Fidelity Rewards Visa Review: 2% Flat Cash Back + $100 Sign-up Bonus

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Updated. Fidelity has condensed their rewards credit card line-up to a single card, the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card issued by Elan Financial Services (subsidiary of US Bank). It earns a flat 2% cash back when directed to an eligible Fidelity Investments account. Right now, there is also a $100 bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. Here are the highlights:

  • Earn a $100 bonus when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days.
  • Unlimited 2% cash back, when redeemed into an eligible Fidelity account.
  • No annual fee.
  • Visa Signature benefits, like Concierge service.
  • Chip-enabled and works with Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.

Note that this card charges a 1% foreign transaction fee, which is less than the 3% that is standard on many other cards. This also still leaves you with a 1% cash back card on foreign purchases.

Eligible Fidelity accounts. The 2% rewards value applies only to points redeemed for a deposit into the following active Fidelity accounts:

  • Fidelity Cash Management Account
  • Fidelity Brokerage account
  • Fidelity-managed 529 account
  • Fidelity Retirement account (IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA, Rollover IRA)
  • Fidelity Go account (robo-advisor)
  • Fidelity Charitable Giving Account (donor-advised fund)
  • Fidelity HSA

My favorite option is actually the 529 plan option if you have kids, because it is the perfect quiet way to rack up some cash and not just spend it away on a dinner or gadget. Instead, you are gradually building up a pile of money with tax-free earning towards your future college expenses. The IRA option is okay, but the annual limits are a lot lower so you have to be careful not to exceed those caps.

Let’s say you spend $2,000 a month on this card. 2% cash back means earning $40 a month in cash back. Let’s also say you put this into a 529 that earns 6% a year. If you started when your kid was born and waited 20 years until their senior year of college, that would amount to $18,574! I plugged it into this savings calculator.

Points redemption details. You can either choose automatic or manual redemption. With automatic redemption, once you reach $50 of rewards (5,000 points from net spending of $2,500), your balance will be automatically swept into your designated Fidelity account (or split between up to 5 different Fidelity accounts if you wish). You can also redeem your points “on demand” either by calling in or online after you reach the same 5,000 point minimum balance.

Note that the rewards value will be less than 2% cash back if you choose to redeem your points for other rewards such as travel options, merchandise, gift cards, and/or a statement credit.

Previous FIA Cardservices customers. You should have received your new Elan-issued cards by now. If you are not getting 2% cash back, be sure to contact them as ask. You may need to re-enroll your card.

Bottom line. I think everyone who can handle a cash back credit card (i.e. you carry no high interest credit debt) should have a 2% flat cash back card that applies to all purchases. The Fidelity Rewards Visa can make sense for Fidelity customers because you can set aside your rewards automatically and save money towards a 529 college savings or retirement account. I would try to apply when there is a sign-up bonus. Here are some similar competitor cards:

Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards – January 2019 (Up to 15 Months w/ No Balance Transfer Fee)

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0aprInterest rates are rising, which applies to credit card APRs as well. Why worry about which card earns the most points or airline miles when you are paying a whopping 20%+ interest in your balances?! One powerful strategy to get out of debt is to first transfer your balance to another issuer via a 0% APR balance transfer offer. Below are the best 0% APR balance transfer offers as of January 2019.

You’ll want the best combination of the longest 0% APR period and the lowest balance transfer fees. For example, if you are paying 20% APR, that’s like paying 1.66% on your balance every month. If you would like to spread out your payments, it may be better to pick a longer term with a modest balance transfer fee. Alternatively, if you are sure you can get it all paid off faster, go for a shorter offer with no balance transfer fee.

1) Amex EveryDay Card from American Express0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.24% – 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. Plus, earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. No annual fee.

2) BankAmericard Credit Card0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 billing cycles. After that, the variable APR will be 15.24% – 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days your account is open. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% (min. $10). No penalty rate. No annual fee.

Slate from Chase Card Art 3) Chase Slate Card0% Introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.99% – 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness. No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 5% ($5 min). No annual fee.

