Friday, April 13, 2012

The Big Credit Card Swap!

I'd mentioned last month that I was looking into getting rid of my current Mastercard (Shoppers Optimum) because as of a week or so from now I would no longer have the ability to monitor my account online -- I am the type of person who logs into their bank, credit card, and RRSP account at least every other day.  Phoning into a toll-free number to monitor my account? No thank you.

After a bit of research into different reward cards, travel cards, cash back cards, cards with a fee and no-fee cards, I've settled on the MBNA SmartCash Platinum Plus Mastercard! 

Why?  Well, here's what I loved about the card:
  • No Fees!!!  While I would have LOVED an Aeroplan Aerogold Visa, I just couldn't financially justify paying $120/year based on how long it would take me to collect 60,000 points (flight to Europe/South America)
  • Earn 5% on groceries/gas for the first 6 months
  • Earn 3% on groceries/gas after 6 months
  • Earn 1% on everything else (I automatically charge my $8 monthly magazines, $7.99 Netflix, and $165 Rogers bills to my credit card)
By spending what I normally pay in cash and regular bills already I'll be receiving $216 in cash back rewards in the first year -- in addition to the $60 Great Canadian Rebates reward I earned for signing up through their website.

Knowing that each month I'll likely have on average another $50-100 worth of expenses (entertainment, car maintenance, gifts), that brings my year 1 cash back total to $228.  Since I pay my balance in full each month, the cash back feels like a gift for the convenience of using my credit card instead of cash; these cheques will go right into the travel account.  I LOVE free money!!

Based on the same monthly spending, I would earn 25,800 Aeroplan points within the first year of using the Aerogold Visa, and 10,800 points each year thereafter.....taking me just over 4 years to accumulate 60,000 points.....and more than $480 in yearly fees.  I love Aeroplan miles (they've gotten me to Europe twice now!), but having the card just isn't worth the fees right now.

How did you choose your credit card(s)?

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