It's been a long time since I've applied for a new credit card. So long, in fact, that I was astonished to log into the credit monitoring service I got for free from one of our semiannual security breaches (or maybe from one of the semiannual security breaches of the credit monitoring services; who can say at this point?) and see that I've only signed up for one new credit card in the last two years.
This practically puts me in the position of a complete newbie to the travel hacking game, albeit a complete newbie who already has a ton of credit cards. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to run down a list of the credit cards I'm considering and give readers a chance to chime in — especially if they have a particularly brilliant powerplay I should consider!
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa
I've never had one of these cards (not that that particularly matters given Bank of America's approval process), but virtually all my family members are on the West Coast and the 30,000-mile and $0 first-year companion fare ($99 after the first year) are both good deals for a $75 annual fee.
While I'm generally a very strong skeptic of companion tickets, the Alaska Airlines companion ticket differs from the companion fares offered by the American Express Delta Platinum and Reserve credit cards because you can use any credit card to book it (as long as the ticket is for the Alaska Airlines credit cardholder or the credit card used is in the Alaska Airlines cardholder's name). That means it's easy to combine with travel statement credit cards like the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards card (with Real-Time Rewards), Barclaycard Arrival Plus, or Bankamericard Travel Rewards card.
I don't want to bore longtime readers with everything I love about the Chase Slate card, but for new readers, it offers:
- no balance transfer fees for the first 60 days;
- 0% APR on up to $30,000 in balance transfers for 15 months ($15,000 cap per 30 days, but you have 60 days to transfer with the $0 balance transfer fee);
- ability to product change to a new Chase Freedom (or Freedom Unlimited if you don't have one already).
I don't know how valuable 15 months of free money is to you, but 15 months of free money is extremely valuable to me.
Consumers Credit Union Visa Signature Cash Rebate Card
I've had a Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking account for years, since it offers 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 when you make 12 $0.50 Amazon balance reloads per month (yes, this process is exactly as boring as it sounds).
But the account really shines when you combine it with a credit card, since spending $1,000 per month on that card increases the interest rate to 4.59% APY on up to $20,000 in deposits.
Unfortunately, they seem pretty stingy with credit card approvals, and I haven't been able to get approved for one of those cards yet. Now that my credit report is practically clear, hopefully they'll give me a chance.
American Express Amex EveryDay Preferred or Premier Rewards Gold
These two cards offer flexible Membership Rewards points and bonus points at US supermarkets, which make them obvious candidates to rack up some big Membership Rewards balances, even if I were just to transfer them to Delta SkyMiles.
The Premier Rewards Gold has a $195 annual fee, but it's waived the first year, which makes it a possible candidate for a one-year effort to accumulate a big balance before cancelling.
Meanwhile, the EveryDay Preferred card is the kind of low-key card I can imagine keeping for the long term, even though its $95 annual fee isn't waived the first year, since it can earn 27,000 Membership Rewards points per year with minimal time or effort.
It's no secret that most professional travel hackers pursue big signup bonuses much more aggressively than me. But it's also no secret that they constantly have big unredeemed and unredeemable points balances!
Simpleton that I am, my view has always been that your least valuable mile or point will always be the one you don't redeem, and so I devote all of my energy towards earning miles and points I'm sure to redeem, instead of accumulating them speculatively.
With that in mind, what big signup opportunities do readers see out there that my personal blinders have kept me from noticing?