What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Post by radiowave » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:24 am

Some random thoughts . . .

I've been using the Discover card for a year and that is the easiest one for cash rewards, just dump it into the statement. I've only had a small number of merchants not take Discover so you still need a MC/Visa as a backup. 5% rotating and 1% overall. My only dissatisfaction is that I have to log into the CC separately from the savings/checking side of Discover. I get a text instantly - sometimes in restaurants before the waiter/waitress brings the card and receipt back to the table.

AMEX blue cash preferred. Yes some of the best rewards for groceries and gas but I just don't like having to go through several hoops to work with the cash rewards. And you can only cash in at $25 increments. For some reason the quality of the card bothers me (yes that is picky) but I remember my old green AMEX business card I had in the 90s was better (talking about the physical card). Instant text on charges just like Discover. I got hit with a $7.00 foreign transaction fee for a hotel on a recent trip to Switzerland.

BoA (Visa) I've had the standard card for two decades and use it once in a great while to maintain my credit report. Been using the rewards card for a little over a year. My initial strategy was to move some assets to Merrill Edge to get the higher reward. The text and email on charges is delayed a business day so that is less useful than the above cards for fraud detection. Handling rewards is not as good as Discover. If I didn't need a brick and mortar bank I would cancel all my BoA cards and accounts. BoA does have a way to generate a random single use credit card number for online purchases so this is plus if you are worried about online fraud.

Capital One Quicksilver (Visa) Just got this card a couple months ago for a trip to Italy/Switzerland. Zero foreign transaction fees and the card worked flawlessly on my recent trip even worked in Rome/Perugia getting train tickets from the kiosk. At 1.5% better than the Discover card. Rewards seem easy to work with online. This may replace the Discover card. Immediate text message on card use.

Fidelity debit - use this only for ATM withdrawal, just a note that I did not get any foreign transactions fee charges in Europe and it worked flawlessly as well. I have a prior post about using the Fidelity at an ATM only card, basically you cannot set the daily purchase limit to $0.00 so a workaround is to set up a second cash management account at Fidelity and just move needed cash there when necessary. Also Fidelity reimburses all ATM fees so this is a good card to have if you want to use as an "anywhere" ATM card. I do not use debit cards for purchases except in emergencies. Note, BoA still issues an ATM only card.

Fidelity (Visa) 2% everything. Well I'm considering adding this one. My main motivation is ease of redeeming cash rewards and the 2% everything reward of course. Rewards redemption is very flexible and automated.

You can see that convenience with the rewards is a priority for me so if you are reading this thread, this may be something you want to consider in a new card. Also fraud detection with immediate text notifications may also be important.

Under the heading of ruminations, I don't see the appeal of travel rewards miles unless you are travelling a lot. I fly United and Delta mostly and it usually takes 25K miles for a trip so I would rather have the cash back than wait for a while until I get enough miles for a ticket. I travel by air about 10 flights/yr so probably not enough to justify miles reward cards. However, the United travel card administered by Chase gives you priority boarding so that is a consideration if you travel carryon only. It's been getting rough out there. I have to stand in front of the Zone 3 line 15-20 min before boarding just to be sure I get overhead space and usually take the last row in the aircraft to be sure I don't have to check my bags . . . . yes, getting off track here.

If I had to go to two cards . . . . I would probably keep the Capital One Quicksilver and add the Fidelity Visa and drop the rest.
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brajalle
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by brajalle » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:21 pm

madbrain wrote: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 ?


So true - very different habits! Every reward setup should be tailored to you though - just takes some research. That was my personal observations though. We only have a Sam's Club nearby (Costco is 40+ miles), and we derive amazing value from our local Krogers.

I didn't quote it, but re: not using gift cards - you're correct, you would lose extended warranty/etc. It is a bit of a pita to carry them at times, but when you're saving 20-40%, it's worth it to us. There are a ton of everyday purchases that I don't need warranties for though (everything from groceries to dinners to books). When there is something I buy that might need a warranty, I use the AT&T card for the extra 2 years.

