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DocLightning
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Premium Visa/MC Advice

Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:18 pm

I am an AmEx Platinum member. Generally, I am happy with the benefits of this card, although I am not happy with a few recent benefit dilutions.

However, the big problem with AmEx is that everyone who takes cards takes Visa/MC but AmEx is not as commonly accepted, (Especially in Hawaii). So I'm looking for a decent premium Visa/MC to serve as my "backup" card. I'd like the card to have some good benefits attached to it. We travel 3-6x/yr and some travel benefits would be nice. I'm not sure I want to be tied down to one airline, but if the benefits are really good, I might be persuaded. This is my "backup" card for my AmEx so it will see much less spending than the AmEx.

What Visa/MC would offer good value for me in your opinion?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
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casinterest
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:29 pm

I like Chase's cards. If you purchase from Amazon, the Amazon Visa card is hard to beat. The Rewards are redeemable for anything, amazon, cash, travel ....

I get 3% cash back on Amazon purchases, 2% on Dining, Drugstores, and Gas. 1% on everything else. No annual fee.

I cash out my rewards , but others might redeem them.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did..So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.--Mark Twain
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:46 pm

Chase Sapphire Preferred

/thread

Seriously though, this is my go to card and I use my Amex HHonors Surpass card as a secondary.

40,000 points ($500) sign-on bonus
2X points dining and travel
7% annual points dividend
1:1 point transfer to many other partners such as UA, WN, and Marriott
No black out dates or foreign transaction fees

http://creditcards.chase.com/credit-cards/sapphire-preferred-card.aspx
Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
 
N1120A
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:03 pm

What about getting something like the UA Club Card?
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
nickh
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:49 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
What Visa/MC would offer good value for me in your opinion?

The two 'platinum' level cards that I have had good luck with over the past - almost 12+ years, are:

1: Bank of America Signature Visa
2: Citibank World MasterCard

-Neither card has a Yearly Fee - I refuse to pay someone for the privilege of getting to spend my money with them!
-Both cards have excellent benefits and dividends, redeemable in multiple ways - either cash rewards, airline miles, shopping credits, etc.
-Both, especially the Signature Visa, have really good _professional_ customer service and dedicated support agents.
-The Signature Visa and the World MasterCard have a (high) revolving credit limit and there is no set spending limit, so you could purchase that Boeing 747 that you have had your eye on... Just pay the overdraft in full until you get down to your allowable credit limit!
-Both cards allow many free perks, such as airport lounge access, rental car upgrades, hotel room upgrades and in some cases, airplane seating class upgrades (coach to business class, etc.).

Of course, there is always -this- option:

http://mypalladiumcard.com/worlds-heaviest-credit-card/

I hope that this helps.

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
ha763
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:50 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
However, the big problem with AmEx is that everyone who takes cards takes Visa/MC but AmEx is not as commonly accepted, (Especially in Hawaii).

I am curious. What kind of places in Hawaii? Tourism is our main industry so I rarely see places that do not accept AmEx. Many Hawaii retailers accept JCB and an increasing amount are accepting Union Pay.
 
willzzz88
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:12 am

I have a question for those in the banking industry who maybe lurking here considering I'm in the tech industry:

Why is the US still using swipe cards and not chip and pin cards as is the standard outside of the USA (even Canada/Mexico is now predominately chip and pin). I've been reading in my spare time considering the recent Target hack and others that using Chip/Pin technology massively cuts credit card fraud in terms of liability of getting a fraud-ed transaction. I've actually seen a-lot of Chip and Pin terminals in the US in some stores but is not used (presumbly the model is the North American model and the terminal firmware for that function is only activated in Canada/Mexico and possibly overseas cards). I don't travel overseas enough to need one but...

