OT Season is here - 2 Consumer Questions

Submitted by xtramelanin on April 15th, 2017 at 9:07 PM


With the Spring Game over I believe that we have officially entered that desert known as 'OT Season'.   It takes about 4 1/2 months to cross the desert.  I suggest we stick together, make sure we have enough water, and keep our compasses handy.  

That said, I have two questions re: consumer stuff that hopefully the board can share some wisdom.   Those two questions are:

1.  What is the best Credit Card Company?   We've had a Cabela's card forever and though I like the Cabela's stuff, there comes a point where you've got enough of that, and it's quite limited in other offerings.  Dear daughter suggested the Amazon Prime Card, link here: 


5% back on Amazon stuff, 2% or 1% on most everything else.   We don't have a balance to transfer so interest rate isn't a selling point.   Any other suggestions?

2.  Used 1 ton to replace my 18 yr old Diesel?  I have had the same F350 for 18 yrs.  It is a 7.3 diesel and has been a great truck.  However, I think I'm right on the edge of having to start replacing whole body parts (like the entire bed) b/c rust is overtaking my efforts to keep it at bay.  I am looking at buying a 2011 or newer replacement diesel rig.  In the last 10 yrs I have bought salvage vehicles and fixed them up and that has been great.   I'd like to do that again. So, comments about the newer F series (1 ton or maybe 3/4 ton), diesel or otherwise, or their competitors are invited.   And yeah, this should be a jeepin ben, talking cars Tuesday thread.  All things being equal, whatever I buy will be blue! 

Sounds like the Spring Game was a pretty positive affair.  For those celebrating tomorrow, I hope you have a blessed day.  Thank you for your input.  





April 15th, 2017 at 9:10 PM ^

Ford diesels, even used with 100k miles, sell for obscene money because they are damn good trucks. 

I like credit cards that pay cash back, flat rate, all purchases.  There's one out there that is 2% now I think...Slickdeals or one of the consumer deal sites can help you there.  I put everything on my cash back cards that I can earning about $1K or so per year.  Only works if you pay the balance off each month obviously!


April 15th, 2017 at 9:17 PM ^

fords in particular, and the current iteration, 6.7 seems to be well regarded.  it's been around since 2011, thus my timeline.   

my only issue with the new diesels is that they can't burn more than 20% biodiesel.   i make our diesel fuel on the farm with used cooking oil when the price of diesel starts to go up and it is a comfort to know i can make a few hundred gallons whenever i need to.  that would be problematic for a rig that can't take 100% biodiesel though. 


April 16th, 2017 at 7:09 PM ^

concerns and actually gets the best mileage in the diesels.   did the project with my kids and had them help me.  when we make the fuel we talk about what we're doing and why/how it works.  they seem to get it.  it also hopefully teaches them to be resourceful in general, a trait i am desirous that my kids have. 

and lastly, it really does smell a bit like a big french fry cooker when you're burning it.  


April 15th, 2017 at 9:10 PM ^

Do you shop at Costco? Their credit card is pretty good. Of the no fee options the Chase Freedom is pretty good. Discover has a competing card called Discover IT, I believe.

If the Chase Freedom appeals to you, I can give you a referral.


April 15th, 2017 at 9:32 PM ^

They can be transferred in a 1:1 basis to several airline partners: British Airways, Flying Blue (Air Francr/KLM joint program that has Delta as a US partner), Korean Air, Singapore Air, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic.

You can also use the points to book travel directly through the Chase portal -- same prices elsewhere, with a 1.25-1.5 cent value per point (depending upon what version of the Sapphire card you have.)

There is an annual fee $95 for the Sapphire Preferred and $450 for the Reserve (which drops to $150 if you do a modest amount of traveling thanks to a $300 statement credit for traveling expenses).

It's a very good card if you like to travel, especially via plane. (it's what I primarily use myself.) If not, you might want to consider something else.

