Breaking Down Which Credit Card To Use.

This was originally posted on 07/26, but 2 of the 4 cards below are being downgraded. If you’re into optimizing your spending you may want to get yourself grandfathered before it’s too late. More info in this Blue Cash post and in this Freedom post.
And be sure to call reconsideration before the 5th for the Blue Cash and the 11th for the Freedom to make sure your approval goes into effect before the downgrades!

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Find other articles like this by clicking on the “credit card posts” tab on top of the DansDeals banner at the top of this site.
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DDF user “azhoopsfan” has a bit of a dilemma. He and his wife have 4 primary credit cards that they use, but his better half has a hard time remembering where to use each card and it’s costing them points!

Their cards are:
-Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
-Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
-Chase Freedom (with Chase checking)
-Chase Sapphire Preferred

First of all, that’s a great lineup of cards!  You may want to also dabble in business cards like Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or Ink Classic or the American Express Starwood Business card, or in a charge card like American Express Premier Rewards Gold.  All of these new cards open new realms of possibilities, but just taking your small lineup should make for a fun comparison.

Determine the value:

The first thing is to do is to cover every scenario, based on your card portfolio. The only way to do that is to come up with a value for the various point currencies.

Let’s assume a value of 1.9 cents for Chase Ultimate Rewards points and 2.3 cents for Starwood Starpoints. Both currencies are excellent and can transfer into many different valuable programs. Ultimate Rewards transfers instantly into gems like United and Hyatt, among many other options. Starpoints transfer into dozens of different airlines at favorable ratios like 20K:25K or even 20K:50K and can also be used for incredible values at Starwood hotels. It should not be too difficult for people to achieve these values, but feel free to use any value that you are comfortable with.  The rest of this post will be based on these numbers though, which are rough numbers I use when deciding when to redeem points for an award.

-The Starwood card earns 2 Starpoints per dollar at Starwood hotels, or a 4.6% rebate. It earns 1 Starpoint per dollar everywhere else, or a 2.3% rebate.
The Starwood card also carries American Express’ top-notch protections that are light-years better than any other banks. Other banks always look for a way to get out, but that’s not the case with American Express. If you need to return an item they will gladly refund you, if you have an warranty issue they’ll pay to have it fixed or refund your purchase price, if you need to dispute a charge there’s nobody who makes it easier or as pain-free as American Express does, if your item is stolen or damaged you’ll be covered. Thus figuring out what items should always be put on a card like this, like expensive electronics or purchases from risky vendors, is important.

-The Blue Cash Preferred card earns 6% cash back at grocery stores, 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back everywhere else.

-The Freedom card is awesome, but makes the equation much more complicated. Because “azhoopsfan” also has a Chase checking account he will earn 1.1 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar plus 10 bonus points on every transaction. On a 5 cent library fine this means a 418% rebate, or over 4 times your money back (love getting fined!). On a $1 transaction this means a 21.1% rebate. On a $10 transaction this means a 3.99% rebate, on a $1,000 transaction this means a 2.1% rebate. He will also earn 5.1 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar plus 10 bonus points on every transaction in select rotating categories, on up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases. On a $1 transaction this means a 28.7% rebate. On a $10 transaction this means a 11.6% rebate, on a $1,000 transaction this means a 9.7% rebate.  Note that you or your spouse will need a Sapphire Preferred Visa , Sapphire Preferred World Mastercard, Ink Bold Mastercard, or Ink Plus Mastercard in order to transfer points earned on the Freedom card into airline/hotel/train points and miles.

-The Sapphire Preferred card gives 2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining, or a 4.07% rebate. On other purchases it gives 1.07 points per dollar, or a 2.03% rebate, which will never beat the Freedom rebate. However the Sapphire Preferred card is the only card from this bunch that does not charge a foreign exchange fee, which is 2.7%-3% on the rest of the cards.

Some forum members suggested placing stickers on each card. Personally I’d make print an index card to keep track of all this as follows:

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General rule:
-Generic purchases $90 or less: Freedom
-Generic purchases $91 or more: Starwood
Exceptions:
-Groceries if $5 or more and not during a Freedom category bonus: Blue Cash Preferred
-Gas and department stores if $21 or more and not during a Freedom category bonus: Blue Cash Preferred
-Dining, airfare, car rental, hotel, taxi, parking, or toll if $10 or more and not during a Freedom category bonus: Sapphire Preferred
-Purchases at Starwood hotels or the W store not during a Freedom category bonus: Starwood
-Purchases made abroad not during a Freedom category bonus and that won’t need AMEX protection: Sapphire Preferred
-Purchases that may need return, warranty, purchase, or dispute protection: Starwood
-Purchases between 01/01-03/31 on Amazon.com and Gas stations: Freedom
-Purchases between 04/01-06/30 on grocery stores and Movies: Freedom
-Purchases between 07/01-09/30 on Dining and Gas stations: Freedom
-Purchases between 10/01-12/31 on Hotels, Airlines, Best Buy, and Kohl’s: Freedom