4) First Tech Fed Choice Rewards Card – 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months. Balances must be transferred during the first 90 days after account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 11.99% – 18.00%, based on your creditworthiness. No balance transfer fee. There is also a sign-up bonus, but note that there is not an intro 0% APR offer on purchases. You must be an First Tech Federal Credit Union member to obtain this card, but membership is open to everyone who joins a partner organization for a small fee. No annual fee.

CitiSimplicityCard (1) 5) Citi Simplicity® Card – 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers for 21 months. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% – 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. This card has no late payment fees and no penalty rate.  No annual fee.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Navy Federal Credit Union 1.99% APR No Balance Transfer Fee Promotion

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navyfed0Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) regularly offers a special balance transfer promotion every January that is available to both new and existing NFCU credit cardholders. This year it is 1.99% APR on balance transfers for 12 months with no balance transfer fee. You must transfer a non-Navy Federal credit card balance before February 28, 2019. (They also have a few new banking specials.) Thanks to Victor for the heads up.

Exclusive Offer for Current Cardholders
Pay down your credit card balance and watch it disappear with a 1.99% APR on balance transfers for 12 months. After that, your standard variable APR applies.1 Just transfer your balance from another lender to your existing Navy Federal Credit Card.

Membership eligibility for NavyFed is restricted primarily to military personnel including Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force – including retirees and family members – but also includes some civilian employees in the Department of Defense. Some may have joined through a military-related association in the past, but that window is now closed. If you are not military and wish to join, your best bet may be to ask an affiliated family member to refer you. NavyFed offers a variety of solid financial products including mortgage and home-buying services.

This is offer is nice in that it seems to come around every year for NFCU cardholders and you don’t need to apply for a new card. If you are willing to apply for a new card, be sure to compare first with the best no fee 0% APR balance transfer offers. Here is the current top offer which combines a 0% intro APR for 15 months, no balance transfer fee, and a sign-up bonus:

  • Amex EveryDay Card from American Express0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.24% – 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of opening the account. Plus, earn 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. No annual fee.

Balance transfer promotions can be good opportunities to lower the interest rate on your existing balances and accelerate any debt payoff plans. Try your best to finish your payments within the introductory period, as the rates will increase significantly after that.

5% Cash Back Cards: Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Restaurants – January to March 2019

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5percentback1st Quarter 2019 registration is now open. The credit cards below offer up to 5% cash back on specific categories that rotate each quarter. It takes a little extra attention, but it can add up to $100+ in additional rewards per year without changing your spending habits. You can also buy gift cards with the 5% back now but spend the gift cards later. New cardmembers may also get an upfront sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom VisaChase Freedom – $150 Bonus

From January 1st through March 31st, 2019 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Gas Stations
  • Drug Stores
  • Tolls

Enroll each quarter at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the end of the quarter the rewards are retroactive. All other purchases earn 1% back, with no tiers or expiration of rewards. Technically, you earn Ultimate Rewards points which can also be converted to frequent flier miles instead of cash. Currently, the Chase Freedom card is offering $150 bonus cash back if you sign up and make $500 in purchases in your first three months. No annual fee.

Discover it 14 ImageDiscover it Card

From January 1st through March 31st, 2019 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery Stores (Target and Walmart excluded)

Enroll after logging into your online account (look on the right-hand side). 5% rewards won’t apply until after you activate your rewards, so it is best to activate now before you forget. No annual fee.

New cardmember bonus details. If you are a new applicant and sign up via my Discover Card referral link, you will get a $50 Cashback Bonus after your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. You will also get Cashback Match for an entire year – a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. During those 12 months, your $50 Cashback Bonus becomes $100, your 5% cash back rewards becomes 10% cash back, and your 1% cash back rewards become 2% cash back. You can verify this on the application by clicking on “See rates, rewards and other info” and searching for this text:

Cashback MatchTM: : No purchase minimums. After the first 12 consecutive billing periods that your new account is open, we will match all of the cash back rewards you’ve earned and apply them to your account in the following one or two billing periods. If your account is closed or no longer in the cash back reward program at the time we calculate your potential award, your cash back will not be matched. You’ve earned cash back rewards when they have posted to your account by the end of the 12th consecutive billing period. This promotional offer may not be offered in the future. This exclusive offer is available only to new cardmembers.

