stack of credit cardsThe Wife and I have had similar views on credit cards for as long as I can remember – they are neither good nor evil, but rather just tools.  Well since the hammer that was beating me upside my head (e.g. debt) has finally ended, and with the start of the new year The Wife and I would like to start using a credit card like a useful tool.  Since I have been a credit junkie for most of my life, I had no idea where to start.

I figured the first step in order to use a credit card as a useful tool is to obtain (or use one I already have) that has the optimum rewards points tailored to my family.  Does that mean getting one with cash back? an air miles credit card? a Gas credit card? etc.

Instead of doing my own research right out of the gate, I contacted the blogger/website owner, Credit Card Chaser.   CCC was nice enough to ask me a few questions about my credit wants/needs and my life to help me determine what card I should get to build credit card rewards.

Information Needed to Create a Credit Card recommendation

Family Situation

Evan: “Just Me, The Wife and our Little Dog for now. Hopefully, a Child will be joining us soon but for the next 9 months its just us.”

Debt Situation

Evan: “We have a manageable mortgage, law school loans, and a car loan, but relatively no credit card debt. The Wife and I only plan on using the chosen card for monthly expenses which are to be paid off on a weekly basis (i.e. groceries, gas, dry cleaning, etc.).”

Current Cards & Experiences

Evan: “Between the two of us we have a lot of credit cards even though there isn’t any debt on them: Couple of Discover Cards, Bank of America Visa Signature, Citi Premier Pass, Carnival Sea Miles, and Amex Blue Card. I love my 5%/1% Discover Card, but the Wife refuses to use them since most places do not take Discover, and I often feel awkward giving it to a restaurant since 92% of the time I would get rejected. I used my Carnival Sea Miles for years and when I went to redeem my 10,000+ points it equaled $75 off of a cruise. $75! For 10,000 points!”

Ideal Credit Card

Evan: “The Wife and I want a card with no fees, whose points actually mean something (unlike the Carnival Sea Miles Card). APR is less of a concern since we have full intentions (and more importantly a plan) of paying off the Card every single month, in full. The points can be cash, flights, vacations, pretty much anything as the amount of points are in line with the redemption. I really like the Chase 1% towards your mortgage CC, but my mortgage is with HSBC.”

CCC then wrote up a whole Credit Card Recommendation for me:

  1. Continue using my Discover at places that accept Discover since it has one of the best cash back programs
  2. Consider applying for AMEX True Earnings since they are accepted at more places.  This is the card that CCC uses, but you need to be a member of Costco, which I am not.
  3. Consider applying for the Chase Freedom Credit Card since it is accepted everywhere Visa is taken.

After discussing CCC’s recommendations with The Wife, it came out that she believes that rewards points should be just that, “a reward.”  So she thinks we should get them in the form of air travel vs. cash back.  I am not sure I agree with her, it really comes down to whether the points earned for travel are worth more than the cash back, and I am just not sure they are.  I will have to check with CCC for his expert opinion, or hopefully he is nice enough to comment on this post.

If you’d like to read CCC’s Full Reviews and Recommendation Check out the Credit Card Chaser.  Feel free to contact him for your own recommendation or check out his really cool Credit Card Rewards Calculator.  This was not a paid post, I get absolutely nothing if you check out his site, but you may learn something!

What are your thoughts about reward points?