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Discover It Miles offers 3X on all spending! Worth getting?

Via Doctor of Credit I learned about the latest and greatest offering from Discover: the new Discover It Miles card. It’s essentially a 1.5% card, except Discover is currently offering double points (I’m not going to call them miles) your first year. That makes this a 3% card, and that is most definitely worth a look. All this with no annual fee and a $30 in-flight wifi credit!

Doc and Milenomics had a discussion about this card on Twitter. Milenomics is of the opinion that you’re better off sticking with the regular Discover It and maxing out the bonus categories. Doc says this in his review:

Personally this is my plan:

  • Sign up for new Discover it Miles card. I’ll put all my non bonus category spend on this card for the first year.
  • I’ll then try to downgrade it to another Discover it card, that way I’ll have two cards that can earn 5% in rotating categories. Doing product changes with Discover has not been an issue in the past.

I think I am an exception to the rule though. Most people would be better off not signing up for this card. How much do you really spend in non bonus categories? Keep in mind you’re often meeting minimum spend requirements and the like.

I think this deal would be great for a lot of people if they’re willing to wait for the bonus points (you don’t get them until you’ve had the card for a year). Keep in mind there are plenty of people who don’t max out their bonus categories for various reasons. There are some who don’t have many (or maybe even any) good MS options in bonus categories (which reminds me, I need to put up a “MS is dead!” post). And there are some people–you may want to sit down for this–who don’t know anything about credit cards and who do not want to swap various cards in and out of their wallet.

All of those folks could benefit from a card like this. I think 3X on everything is a great deal from a consumer standpoint, which is why we don’t see it too often. I hope this is enormously popular for Discover and it eats into the competitors’ business, prompting them to come back with good offers of their own. Will I get this offer? No, but only because I currently have two other cards which are about as good. As always, YMMV.

“Federal regulations and some customer abuse”

A mildly interesting article comes to us courtesy of the DepositAccounts.com blog. A bank I’m not familiar with, Legacy Bank, changed the terms on its rewards checking account:

Federal Regulations and some customer abuse to the Win/Win Checking account have compelled us to make a change to the way interest is paid on the account. Effective March 1, 2015, in order to receive interest on the Win/Win Checking account, customers must use their Legacy Bank VISA® Check Card at least 12 times for purchases of goods or services, AND these transactions must total at least $250.00 each month.

I find it interesting that people are gaming the system hard enough to force a T&C change on a 2% APY account. The account pays 2% interest on up to $25,000, so this amounts to a maximum of $500 per year in interest. Except it’s not too hard to get 1% per year (for example, Ally’s savings account), so we’re really only talking about $250 per year. Which is a non-negligible amount of money, but then there are some accounts out there where you can get more than 2%.

Maybe I’m just jaded by the low-hanging fruit of credit card rewards (and I know that’s not for everybody), and maybe my time is spread too thin these days what with my family obligations, but still: it was surprising to me that an apparently large number of people are working this particular rewards scheme. Are any of you working 2% deposit accounts?

 

The Forward Cabin makes a triumphant return to BoardingArea after a plagiarism suspension!

Look who’s back on the Prior2Boarding homepage–it’s The Forward Cabin!

The blog was very quietly removed from the homepage a few weeks ago after yours truly broke the story of another credible plagiarism accusation. For those of you keeping up with the scandal, I’ve put together a FAQ:

Q: Has James apologized or admitted guilt?

A: No. He did take down the page that I initially noticed, however, since it was obviously copied and even he couldn’t defend it.

Q: Did BoardingArea founder Randy Petersen apologize?

A: Yes.

Q: Publicly?

A: I’m not aware of any public acknowledgment of the plagiarism scandal on his part.

Q: So are you ticked off at BoardingArea?

A: No, not at all. There are a lot of great bloggers there and I continue to read them daily. In fact, it would not surprise me one bit if James has rubbed some of his fellow BA bloggers the wrong way as well. James notwithstanding, they don’t like plagiarism any more than I do, and they’ve even published helpful advice based on their own experiences being plagiarized. Based on my correspondence with James, I get the feeling that he’s an overly ambitious, unethical, resumé-padding weenie. Those types wear out their welcome in the long run.

Q: Upon discovering your work had been stolen, why did you decide to post about it rather than to reach out behind the scenes?

A: There are different shades of gray with this stuff. If somebody is a little bit lazy or sloppy, that’s not a big deal and I’d reach out in a friendly, non-public way. (Though I’ll note that I’ve never even had to do that before.) We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. But if he appropriates an entire post to pass off as his own, that’s another matter entirely. If somebody does that, then odds are it’s not an isolated case and raising a stink about it is the way to go.

Q: I understand multiple people have questioned your professionalism for handling things this way.

A: Yes… but then, those people would stand to benefit from my keeping quiet.

That’s all the Q&A for today, folks! Stay tuned for further developments!

Oh, and I’m blocked from following you-know-who on Twitter, so I’ll just have to imagine what he’s posting. Here’s my best guess…

forward cabin fake tweet

A list of credit cards that earn 2% on all purchases

(Note: I have no credit card affiliate links whatsoever, so click away on the links below! If you’re feeling generous, I will ask you, in the spirit of Travel Blogger Buzz, to click on my Amazon link. Or click on TBB’s. Whatever.)

Unlimited 5% credit card rewards are far and few between these days, but there are still a healthy number of cards that will give you 2% on all your purchases. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Merrill Lynch just unveiled its new invitation-only Octave card, which earns 2.5 points per dollar spent. You can actually get as much as 5 cents per dollar out of these points when redeeming for flights, though even if you can get an invitation to apply the annual fee is $950. If you want to know more, MileCards has all the details on this new product.

The Bank of America machine has other options as well, and in fact boasts more 2% options than anybody else. Best of all, none of them (aside from the Octave) have annual fees. The Fidelity Amex and its 2% cash back has long been a favorite default card for many savvy credit card users. You can also get 2% cashback on your Fidelity Visa, but that only kicks in once you’ve spent $15,000 in any given year, so you’re better off with the Amex. The Bank Americard Travel Rewards offers 1.5 points per dollar, but you can move that above 2% if you’re a member of B of A’s Preferred Rewards program.

The Citi Double Cash offers 2% cash back on all purchases plus no annual fee, and is also considered to be the most underrated credit card out there by yours truly. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers 2.2%, but also has an $89 annual fee. The fee is waived the first year; many folks are therefore fond of getting the 40K sign-up bonus and enjoying 2.2% for a year before cancelling. I approve of this behavior since Barclaycard takes such a hard line against humorous blog posts.

Did you know that Capital One has not one but two 2% cards? Most of you probably know about the Venture Rewards business card and its uncapped double miles ($59 fee, waived the first year), but did you know Cap One’s GM Card also offers 2% rewards with no annual fee? Of course, GM has limits as to how much you can redeem for each vehicle, plus they apparently like to top off your earnings every now and then, so it’s best not to go all out on that card.

The JCB Marukai credit card is a mystery to those of us on the east coast. Supposedly you can get 3% cash back, but only if you live on the West Coast or in Hawaii. Even more obscure than that one is the NASA Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Rewards card, which offers 2% cash back once you hit $2,000 in purchases.

Some folks may argue for a card like the Hilton Amex Surpass, which offers 3 Hilton HHonors Ppoints on all spending. That’s a little more subjective, as the value there depends on how you redeem your points. Likewise for the Club Carlson Visa (5 points per dollar) and even the Starwood Amex (1 point per dollar).

That’s all I have… did I leave out anything?

New Vanilla Reloads in stores

Last month, news broke that Vanilla Reloads are being discontinued, sort of. Vanilla Reload will still be around, but you won’t be able to get the ones with the scratch-off PINs. You’ll be able to load at the register when you buy one, though.

I recently went to a certain establishment which, as of last week, was willing to let me purchase Vanilla Reloads with a credit card. Today, all the Vanilla Reloads we’ve come to know and love were gone. There was a new version of the card, though. On the front, it looked like the old ones but on the back there is no longer an area to scratch to reveal the PIN.

Instead, there was a barcode and instructions to take the card to the register. I took it to the register, they consulted a sheet, and told me it was cash only. I tried another store and got the same result.

Frequent Miler noted that Incomm is increasing its retail network for loading these things. He wrote:

So, InComm has signed one or more major new partners.  And, InComm is going out of its way to say that these products are not just for the poor anymore.  I believe this means that there’s at least one major new partner that typically serves middle and higher income households.  Starbucks, perhaps?  And, whoever they are, will they take credit cards?  I’m hoping and betting that the answer is yes.

I’m still holding out hope for something like this. Maybe there is indeed a new partner, or maybe this new method of loading will reduce fraud so they’ll allow credit card purchases again. But in my case, it’s another option lost.