Best Credit Cards

A Real Life Example of My Consulting Service Advice

As you may or may not know, I have a free consulting service where I give folks tailored advice on credit cards. I wanted to feature one of the emails I got recently, as well as my response. This is precisely the type of  family I target with my blog, so I believe, my new readers will find it helpful. This is a condensed version, and I took out the names for privacy reasons.

“Miles for Family,

I just found your blog in my search for a new credit card and thought I’d take you up on your offer for free advice.
We’re a family of 4 in Memphis, TN. My husband is a teacher, so our travel plans are usually limited to school breaks. For the past few years we’ve had a Gold Delta AMEX, but haven’t really been able to rack up much in the way of rewards past a ticket with our sign-up bonus. (We’ve got about 50,000 miles right now, and I’m not even sure how we should best use those.)
Also, Memphis is no longer a Delta hub so… We usually put everything we can on the AMEX each month and pay it off completely; we’ve got another card just for when AMEX isn’t accepted. Still, we’re only charging between 1,000-1,500 a month. Grocery is definitely our biggest category each month, then probably other shopping (Target, Amazon, etc), then gas. 
We’ve been getting mail offers for the AMEX Everyday and Blue Cash, but I’ve also been reading a lot about the Chase Sapphire, and don’t know which would be best for us… I don’t know that my husband is up for the new cards every couple months strategy, at least not yet.
We don’t travel much now, but would like to try to do more. We’ve family in Boston it would be nice to fly to every other year and hotel points for other family trips would be awesome. My dream goal would be to swing a great international getaway for just the two of us, maybe Europe, in the next year or so.
Any input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks. “
My response:
 “Hi! Thanks for contacting me. I will be happy to give you some suggestions. First, as far as Delta miles go, not sure if you’ve heard, but now they do allow one-way redemptions. However, availability can be scarce, especially for 4 seats.

It’s 12,500 miles one-way (lowest level) within Continental US, so I do recommend you search www.delta.com and see what comes up. Hopefully, you can find something that will work for you.

As far as best long-term card goes, I think for your situation, it’s probably either Amex Blue Cash Preferred or Amex EveryDay Preferred. Both are very good cards, but the first one earns cash back, while the other one earns Membership Rewards (flexible points that transfer to various mileage programs).
So, it comes down to what you prefer to collect. Not sure if you’ve seen this post listing all “keeper” cards for family http://milesforfamily.com/2013/07/08/the-best-keeper-credit-cards-for-family-right-now/
As you can see, those two cards are my top two picks. Here is a post on Amex EveryDay Preferred and some airline transfer options: http://milesforfamily.com/2014/05/12/amex-everyday-preferred-and-mileage-transfers-comparison/
Most of my posts assume a spending of $2,000 per month, but the principles will also work for those who spend less. You didn’t say  exactly how much goes to gas and groceries, but assuming $1,500 monthly spending level and $200 gas expense, your rewards through Amex EveryDay Preferred will break down like this:
1) Groceries: 27,000 points  (you get 4.5 points per dollar on up to $6,000 in grocery purchases per year). You do have to make 30 transactions in each billing cycle on the card to get this level of rewards. Read this post for more http://milesforfamily.com/2014/03/05/the-king-is-dead-long-live-the-king/
2) Gas: 7,200 points per year (3 points per dollar).
3) Everything else: 12,000 points (1.5 points per dollar).
Total: 46,200 Membership Rewards points via $18,000 in annual spending. This is a more lucrative return compared to $360 you would get by using a  2% cash back card.
There is an annual fee of $95, but you can usually make up for it through various promotions. Not sure if you are familiar with it, but Amex has “Offers for you” in your profile with various discounts for retailers like Staples, Walmart etc.
They also have Small Business Saturday promo once a year (usually in November) where you can do quite well at various small merchants, since you get statement credits for shopping there.
I don’t think Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great choice for most regular families. I don’t believe it makes sense for your situation. Read my post here comparing it to Amex EveryDay Preferred: http://milesforfamily.com/2014/09/29/amex-everyday-preferred-vs-chase-sapphire-preferred/
Actually, having a family in Boston, you are in a great position to possibly combine a visit there with a trip to Europe. That’s because you can fly from Boston to Dublin for 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy on Aer Lingus. It’s a “sweet spot” redemption available through British Airways program. The miles transfer from Amex Membership Rewards  1:1, with occasional bonuses.
 I hope this answers your questions. Please, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional concerns.”
I was thrilled to get this request. It was nice to utilize my older posts and all the hours I have put into this blog.  As you can see, this is a typical American family of 4 who travels occasionally and has to adjust  plans to their work schedule.
They are on a tight budget and want to maximize credit card rewards through  everyday spending so they can travel more. I absolutely believe that they can. That’s why I started blogging.
P.S. Please, don’t hesitate to send in your requests. There is no cost or obligation to use my affiliate links. Even if you are a single person who puts $100K on cards each year, I can help you come up with a plan. I don’t discriminate!

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Author: Leana

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.

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