The Best Credit Cards For Spending!

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Update: This post was pretty timely. Schwab/FIA/BOFA announced today that they are ending the 2% cash back for people that were grandfathered into it as of 11/01/11, so there will probably be lots of folks looking for a new card. See the comments for discussion about the best replacement for that card.

I often write about the best signup bonuses for opening cards or benefits for carrying a card, but what is the best card for spending?

Generally I prefer to spend on an American Express as they have, by leaps and bounds, the best chargeback/dispute resolution, warranty protection, and return protection on most of their cards. I’ll go out of my way to find merchants that take American Express when I’m buying a big-ticket item for those invaluable protections.

However on many everyday purchases those protections don’t matter. And often you’ll need a good backup card to spend at a merchant that won’t take American Express (or at least claims they “can’t” because they don’t want to pay the higher fees.) So here are some random thoughts on my favorite cards for spending when I’m not trying to hit a spending threshold for a signup bonus.  Feel free to share your favorite cards for spending in the comments!

One factor to bear in mind is that spending on business cards won’t hurt your credit utilization ratio on your personal credit report, a major factor in your credit score.  I recommend paying off your recent activity multiple times per month on consumer cards to keep your utilization ratio low, which will provide a massive boost in your credit score.

I do give a higher ranking for miles over cash back because of the possibilities they create. I’m not talking about a domestic 25,000 mile ticket either, although at the last minute that can be worthwhile.
Would I ever spend a quarter of a million dollars flying my wife and myself around the world in first class suites on some of the best airlines in the world while staying in $1,000/night resorts or $5,000/night suites? Of course not! But with miles it just takes a little planning and anyone can do that with the help of opening a few credit cards and starting to earn miles that can be used on a trip that would otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that most people can only dream of!

1. Starwood American Express Consumer Card and the Starwood American Express Business Card.

-This is still my go-to card for any store that accepts AMEX, although competition to it has been getting stronger.
You get 1 point per dollar spent. On the business card you also get Open Savings for up to 10% cash back at merchants like Hyatt, Airtran, Hertz, Fedex, HP, OfficeMax, Marriott, Barnes and Noble, and more on top of Starpoints.
-The beauty of Starpoints lies in the flexibility of the currency:
-Use them for hotel stays with unrestricted nights with every 5th night free, or stretch them out with cash and points and you can get a value of anywhere from 2 to 20 cents per point.
-Or use them for flights and each point is really worth 1.25 (or even 2.5 with LAN, a Onwworld carrier with insanely great short-haul flight awards) miles when you transfer them to any of dozens of airlines across all of the alliances. AMEX Membership Rewards points don’t transfer to American or USAirways, but Starpoints do, and at a favorable ratio which gets even better during promo periods.
-Or use them for 5 night category 3-4 hotel stays and transfer into miles at the same time to save even more Starpoints.
-You can transfer Starpoints between anyone living at the same address. (You can also transfer Starpoints into anyone’s mileage account with most airlines, but there are exceptions. See the DansDeals Forums for people’s experiences)
-I’ve used my Starpoints for all of these redemption options and have always been able to get tons of value out of the points. I aim to always get at least 2.5 cents value out of each point, but often can get many times that.
Signup bonus: 10,000 points. 15,000 more bonus points for spending $15K within 6 months.
Annual fee: None first year, then $65.
Bottom line: For general spending, Starwood is still tops. But it is definitely worth looking at other cards for categories where you can be optimizing your spending.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred.
-Chase has made this card into the best non-AMEX card for most spending with massive improvements over the past year.
-Totally inconsequential, but this is one hot looking card. It has just your name on the front with the card number on the back. It’s heavy and made from metal and is sure to get noticed/asked about when you use it (or clank it)!
-You get a point per dollar for all purchases and 2 points per dollar on flights, hotels, car rentals, and dining (Charges made in airports, with travel agencies, at caterers, and on timeshares, trains, buses, taxis/limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking also all qualify for double points!). At the end of the year Chase also gives you a 7% bonus on points earned from spending, so that means 1.07 points per dollar spent and 2.14 points per dollar spent in the double points categories.
-You also get a 3rd point per dollar for booking airfare and hotels through the Chase booking tool, for a total of 3.21 points per dollar after the annual 7% bonus.
-The annual 7% bonus always posts on your January or February billing statement, so your first annual dividend will occur during your first free year of cardmembership.
-There are no foreign exchange fees for purchases made anywhere in the world. You will get the best possible exchange rate.
-Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio into valuable Continental/United miles or Hyatt points. Continental miles are some of the most valuable miles out there with dozens of Star Alliance and non-alliance partner airlines and very favorable award routing and change rules with no fuel surcharges. Hyatt points are also very valuable with $1,000/night+ hotels like Park Hyatts in Paris, Sydney, or the Maldives costing just 22,000 points a night with no blackouts or capacity controls.
It should be easy to get at least 2 cents of value out of each point transferred.
-Other transfer options include Korean Air (Skyteam), British Airways (Oneworld), Marriott, Priority Club, and Amtrak.
-Points can be transferred to anyone and they transfer instantly.
-Points can also be used for 1.25 cents each towards any travel.
-As soon as you call the 800 number a rep answers the phone! Yup, you don’t have to enter your card number then keep pushing 0 to talk to someone!
Signup bonus: 40,000 points for spending $3K within 3 months.
Annual fee: None first year, then $95.
Bottom Line: An excellent choice for spending in its 2.14 point categories and one of the best non-AMEX cards around. As of 10/01 it will be the only card that can transfer points into anyone’s Continental and Hyatt account. No foreign exchange fees make this the best card to use while abroad.