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Make it simpler:

Now if your wife isn’t going to spending time in a Starwood hotel without you and isn’t planning on crossing any borders then make her life simpler and delete those lines from the index card.  And the quarterly spending bonuses will likely be different next year, so perhaps just print up a card for the current quarter to keep that index card clean.

The rationale:

-Generic purchases anything $90 or less will be more valuable with Freedom due to the 10 point transaction bonus that gives more value to lower transaction amounts, while Starpoints being more valuable only overtakes that advantage once a purchase is above $90.

-Grocery purchases under $5 or during a Freedom bonus should default back to Freedom due to the low transaction bonus which is overtaken by the 6% on the Blue Cash Preferred card on purchases of $5 or more.  The exception being during Q1 when there was a Freedom category bonus and then the Freedom card should always be used (at least until you max out the $1,500 category spend limit). Remember that grocery stores carry gift cards to lots of other stores and often provide incentives for buying them at the grocery store on top of the 6% cash back you can earn with Blue Cash Prefered!

-Gas and department store purchases under $21 or during a Freedom bonus should default back to Freedom due to the low transaction bonus which is overtaken by the 3% on the Blue Cash Preferred card on purchases of $21 or more.  The exception being when there was a Freedom category bonus and then the Freedom card should always be used (at least until you max out the $1,500 category spend limit).

-Travel and dining under $10 or during a Freedom bonus should default back to Freedom due to the low transaction bonus which is overtaken by the 2.14 points per dollar on the Sapphire Preferred card on purchases of $10 or more.  The exception being when there was a Freedom category bonus and then the Freedom card should always be used (at least until you max out the $1,500 category spend limit).

-Purchases in Starwood hotels or on a mattress from the W Store will do better on your Starwood card than any other card, except during a Freedom category bonus.

-Purchases made abroad during a Freedom bonus should default back to Freedom as the Freedom bonus will make it worth paying the 3% foreign transaction fee.  If you are buying electronics abroad or from a store that you may need to dispute a purchase with then pull out your AMEX card.  Office Depot in Israel once refused to take back a defective GPS  from me even though their receipt said that they do accept returns.  AMEX was more than happy to honor their return policy and refund my money.

-When your laptop breaks or you buy an item from a store on final sale it’s good to know that American Express will stand behind it.  Don’t mess with maximizing points when it comes to items that you will want protected.

Now of course this is all based on maximizing value, but if you are aiming for a specific award then everything will change.  If you are aiming to stay in the SLS in Los Angeles then focus spending on your Starwood card, if you want to experience the pure awesomeness of the Park Hyatt Sydney without paying $1,000 a night then focus on earning Chase points.  If you want to fly on United’s awesome Star Alliance around-the-world award then focus on earning Chase points but if you want to have a shower on the plane after waking up from your private first class suite then focus on earning Starwood points.

Catch any mistakes? Post a comment.

Have a different lineup of cards? Post them in a comment and maybe I’ll examine them in a future post!

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95 Responses to “Breaking Down Which Credit Card To Use.”

  1. yair Says:
    1

    excellent rundown…question: do you know anything about this wallaby card that purports to optimize these things? Does it work?

    ReplyReply
  2. Dan Says:
    2

    @yair:
    I signed up for the beta version of it, but frankly I’m rather wary that they have thought through all of the scenarios in this post when programming it.
    And this is a rather simple comparison as there are just 4 cards I had to break down.

    ReplyReply
  3. yitz Says:
    3

    Great job done beautiful

    ReplyReply
  4. ruch Says:
    4

    u r brilliant

    ReplyReply
  5. michael ringelheim Says:
    5

    Dan how do you use chase points for United around the world – didn’t you say a while ago that Chase no longer gives United points or am I mixing that up with something else? Also can you refresh my memory about round the world details

    ReplyReply
  6. Moshe Says:
    6

    I have an old HSBC card called “True 2% cash back” that does just that, 2% cash back on every purchase. I also have the AMEX blue preferred for groceries and the Citi Exxon for $0.15 off per gallon of gas. Does it pay to open a chase checking account or just stick with using the True 2% card?