TERMS OF CASHBACK BONUS OFFER: Get a $50 Cashback Bonus after you make your first purchase within 3 months of being approved. Promotional award will be applied within 8 weeks. The promotional award is in addition to the Cashback Bonus earned on all purchases.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Card – $150 Statement Credit Offer

From January 1st through March 31st, 2019 you can earn 5X rewards on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Grocery
  • Pharmacy
  • Restaurants

You must register each quarter at ABOCRewards.com or in your online account. Currently, the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard is offering a $150 statement credit if you sign up and make $1,200 in purchases in your first 90 days. No annual fee.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card. You get to choose the two 5% cash back categories every quarter, out of a preset selection of specific categories;

  • Fast Food
  • Cell Phone Providers
  • Home Utilities
  • Ground Transportation
  • Select Clothing Stores
  • Electronics Stores
  • Car Rentals
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers
  • Sporting Goods Stores
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie Theaters

Unfortunately, you can’t pick a broad category like gas stations, restaurants, or grocery stores. Make sure to choose your categories each quarter, even if you want them to stay the same. If you do not choose your categories, all purchases revert to only earning 1% cash back for that quarter.

Currently, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa card is offering $150 bonus cash back if you sign up and make $500 in eligible net purchases in your first 90 days. No annual fee.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. This card earns 6% cash back at US supermarkets all year long (on up to $6,000 per year) and 3% cash back at US gas stations. I use this card all year long for groceries, and then in December use up the $6k annual limit on gift cards bought in the supermarket aisle. New cardholders are also eligible for a $200 statement credit after $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. $95 annual fee. See details in link.

Amazon Prime Rewards Card. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods all year long. Prime membership required. 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores (yawn… see below). New cardholder bonus varies by person. No annual fee.

Citi Dividend Card. This card is no longer available to new applicants, but if you still have the grandfathered card you can activate to get 5% cash back at Gas Stations and Home Depot during Q1 2019. You are capped at $300 cash back for the calendar year. No annual fee.

Don’t settle for the “1% on everything else” that these cards offer. Get 2% cash back or higher. The following cards currently have the ability to offer cash back rewards as high as 2% or even greater. Please read my card-specific reviews for details.

Bank of America Cash Rewards Card Review: Choose Your 3%-5.25% Cash Back Category

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Updated. Bank of America announced some new changes that will take effect January 14th, 2019. Cardholders will be able to choose their 3% cash back category from one of these 6 options: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings. Before it was only gas. You can change your category once each calendar month in-app or online. Do nothing and it will stay the same. Stays the same: The fixed 2% cash back on grocery and wholesale clubs and the limit to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter.

The full review:

The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is the no-annual-fee “cash back” credit card in the Bank of America line-up. In this review, I’ll cover the basic card features but also focus on a lesser-known opportunity – if you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. For such “relationship” customers, the bonus can change this card from good to great. Here are the highlights:

  • $200 cash rewards bonus after $500 in purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas (choice category after 1/14/19) up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • 0% Introductory APR offer. See link for details.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% – 75%. See details below.
  • No annual fee.

Preferred Rewards bonus. The Preferred Rewards program is designed to rewards clients with multiple account and higher assets located at Bank of America banking, Merrill Edge online brokerage, and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. Here is a partial table taken from their comparison chart (click to enlarge):

bofa_pref1

Let’s consider the options. Bank of America’s interest rates on cash accounts tend to be lower than highest-available outside banks, so moving cash over to qualify may result in earning less interest on your cash deposits. Merrill Lynch advisory accounts also usually come with management fees. The sweet spot is if you have brokerage assets like stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. In this case, moving them over to Merrill Edge may actually reduce your costs because at the Platinum and Platinum Plus levels they will actually give you 30 to 100 free online stock trades every month.

I recently moved a little over $100k of brokerage assets (Vanguard funds) over to Merrill Edge to qualify for Platinum Honors. I realize not everyone will have this level of assets to move around, but if you do then it is worth considering. Keep in mind that it will take a while for your “3-month average combined balance” to actually reach the $100k level and officially qualify for Platinum Honors. After that, the 25%-75% rewards bonus on credit card rewards kick in.

