Why You Need to Put Away Your HAS Advantage Credit Card For Good


Last updated: May 27, 2014

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Years ago, at a pro-Israel event in Manhattan (a concert in a park with Israeli bands), before I knew anything about credit cards, credit, points, and miles, I was suckered into signing up for a HAS Advantage Visa card, allowing me to earn points to fly to Israel with El Al. There was a picture of the Kotel on the card so it had to be good. Right?

For those that don’t know anything about how credit cards work today, or the types of bonuses and points earnings you’re able to get from credit cards today, you’re none the wiser. To you, earning 1% back on your purchases for with cash back, or to use with El Al’s Matmid program, sounds like a good deal. Well, it’s not. It’s probably one of the worst deals in the entire credit card space today.

Making matters worse, HAS has recently announced that due to a dispute with El Al, card holders will no longer be able to earn Matmid points with their spending on this card.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 6.48.39 PMThe only thing this card has going for it (besides for tugging at your heart strings and love for Israel) is the fact that there’s no annual fee. That means you don’t have to actually cancel this card (which I do not recommend doing for this or any “free card” you have in your name), but rather I recommend just stop using it, write VOID on the back, and bury it in a closet somewhere. Maybe even chop it up. But don’t cancel the card.

WHY should you never use this card again?

  1. Nearly every other credit card on the market gives you a sign up bonus
    • This card gave you no sign up bonus. Nothing. Below I will recommend a couple cards worth looking into that give you at least $100+ worth of points just for signing up.
  2. Nearly every other credit card on the market gives you better earning potential with your regular spending habits.
  3. (When this was available) Earning El Al’s Matmid points are worthless.
    • OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but compared to the vast majority of airline programs in the world, this is a pretty awful program.
    • According to DansDeals:
    • El Al has a fairly terrible frequent flyer program.
      Points from flights expire after 3 years, redemption rates are pretty awful, and they charge a huge fuel surcharge ($350 in total fees for JFK-TLV) on redemptions to boot.
      Adding insult to injury: They also charge $25 to join the program.

    • Why use a card that ties your rewards with one airline and few partners versus a global airline with many more partners and flexible points like Avios points from British Airways, which you can use on a number of international partner airlines.
  4. Consumer Protection. Period.
    • Banks that issue their own credit cards are typically the ones responsible for paying off your purchases (whether you pay the credit card company or not). But because of that, they’re able to protect you as a consumer when something goes wrong. American Express is the best at protecting their card members in a multitude of ways, which I go into detail on this post for the Starwood American Express card. AMEX has been ranked as the top in customer satisfaction for 7 years running, and it’s no wonder why. Chase also does a decent job at protecting their card holders, especially if you have the Sapphire Preferred or INK cards, but still not as good as AMEX’s benefits.
    • Having said all of this, you do not get these protections and benefits from HAS Advantage. There is no “Advantage” to using this card on your purchases.
  5. Donations to Israeli Charities. This was something that set HAS apart. It allowed you automatically set aside your points for charities. Here’s the problem:
    • The same way that you are earning 1% of your spending on this card towards El Al flights, you’re also only earning 1% for the charities you want to donate to. With some of the above examples, those cards allow you to earn 2-6% cash back or points depending on what you’re spending it on, let alone being more flexible and valuable.
    • Assuming you used a different credit card and earned greater than 1% back, you can instead use those points yourself make a credit card payment to the Israeli charity of your choice which will:
      1. …be able to donate more because you will be earning more
      2. …be able to make a tax deductible contribution, which HAS points contributions are not (although HAS may get the tax deductible for your earned money)
      3. … be able to earn points/cash back on the tax donation made with a different card
    • Even in this case, using the HAS card doesn’t make sense.

 

With this useless card in your wallet, now’s the time to look into multiple options to replace this one. Here are my favorite 6 cards, all of which are far superior to the HAS Advantage. Would love your comments below on your preferred cards instead of the HAS.

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  • Bethany Mandel

    and they constantly called me for entering a jdeal contest once.

  • Jacob

    When I worked for them they fired me cause I didn’t wanna drive shabbos so probably a bad card . It was at least 7 years ago so maybe they changed ?

  • Ira Feldman

    Shalom Dani, I lost my wallet at NYC Kennedy Airport. A Jew found it, reported it but refused to hand over only to me because he looked inside and saw my HAS Kotel Credit card. Not even the NYc Cops could get it away from him, he demanded that he give it to me, personally. So when I was found they brought me to him, I showed this man my Passport, and with a big hug and a smile he gave me my wallet. Dani you are an אידיוט, there are so many things in this world worth more than money. I have a Doctorate, was a Graduate Scool Dean, admitted and expelled MBA students, so I out rank you and its clear you did not learn anything in your classes in interpersonal relationships.

    • Hi Ira,
      For some reason, you’ve taken this post personally, and attacked me as a result.

      Firstly, this post discusses the values of using the HAS card as credit card vis a vis every other credit card in the marketplace. The value that this card provides consumers strictly in this perspective is negligible. Based on your story, you can cancel your HAS card and continue to keep it in your wallet so that you can get achieve this result again.

      Secondly, I find it ironic that in the same paragraph of touting yourself as “outranking” someone else, you proceed to brag about your academic & professional highlights and call me an “idiot”. If that is not the opposite of “developing interpersonal relationships”, I don’t know what is.

      There are a lot of things you can learn in schools, Ira. Apparently “class” isn’t one of them.

    • This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever read here.

      Dani posted this a year ago, and I’m not sure what your Kotel card has to do with your experience and how this post has any bearing on it.

      Also, outrank is one word. Scool [sic] has an “h” in it. You may have a “Doctorate” with a capital D, but you have no idea how to spell.

      P.S. I can’t find anyone named Ira Feldman who was a graduate school dean.

  • inaaya bint musab

    It was permitted with the original tithe to convert your produce & livestock to money and take it to yerushalayim to buy whatever you desire there and enjoy it there with your family. So ….can’t we do the same by buying what we desire using the HAS card since it is benefiting yisraEL.?