Cash-back CCs; which way to get rewards is best?
It's time for me to change credit cards, as my current one recently switched billing methods (which is costing me more $) and offers no reward program. Perhaps someone here can give me some new ideas on choosing a new one.
Chase has the Perfectcard, which pays 1% back on most purchases, and 3% back on gas (6% for the first 3 months). The credits show up every month, so you don't have to wait for your money or worry about the program changing and losing everything. (Which happened to me in the Amazon Nextcard fiasco.)
On the other hand, if I get small amounts each month the extra cash is liable to just dribble away. Citibank has a card where you get a check every time your rewards reach $100. As of yesterday, they were offering 5% cash back on everything through 4/1/04. On this one I'm afraid I may be tempted to charge as much as possible to move toward each $100 faster.
Citibank also has a Driver's Edge card which lets your 1% reward accrue toward the purchase of any car, new or used, OR, you can use it for a rebate on car repairs. The reward % is lower, but at least I'd be forced to use it for something necessary instead of frittering it away.
It seems nonsensical to choose the Driver's Edge because the % back is so much lower. The numbers say take the one giving 5% for 5 months, instead. But I have a feeling that for psychological reasons the Driver's Edge might be better for my overall finances.
Anyone care to voice an opinion?