cost and I thought that was a good option to have. But it looks like I will pay in full every month and earn the 1.5% cash rebates.
I may decide to switch to the gold card later on and if I do so, I will update this page.
Regular readers of this blog will know that Jason Steele writes for us about reward programs and credit card news in general. His main card is the Starwood Credit Card. Jason has to make an annual trip to Israel every year and hence trying to get the best ticket deal for the buck (or rather for the points) is top priority. The reason why Starwood fits him is that they allow you to exchange points for frequent flier miles mostly on a one for one basis with over 30 airline partners. You also get a 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer 20,000 points into miles! It’s like Starwood prefers you to use points for other airlines than their own hotels! So search among airline alliance and transferring points to the program which requires the least miles is what Jason is good at doing. The only other thing I might recommend him is to get the business version instead since it is the same card and he can get discounts at OPEN Savings merchants.
Capital One – Jason also has a Capital One credit card in his wallet though he only uses that overseas since they do not charge any “foreign currency transaction fee”.
Jason in the meantime has also been doing some credit card churning lately by applied for Citi’s AAdvantage Cards, getting their bonus miles, canceling the card and reapplying 65 days later. He reckons he can rack up over 100,000 miles just doing that. If your credit is not good, and you need to get an auto loan or mortgage in a couple of years, I suggest you do not try this!
For those of you who have followed me for a while, you may recall Jenna Banks, who used to write for me. I hired Jenna because she had been through bankruptcy and was able to help our readers answer questions relating to that topic. Plus, it was good to have someone on board who actually has a couple of “subprime cards” after they got out of bankruptcy (since we review them as well).
The main credit cards that Jenna had were the Orchard Bank MasterCard and the First Premier Bank Credit Card (which she got after her bankruptcy). She would be the first to tell you that she would rather have any of the credit cards that both Jason and myself have (since they are layered with fees). But I guess she simply has to start rebuilding your credit somewhere!
Jacqui’s main card is the Chase Freedom Card. She has carried a Chase credit card in some shape or form for about 15 years now. She has found the service provided by Chase satisfactory enough to stick with them all that time.
She also has the Discover Card that was recently applied and approved for. She likes having the choice of these two cards as while they both offer similar merchants in their Shopping Experience, she likes seeing which has the better deal before choosing the two.
There is no particular reason that Jacqui has these two specific cards. If any reason, it is more of Brand Loyalty. Chase due to long term customer and Discover as that was her first credit card she ever had.
Aside from the cards we carry, we also have access to other cards that we do not carry. For example, two good friends of mine have given me that password for the Discover More Card and the Capital One No Hassle Miles Cards so that I can actually review the reward programs. I want to thank them for that and for the trust they have in me. Having access to both of these cards are important because they do not display their rewards on their website. Instead, you have to actually get the cards before you know the rewards! So only by having access to these reward programs could I write a proper review.
I would also like to get my hands on the following cards in future. One of them is the Visa Black Card. I’ve been hesitant to review it yet because I have not got my hands on the card. I’m not not too bothered by not knowing what gift card partners they have or what sort of merchandise they have in their program. I was more interested in their airline travel rewards. But it looks like they have finally put that information on their website, so I’ll probably do a preliminary review soon as lots of people are asking my opinion of the card. If you have the Visa Black and are willing to share the reward information, please drop me an email.
Another card I’m looking to get is the Citi Platinum Select Card. Reason being they now have this program called Extra Cash which is like Discover’s shopdiscover.com program. Would be great to do a side by side comparison.
Chase has also just revamped their reward program and I would like to get to see their ultimate rewards program. But since my Chase Flexible Rewards will soon be Chase Freedom, I guess I’ll get a sneak peak at the program. But I may try to get the Sapphire Card to check it out.
I once thought about getting a Bank of America Card with the WorldPoints program since they do not state their travel rewards unless you get the card! (another one of those things). But when I called WorldPoints, the customer representative gave me the exact details so I was able to get that information without resorting to getting the card for the sake of it.
Once again, if anyone has these cards and are willing to share details of the card program with me, please contact me.
Please feel free to share what cards you use below.