What do you do with your cash back rewards?

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What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby OnBoard » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:56 pm

I recently got the Fido AmEx. For those of you who have it, or another cash back card, what do you do with your cash back rewards?

Invest? Splurge? Pay down debt? Other?
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby YttriumNitrate » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:01 pm

The Fidelity Amex rebates automatically get put into the primary money market account monthly, so it's super easy to just invest them along with any other contributions/dividends for that month.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby cflannagan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:04 pm

It depends on the rewards card.

For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.

For Penfed Cash Rewards (which has since been devalued some), I mostly also get Amazon gift cards, but on occasions also get restaurant gift cards (like Red Robin) if it's under "Hot Deal" where we get more than a penny per point.

For Chase Freedom, I mostly apply it directly to the next bill.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby greenspam » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:06 pm

mine (W-F 1%) goes straight to the mortgage principal on primary home.
typically $50 a month on $5k spending and i always pay cc in full and on time.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby pennstater2005 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:08 pm

My cash rewards automatically appear as a credit on my next statement. I like that.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby P&C actuary » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:09 pm

For Chase Freedom, I buy gift cards when they are offered at savings of 10 to 20%.

For Costco, I have to bring an annual refund check to the store. Spend some of it and take the rest in cash.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby dgm » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:15 pm

I tend to just put it towards the balance.

If I put it towards something else, I am afraid I will unconsciously spend more because I want to 'get more rewards' when I otherwise wouldn't have bought the item in the first place.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Andyrunner » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:16 pm

Chase Freedom. I usually buy gift cards with 20% off. With Land Ends sales and the gift card at 20% off I ended up paying 15-20 bucks on dress shirts normally priced at 45-50 dollars.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby MoonOrb » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:28 pm

I have a Costco Amex and use the reward check to buy groceries.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby mhc » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:33 pm

pennstater2005 wrote:My cash rewards automatically appear as a credit on my next statement. I like that.


I do this with my cap one card.

Easy and requires no manual intervention once it is set up.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Aptenodytes » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:40 pm

We charge most expenses on the Fidelity Amex, which is linked to my Fidelity SEP-IRA. So the rewards just get dumped in the SEP-IRA automatically. The ratio of self-employment income and cash-back rewards is about right, or close enough, so I just keep this on auto-pilot.

Our other cards are more narrow in scope (Amazon-only, gas-only, Amtrak-only, etc.) and we just take those as cash without worrying about it.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby chaz » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:40 pm

I apply it directly to the next bill.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby abuss368 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:43 pm

U Promise credit card. College rewards credited quarterly to the 529 plans. It is incredible how fast they accumulate.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby MnD » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:44 pm

Next statement credits on the cash back cards and first class tickets (or first class upgrades) on the miles from miles cards.
Costco Amex sends a paper check annually and that gets spent at Costco.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby lhl12 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:46 pm

YttriumNitrate wrote:The Fidelity Amex rebates automatically get put into the primary money market account monthly, so it's super easy to just invest them along with any other contributions/dividends for that month.


This.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby frugaltype » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:48 pm

chaz wrote:I apply it directly to the next bill.


+1
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby climber2020 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:53 pm

cflannagan wrote:For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.


I've always wondered about this: if you use reward points to pay for a purchase on Amazon, do you still get reward points for said purchase?
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby cflannagan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:57 pm

climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.


I've always wondered about this: if you use reward points to pay for a purchase on Amazon, do you still get reward points for said purchase?


No, you only collect reward points for anything that's actually charged using Amazon Rewards Card. So, no points for using points ;)
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby icefr » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:00 pm

For my Amazon.com visa, I used to take it as a statement credit once it reaches $20. Now I transfer it to checking and make a payment on my mortgage with it. I'll go back to statement credits once I close the checking account in a few more months. Statement credits reduce the auto-pay on the visa, so that results in a bit of 'excess' money in my checking account.

