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Is Joe Weider and Maggie waiting for me to go first? haha. This card can be great, if you know how to use it right. Spend 2.5k and you get 2 weekend nights free. Ok.. what does that mean? no finite # of points or what? what can this card do for you? how do you value this card? Simple. Go pick out a weekend trip to one of most expensive areas you can think of (think SF, NY, Boston, etc etc), and find yourself the MOST EXPENSIVE HILTON HOTEL! now think of spending 2 nights there for free. (some restriction apply, but minimal). I was looking at top tier hilton hotel in NY, and those were going for about 400 dollars a night. So this card will get you 800 dollars for free. + gold membership, which I value (unless you stay at hilton often, and you get gold from stays) at about $250. so this card will give you $1050 first year alone. Then each year, you get one weekend night free, which, again, if used properly, is worth more than 95 bux. Even if you don't consider all the bonus points for using this card AT hilton (10 bonus pts per dollar), not a bad deal. 95$ annual fee, again guys, is easily covered from annual free weekend night certificate.
This is a card that really separates those who fly a lot, and those who don't. Why do I say that? Well, a lot of reviewer here note that this card gives away up to 100,000 points. Awesome right? 100,000! wow? when others are giving away only 25k - max 50k? 100k? are these guys insane? Hold right there. BEFORE you proceed to spam the "apply" button, It's important to note what you can get out of Avios (British Airline Mileage term). The fact is... Not much. It's because flying to and from europe on British Airline on award ticket (using your avios) is going to cost you ransom, both in Avios points but ALSO IN TAX! A flight from New York City to London cost around $900 TAX when you use your points. wait? $900 dollars for tax? When I could pay for an economy seat for about $1000? 900? really? So when is Avios good for? It's if you are a flight connoisseur and you want to fly first class no matter what. Then, you could drop 180,000 avios and pay $2000 in tax, and fly first class to london. Worth it for most people? no. (there is another trick where u can use avios to hop around south america locations, but that's not for everyone). So, my word of advice? stay away from this card. I wish Avios was worth more, then I'd jump all over this card. but it really isn't.
Joe Weider So, I got this card (sorry WalletHub, not through you guys) about a month ago, and I have been using it. Now this deals more with United per se, rather than this card, but it ties together, so I want to talk about it. United miles are extremely valuable. They allow one way award, and as long as you bok 3 weeks out (or if you have the club card $395 per yr), then its just $25 per route. WOW! You look at British airlines, and to use their miles to go to Europe, fee comes out to like $800-900 bux, so United is great! The downside of this card, is as Margie pointed out. There are other cards available that competes with this card.... Say like Chase Sapphire Preferred. I got this card for churning purposes. If you look around web, u can find other deals where you get full 40k without spending $25k dollars. not that you shouldn't, if you can, because you'd still get 25,000 miles from those 25k dollar spending, but hey. your mileage may vary. So get this card, get 40k points, and then hold it for 11 months. Dump it down the drain. Unless you fly United more than 5-8 times a year, all domestic, all economy, this card really isn't that worth it.
Margie pointed out some excellent stuffs, especially the cost. But of course, I am here to present the other side to the story. As always, consider your situation whenever you apply for a credit card, and make a decision based on the situation that suites you best. (Also, Margie made some statements that weren't necessarily true, so I wanted to correct that). So. Let's play the devil's advocate. When does this card makes sense to you? If you are a frequent United Flyer, then this card might be a life saver. why? Let's start with lounge access. Despite what Margie wrote down, suggesting that frequent flyer automatically gets lounge access, this isn't true with US legacy airlines for domestic travel. Yes, if you buy an expensive international ticket, then lounge is included, but for domestic ones, even if you fly "first class" u don't get lounge. You will have to buy lounge access( annual fee of $495), so if you fly domestic a lot on United, and u want the access to lounge service, this card can be great. What makes this card more beneficial is that Amex platinum no longer offers access to United/Continental Lounge via Priority Pass. So if you want a free access to United Lounge, this is the only way to get it. - Furthermore, you can have one companion go in with you, so its like getting 2 people's worth the money. Second: Close Fee Award Waiver. If you fly United a lot, you are most likely going to rack up some United Miles. You want to use them of course, but unless you book 3 weeks out, they will slap you with $75 charge. It would be great if we can plan out our trips in advance, but we can't time to time. This card waives it. Third: Priority Boarding. why is this important? Although Margie can't believe people woud want to board sooner, she can't be farther away from the truth (I know u don't fly much Margie, don't worry). With bag fees these days, people are trying to cram as much as they can on carry-ons. This means that it's really a hassle to find a spot to put your backpack or small carry-ones, if you board late. There just isn't enough space for everyone's. Those who board first, will have ample access to them, and this card gives that. Fourth: Perks you don't think you need but are very useful because you have them. - Hyatt Platinum gives you late check-out, free internet, and so forth. You will use it, and u will go wow! - Rental Car Top Tier: Again, little things makes big difference. - Primary Collision waiver for rental cars: If you are interested in renting a car oversea, this card can provide you free insurance (as long as u rent the car with this card). So considering all these, is it worth $395? Make that choice yourself. HOWEVER.... There is a way to reduce the cost of this card down to $195. If you use amex plat's $200 airline pay-back program, then this card only costs $195. Furthermore, there are codes floating around, that gives this card first yr free, so do consider that as well.
