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Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« on: February 04, 2013, 01:47:31 pm »
So I wish I had considered this a year and a half ago when I first came to Korea because I've been paying my student loans through my debit card and have not been accumulating free trips to other countries thusly. Any way, does any one have any recommendations for a good rewards credit card? I would ideally want to use it to save money on flights, hotels, and car rentals. Advice is much appreciated.


  • CaseyMcG
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • December 02, 2010, 01:56:37 pm
    • Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi-do
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 01:56:07 pm »
If you are moving back or buy from the states a lot (as in do a lot of shopping from online stores from the states) I'd suggest the Chase Freedom Card. You rack up points really quick. If you're staying abroad I'd say the Venture card as it doesn't charge international fees. Both are very good for points though.


  • bts21
  • Adventurer

    • 73

    • September 04, 2012, 10:15:28 am
    • Gyeongbuk
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 02:03:56 pm »
Why don't you just set up your loans to come out of your bank account automatically, if you're already using your debit card? I'm not sure about private loans, but pretty much all federal and state loans will give you a % discount on your interest rate for that. They may not have told you about it up front, but it's worth asking about.


Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 02:12:17 pm »
bts21 I had considered that but I honestly just feel more comfortable paying it every month myself and I plan on having payed off all of my loans by next year so it just gives me more peace of mind.

CaseyMcG I'm not sure if I will be going home this year or next year but I'm leaning more on next year right now. I will look into both of those though.

Any others??


  • chuck2657
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • September 11, 2012, 02:29:12 pm
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 02:28:25 pm »
First, you should ask yourself what you'll be using the card for.  Most (although not all) rewards cards come with a fee.  If the loans are all you're planning to use the card for, you are probably (although you'll have to crunch the numbers yourself) better off going with a standardized card.  Nearly all credit cards have options for rewards.  The scenarios where a rewards card is best, are those where you are frequently using your card (well, it's quantity, not frequency, but you get the idea).

Normally citi and chase cards offer the most competitive deals.  Since citi has a large presence in South Korea, I'd suggest them.  You can check their site for details, there's several different "thank you" cards.

If you don't have any credit cards, getting one to start building credit history is a smart idea.  Well, assuming you want to buy a house or a car in the future.  Or apply for a job...

My federal loans have had a good standing discount, but I've never received an interest discount from direct deposit.  It could be per loan company, however...I know I can't directly pay off the principle with one of my loans (what a racket, right?)


Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 02:37:45 pm »
Well I spend about $400 a month on loans and then I would also use it for w.e else such as plane tickets, itunes account, ordering stuff online, etc. This would be my first card but I think just spending 400 a month plus traveling expenses all on the card would be enough to cancel out a $99 fee throughout the course of a year, no?


Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 02:51:02 pm »
I suggest Chase Sapphire Preferred. The rewards are great and the fee is also waived the first year. It also does not include any international fees. I think I will be able to earn enough points to get a round trip ticket from Korea to the US within a year because they give you 40,000 bonus points when you sign up and spend a certain amount within the first few months.


  • chuck2657
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • September 11, 2012, 02:29:12 pm
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 03:00:31 pm »
Well I spend about $400 a month on loans and then I would also use it for w.e else such as plane tickets, itunes account, ordering stuff online, etc. This would be my first card but I think just spending 400 a month plus traveling expenses all on the card would be enough to cancel out a $99 fee throughout the course of a year, no?

Well, it depends on the rates...and how well you can use frequent flyer miles I suppose.

If you spend $400 on loans/month, and $2400 a year on the internet and for travel, that's $7200 a year (or 600 a month).  Remember, that most cards have some degree of rewards built in, so you have to compare the difference.  So if you gain an additional 1% in rewards, that's an extra $72 dollars you paid in, so it wouldn't be worth the $99 fee.  2% would.  Anyways, just make sure to compare the rates.

I'll make an edit due to review: Chase Sapphire Preferred looks like a good bet based on the $500 credit you can earn with it, and Capital OneŽ Venture℠ Rewards Credit Card is probably the best miles card.


