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Credit cards.... what to get?

Discussion in 'Finance and Investment' started by Someguy2007, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. Someguy2007

    Someguy2007 2+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    I've been reading through the various topics here as I prepare to make the leap towards financial independence. One matter I haven't come across here pertains to credit cards. I'm definitely a noob when it comes to this subject. What sort of things should I look for besides no annual fees? There are sooooo many options out there, and I'd appreciate y'all's input on the matter. Recommendations as to what to get are also welcome.
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  3. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Wild west of Mistytown
    Usually reward cards are a good bet. Search credit cards in this forum and I posted a link somewhere where you can search all the different credit cards by type (like rewards, lowest rates, best transfer rates, no fees, etc).

    Citi rewards card was THE card to get until they caught on with the 5% cash back and lowered it. I would look around on that site. I'd try to find it but I'm walking out of the door as we speak.
  4. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Citi Visa mtvu gives you thank you points for good grades along with purchases from restaurants, bookstores, movie theaters, movie rentals, and music stores.

    Citi Mastercard Driver's Edge Earn:
    * 6% rebates on supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases for 12 months, 3% after that
    * 1% rebates on other purchases
    * Rebates for the miles you drive
    * Rebates toward your next vehicle┬Śnew or used, foreign or domestic, within the next 5 years
    * Rebates on maintenance, service or repair of your current vehicle
    * For merchandise or services through ThankYouSM Network
  5. The White Coat Investor

    The White Coat Investor AKA ActiveDutyMD Physician Partner Organization 10+ Year Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    SDN Partner
    I found this to be a nice site:

    Basically, there are three kinds of credit cards and you need to decide what kind you want:

    1) Rewards cards-Give you cash back or miles but have a high rate. These are good for people who charge everything but never carry a balance.

    2) 0% temporary offer cards. These are for people riding the wave of credit, transferring their balance to a new card every 6-12 months. Beware, this wave crashes from time to time when NOONE will offer you a card. I know people with good credit that it has happened to.

    3) Low rate cards, for those who actually carry balances (don't get me started here.)

    I would stick with a cash-back card. I have found that airline miles are getting harder and harder to use these days. What used to cost me 25000 miles now requires 50000 because the seats simply aren't available for the "25,000 mile price." I have three tickets worth of airline miles that I wasn't able to use for booking a flight in May and a flight in August. How much notice do they expect me to be able to give? 5 months in advance isn't enough?
  6. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh! 10+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2006
    Living in America
    :thumbup: Pretty much took the words out of my mouth.

    I have the Citi Preferred Rewards card (which, like MSH. said was THE BEST rewards card until they got rid of the 5% category, so it's pretty much just a 1% flat card now, which is average/below average. THe other thing I don't like about this card is that there is a $300 max/yr cash back limin) and an rewards card which is 1% flat, but 3% back on purchases at (rewards are gift certificates, and there is no limit.) Since I buy a lot of stuff from amazon, it works out OK. I'm in the market for a new rewards card, as well.

    I agree that airline cards aren't such a good deal unless you travel A LOT. Used to be that the Alaska Airlines card was the best one because Alaska Air partnered with almost every other airline, but it's been a few years since I researched that, and these things change by the month, so a few years is pretty much an eternity. Most airline mileage rewards are subject to blackout dates, and the ridiculous advance purchase requirements as ActiveDutyMD said, so they are not that practical for the casual traveler. YMMV.
  7. Gubernaculum07

    Gubernaculum07 New Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    I agree with the cash rebate cards.
    My wife and I use a warehouse club's American Express.
    We get 3% for eating out, 2% for traveling, and 1% everywhere else.
    The annual rebate check can be used for merchandise or can be cashed at customer service.
  8. Stroganoff

    Stroganoff Nice marmot. Rocket Scientist 10+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    I wish I could make babies with my Citi mtvU. Even though it's a student card, it's got something that other rewards cards don't have: 5% back on restaurants (including fast food)! 5% back on textbooks, and bookstores, including, and like you said, movie and music. I hope this card sticks around forever.

    Discover Gas gives 5% back on gas (within limits), and Discover Platinum gives 5% deals that rotate throughout the year.

    RIP Citi Dividend 5%, like msh and jota_jota mentioned.

