Three Cards You Rarely Hear Me Talking About But That 17 Of You Should Still Consider

Let me introduce you to three cards you rarely hear me talking about.

Reader Matt K. e-mailed asking whether — as a Minnesota resident — he should consider getting The Sun Country uFly Rewards Card.

    cards you rarely hear me talking about

I’m neither a fan of Sun Country Airlines, or of their rewards program. They went revenue-based a year ago, and they offer a low cost product. I view the program as suffering from the Greyhound Road Rewards problem (where the ‘reward’ for taking 10 bus trips is… another bus trip).

But for someone who will fly Sun Country, in a place where it’s convenient to do so, a free flight for getting a getting a credit card isn’t a terrible choice.

That’s especially true because Sun Country’s card is issed by First Premier Bank.

You usually see me recommend really good cards like Chase Sapphire Prefered, Ink Plus, etc.

But the good cards are generally issued by Chase, American Express, Citibank, Barclaycard, and to a somewhat lesser extent Bank of America (though I like the Alaska Visa) and US Bank (the Club Carlson and 40,000 point Korean offers are good).

There are only so many cards you can get from each of those issuers. A First Premier Bank card only trades off:

  • With applications in general, so if you don’t have cards immediately to apply for and you haven’t beaten down your credit score too much with recent applications, you can consider it.
  • With other cards from First Premier. ::cough::

First Premier does, of course, issue the La Quinta Returns Visa. So you do have a choice to make…

    cards you rarely hear me talking about

Fortunately, First Premier isn’t the only tertiary issuer of co-brand travel rewards cards. Comenity Bank has recently gotten into the space offering the Virgin America Credit Card (a relationship that used to belong to Barclays).

    cards you rarely hear me talking about

You may be surprised to see these offers. They’re only mentioned because they come from banks that don’t have other good options to offer you, so taking these cards won’t trade off with other cards from better issuers. You’ll just have to decide whether it’s worth having the issuer pull your credit to get the bonus or not.

And I do draw lines. I will not, of course, recommend this card to any of my readers.

Disclosure: No affiliate links were harmed, or even used, in the making of this post.

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. Comenity Bank. Huh?

    I am a VX Gold and I still won’t touch this card.

    VX: You could not even find a second rate card partner? You had to stoop this low?

    I hope they are paying you a lot of money…

  2. Cmon, be honest- if they offered referral links you’d hype them nonstop. It’s only because they don’t that you are able to bash them.

  3. I have to say that I think the VX Visa is criminally underrated. Especially as a West Coast flyer that loves the VX product, it’s a pretty awesome card with a few unique benefits:

    1) No change or cancellation fees (on the Premium card). This dramatically changes how I book flights now. I’m more likely to make speculative bookings far in advance and lock in lower fares. If my plans change, no harm, no foul, but if they don’t, I’ve saved a bunch of money.

    2) And while VX status isn’t as big a deal as on the mainline carriers, you can still get 75% of the way to Silver solely on cc spend.

    I don’t inherently care if Comenity is a “second rate card partner” so long as they offer what I need. To me, the biggest downside of the card is the lack of auto-pay which I consider shocking. Luckily, their customer service was quite friendly and offered to refund my inevitable late fee.

    My guess is that Virgin actually wanted to try a few innovative things and needed a partner that was a little more willing to work with them.

  4. Gary, I appreciate everything you do for people like me and I’m glad that you are being rewarded for your help! EVERYONE SHOULD BE REWARDED FOR HIS/HER WORK AND I HOPE THOSE CREDIT CARDS PAY YOU A LOT OF MONEY!!! YOU DESERVE IT!!!
    In reference to local CCs, I have read in someones comments in your blog that TD Bank has good deals (not sure if CC or debit) and I have several TD Banks around me. Could you please explain which account/CC is good at TD Bank and why?
    Thank you in advance!

  5. Gary,

    Another under the radar credit card is the Amtrak card. I received a 12,000 point sign up bonus last year. That’s good for 3 one-way trips between NY and DC.

    FYI, Amtrak partners with Chase URP, so points can be moved to Amtrak. I moved 3000 points for a trip not taken Denver/West Coast in a Roomette (15,000 points). You get a place to sleep and all meals. Good value there.

  6. Having flown Sun Country MSP-PHX in F, the walk up fare was $515/tax, compared to DL ($1,245) this was for a one way ticket. The seats were comfortable, the service was great and with a smile, and the food, the food was better than what would have been served on DL. I keep them in the back of my mind if I have a last minute trip.

  7. @dhammer53 the Amtrak MasterCard is issued by Chase, here I’m talking about co-brand travel cards not issued by Chase, Amex, Citi, Barclays, BofA or US Bank.

  8. I’m pretty sure that Sun Country is now part of the TSA Precheck program, so it may not be totally insane to fly them. Just thinking out loud here.

  9. ErikB:

    Please post a link to the FT thread or Milepoint(?) where there are positive testimonials regarding this card.

    Please also explain the process you need to follow to take advantage of ‘no change or cancellation’ fees.

    I had the Barclay’s visa when they partnered with VX, but still have not found a good reason to sign up for this card.


  10. There is nothing wrong with Sun Country. My husband and I got direct flights from MSP to the Virgin Islands in March for only $400. It was a fantastic deal that enabled a last minute tropical vacation at the end of a terrible winter. Flights were on time and service was fine. I can’t see any reason NOT to join the rewards program on one of hyour hometown airlines.

    As for the credit card – it’s First Bank, not First Premier. Beyond that, it’s a mystery. I would love to know if anybody else on the planet has a) heard of it and b) successfully applied for it. I joined Ufly for the trip in March, and in May started getting invitations to apply for this brand new credit card. So I did – why not? Free miles and AF waived the first year.

    To my astonishment, I got a cryptic message that I had been declined. I didn’t really care that much, but I am curiously awaiting the promised letter of explanation. Not to brag, but I have an 802 credit rating and a healthy income, and have NEVER been declined for a credit card. It just seems like an odd way to roll out a new card – beg people to apply and then decline qualified applicants.

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