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Reader srq203 asked the following in the Ask Lucky forum:
I just recently got a JetBlue Plus card, and I was wondering which card would best go with that card. I am leaning towards the Chase Sapphire Rewards card as everywhere I look it’s the most recommended card.
While this is a fairly specific scenario, I think there’s value in discussing the general thought process to go through when deciding which other cards to apply for.
Good choice on JetBlue Card
The reader made a good choice by applying for JetBlue Plus Card, which I also recently applied for. The timing of my application worked out great because I applied shortly after I was approved for JetBlue’s points match promotion, so for having this card I’ll get all kinds of perks, including:
- A 30,000 point sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend
- 10% of my points back every time I redeem points
- 5,000 points upon my account anniversary each year
- A first checked bag free
- 50% off eligible inflight purchases
After my recent flight in JetBlue Mint I’m excited about taking more flights with JetBlue, as the experience blew me away.
Now that you have a card with a specific airline, it’s time to branch out a bit to a more general “currency.” While points with a specific currency can be great, in general I like to focus my spend on a card that accrues a transferrable points currency, since those points are more flexible, and also better shielded from devaluations.
When it comes to credit cards, there are a few things I consider most:
- The sign-up bonus (how many points you get upon completing minimum spend)
- The return on everyday spend (how many points per dollar you get for the categories you spend most in, and what are those points worth)
- The ongoing perks (some hotel credit cards offer an annual free night certificate, for example)
Speaking very generally, there are two directions I’d recommend going:
The phrase “cash is king” should apply to credit cards as well. If your goal is simply to maximize your return on everyday spend as easily as possible without learning mileage programs, it’s tough to beat the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, with no limits.
For a no annual fee card that’s a return that’s tough to beat, in my opinion. Personally I think that’s the card that a vast majority of people should be using if they simply want an easy and rewarding credit card. The catch is that the card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, so you’re not going to get a big bonus just for applying for the card and completing some minimal amount of spend.
Since you already got JetBlue Plus Card, I’m guessing you prefer a card that offers a nice sign-up bonus and some great bonus categories. At the moment I’d say the two best transferrable points currency credit cards offering a combination of a good return on everyday spend and a lucrative sign-up bonus are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers:
- A sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months, plus 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user, after they make a purchase within the first three months as well
- 2x points on dining and travel
- A $95 annual fee, waived the first year
Transfer Chase points to Hyatt, and redeem them for the Park Hyatt Maldives
Meanwhile the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card offers:
- A sign-up bonus of 15,000 points after spending $1,000 within three months
- Earn 3x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 2x points at U.S. gas stations; 1x points on other purchases; on top of that you can earn 50% more points when you use your card to make at least 30 purchases per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to 4.5x points at supermarkets, 3x points at gas stations, and 1.5x points on everyday purchases
- A $95 annual fee
Transfer Amex points to Singapore, and redeem them for Singapore A380 Suites Class
Personally I think the sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is more compelling, while the return on everyday spend for many categories is more compelling on the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.
However, typically Chase will only approve those who haven’t applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months for a new card, so if you’re under that limit, I’d highly recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred first, so that you have a great chance of being approved.
After you’ve picked up a specific airline card, a flexible points currency is absolutely the way to go. There are several great transferrable points currencies, though in terms of applying for new cards at the moment, I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is your best bet. Otherwise the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card is also a card I really value for everyday spend.