I’ve been using my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard for everything except for 5% Chase Freedom categories and Amazon.com purchases. I have to admit that it is pretty awesome having essentially only one credit card. (I don’t notice having a separate card for Amazon.com purchases since the card is already linked and I don’t carry it around with me.) As much as I have a tendency to overcomplicate things, it is really nice to keep things simple from time to time.
In some ways, I’m still trying to build my credit history. The average age on my credit cards isn’t quite 24 months because I keep applying for new credit cards and canceling older ones. (I’m trying to cut down on that now, but I picked some early credit cards that didn’t turn out to be very useful…) So my goal for the rest of 2014 is not apply for any more credit cards.
I’m not convinced that the Barclaycard Arrival will keep its program at 2.22% cashback forever, but maybe it will since it has an annual fee of $89. I’ll keep my Fidelity American Express as a backup 2% credit card forever (plus it’s nice at Costco!), just like my 1% cashback credit union visa with no foreign transaction fees. I don’t know about the Chase Freedom, but I’ll probably keep it around for a while since it has no annual fee and it is with the same bank as the Chase Amazon.com visa which I doubt I will ever get rid of since a) it is no hassle and b) I’ve now had it for 3.5 years, which is by a slim margin my second oldest credit card. I’m going to ditch the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa once I use the ~70k points ($875) to book something (even if it’s after the annual fee hits because using the points to book something will earn me $175 more than redeeming them for cashback directly). But the Barclaycard? I love it as much as you can possibly love a credit card.
I tracked my “everything else” spending (basically everything except for foreign purchases, restaurants, and Amazon.com purchases) for the period of July 2012 – June 2013. I spent $19,384.88 total, with an average cashback earning of 1.75% based on where took American Express and where did not. I would have earned an additional cashback of $91.11 in these categories by using the Barclaycard Arrival for everything, covering the $89 annual fee with $2.11 to spare. I also spent $954.99 on foreign transactions, for which I lost out on 1.22% of cashback or $28.48. Lastly, I spent $3,799.25 at restaurants and drugstores, for which I lost out on 0.22% of cashback or $8.36. So if I had only used the Barclaycard, I would have earned an additional $22 in cashback for the year over the annual fee, making it basically a wash, except that instead of needing to carry three cards (Fidelity Amex, Chase Amazon.com Visa, and credit union visa) to accomplish that, I only need to carry one (the Barclaycard).
What would my ideal single credit card look like? I explained this in a comment on Emily’s post a few weeks ago:
- Visa/MasterCard (accepted more widely than American Express)
- Chip and PIN (easier when traveling – remember, this is an ideal single credit card)
- No foreign transaction fees
- 2% cashback on everything (no categories)
- Easily redeemable
- No annual fee
- No maximum on the earnings
- Free FICO score
- Trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance, and supplementary rental car insurance (I’m super worried about something going wrong while traveling)
- Flexible automatic payments (Chase and my credit union both reduce the automatic payment if you make an extra payment.
The Barclaycard Arrival World Elite Mastercard meets all of them except 6) and 10). Points are easily redeemable since I travel often enough. I love not having to worry about whether a merchant is foreign or not.