    ReplyReply
  7. Agrange Says:
    7

    My wife and I just got a Sapphire Preferred to compliment our Chase Freedom. We also have a Citibank Cash Returns card that we should probably replace with something that offers a better bonus, what do you suggest? We also each have a Capitol One card from long ago that neither of us use. Of note, our Citibank card was recently upgraded to a World Elite MasterCard, though whenever I call the number on the card to access those benefits, they never know what i’m talking about…

    ReplyReply
  8. Jeremiah1083 Says:
    8

    Hi Dan-

    Awesome post – this is so helpful!

    I have a similar lineup of cards, however instead of Amex Blue Cash Preferred, I have United Explorer. How would that change things?

    ReplyReply
  9. libs Says:
    9

    Wow! What a breakdown. I think we might need a credit card makeover. Here’s the breakdown:
    United Mileage Plus Visa Signature
    United Mileage Plus Explorer Mastercard (chase)
    Capital One Cash Rewards Mastercard (got that when we went overseas)
    Hilton Honors American Exprss (gold)
    Old Navy
    My husband travels a lot, and stays mostly in the Hilton family hotels (no Starwoods in some of the places he goes).
    So, what should we get rid of? What should we apply for?
    We did apply for the Sapphire a few months ago and got turned down because of too many credit requests open.
    We use the Hilton points for vacation hotel stays, and not sure what the United points do for us – I guess mileage – hubby is a 1K on United.
    Waiting to hear…..Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyReply
  10. ari Says:
    10

    Do you know if the AMEX warranty will still cover you if the original credit card you purchased the item on is canceled?
    Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  11. moneysaver Says:
    11

    Thanks for the post! Very informative? Is there a way to get a business card if you don’t actually have a business? Thanks

    ReplyReply
  12. Rots5 Says:
    12

    thanks dan, great job as usual.

    it seems like the amex blue cash is a bit of a non factor, is it better to get a united club/explorer card at least this way you get more for your money?

    ReplyReply
  13. Ym Says:
    13

    Where does British airways fit in, with 1.25% avois miles on EVERYTHING!

    ReplyReply
  14. sol Says:
    14

    does the Ink bold offer the same 2x on all travel(e.g. dining) or it only hotels and airfare? shouldn’t ink bold be preferred for phone transactions? Also can you ever create post for getting F.R.ed from amex-thanx dan

    ReplyReply
  15. mendy Says:
    15

    Which kinds of points does this blue cash give u?
    I have all those cards but I prefer my amex gold on travel nd advertisement

    ReplyReply
  16. Sam Says:
    16

    How are you calculating the rebate % on Freedom?

    ReplyReply
  17. abe Says:
    17

    @ari: I doubt it

    ReplyReply
  18. love this blog Says:
    18

    @ari: it will as long you have a active card.

    ReplyReply
  19. Gingi Says:
    19

    Dan,

    I recently got an Ink Bold Business card which is supposed to give 5x Ultimate Rewards for Telecom. However, for my prepaid wireless (PagePlus – an inexpensive way to get Verizon network) they did not give me 5x the points. When I sent them a message they said it was becuase PagePlus classified themselves as ‘non-durable goods’.

    Do you know any way to rectify this.

    If I don’t get the 5x Ultimate Rewards points I guess it’s better to pay with my Starwood card.

    ReplyReply
  20. Mordy Says:
    20

    How can I know which category a stores are in.

    Like is target a grocery store, or maybe a home good store?

    ReplyReply
  21. Dan Says:
    21

    @michael ringelheim:
    Chase Ultimate Rewards still transfers to United (though AMEX does not).

    A United round-the-world award good on any Star Alliance or partner airline costs 180K in coach, 260K in business/businessfirst, and 350K in first.

    It allows you to fly around the world with up to 16 flights.

    @Moshe:
    You can do much better than 2% with any of the cards in this post.

    @Agrange:
    If you don’t pay a fee for the Citi or Cap1 cards just let ‘em sit.

    Freedom-Sapphire Preferred is a great combo.

    @Jeremiah1083:
    United Explorer would only beat these cards if you can spend $25K on it in a calendar year and then stop using it once you do hit 25K.
    Otherwise it has no advantages except for car rentals.

    @libs:
    If your Hubby is a 1K then why does he need the United card? He definitely doesn’t need the free bag and priority boarding benefits.

    When you are denied for a card don’t just give up! http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/16036
    Chase has one of the easiest recon departments around, it’s not hard to get an approval through. And if you have old cards you are willing to lower the credit line on or close completely for a new card it’s really easy.

