What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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VictoriaF
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:03 pm

madbrain wrote:I am aware of the trick with Costco gift cards, and I do shop a lot at Costco. I don't like to buy high value gift cards, though. They can be lost or stolen, and there is sometimes fraud on gift cards too which is worse than with credit cards. I have been reading about manufactured spending and realize that many people use them for that purpose, but I'm not really convinced the risks outweigh the rewards. And once in a while, I buy items at Costco that I might want to use some of the card benefits on, like extended warranty, which would not be available if purchased with gift cards.
Gift card spending and balances are also much harder to track as I'm not aware of any Quicken download feature for Costco cash cards. Do they have any kind of online access feature ?


Gift cards are tricky: you have to exchange them for cash in Wal-Mart or buy money orders or something like that, which is complicated and error-prone.

Costco Cash Cards are different. You buy them on-line on the Costco web site with a credit card, they arrive a few days later by regular mail, you have to call Costco to activate them. I have never lost a Costco Cash Card, but I think if I did, Costco would send me a replacement card with the same balance.

Using them very easy. I frequently shop at Costco and use Cash Cards at the checkout. My receipt provides detailed information on how much was deducted from my balance and how much remains.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

boater07
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by boater07 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:11 pm

What am I missing about the costco cash cards. :confused I get the 5% for buying it but then the cash card
doesn't get the discount when using it.

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VictoriaF
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:15 pm

boater07 wrote:What am I missing about the costco cash cards. :confused I get the 5% for buying it but then the cash card
doesn't get the discount when using it.


That's right. For me, the 5% on Freedom is more valuable than other discounts, because in combination with Chase Sapphire Preferred, I can exchange Ultimate Rewards points for airline miles.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

boater07
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by boater07 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:22 pm

Thanks. Just switched my CSP to Freedom which fouls up that strategy since I can now only get cash back/
Live and learn

nobodyukno
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by nobodyukno » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:48 pm

I've read through the majority of these posts, but not all.

For those of you that buy pretty much everything on your cards, does this affect your credit score? I have $10,000 credit lines on a Citi Card and a Discover card and if I use like 20-30% of my credit line on one card in a month my credit score takes a pretty substantial hit. Do you guys have huge credit lines?

And does having all these credit cards hurt your credit score as well?

Thanks

madbrain
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by madbrain » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:51 pm

nobodyukno wrote:I've read through the majority of these posts, but not all.

For those of you that buy pretty much everything on your cards, does this affect your credit score? I have $10,000 credit lines on a Citi Card and a Discover card and if I use like 20-30% of my credit line on one card in a month my credit score takes a pretty substantial hit. Do you guys have huge credit lines?

And does having all these credit cards hurt your credit score as well?

Thanks


Most of my cards are between $15k - $20k credit lines. I have gone up to $8k spending on one card during trips. I don't watch my credit score every month. But the balance is always on autopay, and the trend of my credit score has been up, when not doing any credit card applications. Suspect it will go down now that I applied for one card, and may apply for more.

Edit: Chase gave me a $32k credit line on my Sapphire Preferred. Seems high.

The Amex Costco web site shows my FICO as being 849 out of a possible 850 as of last may.
Credit karma shows 812 and 814 out of 850 for two of the bureaus.
Guess they all must used slightly different scores.
Last edited by madbrain on Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

guitarguy
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:52 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
boater07 wrote:What am I missing about the costco cash cards. :confused I get the 5% for buying it but then the cash card
doesn't get the discount when using it.


That's right. For me, the 5% on Freedom is more valuable than other discounts, because in combination with Chase Sapphire Preferred, I can exchange Ultimate Rewards points for airline miles.

Victoria


This transfer capability is pretty valuable. I think going forward, my "long term plan" will be to hang on to the CSP and eat the $95 AF for this ability to transfer points. I plan on getting the Ink Plus later this year for the huge bonus, then after a year or 2...minding the 5/24 rule...I will cancel that and switch to the no AF Ink Cash, which basically has the same benefits (5% on phone/cable/etc and at office supply stores) just with a $25k annual limit rather than $50k. I won't hit either limit...so no matter.

I figure, theoretically, that I could cycle the Ink cards every few years for the bonuses, and just keep the CSP for the long haul throughout the process. Then regardless of which Ink card I'm holding I'll be able to have the ability to transfer the points, and simply paying my AT&T bill with one of the Ink cards will more than offset the annual fee for the CSP.

As much as I'd love to just go 100% all in with Chase UR points...I can't justify not using my BCP for 6% on groceries (closer to 5% with the AF factored in) or my PenFed for 5% on gas. I figure, I'll stick to these for groceries and gas with the exception of when the Freedom has 5% in those categories. That seems like the most valuable reward overall and it'll take precedent.

If I could figure out a way to get 5% or close to it on groceries year round with a Chase card...I would downgrade the BCP to avoid the AF and basically go all in with Chase. But as of now I can't see how to do that.

munemaker
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by munemaker » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:11 am

madbrain wrote:
Most of my cards are between $15k - $20k credit lines. I have gone up to $8k spending on one card during trips. I don't watch my credit score every month. But the balance is always on autopay, and the trend of my credit score has been up, when not doing any credit card applications. Suspect it will go down now that I applied for one card, and may apply for more.

Edit: Chase gave me a $32k credit line on my Sapphire Preferred. Seems high.

The Amex Costco web site shows my FICO as being 849 out of a possible 850 as of last may.
Credit karma shows 812 and 814 out of 850 for two of the bureaus.
Guess they all must used slightly different scores.


Thanks for letting us know. You are the greatest!

SRenaeP
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SRenaeP » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:01 am

nobodyukno wrote:I've read through the majority of these posts, but not all.

