A couple of weeks ago my Barclay Arrival Plus account was shut down, which was really unfortunate because that was my primary credit card for manufactured spending. People often cite the $89 annual fee as a reason to get rid of the Arrival Plus card. After all, it takes over $100,000 worth of spending (and redeemed travel credits) to justify paying $89 to earn just 0.5% more rewards than a no-fee 2% cash back card. Not that I ever had a problem spending $100,000+, but now I won’t have to worry about it anymore. With my Arrival Plus card shut down, it’s on to Plan B: Finding a replacement card.
Discover It Miles Card
I still have a month left before my 1-year is up, which means there’s still a month left to earn 3% cash back on the Discover it Miles card. Discover has also been ok with Walmart Bill Pay so far, so I’ll continue to milk this one for my gift card purchases through the end of the month. Other than the 3% cash back rate during the first year, the Discover It Miles card is a keeper for its $0 annual fee and $30 annual wifi credit. I’ve used up every single credit available to me this year (i.e. via family members’ cards), so its like I’m getting paid to keep this card. If you don’t have a Discover It Miles card but plenty of manufactured spending opportunities, you might want to get one soon.
Discover It Cash Back Card
Another winner from Discover, the Discover It Cash Back Card earns 1% cash back and 5% in select rotating categories (capped at $1,500 per quarter). Like the Discover It Miles card, earnings are doubled during the first year, which is pretty awesome for a $0 annual fee card.
Fidelity Rewards Visa
The Fidelity Rewards Visa has long been a favorite 2% cash back credit card. The card has no annual fee and since Fidelity isn’t heavily invested in the rewards credit card game, they’re probably more ms-friendly than, say, Chase. I’ve put the Fidelity Rewards Visa to good use over the last year, especially as a tool to off-set gift card fees. However, now with my Barclay Arrival card gone, it will probably turn into my newest travel savings account.
Citi Double Cash Back Card
The Citi Double Cash Back Card offer “1% cash back when you buy + 1% as you pay.” In other words, pay your card off every month and you’ll earn 2% cash back without an annual fee. All of you should be doing that anyway since not paying off your card means you’re incurring interest fees that exceed the cash back you’re earning with this card. The Citi Double Cash Card is great if you’re looking to add a non-Chase or Amex card to your collection. Citi has been fairly ms-friendly so far, though you may want to read up on Mile Per Day’s list of bank credit card bans to make sure you stay under the radar.
JCB Marukai Premium Credit Card
For a card that earns 3% cash back on over $3,000 of annual spending, it’s amazing how the JCB Marukai Premium card remains so low key. Even the modest $15 annual fee (along with $10 Marukai membership) is waived the first year. We west coasters often get the short end of the stick in this hobby, but in this case we come out ahead because the JCB Marukai Premium card is only available to residents of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii.
For now, I’m probably going to focus on the Discover It Miles and Fidelity Rewards Card. I’m serious about cutting back on gift card churning after overdoing it over the last few months. I have no immediate need for more miles anyway. If I find myself in need of more miles or cash back, I’ll probably apply for the Citi Double Cash or give the JCB Marukai Premium card a try.
I’m also supposed to start a new job pretty soon (it’s a government job so things are move at a snail’s pace). That will inevitably slow things down and I won’t have as much time to devote to this hobby anymore. However, earning an extra couple of hundred bucks per month by simply purchasing some gift cards using a 2% cash back card is still just too easy to pass up.
Which of these credit cards would you use to replace your Barclay Arrival Plus card?
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