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Answers (9)

Best CC for College Tuition (no fee)

Best CC for College Tuition (no fee)

  1. PJS678

    We will have approximately $30k in tuition and fees per year for the next 4 years for my daughter at a SUNY school that apparently does not charge a convenience fee for using a CC. Score! We could just pay direct from our 529 plan, but why not put these fees on a CC and pay ourselves back from the plan instead to earn rewards.

    Current cards:
    Citi Prestige
    Marriott Premier
    SPG Biz Amex
    Delta Amex Platinum (planning to cancel)
    Amex Biz Platinum
    Amex Biz Gold
    Amex Everyday Preferred
    Amex Blue for Business
    Citi Double Cash
    Chase Freedom (can’t get any other Chase cards right now due to 5/24)
    Citi Hilton Signature
    IHG Rewards

    In terms of what we are looking for: We don’t fly a ton so status is not a big deal. ATL is our home airport. We usually do a few domestic R/Ts per year (on Southwest or Delta) for visiting family or kids’ tournaments. Usually 1-2 overseas trips per year (usually Europe but would like to branch out to Asia and obviously would like to fly closer to the front of the plane). The basic choice is the Double Cash just to get back $600 cash, but is there anything else we should consider with regard to spending thresholds or other cards we should consider?


  2. MidSouthSkier

    I was going to recommend the Southwest card so you could get the companion pass. If you’re over 5/24 could your spouse sign up for it?

    Other than that I’d go with the SPG card as Starpoints transfer to more airlines than anybody else and there’s the 5k bonus when you transfer 20k points. Should help you build up balances to get a seat in the pointy end of the plane.

  3. PJS678

    We’ve toyed with the idea of the companion pass, but to be honest, I don’t think we’d get enough value out of it. The issue is that we fly in too many different combinations (me + wife, wife + kid 1, me + kid 1, me + kid 2, wife + her mom etc.). We also burn our SW points as soon as we earn them. Maybe when both kids are off to college we can do that for just us. I was also thinking the SPG would be a good option because 120k points (over 4 years) is 150k miles. One other thought: we will be making quite a few trips up to NY state and the closest airport is only served by DL. Should we consider the DL Reserve card for wife? (she has Silver with DL this year – barely made it). Thanks!

  4. MidSouthSkier

    Well burning the SWA points doesn’t matter, it’s earning them that would earn the pass. You could have a points balance of zero (because you’ve spent them all) when your companion pass arrives in the mail but it sounds like that’s not your best option.

    The Reserve might be a good option for you. Not being very familiar with it I found [URL=’’]this post that Nick wrote back in 2015[/URL] which mentions a free companion ticket each year (for domestic flights except to Hawaii) as well as giving a big boost to requalifying for status each year.

    Since there hasn’t been a follow-up post indicating things have changed – and the posts on other blogs I found via Google were equally as old – I’ll assume the info in there is still valid unless someone else knows differently. Give that post a read and see if it looks like something that might work for you.

  5. David W

    The SPG is a great choice for the reasons [USER=184]@MidSouth Skier[/USER] wrote.

    I THINK the Amex biz platinum gives a bonus 50% on points for single charges of $5k or more so if you get use from Amex Mr points, that’s a good option.

    You could also consider a product change from the Chase Freedom to the Chase Freedom Unlimited for 1.5x UR points which will be useful once you’re eligible for one of the premium Chase cards

  6. PJS678

    Thanks for the great help guys. Looks like Amex Biz Platinum for larger chunks (over $5k) and maybe SPG for the smaller payments would be the way to go. The Delta Reserve is interesting but ultimately we can probably save the $450 annual fee and still do ok with the Amex platinum/citi prestige for point bonuses on flight booking and lounge access.

  7. Anonymous

    Does the school take Amex for payments? I ask only because we’ve been in the same situation with grad school for my husband, and I had this great plan for using various American Express cards, and had those hopes dashed when they only accepted Visa or MasterCard. 🙁

    If that’s the case, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus might be worth considering. It won’t get you closer to the front of the plane necessarily, but could be helpful for those trips upstate — a cash equivalent is likely more useful than Delta miles for trips like that.

  8. PJS678

    Excellent point Tiffany, but yes, they take Amex, Discover, etc. as well.

  9. PJS678

    I just got the Arrival Plus and am working on the initial spend ($3k) to get the 50k points so that’s an option. Would it make sense for my wife to get the Personal Amex Platinum to get the signup bonus? We could use the uber credits (probably) and the airline fee credit. It would also give her lounge access, etc. and the 5x bonus on airline tickets. She is below 5/24 so we could also diversify by getting her the CSR or CSP. She’s not into the travel hacking game and would rather leave it to me, but this is a lot of points to think about. Thoughts?

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