Is There Any Difference Between Credit Cards?

Old Feb 5th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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We used to have a free Amex card that awarded Delta skymiles. However, we got rid of it because of Delta's precarious position and because it is so hard to use our miles. We decided we would rather just get cash back to use towards tickets. Chase and Citibank both have cards that give back 5% on grocery, gas, and pharmacy putchases and 1% back on everything else.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Which Citibank card still gives 5% back on grocery/gas/pharmacy? Their Platinum Dividend card no longer does (as of late last year). Since then, I switched all of those purchases back to Amex.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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Just a side note: somebody advised to check if my bank in the US has an affiliated bank in Mexico (will be there in April) so I won't get charged for using the ATM card.

Well, the affiliated bank is BAN AMEX (something like Banamex) LOL
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 03:51 PM
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2 things after all this advice. The AMEX are good people to deal with but are affiliated with a limited number of airlines. Capital One is one of those cards you should read the fine print(I settled for Home Depot Certificates rather than the impossibility of getting a real ticket of value). Citi and AA have been great as long as you pay on time. Chase and Marriott is another good deal.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 10:19 PM
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As alluded to by others, Capital One is NOT a traditional miles accumulating card. Be darn sure you understand what you are signing up for if you go with Capital One.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 01:42 AM
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None of the advise is appropriate if one lives outside the US and uses ATM and CCs abroad.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 04:05 AM
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Amex offers Pay with Points, which allows you to redeem membership rewards points on any airline.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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Be aware that the points you earn from some airline related credit cards are far different from earning "points" on cards that let you "use any airline".

The Business class ticket I get for free on American Airlines to Europe with two stopovers costs me 90,000 AA points. But getting the exact same ticket with Capital One points would cost me about 700,000 points. I don't know about you, but it's a lot easier to rack up 90,000 worth of dollars spent on a credit card (if that is the only way you're earning miles) than it is to spend $700,000 on a credit card. A LOT EASIER. Meanwhile the airline credit cards let you combine your credit card miles earned with various other forms of miles earned. Capital One and others don't!
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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I've had a Citibank American Airlines card for 7 years and have been nothing but pleased with it EXCEPT for the fact that overseas purcahses carry a 3% charge. So, I use a Capitalone overseas.

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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 02:21 PM
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If you don't carry a balance I suggest the AMEX Platinum card. The fee is $395/year, but if you travel you receive many times that back in services. Just a few of my favorite amenities of the card are entry into the airline clubs, upgrades based upon avail. at hundreds of hotels in their program (we usually get either a size upgrade or prefered view), breakfast for 2 daily and an extra gift from the hotel (ie, a round of golf or lunch for 2 once during your stay). The other great benefit is what NeoPatrick mentioned, the ability to get better conversion of points for air tickets. I just cashed in only 35,000 points to get a $485 rt ticket on Continental (this is $1.39/ point). Not only will I still get OnePass miles on the trip, but there were no reward seats availible with my Continental miles.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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I have to put a plug in for AM EX too. My wife and I both travel, entertain and shop with AM EX Gold and Plat. I am a really fussy person, so it takes a lot to impress me!

American Express has been an absolute godsend through the years. Whenever I do business with a company or service where something is telling me "watch out" I ALWAYS use Am EX. I have disputed at least 8 or more charges ranging from 50$ to charges over a thousand dollars. ALL the settlements were in our favor!

Best yet, in the last 3 years, you can do the dispute RIGHT ON LINE by a click of a box, and filling out a pull down and comment form...and that is it! Weeks later you get a letter in the mail indicating the status...but they remove the charge IMMEDIATELY UPON YOUR DISPUTE!

My experience with other cards has not been as positive.

On the AM EX Gold and Plat and Green cards the points can be transferred to a whole host of companies or services, gift certificates, airlines, or even cash.

However, someone above noted the ease of large purchases... yes that is true, but that is a "trust" that is built up over time by your payment history, and credit score which they pull each year.

If you have a BIG purchase and you just got your card, it is a good idea to call them up and tell them what you are planning on doing, that way you avoid the embarrassment.

