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Discover Open Road Card – $150 Restaurant.com Promotion

When it comes to credit card new account promotions, Discover has never been one to open up the wallet and shower new customers with buckets of money. That’s always been the domain of Citi, Chase, with their several hundred dollar promotions, and every airline loyalty credit card on the planet.

Discover, however, may be changing its strategy a little with the latest relaunch of a promotion I saw a few months ago. I didn’t cover it then because I didn’t think the promotion was going to be tremendously popular (I imagine it worked, since it’s come back) but it’s for a free $150 Restaurant.com gift certificate after your first purchase. Restaurant.com, if you recall, is a site that sells gift certificates to local restaurants for pennies on the dollar. You can get a $25 gift certificate for $10 (even less if you find a promotional coupon code, which are plentiful). The real boons are when you find a 80% off coupon, that makes each $25 gift certificate only $2 a piece.

My lukewarm initial response has to do with Restaurant.com, not with Discover’s Open Road Card, because this deal depends heavily on how well Restaurant.com is covered in your area. Around us, very few of the restaurants we like are on the site (which makes sense, they don’t need the business) and the site is filled mostly with brand new places or places we’ve tried and are less enthusiastic about.

As for the card itself, it’s part of the Discover Get More rewards program, offers a 0% balance transfer and purchases, and confers all the other privileges of Discover.

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Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (Updated May 2011)

As the economy improves, I expect to see a lot more activity in the balance transfer space. For the moment, there hasn’t been much change from April to May. Citi ended the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard’s promotion they launched last month (0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months and 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months) but extended the limited time offer that included $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This matches compares very favorably to the Chase Freedom offer, which offers the same bonus and similar introductory periods.

Here are this month’s best 0% balance transfer offers:

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Discover Get More Reward Categories (2011)

The Discover More card is one of the few credit cards that rotates its reward categories. Normally, a rewards credit card is set in its ways when it comes to reward categories. The Discover More card, through it’s Get More program, rotates the bonus category every quarter to something that seems seasonally appropriate. For January through March, you get a bonus on travel and restaurants since lots of people travel (probable to get out of the cold!).

Well, fortunately for us, Discover is also pretty friendly about broadcasting the schedule. Here is the Get More 5% Cashback bonus calendar for 2011:
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 Credit 
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Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (Updated March 2011)

The offers on this page are out dated, you can find the latest news when the April update is released.

If you thought the offers from last month were juicy, this month is going to surprise you as some issuers are really pulling out all the stops. I’ve been watching balance transfer offers for years and it’s been quite some time since someone offered a $100 in cashback as part of a new account promotion and tied it to a card with a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchases offer. I think the issuers are starting to really get aggressive in competing with one another and you, the consumer, benefit from it.

The story last month was longer promotional periods, this month we get to see a little bit of bonus action on the front end coupled with more standard balance transfer promotional rate periods.

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Discover Birthday Double Cashback Bonus Promotion

Discover is running a new promotion where you can earn up to a 2% cashback bonus on up to $500 in purchases. It’s not going to be a crazy amount of cashback, since it’s 2% on $500 in purchases, but if you already use a Discover Card you might as well sign up and get the extra cashback.

There are four cards that are eligible:

  • More Card by Discover
  • Motiva Card by Discover
  • Open Road Card by Discover
  • Miles by Discover -you get double miles, instead of cashback

The promotion has balloons and says “Celebrate your BIRTHDAY” but it doesn’t appear that it actually has to be your birthday month. You just have to pick a month and you’ll earn double cashback on up to $500 in purchases retroactively applied to the start of the month. There doesn’t appear to be an expiration date. Here are the T&Cs:

Sign up to earn 2% Cashback Bonus on up to $500 in purchases from the first day of the birthday promotion month for which you enroll (or the date on which you sign up, whichever is later) through the last day of that month. Purchases earning 2% Cashback Bonus will not count toward your total annual purchases to determine your tier level. These purchases must post to your account by the last day of the month. Allow up to 5 weeks for this reward to be added to your Cashback Bonus account. See Cashback Bonus Program Terms and Conditions for further details about your reward program.

Just a quick word of warning if you have a Discover card you opened for a 0% balance transfer – any new purchases you make will accrue interest immediately since you’re carrying a balance. That and depending on how they put your payments, you may be paying a lot in interest.


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Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (February 2011)

The offers on this page are out dated, you can find the latest news on the best zero balance transfers here.

Once a month, every month, I’ll be providing an update on the “state of the balance transfer” on the first Thursday of the month. With the credit crisis abated and the economy recovering, a lot of credit card companies are resuming their credit card offers, including the once prominent 0% balance transfer. In these monthly posts, I’ll keep you apprised on how the landscape has changed in the last month along with a look at some of the more prominent cards in each category.

In the last month, we’ve seen the introduction of a lot of cards with longer 0% APR periods. We’ve even seen Discover bring in a card with no balance transfer fee, a staple during the housing boom but something that has fallen out of favor as of late.

Your typical trade-offs are still there – longer 0% period or lower balance transfer fee? Discover has a 5% fee but a 24 month 0% APR period but Citi has a lower fee but only an 18 month 0% APR period. The right card for you depends on your balance and how quickly you think you can pay it off.

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 Your Take 
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Your Take: Your Favorite Credit Card?

JD PowerEvery year, JD Power & Associates puts out a credit card customer satisfaction survey in which all the major credit card companies are listed along with their scores. It’s a 1,000 point scale and this year the “winner” was American Express with 769 out of the possible thousand. The silver medal goes to Discover Card with a 757.

I wanted to do an informal Bargaineering comment survey to see who you guys rated as the best credit card issuer. Is your favorite American Express? Discover? Citi? Chase?

I don’t call my credit card very often and I’ve never had an issue with any of my cards, so the basis of my satisfaction really just boils down to cash back rewards. In that regard I’m close to JD’s results as my favorite card is the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card followed by the Citi mtvU card.

What’s your favorite and why?


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How to Analyze Credit Cards Reward Programs

Credit card companies are always competing for “share of wallet,” that is a piece of your spending pie. They will offer new account bonuses to entice you to sign up. They will give you reward points of cashback to entice you to keep using their card. They’ll throw out low introductory interest rates to make spending your money a little easier.

As consumers, you might think it’s easy to compare offers. If someone offers you 1% and someone offers 2%, the 2% is better right? Not necessarily. In the world of reward programs there are two sides – the earning of points and the spending of points. It’s very easy to only focus on the earning of points and assume that spending it will be easy. As some travel credit card holders have quickly learned, sometimes spending it isn’t as easy as it seems.

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