If you are opening a new Merrill Edge account, check out the current Merrill Edge brokerage sign-up bonus. As of this writing, it is up to $1,000.

Cash Back Rewards after Preferred Rewards bonus:

Recall that the basic structure is “1/2/3”; you get 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on gas (choice category after 1/14/19) for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter (1/2/3). Here’s how the bonuses work out:

  • Platinum Honors: 1.75% cash back on every purchase, 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 5.25% on gas (choice category after 1/14/19) for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
  • Platinum: 1.5% cash back on every purchase, 3% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 4.5% on gas (choice category after 1/14/19) for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.
  • Gold: 1.25% cash back on every purchase, 2.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3.75% on gas (choice category after 1/14/19) for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter.

Note that the terms state “The Preferred Rewards bonus will replace the customer bonus you may already receive with the card.”, which means that you will lose the 10% bonus for redeeming your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.

For my personal spending, I like the idea of getting up to 3.5% cash back at Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJs wholesale clubs. Costco only takes Visa while the current application picture indicates a Mastercard (past versions have been Visa). If you have a Mastercard, you could try and call them and request to switch to a Visa version of the card instead of a Mastercard. If the customer service rep says they don’t do that, hang up and call again. Alternatively, you could apply for the Susan G Komen or World Wildlife Fund versions of this card, which do show a Visa.

I also like the idea of getting up to 5.25% cash back on “online shopping” assuming that includes Amazon, although Amazon’s own card already offers 5% back.

This is finally a case where bundling services actually worked out for me. Bank of America has managed to convince me to go from only having a checking account with them to now also having a Merrill Edge brokerage account with 100 free trades per month and a Bank of America credit card.

Not all Bank of America consumer credit cards qualify for Preferred Rewards. Another card that does qualify is the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. The Travel Rewards credit card is actually a better everyday card in my opinion (assuming you have at least some travel purchases to offset), but this card exceeds that card in the special categories.

Bottom line. The Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card is an “okay” cash back rewards card with a 1/2/3 structure, but turns into an “excellent” rewards card if you can take full advantage of their Preferred Rewards program. If you transfer $100,000 of existing brokerage assets over to Merrill Edge, you can qualify for the highest Platinum Honors tier. This won’t be a good option for everyone, but something to be aware of if you can swing it.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Review: $700 Towards Any Travel + Annual Fee Waived First Year

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AFB_ARF_card_rRGB_ArrivalPlus_Fee_WE (1)

Highest bonus ever! The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard® is a travel rewards card that has just increased their sign-up bonus to 70,000 points (worth $700 towards any travel), and the annual fee is also waived for the first year ($89 annual fee after that). This is the highest total incentive ever for this card. Here are the highlights:

  • Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Annual fee waived for the first year ($89 annual fee after that).

Rewards program details. With this card, you earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases. There are no special categories. These miles (easier to think of them as points, really) are then redeemable towards travel booked from any merchant or retailer classified as Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies. You can redeem towards any airline on any date.

To redeem, visit any booking site (Delta.com, AA.com, Southwest.com, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Hilton.com, Hotels.com, etc) and buy a ticket with this credit card. You don’t need to use any specific portal. Let’s say you buy an airplane ticket for $250. Then, you visit your Barclaycard account website and you’ll offset your purchase. You’ll redeem 25,000 “miles” and see a $250 statement credit on your statement. I’ve done this multiple times, and it always went smoothly with no issues.

Travel statement credit redemptions start at 10,000 miles for $100 toward a qualifying travel purchase of $100 or more made within the last 120 days. For example, you could use 10,000 points for a $100 credit towards a $200 plane ticket, if you wished.

On top of that, the card gives you a 5% miles rebate when you redeem for any travel. So if you redeemed 50,000 miles, you would get 2,500 back in your account after about a week. Although this is more complicated than just spending less points, you can calculate that getting $500 of value out of 47,500 miles at 2X miles/$ spent works out to 2.11% cash back towards any travel. Everything else (gift cards, merchandise) offers a significantly worse redemption ratio, so I wouldn’t bother.

During the first year, the $89 annual fee is waived. However, in future years it comes back. So I would take the first year and see how you like it. You would have to put over $80,000 in purchases on this card annually in order to get the 0.11% advantage to offset the $89 annual fee (after the 1st-year waiver) when compared to a 2% cash back card. That’s a big number.