Finally DocLightning although American CC companies only from what I've read Chip and Signature cards, from what my friends have been telling me who've been to Europe where a chipped card (chip and signature in the US mainly, chip and pin rest of the world) is REQUIRED. A-lot of European merchants WILL ONLY ACCEPT chip'ed credit cards... Those unprepared with a unsophisticated American credit card may have to withdrawal cash from an ATM for their stay. Chipped cards are also the norm in Japan/Brazil/Latin America I've read. In Canada/Mexico from what I've read and personally experienced since they border the US the merchants all also accept mag-stripe transactions as they have a-lot of American visitors. I saw chip and pin in action when I was in Canada recently and was wondering why everyone was inserting their card into the CC machine instead of swiping it and then connected the dots.
 
nickh
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:45 am

Quoting DocLightning (Thread starter):
However, the big problem with AmEx is that everyone who takes cards takes Visa/MC but AmEx is not as commonly accepted, (Especially in Hawaii).

There is another option that I forgot to mention. Depending on who you bank with (and possibly even through AMEX), you may be able to get a 'temporary' VISA or MasterCard that is actually linked to your AMEX card, meaning that charges on that 'temporary' Visa/MC will actually show up on your AMEX card.

This benefits in some ways, in that you do not have to open another charge account, and also that you can use the 'temporary' Visa/MC card number as an 'Alias' to your primary AMEX card.

If the temporary (linked) VISA/MC is lost, stolen or if/when you are just finished using it, then just cancel the account number and it cannot be used again.

You will not gain any of the 'perks' that a regular VISA/MC account would offer, but then if all that you are trying to do is purchase something from a vendor that only accepts Visa/MC, then this would be an option.

Since you already own a Platinum AMEX, most of the travel/hotel benefits that any VISA/MC would afford you are already available to you - just a question of who accepts Amex over Visa/MC.

-Nick
"We all have wings, but some of us don't know why..."
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:55 am

Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 2):

Chase Sapphire Preferred

So the trouble is that you benefit from this card if you use it a lot. I'm not sure I will.

Quoting ha763 (Reply 5):
I am curious. What kind of places in Hawaii?

Smaller businesses. Small tour companies, kayak rentals, etc.

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 6):
Why is the US still using swipe cards and not chip and pin cards as is the standard outside of the USA (even Canada/Mexico is now predominately chip and pin).

They are just starting to catch on and a chip will be essential to me because we will be going to Europe this summer.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
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Aesma
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:33 am

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 6):
Why is the US still using swipe cards and not chip and pin cards as is the standard outside of the USA (even Canada/Mexico is now predominately chip and pin).

Maybe because it's a French invention ?

  
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
blueflyer
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:14 pm

I believe the closest thing to an AmEx Platinum is the Barclays Visa Black card. It does come with less benefits overall, but there's no need to sign up for a separate PriorityPass membership and their marketing material promises points have twice as much value when redeemed for travel (don't have an AmEx Plat so I can't compare). The concierge service is top notch and the promised VIP treatment at participating hotels is real but if you cannot score an invitation to apply from Barclays, the annual fee is also very close to AmEx's ($500 I think).

Quoting nickh (Reply 4):
-Both cards allow many free perks, such as airport lounge access, rental car upgrades, hotel room upgrades and in some cases, airplane seating class upgrades (coach to business class, etc.).

Have had a BofA Visa Signature card for years, never seen anything about an upgrade or lounge access (to be fair, I may have missed them).

That said, the Visa Signature program is run by Visa and is available through other issuers as well such as Citibank or Barclays, and issuers can apparently choose which of the Signature perks they want to participate in.

An interesting one, although I don't know what issuer to use, Visa Signature offers free 6-months membership in Clear with a $60 credit upon renewal.

Quoting nickh (Reply 4):
Bank of America Signature Visa

Interestingly enough, BofA is no longer listed as one of the issuers, although Merrill Lynch is.
http://usa.visa.com/personal/visa-signature/apply.jsp
 
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hawaiian717
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:56 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 8):
They are just starting to catch on and a chip will be essential to me because we will be going to Europe this summer.