3. Chase Freedom
-With the Freedom card you get Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash back. 100 points=$1 cash back.
-You can transfer Freedom Ultimate Rewards points to Sapphire Preferred Ultimate Rewards points or Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards points and then transfer the points into more valuable Continental miles or Hyatt points at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer the points to someone who has a Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards Business card.
-You earn 1 point per dollar spent and 5 points per dollar spent in rotating categories. Yup, that means 5 miles per dollar spent when you transfer the points to Sapphire Preferred! Registration is required and the limit on 5% bonuses is $1,500 of purchases per quarter.
For 2011 these categories are:
Q1: Grocery Stores, Drugstores
Q2: Home Improvement, Lawn and Garden, Home Furnishings
Q3: Gas, Hotels, Airlines
Q4: Dining, Department Stores, Movies, Charity
-If you also have a Chase checking account you get a 10% bonus on all spending and you get a bonus 10 points for every transaction made, even if the transaction is just for a penny!
Signup bonus: $200 cash back or 20,000 points for spending $500 in 3 months.
Annual fee: None.
Bottom line: Excellent for 5% categories. Optimize your spending by combining this card with a Chase checking account and a Sapphire Preferred card. That way you’ll get 5% categories, 10% bonus points every month on all purchases, and 10 points for every transaction made, and then you can transfer all of those points into valuable miles!

4. American Express Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card
-You get 3 points for every dollar spent on airfare, 2 points for every dollar spent on gas or groceries, and a point per dollar everywhere else.
-Continental transfers ends on 09/30, but you can still transfer to airlines like Air Canada (Star alliance, British Airways (Oneworld), Delta (Skyteam), Flying Blue (Skyteam) and others like Airtran, Frontier, Hawaiian, Jetblue, and more at a 1:1 ratio.
-There are often bonuses for up to 67% bonus miles and even elite status on Delta, British Airways, and other airlines.
Signup bonus: 15,000 points for spending $1,000 within 3 months.
Annual fee: None first year, then $175.
Bottom line: Excellent for the double and triple point categories.

5. Chase Continental OnePass Plus Card and the United MileagePlus Explorer Card
-While generally spending on the Sapphire Preferred (or freedom+checking+sapphire preferred) will earn more miles than spending on these cards, if you do spend $25,000 in a year you get 10,000 bonus miles, which is like getting 1.4 miles per dollar spent if you stop there every year.
The main reasons to have this card is for the incredible package of benefits (free baggage, elite upgrades on award tickets, non-expiring miles, priority boarding, last-seat easypass awards, united club passes, in-flight discounts, primary car rental insurance, price-drop protection, return protection, delayed baggage insurance, trip delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, lost or damaged luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, etc, etc)
Signup bonus: 30,000 points for spending $1,000.
Annual bonus: 10,000 miles for spending $25,000
Annual fee: None first year, then $95.
Bottom line: Not a great card for small spenders, but excellent if you can spend exactly $25,000/year on the card.

