Looking for a new rewards credit card
With the new changes to the MBNA Smart Cash Platinum MasterCard, I’m on the hunt for a different credit card.
I use my credit card for as many purchases as I can, and pay off the balance at the end of every week. This is the only way that rewards credit cards work – because if you keep a balance, obviously that negates any bonus you would earn that month. :)
When I got the MBNA MasterCard, I used to get:
- 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases up to $600/month for the first 6 months
- 3% cash back on gas and grocery purchases up to $600/month afterwards
- 1% cash back for all other purchases
- 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases up to $400/month for the first 6 months
- 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases up to $400/month afterwards
- 1% cash back for all other purchases up to $1,250/month – which includes groceries and gas
As you can see, that drastically cuts down on the rewards I would be earning. But the thing is, there aren’t that many great travel or cash back credit cards available in Canada that don’t have ridiculous fees. I’m sure by now, you’ve all read Bridget’s post on her American Express card with the $699 annual fee.
While perhaps that might be a cost she’s willing to stomach because of the rewards, I could never pay that kind of fee – no matter how much I earn. In fact, I’ve never been able to get over paying any amount for an annual fee. Until now.
The Capital One Aspire World Travel MasterCard costs $120/year and seems to be a pretty good alternative to the MBNA MasterCard. It requires a minimum personal income of $60,000, or a household income of $100,000.
As for my spending habits, I typically charge anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per month, depending on travel and business expenses.
And while that $120 annual fee bothered me at first, the benefits seem to be pretty solid:
The 10,000 bonus reward miles (equal to $100) means that the annual fee will only cost me $20.
I also like that their rewards system makes it easy to redeem. You don’t need to book through them, and there are no blackout dates. You book your own trip, and then redeem your miles to pay for your travel – and because I travel often, I like travel rewards cards better than cash back cards. It lets me save for a specific thing, which I will always use.
Aside from this Capital One card, I even contemplated going back to my American Express Blue Sky card because it didn’t have an annual fee, and the rewards were pretty good. However, all of the problems I’ve had in the past with them (and the countless fraud charges) means I will never use Amex Blue Sky again.
If you are an MBNA Smart Cash Platinum card holder – will you be sticking with the card, or switching over to something else?
Author: Krystal Yee
I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.