Rewards credit cards - your opinion?

J

joshmamabear

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we have a Discover Open Road card that I 'froze' for a year now with zero activity. A few days ago, they sent us a Discover Chrome card telling us that the OR has been D/C and the chrome will be like Discover IT, we earn 1% on all purchases, 5% on rotating category bonuses plus Discover shopping. On the 13th statement, we will get doubles of what we earned for the past 12 months. We keep this card since they're one of our oldest cards to maintain our credit scores.

Overall, my go-to CC remains the Citi DC and I redeem my CBs soon as it posts.
 

Fillies Fan

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This is an old thread but I think it is time to update it a bit.

I have several U.S. credit cards but my "go to" card has been the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. As I don't live in the U.S. it is very important for me to have a card which charges no forex fees for purchases made outside of the U.S. The Travel Rewards card does this (except at foreign ATMs). For ATMs I use my Schwab card, which not only has no forex charges but reimburses me for any charges made by other banks for ATM withdrawals. The Travel Rewards card is free.

That said, I recently asked for (and received) the BoA Prime Rewards card, which costs $95 per year. Why pay when it has many of the same benefits as my free Travel Rewards card? For several reasons:

1. If you spend $3000 in the first 90 days of having the card, you get $500 back. That would, by itself, cover my annual fee for the first five years -- and I am free to cancel the card at any time. How hard is it to spend $3000 in 90 days? I have spent over half of that in the last two weeks. Of course, I managed to do this by stocking up on things that I knew I would be buying anyhow between now and December.

2. I also get 1.5% back on any purchases I make and 2% back for purchases made at restaurants and for travel (airfare, hotels, car rentals, trains, etc).

3. Once every 4 years I would get $100 if I get either TSA Pre-Check or General Entry. In my case, I will get neither but this is a great benefit for someone who is going to be doing a lot of travel in the U.S.

4. I will get $100 every year for incidentals in air travel (such as baggage fees).

I also ordered, and received, Prime Rewards cards for my (adult) son and daughter. Their cards have the identical number as mine and there are both advantages as disadvantages with this. The advantages are that I will get the cash back on the purchases that they make as their purchases will be paid for by my account. Of course, this also helps me reach the $3000 for my $500 credit. Moreover, they can also use their cards when traveling and get the same benefits I would. The disadvantages are that my statement will not show who made what purchase. Therefore, I have told them that whenever they buy something to let me know where, what date, and how much they spent. At the end of each month I will tell them how much they owe me.
 

greenfrog57

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I recently heard on the nightly news that credit card companies will be reducing their "benefits" to customers including rental car insurance & replacemement insurance on certain purchases within 3 or 6 months (I can't remember what else). I mentioned this at book club. I wonder if your Bank of America travel card is the one that my friend said she has but is no longer available for new customers?
 

Fillies Fan

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I wonder if your Bank of America travel card is the one that my friend said she has but is no longer available for new customers?

The Travel Reward Card is still being offered on the BoA website.

BTW, I forgot to mention the biggest downside of the Prime Rewards card. As I said, I got them for my son and daughter and they have the same number as mine. (There is no extra charge for the additional cards). The problem is that if one card is lost or stolen all three cards get shut down immediately. That would give me a big headache if I have not yet reached the $3000 in spend and it is close to the end of the 90 day period. It would also mean that if one of the children is traveling he would have to use the Schwab card.
 
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Fillies Fan

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The card is now 3 weeks old and I have gone through $2750. That means I only have to spend $250 more before Sept 6. I did not buy a single thing that I would not otherwise have bought BUT:

1. I bought a lot of things I knew that I would buy by the end of the year now in order to get the charges earlier.

2. Two people bought things on my charge card and paid me back in shekels. This accounted for about $600 of my spend.

My daughter and her boyfriend are going to spend a week vacationing in Germany in July. As this charge card has no foreign exchange charge it will save them a lot of money as opposed to using their Israeli cards. I may well spend that $250 before they go, but if not they are certain to put me over the top. If any other bank wants to give me $500 they are welcome to contact me. :D
 

Fillies Fan

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I have now spent my required $3000 (actually a bit more) on my BoA Premium Rewards card. Results:

$500 in bonus points.
$50 in points for purchases.
$110 I transferred from other BoA cards and which otherwise would have gone unused.

Total: $660 -- which is not bad for a $95 per year fee (and I can cancel at any time).

Moreover, my daughter and her SO will be spending a week in Germany this month, using the card, and I will get the points for their spend. They will benefit because the card has no Forex fees, which will save them a lot of money.

Additionally, the card allows $100 (every four years) for U.S. General Entry charges. This not only speeds up your entry when you enter the US but also gives you TSA Pre-Check. Even if I go back to the States I will not use this as it requires me making an appointment at a government office and having an interview, which I will not waste my short vacation time doing.

However, I have a good friend in Georgia who flies quite a bit and will be going to Holland for a visit in September. I offered to let her use my card (she doesn't need the actual card, she simply has to pay for the GE online using the number) and she winds up getting GE for free.

(Yes, I know that it is generally not a wise idea to give someone else your card information, but not only have I known her for years and trust her implicitly, she knows that if she ever runs into financial trouble I would give her more money than she could steal using my card.)

All in all, I am very happy with the results.
 

Fillies Fan

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While I was busy spending the $3000 for my Premium Rewards card, I went to a supermarket to fill up on things that I know I will need before the end of the year. The supermarket (part of a large chain) offered me an Israeli Visa card which costs 11 shekels ($3) per year -- with the first year being free and I would get a 180 shekel ($49) credit for my first purchase with it.

I accepted the offer and yesterday used the card to buy about $55 worth of things, for which I wound up paying $6. I had planned on getting rid of the card after the first year but found that it also gives me discounts on many different items, so I may keep it.

Clearly, my time on HCW has corrupted me completely.
 
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