6. Chase Southwest Card
-1 point per dollar on purchases, which is equal to a rebate of 1.9%.
-2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, including hotel and car rentals via Southwest, which is equal to a rebate of 3.8%.
-Get a free companion pass if you earn 110,000 points in a year from any source, including earnings from credit card bonuses and credit card spending! If you earn 110,000 Southwest points for example by 10/01/11 the pass will be good until 12/31/12. The pass allows you to bring a companion with you for free when you fly Southwest, even if you are flying on a free ticket!
-Get 3,000 bonus points annually, good for $57 of airfare.
Signup bonus: 25,000 points for spending $1, good for $475 of Southwest flights.
Annual fee: $69
Bottom line: Excellent if you love Southwest and their free flight changes and free checked baggage.

7. Chase Ink Classic Business Card.
-You can transfer Ink Cash Ultimate Rewards points to Sapphire Preferred Ultimate Rewards points or Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards points and then transfer the points into more valuable Continental miles or Hyatt points at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer the points to someone who has a Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards Business card.
-You earn 5 points per dollar on wireless, landline, cable services, and office supplies, 2 points per dollar on gas and lodging, and 1 point per dollar elsewhere.
-0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months.
Signup bonus: $150 cash back or 15,000 points for spending $1. Another $100 cash back to 10,000 points for spending $5,000 in 3 months.
Annual fee: None.
Bottom line: Excellent for 5% categories and 2% categories. Optimize your spending by combining this card with a Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards Business card. That way you’ll get 5%/2% categories and then you can transfer all of those points into valuable miles!

8. American Express Simply Cash Business Card
-5% cash back on wireless and office supplies, 3% cash back on gas, 1% cash back elsewhere.
Open Savings for up to 10% cash back at merchants like Hyatt, Airtran, Hertz, Fedex, HP, OfficeMax, Marriott, Barnes and Noble, and more on top of cash back.
Annual fee: None.
Bottom line: Good if you don’t want to pay an annual fee and don’t travel.

9. Costco American Express Card
-3% cash back on gas and restaurants, 2% on travel, 1% elsewhere
Annual fee: None with a Costco membership.
Bottom line: Good if you don’t want to pay an annual fee and don’t travel.

10. American Express Blue Cash Everyday
-3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back elsewhere.
-0% interest on purchases for 12 months.
Annual fee: None.
Bottom line: Good if you don’t want to pay an annual fee and don’t travel. Also consider the $75/year Blue Cash Preferred.

While the signup bonuses on airline cards are often awesome, spending on them is only rarely worthwhile.
-Instead of a Citi American Airlines card, consider spending on the Starwood American Express where you’ll get more miles per dollar spent.
-Instead of a Delta American Express card, consider spending on the Starwood American Express or Premier Rewards Gold where you’ll get more miles per dollar spent. (Note: Delta Gold does give a cheap option for free baggage and priority boarding and comes with a $99 annual companion cert, and Delta Platinum does give a good option for earning elite miles with opening and spending and a free annual companion cert)
-Instead of a Continental/United card, consider spending on Chase Sapphire Preferred (Or Chase Freedom or Chase Ink Cash with a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold) where you’ll get more miles per dollar spent. (Note: If you spend $25,000 in a year on the Continental/United card you can do better with the airline card)
-Instead of a USAirways card, consider spending on Starwood American Express where you’ll get more miles per dollar spent.

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98 Comments On "The Best Credit Cards For Spending!"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Thanks Dan! Q.-how do you earn more miles with the starwood card when booking hotel and transferring points?

Big Al

Amex blue cash gives 5% back on gas and if you have a business, the Amex Costco up’s your gas rebate to 4% along with the OPEN savings.


Thanks Dan, I have the VENTURE card from Capital One and its so very good card, you get 2 points for every dollar spend and also you they don’t charge foreight transaction fee.


Best gas card I’ve found:
PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards – 5% gas rebate credited to your statement each month all year round, not just during promotional periods or rotating quarters.


Best card imho is AMEX Plum — 1.5% cash back on everything, cant beat that.


i have the continental card and my free year is ending. I am thinking of signing up my wife for the next year as primary. Am I better off getting the continental again or should i go for the united card?


Hi Dan,
Thanks for another great article.
Question: Given a choice, is it better to get one starpoint or to get 2-5 Ultimate Rewards points?