I used to use the Amazon.com points at checkout until I realized you could apply a statement credit instead. Otherwise, I was losing 3 points on my Amazon.com purchases...

For my credit union visa, they automatically deposit the rewards in my savings account each month. I transfer them to checking and then round them up with the 'excess' money in my checking and send that to the mortgage at the end of the month.

I haven't decided what I'll do with the Fidelity Amex rewards yet, but they will be auto-deposited into the Cash Management account. It'll probably only cash out a couple times a year though since the minimum to cash out is $50 and my spending is fairly low. I'll either try to send it to the mortgage directly or send it to my primary checking account and then it'll get rounded up.

Once the mortgage is paid off, then the 'excess' in checking will be sent to taxable investments.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Kosmo » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:02 pm

Gift cards. I usually redeem all my points towards the end of the year and use the gift cards for Christmas purchases.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby climber2020 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:08 pm

cflannagan wrote:
climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.


I've always wondered about this: if you use reward points to pay for a purchase on Amazon, do you still get reward points for said purchase?


No, you only collect reward points for anything that's actually charged using Amazon Rewards Card. So, no points for using points ;)


If that is the case, isn't it counterproductive to use points for purchases? I'd rather redeem my points in the form of a cash check and use a credit card to buy things so the points continue to rack up.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby mhop » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:10 pm

For the Fidelity Amex Retirement Awards people:

Does cash back count towards the annual IRA contribution limit or does another account get created outside of your IRA which you can use to transfer money in?
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby cflannagan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:19 pm

climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:
climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.


I've always wondered about this: if you use reward points to pay for a purchase on Amazon, do you still get reward points for said purchase?


No, you only collect reward points for anything that's actually charged using Amazon Rewards Card. So, no points for using points ;)


If that is the case, isn't it counterproductive to use points for purchases? I'd rather redeem my points in the form of a cash check and use a credit card to buy things so the points continue to rack up.


Yep, I guess you're right. Does Amazon Rewards even allow me to redeem points in form of cash check or some other forms?
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby ddunca1944 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:40 pm

We get cash rewards from Chase Freedom and Costco Amex. I cash the Costco Amex and put it in my Christmas fund. I also take the Chase rewards cash in Nov and put that in the Christmas fund.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby icefr » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:43 pm

cflannagan wrote:
climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:
climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.


I've always wondered about this: if you use reward points to pay for a purchase on Amazon, do you still get reward points for said purchase?


No, you only collect reward points for anything that's actually charged using Amazon Rewards Card. So, no points for using points ;)


If that is the case, isn't it counterproductive to use points for purchases? I'd rather redeem my points in the form of a cash check and use a credit card to buy things so the points continue to rack up.


Yep, I guess you're right. Does Amazon Rewards even allow me to redeem points in form of cash check or some other forms?


Yep. You can log onto the Chase website and ask for a statement credit or a deposit to a Chase banking account, if you have one. That's what I do. You just have to have accumulated more than $20 or 2,000 points.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby YttriumNitrate » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:30 pm

mhop wrote:For the Fidelity Amex Retirement Awards people:
Does cash back count towards the annual IRA contribution limit or does another account get created outside of your IRA which you can use to transfer money in?


I've got a taxable account and an IRA account at Fidelity. The rebates go into the money market fund of the taxable account and then can be transferred over. I'm not sure how it would work if you only had an IRA.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Sam I Am » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:54 pm

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby abuss368 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:59 pm

Besides the U Pormise card that I noted above, the only other rewards card that caught my attention is the home mortgage one from Wells Fargo. The rewards are credited to the mortgage pay down. Interesting.

Has anyone used that card?
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby BolderBoy » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:13 pm

P&C actuary wrote:For Costco, I have to bring an annual refund check to the store. Spend some of it and take the rest in cash.

