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Newbie Question: Which credit cards?
Hey y’all, I just accepted a job a traveling emergency medicine physician and will start this May. I wanted to get a little advice about which credit card I should get for business purposes. I don’t want to juggle multiple credit cards as this would eventually become cumbersome. Some quick facts:
-My company is paying for airfare, hotels, rental cars, food, gas and other incidental charges. All of these charges would be put on my business card. I plan on being on the road 250-300 days a year for the next two years.
-I don’t plan on getting a “permanent address”. On my off days, I plan on spending time with my family or traveling internationally. I’m single with no kids so I don’t see an issue in being “homeless” for now. All of my friends from high school, undergrad and med school are spread out through the country (all in major cities in the US) and I would be occasionally making weekend trips to visit them.
-The list of places I’m working at will include major cities (Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, Memphis, St. Louis etc.), college towns (Blacksburg, Morgantown, College Station etc.) and one stoplight towns. I’m angling to spend as much time in major cities/college town as possible.
-I want to be loyal to one airline and one hotel chain. From what I’ve read, I feel like American Airlines and SPG are my choices right now (I can be talked out of them). I would use Hilton as my “backup hotel chain” if there isn’t an SPG option.
-I’m a 20-something male who likes drinking, sports, being outdoors and generally having a good time.
-I plan on getting one personal credit card and one business credit card. I don’t care about annual fees.
How important is it to separate your business and personal expenses on each card? There’s merit to mixing purchases across business and personal cards
I think the combination of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Ink Cash cards are pretty great since you’ll be earning at least 1.5 points per dollar spent.
The Amex combo is pretty great as well – Amex Platinum comes with mid tier hotel status (Hilton Gold, SPG Gold and Marriott Gold matched from SPG) so wouldnt start from scratch. Also has some car rental elite status tiers as well. Add in the Preferred Rewards Gold card and the Everyday cards and its a great combo. The Amex Business Platinum card has a 50% refund on points when redeeming for flights via Amex Travel as well as 10 gogo inflight wifi passes.
Thanks for your response David.
For tax purposes, separating my business and personal expenses would make my life easier…if I just can send my statements from my business card to my accountant instead of having to sift through charges between multiple cards every month, it would save me future headaches down the road. I’m willing to sacrifice not “maxing out” my points for overall convenience.
If you had to choose two credit cards, which would you choose? If I went AMEX, it sounds like the business platinum + gold for personal use would make the most sense…and would you recommend CSR over AMEX? I apologize if this sounds douchy but I’m looking to ball out at much as a possible so getting to elite status with my choice airline/hotel/rental car companies as quickly as possible is very important to me.
If you go with Amex I’d still get a Visa or MC just because there are still places that don’t take Amex, especially if you might be using the cards overseas or at mom & pop businesses who don’t like the higher merchant fees that Amex charges.
[QUOTE=”MidSouth Skier, post: 23259, member: 184″]If you go with Amex I’d still get a Visa or MC just because there are still places that don’t take Amex, especially if you might be using the cards overseas or at mom & pop businesses who don’t like the higher merchant fees that Amex charges.[/QUOTE]
I would probably get another visa/mc without an annual fee just as a backup if I went amex platinum + gold.
If you wanted to go the Chase route you could consider the new Ink Preferred Business card that offers 3x on all travel up to 150k. Unfortunately it doesn’t bonus dining but you could pick up an Ink cash that offers 2x on dining. For the personal travel the CSR is hard to beat and actually offers 3x for dining so you’ll have to see if the extra UR is worth doing separate reimbursements. You might also consider something like the no-fee Chase unlimited to get 1.5 UR for all non travel spending.
The other cards I might consider depending on how long you are going to stay in a given place is the Citi Prestige and Premier combination. TY points are generally regarded just a notch below UR and MR but the Prestige offers the fourth night free benefit which could really save you a lot of hard cash. Plus the cards line up perfectly with you spending patterns of food, travel, and gas even though they are not technically business cards. You’ll have to figure out how you will handle the Prestige billing statements since I doubt you’ll want to hand in statements showing a bunch of credits.
All really good advice above. When I first started, like you, I had business expenses and personal spending which I wanted to keep separate and like you, wanted to keep my cards to a minimum. However, before long I realized that in order to optimize my points and miles potential I needed to diversify my card holdings. I use six cards now and these choices (highly tailored) work well for my business, travel patterns and personal needs. I urge you to keep an open mind about card diversification – it’s not hard to manage multiple accounts, especially since everything is online. Good luck with your new career!
Just a thought on your hotel goals… while not as hyped up as much, I would also look closely at Hilton and IHG. When you travel to major cities, Starwood and Hyatt are easy to stay at. But, you’ll probably find in these college towns and one-stoplight towns that those chains are hard to find.
Marriott, Hilton and IHG all have a considerably larger footprint. My hotel stays this year are 80+ nights at Marriott, then 4 stays at La Quinta Inn! I’m loyal to Marriott (maybe to a fault?), but even with them, sometimes the closest property is an hour away, there’s no justification I can make to stay there. I think you’ll come across that problem significantly more often if you choose Hyatt or SPG as your primary chain.