For those of you that buy pretty much everything on your cards, does this affect your credit score? I have $10,000 credit lines on a Citi Card and a Discover card and if I use like 20-30% of my credit line on one card in a month my credit score takes a pretty substantial hit. Do you guys have huge credit lines?

And does having all these credit cards hurt your credit score as well?

Thanks


My credit score has dropped since I've started CC churning. When I checked earlier this month, it was 792 which was down from the previous high of 804 or so. On my primary cards, the limits are $20-30k. On the churn cards, I typically have $10-18k limits. However, I don't do MS so I rarely have a bill higher than $4k in any given month. A typical bill is less than $3k.

-Steph

Lindrobe
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Lindrobe » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:37 am

For those of you that buy pretty much everything on your cards, does this affect your credit score? I have $10,000 credit lines on a Citi Card and a Discover card and if I use like 20-30% of my credit line on one card in a month my credit score takes a pretty substantial hit. Do you guys have huge credit lines?


My credit line is $32,000 for my Chase Sapphire, husband's is $32,000 for his Chase Marriott Rewards. We charge EVERYTHING every month. Our credit scores are both over 800.

BW1985
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:22 am

I haven't checked my credit score since I started churning. It's not like it would drop enough just from opening cards to not allow you to open new cards, 10-20 points just doesn't matter. I would only worry about it if your credit was already suspect to being with.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

travellight
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by travellight » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:56 am

Is Freedom the only card that gives 5x on Costco and is that always the case? Is there ever a bonus for getting Freedom? I haven't seen it and I would think not because it is a free card, right?

I am also running out of churning options. I recently got the citi prestige which I had to pay for. Waiting to cycle back into a Chase card this summer when my two years probation is up. With AMEX's lifetime exclusion, I don't think I'll do any more of those. I just applied for IHG and haven't heard back and hope to try the Chase Hyatt later. I have a Chase Ink, the United mileage plus explorer, the Citi American Airlines platinum advantage card, a Citi Thank you points card and the Citi prestige, plus a wells Fargo, and two Capitol One cards and the Amex blue which I don't use at all and want to cancel but it is free and old/long standing. My score has not gone below 820 that I am aware of.

Does anyone know if the two year rule starts with the date you last opened a card, the date you last closed the card, or the date you last applied for the card? If it is the last one, it is penalty for trying unsuccessfully, if it is the date you last closed the card you should close asap as the clock resets faster.

Da5id
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Da5id » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:59 am

travellight wrote:Is Freedom the only card that gives 5x on Costco and is that always the case? Is there ever a bonus for getting Freedom? I haven't seen it and I would think not because it is a free card, right?


Freedom normally rotates 5% categories quarterly. But for whatever reason, warehouses including Costco are 5% (with dollar and other restrictions) for rest of year. Good deal for category of the quarter, but downside is you need to keep track of that and some find that more trouble than it is worth. I have a cheat sheet next to my cards in my wallet and can glance at it if in doubt of what to use.

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VirtualCuriosity
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VirtualCuriosity » Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:56 pm

nobodyukno wrote:I've read through the majority of these posts, but not all.

For those of you that buy pretty much everything on your cards, does this affect your credit score? I have $10,000 credit lines on a Citi Card and a Discover card and if I use like 20-30% of my credit line on one card in a month my credit score takes a pretty substantial hit. Do you guys have huge credit lines?

And does having all these credit cards hurt your credit score as well?

Thanks


Yes, I used to. But, I have no interest (no pun intended) now in worrying about small score fluctuations beacuse we are not planning a home or auto purchase any time in the near future. Scores are in a range where it shouldn't make much difference anyway. I do monitor once a month just in case a balance shows up. As far as the credit lines, I chopped them down to 1k (for utilities and gas/grocery cards) to 5k (for every day Amex card) from the much larger credit lines that meant nothing to me personally. Only once or twice did I have to pay the balance twice in the same month to make room during a few home improvement purchases on a card that I received rewards for said improvements. The motivating factor was due to an attempted fraudulent charge on a card, which the carrier caught immediately. I know that you're not responsible for fraudulent charges if successful, but I wouldn't lend further satisfaction to a thief (thieves) with access to a much larger credit line. We also have our credit frozen with the bureaus (which I think is important for everyone these days). That's just my feelings on the subject; right, wrong, or indifferent.

7thSunday
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 7thSunday » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:04 pm

Wow! After quickly skimming through all of these posts l must say I find all this very interesting & intriguing. I have had the same Discover Card (1% back after spending over $3k each year) for 18 years and always thought that was something special. Maybe 18 years ago it was? I have a Wells Fargo Visa that gives me reward points for merchandise and thought that was special too. Sad to think what I have missed out on all these years. O well,..

I have always totally ignored and shredded all cc offers that arrived in the mail. Plus, just too busy making a living to be concerned with the small print which I felt must surely be there. “What’s the catch” I would say to myself. It sounds just too good to be true. But, these posts show that is not the case.

I still have concerns. My credit score is very high, always has been. I have never, ever missed a payment in my life on anything. I don’t want to see that high ranking go down because of applying/getting more credit. That is just ingrained in me I guess. Being retired now and having no need for major purchases anymore, I am not sure if the high credit score should matter to me anymore? Should it?

And, I have frozen my credit reports at all three agencies. In applying for new credit, does anyone know if all three need to be opened up for access? A fee each time to open and then a fee again to close them up. Not a big deal for me but I don’t like the thought of the credit reports open to all with my applications going out in the world like that.

Do you find you start getting even more cc offers than before in the mail after you apply for one or two more?