I got my check last week and took it to Costco. The clerk (mega-efficient guy to whom I always go for checkout) said to put the purchases on the Amex card and take the check value in cash, so as to get the reward on the card.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Toons » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:35 pm

With my Amazon Rewards card I buy more Stuff from Amazon :happy
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby kenyan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:13 pm

YttriumNitrate wrote:
mhop wrote:For the Fidelity Amex Retirement Awards people:
Does cash back count towards the annual IRA contribution limit or does another account get created outside of your IRA which you can use to transfer money in?


I've got a taxable account and an IRA account at Fidelity. The rebates go into the money market fund of the taxable account and then can be transferred over. I'm not sure how it would work if you only had an IRA.


The rewards would not allow you to exceed your regular contribution limits.

My personal rewards go into our children's 529 accounts.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby tylerdurden » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:51 pm

Discover and Chase Freedom: redeem for gift cards with 10-20% discounts (restaurants, department stores, etc.).
Amazon Rewards: redeem for direct discount at Amazon.
AMEX Blue Cash Preferred: just started using this card, so not sure yet.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Atilla » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:03 pm

Vacation slush fund.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby teacher » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:10 am

Nana Money :happy
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby yukon50 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:00 am

Does anyone transfer Chase Freedom points to miles partners? Or save them to use them for 1.25 cents on flights?
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby ddunca1944 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:30 am

yukon50 wrote:Does anyone transfer Chase Freedom points to miles partners? Or save them to use them for 1.25 cents on flights?


I don't know how to do this. I've looked specifically for this on the UltimatemRewards page and have not found a way. I thought it was onkynpossible with the Sapphire card.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby sesq » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:43 am

ddunca1944 wrote:
yukon50 wrote:Does anyone transfer Chase Freedom points to miles partners? Or save them to use them for 1.25 cents on flights?


I don't know how to do this. I've looked specifically for this on the UltimatemRewards page and have not found a way. I thought it was onkynpossible with the Sapphire card.


You need to pair the Freedom with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Bold or Ink Plus to do this. I think the Ink Bold/Plus is the best all around card on the block (good sign up bonus, good category spend multipliers, good cash out options, Chase will waive the annual fee on retentions if there is enough spend (unlike CSP)). Its meant for businesses, but folks have been known to get them with liberal definitions of businesses (e-bay selling, etc).

To answer the OP, I milk sign on bonuses and redeem for my annual family vacations, or take statement credits on the pure cashback cards.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby ddunca1944 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:58 am

sesq wrote:
ddunca1944 wrote:
yukon50 wrote:Does anyone transfer Chase Freedom points to miles partners? Or save them to use them for 1.25 cents on flights?


I don't know how to do this. I've looked specifically for this on the UltimatemRewards page and have not found a way. I thought it was onkynpossible with the Sapphire card.


You need to pair the Freedom with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Bold or Ink Plus to do this. I think the Ink Bold/Plus is the best all around card on the block (good sign up bonus, good category spend multipliers, good cash out options, Chase will waive the annual fee on retentions if there is enough spend (unlike CSP)). Its meant for businesses, but folks have been known to get them with liberal definitions of businesses (e-bay selling, etc).

To answer the OP, I milk sign on bonuses and redeem for my annual family vacations, or take statement credits on the pure cashback cards.


Thanks for that info. I don't have (or want) the Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Cards....
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Alexandria » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:57 pm

Put it all to mortgage (only debt).

Fidelity rewards go directly into my Roth. Since I'd max out anyway, I usually just pay equal amount to mortgage. All other rewards are literally cash in hand.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby yukon50 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:27 am

sesq wrote:
ddunca1944 wrote:
yukon50 wrote:Does anyone transfer Chase Freedom points to miles partners? Or save them to use them for 1.25 cents on flights?


I don't know how to do this. I've looked specifically for this on the UltimatemRewards page and have not found a way. I thought it was onkynpossible with the Sapphire card.


