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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The next credit cards I'm considering

I'm always on the lookout for new credit cards to add to my growing collection and the cards I'm most probably going to apply for next are the Citi Prestige and the Chase Freedom Unlimited cards. Anyone who has been in the hobby for long enough has at least heard of these cards if not already holders themselves. Let me just give a brief overview of each.

Citi Prestige Card

This is probably the hottest card to hit the travel industry since the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and after hearing about its numerous benefits you'll understand why. To start, it is currently offering a sign up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months which equals a modest $800 in travel based on a rough value of 1.6 cents per point. It also earns 3x points on airfare and hotels, 2x points on restaurants and entertainment, and 1x points on everything else. It does come with a rather steep $450 annual fee but here are just some of the benefits you'll receive:
  • $250 air travel credit (including airfare)
  • Admirals Club access with same day travel on American Airlines, American Eagle Airlines, Inc. or an American Connection carrier flight along with 2 guests/family members (only primary cardmember receives benefit)
  • Priority Pass Select membership which allows you to bring in two guests for free as well (also applies to authorized cardmembers)
  • Coveted 4th consecutive hotel night free (only one night eligible per stay)
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit
  • MasterCard Airport Concierge service
  • 3 complimentary rounds of golf
  • World Elite MasterCard benefits including air, private jet, hotel and resorts, cruise, tours and vacations, and car rental program benefits
  • Citi Price Rewind ($300 per item and up to $1,200 per calendar year)
  • Missed Event Ticket Protection (up to $500 per ticket and up to $5,000 per calendar year)
  • Travel Protection (Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Trip Delay Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Baggage and Baggage Delay Protection, Roadside Assistance, Medical Evacuation)
  • Purchase Protection (90 Day Return Protection, Damage & Theft Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Transfer points to 13 different loyalty programs, points never expire
These are just some of the highlights the card has to offer and there are many more not listed. Additional cards for authorized users cost an extra $50 but they get their own Priority Pass Select membership making it well worth it although they don't get Admirals Club access. The only hesitation I have with pulling the trigger on this card is the annual fee as I already have the American Express Platinum card which also carries an annual fee of $450 and has many of the same benefits.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

While technically not available yet and not to be confused with the original Chase Freedom card, this recently announced card is going to offer a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases without any rotating quarterly bonus categories. The best part is that this card carries no annual fee which is what I find most appealing. And similar to the Chase Freedom, this card has the ability to earn Ultimate Reward points when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus so it is not strictly a cash back only card. If you value Ultimate Reward points at roughly 2 cents per point which can easily be accomplished through their numerous transfer partners then you're essentially earning 3% back on all of your purchases which isn't half bad for a no annual fee card. I plan to charge most of my non-bonus spend on this card as I currently don't have a card that fits this need. I was considering applying for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card due to their increased sign up bonus of 35,000 Starpoints after $3,000 in purchases in 3 months which is the highest they've offered but I am still hesitant about the upcoming Marriott-Starwood merger.

Bottom Line

I only have a small handful of cards in my arsenal right now but am always looking to expand based on what bonuses are being offered and what perks are going to suit my current needs. While I try to limit the number of cards that have high annual fees, sometimes the perks outweigh the costs as with the case with the Citi Prestige. Are there any cards not mentioned that you are considering applying for?

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