Thanks,
What a great help this site!

akpk
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by akpk » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:49 pm

7thSunday wrote:And, I have frozen my credit reports at all three agencies. In applying for new credit, does anyone know if all three need to be opened up for access? A fee each time to open and then a fee again to close them up.


1.Generally, All need to be opened up. Most CC issuers will hit only one of them (Capital One will hit all three reports).
2. You will just need to pay for unfreeze the report ($10 for each report). When you lift the freeze you can specify after how many days it will refreeze automatically.

One good side affect of having the credit reports frozen is that now i don't make impulsive decision of opening new credit card if great offer comes along :D ...I believe at end of the day best card is 2% cashback with no annual fee. Never understood the points game.

giesen5
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:32 pm

akpk wrote:
7thSunday wrote: Never understood the points game.


I never understood it either. But now 6 months in I have 4 free round trip tickets to Italy and $2000 to cover lodging. I am kind of a geek though, love researching this kind of stuff.

ETA: I will have all those tickets and lodging rewards in September, so actually it will take 9-10 months, not 6. But, I did start late this year - first card in January, second card end of March, then a flurry until now - a total of 10 cards between my wife and I.

traveltoomuch
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by traveltoomuch » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:21 pm

akpk wrote:1.Generally, All need to be opened up. Most CC issuers will hit only one of them (Capital One will hit all three reports).


I'd give the opposite answer, for the same reason. Wait for the call or letter from the issuer - they might tell you which report they want opened.

In the case of Chase, I'd had them ask for Experian, and Chase can use a (free) one-time PIN from Experian.

I've seen Bank of America ask for all three in their letter, but they really only need or want one - wait for the denial, temporarily lift the freeze (paying for the privilege since BofA can't use a PIN), and call them to tell them which agency is open for them.

nobodyukno
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by nobodyukno » Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:22 pm

Ok so with all the knowledgeable credit card gurus on this thread, I figured I'd post my situation and have you guys suggest the best strategy. My wife and I recently got married a few months ago so now is a good time figure out our credit card strategy.

Our current situation:

Me:

1.) Citi Thank You Preferred Card (2 points on dining and entertainment 1 point on everything else)

I use this card for all dining purchases and all other random purchases.

2.) Discover Card (I'm not even sure what type of Discover card this is. I got it in college as my first card. I know I get 2 points back on gas but I don't think anything else)

I use this card just for gas.

Wife:

1.) Discover Card (Same situation as above)

She only uses this card for gas.

Charges

So as it is just me and my wife currently, we typically spend about $400/mo on groceries, $200/mo on gas, and $200/mo on dining.

With our current cards, I don't think we're maximizing our grocery spending at all.

Reward Goals

I would say I don't necessarily have one type of reward in mind, but rather simply as getting the most value back as possible. If anything, I would say we would like travel rewards as much as possible as her parents live in Florida and we fly there at least 2-3 times a year simply looking for the cheapest flight possible not necessarily staying loyal to one airline. We have typically flown Frontier more recently. In addition to these 2-3 flights a year, we like to take our own vacation requiring flights at least 1-2 times a year for a total of 3-5 flights a year for the both of us.

I have used my Citi Thank You points to redeem for flights. We have yet to redeem our Discover points, but we are planning to eventually redeem those for cruises as they offer 2x the dollar value of the points.

So in summary:

Currently we get 2% back on dining and 1% on other purchases that are used as Thank You Points towards flights. We get 2% back on gas with Discover (effectively 4% back if redeemed for cruises) and not getting really anything back on groceries currently.

So I was thinking of signing up for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred for groceries. Does this only allow cash back or can you redeem for travel rewards as well?

Thanks for the suggestions!

DiMAn0684
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by DiMAn0684 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:54 pm

VictoriaF wrote:2) bonuses create psychological bias towards more spending.

Victoria


This is why I like MS. If I need to spend X dollars to get a bonus I MS that amount within the first few days of getting the card. This way I am never thinking about having to spend money to meet the bonus. I still use most of the cards I get after the initial spending requirement is met, but the pressure to meet that spending requirement is gone!

Bfwolf
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:55 am

nobodyukno wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions!


Have you considered going for the Southwest companion pass?

sunny_socal
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by sunny_socal » Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:26 am

Wow, many people have really figured out elaborate schemes to milk the system! :mrgreen:

It's a little too complicated for me. My current plan is pretty simple:
- Stick to cash rewards only, no travel points
- Costco Visa for gas (4%) and restaurants (3%)
- Fidelity 2% visa for everything else => This money automatically goes into our Emergency Fund

When a shiny new $500 signup offer comes along I'll likely take it, use the card to satisfy the spending requirement and then fall back to my bread & butter cards.

BW1985
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BW1985 » Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:46 am

DiMAn0684 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:2) bonuses create psychological bias towards more spending.

Victoria


This is why I like MS. If I need to spend X dollars to get a bonus I MS that amount within the first few days of getting the card. This way I am never thinking about having to spend money to meet the bonus. I still use most of the cards I get after the initial spending requirement is met, but the pressure to meet that spending requirement is gone!


I like to have a plan ahead of getting the card. For example if I know I have big spend coming up (medical bills, electronics, etc) that I'm going to purchase either way, I'll go ahead and open the new card. Better than getting the card and then feeling the pressure of how you're going to spend which is like the tail wagging the dog.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

ddd
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ddd » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:07 am

VictoriaF wrote:
madbrain wrote:I applied and got approved for a Chase sapphire preferred last week with the 50,000 point signup bonus and $4000 minimum spending in 3 months. It will be satisfied the day the card arrives, and I can leave my card in the drawer after that, where my only other Chase credit card (freedom) has been for years.