Thanks Dan.
How does the Chase Continental Presidential Plus card fare.
is it better than the onepass plus to justify the annual fee?


whats the differnce betweent the chaseSapphire preferred and the Sapphire?


Can you rephrase your question? I’m not quite sure what you’re asking.

@Big Al:
AMEX Blue got rid of 5% gas as far as I know. Costco Business does indeed look good. 4% gas rebates (up to $6K spend), but 2% back on restaurants instead of 3%.

I got the Venture for the 100K signup bonus (long dead folks) but I never use it.

Why not?

Try using your miles for a last minute CLE-LAX ticket. The ticket is $1,400 so it would cost 140,000 Venture points, but I bet I can find it for 25,000 miles.

Or try using your ticket to go to Israel in Business class. The ticket would cost $5,000 so it would cost 500,000 Venture points, but you should be able to go with about 120,000 miles.

And don’t even bother trying to book a Round-The World ticket in First class. If the flights for 2 would cost $250,000 you would need 25 million Venture points! Or you can book that same trip with half million airline miles.

If you are abroad you would do much better with Sapphire Preferred earning 1.07/2.14/3.21 points per dollar that transfer into real miles and has no foreign exchange fees.

PenFeds not bad.
-My local Costco has gas for 5% less than everywhere else and they only take AMEX, so you can’t use the PenFed. Still I earn Starpoints on top of Costco’s cheap gas so that works out better for me. Besides I like getting the massive signup bonuses for opening a card and PenFed gives no signup bonus to make the credit inquiry worthwhile and no chance of getting 2 or 3 cards for the price of 1 credit hit like you can with Chase, Citi, or AMEX.
-You need to pay to join a credit union to get it.
-They have been steadily eroding benefits. Since last year they got rid of the 2% cash back at supermarkets (now 1%) and 1.25% everything else (now 1%). If gas stays expensive (or if people just use the card for gas as they should) they will have to lower the gas rebate as well.

But having said that, people do swear by it!

Have to disagree there.
1 Starpoint is easily worth much more that 1.5%. And Plum carries a whopping $185 annual fee.

Go for 3 cards at a time in 3 browsers! Just bear in mind with the Continental or United card you need to use a new mileage number to get the bonus again if you’ve gotten it in the past and that you shouldn’t open a Continental card for example before closing your old Continental card.

2 Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred into Continental/Hyatt is better than 1 Starpoint.

If you want lounge access or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and want elite status, sure.
Otherwise, no.

Sapphire Preferred points can be transferred to Continental or Hyatt or be used for 1.25 cents towards travel. Plus there are numerous double points categories and no foreign exchange fees. And the card looks and feels awesome. But there is a $95 fee (well justified for the rewards) after the first year.

Sapphire points can’t be transferred into miles (although you can transfer them to someone who has a preferred card to transfer into anyone’s miles), are worth just 1 cent each towards travel. But there is no annual fee.


I have Merrill Lynch Visa Signature – similar to Chase Sapphire. Change miles/points for airline tkts by dollar value ( $25000 points = tkt up to $500). Great when there are no mileage award tkts available. Also spend $50000 annually get free airport lounge to AA or Delta or 10 trips to Priorty Pass lounges – all for 1 year memberships.

Sapphire to sapphire preferred


If I sign up for a regular sapphire card and get a sign up bonus, will I be able to transfer those points to my preferred card.

If yes do you have a link for any good sign ups for the regular?


Thanks Dan, do you think that will better if I will buy/transfer miles using VENTURE card and pay for it with VENTURE point, in this way I will transform them to ailrlines miles?


I recently got the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. It had a $250 signup bonus after spending $1000. Also it has 6% back at groceries, 3% on gas and department stores, and 1% everywhere else. I think it is worth the $75 yearly fee. Only it wont take you around the world:)


I have 2 card

1. the Invest First visa (formally Charles Schwab) I get 2% cash back every month for ALL charges. I can’t see something better than that, I don’t fly a lot so i don’t need these starwood deals. The only problem with this card is that Its changing over to Bank of America so the reward may change.

2. American express Blue. I still get 5% (after spending 6600) for Gas, supermarkets and drug stores, 1.25% for all other charges.


