Which credit card should I get?

Now that I’m about to go back to work (and start traveling again) my mind has returned to maximizing my points and miles. Since I haven’t been able to travel for the last several months I have lots of ground to make up!

The first step for us is a new credit card. We have had the Citi Aadvantage card for six years. Overall we’ve been pretty happy with it, but due to American Airline’s continuing issues we think it’s a good idea to change to a non AA focused card. We’re considering three cards right now, and I am very interested in your input.

Amex Platinum. The benefits? Numerous. Access to lounges, $200 credit for incidental airline fees, membership in global entry, and 25,000 in points with $2000 spend in the first two months (among others). The cons are the hefty annual fee of $450, they’re not accepted everywhere, and the fact that you have to pay your bill in full every month. (We pay our bill in full every month, but it’s nice to know that you don’t have to if something crazy happens.)

Chase Sapphire Preferred. The benefits for this card are the double points on travel and dining, 40,000 points with a $3,000 spend in the first three months, it’s a Visa so it’s accepted virtually everywhere, and there is no annual fee the first year. The cons are the $95 annual fee after the first year (right now we pay $75), the high interest rate, and, well, it’s not the Amex Platinum so there’s no lounge access.

Chase Southwest Premier. This is the only airline-specific card we are considering. The benefits are the 25,000 points with $1,000 spend in the first three months, tier qualifying points, an anniversary bonus, and it’s a Visa so it’s accepted everywhere. The cons are the high APR (15.24% right now) and the $99 annual fee.

So, Readers, which card do you think is best? Do you think we should keep our Citi Aadvantage card around? Or are there other cards we should consider?

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Comments

  1. What are your goals with the points as that will help you decide.

    Also, there is a 50,000 point offer (though the link is acting a little funny today) for the Southwest card. If you do that one, do the biz version as well and you will be very close to enough points for the Companion Pass (but time it so the points don’t post until 2013 to maximize the pass).

    Plat card is a great choice – if you travel with your little one, lounge access becomes an even better perk when you can get a family room. Consider the Mercedes Benz version to get 50,000 points with only a slightly higher annual fee.

    CSP is a great card. Welcome back to travel and miles and points!

  2. If you like redeeming for AA but want to be flexible for other airlines or hotels as well, go for the Starwood American Express. Points transfer to AA at 1:1 plus 5,000 bonus points for ever 20,000 points transferred. You can also transfer to another airline as well (United has a poor value though), or use the points for some great SPG hotels using cash & points!

  3. I love Chase Sapphire Preferred. It is accepted everywhere and the bonus points (restaurants, gas) are easy to earn.

    I like the card since I don’t have a preference for point reimbursement. I like spending my points on travel, Pottery Barn gift cards etc.

    The Amex sounds great for travel but it really depends on what you need when you travel. I’m fine not getting status treatment when I’m travelling since I try to limit my time at the airport as much as possible (25-30 minute wait tops at the gate).

  4. I like the Delta Reserve but it depends on your airline of choice. I get lounge access, 10k MQM’s after 1st purchase and either 15K or 30K MQM’s depending on the spend levels. Because I fly out of ATL Delta is my best option and this is a fast-track to medallion status.

  5. I absolutely love the Sapphire Preferred card. Since you are on the road a lot you probably dine out a lot too so maximizing those points would be nice… plus it’s a sexy lookin card (not that that matters :P)

    If you are thinking about the SW card definitely get the personal and the business card. That way you’ll be able to get 100K towards the 110K needed for the companion pass. As Mommypoints said make sure you wait until after Jan 1st for the last of the spend requirement to hit so that you can maximize the length of time you get the companion pass. I know we are expecting our first baby in December and we’ll be traveling a LOT to see my wife’s family so the companion pass will be a financial life saver!

  6. I love my Chase United Club (Credit) Card. $300 (after $95 credit). Lots of United Clubs and if flying *A you have access to any *A business lounge (e.g. Swiss Business in Zurich). I am hooked now. Lounge access has made a world of difference. No question.

    1.5 miles/$ on all purchases, 2 miles/$ on United, 2 bags free, priority luggage/access, and I love the no close-in fee for award flights. No sign-up bonus though. They might bring back the 2 yrs/1st year free like in Apr ’12. That’s under $200/yr for 2 yrs. https://creditcards.chase.com/credit-cards/united-club-credit-card.aspx

  7. A couple of points about the Amex Platinum. I have had one for over ten years and the only place it has not been accepted in as long as I can remember was a funeral home, a need I don’t expect to have often. As for paying over time, there is a pay-over-time option on certain large expenses. And the lounge access is unbeatable. I spare myself the stress of worrying about getting through security by getting to the airport well in advance and making myself comfortable and useful in a lounge.

  8. If you want to get just one card and use it for everything, I would currently recommend the Barclay Arrival card, as with that card you will earn 2.2% cash back on everything and $440 value in sign-up bonus. All that for $0 annual fee in the first year ($89 after the first year but you can cancel the card before the fee comes due).

    Also, follow these http://creditcardbonanza.com/avoiding-fees/ basic rules to keep any credit card related fees to an absolute minimum.

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