After dealing with a couple dozen credit cards in the past two years, I came to a conclusion that I like Chase the best. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom are my favorite cards. I used CSP in Spain for two months (in places where cards were accepted), and it worked flawlessly. I got all my 2x bonuses.

I know that you don't like Freedom's rotating categories, but if you are willing to make an exception, in 2Q, 3Q (and possibly 4Q) of this year, Freedom gives bonuses for spending in wholesale clubs such as Costco. In 2Q, I used Freedom to purchase $1,500 worth of Costco cash cards, and will do the same in 3Q.

Victoria



Hi Victoria,

Have you confirmed that you have received 5% for the $1500 Costco Cash Card purchase from costco.com in Q2? From my credit card statements, it seems that costco.com purchases are coded differently from costco store transactions.

costco.com: MISCELLANEOUS GENERAL MERCHANDISE STORES

costco store: WHOLESALE CLUBS

If Chase used MCC codes to determine merchant types, then costco.com is not in the wholesale clubs category.

Thanks.

guitarguy
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:51 am

BW1985 wrote:
DiMAn0684 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:2) bonuses create psychological bias towards more spending.

Victoria


This is why I like MS. If I need to spend X dollars to get a bonus I MS that amount within the first few days of getting the card. This way I am never thinking about having to spend money to meet the bonus. I still use most of the cards I get after the initial spending requirement is met, but the pressure to meet that spending requirement is gone!


I like to have a plan ahead of getting the card. For example if I know I have big spend coming up (medical bills, electronics, etc) that I'm going to purchase either way, I'll go ahead and open the new card. Better than getting the card and then feeling the pressure of how you're going to spend which is like the tail wagging the dog.


I agree here. I just recently started this...but have decided to try to sign up for a couple of larger minimum spend cards (Sapphire and Ink from Chase) in conjunction with my wife's tuition being due on a given semester. Easy way to meet the spend.

Besides...as I've read...MS is all but dead now...isn't it? How can you even get away with it nowadays? Feel free to PM me to keep secrets safe... :confused

7thSunday
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 7thSunday » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:45 am

After going over all this great information in this thread and taking a close look at all the offers out there, I have decided to apply for five cards that I could immediately benefit from.

- Costco Visa
- Amex Blue Card Everyday
- Chase Amazon Reward Visa
- Chase Freedom Visa
- Southwest Airlines Visa Rapid Rewards

My question is should I apply all at once for all five on the same day? My credit is considered in the “excellent” category. Very long history with nothing at all negative. Or, spread it out and if so, how much time in between? Anyone else every try to apply for five or more cards all at once?

Thank you,
Ken

Drew777
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:39 am

7thSunday wrote:After going over all this great information in this thread and taking a close look at all the offers out there, I have decided to apply for five cards that I could immediately benefit from.

- Costco Visa
- Amex Blue Card Everyday
- Chase Amazon Reward Visa
- Chase Freedom Visa
- Southwest Airlines Visa Rapid Rewards

My question is should I apply all at once for all five on the same day? My credit is considered in the “excellent” category. Very long history with nothing at all negative. Or, spread it out and if so, how much time in between? Anyone else every try to apply for five or more cards all at once?

Thank you,
Ken


I wouldn't expect Chase to approve you for three cards in the same month. Two in the same day is possible though. I would certainly prioritize the Chase cards, particularly if you've opened any new accounts in the last two years. They will not approve you for most of their cards if you've opened more than 5 new accounts in the last two years.

giesen5
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:55 am

I agree. Go for two Chase cards in the same day first. You probably can also apply for two other non-Chase cards at the same time,too.

Look up 2/30 and 2/90 rules for companies. Some only allow two apps in 30/90 days. I can't remember which ones. Also, these rules sometimes seem to not apply, it appears to be different all over the place.

7thSunday
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 7thSunday » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:32 pm

Thanks for the answers.

My issue: I need to unfreeze my credit reports so I wanted to try and do this in one shot to lessen that cost. Not sure how to go about trying to ask them which report(s) they might pull. I can’t find where that is an option.

Thanks,
Ken

slbnoob
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by slbnoob » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:44 pm

7thSunday wrote:After going over all this great information in this thread and taking a close look at all the offers out there, I have decided to apply for five cards that I could immediately benefit from.

- Costco Visa
- Amex Blue Card Everyday
- Chase Amazon Reward Visa
- Chase Freedom Visa
- Southwest Airlines Visa Rapid Rewards

My question is should I apply all at once for all five on the same day? My credit is considered in the “excellent” category. Very long history with nothing at all negative. Or, spread it out and if so, how much time in between? Anyone else every try to apply for five or more cards all at once?

Thank you,
Ken

Read about the Chase 5/24 rule (refer to flyertalk maybe for data points). If you satisfy that condition, I suggest you apply for the Chase Freedom first. The Amazon and Southwest are co-branded cards and seem to be exempt from the 5/24 rule.

bta15
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by bta15 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:36 pm

7thSunday wrote:After going over all this great information in this thread and taking a close look at all the offers out there, I have decided to apply for five cards that I could immediately benefit from.

- Costco Visa
- Amex Blue Card Everyday
- Chase Amazon Reward Visa
- Chase Freedom Visa
- Southwest Airlines Visa Rapid Rewards

My question is should I apply all at once for all five on the same day? My credit is considered in the “excellent” category. Very long history with nothing at all negative. Or, spread it out and if so, how much time in between? Anyone else every try to apply for five or more cards all at once?

Thank you,
Ken


I would get the chase sapphire preferred if you do not have it. It is one of if not the best card out there. And after you get these 5 you will be ineligible for 2 years.

mikep
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by mikep » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:32 pm

I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.

