Credit card recommendations?

Is this true? Do you have a cite for that info?

Student loans. I graduated college at 20 and was repaying them by 21. Of course I was in college during the age when pretty much any college student with a pulse could get a credit card without a cosigner, so I had one at 18. Also I had utilities in my name at 18 (the land line bill in my dorm room). They required a deposit upfront, but once we’d paid on time for a few months they refunded the deposit.

It isn’t something they put in their marketing materials, but it is widely known among churners. For example: http://www.noobtraveler.com/american-express-backdated-rule-amex-credit-cards/
And it isn’t something I’ve just seen, personal experience shows it to be true. I got my first Amex in 2001, and all 3 Amex cards I have opened since show the date opened as “Actual month opened”/year 2001, ie, you open a card in March 2001, then another in April 2005, Amex dates the card as April 2001. You can see it if it applies to you by running your credit report.

It’s true as long as you don’t cancel your first American Express card before opening a second one. I’ve had an AmEx Green card since 1986, and recently applied for their Starwood Preferred Guest card. My new Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx card has opening date listed as 1986. It’s a handy way to increase your average account age (in order to improve your FICO score).

At the risk of bumping this, a big thanks to all.

That’s kind of outdated information about Discover Card. I only have two credit cards, Visa and a Discover Card. I use the Discover Card for the majority of charges so much that may times there are no charges for that month on the Visa card. I use Discover because it pays back 1%. I use Discover Card to order online, any place I eat, gas, groceries, the dentist and PayPal accepts it. I don’t pay any annual fees for the Visa or the Discover Card.

I see no point in owning an AMEX, I would avoid that. I know the credit card companies try to make some kind of status symbol out of what credit card you have, but the truth is you are always handing it over to an hourly person so who cares about trying to impress them anyway.

That’s being discussed here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=714246

Capital One has a visa (Quicksilver) that gives back 1.5%.

You’re right in that a large part of what makes AmEx is the social cache. You can impress not just the cashier but the person you’re treating with your Centurion. However, AmEx does come with its own set of very attractive rewards, which depending on your spending habits could make a difference even with the annual fees. If you buy more than $50 worth of groceries a month, it makes $75/year Blue Cash preferred worthwhile which gives you 6% back on grocery stores, 3% back on gas stations, and 1% back on everything else.

This is off topic to the OP, but Amex branded cards are two of the highest value rewards cards out there -

  1. 2% cash back Fidelity Amex (Barclay Arrival Visa is slightly higher value - 2.2% but involves redeeming against travel expenses, and has an annual fee - Fidelity has no annual fee and goes straight into a “cash management account” you can cash out, or optionally brokerage)
  2. Starwood Preferred Group Amex (SPG) = 1 SPG point/ = 1.25 miles/ in a bunch of programs (when redeemed 20k miles at a time) - American airlines, many others. The Citi Branded AA Visa cards themselves earn only 1 mi/$.

Another vote for AMEX. Best card by far. Awesome customer service.