Suppose I told you I was willing to loan you money, interest-free, for six months. If you could pay it back within a year, you’d have a free loan.
Now imagine there are a dozen people just like me, all ready to give you the same offer. If you could roll your debt from one person to the next, taking advantage of each year-long, interest-free loan, you could pay off your debt without ever having to pay a dime in interest.
Sound too good to be true? It’s called 0% APR introductory offers, and I grilled three credit card companies on how to use these 0% APR balance transfer offers to beat them at their own game: paying down your credit card debt, without paying interest. Here’s how to do it, step by step.
Round 1: American Express Blue Sky Card
My first call was to American Express, for their Blue Sky card, which offers a six-month 0% APR for new cardmembers. I quickly learned that all 0% APR offers are not created equal: American Express only offers a 0% APR on new purchases, not balance transfers.
I spoke with a nice young woman named Cherise. I needed a cover story, so I told her I was $10,000 in debt from a bad investment in a cheese farm, and I wanted to pay it off interest-free. She offered me the Hilton HHonors American Express instead, which has their lowest APR of 2.9% for the first six months, with no annual fee.
“Hilton HHonors,” I said. “Is that named after Paris Hilton?”
“But it is named after the Hilton hotel chain?”
“Which is named after the Hilton family?”
A pause. “Yes.”
“So, technically, it’s named after Paris Hilton.”
From her silence, I guessed this was a yes.
I also thought it was weird that it was called the Hilton HHonors, since Paris Hilton is not that hhonorable. But I wasn’t interested in winning the argument, I was interested in beating the credit card companies. So I thanked Cherise, and hung up. American Express had no 0% APR offers I would be interested in.
On my next call, though, I hit paydirt.
- Hilton HHonors Platinum Credit Card from American Express
- Citi Hilton HHonorsTM Visa Signature Card
- American Express Credit Cards
- Forgive Us Our Debts: The Debt Counseling Experiment
- The 0% APR Experiment: Part 2
- Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
- Instant Frustration: The Instant Approval Credit Card Experiment – Part 3