TheRightKost87
Posts: 259
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Location: Boston, MA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TheRightKost87 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:38 pm

mikep wrote:I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.


I just signed up for the CSP and will most likely cancel before the fee comes due. This might be a dumb question, but how do you know when you need to cancel by? Do you just make a note to cancel exactly 1 year from your sign up date (or your first billing date, or something like that) or do you get a warning that you're fee will be due on the next cycle and just cancel before that (I doubt this is the case as they wouldn't want to remind you that you need to cancel). I've never had a fee card before so just curious.

Also - you need to sweep your UR balance out (either use it, cash it out as cash back, or transfer to a partner) prior to cancelling the card in order to not lose the points, right?
"The problem with diversification is that it works, whether or not we want it to"

guitarguy
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:21 am

mikep wrote:I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.


2 UR points are (slightly) more valuable than 3% cash if you're redeeming for for SW flights. Transfer rate is 1:1 and SW points are generally valued at over 1.5 cpp. We just booked a rewards flight and got 1.7 cpp on a SW flight by transferring UR points. So granted not by much...but still better than 3%.

I think the fee for the CSP is one of the only fees I will agree to pay long term. The perk that makes it worth it is the ability to transfer the UR points. You have to have a $95 AF "tier 1" card - either Ink or Sapphire - to combine all the points from Freedom, etc, and transfer.

guitarguy
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:23 am

TheRightKost87 wrote:
mikep wrote:I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.


I just signed up for the CSP and will most likely cancel before the fee comes due. This might be a dumb question, but how do you know when you need to cancel by? Do you just make a note to cancel exactly 1 year from your sign up date (or your first billing date, or something like that) or do you get a warning that you're fee will be due on the next cycle and just cancel before that (I doubt this is the case as they wouldn't want to remind you that you need to cancel). I've never had a fee card before so just curious.

Also - you need to sweep your UR balance out (either use it, cash it out as cash back, or transfer to a partner) prior to cancelling the card in order to not lose the points, right?


From what I understand, about 8-9 months after you get the card is the sweet spot for cancelling before the fee becomes due.

Yes - transfer all of your points out before cancelling or you would (at least I'm pretty certain you would) lose them.

BW1985
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Jun 23, 2016 8:41 am

guitarguy wrote:
TheRightKost87 wrote:
mikep wrote:I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.


I just signed up for the CSP and will most likely cancel before the fee comes due. This might be a dumb question, but how do you know when you need to cancel by? Do you just make a note to cancel exactly 1 year from your sign up date (or your first billing date, or something like that) or do you get a warning that you're fee will be due on the next cycle and just cancel before that (I doubt this is the case as they wouldn't want to remind you that you need to cancel). I've never had a fee card before so just curious.

Also - you need to sweep your UR balance out (either use it, cash it out as cash back, or transfer to a partner) prior to cancelling the card in order to not lose the points, right?


From what I understand, about 8-9 months after you get the card is the sweet spot for cancelling before the fee becomes due.

Yes - transfer all of your points out before cancelling or you would (at least I'm pretty certain you would) lose them.


I don't think you'd lose them if you still had another Chase card open. UR points would just convert to cash-back points and not be eligible for transfer. Then you could hold them if you wanted to until you're eligible to open another card that gets you UR access again. Or, you could transfer before cancelling but you'd have to make the decision on what program to transfer to.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

Bfwolf
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:52 am

You have a 60 day grace period after your CSP annual fee to cancel the card and get the annual fee refunded. http://www.doctorofcredit.com/annual-fe ... uer/#Chase

You must transfer your UR points to a airline/hotel partner or to another UR credit card like the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Freedom before canceling or you will lose all the points.

guitarguy
Posts: 1611
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:37 am

BW1985 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
TheRightKost87 wrote:
mikep wrote:I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.


I just signed up for the CSP and will most likely cancel before the fee comes due. This might be a dumb question, but how do you know when you need to cancel by? Do you just make a note to cancel exactly 1 year from your sign up date (or your first billing date, or something like that) or do you get a warning that you're fee will be due on the next cycle and just cancel before that (I doubt this is the case as they wouldn't want to remind you that you need to cancel). I've never had a fee card before so just curious.

Also - you need to sweep your UR balance out (either use it, cash it out as cash back, or transfer to a partner) prior to cancelling the card in order to not lose the points, right?


From what I understand, about 8-9 months after you get the card is the sweet spot for cancelling before the fee becomes due.

Yes - transfer all of your points out before cancelling or you would (at least I'm pretty certain you would) lose them.


I don't think you'd lose them if you still had another Chase card open. UR points would just convert to cash-back points and not be eligible for transfer. Then you could hold them if you wanted to until you're eligible to open another card that gets you UR access again. Or, you could transfer before cancelling but you'd have to make the decision on what program to transfer to.


I believe you'd have to take action to transfer them off your CSP and onto your Freedom (or another product) to avoid losing them. I certainly wouldn't risk leaving them attached to an account I was going to close! :beer

mikep
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by mikep » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:01 am

guitarguy wrote:
BW1985 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
TheRightKost87 wrote:
mikep wrote:I will be canceling the CSP when my annual fee comes due.
I just got the Costco visa which pays 3% on dining/travel.
My primary use of UR points is transferring to southwest. 3% on Costco visa beats 2x SW points for me, not even considering the $95 AF, and I don't feel the other perks of the card such as rental insurance are worth $95.
I would rather have 3% back and buy the SW tickets with cash (and earn SW points on those purchases), than earn 2x UR to redeem for SW tickets.