Since you get the benefits of Amex Platinum, I'm not sure it would be worth necessarily looking for a high end Visa/MC to serve as a backup card. Rather, the three things I'd look for in your case are:

1. Chip (likely signature based since almost nobody here seems to want to do chip and pin)
2. No annual fee
3. No foreign transaction fee

I use Amex as my primary card (Starwood), but I do have a couple of Visa cards that I'll use as backup, a CapitalOne VentureOne card (the no annual fee, lower points rate version), and one that pays a cash rebate into my mortgage. But none of these have chips, and I recently noticed that the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, earns points at a better rate than VentureOne (1.5 per $ vs 1.25 per $), and is a chip and signature card, so I'm thinking of picking that one up.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:56 pm

Can someone explain this chip/signature thing? Is my signature somehow collected and then fed into the chip?
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
blueflyer
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:14 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
Can someone explain this chip/signature thing?

Think of it as credit card with a PIN, only more secure.

A chip card actually contains an electronic chip in the card (it's clearly visible), where a PIN of your choosing is stored in encrypted form. If you shop at a merchant that is equipped to accept chip cards, their terminal will access the chip in your card and prompt you to enter the PIN as a mean of authenticating yourself and authorizing the transaction. That's it. No more signing a paper slip that no one pays attention to.

If the merchant doesn't have a terminal able to read chip cards (most merchants in the US still), then the transaction will be processed "the old fashioned way," by reading the data off the magnetic stripe that is still present on the card and you will be asked to sign the usual paper slip. Obviously, your PIN is not on the magnetic stripe.
 
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hawaiian717
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:05 pm

The issue though is that of the handful of chip cards being issued in the US, most are chip and signature, rather than chip and PIN. So while the terminal communicates with the card via a chip, it will still print a receipt that you'll have to sign, rather than entering a PIN. Visa is apparently pushing chip and signature in the US for some reason, rather than chip and PIN which is used most everywhere else (MasterCard is supposedly pushing chip and PIN). Chip and signature will still work many places in Europe, though the staff may be surprised when the terminal prints a slip to sign rather than having the customer enter a PIN, and unattended kiosks/gas stations, etc (the problems where Americans usually have the most problems with magnetic strip credit cards, since most attended terminals seem to be able to accommodate the mag strip card even if the staff doesn't know what to do) may still be a problem, though in some cases, using the cash advance PIN apparently works.

FlyerTalk has a huge thread in their credit card forum on chip cards in the US.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:40 am

Quoting hawaiian717 (Reply 14):

The issue though is that of the handful of chip cards being issued in the US,

So...

I just checked with AmEx. They are offering an EMV chip (that's what they're called, apparently) in their AmEx Platinum cards, on request. So I said: "Well, then, I request!" It'll be here in a few days.   Sweet, I get to use AmEx in Europe.

...maybe.

That doesn't change the fact that AmEx has relatively low acceptance in Europe at small, mom-and-pop shops and restaurants (acceptance at such places is low in the US but not unheard-of). And on this trip (a cruise), we'll be doing a lot of that. We won't be going to supermarkets and department stores or buying gas.

So I still need a Visa/MC with an EMV chip. BarclayCard now offers a HA MC with a chip. Tempting, but often HA does not have the best fares (lately that's been AS, from the Bay Area). The big problem with these EMV cards is that they're all marketed around people who travel a lot. I don't. I buy a lot of gas and groceries most of the time. Maybe I should get a gas reward card. But none of those have EMV chips! Pity you can't design your own. #firstworldproblems

I went with Chase Sapphire Preferred. I figure that after our Europe trip, I can re-evaluate whether maybe I want to go for that gas reward card as more and more cards are rolled out with EMV. It appears that EMV is coming to the US and the card companies are incentivizing merchants to upgrade their terminals.

During my searches, I also learned about a Citi "Prestige" MasterCard that costs as much as AmEx Platinum and offers similar benefits except, while it offers PriorityPass, it doesn't offer DL Club Access. Interesting; a product I'll be watching. Certainly if their premium MC can offer me everything a premium AmEx does and be accepted in more places, I'll switch.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
melpax
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:49 am

Australia will be moving to PIN only later this year as well. Card terminals here both read chips & strips, a lot take pay pass as well. Debit cards are heavily used here (mostly stripe & pin), hence why the terminals still take both.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/nat...4483/pin-only-credit-cards-on-way/
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:54 am

At least in the USA, most debit cards don't offer a lot of rewards (AFAIK). Mine doesn't. If they did, that would be perfect for me.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
melpax
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:17 am

It's the same here, but nearly everyone here would own at least one debit card. By law, welfare benefits such as pensions, etc, must be paid to a bank account, and nearly all employers here pay their employees directly into their bank accounts. The days of getting an actual 'pay cheque' or a cash envelope with the week's pay from an employer are effectively gone. Most business here accept debit cards as well as credit cards - the notable exception being a large number of resturants & cafes.....
 