It also transfers points to most major hotel chains, but it'd be more efficient to pick your favorite hotel chain and get one of their cards, in my opinion.


April 16th, 2017 at 2:36 AM ^

I went all in on the Ultimate Reward (UR) points as I like to travel a lot and eat out.  I then use my points to book ONLY travel in order to maximize the output (flights & hotels).  You can find cases of the UR points worth over 2 cents if you transfer it properly.

I have three cards that I rotate... the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 fee), Freedom ($0 fee), and Freedom Unlimited ($0 fee) that all earn UR points.  You can redeem them on any card but you want to use your Reserve for all reward travel because the points are given a 50% bonus when you use it for travel.

Here's how I decide what card to use.

Freedom earns 5% (in my case 7.5%) back on any purchase in the rotating category that quarter.   This quarter is grocery stores.   Pro tip: max out the cash back by buying gift cards.

Sapphire Reserve earns 3% on travel/hotels/uber/parking and restaurants/bars (4.5% in my case) and 1% on everything else.  Signup bonus is 50K points = $750 dollars for travel.  The first $300 you spend on travel every year is a credit back which makes the fee only $150.  It gives you lounge access which is great overseas (not so much in the US).  Global Entry/TSA pre-check fees are covered for the first time.  All kinds of travel insurance.   Extra year of warrenty on items bought.  No foreign transaction fees. tAnd some other stuff.

Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% back (2.25% in my case) and is used for anything that doesn't hit the above categories.   This puts me above the 2% standard cash back on other cards.

So I earn either 7.5%, 4.5%, or 2.25% cash back which I use on travel on all of my purchases with only paying one credit card fee.

Booking tickets with Chase is like using Kayak.  The points are a reflection of the cost of the ticket.  You can book on any airline or transfer points to that airline.  If you book through Chase, you still get your EQD's and EQM's on the airline you fly (and you don't pay for the ticket).  This alone makes UR points more rewarding in my mind than American/Delta/United credit cards.



April 16th, 2017 at 2:22 PM ^

I use an Amex as a primary card and other cards as backup for places that don't take Amex. There are some small individual shops, restaurants and taxis that don't do Amex. But on the whole, I probably get 95% of the dollar volume of my expenses on my Amex. Might be more of a problem in small towns. 

KO Stradivarius

April 15th, 2017 at 11:01 PM ^

I have a Capital One Visa "Signature" with no annual fee that gives 2% rebates on everything, and they don't expire.  Not sure how I got such a good deal. The Jennifer Garner ads offer 2% on the Venture card (love Jen) but I get this as well.  You can use the rewards to book flights on their site or Expedia and other travel sites, use Uber, apply toward hotels, baggage fees, any travel related expense.  Also have other rewards options for cash or gift cards.  No foreign transaction fees, no need to notify them if you travel.  It's very nice.  I find their customer service is quite good.  We use it for everything.

UM Griff

April 15th, 2017 at 9:23 PM ^

Will give you 30,000 miles if you charge $1,000 within your first three months. Card is free for the first year, then $95.

If you don't fly, another offer may be more enticing.

S.G. Rice

April 15th, 2017 at 9:25 PM ^

The simplest answer is to get a good cash back card.  There are 2% cash back cards out there.  Chase Freedom Unlimited is 1.5%.  The regular Chase Freedom card has rotating quarterly categories where you get 5% - gas 1st quarter, groceries 2nd quarter, etc


April 15th, 2017 at 9:50 PM ^

1. we have two cards: American express blue for grocery shopping (highest % up to $10000 I think). the rest we put on amazon prime. we use prime a ton and with the amount we rack up through the year, our prime rewards go towards a good chunk of Christmas purchases.


April 15th, 2017 at 9:54 PM ^

Say you find a cash back card with 2% cash back (which is about the best you can do). If it has a $100 signup bonus, after spending $10,000 on it, you've made $300.

On the other hand, if you find a 1.5% cash back card with a $250 bonus, after $10,000 spending you've made $400. Even after $20,000, the 2% card has given you $500, while the 1.5% card has given you $550.