I just signed up for the CSP and will most likely cancel before the fee comes due. This might be a dumb question, but how do you know when you need to cancel by? Do you just make a note to cancel exactly 1 year from your sign up date (or your first billing date, or something like that) or do you get a warning that you're fee will be due on the next cycle and just cancel before that (I doubt this is the case as they wouldn't want to remind you that you need to cancel). I've never had a fee card before so just curious.

Also - you need to sweep your UR balance out (either use it, cash it out as cash back, or transfer to a partner) prior to cancelling the card in order to not lose the points, right?


From what I understand, about 8-9 months after you get the card is the sweet spot for cancelling before the fee becomes due.

Yes - transfer all of your points out before cancelling or you would (at least I'm pretty certain you would) lose them.


I don't think you'd lose them if you still had another Chase card open. UR points would just convert to cash-back points and not be eligible for transfer. Then you could hold them if you wanted to until you're eligible to open another card that gets you UR access again. Or, you could transfer before cancelling but you'd have to make the decision on what program to transfer to.


I believe you'd have to take action to transfer them off your CSP and onto your Freedom (or another product) to avoid losing them. I certainly wouldn't risk leaving them attached to an account I was going to close! :beer


Sure, I will transfer them all to SW before I call to cancel of course.

travellight
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Location: San Diego

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by travellight » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:55 pm

Woohooo, I just got approved for ihg card by chase... Just when you think you have exhausted the churning.

SRenaeP
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SRenaeP » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:27 am

travellight wrote:Woohooo, I just got approved for ihg card by chase... Just when you think you have exhausted the churning.


I originally got this card for the sign up bonus and planned to cancel before the annual fee came due. However, it has proven surprisingly useful (in light of the fact that I'm not an IHG fan in general) and I paid the fee to keep it another year. Enjoy!

-Steph

davidsorensen32
Posts: 235
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by davidsorensen32 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:56 pm

Whats the best way to spend 100,000 points on IHG Chase card ? There are several redemptions possible but just wondering if anyone has done the research on the best bang for the points. Thanks in advance.

madbrain
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Location: San Jose, California

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by madbrain » Fri Jul 01, 2016 2:02 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Whats the best way to spend 100,000 points on IHG Chase card ? There are several redemptions possible but just wondering if anyone has done the research on the best bang for the points. Thanks in advance.


Don't have this card, but google says :
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2015/04/0 ... club-card/

I wonder if you can transfer the IHG points to another Chase card, like Chase Ultimate rewards from the Sapphire preferred.
I know it's possible to do this with points from the Chase Freedom card.
It seems Ultimate Rewards -> IHG is possible, not clear that the other way around is .

Drew777
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:48 am

madbrain wrote:
davidsorensen32 wrote:Whats the best way to spend 100,000 points on IHG Chase card ? There are several redemptions possible but just wondering if anyone has done the research on the best bang for the points. Thanks in advance.


Don't have this card, but google says :
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2015/04/0 ... club-card/

I wonder if you can transfer the IHG points to another Chase card, like Chase Ultimate rewards from the Sapphire preferred.
I know it's possible to do this with points from the Chase Freedom card.
It seems Ultimate Rewards -> IHG is possible, not clear that the other way around is .


No, you can't transfer IHG points. For the most part you can't transfer any hotel/airline points, only bank points. SPG is the main exception that comes to mind.

Drew777
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:06 am

davidsorensen32 wrote:Whats the best way to spend 100,000 points on IHG Chase card ? There are several redemptions possible but just wondering if anyone has done the research on the best bang for the points. Thanks in advance.


It depends. You could wait until you get the annual free night certificate then spend 3 nights at a nice InterContinental. They go up to 60,000 a night, but there are plenty for 50,000 or less. Or you could get more nights at Holiday Inns. You could check out the points break hotels for 5,000 points a night and see if there's anywhere you'd want to go. There may not be much left now, but I think the next list will be released in August.

Houe
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Houe » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:13 pm

costco visa - 4% gas, 3% restaurants
amex - 3% groceries
fidelity 2% - everything
chase freedom - 5% rotating categories
discover - 5% rotating categories

madbrain
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by madbrain » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:33 pm

Houe wrote:costco visa - 4% gas, 3% restaurants
amex - 3% groceries
fidelity 2% - everything
chase freedom - 5% rotating categories
discover - 5% rotating categories


Do you carry all 5 ? Plus an ATM card presumably for cash ?
That's a lot of cards to cancel if you ever have your wallet lost/stolen, as happened to me last year. I had 5 bank cards in it.
Right now I'm down to 3 - ATM/debit, Fidelity VISA 2%, Costco Citi VISA 4% gas/3% restaurant- but only used the later one as membership card so far.
I mainly use the Fidelity VISA.
No "grocery" card as almost everything comes from Costco and 1% on the very small remainder is not worth applying/carrying an extra card. No discover.
Have the Chase Freedom card too, but it stays home - may start using it at Costco this quarter, but not sure - the $1500 limit for 5% cashback is a problem.

hoops777
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by hoops777 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:49 pm

Just got the Marriott Chase Business with 100,000 point sign up and Hawaiian Air MasterCard with 50,000 point bonus as new additions.
They now join Starwood,southwest and venture rewards as my main cards.Also have Chase Ink because it pays 5x for all phone,Internet,tv bills and those polnts can be transferred 1-1 to SWA or Marriott.Also have the new Costco Citi card.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.

brajalle
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by brajalle » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:49 am

I decided on (and stuck with) a Citi-centric reward strategy. Why? 1) The rewards are better or comparable to other banks (ie BoA's Travel/Cash Rewards +relationship bonus), 2) their card benefits are some of the best in the business (+2yr warranty, price rewind for general cards, the prestige's travel protection is really good), and 3) retention offers & bonus spends are a thing with them.

Note - I don't currently churn or manufactured spend really.