    Apply for 3 good chase cards (for example Sapphire, Freedom, and Hyatt) via the 3bm method and have them move the credit lines and close down at least 1 of the United ones in the process.

    And replace that Hilton AMEX with the new Hilton Reserve.

    @ari:
    Yes, as long as you have at least another AMEX issued card open.

    @moneysaver:
    Sure.

    If Joe Smith sells items on Ebay or has any other side business/hobby and wants a credit card to better keep track of business expenditures he can just open a business credit card for “Joe Smith Sole Proprietorship” as the business name. Just be sure to select “Sole Proprietorship” as the business type and just use your social security number in the Tax Identification Number field as well as in the social security number field.

    @Rots5:
    Blue cash gives 6% on groceries which is very good, especially for buying gift cards at grocery stores.

    The United Explorer card generally isn’t great for spending, it’s better for benefits. The United Club card is excellent for spending, but the annual fee is steep.

    @Ym:
    Depends on how you value BA miles, but generally they’re considered to be significantly less than miles from United, though they are indeed great for short-haul flights.

    @sol:
    This post wasn’t discussing the Ink Bold.
    If someone would like a comparison that includes the Ink Bold then make a comment with your entire card lineup and I may tackle it for you.

    @mendy:
    Cash back.

    @Sam:
    The formula is (1.1x + 10)1.9
    Where x is the purchase amount.
    Or (5.1x + 10)1.9 during a category bonus.

    So on a $10 purchase during a category bonus:
    (51+10)1.9=$1.159, or an 11.6% rebate.

    @Gingi:
    I get the 5x Ink Bonus (9.5%) on Verizon, it’s awesome!
    I would call and threaten to cancel if they don’t honor the 5x for PagePlus, which is clearly telecom.

    But the best 5x is at office supply stores where they sell tons of gift cards and prepaid cards.

    @Mordy:
    Try it and see how your local store is categorized on your bill.

    ReplyReply
  22. michael Says:
    22

    Thank you Dan 2 followups based on comments:

    1) 16 flights for around the world is 16 one way or 16 round trips -and how long would I have to use it?

    2) what is united advantage for car rental and is it better than amex gold? thanks

    ReplyReply
  23. Dan Says:
    23

    @michael:
    16 flight segments going in one direction (crossing each ocean one time) around the world to be used in 1 year.

    United gives primary car rental CDW coverage so that you don’t need to report the damage to your own insurance first. AMEX charges an extra $20/rental to enroll in that program.

    Though for car rentals in Israel you need the Sapphire Preferred World Mastercard.

    ReplyReply
  24. Michael Says:
    24

    I have 2 united cards with 55000 miles on each of them (thanx to you)… I’m trying to sell the points but all the people I called so far will only buy for over 100,000. Are there any cards that I could transfer points from to get to this number? Or is there any way I could combine the 2 cards?? Thank You!!

    ReplyReply
  25. Dan Says:
    25

    @Michael:
    If both United accounts are in the same name just merge the accounts together here:
    http://secure.unitedmileageplus.com/MP1202RS.jsp

    ReplyReply
  26. Av Says:
    26

    @Dan:
    so can you do 180k miles for 8 roundtrip tickets to israel within a year ?

    ReplyReply
  27. Moe Says:
    27

    Hi,

    I have a freedom card, sapphire preferred, chase hyatt visa, and a united mileage plus mastercard.

    I understand that I should use the freedom card during 5% bonus months and for small purchases, and to use the sapphire card for travel restaurants (but not during 5% freedom months), But when should I be using the United and Hyatt cards?

    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  28. Dan Says:
    28

    @Av:
    Lol, no.
    As I said you can only cross the Atlantic and Pacific one time each, hence “round-the-world”

    @Moe:
    And use Sapphire when abroad.

    Hyatt is only used at Hyatt hotels. Its main benefits are the signup bonus, the elite status, and the annual automatic free night.

    The United Explorer card is only worth using if you can spend $25K on it in a calendar year and then stop using it once you do hit 25K. Otherwise it’s just good for can rentals (as it has primary CDW) and the benefits it gives (like free bags, etc)

    ReplyReply
  29. Ari Says:
    29

    Hey Dan – I am the head of day school and we are trying to figure out which cards to get and use. Would be really helpful to us (and other schools/mosdos) if you could give the same kind of analysis for business cards: (Chase Ink Bold, Ink Classic or the American Express Starwood Business card, American Express Premier Rewards Gold, other?)

