17 for ’17 — part 3: Citi Prestige & miscellaneous

This is a continuation of part 1 and part 2 in which I attempt to derive truth and meaning in life by reviewing how I obtained 17 new credit cards in a year. Here goes the last bunch:

Citi Prestige: This is a kick ass card, even after it gets kneecapped on July 23, 2017. Prior to that, it enables me to use American Airlines airport lounges when I fly American, and it makes FuckYou ThankYou points worth more for purchasing tickets on American. I did get 50,000 points as a signup bonus, and while they’re not that great, they still got me some free travel. And this card offers Priority Pass airport lounge access with two guests, though that’s now been bested by the Sapphire Reserve, which offers same with unlimited guests. But the real reason I love the Citi Prestige card, and will be keeping it, is because you can use it to get 4th night free in any hotel. It’s a fanfuckingtastic benefit, and it’s sticking around. The card also offers better travel insurance benefits than anyone else, even if you put only a small portion of a ticket price (like taxes on an award ticket) on it, such as compensation if your flight is delayed more than three hours, or your bags are lost, or you are attacked by wolves.

Barclay JetBlue Plus: I got this because we were planning a JetBlue trip, and, hey, 30,000 JetBlue points. If I had a ton of expenses (or was a wizard at so-called manufactured spend), spending $50,000 on this card would also earn me Mosaic status on JetBlue, whose not-insignificant benefit is the ability to cancel or reschedule any JetBlue ticket free of charge.

Barclay JetBlue Business: Same as above, though I wound up not needing the points. But maybe I’ll use the points from this one to try out Mint class!

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select: I had this card once. I’d rather earn transferrable miles (UR, MR, or SPG). So I converted it to a different card that had no fee. Then, just yesterday, I learned that Citi was offering a 50,000 AA miles signup bonus with no annual fee for the first year, and without their usual restriction that you can’t have opened or closed an AA card in the last two years. 50,000 AA miles won’t get you what it used to, but…it gets you somewhere. So I got it again.

Synchrony Bank Amazon Prime Store Card: This little-known gem costs nothing (if you have Prime), gives you $40.00 in Amazon credit for signing up, and…gets you 5% cash back on everything you purchase at Amazon. So we use it for the business. Because we purchase a lot of stuff at Amazon. (Note that this is not the Amazon Rewards card from Chase. That card is max meh.)

First Tech Federal Credit Union Choice: I got this no-fee, no bonus card for one simple reason: sometimes, when you’re in Europe, US credit cards don’t work. This First Tech FCU card uses chip+PIN (rather than chip+signature) as its only method of payment, and it has no foreign transaction fee, so it’s useful as a fallback card. I did use it once in Finland when my Chase card didn’t get it done.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Platinum: This card is almost exactly like the Choice. However, I became aware that First Tech offers balance transfers with no fee and 0% APR for 12 months if you transfer within the first 60 days. If gaming credit cards is a dance with the devil, balance transfers — meaning you’re carrying debt — are a fucking tango. But getting a new First Tech card became useful to me, because to claim all the signup bonuses on all these dumb cards I got, I had to spend a ton of dough in a short period of time. To do that, I prepaid a lot of standing expenses that I usually pay by check, using Plastiq, which lets you instead pay with a card. By then transferring the above balances to the First Tech card, I can pay off those prepaid expenses over time, without paying interest.

 

Well, thanks for following along. I plan on taking a credit card break for a while so that I can get more Chase bonuses in a couple of years, so this may be it for now. We will see!

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