- I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, a favourite among points-and-miles travellers.
- However, when it came time to open another card, I didn’t go for another travel rewards card with flexible points – I went for a cash-back credit card.
- I wanted a more simple earnings strategy, and right now I have a toddler, so travel isn’t a major priority for my family.
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Everyone who’s spent any time learning about credit cards rewards knows that flexible, transferable points like the ones earned by the beloved Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred are the most valuable currency available, since you can move them around to pay for expensive purchases like flights on a variety of airlines or hotel stays.
Cash back, however, is known as the least-valuable currency. With cash back, you always know how much you’re earning – 1% back is 1 cent per dollar spent – but with cards that earn points, the value of your points depends entirely on how you use them. And when you points to book first-class flights, you can easily get more than 5 cents per point in value.
But when my husband and I decided to open another credit card, we didn’t want to open up another travel rewards credit card. Instead, we opted to open one that offered cash-back rewards after carefully considering our spending habits and our priorities at the moment.
Here are three reasons why I decided to open a cash-back card instead of one that earns travel rewards:
I don’t have the time to maximise my rewards right now
I love maximizing rewards as anyone else, but I wasn’t willing to put a lot of time into it at this season in my life. As someone with a demanding career and trying to take care of a toddler at home, I am trying to take less off my plate.
I’m sure I can earn a lot more rewards like maximizing bonus rotating categories and transferring points to partners to nab free flights. However, it takes some initial research and making sure I time my purchases to make it work.
For now, I’m happy with a simple cash-back option that rewards me for every purchase I make. That way I know I’m still getting rewards without having to spend hours figuring out now to maximise my earnings.
My family doesn’t travel a lot
Considering I do own a travel rewards credit card – the Chase Sapphire Preferred – it might sound strange that travel isn’t exactly part of our plan. The thing is, we do travel as a family and travel hack occasionally. However, we don’t need to earn as many rewards points or miles as say, someone who plans on going on a cross-Atlantic trip.
That’s because my son is still young and my husband and I made the decision to keep to short trips until he’s older. He’s a great traveller – he flew back and forth from Asia when my husband and I were still employed there – but frankly, we’re not sure we’re up for the challenge of bringing an active toddler on long flights.
Of course, it’s a personal choice (if you’ve done it with success, good for you!). For now, we have enough points to get free hotels, which is plenty if we want to save costs on our annual road trips. We also know we won’t use most of the luxury perks other travel rewards credit cards offer, like airline upgrades and credits towards Global Entry or TSA Precheck, so it doesn’t make sense to pay annual fees for these sorts of cards for features we won’t use.
I wanted to align my credit card with my spending
I’m an Amazon Prime enthusiast.
Yup, I’m one of those folks who loves two-day free shipping on Amazon. My family decided to join Amazon Prime for a few reasons – we don’t have cable but my son loves certain TV shows that’s on their roster, we get free Kindle books each month and shop for essentials without leaving the house.
Naturally, it made sense to get a credit card that capitalised on our shopping behaviour. Enter the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card. As a Prime member, we get a whopping 5% cash back from all qualifying purchases and we can redeem our earnings as credits towards future Amazon purchases.
We’ve earned enough to get items like laptops, grocery staples, and physical books. Since there’s no annual fee, we don’t have to worry about paying for features we won’t use.
Plus, we haven’t abandoned travel completely: Since we have another Chase credit card, we can transfer our earnings as Ultimate Rewards points and pool them together if we wanted to redeem them for travel rewards.
With the sheer number of credit card offerings out there, it can be overwhelming trying to find the best fit for you. For us, we chose the Amazon Rewards Visa by looking at where we spent the most money, what kind of rewards structure worked best for our needs and our desire for a fee-free card.
Our choice may not be the one for you. But that’s OK, because there’s something for everyone.
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