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RyanairGuru
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:50 am

Quoting melpax (Reply 18):
Most business here accept debit cards as well as credit cards - the notable exception being a large number of resturants & cafes.....

What are you talking about?!? It's the other way around. Nowhere that excepts credit refuses debit (due to the very nature of how EFTPOS systems in this country are designed) but several small retailers (especially cafes and mom-and-pops) take debit but refuse credit. Pressing CHQ or SAV costs them less than 0.5% in merchant fees, as opposed to ~2% for Credit.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
melpax
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:04 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 19):
What are you talking about?!? It's the other way around. Nowhere that excepts credit refuses debit (due to the very nature of how EFTPOS systems in this country are designed) but several small retailers (especially cafes and mom-and-pops) take debit but refuse credit. Pressing CHQ or SAV costs them less than 0.5% in merchant fees, as opposed to ~2% for Credit.

Not uncommon to go to a small restaurant/take away/café in Melbourne & see a 'Cash only' sign on the counter.... Some even have signs up telling people where the nearest ATM's are..
 
StarAC17
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:43 pm

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 6):
Why is the US still using swipe cards and not chip and pin cards as is the standard outside of the USA (even Canada/Mexico is now predominately chip and pin). I've been reading in my spare time considering the recent Target hack and others that using Chip/Pin technology massively cuts credit card fraud in terms of liability of getting a fraud-ed transaction.

When I was in Florida in October I did see many of the terminals with a chip slot such as in MIA, Target, and other places. I was surprised that they didn't ask me to use the chip slot at all.

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 19):
Pressing CHQ or SAV costs them less than 0.5% in merchant fees, as opposed to ~2% for Credit.

I found when in Melbourne and throughout the entire country actually that some of the retailers surcharged accordingly.
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
Ken777
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:24 pm

Quoting willzzz88 (Reply 6):
Why is the US still using swipe cards and not chip and pin cards as is the standard outside of the USA

I believe that the problem is really the costs of replacing all the old swipe systems at the various merchants locations. A very large number of these systems actually build the swipe line into their POS, one way or another. (I'm not a banker, but did work for a retailer many years ago who was very slow to move ahead with technology.)

As for my card, I moved from an AA Citi card to a BA Chase card. Stayed in oneworld, but the Chase card fits my needs better than Chase.

Benefits I like:

- When I spend $30K in a year we get a Companion Pass, effectively doubling the buying power of the points, or cutting in half the points needed for going to the UK & Europe. Since my wife and I are retired this is pretty important to us.

- Setting security advisory levels. I can go in and set "activities" that will cause an email to be sent to me. First I set any transaction at $74. If $74.50 is charged on the account I get an immediate email. I used to have this set at $200, but figured a lower amount would work better. I also clicked on petrol purchases because card thieves will often use a stolen card to fill their tank before anything else. I get an email from Chase when I'm still filling the tank on my car. And I get notification for any internet or phone order. Pretty good coverage - and Zero Liability.

- No foreign transactions fees.
 
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hawaiian717
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RE: Premium Visa/MC Advice

Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:09 pm

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 21):
When I was in Florida in October I did see many of the terminals with a chip slot such as in MIA, Target, and other places. I was surprised that they didn't ask me to use the chip slot at all.

I took a bit closer look at the terminal when I was at Target last week. The terminal has an icon and arrow pointing at the chip slot, but if you look closely, the slot itself is blocked with a piece of plastic. From the discussion I read on FT, it sounds like Target may not have upgraded its back end processing system to handle EMV transactions yet.

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