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Help a Reader: Need a New Rewards Credit Card

Like many other personal finance bloggers, I get a lot of emails asking for my advice on things from 401(k)s to credit cards. I’m not comfortable giving advice but I usually respond by saying “If it were me, I would…” Giving advice, especially on difficult and complex issues, is very risky because if things don’t work out then I might get in trouble. Many pundits and advisors have errors & omissions (E&O) insurance, also known as professional liability insurance [3], for this very reason.

That said, I still want to help so I’m going to start a series, called Help a Reader, in which I include a reader question from the week before, provide a “If it were me, I would…” type of answer and hope you guys can chime in with your suggestions. They say crowdsourcing is the new thing these days and I can’t think of a smarter crowd than this one.

This first one is pretty straightforward (I wanted the first one to be a bit of a softball) – Reader P.K. emailed me the other day asking for suggestions on a new credit card. He’s 31, has “great” credit, and just wants to know what the best options out there was. Here’s an excerpt from his email:

I am still using the Capitol One Sony Card that I have had for over 10 Years. I get Sony Points which I can redeem at the Sony Card website but I am not longer interested in this card. I am looking for a credit card that will give me the highest percent in cash back. I am married with one kid and so I will be using my card for everything from groceries, gas and travel.

The Sony Card offers 3x points on dining out and movies, 1x points on everything else with no annual fee. That’s not a bad reward breakdown if you’re OK with Sony points, which I wouldn’t be.

If you shop on Amazon, which we do, you can convert it at 6,000 points to $50 which makes each point worth 0.83 cents each so your effective “cash back” is 4.16% on spending at restaurants, books, movies and music. That is better than the Sony card, which gives you 3x (assuming an even points to cash value, which I doubt), so you get a better cash back rate.

Anyone else have any other suggestions for a good card alternative for P.K.?

And if you have a question that you want the Bargaineering community to answer, please send it along [4] and I’ll be happy to post it!