Carried Cards -

Target Card - 5% at Target - no AF - Not much to say here. We don't shop there a ton anymore, but it's sometimes useful when combined with a coupon & cartwheel. Target tends to have some amazing deals from time to time on their website for paper towel & TP, such as - stacking a department discount with earning gift cards (the last one lowered my paper towel cost by about 45% over normal prices). Unfortunately still carry it because we've ended up at Target too often without it.

Citi AT&T Access More - 3 points for online travel, AT&T, online retail. Has AF of $95, offset by 10k anniversary points after $10k spend -
- Wife and I both have one. We don't use AT&T at all. Online retail is a great category, it includes Plastiq's real estate category, Amazon, and Kroger's online gift card website (plus a ton of others). Each point is valued at least 1 point = 1.33 cents for travel portal (1.6 for AA travel). With all category spend, the first $10k on each card nets us 40k points, valued at $532-$95=$437 (4.37%) or $640-$95=$545 for AA (5.45%). After that it's 3.99%/4.8%. Due to the Kroger gift card website, this functions as a virtual grocery card, and we can buy gift cards for a ton of places, this covers a ton of our spend. This card covers our grocery, gas, mortgage, eating out at chains, petco, ebay, etc - anything with a common gift card.

Citi Prestige - 3 points for airlines, hotels, 2 points for dining & entertainment. Has AF of $350 ($450 for most).
- This card has some great perks that offset the AF. Another benefit is the 4th night free benefit, plus some great travel insurance. It also is the card that lets us transfer Citi's Thank You points from the AT&T cards and increases their value to 1.33 cents/1.6 cents per point (which are otherwise worth 1 point = 1 cent).

Fidelity Visa - 2% off everything - $0 AF.
- This is a good general card for misc spend not covered elsewhere, medical bills, utilities, etc. It's also my only carried visa.

Specific Uses -

US Bank LAN Airline Card - Some minor perks. Has AF of $75.
- Wife and I both have one. We have this card because of a single benefit. Every year you get 20% off your first purchase at the airline. Yearly, they tend to offer a point purchase with a bonus from time to time. Last year, we spent $3k each (=$2.4k after discount), and ended up with 337.5k points each. The points can xfer to other OneWorld airlines, but the immediate benefit to us is some really cheap 1st class seats to Easter Island, French Polynesia, Peru, etc.

Chase IHG Credit Card - Decent points if you stay at IHG & Plat Elite Status. Has AF of $49.
- Wife and I both have one. We have this card mainly because of a single perk - every year you get a free night certificate. Anywhere. Have you priced a night in Bora Bora (easily 4 figures)? $49 is a steal. Note, we also both are Intercontinental Ambassadors ($200 AF - not a credit card) - this also gets us each another free night in an Intercontinental hotel (the cheapest of which is typically over $200/night). Four free nights anywhere at great hotels for under $500/yr? Thanks IHG!

Sock Drawer & Watch List -

Sears Card - Only keep it open because of a long credit history. No immediate uses unless its an emergency appliance purchase or Sears has a crazy promotion.
Fidelity Cash Management Debit Card - The only use for this really is international travel for $0 ATM access.
PenFed Promise - Longish credit history, no real use other than 0% FTF visa.
Citi Dividend - PC'd to this from an older Citi card. Long credit history, so no real reason to close. May try to PC it later to a 2nd AT&T card or if I can justify a Citi Premier's annual fee.

Chase Amtrak Card - We're thinking of some more train travel, this one might be useful (plus great earning for Choice hotels).
Amex Old Blue Cash - I've not pulled the trigger on this because I don't have an immediate use for it, it would be more as backup if the AT&T cards had their rewards changed. Would also give me access to Amex special offers & has some great categories.


Commentary & Suggestions -

Every good rewards card strategy probably has a centerpiece built around either Grocery, Office Supply, or Pharmacy. Why these? You can still find 4-6% categories for them, they're relatively easy to frequent (grocery is obv. easiest), & they all sell gift cards. If they sell gift cards (especially ebay gift cards), you essentially expand your rewards options to every single store you can buy a gift card at. Most people won't want to go crazy with 10-15-20+ cards, and are looking for 2-6ish max, so my advice is to pick an eco-system built around this centerpiece card. Unfortunately there are usually some requirements/trade-offs. Chase (Ink), BoA (Travel/Cash rewards), and Amex (various) are the easiest options IMO, but there's still some hoops typically (the Ink is a business card, easy to get around though, the BoA card requires you to have a relationship with BoA - ie move your accounts/investments there, Amex is Amex). Second tier options are Citi (my setup is a work-around of them not having any card with grocery/pharmacy/office) and US Bank (Flexperks cards are underrated IMO, but redemption for travel is trickier). If I had to move away from Citi, I'd probably pick US Bank or BoA.

madbrain
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Location: San Jose, California

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by madbrain » Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:31 am

brajalle wrote:I

Carried Cards -

Target Card - 5% at Target - no AF -
Citi AT&T Access More - 3 points for online travel, AT&T, online retail.
Citi Prestige - 3 points for airlines, hotels, 2 points for dining & entertainment. Has AF of $350 ($450 for most).
- This card has some great perks that offset the AF. Another benefit is the 4th night free benefit, plus some great travel insurance. It also is the card that lets us transfer Citi's Thank You points from the AT&T cards and increases their value to 1.33 cents/1.6 cents per point (which are otherwise worth 1 point = 1 cent).
Fidelity Visa - 2% off everything - $0 AF.
- This is a good general card for misc spend not covered elsewhere, medical bills, utilities, etc. It's also my only carried visa.