Continuing the trend of arguing against both Joe and Margie, I am telling you to go sign up for this card (once the bonus jumps back to $200 cash back), because there are tricks to really enhance this card that both Joe and Margie doesn't tell you. It's called, Chase Tri-Fecta trick. First you need 3 things: 1) Chase Freedom. 2) Chase Sapphire preferred (or chase Ink Bold for Business). 3) Chase Checking account. I will explain how first one work in this scheme, but let's start with other two. Byhaving Chase sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold, u can transfer ultimate reward points (chase's bonus point system) into miles and hotel points. Since miles are most lucrative, let's stick with that. and why is that important here? Because points you earn from Chase Freedom is really, ultimate reward points as well. With Freedom alone, you can't transfer it to miles, but u can transfer ultimate reward points u earn from Freedom (200 cash back really means u get 20,000 ultimate reward points) to your Saph. Pref. or Ink Bold, and convert it to miles. So in essense, u are really getting $400 worth of free stuff, for a card that COSTS YOU ZERO EVERY YEAR. now, chase checking account. If you can open a chase checking account AND have chase freedom, every single purchase, u get 10 reward points. So those trips to vending machines? I put it on my chase freedom. then I get 11 (10 bonus +1 from purchase) for every king sized kit-kat bar I enjoy. on top of other things Joe and Margie mention, this is what makes this trifecta awesome. you are literally getting cash back 6-11% (if u don't fly), or up to 22 % return by using the method above. get it? so go get this card, and keep it forever (as long as T&C don't change).
Joe is absolutely correct this card is geared toward getting you to spend time in Marriott. But who are we kidding? Unless you live somewhere out of nowhere. you probably stayed at marriott property at least once in your life. In fact, you probably spend at LEAST ONE night in Marriott per yr or so. If you are someone who does, this card is great. forget all the extra points(great), what makes this card great is you get a free hotel voucher each year (basically cancels out annual fee) + free silver status each year (because they give you 15 nights toward your membership level). other than that, I suggest you still stay away from cap1 but head toward other chase cards, like chase sapph or if your credit rating isn't high enough, go to chase freedom. i have this card, because I stay at marriott a lot, and I use it exclusively at marriott (2 marriott point or 1 marriott point isn't worth the same as 1 airline miles to me). no forex charge on this card means u can use it internationally, which is great.
and unlike cap 1 commercial say, this card isn't in my wallet.
Let's be very clear from the start. I don't work for any banking institutions or any other financial organizations that might have conflict of interest. I am a consumer of credit, and I take my credit rating very seriously. and probably much chalgrin to Joe. Cap1 is my least favorite bank to work with. here are my reasons why. 1) they pull from all 3 bureaus. each hard pull lowers your credit rating, and other banks, like Chase or Amex only pulls from one or max 2 bureaus. But Cap1 has history of pulling from all 3. you know what this means? it means that 3 chase cards will cost you same credit rating points as 1 cap 1 card. 2) they call it "miles", but its not really miles. for other travel cards, miles are real miles. you transfer them to airline, and use it just like their mile, and each airline miles are valued at about 2.5-3.5 cents per pop. So cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred, which u can transfer to airline MILES, you get 2.5% and more, esp if you put it on flight, travel, hotels , where u get close to 5% -6% return. 3) Cap 1 "miles" are glorified point system that they make you spend within their system. u can't work it like other, and u can't certainly use it to fly higher cabin. so what is this card good for? I churn this card, because each year, they give out lucrative offer for 100k "miles". (they will try to prevent u from churning this). If you don't know what churning is, it's basically where u sign up just to get the initial bonus and cancel it, once u get it. THAT's IT. I highly suggest u stay away from this card, unless WalletHub gets ridiculous referral bonus from it =).
I forgot about global entry rebate, so if you include $200 airline credit, global entry rebate ($100) + 25k points(valued at about $350), you get more than what you pay for first year, but I still standby what I said: unless you are a high roller, don't get this card.
