The first major credit card was issued by the Diners’ Club in February 1950. This fledgling concept has morphed into an industry beyond comprehension. According to cardrates.com, the top four issuers now have around 665 million cardholders. With that in mind, I find myself asking the question: Do I really need another credit card? As a person that is debt free, the answer is absolutely no. However, as a person that likes traveling for less, the answer is yes. I took the plunge with another credit card offer during the fall of 2017 and here is how it went.
Questions Before Applying
I historically go through a checklist or series of questions prior to applying for a credit card.
- Do I have a large purchase in my near future?
- Can I meet the spend requirement with everyday expenses or donations?
- Will I be able to use the bonus or benefit of the credit card?
- Is the bonus at historic highs?
- Do the card benefits and bonus outweigh the annual fee?
If the answer is yes, then I move forward. This methodical approach has resulted in the procurement of usually one, sometimes two, new credit cards each year. My selection during the fall of 2017 was the American Express Delta Platinum, after I had received a targeted offer in the mail for 75,000 bonus miles with a $100 refund toward an airfare purchase. The complimentary domestic ticket at the beginning of the second year, priority boarding and the competitive presence of Delta were also key factors. In the end, the bribe/promotion/incentives from American Express met all my criteria.
The 75,000 miles bonus spending requirement was met with everyday spend, a scheduled donation and a large purchase that was for Delta airfare. Therefore, I was able to benefit from the $100 rebate. The zone 1 boarding has been greatly appreciated as I prefer to avoid checking a bag; the availability of overhead storage space after boarding is a wonderful thing to see. In January 2018, 69,000 miles were redeemed for three, round trip, main cabin tickets from Anchorage to Salt Lake City for my wife and two daughters to visit grandpa and grandma. The value for those tickets was $1,049 for a redemption value of 1.5 cents per mile, exceeding the typical 1.2 cent valuation. After backing out the ticket fees, adding in the $100 refund and still having 6,000 points left, I valued the total sign up bonus at $1,209. Success!
I checked the boxes with this credit card and am glad I did. I earned 75,000 Delta Skymiles which resulted in $1,209 of value. Even better, my wife and girls were off to see grandpa and grandma. This trip may not fit the mold of the sexy, thrill seeking, adventure stories circulating throughout the web, but that is okay by me. The opportunity for my family to stay connected with loved ones is important and I am thankful it was accomplished for less. I wish you the best in having a financial life of security, freedom and adventure.
Postscript and Disclaimers
- Make prudent decisions when selecting a credit card
- Pay off credit card balances every month
- I do not receive any kickbacks from AmEx
- Always do your research
- Avoid any new lines of credit if purchasing a home in the near future
- Complete details of benefits available from American Express