Specific Uses -

US Bank LAN Airline Card - Some minor perks. Has AF of $75.
Chase IHG Credit Card - Decent points if you stay at IHG & Plat Elite Status. Has AF of $49.

Sears Card - Only keep it open because of a long credit history. No immediate uses unless its an emergency appliance purchase or Sears has a crazy promotion.
Fidelity Cash Management Debit Card - The only use for this really is international travel for $0 ATM access.
PenFed Promise - Longish credit history, no real use other than 0% FTF visa.
Citi Dividend - PC'd to this from an older Citi card. Long credit history, so no real reason to close. May try to PC it later to a 2nd AT&T card or if I can justify a Citi Premier's annual fee.
Chase Amtrak Card - We're thinking of some more train travel, this one might be useful (plus great earning for Choice hotels).
Amex Old Blue Cash - I've not pulled the trigger on this because I don't have an immediate use for it, it would be more as backup if the AT&T cards had their rewards changed. Would also give me access to Amex special offers & has some great categories.


Wow, that is a lot of cards !
So interesting how we have such different shopping habits and your list would make just about no sense for me - almost never shop at Target, never buy any AT&T services, never stay at IHG. You are paying a lot of annual fees. You must be a pretty big spender to be able to justify all of them. Can't fathom paying $350 on that Prestige card. Can you explain what makes it worth this annual fee in more detail ?

I used to have a Sears card - it got me $200 off on an appliance when I signed up. Never used the card again, after 4 years of inactivity, Citi cancelled the card.

Every good rewards card strategy probably has a centerpiece built around either Grocery, Office Supply, or Pharmacy. Why these? You can still find 4-6% categories for them, they're relatively easy to frequent (grocery is obv. easiest), & they all sell gift cards. If they sell gift cards (especially ebay gift cards), you essentially expand your rewards options to every single store you can buy a gift card at. Most people won't want to go crazy with 10-15-20+ cards, and are looking for 2-6ish max, so my advice is to pick an eco-system built around this centerpiece card.


Gift cards are easy to lose/lose track of, and things you buy with gift cards won't be covered by typical credit card benefits, like extended warranty. There are sometimes setup fees with them, and inactivity fees after a while, as well, that encourage you to spend them faster than you might otherwise, in order to avoid the time those fees come due, or simply avoiding forgetting about them.

Funny how I do just about zero spending on office supplies, grocery (mine come primarily from Costco, thus not "grocery store" merchant category), or pharmacy - our prescriptions come from my HMO and I can't buy them elsewhere (well, not unless I want to pay the full $60k/year retail cost) ; and OTC meds primarily come from Costco, so I very rarely visit drugstores - only outside Costco business hours. I don't recall ever having a card that offered specific rebates on grocery, office supply, or drugstores, for that reason.

I do buy some prepaid coupons at Costco for certain things, like movie tickets vouchers, fairly similar to gift card. The discount is usually worth it. Yesterday though, I was shorted 1 ticket on a purchase of 10 sets of 2 tickets of Cinemark tickets at Costco. 9 of the sets were 2 tickets stapled, but the last one was a loner, that had never been stapled. Cashier counted 10 sets. Now I need to go back tomorrow to Costco to plead my case that they gave me the wrong number. I don't suppose this will go over well.

Tip for those who buy Cinemark movie tickets : Costco stores recently increased the price of Cinemark tickets from $16.98 to $17.99 for a set of 2.
Turns out that if you buy Cinemark e-tickets from Costco.com, the price is $33.99 for a set of 4, still the same as the old price per ticket. You do have to print them yourself. I don't know if Cinemark will scan them from your phone. Or buy a set of 10 paper tickets for $84 and have Costco ship them for free.

If I had to move away from Citi, I'd probably pick US Bank or BoA.


Also have to say that Citi and BoA are the institutions I have had the most problems with before in terms of customer service.

I especially hate dealing with the Citi call center people; with long hold times; terrible voice line quality; impossible accents; and never-ending transfer to another person. Which would be forgivable if you never had to speak to them, but I had reasons to do so many times in the past. Which is why I no longer had any card with Citi since they closed my Sears card mentioned above. Now, I have a Citi Costco VISA since they converted my Costco Amex recently. I have yet to make a single transaction on it. The rewards may be better on it, but I still don't look forward to using it. I drive 83% electric miles in my Volt, consuming under 60 gallons of gas per year, so the 4% on 50 gallons of premium gas per year is not very meaningful - about $7/year in rewards on gas, vs $3.5/year if using my Fidelity 2% VISA.

The 3% on travel is also not overly useful, since they charge a 3% (!!!) foreign transaction fee, and 100% of my travel is international. Yes, I sometimes buy tickets from a domestic airline, but often buy them directly from a foreign airline.
The 3% on dining on the other hand may make it worth using the card at some point since we spend closer to $6000/year on that. 1% extra vs the Fidelity 2% VISA would be $60/year - not meaningless. But I'm still not sure. Restaurant bills are usually the ones I have to call about, when there are overcharges on restaurant tips that doesn't match what we learn.
If I never have to speak to a Citi call center person again, it will still be too soon. Also, if I ever have my wallet lost or stolen again (later case happened last year), I would have to talk to Citi again, and that's also another good reason not to carry the card in my wallet. I think it will go to back to my safe (not sock drawer), and I will just carry my Costco membership card, which isn't as big of a deal to ever have lost/stolen.

My one and only experience with BoA was with a bank account where they failed to pay a signup bonus for. If BoA ever wants to get me as a customer again, they will have to pay me upfront next time. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. BoA pretty much lost me as a customer for life with their bogus promotion.

No issues with US Bank before, but their terms just weren't very competitive except for CDs back when interest rates meant something, so I no longer have a relationship with them.

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