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American Express Blue vs. Clear vs. Discover

The last post in this topic was posted 3113 days ago. 

 

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Howdy,

 

As mentioned in the past, I racked up a decent amount of debt in College for valid reasons I won't discuss. Last year, I noticed that it wasn't going down very quickly. I was making enough money to pay the balance down (over time) without issue, but also wasn't always saying "no" when I wanted to make a purchase. At the same time, I was starting a new business and really putting money into it to see it grow. So I cut up all of the cards so those spontaneous purchases would no longer be an issue. This way, I didn't cancel any accounts, but didn't run into trouble either by paying cash.

 

Fast forward to now - things are more stable. Business is on track, and I've played a lot of catch up. I want to switch back to putting all of my monthly expenses on one of my cards. Problem is, as they've all been mostly sock-drawered, I don't know the benefits anymore and don't know which one is the best fit for me now. I can't decide between American Express Blue, American Express Clear, and Discover (the 5% cash back one). I have a great credit history, have never paid late, etc. so the Clear's benefits of no fees doesn't really interest me too much. However, I do like that you get the 1% cash back auto-card delivery... but don't you pretty much get 1% worth of points with the Blue? I've also thought about asking to convert my Blue (regular) to Blue Cash. Not sure if that's allowed.

 

So in essence, should I make my primary card Discover or American Express, and if I choose the latter, should I go with a Clear or Blue? And if I choose Blue, should I ask to convert it to Blue Cash? Again, I already have all of these cards in my sock drawer, so it's just about picking the one I'll be carrying in my wallet from now on and using for every day purchases.

 

For what it's worth, I do tend to travel a lot, buy plane tickets, stay in hotels, etc. I also do grocery store things. I don't own a car, so gas isn't helpful, though I do rent cars so perhaps additional protection would help there.

 

Thanks for any insights.

 

-Matt

Edited by manlymatt83

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Have all of those cards been pif? If not the rewards earned on them likely will be less than interest on new purchases and might be better to use another or get another card strictly for monthly bills and pif. IMO blue cash preferred is best amex card and the $75 AF is quickly paid for with 6% cash back on groceries if you spend more than ~$100 a month or so on food. You should be able to convert one of your amex cards to that by calling or secure message them or apply for a new one to get a backdated account and $100 bonus

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Have all of those cards been pif? If not the rewards earned on them likely will be less than interest on new purchases and might be better to use another or get another card strictly for monthly bills and pif. IMO blue cash preferred is best amex card and the $75 AF is quickly paid for with 6% cash back on groceries if you spend more than ~$100 a month or so on food. You should be able to convert one of your amex cards to that by calling or secure message them or apply for a new one to get a backdated account and $100 bonus

 

The Amex Blue is paid in full. The Clear card has a small balance that I will pay off in the next week. Discover is paid in full. So essentially, whatever card I pick, I'll be starting with a 0 dollar balance.

 

You like the Amex better than the 5% cashback Discover? The thing I like about the Discover is that very often, the specials apply to restaurants/hotels.

 

If I converted a card, it would likely be my Blue to Blue Cash preferred. It wouldn't be the best idea to convert the Clear to Blue Cash and have two blues....

 

Any argument for going with the Clear as my primary?

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How about you use 1 of your Amex cards as primary and use discover for the rotating categories. That's what most of us here do.

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How about you use 1 of your Amex cards as primary and use discover for the rotating categories. That's what most of us here do.

 

Okay, I could do that. I also have a capital one no hassle rewards card - I only want to carry two cards so it really is between amex blue / amex clear / discover / cap one rewards. Are you saying to carry the discover and one of the amex cards and sock drawer the other amex and the cap one rewards? I thought people liked capital one? Sorry for the side track....

 

Still interesting in hearing what the consensus is between amex blue / clear and if blue is the way to go, whether to convert my current blue card (about 10 years old) to blue cash.

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I'm pretty sure they won't let you convert the clear to anything anymore... It's stuck that way. If you end up going with the Blue/BCE/BCP, you can ask that they transfer some of your credit line from the clear over to the blue, making it easier to keep your util down on the card.

