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Which credit card?

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  • Which credit card?

    My wife is currently looking for a new credit card. She currently has one through her credit union, but it has minimal benefits of any type. Some info about us that might help:

    - I am currently a PGY-2. She works in mental health, making ~$35k/year.

    - We are planning a couple of upcoming trips, one to the Caribbean. Ideally, her new reward card would have no foreign transaction fees.

    - I currently have a Chase Freedom card

    She has done a little looking and is debating between a Chase Preferred and QuickSilver One. We're not at a point where we spend nearly enough to think about card churning. Other than this stretch with a couple of purchases, we tend to take maybe one domestic vacation a year.

    Would one of these cards make sense, or is there another one which may better meet our needs? Does it make sense to get a card with an annual fee given that some of the benefits may not be as helpful for us? Would it make sense for her to not get a Chase card given I already have one/should I look into upgrading my card to a Preferred (if this is even possible)? Is there anything else we should consider?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I don't remember offhand the Chase rules about pooling points for family members. It may be easier for you to get new cards, and add her as an authorized user.

    If you're already got a Chase Freedom, you should go for the Chase trifecta (Sapphire Preferred + Freedom + Freedom Unlimited):

    Freedom - 5% points on the quarterly bonus categories (right now it's gas stations and streaming services)

    Freedom Unlimited - 3% on first 20K of non-bonus spending, then 1.5% afterwards

    Sapphire Preferred - 60K signup bonus points, remember the $95 annual fee and the minimum spend requirements.

    You can combine all your UR points into the Sapphire account, and they would be worth 1.25 ~ 2 cents each. You can transfer to Southwest to book Caribbean flights, or Hyatt for their Caribbean properties.


    It does not sound like you guys spend enough on dining/traveling for the Sapphire Reserve ($450) annual fee to be worthwhile.

    Do NOT upgrade or product change your Freedom card, because then you won't get the signup bonus. Apply for a new Sapphire card - you guys should be well under the 5 cards/24 months rule. You may have some difficulty being approved if your income isn't high enough.

    Be ware of overspending once you have these cards! It takes a surprisingly long time to accrue a useful amount of points if you guys aren't big spenders.


    • #3
      “You may have some difficulty being approved if your income isn’t high enough.”

      Check your credit score before you do a hard application. You can easily add her to your account. The annual fees might not be worth bonus points and the spending levels to earn them need to be met, usually in a couple of months.


      • #4
        For travel hacking, I agree with Chase Sapphire Preferred over Quiksilver. Remember Chase has the unofficial 5/24 rule where if you've opened 5+ cards in the last 24 months, your application gets rejected regardless of credit score. So there's some credence to the idea that it's better to start with the Chase cards so you don't lock yourself out.

        If you ever meet the qualifications for a business card, the Chase Business Ink gives 80k miles for 5k in spending and the same annual fee. Probably not the best card for most residents though.

        If you prefer the simplicity of cashback cards, look at Citi DoubleCash (2% on all purchases if you pay your balance in full), PNC Cash Rewards for 4% on gas, Cap One Savor for 4% on dining. Some people just build a portfolio of a few of these cards instead of going the travel rewards route.


        • #5
          The Preferred is a great card.  Very versatile.  My wife and I both got one in residency.  When I became an attending, I then got a Reserve.  Been raking in the points through locums.


          • #6
            Do not upgrade. Get a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. There's currently a 60k sign up bonus for either. With the Reserve, you can get TSA pre-check or global entry and can transfer your Freedom points to this. This is an absolute no-brainer.


            • #7

              Do not upgrade. Get a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. There’s currently a 60k sign up bonus for either. With the Reserve, you can get TSA pre-check or global entry and can transfer your Freedom points to this. This is an absolute no-brainer.
              Click to expand...

              Agreed 100%.  This is our primary card for dining and travel expenses with 3% cashback.  Redemptions for travel are worth 1.5x.  We move our points from the Chase Freedom, especially the quarterly 5% bonus categories. They also are worth 1.5x when redeemed for travel.  My wife and I each signed up for an account when they offered the 100,000 point bonuses and you can combine points within households.  Chase paid the airfare on our honeymoon in United Polaris Class lay flat seats.

              I believe the annual fee is $450 but as soon as you spend $300 in travel expenses you get reimbursed.  This isn't a hassle to get unlike the AMEX Platinum.  It used to be able to be double dipped when your annual fee period didn't align with the calendar year.  The other $150 can easily be made up in the sign-up bonus, converting other points from Chase products, TSA precheck/global entry fees, PriorityPass, primary rental car insurance, etc.

     some pretty good information without all of the affiliate referrals of or


              • #8
                For the point in life the OP is right now it would probably make sense to get a no fee card. Family income is under 100k and hopefully they are spending way less then that. I would just get a no fee cash back card and call it good.