@Sapphire to sapphire preferred:
Yes, but they may not let you have both versions of it at the same time:

There’s no way to transfer Venture points into real miles.

Another really bad thing about Capital One cards-they hit all 3 of your credit reports instead of just one like with the other banks.

6% on groceries is great, I’m just not sure that it’s worth spending $75/year for it and having another card with an annual fee if you anyway have a Starwood card that gives roughly 2.5% (in my book at least) everywhere.

Also the 6% isn’t valid in “superstores and warehouse clubs.”
So that seems to cut-out Wal-Mart Supercenters and Costco which anyway have some of the cheapest groceries, often more than 6% less that regular grocery stores unless they’re having a sale on what you want.

Both those cards are no longer available.


how about the American Airlines card with MC or Amex ?


Dan, how about the amex business platinum, other then the high annual fee, would you consider a good card for everyday spending / rewards?


You earn 1 mile per dollar on that card and the annual fee is $85 after the first year free.
With Starwood you get 1.25 AA miles (if that’s what you want to do with them) per dollar spent and the annual fee is $65 after the first year free..

The Platinum card is great for the benefits, but the points aren’t as good as Starwood or Sapphire Preferred.
If you do want AMEX points or a no-limit AMEX charge card you’ll earn more by spending on the premier gold or business gold cards that I wrote about in the post.

Shmuel Boruch

I want to thank you Dan for the comprehensive list. I also want to mention one of my favorite cards, the Harvard Alumni from BarclaysUS. No fees, free balance transfer for 0% for 6 months (no fee), no cash advance fee etc. They apply payments, above the minimum, to the balance with the higher APR, that can make a big difference. And you get points towards mileage, but it sounds like it would have the same problem as the Venture card, I think it is based on ticket price. No annual fee and almost no fees at all!


Shmuel Boruch

@Shmuel Boruch: just adding, no foreign transaction or foreign currency fee. The only fee is for late payment.


Dan, for gas, am I better off using AMEX Premier Gold, Chase Ink Cash, or… something else? How do I get the most points or bang for my buck?


hi dan,
what would be the best card for small spending
not more than 25k a year?


Thanks Dan

Wow! What a coincidence. I come home and there is a letter from bank of america that in 2 months the 2% cash back for the FIA card is changing to 1% which means I need a new card. Can someone help me. All the cards on the list seem to be good for miles/hotels. I don’t travel a lot and I do a lot of spending. Whats the best card (not amex) for someone not interested in miles/hotels?

My blue Amex still works for the 5% and I don’t see any changes for me maybe for new applicants

Thank you

Sapphire to sapphire preferred

Are there any better bonuses for the regular sapphire that I can match to?


I meant if I will transfer delta points (withh 100 percent bonus) with venture maybe they will let me pay fo it with venture points b/c maybe they will considure it as travel.


Either of those are great for gas purchases.

Starwood for AMEX purchases and Sapphire Preferred for non-AMEX purchases and double point categories are the 2 easiest and best cards out there.

Confirmed: The Schwab/FIA 2% ends on 10/31/11!
Your AMEX Blue may still give 5% for now, but as you see with the 2% card, they can change that at any time.

The Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash cards give great cash back categories and you can always transfer them into miles at a later point instead of cash if you also have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold to go on a fabulous vacation with Continental miles and Hyatt points.

@Sapphire to sapphire preferred:
Not that I know of.

Yup, that should work!
I’m not a huge fan of Delta miles, but that seems like a good usage of Venture points to me.


but if I were to just get one card, which is better, united or continental?



Get the United and have them close the Continental by shifting part of the credit line over to the new United card.
Definitely consider getting 2 other Chase cards (maybe Sapphire Preferred and Hyatt?) at the same time using 3 different browsers to get more cards with the same 1 credit hit.


The penfed is an amex! Also I got a car loan from them so they approved me for the card with the same app. Also its just 20 dollars one time to join the credit union.


The PenFed Visa (can’t use at the cheaper gas station like Costco or Sams Club) is the one that gives 5% on gas.
The PenFed AMEX (at least the one they’re currently offering) does not give anything extra for gas.


Dan, so it would make sense to keep the Amex business platinum for the benefits, and get the starwood for the rewards, correct?




