Jan 12, 2000 (Updated Feb 22, 2000)
If you're one who pays your credit card bill off every month, I applaud your financial savvy, read on. If you don't pay off your entire balance every month, you're throwing money away and shouldn't bother reading the rest of this opinion.
NOTE: This opinion was written prior to the creation of the Finance section but was moved to "credit cards" upon the section's creation. Forgive the duplication.
You can earn some great benefits by simply choosing the right card.
1. Never use any credit card that does not give you something in return (cash, rebates, airline miles, free stuff, etc.). Referred to in the industry as "affinity cards". These cards typically have higher APRs to cover the cost of the rebates, miles, etc. This doesn't matter because you pay your bill off each month.
2. Choose an affinity card that gives you something you would like to have or that improves your current collection efforts. For example: if you fly Southwest Airlines regularly, getting their card will increase your flight credit accumulation rate and lead to free tickets faster.
3. Once you've settled on an affinity card, spend as much as you possibly can on the card. Credit card acceptance is now more wide spread than ever. The more you spend the more goodies you'll get.
4. Some affinity cards charge an annual fee. Don't reject a potential card just because they charge a fee. Some fees you can get waived by asking (most however will not). It may still be in your best interest to pay the annual fee to get the goodies that a particular card offers.
Some recommended affinity cards:
1. Citibank - American Advantage Card: ($50/yr fee) good if you live in an American hub (DFW, Miami, etc).
2. Discover Card: (No fee) up to 1% cash back on a scaled basis. Really only good if you'll spend at least $10,000/yr on the card. Even then only about $85 in cash back.
3. Discover Smithsonian Card: (no fee) offers $50 U.S savings bonds (series EE = $25 initial value) for every $5,000 spent on the card.
4. Citibank SONY Card: Offers rebates on Sony merchandise = 1% of all credit card purchases & 3% of all sony brand credit card purchases.
5. First USA Southwest Airline Card: ($29 fee after 1st. year) Get 1 flight credit for every $1,000 in purchases. 16 flight credits = free ticket. Flight credits are combined with your actual ticketed flight credits. Be sure to make reservations online = double flight credits!
There are hundreds of different affinity cards available. Simply find one you like and start spending!
Try some of these sites for various affinity cards: