If there’s one piece of advice I could offer, this is it.

In the words that Baz Luhrman made immortal, (Update: Mary Schmick actually wrote them, as Shawn was kind enough to share with me)

If there is one piece of advice I could offer you, it is to wear sunscreen.

If there is a second piece of advice I could offer you, get a 2% cashback card.

There has been a fair amount of digital ink spilled (borrowing a term from my friend Shawn), over the best everyday card. In fact, the reason for this post was primarily spurred by Freequent Flyer. But he’s not the only one. In fact Miles to Memories (note, there is no malware, just a rogue ad, so fear not by clicking the link), writes about the best card to use. Of course, he (Shawn) has more fish to fry than I.

The fact remains, unless you are the biggest of travel hackers, in which case I mean, churning credit cards, (even Chase), you are probably best having an easy to use 2% cashback card, because, cash can often be king. For example, you could have the Citi Double Cash:

Citi Double Cash

Or, the Fidelity American Express (which I call Fido):


Each of the two provide 2% cashback without an annual fee. This should be your lowest common denominator of a credit card. For those of you that are married, and have spouses that may not be crazy mile and point collectors, one of these cards is the one you give them and say: Use. These are the cards you use when you don’t know of a better card. If you’re not in a Staples (Ink), Target (RedBird), a Grocery Store (Old Blue Cash, Wells Fargo, AMEX Everyday), or a Gas Station (refer previous grouping), this is the card you use.

So I leave you with this: Always have a reliable 2% cashback card. It will never do you wrong.

Which 2% card do you keep in your wallet?


8 thoughts on “If there’s one piece of advice I could offer, this is it.

  1. In theory, I agree with you. Yet…

    In reality, when I get a bit of cash back, I spend it. Right now. But points? Miles? Ahhh… *Those* I can save much more easily. It’s a psychological thing, I suspect, for many of us.

    Get a $10 cashback and when the bill comes, I apply it and I “saved” money. But points? “Oh, man, a few thousand more of these and I can GO somewhere.

    What works for some, does not work for others and in the common vernacular, YMMV.

    Me? I like the points.

    • @Carl – I can totally see your point.. Miles are great for premium cabin awards, those aspirational trips. It is easier to keep those separate from the $5 cashback here, $10 cashback there… even if its “separate” in the different portals, it is easier to be enticed to get .05% by getting that cashback as an Amazon Gift Card instead, for example.

  2. I prefer the BofA Travel Rewards (2.625% with no AF, if you can qualify), as I wrote a guest-post about recently at Miles to Memories (link within Shawn’s post that you linked to, above). I do agree that having a no-AF, non-category 2% card makes sense for most people. While I use category cards for a lot of purchases, I still use my BofA TR card a lot.

    • @PDX Deals Guy – I can totally see the value for the BofA Travel Rewards card, except I’m a Fidelity guy, for the time being, with my 401(k) and Roth, so I wouldn’t qualify for the Platinum Honors level. Great post btw.

    • @Sherry – I think that would be bad news… Luckily though, there are alternative cards, between the Citi Double Cash, and the BofA Travel Rewards card (if you have enough money with BofA or Merrill Edge), that losing the Fidelity AMEX, wouldn’t be the end of the world. Besides, if Fidelity left AMEX, it might result in better terms for them, and maybe they keep the 2% for us…

  3. Currently I’m using my Discover Miles card to get x3 points per. (Unless I can get more elsewhere). When my 12th billing cycle ends, I will get a citi double cash.

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