The Best Credit Cards, New Credit Card Offers, and Signing Up for Cards for Profit

Frugal Travel Guy‘s post for today was titled “Which Credit Cards for the US MInt Deal?” but it’s really a generalized comparison of credit cards. He likes the Starwood American Express and Citibank American Express Platinum which earns Thank You Points the best.

Both are respectable choices. I recommend the Starwood American Express in my much larger discussion of how to choose the best credit card. I can’t really complain about the 5 points per dollar from the Citi Platinum Amex though I long for the days when those points were worth three cents apiece (or the days when they were worth even more…) rather than just one.

Rick both recognizes and dismisses the Asiana American Express, an explanation of which I provided recently — 2 points per dollar on all spend, and a mileage-based chart that it either a great value (e.g. business class trips under 10,000 flown miles) or a terrible one (longer first class awards). From the East Coast of the U.S. to most points in Europe roundtrip in business class would take only $40,000 in spending on this card. Try matching that with any other credit card!

An explanation of the Presidential Dollar Coins Deal, which is referenced in the title of the Frugal Travel Guy post, can be found here. It amounts to buying money on your credit card, depositing that money into the bank, and paying off your credit card. But since these are metal coins they’re heavy to lug around and can annoy your local bank tellers.

Meanwhile, One Mile at a Time discussed today the new United co-branded cards from Chase.

So now there’s a card which gets you access to the Red Carpet Club for a $375 annual fee, a card that gets you Economy Plus for a $275 annual fee, and a card that gets you triple miles on United purchases and double miles on gas, groceries, dining, and Star Alliance purchases, for a $130 annual fee.

It’s now cheaper to buy Red Carpet Club access by getting a Visa than to pay for a membership, even with the discounts accruing on paid memberships for a 100,000 mile flyer.

Here’s also a paper on advanced credit card churning techniques. It desribes the timeframe in which ‘hard pulls’ such as new credit card applications affect your credit score, how ‘bumpage’ works and with which credit reporting agencies (requesting soft pulls of your own credit report every day to ‘bump’ the hard pulls from new applications off your repot), and more.

I’ve never been big on the balance transfer game or freezing individual credit reports myself. But I’ve been a modest churner for many years, and have benefited immensely from it. In particular, I love churning Citibank American AAdvantage card both because they have long permitted earning the signup bonus for the same card many many times and because all miles earned in the AAdvantage program regardless of source count towards million miler lifetime elite status.

I described credit card churning generally, and discussed the mileage cards it works with and those it does not, in my longer discussion of the best credit cards.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, do you have any idea whether someone who currently has a United Signature card (non-plat) would get the sign-up bonus for one of these new cards (e.g., triple miles; not the business version)? I’m tempted to get one for the bonus, but I’d like to be reasonably confident I won’t be considered an existing customer and miss out. Thanks in advance.

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