 

Figure out how much you spend on groceries a year. The break even point (for groceries alone) on the Blue Cash Preferred vs the Everyday is $2500/yr (BCP = $150-$75AF vs BCE = $75). It might be worthwhile to use the Amex just for that, and the Discover for everything else.

 

 

If you shop on Amazon a lot, the Discover has the benefit of letting you use any rewards points right at checkout, for any amount. Let's say you have $5.12 rewards cash, and you buy something from amazon for $10. If you use your discover, you can credit your rewards and only pay the remaining $4.88.

 

The Discover More is also doing 2% back on utilities this year (Cable, Satellite TV and Radio, Phone and Internet) if you auto-pay with the Discover.

 

Not sure if this helps or makes it more confusing, but there you go!

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I'm pretty sure they won't let you convert the clear to anything anymore... It's stuck that way. If you end up going with the Blue/BCE/BCP, you can ask that they transfer some of your credit line from the clear over to the blue, making it easier to keep your util down on the card.

 

Figure out how much you spend on groceries a year. The break even point (for groceries alone) on the Blue Cash Preferred vs the Everyday is $2500/yr (BCP = $150-$75AF vs BCE = $75). It might be worthwhile to use the Amex just for that, and the Discover for everything else.

 

 

If you shop on Amazon a lot, the Discover has the benefit of letting you use any rewards points right at checkout, for any amount. Let's say you have $5.12 rewards cash, and you buy something from amazon for $10. If you use your discover, you can credit your rewards and only pay the remaining $4.88.

 

The Discover More is also doing 2% back on utilities this year (Cable, Satellite TV and Radio, Phone and Internet) if you auto-pay with the Discover.

 

Not sure if this helps or makes it more confusing, but there you go!

 

Thanks for all of your help. Sounds like the two cards I should carry are Discover and Amex Blue. Clear and capital one look to be 1% cash back across the board no matter what, so I'll sock drawer those.

 

So now the question remains: is there *any* reason why I would want to keep the regular Blue and not convert it to at least the everyday? Got my blue in 2002 - not sure if I'm grandfathered into anything - but it seems to only offer 1 point per dollar, and a $10 gift card costs 1000 points, so essentially 1% rewards...

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I'd convert the Blue to BCE/BCP. The BC and Discover would be a nice combo. I use a similar tactic except I have a Chase Freedom and not Discover. Everything goes through Amex except the rotating categories of the Chase.

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Thanks for all of your help. Sounds like the two cards I should carry are Discover and Amex Blue. Clear and capital one look to be 1% cash back across the board no matter what, so I'll sock drawer those.

 

So now the question remains: is there *any* reason why I would want to keep the regular Blue and not convert it to at least the everyday? Got my blue in 2002 - not sure if I'm grandfathered into anything - but it seems to only offer 1 point per dollar, and a $10 gift card costs 1000 points, so essentially 1% rewards...

 

The old structure was something like, "earn 5% on gas/groceries/drug stores AFTER spending $6500/yr"

 

You'd have to run some numbers based on what you expect to spend. The new Blue Cards are much easier to understand, if nothing else.

 

If you do decide to do the switch, you should be able to get the same CSR to do the conversion, and move some of your Clear credit limit over.

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If you travel a lot, I actually like the Amex Blue Sky... If you redeem your points toward travel purchases, you effectively get 1.33% back (if you redeem your points for a statement credit instead it works out to be less than 1%)

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Hmmm. I don't mean keep the old blue cash. I mean keep my existing blue "regular" versus converting.

 

 

Why do you want to keep your regular blue? I didn't find any benefits except the membership earning can combined with your charge card membership accounts.

 

 

Ron.

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I'd convert the Blue to BCE/BCP. The BC and Discover would be a nice combo. I use a similar tactic except I have a Chase Freedom and not Discover. Everything goes through Amex except the rotating categories of the Chase.

I'd go this route. BCP and discover. The cap 1 no hassle card is crap IMO. Blue cash preferred is much better, same categories but more rewards as well if i remember correctly.

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