As I’ve mentioned last week, I was debating on which card to apply for next. In the end, I picked Capital One Venture Rewards. Unfortunately, the answer was No. No pending status, just simple “beat it.” The application was made in my husband’s name and we are supposed to get a letter with explanation. I already know what it’s going to say: Too many recently added accounts. Chuck at DoC has suggested that I freeze Experian so Capital One would only pull the other two agencies. I didn’t because I was lazy. Oh well.
So, what now?
I was looking into applying for Southwest credit card (see this Flyertalk thread that has links and referrals for all three versions). The official offer is currently down to 25,000 points, but you can get 50,000 points if you go that route instead.
There were two concerns:
1) I currently have 120K Rapid Rewards points and no concrete plans to use them. Additionally, I’m planning to cancel my husband’s Chase Sapphire Preferred and dump the stash of 60K Ultimate Rewards points into Southwest program. If I get Rapid Rewards Visa, the bonus will probably be sitting around for a long time. I’ve mentioned before that we are infrequent travelers and my husband hates flying.
2) Chase is getting really picky with approvals. I wrote about some recent developments in this post. I wonder if it’s better to just lay low with Chase, at least for the time being. That new bonus and eventual card cancellation could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Chase isn’t dumb and has software to track your spending patterns. Is it really worth risking my long-term relationship with that bank over a bonus I don’t currently need?
I might still get Southwest Visa at some point in the future but for now, I started looking elsewhere. The problem is I can’t get any of the other cards on my list of best sign-up bonuses aside from Chase British Airways Visa Signature. It’s a solid offer, but I just don’t see me using Avios currency for 3 years or so. I hate hoarding and once again, don’t want to tick off Chase.
Hello, TD bank! Nice to fleece you
I decided to look into some cash-back bonuses instead. Now that’s a currency I can liquidate tomorrow if needed. Unfortunately, it’s slim pickings when it comes to real cash offers. There was one card that caught my eye. Introducing TD Cash Visa Here are the details on the bonus:
- Earn $200 cash back when you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days of account opening
- 2% cash bonus on dining purchases from your local deli to fast food, coffee shops, casual restaurants and fine dining.
- 1% on all other purchases — no categories or gimmicks — and earn points that never expire
- 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles and 13.24%-23.24% variable APR thereafter; based on creditworthiness.
- There is a 4% balance transfer fee (minimum $10) for each transfer. Minimum balance transfer request amount is $250.1
- Redeem your cash rewards for over 400 options — cash back, electronics, gift cards, travel rewards and more — starting at $25
- No foreign transaction fees
- No annual fee
Yes, it’s only $200, but it’s real, honest to goodness cash I can definitely use. This is a very expensive year for us in terms of vacation costs, and many of them can only be paid with American dollars. I decided to apply in my husband’s name and he was approved. Emboldened by my success, I threw in my own application as well. Same thing. What’s nice is that TD bank isn’t known for huge bonuses so I’m not risking burning bridges with the big three: Chase, Citi and Amex.
Another advantage is that there is no annual fee, so I could leave the cards open if I want to. Last but not least, the offer pays me commission, so I should pick up extra cash in a week or so. Whether the card pays me referral does affect my own application choices, but it shouldn’t affect yours. Always get what works for your unique situation, don’t worry about the blogger.
Of course, if your offer of choice happens to pay commission, consider showing your support. I definitely don’t want to manipulate readers into using my affiliate links because they feel bad for me. I hope to do honest work and provide value which in turn would make you want to support the site voluntarily. I don’t hide the fact that 99% of my profit comes from credit card applications. Believe me, I don’t like it and wish things were different, but this is the reality of being a latecomer and having a small site in a saturated niche.
Are you a United lover?
Speaking of TD bank, I saw a new card I haven’t noticed before: TD Aeroplan Visa Signature (also pays me referral)
Here are the details on the offer:
- Welcome Bonus of 25,000 Aeroplan Miles when you spend $1,000 on net purchases during the first 3 billing cycles after account opening.
- Earn 2 Aeroplan Miles on Air Canada purchases and 1 mile per $ 1 on your other everyday purchases.
- Redeem miles for a wide choice of travel to more than 1,200 destinations, entertainment, merchandise, and gift card rewards options.
- Annual fee waived for the first year, then $95 each year thereafter.
Why should you care about such a measly bonus? Well, 25,000 Aeroplan miles can be redeemed for 2 one-way saver tickets on United, as long as they are within Continental US, including Alaska. Aeroplan miles transfer from SPG and Membership Rewards, so if you want to preserve points in those programs, TD offer is something to consider. This is a niche bonus and mostly of interest to United flyers who can’t for whatever reason apply for Chase or Amex cards. You can read more in my secondary list of bonuses.
Should you focus on cash?
It honestly depends. If you are like me and fly once or twice per year and happen to currently have a decent amount of miles, it is something to consider. If you are accumulating points faster that you can use them, ask yourself if perhaps going after plain ol’ cash would be preferable. If you are just starting out in the hobby, I recommend you focus on cards in my list of best sign-up offers. Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good pick to start with if you can easily manage spending threshold of $4,000 in 3 months.
If you’ve been thinking about applying for Citi Thank You Premier card, you may want to keep an eye on rumored upcoming developments I wrote about last week. If you apply right now and the bonus is increased, Citi will likely match it. Of course, there is no way I can guarantee this, so do what you are comfortable with.
A nice thing about Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Thank You Premier is that the points can be converted to cash or valuable gift cards (like Walmart) on 1:1 basis. So, in a way, you will have the best of both worlds: Ability to leverage points for travel or buying groceries for your family. The choice is yours.
Readers, who else is focusing on cash?
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.