    AMEX Blue Cash gives 5% but only after you spend $6500 with them. If you're a po' student, that's a lot of moolah to spend per year before reaping any benefits.

    If you're a n00b, definitely educate yourself. Lurk around on the FatWallet forums and Credit Boards forums.
  9. Someguy2007

    Someguy2007 2+ Year Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    I just took a look at the Discover Gas card, and I'm trying to understand the bottom line on the rewards. If I understand the fine print correctly, you earn 5% on $1200 you spend on gas and auto stuff per year, and after that it goes to 1% for the rest of the year?
  10. Teee

    Teee Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 21, 2006
    Thanks for your responses! i asked, they said no, so i did the balance transfer. thanks again.
  11. mshheaddoc

    mshheaddoc Howdy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    Wild west of Mistytown
    I'd call the company and see what you can do. Let them know you have a balance transfer offer and you might use it. If they can't do anything, transfer the balance.

    And yes opening credit cards will ding yoru credit but it will bounce back soon enough. Using them will help your credit if you pay them off every month.
  12. blanche

    blanche #$%&*[email protected]!!#? 7+ Year Member

    It's amazing what you get from these companies when you ask, I'd have to agree w/msh...I've never had a late fee stick (and I don't have any uber cards w/annual fees). Yesterday, I called my local bank about all the ATM fees, foreign transaction fees, etc etc when I used my card on vacation in central america. They happily reversed the charges with some mild prodding. Also, the correct words ("I'm thinking of canceling this card because of the APR because "so and so card" has a better rate") will sometimes trigger a response also.

    I open and close cards all the time for promo offers (discounts on big purchases). Maybe it's hurt my credit slightly? who knows, it's still in the 750s so i don't really care. It sure made my interview suit and new mattress more affordable!
  13. melancholy

    melancholy 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2000
    As I will moving soon to start my PGY2 spot and transitioning to a semi-long distance to a true long-distance relationship, I'm looking for an airline miles rewards card. Unfortunately, I am divided between getting a single airline card and a card that allows me to use multiple airlines. I'm currently looking for a Mastercard or Visa (as I will likely change my AMEX blue to a Costco AMEX or Discover cash back rewards card somewhere down the line.)

    Currently, the front-runner for a MC/Visa is the Capital One No Hassles Rewards card for what seems to be the lowest amount I need to spend to purchase tickets between Sacramento and San Diego. (In the long run, it even seems cheaper than the rewards through a dedicated program like the Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa)

    The only thing is I see such horrible reviews everywhere even though the card seems to allow me to get more free flights in the future... and I will most likely just need cheaper flights between northern and southern California. Any advice on this card?

    Edit: Recently saw the other adjacent thread in these sub-forums at:

    Are there any other first or second-hand comments regarding the Cap1 No Hassles Rewards card or any attractive alternatives that people have found?
  14. bbaker

    bbaker Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    Capital One tried to charge me a $30 annual fee- NO good.

    I use chase visa, 5% cash back on grocer, pharm and gas. 1% on all other purchases. I've been pleased with this card but when the year is up, the rewards change and I'll be doing the same to a new card.
  15. Twitch

    Twitch 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2004
    Fidelity 1.5% - pay tuition and anything that doesn't fall below
    Citi mtvU 5% - books/music/movies/food places
    Chase Rewards 5% - groceries/drugstores/gas stations
    AmEx 2% - travel (car/hotel/air)
    Citi Dividend 2% - Utilities
  16. Ulquiorra

    Ulquiorra 2+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    It appears that they no longer offer Chase Rewards 5% to new members. The best I could find is 3%. Boo :(
  17. IrishMD


    Apr 22, 2007
    That looks pretty close to what I use.

    Citi Dividend: 2% for Utilities
    Citi Driver's Edge: 6% (for 12 months) for Groceries, Gas & Drugstore stuff (3% after I'm done with a year), plus you get cash back for driving (This works particularly well for me because I'm saving for a new car)
    Fidelity: 1.5% for everything else (Hadn't thought about paying for tuition with it; that's a really good idea. I'll need to check into it)

    I have a Discover card for the rotating 5% back (I have a capital one that I'm cancelling because their rewards are crap).

    I'm contemplating getting the Citi mtvU too for books/eating out but I worry about having too many credit cards.

    Also - check out (surveys all the various rebate sites to find the best one) to make your online spending go farther :thumbup:

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