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Buy Everything On Sale!

Last month's announcement that MBNA (NYSE: KRB  ) , which provides The Motley Fool line of credit cards, will issue American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) branded credit cards before year's end could unleash new opportunities to buy everything on sale.

Confused? Follow the logic: If you pay off your credit card bills each month, you can pile up freebies from BankOne (NYSE: ONE  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , Capital One (NYSE: COF  ) , Morgan Stanley's (NYSE: MWD  ) Discover Card or your local bank -- whomever will lend you a slice of plastic. The kind of freebie doesn't matter, so long as it's something you like and you don't pay fees or interest to get it.

Using a 1% cash-back card to fuel up at Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) ? Each dollar of that caffeine jolt will cost you only $0.99. See the beauty?

I wish I could take full credit for this discovery, but, alas, there are a number of very smart Fools at our Consumer Credit / Credit Cards discussion board. Many of them seem to favor cash-back cards. I tend to like miles and points. Which you choose ought to depend on how much you spend, what you buy, and what you want. Let's tackle each in order:

Most cards offer bigger returns with more spending. Take Blue Cash from American Express, which requires you to fork over more than $6,000 per year to get back 1.5%. This is great for the consumer who is willing to put the grocery bill on a credit card. But if that's not you, try a card that gives points per dollar spent or a flat cash-back rate.

Affinity cards also work best when they reward you for what you already buy. Commuters, for example, might favor J.P. Morgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM  ) PerfectCard, which offers 6% back on gas purchases in the first 90 days and 3% thereafter.

Of course, it's most important to find a card that delivers what you want. For me, it's vacations. My wife and I are hooked on trips we couldn't afford if American Express wasn't footing (part of) the bill. Others will want cash kickbacks. Still others might want help paying for a college 529 plan.

Credit card issuers are offering dozens of choices for the savvy credit shopper. At the risk of sounding too Shatner-esque from those cheesy Priceline commercials: This means you don't have to pay full price for anything, so long as you're comfortable with using credit as a tool and have the discipline to pay your bills in full each month.

Are you ready to buy everything on sale?

Shameless Plug: Be a Card Carrying Fool
There's nothing better than whipping out a credit card with a jester on it every time you make a purchase -- unless it's getting cash back and a great interest rate to boot. With The Motley Fool Visa card you can have it all: Make 1% off your purchases, earn interest on your own cash during a generous grace period, and get a smile at the cash register every time you use it, too! Stand up and be counted. Become a card-carrying Fool today.

Tim Beyers doesn't own shares of any of the companies mentioned here. He's a travel geek who considers it a sport to find out how much moolah he can squeeze out of affinity programs. His wife doesn't understand the obsession, but she digs the free travel.


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Tim Beyers
TMFMileHigh

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At Fool.com, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at timbeyers.me or send email to tbeyers@fool.com. For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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