    ReplyReply
  30. which one Says:
    30

    i have
    starwood personal
    chase freedom and sapphire preffered
    amex premiere gold
    united mileage plus
    citi premiere pass
    i use the amex premiere (business) basically for gas, should i switch that for the blue cash card?
    in general i use my cards for 3 different “accounts” personal, business, second business so i assigned 1 card to each account and only use them for the other acounts if the bonus points is worth it (like travel on sapphire). does that make sense?

    ReplyReply
  31. lb Says:
    31

    Overseas SPG hotel- Sapphire prefered or SPG with the FOREX fee? Gold member btw.

    ReplyReply
  32. Dan Says:
    32

    @Ari:
    Will keep that in mind.

    @which one:
    Depends how you value the AMEX MR points.

    @lb:
    Starwood would earn 4.6% less 2.7% forex fee=1.9%.
    Sapphire Preferred would earn 4.07% with no forex fee.

    ReplyReply
  33. Tony C Says:
    33

    Dan!!

    I spend 250k per year on amex gold. i like to choose my desitnations/dates when i go away (nice places usually)..should i stick with amex bc of the flexability or switch to another?!! HELP!!

    ReplyReply
  34. Dan Says:
    34

    @Tony C:
    Definitely switch to another card.

    ReplyReply
  35. ari Says:
    35

    Ok here goes! I have 2 continental/united MC card’s for me and my wife (got 50k each). Costco AMEX. Also have a bunch of old cards which i keep bec there’s no annual fee and they’re old- Chase Saphire VISA, chase slate visa, BOA worldpoints (65k points) and HSBC GM card. Would love to get into churning. Fly to LA often so mileage is important to me. Also going on vacation soon, staying in a marriot- was thinking to open the marriot card and two other chase cards at same time. Suggestions greatly appreciated.

    ReplyReply
  36. Pinny Says:
    36

    Is the Amex protection better on the Starwood card or the same for all cards such as the Business Gold card?

    ReplyReply
  37. Steve Says:
    37

    What do you think is the best credit card to pay a $40,000 college tuition on? Best points vs best cash back?

    ReplyReply
  38. Tony C Says:
    38

    @Dan:

    ok pick one for me…which one?

    ReplyReply
  39. ari9 Says:
    39

    how about for living in Israel, always use SP b/c no forex fees? or is it sometimes worth it to use freedom or a diff card?

    ReplyReply
  40. elki Says:
    40

    I have the same line up but my blue cash American Express gives me 5% on gas and groceries and NO ANNUAL FEE. BUT I have to spend $6500.00 every year annuly to get these cash point. Untli I get to the $6500 I do get 1%.

    Does it pay to keep this card?

    ReplyReply
  41. Chauncey Says:
    41

    Thanks Dan. This breakdown is awesome. I have been reading your blogs and forums for almost two years and now i have a string of DAN-recommended credit cards.
    Now in my wallet I have: Discover More, Amex Gold, Amex SPG consumer and business, Chase Freedom (linked with checking account), Chase SP, two just opened Chase BA and Chase Mileage Plus Exp. Not mentioned several already closed citiAA cards.
    And I spends around 30K for my part- time business per year. Should I modify your breakdown towards my recently opened CHASE BA and Mileage Plus Exp? For Chase BA, another 10K spending in first year will give me 25K more avios. For Mileage Plus exp, besides 55K+$50 bonus, 10 K more points for 25K spending in each calendar year. Is it worthy for me to put my yearly 30K spending on one of these two cards?
    And based on my set-up, is there any other cards you recommend me to get? thanks DAN…DAN-FANs-Forever.

    ReplyReply
  42. peace Says:
    42

    hello DAN sir!

    I applied for and got the chase IB card in early april with 50k bonus points. The INK PLUS card is a credit card version I think and it offers same 50k bonus with 10k spend req in 3 months.

    Can I get approved for the chase Ink plus card and get the 50k points or I won’t get it since I already got the bonus with IB?
    https://applynowdc1.chase.com/FlexAppWeb/renderApp.do?SPID=DYSN&CELL=6J1L&a=undefined
    THANKS

    ReplyReply
  43. Dan Says:
    43

    @ari:
    Lots of great cards out there…
    http://www.dansdeals.com/credit-cards

    @Pinny:
    Those should be the same.
    But for example not all AMEX cards have return protection.

    @Steve:
    Is there no fee? Can you use an AMEX?

    @Tony C:
    Starwood is great. Sapphire+Freedom is great. United Club is great. Etc.

    @ari9:
    Yes, though as I wrote in the post Freedom will beat it for the 5 point categories.

