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Over the weekend I was helping my mom close down an American Express card she didn’t want anymore via online chat with Amex. Love that you can close cards just by chatting or messaging online! She wasn’t using the card she had very much and a $175 annual fee had just posted to her account, so it was time for it to go. While we were taking care of her “credit card maintenance” we decided together it was time for her to get a couple new cards that aligned with her current points goals and spending patterns. Like me, she is pretty conservative with acquiring new cards, but she is even more conservative than me in terms of the amount of spending that goes on the cards, as well as trying to stay away from cards that have annual fees whenever possible (at least beyond the first year or so…).
Given those requirements, it was clear to me which two cards she needed in her arsenal, so here is what we got and why. I share this not because these are the two cards that everyone should get, but more to take you through our thought process so you can go through similar steps for your own family.
American Express EveryDay Credit Card: 10,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,000
You’ve probably seen the Tina Fey commercials for this new card designed for “EveryDay” people. I think my mom solidly qualifies as (one of my favorite) “everyday people”. She needed a card that would keep her remaining Membership Reward points safe, would earn more Membership Reward points on everyday things, and didn’t have an annual fee. The EveryDay card earns 2x on the first $6,000 annually groceries at US supermarkets and 1x on most everything else. She buys groceries, so that’s a good match. It also gives a 20% points bonus if you have 20 or more transactions in a billing cycle. She could certainly hit that if this indeed becomes her everyday card. Best of all for points junkies, the points are fully transferable Membership Reward points that you can transfer to hotel and airline partners.
Personally I have the EveryDay Preferred version that awards 3x on groceries, 2x on gas, and gives a 50% bonus on all points earned if you have 30 or more transactions in a billing cycle. However, that card has a $95 annual fee and it makes more sense for my mom right now to keep things simple and just get the card with no annual fee. I spend more in those bonus categories, have more transactions each month, and will earn more points making the $95 annual fee worth it for me.
The sign-up bonus on the EveryDay card is just 10,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, so this isn’t really a card she got for the sign-up bonus. She got it to keep her Membership Reward balance safe, and earn a few easy everyday points along the way.
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®: 40,000 US Airways Miles After First Purchase!
Since we got the Amex with instant approval for my mom, we figured we would press our luck and add one more to the bounty. This time we went for the US Airways Premier World MasterCard which is one of the few remaining cards that awards the bonus miles upon the first purchase. This is helpful for my folks since they do better with low spending requirements as their expenses are relatively low. It’s simple and easy, which is perfect!
In this case they will get 40,000 US Airways miles after making one purchase and paying the $89 annual fee. I’m not thrilled they have to pay an annual fee for this one, but if you look at it like buying 40,000 miles for $89 it makes it okay. They will also get the companion certificate this year where the second and third person can fly for $99 plus taxes/fees on US Airways operated flights when the first ticket is bought with cash. I’m not sure if they will use it or not, but it’s nice to have just in case something pops up.
Even though they don’t have specific plans for these miles, this was a good choice as the card will be going away at some point due to the merger with AA (likely in 2015), so they might as well get it now knowing that the miles will end up combining with their American Airlines miles (likely in 2015). My dad will need to get this card at some point this year as well for the same reasons. This card was also an instant approval, so totally painless.
This wasn’t a huge haul of miles and points, but it was a strategic one that was perfect for my mom’s needs, wants, and budget. As for me, as soon as Josh is finished hitting the $10,000 spending requirement on his new 100,000 mile AA Executive card I’ll pull the trigger on my second. We just haven’t had time to get the spending done as quickly as I want so we’re not getting a card second until he’s just about done. No reason to get over-extended and potentially miss out on getting the bonus miles!
What cards are you focusing on right now and why?
Disclosure: Some of the cards in this post are affiliate links and some are not. All are to the best offers I am aware of. It is also worth mentioning that I am an Ambassador for the Amex EveryDay card, though this post is unrelated to that partnership.