@Dan: Should I transfer the continental miles to united or keep them? Will I still get same benefits if I use the united card for fees when redeeming the continental miles? I already have sapphire preferred. amex gold and am gold status with american on regular aa master card


@howard: The Continental and United cards have identical benefits.
Continental miles are United miles can be switched back and forth with ease.
There are advantages to both. It doesn’t matter where you keep them, come 01/01/12 they’ll be merged automatically.


thanks for all the advice and homework. I have benefited from your work.

yeshiva man

I have been following your site and many instructions over the past year. Thanks to I have sold $12000 worth of miles and points! Yashar Koiach


Just fount the Capital one Business no hassle card, It gives 2% cash back. Any reason not to go for it?


Dan, you mentioned the Chase Ink Cash Business card, but not the Ink Classic. Why?


What a stupid short term decision to end the Schwab card, creates anger at BofA and with it they loose some of the best and lowest defaults they ever had. Rather than turning it into an advantage with Merill they are determined to destroy what is left of their brand.


fidelity investment card still giving 2 percent cash back that is definitely best card on market and they very generous on credit limit not like american express


What is the best card for travel awards without the annual fee? I was told that the Capital One Venture card is pretty good. One and a half points for each dollar spent, No blackout dates on any airline. Can anyone make this recommendation based on their own experience with the card?


Dan, Thanks for all the info! Any opinions about checking and savings accounts?


Sorry…. However in nj where I live costco gas stations accept all credit cards


Dan you are the king! i have the starwood and the aa mastercard. i dont spent a crazy amount per year but if i were to get an additional card (chase sapphire?) is it worth it with those annual fees on all those 3 cards- and not do a whole lot of spending?


Dan, chase sapphire is the only card that does not charge a foreign exchange fee- all amex cards do? also is there any advantage that an amex black card has?


No prob.

@yeshiva man:
Well done!

Looks good if cash back is your thing and you don’t mind the annual fee. Personally I do better with Starpoints or Sapphire points.
Beware that you will get an inquiry on all 3 of your reports when applying for a capital one card.

Ink Cash has more bonus spending categories.

Destroy it they will.

For me I get much more than 2 cents per dollar out of my Starpoints, but that’s not a bad card either as long as you don’t mind opening a fidelity account that the rebate needs to be deposited into.

People are too scared of annual fees.
If a card is free for a year take the free year and use it and see how you benefited from it.
When you get the annual fee a year later call them up to see if they will waive the fee or give you points to keep the card open. They often will. If they won’t just close it and open it again and get another signup bonus and another free year.
It won’t even hurt your score if you play it right:

That being said the free Venture card seems to give 1.25 “miles” per dollar spent. These aren’t real airline miles that can be worth $$$$, they are worth exactly a penny each.
When real miles become rigid like that it will be a very sad day.

Beware that you will get an inquiry on all 3 of your reports when applying for a capital one card.


Interesting, definitely not like that at any Costco I’ve ever been to.

Why pay an annual fee? I had a Sapphire Preferred before, closed it down, and opened it up again and got another free year and 50K signup bonus.

Hyatt Visa, BA Visa, Continental Presidential Plus MC, Marriott Premier Visa, and Priority Club Select Visa also don’t have a Forex fee, but Sapphire Preferred is a much more compelling for 99% of consumers.

Amex Platinum Consumer and AMEX Platinum Business also don’t charge a Forex fee, but no cheaper AMEX waives the Forex fee.

Deal Guy

With the Sapphire card, on the bonus catagories, im not sure you get the yearly 7% on the bonus point, so you might only end up with 2.07. lol


@Deal Guy:
What makes you think that?
The site says “You will receive a yearly bonus of 7% of all points you earned in the previous year.”

Deal Guy

Possibly right, but i can also see them saying that the first point is ‘earned’ by spending, while the second point isn’t earned as it is already a bonus. I guess we will wait and see.


will cancelling cards negatively affect my credit score?
you do this constantly on all of your cards?



I just(a little over a month ago) signed up for the Chase Continental(for i think a 50,000 signup bonus) but by mistake forgot to use a new mileage number.

Is there anything i can do to still get the bonus? 🙁


yes starwood is the best for spending but for people who do lots of spending much easier to get credit on fidelity card then amex i have 75,000 on fidelity only 10,000 on starwood so if u get 2 cents per dollar right away easier then selling starpoints for 2.2 and buyers complaining that its only worth 1.8


how is this done “-Or use them for 5 night category 3-4 hotel stays and transfer into miles at the same time to save even more Starpoints.” ?