    @elki:
    That would depends what you spend on gas and groceries in a year, but it doesn’t sound great to me.

    @Chauncey:
    Meeting those thresholds on the Ba and United card can definitely make sense. Just remember that you need to spend the $25K by 12/31 for the United card and that once you hit the 25K you should use another card.

    @peace:
    Chase branded cards like Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, Ink Bold, and Ink Classic are all fully churnable without doing anything special in my experience.

    ReplyReply
  44. Rafi Says:
    44

    Can i get a run down for my cards:
    Stawood personal
    Amex biz gold
    Zync
    Amex plat.
    Saphire perferred
    Chase ink bold
    United explorer

    ReplyReply
  45. Marty Says:
    45

    @Dan: I spoke to Chase’s benefits administrator regarding the CDW for Israel on this card, and they said it is NOT covered. Please advise.

    ReplyReply
  46. Steve Says:
    46

    There is no fee.

    ReplyReply
  47. Dan Says:
    47

    @Rafi:
    Will keep it in mind.

    @Marty:
    That’s because Chase does not provide the coverage on the Sapphire World Mastercard.

    You need to call MasterRental to get a letter of coverage.

    ReplyReply
  48. Dan Says:
    48

    @Steve:
    Probably Starwood or United Club.
    Or maybe 25K on United Explorer or 30K on AMEX Premier Gold to hit those threshold bonuses.
    Lots of possibilities.

    ReplyReply
  49. Marty Says:
    49

    @Dan: I contacted MasterRental, (which I was told was at 1-800-MC Assist), and they sent me back to Chase benefits administration. They said all their cards are covered by the same provisions, including the Saphhire Preferred. Is there a better contact to resolve the Israel question?

    ReplyReply
  50. MD Says:
    50

    I want to save up points for two trips to Israel. Which credit card should I apply for and use?

    ReplyReply
  51. Dan Says:
    51

    @Marty:
    You were misinformed. Call that number back again. While that’s true for most chase cards it is not true for Sapphire.

    @MD:
    All of them :D
    But for use their Sapphire Preferred is the best.

    ReplyReply
  52. Dan Says:
    52

    @Marty:
    You piqued my curiosity enough to call back by the way and they reconfirmed their coverage and just sent me this letter of coverage upon request,

    “Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the MasterRental® coverage associated with your MasterCard® World Card.

    This letter confirms that your World MasterCard® Card provides MasterRental® coverage. Therefore, vehicles rented with your card are eligible for coverage in Israel. Please note that the coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of the MasterRental® program.”

    They also confirmed that AUs can rent without me and still have the same coverage.

    ReplyReply
  53. Marty Says:
    53

    @Dan: Sounds great–what number should I call to get the letter? I’ve been getting a runaround. Thanks

    ReplyReply
  54. Marty Says:
    54

    @Dan: I believe I finally got clarification. My Elite World card does not have the coverage, as verified by MasterCard. However, they assured me that all World cards offer the CDW as long as the auto rental company approves. Before I apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is this your understanding? They won’t send the letter without my providing a card number.

    ReplyReply
  55. Dan Says:
    55

    @Marty:
    Many Chase World and World Elite Mastercards do not cover Israel.
    The Sapphire Preferred World Mastercard is a known exception and it does cover every country in the world, including Israel.

    ReplyReply
  56. Steve Says:
    56

    What will get me max cash back?

    ReplyReply
  57. Mendy Says:
    57

    Dan, I would like to use my points to fly to Israel. Is Spg card the best?

    ReplyReply
  58. Helene Says:
    58

    Dan, i have the Starwood consumer card over 4 years now. Is it churnable?

    ReplyReply
  59. Yoely Says:
    59

    @ Dan, you don’t have to have your own Saphire or Bold card in order to transfer to united, u can combine any UR card with any other UR card, so for example if your friend or family has a Saphire or Ink Bold, just combine them into your friends card, by going to “managa my rewards” – “combine points” & follow instructions, takes a split second

    ReplyReply
  60. Eli Says:
    60

    What if I probably won’t end up using any of the points for travel, which one is the best card to use to rack up points and sell them?

    ReplyReply
  61. MD Says:
    61

    I asked you about which credit card I should to save up points to go to Israel. I am new at this, Can you be more specific?
    Which card connects to the best airline?
    How many points do I need?
    Which airline doesnt charge high fuel charges?
    thanks!