Another option is that you are allowed to use 8,900 miles to offset the $89 annual fee. (Minimum increment is 2,500 points for $25 against annual fee.) Finally, you can also ask them to downgrade your card into the “plain” Arrival card with no annual fee (and no 2X miles).

Bottom line. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard® is a travel rewards card that earns double miles on all purchases (even more with the 5% rebate). The sign-up bonus has been raised to 70,000 points – worth $700 in travel statement credits – the highest ever for this card. The $89 annual fee is waived for the first year, but applies in subsequent years. This is a very strong offer as there is a $700 net value over the first year.

Applying for this card can cover a huge chunk of your annual vacation travel budget. I have added this offer to my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

Chase United Explorer Card Review – 40,000 Bonus United Miles

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

United Mileage Plus Explorer CardThe United Explorer Card is a co-branded credit card between Chase and United Airlines. This card offers unique perks for regular United customers including free checked bags and expanded award seat availability for redeeming miles. Here are the highlights:

  • 40,000 bonus United miles after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket.
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to find that saver award economy ticket.
  • Priority boarding + 2 United Club one-time passes every year.
  • 2X miles at restaurants and on hotel stays.
  • 2X miles per on purchases from United.
  • 25% Back on United inflight purchases (Wi-Fi, Food and Drinks).
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee Credit
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Your miles don’t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn.
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Keep in mind the following terms and conditions:

This product is available to you if you do not have this Card and have not received a new Cardmember bonus for this Card in the past 24 months.

This card is very focused on rewarding you for being a United customer. Before you board, you might use one of your free United Club lounge passes. You have the first checked bag for free on United flights, both for your and a companion traveling on the same reservation. The fee is usually $30 per person, each way, so that this how they get the value of $120 each roundtrip. You also get Priority Boarding, which helps you find space for your carry-on. While onboard, you get 25% back on your inflight purchases of WiFi, food, and drinks.

Expanded award availability. You earn United miles for all your purchases (double miles on restaurants and hotel stays), but then they also make it easier for you to redeem those miles on Saver level tickets with no blackout dates. Expanded award seat availability is another of the top perks from this card, and it is actually a significant difference. Saver Award ticket redemptions start at 12,500 miles one-way within the continental U.S. and Canada.

Another unique feature of this card is that it offers primary coverage on the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. On most other consumer cards, this coverage is offered as secondary coverage, meaning it only kicks in after your personal auto insurance has been exhausted.

Bottom line. The United Explorer Card offers great perks for folks that fly United even just once or twice a year. The card provides lounge passes, a free checked bag, priority boarding, and inflight discounts. There are bonus categories to earn more miles, and special expanded award seat inventory for credit card holders to make it easier to actually redeem those miles for flights.

More: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express – 40,000 Miles + $50 Statement Credit Referral Offer

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The Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card has a limited-time offer if you are referred. Highlights:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • 40,000 Skymiles is worth $400 in Delta airfare minimum. With this card, you get a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 40,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $400 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value.
  • First checked bag free. Delta now charges $30 for the first checked bag, each way. That means this perk is worth $60 per person each roundtrip. For a family of four, this perk is worth $240 per person each roundtrip.
  • Enjoy Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year, then $95.

Here is my link for the Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express referral offer. Thanks if you use it. There is also a Gold Delta Skymiles Business version with a similar limited-time offer.

Citi Simplicity Card Review: 0% for 21 Months (1.75 Years), No Late Fees, No Penalty Rates

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CitiSimplicityCard (1)

Interest rates are rising, and that applies to credit cards as well. Our partner Citi has updated the Citi Simplicity® Card with an extended 0% intro period for balance transfers while also offering some “accident forgiveness insurance”. Do you have a balance that you are finally ready to pay off? The highlights:

  • The ONLY card with No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee… EVER
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% – 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% – 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness
  • If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balance, are paid in full
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The same great rate for all balances, after the introductory period
  • Save time when you call with fast, personal help, 24 hours a day – just say “representative”
  • Enjoy the convenience of setting up your own bill payment schedule on any available due date throughout the month

No late fees, no penalty rate details. On most other credit cards, if you make a late payment, you’ll first be charged a late payment fee of about $35. On top of that, your super-low interest rate disappears and instead gets jacked up to something called their “default rate” or “penalty rate”. This could be over 30% APR! The Citi Simplicity card adds a bit of flex in that they do not charge penalty rates or late fees.

