April 30, 2015

Three New Credit Cards : Should Net $700 in cash & points

My FICO has recently hit 837.   Time to go use that good credit and get me some free money.

I just signed up for three new credit cards in order to get some promotional cash and points.

The three cards are :

1. American Express Blue Cash Everyday
2. US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature*
3. Chase IHG Rewards Club Select Mastercard  (via MyMoneyBlog)

For the Amex card I got an email offer from Amex offering me the card with a $200 bonus if I spend $1000 in the first 3 months.       Looks like that $200 deal was a targetted offer since when I go direct to Amex to find the card I do not see a promotion like that.   The Amex card also has 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% at gas stations and 2% at department stores.   I've already got cards that meet or beat those.

The US Bank card will give me a $100 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months.   I am not sure where I ran across that deal, but it seems to be a promotion as well.   *The link I have for it seems to be a referral link from someone.   So if you click that someone (not me) might get a commission.      The US Bank Cash+ card also has 5% cash back categories that you can pick.   Some of the options are department stores, clothing stores, charity, cell phone bills.   I figure that benefit alone would give us an extra ~$50 a year in rewards (above earning 2% on our Fidelity Amex). 

The IHG Rewards Club gives 70,000 points after spending $1000 in the first 3 months.   I'm linking to MyMoneyBlog on that one as he covered the card in an article.   Using his links will probably give him a commission, but hey... why not?        I have 7,000 points on IHG rewards now so another 70,000 points will give me enough for 3 hotel nights.   The hotels we'd stay in usually run us about $150 a night so I value those rewards at about $450 total.     You also get one free nights hotel stay every year with this card.    However the card does have a $49 annual fee which is waived the first year.

Combined I'll need to spend $2500 in 3 months to get the promotions.     I should be able to do that easily enough, but if necessary I can always buy some gift cards if I'm nearing the end without hitting the required spend.

The total expected bonus money I'll get is $300 cash and about $450 worth of hotel nights.   If I'd used my Fidelity card to spend $2500 I'd get $50 cash back so the net benefit is about $250 cash + $450 in hotels or $700 in total value.

The USBank and IHG cards are probably keepers for us.   The 5% cash back categories from the US Bank Cash+ will be worth using for the extra few bucks it will give us.    The IHG's annual free night is worth about $150 to us and that makes paying its $49 annual fee worth while.

Chase seems to trust me
I signed up for all three cards within a few minutes and was approved instantly online for all three. 

Shockingly the three new cards came with a combined $68,000 credit limit.   

Other cards I considered but passed on are :

  • Citi ThankYou Premier card offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $3000 in 3 months.   Those points are worth $625 in travel or $500 in gift cards.  
  • Chase Sapphire card which gives $500 in travel benefit if you spend $4000 in 3 months.
  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card which gives 10,000 points for signing up and 15,000 more points for spending $5000 in 6 months
  • CapitalOne Quick Silver card that pays $100 for spending $500 in 6 months

Those are all decent deals.  However I only wanted to get 3 cards for now and wanted to limit my required spend.   So I chose the 3 cards that gave me the best reward for a minimum spending requirement.

After 3 months I might sign up for one or more cards out of that runner up list.

* this looks like a comission link, but I don't remember where I found it

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