The Chase Sapphire, as described above, came with 100,000 points for me, which was eithe $1k in statement credit, $1500 in travel dollars, or points of varying value depending how well I figure out how to spend them. It'd take several years of spending on another card to reach that signup bonus.


April 15th, 2017 at 10:06 PM ^

Or pick a brand you like. For me it was Hilton hotels. Over the course of a couple years, I picked up three credit cards. 2 had a combined bonus of 160,000 points, and the third came with two fee weekend nights. The weekend nights went to a nice weekend in NY (Hamilton was amazing, and more affordable when your Times Square Hilton is free), and the 160k points, plus 40k more I primarily earned through spending (3 points per dollar on two of the cards) will net me a 5 night stay this October at a nice hotel in Paris, normally priced at $1,400. Between that and the free nights in NY (~$550), it's nearly $2k in value I've gotten from the cards, just through normal spending and signup bonuses for two years.


April 15th, 2017 at 10:07 PM ^

We've had an Amazon Visa since 2003 and it has been quite kind to us, especially lately with some of the cash-back incentives as such. If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon in particular, it's not a bad way to go at all. 


April 16th, 2017 at 6:18 AM ^

and i agree with that, thus we have no debt.   i do not however consider a card that we pay in full each month as debt.   

our small truck is a dodge 2500 extended cab diesel, older, but it runs like a champ.  i'd consider a newer dodge.  would pass on a dually though - our towing requirements aren't sufficient to warrant that and they are terrible in the snow which is kind of a deal-killer if you live up north. 


April 16th, 2017 at 2:34 PM ^

Nah, credit is wonderful. The economy would pretty much collapse without it. It's the financial literacy and the poor decision making that is the problem. Pay your statement balances in full each month, collect your points or cash back, and you'll be better off by hundreds or thousands more $ per year than if you had paid cash. 


April 15th, 2017 at 11:17 PM ^

I have one card, an American Advantage Mastercard, which gives me one mile for every buck I spend. Over the years, I've gone to Europe (business class) and California many times on miles. I like to travel so it works for us. 


April 15th, 2017 at 11:38 PM ^

Maybe Brian needs to have an MGoBlog visa rewards card. Every time the user opens the MGOBlog he gets points.

Post a valid topic. More points.

I'd have some SERIOUS points racked up. My 80 time/day nervous habit of opening the app alone..looking for some new news...would provide me with great advantages!

WD would be living life like a Saudi Prince with all the points he racks up!!


April 16th, 2017 at 1:08 PM ^

Everyone gets neg'd once in a while...but if your constantly get gaffed for stupid comments...your card gets pulled. Or you'd owe money.

There's an old saying...heard it on Justified...

"If you call someone an asshole in the morning..they're probably an asshole. If you've been calling people asshole all day...good chance you're the asshole."


April 16th, 2017 at 2:26 PM ^

dudeness goes to pay for some groceries on a friday after he negged us all to death and we turn around and neg him.   his card gets turned down.  walks out empty handed.  and i bet everybody would be a lot more gentle with their negs.


April 16th, 2017 at 7:00 AM ^

We have a Visa from Fidelity that we like a lot. 2% back on everything, no fees and it's a visa so it's accepted everywhere. we also have a costco card to use at costco and the amazon card because we but a lot through prime as well.

no ideas about the truck though.


April 16th, 2017 at 10:07 AM ^

Diesel Engine. The best engine ever built.
I'd yank it and drop it in a good body. You'll not find another of it's stature. Oh and have fun with all the new pollution control equipment.


April 16th, 2017 at 2:28 PM ^

and it runs flawlessly, and of course no emissions.  i guess i'd have to get used to pouring uric acid in the fuel tank (or the small filling slot next to it).   i think some of the earlier systems were disasters and my research so far has led me to believe that ford and dodge have the most reliable systems in that regard.