Dear Margie and Joe. I have one question. I notice u guys commenting a lot on these cards, an I wonder whether you have used them yourself? I have previously owned this card, when I was doing hardcore travelling. As Margie spelled out nicely, this is a wonderful card to have, if you travel often. Lounge certainly is great, but to be honest, if you are someone who can afford $450 annual fee without flinching, that means you either fly higher class cabin (thus you get lounge anyway), or you are probably high tier member for many airlines, and u get lounges anyway. so why is this card good? BESIDES the pros and cons Margie already listed except: 1) 200 airline credit is flat out awesome. You somehow packed too much, and airline charges you money? No problem. Put it on amex plat, and they give you back. had to make changes due to unforseen circumstances? no problem. amex plat got your back. 2) while Margie put this as cons, their "glorified" customer service - aka concierge service is great. You need anything ANYWHERE around the world? just call the number on the back, (they give you number to call for each country, so you don't have to make international calls for 1800 number), and they can direct you to anywhere, and assist as best as they can. I used its service and found them to be so valuable, and each story will be too long to list. 3) Margie is wrong, in that amex DOES have shopping mall, and having amex plat gives you opportunities to earn 4x, 6x, and sometimes 10x points. 4) if you are a fan of exclusive privledge, and high-end resort and hotels, this card can help you tremendously. So what's the final verdict here? Let's be honest WalletHub. This card is geared toward high spenders. The prestige that comes with owning amex plat is significant. Its like people asking why do you drive Benz when your good ol' Scion can get you there just fine? Same thing. This card has that special feeling. You have to ask yourself if you are worth it to get this card at $450 per yr. (no first yr free too! sheesh). why do I say let's be honest WalletHub? It's because WalletHub gets referral fee for people signing up for credit cards. But there are already other websites that cater toward high spenders/prestige group that either have/or be exposed to this card already. i think the major target group for WalletHub is either newcomers or those who need 2nd or 3rd card, and not a charge card that on average annual spending is close to $180,000. Yes , that's the average spending each person makes on their amex plat, who owns this card. So unless you aim to put about 80-100k on this card per yr, its not worth it.
Joe, I can't shake a feeling (especially I see that you are a loan officer at Bank, but doesn't specify which one) that you work for capital one. otherwise, I don't see how u can push for those cards, and downplay amex spg. one note of correction. you earn 2 points per dollar spent on starwood hotel stay FROM the card. u get 2 points per dollar spent on starwood hotel for staying there, (3 if you are elite), but the card only gives you 2. but you have to understand that 2 point is worth more than say, 10 points in hilton or marriott, so do take that into consideration. If you talk to anyone who have actually USED the card (or using like me), this is my primary card to use in the States for non-dining/gas/flight/hotel (sans spg) purchases. If I am going to earn 1 point per dollar spent, then this is the card I put it on. why? because its simply one of most flexible card out there. Yes, if you don't fly a lot, this might not be for you, but even if you take a cross continental domestic flight, this is golden. spg has so many transfer partners, its not even funny. american? check. United? check. Non-US carriers? check check check. if you transfer in bulk, say 20,000 spg points, then u get 25,000 miles, which is great! you don't have to stay at sheraton 6-8 times a year to make this card awesome. even once is great. Since, starwood has awesome hotels in wonderful and exotic locations like Bali, Koa Samoi, or even one of my favorite Mystique, Santorini-Greece, using these points for that purposes is going to make your dream come true. this card ALWAYS stays in my pocket, if I am in the states. Sadly, this card does have forex charge, so when I travel, it stays at home, sadly waiting for my return.
Issue with charge card for beginner is exactly what you stated. No preset spending limit. This has more issue than "let's see how much amex is going to give me if I keep spending". It also means the % of credit usage isn't reported properly to credit bureaus. Say a normal cc like amex spg. I have preset limit of $20k. If I spend 1k, BOTH max limit 20k and 1k spending is reported to credit bureau. So they will be able to see that I am not maxing out my limit and using the card properly. For charge card, however, the max is unknown, and isn't reported. So credit bureau won't be able to see my credit utilization. In fact, the highest monthly spending becomes the so called "max" for that card. (which is the reason why they suggest you take one month to put all your spending on a single charge card to artificially set high credit limit for that card). now getting back to THIS specific card. One word. DON'T. amex has premier gold that is UBER better than this card (50 bux more per yr, but totally worth it, if you are someone who are consider getting this card anyway). only reason I can ever see getting this card is if I am not going to fly a lot next year, and my first free year for amex premier gold is nearing end, just to keep my amex reward points alive.