Back on May Day (May 1st), The Frequent Miler proclaimed that we no longer needed gift cards to try to play the maximize your points game and that it could be done with a single American Express® Prepaid Card. The technique is a fantastic one and if you like Ultimate Rewards, well… it is quite epic. I’m partaking in maximizing my UR balance the best I can, but what about those that don’t have the Ink Bold card, or shop places that don’t take American Express. Well, back with a new installment and a new card, The Frequent Miler brings us the Netspend Debit MasterCard.
If I could only carry one card in my wallet it would be the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. I’ve had this card for 7 years and have to make a concious decision to use some other card when making a purchase. Sure if I’ve got to meet a minimum spend it’ll sit and the other card will come out… but even though I love Ultimate Rewards points and I carry the Chase Sapphire PreferredSM Card it still rarely comes out of my wallet when I’m dining (it offers 2x points on dining). For me, 1 SPG point is worth more than 2 Ultimate Rewards points. If I were sitting on a bank of 250,000 SPG points I’d probably have a different value assigned … but for now I need to build my SPG balance up.
Using my SPG Amex to buy reload cards for the Prepaid Amex just doesn’t make sense… I’d just use the SPG Amex if that were the case and not have to front the money as the SPG Amex offers simply 1 point per dollar spent; no category bonuses here.
Enter the NetSpend MasterCard. Ever go somewhere that doesn’t take American Express? Just happened to me on our Anniversary trip to St. Lucia. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover were all happily accepted … no Amex. I paid using my Sapphire Preferred and that was that. (They processed the transaction in USD / I wouldn’t have paid foreign transaction fees). However, had I had the NetSpend MasterCard, I could have loaded that sucker up and made use of it at the resort. I would have earned my SPG points, giving my balance the much needed pad.
Some key points on each card:
- Accepted wherever American Express is taken
- A Prepaid Credit Card. While this card can be used at an ATM, it is NOT a debit card and cannot be used for Debit Transactions
- No foreign transaction fees
- No fees for purchase transactions
- 1 free ATM withdrawal per calendar month, then $2 per ATM transaction (free does not mean that the ATM you visit will not ALSO charge you a fee). Think of this as $2 from Amex and then $2-$5 from the bank’s ATM you’re using
- American Express® Prepaid Card FAQ
- Accepted wherever MasterCard is taken
- A Prepaid Debit Card. When you activate your card you set a PIN. This PIN is used for both ATM and DEBIT transactions at the register
- $2.50 per ATM withdrawal … same deal with additional fees from the bank you’re getting cash from
- 3.5% foreign transaction fee
- Fees for both signature and pin transactions … NetSpend fee FAQ
- NetSpend MasterCard FAQ
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day, we have a new sponsor: TopCashback. TopCashback is donating $50 cash (to be deposited to your TopCashback.com account) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (along with your First Name, Last Initial, and Airport Code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.