Look what showed up in my inbox today:
$20 for using the card one time? Sure, thanks! And look what showed up in my inbox a few days ago:
$20 for using the card five times? Sure, thanks!
Almost everybody who writes about credit cards focuses on the ones where you get a nice bonus up front and/or a 5% spending bonus on some category. Off the top of my head, I can think of three reasons for this:
- Everybody does it because everybody does it.
- The point/mile payouts are quicker and more guaranteed.
- There aren’t a whole lot of affiliate payouts for retailer cards.
Retailer credit cards don’t have huge sign-up bonuses, big promotional budgets, or the allure of free vacations. But based on my dabbling so far, I’m starting to think of them as dairy cows: keep a stable of them around and you can periodically score some milk.
Another good thing: since nobody’s talking about them and few people have them, you can talk (for now, anyway) without having to worry about killing a deal.
Which retailer cards should you get? There are two types of retailer cards: the kind you can only use at a particular retailer, and the kinds, such as you see above, which are cobranded Visa/MasterCard/Amex cards. In general, the V/MC/Amex cards probably have more potential since you have many more places to spend if there’s a really good promotion. And judging by their marketing, they apparently have a tough time persuading people to use the cards outside of that retailer which is why they’ll pony up $20 for minimal use.
However,the store-specific ones can be worth your while too: probably everybody knows what a good deal it is to get 5% off with your Target credit card (soon to be reissued as a MasterCard chip and pin, incidentally). And Frequent Miler is on the record as a fan of the Kohl’s card.
So consider a retailer card for your next round of apps. If you’re curious, here’s a list of Comenity cards and here’s a list of GE Money cards to consider, not that there aren’t other issuers as well.
Sure, it hurts to get a hard pull and a new account on your credit file but modest payouts and great promotions over a long period of time can more than make up for the lack of a sign-up bonus. Though I’ll admit to having somewhat different interests than a lot of you reading this: while many of you are looking for great trips on the cheap, I’m looking to save money for a family of six, whether that’s for cheap family trips or by reducing the cost of things I was going to purchase anyway. There is no one-size-fits all approach to credit cards, so it pays to think about what’s best for you and your particular situation.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: I hadn’t realized this until I read the latest from George, but my pal Chasing The Points was the first one with the news about the Staples deal, so props to him on this one. I first read about it on Mommy Points, who said she saw it on Twitter but couldn’t remember the source. I’ve found myself in similar situations as a blogger, so I’ll cut her some slack there.
And while I’m discussing the excellence of Team Saverocity, my pal Matt has a nice post up: Finding, Not Killing, The Next Big Thing. It’s worth your time if you’re into this hobby at all, as he gives a good overview of who knows what in our area of the blogosphere.
And finally, to follow up on yesterday’s post, Andy at Lazy Travelers pointed out there’s currently a deal for a $19 per day all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. Thanks Andy!