Note that if you are 30 days late on this or any credit card, Citi will still report this activity to the credit bureaus. This card may be forgiving but you should still keep your credit score as high as possible.

The strongest part of this card is the long 21 month period, so you can spread out payments over 1.75 years and ideally pay it all off by the end. There is a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 min). However, 5% works out to just 3 months of interest at 20% APR. Transferring a balance to this card from a 20% APR card would be the equivalent of paying 3 months interest at 20% APR and then having 18 months with 0% interest. Once the intro period on all 0% cards expire, the rates will go right back up. You’ll either need to pay it off or transfer your balance again if you need more time. With this card, you’ll have a full 21 months to spread your payments out.

Alternatively, if you know you will pay it off within a shorter time period, look for a card with no balance transfer fee. Compare with other low fee 0% APR balance transfer offers.

This card does not earn any cash back, points, or airline miles. I’d open a separate card for rewards after your balances are paid off and you join the “Paid in full every month” club.

Bottom line. The Citi Simplicity® Card is best for folks that are serious about paying off their balances. You get a long 0% introductory period of 21 months on balance transfers, with a one-time 5% balance transfer fee ($5 min). The card includes consumer-friendly features that help ensure your low rates don’t get hiked with a single late payment. If you do the math and can make adequate payments to pay down your balance over a 1.75 year span, this card may help get you debt-free with minimal gotchas. No annual fee.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

American Express Gold Card: 40,000 Bonus Points + $120 Dining Credit + $100 Airline Fee Credit

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

The refreshed American Express Gold Card is trying to get back to being the “gold standard” with some new perks along with a 40,000 bonus point offer if you apply via a referral link (that’s mine). Here are the highlights:

  • 40,000 Membership Rewards points when you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Up to $120 dining credit at Grubhub, Seamless, and more. Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 airline fee credit. Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your AmEx Gold card. Examples are checked baggage fees and inflight meals.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 4X points at US restaurants.
  • 4X points at US supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per year.
  • 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $250 annual fee. Additional cards (authorized users) are free.

Note the following:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or the Premier Rewards Gold Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

Membership Rewards points can be converted to the following airline and hotel programs (there are more, this is just a selection):

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • ANA Mileage Club (partner of United Airlines)
  • Air Canada (partner of United Airlines)
  • British Airways (partner of American Airlines)
  • FlyingBlue (Air France/KLM)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Rewards (Starwood)

The bonus math depends on a few factors. I’m going to be conservative and value the 40,000 Membership Rewards points at $400. (There are a lot of mileage transfer bonuses so you could value them much higher.) Spending $10 a month at Grubhub and Seamless will depend on if you’ve become addicted to these hyper-convenient food delivery apps. The airline fee credit will depend on how much you travel, but checked bag fees are everywhere (and rising). Minus the $250 annual fee. If you max out all the perks, the first year value is $370 without taking into account the 4X and 3X bonus categories. I don’t think it’s a perfect fit for me, but worth a look.

Bottom line. The new American Express Gold Card has a bunch of new features more targeted at the young, urban traveler including up to $120 in Grubhub and Seamless credits and $100 in airline fee credits. There is also a 40,000 bonus point offer if you apply via a referral link.

Blue Business Plus Card from American Express Review: 2X Points on ALL Purchases Up to $50k/Year

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

bbpamexThe Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a business rewards card that features double Membership Rewards points and no annual fee. Therefore, if you can redeem for more than 1 cent per point of value, this card has the potential to beat a flat 2% cash back card. Here the highlights:

  • 2X Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year. 1X Points on purchases thereafter.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • No annual fee.

Note the usual language regarding the sign-up bonus. This is a newer card, but you can only get the sign-up bonus once per lifetime.