  • bhwung
  • Veteran

    • 101

    • April 01, 2011, 08:05:04 am
    • Busan
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 03:10:38 pm »
I realize that you're asking for rewards cards; however, another thing to keep in mind is the foreign transaction fee.  Some credit cards (such as Capital One) have 0% foreign transaction fees.  Those ridiculous fees can sometimes add up very quickly.


  • bts21
  • Adventurer

    • 73

    • September 04, 2012, 10:15:28 am
    • Gyeongbuk
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 03:13:52 pm »
My federal loans have had a good standing discount, but I've never received an interest discount from direct deposit.  It could be per loan company, however...I know I can't directly pay off the principle with one of my loans (what a racket, right?)

What type of fed. loans do you have? That good standing discount sounds interesting. I've only just started paying my loans off, though, so probably not eligible for anything like that for a while.

I think that the direct deposit discount is pretty standard. I know a couple of people going through different collectors, and we all have the same direct deposit discount.

re: credit cards, I'm just curious: how does everyone pay off their US credit card balances from here? Do you send remittances and pay from your US account?


  • Zeeto
  • Adventurer

    • 67

    • March 11, 2010, 03:37:04 pm
    • Korea
Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 03:48:38 pm »
Something to consider is that, if this is your first credit card, you may not be approved for a rewards card (I honestly don't know how much paying your loans affects this).


Re: Recommendations for rewards credit cards (American)?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 01:47:27 pm »
I just did quite a bit of research on reward credit cards.   I was looking for the best rewards, particularly for travel, and it had to be a Visa or Mastercard.  When I move home to the U.S. I'll consider Discover or American Express, because they have some great rewards, but I'm going to be traveling and I wanted this card to be widely accepted.   

The six I considered: Capital One VentureOne Rewards, Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom Visa, Capital One Cash Rewards, and Chase British Airways.

They're all very similar.  It's the small differences that will decide for you.

For example, the COVOR and the COVO (first and second) are essentially the same, except the COVO charges a fee of $59/year after the first year.  The tradeoff is that rewards are double.  For every $1 you spend-- on ANYthing-- you earn 2 miles. 

The two Chase Sapphire cards are also nearly twins, but the preferred card has a fee of $95/year after the first.  Before you rule it out though, consider that it has no foreign transaction fee (the regular one does), which is big if you're using this overseas.  There are more categories for earning double rewards with the preferred card (all travel and dining, compared to only restaurants with the regular) and the sign-up-and-spend-X-amount-in-3-months bonus is much bigger. 

Those four cards all reward with miles or points.  The Chase Freedom and Cap One Cash Rewards give out-- obviously-- cash.  The rewards are 1:1 and the sign-up bonus is $500, which is average and therefore put them near the bottom of my list.  The CF does have some nice double rewards categories, but it has that pesky foreign transaction fee.  The COCR actually offers 50% bonus cashback on all rewards you earned at the end of the year.  Neither of these has an annual fee.

Finally, I considered the Chase British Airways Visa.  This was a late entry to the game when it suddenly became the #1 recommendation for a travel rewards card on every website I checked (followed by the Chase Sapphire Preferred).  Why?  Because the sign-up bonus is the biggest out there-- 50,000 miles compared to the Sapphire Pref's 40,000.  It offers 1:1.25 rewards on all purchases, and 1:2.5 when spent on British Airways.  If you can spend $10k in the first year, you get a bonus 25,000 miles.  If you can hit $20k, there's 25,000 more miles coming at you.  No foreign transaction fee is great, but the big drawback is the $95 annual fee, paid from year 1.  But considering that first 50,000 miles you earned (cause you spent $1k within the first 3 months) can be exchanged for a ticket to Europe or a roundtrip flight or three within the U.S. (**on any airline in the One World Alliance), the fee doesn't seem so bad.

Don't be intimidated about applying because it's your first card.  Apply anyway and see if you're approved.  Good luck!