The WORSE card I have ever had, has been Chase....these people really have issues.. their service is inconsistent, and they will cancel your card without giving you any notice, without any reason, and then reissue it to you 4 months later again out of the blue.

This has got to be related somehow with some strange algorithm in their system looking at fluctuating credit scores....happened to me 3 times after some large real-estate transactions.

That is a cc company you DONT want to rely on!

Another great thing about AM EX is that it is NOT considered revolving credit therefore it is not counted against you in your credit score. OK Except if you end up transferring large ticket items onto your Flex Pay option. YOU HAVE to be very careful about that....I noticed last week that some large ticket items on my wife's plat card were defaulted onto flex pay, and she had been paying the card off, but NOT the flex pay portion. I was SHOCKED to find out they were charging 18.6% interest on the balance!!!!

You better believe I went online right then and there and paid off the watch out for appears to be a new default they put into the Plat cards.

Now a negative....last year I got a DIscover card because of a 0% promotion for one year.....I cannot tell you how many times I have not been able to use that card because businesses do not accept it.

It is surely a card that you don't want to carry without backup.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 09:24 AM
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The best bank in the USA according to Money Magazine as well as me is USAA FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK in San Antonio, Texas.
Phone 1 (800) 531-2265



These people have their act together. I have used this bank for 22 years and I would never change.
Free ATM's, free deposit slips, and fabulous customer service world wide. On top of that, they are actually helpful and curteous.

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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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I have the Hilton Honors AMEX and Visa cards. Neither has an annual fee. The free nights at hotels rack up quickly and are usable at any of the multiple Hilton brands.

I will always maintain that the most expensive part of a vacation is the hotels as opposed to the airfare (unless you stay at dumps). Plus, the blackouts and reward limits on the airlines almost always preclude using the "free tickets" when you want to.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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Here is our strategy which I have developed after many years of financial/accounting/legal research (I am an attorney, too).

We have a Delta AMEX as our main card and those miles certainly add up --- it paid for one ticket to Ireland last year and will pay for one ticket to Italy this year. I ONLY recommend this card if you fly a lot and utilize your miles wisely --- my father had a Delta AMEX card but he doesn't do a good job using his Skymiles, so his miles just sat there --- he is far happier with a CashBack card.

However, many many places do not take AMEX (especially abroad) so make sure you have a Visa/Mastercard as a backup. Relatedly, I think it is a good idea to have a bank credit card (i.e. if you bank with Wachovia, get a Wachovia credit card) --- mainly, I like this for emergency issues; if we are out traveling and an ATM card gets eaten, I at least have a credit card we can stick in the ATM and then can call my bank and have them waive fees, etc.
However, most bank credit cards give you no benefits, so it is a good idea to have a secondary back up which can give you benefits and you can use for traveling.

We like the Capital One No Hassle Miles card for the reason people have said above --- no conversion fee, etc. But, as rhmuir said, we only use the card when we travel and we use the "miles" to get gift certificates, etc. because it is too difficult to try and actually get a plane ticket from them.

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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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My husband and I had used USAir credit cards for 10+ years. We took several family trips with no problems using the FF miles. However, trying to use points this year was a joke. They claim it's 25K points per person to fly between Canada and US, but I could not actually GET a flight for that- everything available was 50K points. Plus they cancelled the points my children had been accumulating because the accounts were inactive for a year. We cut up the USAir cards and went with Capitol One.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 11:20 AM
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Patty, I have a Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card, and it still pays 5%.
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Old Feb 7th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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One strategy to rack up miles is to use your card for everything.

I have gained thousands of miles by putting cars and college tuition on my UAL card..along with any household or remodeling expenses.

Like Patrick...I don't like the "points on any airline" cards"I just booked two biz class tickets to Argentina worth $9500 each for 80,000 miles each. no way cold I have done that on the other kind of card.
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Sure you could have, Dick. I think, if my math's right, you could have purchased those tickets with Capital One miles and you'd have only had to spend 1.9 million dollars on the card to get that many points. Right?
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Old Feb 8th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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I have the same card, but the 5% rebate was phased out back in October. Apparently, they didn't change the rebate terms on everyone's card. Mine is definitely gone now
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