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Earning travel miles, debit cards....(expansion of another thread by Vagabound)

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  • Earning travel miles, debit cards....(expansion of another thread by Vagabound)

    Currently we have two credits cards: a Chase United Mileage Plus MC and an American Express Delta Skymiles card. As someone else said in another thread, we too have several hundred miles on both. Physician burn out is a reality and so I try to use the miles as incentive to travel.  However we never seem to get any upgrades. Would the the Chase Saphire card a better product than my current Chase Mileage Plus card? And, if so, can I switch our miles to that from the current Chase card?


    Also, for smaller day-to-day purchases, (gas, groceries, Amazon) I’m using our Wells Fargo debit card. Is there any product that is a debit card that offers cash-back or any other incentives for the user? We also purchase a lot from Amazon. I feel like I should switch banks at the his point to find a better product.

    Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Wirecuter had a good piece on the best cash-back cards for everyday purchases... so I guess I answered part of my own question...


    "If you have above-average credit, pay off your full statement balance every month, and don’t want to juggle complicated rewards programs, the Citi Double Cash card is the best credit card to use for everyday purchases. We worked out four different hypothetical budgets to compare 21 credit cards and found that the Double Cash card earns more cash back than the competition in almost every scenario.

    Our pick

    The best cash-back credit card
    Citi Double Cash
    With 2 percent cash back on every purchase, the Double Cash card is so easy to take advantage of and such a good deal that it should be the first card most people reach for.
    Buy from Citi
    With the Citi Double Cash you have no categories to track, just 2 percent back on all your spending—half accrues when you swipe your card, and the other half comes in when you pay your bill. While promotional deals and higher bonuses in specific spending categories (such as an extra 5 percent on movie-theater admission from April through June) look attractive on paper, the Double Cash card’s flat 2 percent rewards rate earns more in the long run for the vast majority of people. It’s annoying that Citi requires you to earn at least $25 (that’s $1,250 of spending) before you can redeem your cash back, but this policy is in line with its competitors’ rules.

    Also great

    Buy from Chase
    If you already have a Chase Sapphire card
    Chase Freedom Unlimited
    Freedom cards don’t provide the most rewards, but if you have a Chase Sapphire card, you can combine the points and get bonuses.
    If you already use a Chase Sapphire Reserve for the travel benefits but want a cash-back card for everyday use, we recommend the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its flat 1.5 percent rewards rate is lower than the Citi DoubleCash card’s 2 percent rate, but Sapphire Reserve cardholders can push their Freedom cash into Ultimate Rewards points to get 50 percent in bonus value when booking travel, effectively turning their cash-back rate into 2.25 percent. That bests any card we’ve found. If you don’t already have a Sapphire Reserve card, this deal likely isn’t enough to draw you in, but it is a nice bonus for existing cardholders. (Sapphire Preferred owners can do the same and bump their cash-back rate to 1.875 percent, but that’s not as good as the Citi Double Cash card’s flat 2 percent rewards rate.)

    Both the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards are available only to people with above-average credit. If you have below-average credit or no credit history, we have some guidance on credit-building rewards cards, as well."


    • #3
      The best card from purchasing from Amazon is the Amazon Visa through Chase...5% back in Amazon credits.

      For travel it's either Amex Blue or Chase Sapphire Reserve.  Getting 3x back for travel or dining (4.5x back when using Chase's Ultimate Rewards for booking, which is really quite functional imo) has worked very well.  It also has built-in rewards and deals with rental cars, travel insurance, and such that I find to be worth it.  Annual fee is $150 after factoring in the $300 travel credit, plus $100 each for TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry.  Seems to work very well for us; total back for us averages around 2.6% I think


      • #4
        So -- What's in YOUR wallet?  --- Hint, not Capital One card.

        =========These are my standards when not on a spend for bonus rewards  ==========

        1.  AMEX SPG --  This is our main misc card.  We love Sheraton/Westin hotels and they fit our stay pattern of 4days+1day free awards.  Also can bulk xfer for Air+hotel packages much like Marriott does, but at better redemption values.   ave 5%+ on these stays

        2.  Chase Amazon -  5% on all Amazon purchases. Not "in" my wallet but we use a lot  I mean A LOT

        3 tie.  Chase Sapphire Reserve -- This is our 'we do not accept AMEX' card.

        3. tie Bank of America Travel Rewards == with Platinum Honors Rewards 2.6%

        4.  Chase Freedom Card -  Rotating 5% categories


        Back in the vault to keep around to use

        -Chase Disney Card - for Disney Shopping online

        -Citi Costco Card - for Gas when we gas the ICE car

        -Target - 5% online target and local target



        Other folk in this forum should consider:

        Upromise Mastercard -- 529 plan funding -- especially online shopping and portals

        Fidelity Card  2% CashBack

        RitzCarlton Card -  points for Marriott, but able to achieve spend status for Marriott AND match over to United Airlines status with that -- redeem for volume transfers for hotel+airline points like the SPG card.



        • #5
          I use the South west card just to get the companion pass every year. I am not sure how much it has saved us, but you need to earn 110,000 points in a calendar year, then your companion flies free from then to the following calendar year. I estimate we have saved about $5,000 + over the past the return is about 4.5% ($5,000/$110,000) and this is likely a underestimation as we likely have saved more then 5K flying (due to other frequent flier points earned, etc) and we did not have to spend $110,000 as we get points for miles flown. So the return in reality is somewhere between 3-6%.

          Not sure that helps, but that is what we are doing.