Consumer Watch: Let's examine the newest lines of credit card perks

Consumer Watch: Let's examine the newest lines of credit card perks

February 3rd, 2019 by Ellen Phillips in Business Around the Region

"'Charge' cards are a girl's best friend" make for a more modern rendition from the award-winning "Hello Dolly," along with being best buds for lots of guys as well. As my long-time readers know, one of my best informational sources is Bottom Line Personal; I'm passing along its newest lines of perks of which we should all be aware before choosing credit cards. (Note: the higher our credit score — high 700s or above — the more likely companies' best offers.) Check each card's website to discover all the benefits we might enjoy.

Ellen Phillips

Ellen Phillips

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Eating out brings points and the restaurant/eateries cards vying against each other, particularly Barclays Uber VISA and CapitalOne Savor MasterCard, hold top honors. Additionally, points pile up when using the Savor card while visiting movies, plays, theme parks, and the like. On the other hand, the Uber VISA doesn't carry an annual fee and also pleases its users with a great smartphone protection plan, while the Savor costs $95 yearly.

Supermarket shopping — an activity every adult carries out — can offer significant savings when buying with the American Express Blue Cash Everyday or American Express' Blue Cash Preferred. The card one chooses should depend on how much the consumer spends at the grocery store. For example, the Everyday carries no annual fee, offers 3 percent cash back on up to $6k annual grocery spending (plus gives other lesser percentage cash backs on lots of other expenditures. Although the Preferred does charge a $95 annual fee, it also gives us back up to six percent in supermarket costs and includes lesser percentages at other locales just like the Everyday card.

Spending for gas is best if utilizing the PenFed Platinum Rewards VISA and Costco Anywhere VISA Card by Citi; both are both superlative credit cards for charging at the gas pump. The PenFed allocates five points for each dollar spent (with no limit!), and for each dollar of grocery shopping spent, we gain three points and one point per for all other purchases. To take advantage of this card, join the PenFed Credit Union for a one-time $17 donation to this nonprofit banking facility. For those of us with Costco membership — a savings in and of itself — bank even more on the Anywhere VISA. Offering four percent back on purchases up to $7,000 on gas (as well as non-Costco stations), three percent on restaurants, and that same one percent for all buys, it's worth holding.

For those in the market for debt consolidation/balance transfers, consider the Chase Slate VISA. It offers a zero introductory ARP on balance transfers and new purchases for the first fifteen months. Another card to check is the It's Simplicity MasterCard that features that same zero rate, but for twenty-one months, as well as another great bonus: no fee for the balance transfer so long as done within the first sixty days.

P.S. A Mea culpa, thanks to eagle-eye reader and Realtor Kevin Wolh. Last week, I used the term "fee" with regards to splitting a house sale with another Realtor, when I actually should have employed "cost." Then, with respect to my advice to haggle, he asked would I really attempt this with, say, a mechanic or physician. My response? You bet!

Contact Ellen Phillips at consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com.


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