The Best Credit Cards I Don’t Plan to Obtain
In the most general sense, any rewards credit card is a “good” card. Even with a relatively lame card, an individual obtains some amount of rewards he or she wouldn’t with other payment methods, like debit card, cash, or – egads – check. So when anyone says a card is “good”, it’s meaningless without context. Like a phrase I loathe – “It is what it is” – it means nothing. Today, I’ll be talking about several “good” cards with a bit more context on why they’re solid but not for me. Why am I doing this? From my perspective, to do best in our hobby, we must learn to say “no” now and then. These are the best credit cards currently available that I have no intention of obtaining.
Capital One Venture X
I’ll start with the card getting the most attention these days – the Capital One Venture X card. You can read the full MtM review of the Venture X here. This card provides a variety of ultra premium benefits, like Capital One and Priority Pass lounge access, $300 Travel Credit*, PreCheck/Global Entry credit, and Hertz status. I already have access to comparable or better perks with other cards, like many of you. What’s that asterisk next to the travel credit? That’s there because one must redeem the travel credit via Capital One’s travel portal. With the exception of my recent experience with Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts, I now largely avoid banks’ travel portals. I don’t like to be under the banks’ thumb for significant earning or redemption options. Capital One ties their best earning and redemption benefits to their portal. No, thanks.
We avoid services like AirBNB and VRBO, so the vacation rental benefits aren’t worth anything for us, either. For people who don’t like banks’ travel portals, separately hold an ultra premium card from another bank, and/or aren’t interested in the vacation rental angle, the Venture X is basically the regular Venture card with a ton of breakage opportunity (paying for stuff one may not consume). Nonetheless, people can look at the card simply as a welcome offer bonus opportunity, but the 100k point offer requires $10k spend. The earning rate on the regular Venture welcome offer is better, though. Add this to the Venture X being from a bank that is tremendously stingy on approvals and offers few other cards and rewards opportunities for consumers. The Venture X may be great for many out there, but not me.
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Cards
Previously, I had the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business card on my list to obtain. I ultimately went with a few other cards, instead. In and of themselves, the Alaska cards provide undeniable rewards to many out there. Cardholders obtain useful welcome offers from these cards in a currency that is hard to otherwise obtain in high volume. Also, many are huge fans of Alaska’s companion fare perk. What’s not to love?
For the wife and I, there’s no ongoing value here. I have a significant balance of Alaska miles from years ago – they transferred over from Virgin America’s program. How many have we used? Zero. We haven’t been actively attempting to avoid Alaska or their partners – we just haven’t needed them. Another reason I don’t value these cards is that there’s no incentive for us to spend on them beyond a welcome offer. The companion fare is useless to us. For us, these cards – the personal and business versions – boil down to a “buying miles” decision. Sure, we could buy 40-60k miles for the annual fee, but why should we invest in a currency we have zero near or mid-term use for?
Regardless, we probably won’t be eligible for more Bank of America cards again anytime soon due to their application rules. At any rate, I can totally understand why others go after the Alaska cards.
I’ve touted my love for Discover before, primarily the Miles card. This card is an uncapped 3% cash back method for the first cardmember year when taking into account the match of the 1.5% cash back. Individuals can obtain the same welcome offer repeatedly by opening new accounts. Indeed, my wife and I have done very well with the Miles card, multiple times each. Similarly, the quarterly bonus category Discover It card earns 10% cash back the first cardmember year, and 5% thereafter. So why won’t we bother with these cards again?
As impressive as a 3% cash back everywhere card sounds, we can consistently do better. It’s a major reason we don’t consider this or any others an everyday spend card. In a world of seemingly endless bonus point earning, Amex offers, and purchases with Visa gift cards (obtained with at least 7.5% cash back value with Chase), 3% is paltry. We don’t require purchase protection for the types of items we buy, so Visa gift cards work great.
Sure 10% back on the It card may do better in certain situations, but bonus category spend is capped at $1.5k per quarter. That’s a relatively small rewards sum for a not insignificant effort to obtain them. That said, I can’t ignore Discover’s positives – I recommend their cards to others often.
While this certainly isn’t an all-inclusive list, these are the best credit cards which many enjoy that I just can’t bring myself to obtain. No one rewards enthusiast has the same goals or situation. Therefore, we can’t presume any one card is good enough for every person in the hobby. Sure, some may better, but just like many other parts of life, there are no absolutes here. And speaking of absolutes, I didn’t say “never” to any of the cards above – I just don’t plan on obtaining them. But plans can change. If they do, I’ll be sure to let you know. What are the best credit cards you have little interest in currently?