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

Better than 2% cash back? Membership Rewards points can be converted to the following airline miles (there are more, this is just a selection):

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • ANA Mileage Club (partner of United Airlines)
  • Air Canada (partner of United Airlines)
  • British Airways (partner of American Airlines)
  • FlyingBlue (Air France/KLM)
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin America

If you value any of these miles at more than 1 cent per mile, then you would be getting more value than a 2% cash back card. For example, this card can earn the equivalent of 2 Delta miles per dollar spent.

Unfortunately, there are many redemption options for Membership Rewards points that are worse than 1 cent per point value. Here are a few examples:

  • Shop with Membership Rewards Points (~0.5 cents per point)
  • Shop with Points at Amazon.com (~0.7 cents per point)
  • Use points at BestBuy.com (~0.7 cents per point)
  • Gift Cards (varies from 0.5 up to 1 cent per point max)

If you don’t expect to get at least 1 cent per mile value, then you should stick with a 2% cash back card.

Business credit card eligibility. Many people aren’t aware that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. Any individual can be a small business. Perhaps you sell items on eBay, Craiglist, or Etsy. Maybe you do some graphic design, web design, freelancing and/or consulting. If you received a 1099-MISC tax form and filled out a Schedule C, that means you have business income, you pay self-employment taxes, and you’re a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

This card will require you to personally guarantee that you’ll pay them back what you charge on the card, which means they’ll check your personal credit score like any other consumer card. However, as the card is a business card, American Express won’t have it show up on your personal credit report, so it won’t change things like your credit limits, average account age, or credit utilization ratio.

Bottom line. The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express is a unique small business card in that it earn 2X Membership Rewards points on ALL purchases up to $50,000 per year with no annual fee. The ability to transfer to miles means that you’re effectively earning 2X miles per dollar spent with no annual fee. Finally, linking this card also allows you keep Membership Rewards points earned from other cards active while having no annual fee.

Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express: 15,000 Point Offer, No Fee 0% Balance Transfer

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone.”

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express is a great way to earn Membership Rewards points with no annual fee. Right now, there is also a welcome bonus and no balance transfer fee offer for new cardholders. Here are the details:

  • 15,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome bonus after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers for new card members. After that, a variable APR applies.
  • $0 balance transfer fees on balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening.
  • 2X points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). 1X points on all other purchases.
  • 20% more points if you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period (less returns and credits).
  • No annual fee.

Note the following:

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

No fee 0% APR balance transfer. It has been a long time since I recall an AmEx with a no balance transfer fee offer. If you have high-interest balances on other card issuers (Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc), this may be a good opportunity to lower your interest charges and pay off that debt faster.

Earn Membership Rewards (MR) points with no annual fee. American Express has historically been a “premium”-only brand and most every card had an annual fee. This no-annual fee card is a move towards “EveryDay” consumers. In addition, if you have Membership Rewards points earned from other American Express cards, having this card would keep all of your MR points from expiring even if you closed those other cards (perhaps to avoid the annual fees). This way you keep the flexibility to transfer the points into a variety of frequent flier miles as needed. As there is no annual fee, I can keep this card open forever.

Membership Rewards points can be converted to the following airline miles (there are more, this is just a selection):

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • ANA Mileage Club (partner of United Airlines)
  • Air Canada (partner of United Airlines)
  • British Airways (partner of American Airlines)
  • FlyingBlue (Air France/KLM)
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin America

With the 20% bonus for 20+ purchases per billing period, you would be getting 1.2 miles per dollar on all purchases and 2.4 miles per dollar at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year). A lot depends on how much value you can get out of those airline miles.

Unfortunately, there are many redemption options for Membership Rewards points that are worse than 1 cent per point value. Here are a few examples:

  • Shop with Membership Rewards Points (~0.5 cents per point)
  • Shop with Points at Amazon.com (~0.7 cents per point)
  • Use points at BestBuy.com (~0.7 cents per point)
  • Gift Cards (varies from 0.5 up to 1 cent per point max)

Bottom line. The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express allows to you earn and maintain Membership Rewards points with no annual fee. The sign-up perks have been improved to include a 15,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus and a no fee 0% APR balance transfer offer. If you have high-interest balances on other card issuers, this may be a good opportunity to lower your interest charges and pay off that debt faster.