Is There a Credit Card Questionnaire?

chisueJuly 21, 2008

Is there a site where you could fill in the blanks about your spending patterns and discover which CC offers you the most benefits?

I've looked at but there are so-o-o many cards and programs -- and lots of fine print about what type of purchases earn what percentages of cash back, etc.

I'm shopping for a card or cards to replace our AAdvantage card -- too tied to ONE airline. I'm not sure that a cash-back card would still provide what we need to 'buy' upgrades to first class once a year.

We're a retired couple charging about $30K per year on mundane groceries, utilities. Not traveling. Not dining out. Not staying in hotels. Not sending roses to relatives or wanting other gifty-nifty supposed perks. Pay in full monthly. Excellent credit rating. View CCs as conveniences, not 'credit'.

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Not a questionnaire, but maybe the "Quick Summary" will help some...Of course, you could read the entire thread, but if it was me, I'd be overwhelmed at that idea, lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fatwallet - Which CC Should I Get thread

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 2:40PM
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I don't have an answer to your specific question, but I find the AmEx Membership Rewards program to be ideal. You earn points that never expire and then when you are ready you can transfer them to a number of different airline and hotel programs. I've transfered points in the past for free tickets on Air France, Hawaiian Air, Delta, and Southwest.

Although I've kept my AmEx card for 30 years, I routinely sign up for new Visa and/or MasterCards every year or two. Last year, I signed up for the Citi AAdvantage MasterCard because it came with 40,000 points. I'll be cancelling it shortly and switching to a Bank of America Visa tied to USAir, although I'm only going to get 25,000 this time.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 3:47PM
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An organization you belong to might sponsor/offer such a card.
My Credit Union offers a VISA card that accumulates rebate credit at a rate of 1% of purchases. I redeem the credits for gift cards, but various travel cards (Best Western, Marriott) are also available.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Do not get a CC tied to an airline as you are paying an annual fee. You pay $50-100. Plus, when you cash in miles must now pay an additional $25-50. Plus, hope the airline has availability for those dates unless you are using it for upgrades so you are almost at $150 for that FREE ticket you spent $30k a year to obtain. Plus, blackout, hard destinations, etc.

I'd suggest
a: cash rewards CC program which even if it gives you 1-2% back and no annual fee you have $300-600 in your pocket which should cover the cost of airfare to someplace
b. get a reward program like Amex, Chase or Citibank (I think BoA may have one) so you would get a point per dollar spent (probably some bonus perks the first year (5 pts p/$1 at grocery store). The advantage here you are not tied to any specific airline, no blackouts and you can use Expedia to book your reservation. So, if I find a flight for $500 - simply multiply by 100 to get the point requirements (50,000). This offers good flexibility in my opinion. Plus, no annual fee.

I guess the overall thing is whatever card you obtain do NOT pay an annual fee as it makes no sense to pay to use a card.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 11:50AM
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"Do not get a CC tied to an airline as you are paying an annual fee. You pay $50-100."

You must get different offers than I do because almost every offer I receive states that the annual fee is waived for the first year. Moreover, you don't have to spend $30k to get a free ticket because the offers give you 25k - 40k points after your first purchase. And finally, the value of frequent flyer awards isn't to "purchase" a coach class ticket, thereby saving a few hundred dollars; it's to upgrade or use the points outright for business or first class tickets. That's where the value is.

In the example you used, you would need to use 50,000 points on a $500 coach ticket to be crushed in the cattle-car accomodations in the back of a plane. Why do that when for the same 50,000 points you could book a first class ticket directly through the airline's FF program regardless of the cost of the ticket?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 12:53PM
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Thank you all! I'm afraid a non-airline card won't do what I need it to do for us.

As I said, we normally have CC charges/points of about $30K per year. Our ONLY use for the points is to upgrade to first on our annual trip to Maui. That has cost us 30K points pp plus a surcharge of $300 pp to USE the points. We've been able to pony up the points because we have about 100K 'banked' from when we built our house and because we get 8K points each year for miles flown (Chicago-Hawaii-Chicago).

Now AA no longer offers the direct fights we want (ORD-HNL) (or better yet ORD-OGG), but United still does. By 2010...who knows! We've also always been able to obtain the upgrades on AA by booking a year ahead; don't know how hard that may be on another airline...or in the future.

I think I need to see a play-by-play of how a non-airline card would benefit our particular use of the points/dollar refunds. We wouldn't receive enough cash back to PAY $3K for a first class ticket to Hawaii every year. Would we earn enough points (30-35K) to put towards the upgrades?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 11:24AM
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chisue: "Now AA no longer offers the direct fights we want (ORD-HNL) (or better yet ORD-OGG), but United still does.

Well, it appears that the simple solution would be to cancel your AAdvantage card and switch to Chase's UnitedPlus Visa card. I just went to United's website and they have a promo for the credit card that is similar to the one's I discussed in my previous post. You get 25,000 points just for signing up plus the annual fee is waived the first year. If you and your husband each get your own cards, that's a quick 50,000 points.

I don't fly United much, so I am not that familiar with how difficult it is to get upgrades. However, a cursory review of their awards chart seems to indicate that their structure is similar to AA's (15k points for the upgrade), but without the additional $150 charge each way.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 5:35PM
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Thanks, Bethesda! Hmm...I guess it's really our only option. Try it and see. Hope United continues to fly, and fly direct on decent aircraft -- and that we can get upgrade seats come 2010. We'd still have those 100K points sitting in the AAdvantage cards (about 50K each). Could keep them 'active' by using them now and then.

Now DH and I have something to discuss over dinner! LOL

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 5:51PM
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