If There Was Only One: Credit Card

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While in the shower the other day (r/showerthoughts), I came up with a thought: what if I was only able to have one credit card. While thinking of this idea, I started thinking of other ITWOO ideas that sounded interesting. So, in the fashion of my Everything Guides, I plan to make a series of ITWOO posts throughout the life of this blog (assuming you guys are interested in them). What do you think about this idea?

If there was a rule that you could only have one credit card, whether that means only one, because that’s all your credit allows, only one because that’s all the banks allow, or only one because that’s your simply your comfort level, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is your only allowed one. Which would you choose?

For this post, I couldn’t care less about a card’s sign-up bonus. If I only had access to one card for 50-70 years, the sign-up bonus would be a very minuscule bonus that should not be considered. I’m also going to assume that the rewards and perks will stay the same on the credit card I choose.

Points, Miles, Or Cash Back?

If I only had one card, choosing between points, miles, and cash back would be tough. My first thought would be cash back, since it can be used for anything, but points via American Express and Chase can be transferred to cash or travel partners making those cards viable options as well. Miles are completely out of the question, because they’re very limited. They can usually be used for gift cards and other items other than travel, but the CPP is awful when you use them in that way.

Cash Back Options

American Express Blue Cash Preferred – This is one of my first choices, because of the rewards and the perks AMEX offers. If I only had one card, I’d imagine that manufactured spending either wouldn’t be around or I wouldn’t know about it, so I would only use this card for regular spending. Since it gets 6% cash back on groceries and 3% on gas, this would be a real winner when it came to regular spending.

Chase Freedom – This is an all around great cash back card as well – 5% rotating categories never hurts :).

Discover It – I think I would choose Discover It over Chase Freedom, since you can often buy a $50 gift card for $40-$45 in cash back. Also, Shop Discover is one of the best cash back portals around.

Points Options

Chase Sapphire Preferred – This is a great everyday card when you MS, however, I don’t know that it would be my first choice if it was my only choice. Yes you can get 2X points on travel, transfer to travel partners, and the card has an EMV chip, but I would prefer an Ink Bold.

Chase Ink Bold – Like I just said, the Ink Bold would be better than the sapphire preferred since you get 5X at office stores, phone bills, tv, and internet. On top of that you get 2X at gas stations and on hotels, as well as the ability to transfer to 11 travel partners.

Amex SPG – I like the SPG card since the points are so valuable and they are transferable, but I wouldn’t get it as my only card. 1X points on everything, besides Starwood properties, is a pretty crappy reward for 50-70 years.

Miles Options

Barclaycard Arrival – This is the only card I would consider in the miles option, because these miles are not tied to any one airline. Also, earning 2.2X miles on everything would nice for every day purchases.

Annual Fees

Annual fees are a toss-up. Could I really find enough value out of an annual fee card without manufactured spending? I kind of doubt it… for most cards. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is actually more profitable for my family than the regular Blue Cash card even after the fee. We spend about $3200 on groceries per year which equals $192 – $75 fee = $117 in profit. With the regular Blue Cash card we would only profit $96.

For everyday spending with zero manufactured spending, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred would be my first choice. The reason being, the rewards. On the other hand, if I travelled a lot in this hypothetical world, the Ink Bold would be #1 because of the travel partners and flexibility of Ultimate Rewards.

What card would you pick?


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