I live in new jersey too and Dan is right there are no costcos within a 50 mile radius that take anything other than Amex at the pump. Trust me I’ve been to all of them! That being said the Amex platinum by citi (the killed it already now its called thank you premier card) used to be by far the best for spending 5 thank you points per dollar at gas, groceries and pharmacies plus 3 points on every thing else up to 150,000 points a year! But sadly like all the good offers it is now gone!



I first try to get a retention bonus but if not I’ll cancel and reopen.


I’ve used Starpoints at hotels and on flights where they were worth many times that. Also during promo periods for airlines like USAir, AA, etc, the value of Starpoints shoot up considerably.

So you can save them up for an awesome trip or sell them for more than 2 cents each if you don’t feel like using them. You have both options open though with Starpoints.

@sam:>Qucik Links>Redeem Starpoints>Redeem for rooms>Nights & Flights for an 8,000 Starpoint discount when you book a 5th night free hotel stay and transfer points to miles at the same time.
I did it at the Sheraton Jerusalem back in the day. 60,000 Starpoints for 5 nights there and 100,000 LAN.

So which one is it guys, does Costco in NJ really let you use a PenFed Visa or not?


Which credit card is best for buying airline tickets?


Sapphire Preferred or AMEX Premier Rewards Gold.


How would you go about it?


My gosh Dan, Thanx for all this info, don’t know where to start!


Question Dan, in the past I have been declined for Amex cards. If I apply for 3 cards at once with 3 browsers such as one Amex and 2 chase, will applying for the Amex hurt my chances of getting approved for chase?


what is the chase sapphire card ? there is no logo on it — is it a visa or mastercard ?


I wouldn’t have applied for it like that, so hard to say…you can always try calling to fix the number I guess.

I don’t collect Delta miles.

The point of a 2 or 3 browser app is only for cards from the same bank to get just 1 credit hit and increase your odds of getting multiple cards.

If you are applying for cards from different banks though its also a good idea to do it close together to increase the odds of more cards being approved, but it doesn’t have to be in 3 browsers. You will get a hit from each bank.

It once was a MC but now it is a Visa Signature.


Thanks a lot Dan for all your help!



I was just informed that the credit limit of Chase world continental One Pass mastercard does not get reported to the bureaus. You mentioned that the utilization ratio works with each card seperately. Is that a bad thing for the credit for that credit card?


Hey DAN,
Can you stick to posting about good deals?
I personally am not, and know many people who do not really care for your random CC posts. Anyone who cares enough can look and find what they need on the DDF.

PLEASE stick to just posting about deals.
Anyhow, love the site and the forums 🙂
Just a suggestion

Please is a jerk

Thats your Hakaros Hatov??? Youre a jerk!

DAN: THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! You da man!


it is worth noting that the 75 dollar blue cash preferred amex card gives you 6% cash back at supermarkets and that the cash back much more than pays for the annual fee many times over


Maybe, but doubtful. Read what I wrote about the card in comment 16.


Sorry for the bad info guys….- was confused. In nj costco has to allow anyone to buy gas even without a membership card for some reason I thought they allowed visa/mc too like they do online(which is also available to anyone(for a surcharge of course)) I usually try to be accurate before I post. I’m sorry.


That makes more sense.
With Costco being open to the public in NJ do other stations try to keep their prices competitive with them or is Costco always cheaper like they are in states where you need a membership to buy their gas?


Under Southwest you write
>Get 3,000 bonus points annually, good for $57 of airfare.
I just applied and got the Southwest card and it says 6000 each year. Has something changed?


The Premier $99/year card comes with 6,000 points every renewal.
The regular $69/year card comes with 3,000 points every renewal.


There are actually 2 gas stations in my neighborhood that are about the same price as costco depending on the day. Sometimes even a few cents less. I find costco to be the most honest as far as lowering prices right when oil goes down unlike others that hike it right away and take a few extra days to lower when prices drop. However over all there are enough places that compare to costco.


Well that would make sense as anyone can go to your Costco without needing a membership.

Where I am Costco is about 25 cents per gallon cheaper than the other guys.
Combine that with Starpoints and it blows Penfed Visa out of the water.


I hvae two continental plus cards. When my year was up on te first one, I was billed $85. I called to cancel it. When asked why, I said that I don’t need two cards ands I don’t want to pay the fee.
They immediately offered me $150 cash bonus to keep the card or 15,000 points. I asked can I have both? Imagine, they gave me $150 cash bonus immediately as a credit on my card and they said I’ll 15,000 points on my other card after waiiting two months.


But, how would you get a differrent Continental membership #? And can you afterwards transfer from one to the other so mileage is combined?


Nicely done!



Well in your case a costco membership is a no brainer!



What cards so you recommend for people who do not travel (cash back cards)?

Thank you Dan


So, what do you have to do to get a new membership #? Do you have to give a different address or some other info that is different? Or can you just say you want another account with a new number?


I have an old BofA power rewards where i can redeem 50k points for $1k will this also end
i use my world points where i get 1.5 points per dollar for all charges and then i transfer it to the power rewards to redeem for double 3% cash back for all charges


I never really noticed the Chase Freedom card until this post. I have been getting cards through Dan for about a year now and for some reason never made the connection that Freedom would earn UR points that could be transfered via my Sapphire Card.

That being said, is 20k UR points the best signup bonus that Freedom has had, or do they sometimes do better than that?


I guess I have the same question for Chase INK….do they ever offer a better signup bonus?



On Costco’s website, under “How Do I Pay For My Gasoline”, American Express is the only credit card option listed.

The website does mention that New Jersey & Oregon are different, and have to be “full-service” as required by law.


@Dan: Rockland County has a law that gas places can’t require membership and yet the nearby gas stations still charge more. ref.


Costco in Monsey(Spring Valley) NY allows you to use a debit card (that is not AMEX!!) as long as you put in the pin#. I just used it last week and it works!!!


I’m another soon-to-be-ex-Schwab FIA customer. What about switching to one of the Fidelity investment rewards cards? I realize this requires opening a Fidelity account, but their Amex card has flat 2% cash back, and their Visa has 1.5%, on the first $15K of annual spending, and 2% above that.


@Matityahu: full service means they have to pump for you


I have a continental card and was denied once a united card cuz i applied within the same month. what do i do now? can i open united card and then cancel continental and reapply? after how long?


How do you factor the Southwest points as being worth 1.9%? I just checked a flight that would cost $214 or 12840 points, or a flight for $274 would be 16440 points which seems to be just under 1.7% plus $10 (or after taxes on the above flight would be a total of $529.30 or 29280 points which would be 1.8 + $10)


Just look through the cards in the post and find one that works for you.

Call reconsideration if you get denied.

It seems to depend on the flight.

When I calculated what the points were worth I used a short-haul flight, which is the best use of SWA points. (Traditional airlines are good values for long-haul flights but poor for cheaper short-haul flights that still cost the same 25K miles. Southwest is good to pick up the slack left by the big airlines and use for short-haul flights that use a small amount of points.)

This was my calculation back when the new Southwest card was released:
“A one-way Cleveland-Baltimore flight on 08/24 is $69.70 with tax.
It can also be bought for 3,540 points plus $2.50 tax.
So 3,540 points gets you a value of $67.20 ($69.70 airfare less the $2.50 tax required on the points ticket)
So each point is worth 1.9 cents (67.20/3,540), valid for redemption on all flights.”


Basically the formula is (for the web only fares) price listed (before taxes) X 60 = mileage points needed.


if i were to pick between the sapphire preferred and the amex gold, which do you suggest? don’t think am going overseas too much soon


Hi Dan,

Thank you so much for all the valuable Info!
what do you think about the Chase Ink Bold, I get a very nice spending limit & seemingly nice rewards, allthouh I’m not clear exactly what their bonuses are, I see you praising the sapphire preferred a lot, but haven’t seen any mention of the ink “bold” how do they compare? Is it worth opening a sapphire on top of the bold?

Thanks in advance


They’re both great cards.

The additional benefits of the Sapphire card are all listed in the post above.


I apologize if this has been asked before, but with the Starwood Amex do you get 4 points for every dollar (2 from Amex and 2 as an SPG member)?


i just had my SSN 2month ago , i apply 1 month ago for the chase freedom and they denied.
i would like to know which credit card i can get it first and if its possibl to apply for the amex Blue Cash Everyday
thank you