Hi everyone. Just read a nice piece in the NYT about which credit card to choose especially for travelers.
As I have a lot of experience both traveling and in the airline industry, I thought I would give some free advice to my loyal readers out there. Unfortunately this advice is only for card holders in the USA, I don’t know how all of your other banks/credit companies work.
Feel free to take a glimpse at this article, but ONLY A GLIMPSE!!!! You don’t have to understand anything in it, I will give you a quick explanation below on how to win the credit card game.
Choosing the Best Credit Card – New York Times
Now that you had your glimpse, wasn’t that confusing as all hell? Let me simplify things for you.
1. You want CASH! Not points, not awards not this and that, CASH PEOPLE CASH!
I use the American Express BLUE CASH card.
I use it for every single expense possible. There is no fee and I get payed around $450 every year or so for using this card.
Again, use it for every expense possible and PAY OFF YOUR BALANCE EVERY MONTH!
The goal is to have them pay you, not the other way around.
Why do most people not do this?
They want the prestige of Platinum, Gold, cards just to feel special. They also have to pay a fee every year to feel special. If you don’t need to feel special every time you take out your credit card then just use the humble BLUE card and you will get paid. The only exception is if you are CEO, travel a lot and need agency support. In this case the enormous $400 might be worth it, but this is not for the majority of people out there.
All those cards offering points, rewards airline miles come with a dizzying array of restrictions and change the terms of service 1000000000 times a year (exaggerating a little but not much). Why would you want to accumulate these things when you can just accumulate cash? You can use cash to pay for everything else.
Sure, if you do your homework and are a road warrior always flying all over the globe perhaps the benefits will outweigh the costs like the article mentions. This is not for most people. Besides the readers of this blog are those that want to go live in foreign countries, not just go on visits.
The ONLY exception I can think of for not wanting to use the AMEX BLUE CASH card is if you do go live in a foreign country. I just learned from the article that the Citibank Rewards cards no longer charge transactions on foreign purchases. Really? In this case the Citibank card may be better because many places do not take Amex in foreign countries.
Well, actually many of the places I used to live didn’t take credit cards at all and cash was the safest bet, but for the purposes of this post, let’s say you are going to a relatively developed country.
Here is my method in case you are wondering.
1. Amex Blue Cash
– Use this for everything possible domestically.
2. Citibank Rewards
– I’ll now use this when traveling to Japan along with cash. Also, Citibank is global and you can usually find a Citibank branch in times of need.
3. Debit Card
– I use this in the USA when the merchant doesn’t take Amex. I definitely would not use this in a foreign country because the bank charges would be large and in less developed countries, who knows if the merchant is reputable or not. I use cash then.
Well that’s it! I told you this post would be short. In the USA companies try to entice you with all kinds of perks but they are betting they will make money off you in the long run. By using AMEX cash and paying off the balance you win the game. No need to read a long list of perks, restrictions, benefits, changes of service or anything else. Just use the card for everything and get your cash.
If you have any questions, just post them in the comments.