    ReplyReply
  62. DBinPGH Says:
    62

    @Dan :
    I’ve noticed some cards like starwood restrict the bonus if “not had this card in 12 months”. How do you get around that? What about freedom, ink bold, and sapphire

    ReplyReply
  63. Dan Says:
    63

    @Steve:
    Sell the points?

    @Mendy:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/23168

    @Yoely:
    That has gotten people in the Chase doghouse.

    @Eli:
    The same ones mentioned in this post.

    @MD:
    http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/23168

    @DBinPGH:
    They don’t enforce that in my experience.

    ReplyReply
  64. Marty Says:
    64

    Dan, I just received my Chase Sapphire Preferred VISA card. It explicitly says in bold print that Israel is not covered for CDW. Is there also a Chase Sapphhire Preferred World MasterCard which I should have gotten? I didn’t realize I had a choice. Please advise. Thanks

    ReplyReply
  65. Marty Says:
    65

    Dan–a follow-up.I contacted Chase, and they are exchanging the Sapphire VISA for a Sapphire World MasterCard. They said 95% of these cards are issued as VISAs. Apparently you have to specify the request for the MasterCard when applying.The app. doesn’t indicate which card is being requested.

    ReplyReply
  66. Dov Says:
    66

    @Dan why for -Purchases that may need return, warranty, purchase, or dispute protection: Starwood? Does the -American Express Blue Cash Preferred not offer the same protection?

    ReplyReply
  67. Ally Says:
    67

    Dan–if I have an Amex that gives me nothing can Amex cust svc to your knowledge do anything for me that can give me a card where I can earn mr pts on the sign up bonus without a new credit pull? Or can they just switch me to a card that can earn mr pts but with no sign up bonus?

    ReplyReply
  68. Scott Says:
    68

    Dan-I’m amazed that the Citi Forward card doesn’t factor anywhere into your calculations. Even if you only value them at 1 cent per TY point (via booking travel, cash toward mortgage, or $100 gift cards) compared to how you value Chase UR, at 1.9cents, at 5% back on restaurants and everything you buy at Amazon.com you come out ahead in those categories.

    Throw in a Citi Premier card and all TY points can redeem for 33% more on airfare, making the Citi Forward a 6.65% card on Restaurants, Amazon, iTunes (and more) when redeeming for plane tix and it’s easier to book the flight you want than with FF miles (and you earn FF miles on the flights, and Citi Premier flight points).

    First year of Citi Premier is fee free and you can find sign-up deals that give you enough bonus points to make year 2 free also. And in effect you get a third year if you accumulate a lot of TY points for a year before applying for the Citi Premier just in time for your first redemption.

    And PenFed Visa for 5% on gas is just amazing.

    ReplyReply
  69. yk Says:
    69

    I actually have the same 4 cards plus I signed up for 3 more the Hyatt, British airways and the United cards.
    I really just want to use cards to accumulate as much points as possible so when I want to go on a vacation I know that I have enough points to do so.
    Is it worth using the freedom and blue cash for this purpose or should I stick to the other cards I have?

    ReplyReply
  70. jg Says:
    70

    I have a number of cards and I’d love for you to give me input on what to do with them and which to use. I’m clueless>Discovercard, Fidelity Visa, Chase United, and Chase Freedom. Thanks

    ReplyReply
  71. Mike Says:
    71

    hey dan,
    quick question. you recommend business AMEX cards. Can i still get them if i don’t have a “legal” business? What would i write as the business name??

    ReplyReply
  72. david Says:
    72

    dan i have few other chase cards but not a freedom card yet am i too late to still get these good benifits of the freedom card please advise?

    ReplyReply
  73. Dan Says:
    73

    @jg:
    As long as you know the value of the points earned on each you should be able to figure it out like I laid out in this post.

    @Mike:
    Yes. If you’re Mike Smith you can apply as Mike Smith Sole-Proprietorship and use your SSN as the Tax-ID number.

    @david:
    You should still be able to get in under the wire.

    ReplyReply
  74. sunny Says:
    74

    We have the freedom, saphire preferred and united club. What do you suggest we use and when? Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  75. Dan Says:
    75

    @sunny:
    -United Club on generic over $25 and on all generic purchases out of the USA.
    -Sapphire Preferred for dining and travel that’s not on 5% for freedom.
    -Freedom (with checking) for generic under $25 and 5% categories.

    ReplyReply
  76. Josj Says:
    76

    Dan i just got denied for the freedom and sapphire how or wat can I say tell them to get them to reconsider

    ReplyReply
  77. Dan Says:
    77

    @Josj:
    Explain why you want the benefits of each card and offer to move over other Chase credit lines/close older cards if you have them.
    Their Recon folks are generally awesome.