You need to pair the Freedom with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Bold or Ink Plus to do this. I think the Ink Bold/Plus is the best all around card on the block (good sign up bonus, good category spend multipliers, good cash out options, Chase will waive the annual fee on retentions if there is enough spend (unlike CSP)). Its meant for businesses, but folks have been known to get them with liberal definitions of businesses (e-bay selling, etc).

To answer the OP, I milk sign on bonuses and redeem for my annual family vacations, or take statement credits on the pure cashback cards.


Yes, this is true. You need to pair with one of the transferable cards.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Cherokee8215 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:01 am

I manually request a statement credit and then go out for a nice steak dinner for roughly that amount.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby fizxman » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:23 am

Chase Freedom - I buy Christmas gifts through the Ultimate Rewards website on Cyber Monday. Last year wasn't too good but the year before I got my girlfriend a $600 iPad for 48,000 pts ≈ $480; 20% off! Or, since it's linked to my Amazon account, I spend the points there. Last year I bought my parents a Roomba, for free!
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Sunny Sarkar » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:48 am

OnBoard wrote:I recently got the Fido AmEx. For those of you who have it, or another cash back card, what do you do with your cash back rewards?

Invest? Splurge? Pay down debt? Other?

My Fido AmEx is auto payed and the 2% rewards auto redeemed & auto invested into a 529 account every month. I'm lazy, and really like everything automated.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby JPH » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:51 am

I apply it to my balance.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby blurryvision » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:26 pm

Me and my wife use our Chase Ultimate Rewards points and convert them to United Airlines or Southwest Airlines miles. We haven't paid for a domestic or international flight over the the past 2 years! This is not counting taxes and fuel charges. While getting cash back can be sensible, we find it rather boring and find it more exciting to redeem our points for free flights, which can be worth much more than 1 point = 1 cent value.

Note: in order to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points you need a premium Chase card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Ink Bold / Ink Plus Business cards. These cards do have $95 annual fees, but the fee can be worth it especially if the points are used for far more expensive flights.

More discussion on frequent flyer miles can be found at flyertalk.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Hector » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:03 pm

I personally find these sorts of questions funny. What do you do with your cash back? What do you do with your tax return?

One of my financial goals is to retire comfortably. Investing excites me more than spending.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby cflannagan » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:27 pm

Hector wrote:I personally find these sorts of questions funny. What do you do with your cash back? What do you do with your tax return?

One of my financial goals is to retire comfortably. Investing excites me more than spending.


Not only do we all invest, we all spend as well. Might as well see how far we can stretch our dollars when we spend.

I get back in tune of $500-$600 plus back a year. Nothing to sneeze at.

If you want to disregard $500-$600 a year, you might as well ignore ER of funds you invest in completely and go with a higher ER. After all, maybe you do find $500-$600 as something to sneeze at.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby market timer » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:00 pm

I've recently switched to the Barclays Arrival card for everyday spending: 2.2 cents back per dollar spent if redeemed for travel.
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby madbrain » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:58 pm

The same thing as with the rest of the cash I get from my salary.

The cash back gets automatically deposited to my Fidelity Cash account, which is the main account out of which we pay our bills and everything else, including the auto-pay to both the Fidelity VISA and Amex, and the twice a month contributions to our Vanguard account ;)
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Re: What do you do with your cash back rewards?

Postby Rob5TCP » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:06 am

climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:
climber2020 wrote:
cflannagan wrote:For Amazon Rewards card, I can at anytime apply the reward points toward checkout balance.


I've always wondered about this: if you use reward points to pay for a purchase on Amazon, do you still get reward points for said purchase?


No, you only collect reward points for anything that's actually charged using Amazon Rewards Card. So, no points for using points ;)


If that is the case, isn't it counterproductive to use points for purchases? I'd rather redeem my points in the form of a cash check and use a credit card to buy things so the points continue to rack up.



That is the case with Capital one - but it's only a 2% hit (so if I redeem $2,000 in points, I only lose $40). Capital one, for maximum percentage the redemption need to be travel related.
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