    ReplyReply
  78. Josj Says:
    78

    @Dan: close non chase cards u mean or only chase

    ReplyReply
  79. david Says:
    79

    im not sure i understand what u mean under the wire? does anybody know what dan meant by that ur help will be appreciated thanks

    ReplyReply
  80. david Says:
    80

    do u mean i should apply and try to have them honor it even after the deadline?
    can i still apply if i applied 45 days ago for other chase cards?

    ReplyReply
  81. Elaine Says:
    81

    When exactly do you need to apply for the Freedom to be grandfathered because above you say Freedom…Blue Cash… Then by Nov. 5 and Nov. 11 respectively. In a previous post you mentioned Freedom is changing on the 11. So which is it?

    ReplyReply
  82. Dan Says:
    82

    @Josj:
    Chase.

    @david:
    Under the wire is an expression that means in the nick of time. I.E. Do it before it’s too late.

    @Elaine:
    I’ve cleared up the language above.

    ReplyReply
  83. Joey Says:
    83

    On every Chase Credit Application it says the following:
    “Is your credit history clear from bankruptcies and/or seriously delinquent accounts?”
    Does that include paid collections?

    ReplyReply
  84. Dovi84w Says:
    84

    Hi Dan I have a united club card, freedom with checking, sapphire preferred and a Starwood. How do you think it should be used. Also is club card equal to Starwood in terms of return protection and extended warranties on electronics?

    ReplyReply
  85. Mordy Says:
    85

    Chase Ink Bold Business card for gas is better value than Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

    ReplyReply
  86. SEAN Says:
    86

    Dan, should i get the AMEX business gold card or SPG Business card (or something else)? This is my first business card.

    ReplyReply
  87. nate Says:
    87

    Dan-

    I used to have a few Amex cards (platinum, SPG), until they put me under financial review and closed all accounts including those of my wife. Do you have any experience if the “financial review” status ever leaves my name so I can re-apply? Thanx

    ReplyReply
  88. DS Says:
    88

    I got a Starwood card per your recommendation and because I was using a debit card for my Costco purchases (and not earning any miles!) since I only had Visa and Mastercard which they don’t take at Costco. Considering that I don’t often go on vacation and therefore don’t stay in a hotel very frequently, which AmEx card would you recommend instead of the Starwood card for my Costco purchases? Or would you still recommend the Starwood card because their miles transfer to airlines? Is there a different AmEx card with instant miles transfers to airlines? Perhaps you can do a comparison of some American Express cards…

    ReplyReply
  89. danfan Says:
    89

    Dan..

    Quick question.

    You’ve mentioned before the idea of opening a business card can help avoid credit pulls. Briefly how does that work?

    ReplyReply
  90. Joe Says:
    90

    Dan! I need help! Im trying to build credit. All i have is a wells Fargo debit card. My parents don’t have credit. How shud I start? Wat card shud I apply for? Thanx!

    ReplyReply
  91. molly r. Says:
    91

    We travel to Israel at least twice a yr and to Montreal 2-3x from NYC.
    These are my cards:
    HAS Signature Visa [US Bank]—old
    AAdvantage World for Business Mastercard [Citi][got 40,000 bonus pts]
    AAdvantage Amex [Citi]—old
    Amex Gold Premier Rewards [got 40,000 bonus points]
    Brit Air Signature Visa [Chase]–old family card

    I generally use my BA card only when out of the USA to save the 3% foreign trans fee. and bec they charge over $500 surcharge to fly to Israel, I just collect those pts but rarely use them.
    — I did recently redeem Avios 9000 miles + $58 to fly to Montreal instead of $430 reg fare—thanks to Dan’s.
    —I like the HAS card which needs only 56,000 pts for ELAL to Israel but ELAL then charges over $300 for surcharge.
    Question: Which of my cards are best to use when in the USA.
    I do need to use cards where pts can be easily merged to grow in ONE acct.

    ReplyReply
  92. lazer Says:
    92

    I am going in 2 weeks to florida I have a starwood card a discover card a citi and a freedom card which one should I use for the tickets
    thanks

    ReplyReply
  93. huda Says:
    93

    Can someone help me i have a amex business gold is there a cheaper annual fee card that allows you to transfer membership reward to ba

    ReplyReply
  94. daphnar Says:
    94

    Does this advice still hold? We only have a green amex and capital one visa. I want to sign up for more cards but am having trouble deciding which ones…

    ReplyReply
  95. TMB Says:
    95

    Is there any updated breakdown?

    ReplyReply

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