Re:fees - Yep, there's fees. As I explained in the IHG section, 4 free nights anywhere in the world, including at places that go for 4-figures a night, is worth the sub $500/yr cost there. I don't explicitly seek out IHG hotels either, although sometimes there's low hanging fruit with their points deals. I personally tend to prefer extended stay setups for the kitchen & breakfasts (makes meals cheaper). I explained the $95 AT&T fee in that section. The LAN card's $75 is offset by the 20% off (only takes a spend of $1500/yr). Essentially it all pays for itself and then some.

Re: high spend. I don't actually have very high spend. I just move almost all costs I can through reward categories - our family income is under 6 figures - no AMT calcs here either. If you're imagining that I eat out a ton, we don't (1x/week on avg). We also don't buy a ton of random junk. It's very easy to hit the $20k at&t card needed to offset the annual fees though with regular expenses (ie mortgage is $7.5k/yr, condo fees are $1.7k/yr, grocery spend is $5k/yr, gas is $1k/yr, eating out is $2k/yr, travel to cleveland clinic is $2k/yr, etc) and even modest regular spend.

Re; Citi Prestige benefits. Great card! How to justify the AF? 1) It makes our citi points worth more on every card (they're 1cent/point max normally, with a Premier card they're 1.25cents/point on travel, with the Prestige they're 1.33cents/point on travel & 1.6cents/point on AA airfare), 2) $250/yr air travel credit (including ticket purchases), 3) lounge access @ AA admiral club & priority pass, 4) $100 global entry credit every 5yrs, 5) roadside assistance perk is semi-decent, 6) travel protection (3hr trip delay, 3hr baggage delay, etc - great protections), 7) the 3x/2x points from airfare/hotel/dining/entertainment aren't too bad, 8) and the 4th night free benefit, and lastly, 9) there's a golf benefit (I'm not a golfer) that's fairly nice - 4 free holes I think. As you can see, the $350/$450 AF gets knocked down rather fast if you use the perks. The 4th night free benefit is friggin huge - you use their travel agent (which can use mastercard & AAA rates for example), book at least 4 nights, and they pay for the 4th night (useful if you make it a high-priced Saturday). This is anywhere, any cost. It's easy to get thousands a year out of this card's AF. ATM we travel about 3x/yr (outside of the Cleveland Clinic trips) - I try to make the trips count. We're frugal most of the year to fund the nice trips.

Hope it helps - at the least maybe it gets people thinking about their habits.

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

Post by madbrain » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:17 am

brajalle wrote:So true - very different habits! Every reward setup should be tailored to you though - just takes some research. That was my personal observations though. We only have a Sam's Club nearby (Costco is 40+ miles), and we derive amazing value from our local Krogers.


I'm surrounded by Costcos here in Silicon Valley. The nearest Sam's Club is 45 miles away, and I have been to one. Really opposite indeed !

Re; Citi Prestige benefits. Great card! How to justify the AF? 1) It makes our citi points worth more on every card (they're 1cent/point max normally, with a Premier card they're 1.25cents/point on travel, with the Prestige they're 1.33cents/point on travel & 1.6cents/point on AA airfare), 2) $250/yr air travel credit (including ticket purchases)


Does that $250 air travel credit apply to any airline ? Do you have to buy through Citi or can you buy directly from the airline ?

3) lounge access @ AA admiral club & priority pass, 4) $100 global entry credit every 5yrs, 5) roadside assistance perk is semi-decent, 6) travel protection (3hr trip delay, 3hr baggage delay, etc - great protections), 7) the 3x/2x points from airfare/hotel/dining/entertainment aren't too bad, 8) and the 4th night free benefit, and lastly, 9) there's a golf benefit (I'm not a golfer) that's fairly nice - 4 free holes I think. As you can see, the $350/$450 AF gets knocked down rather fast if you use the perks. The 4th night free benefit is friggin huge - you use their travel agent (which can use mastercard & AAA rates for example), book at least 4 nights, and they pay for the 4th night (useful if you make it a high-priced Saturday). This is anywhere, any cost. It's easy to get thousands a year out of this card's AF. ATM we travel about 3x/yr (outside of the Cleveland Clinic trips) - I try to make the trips count. We're frugal most of the year to fund the nice trips.
Hope it helps - at the least maybe it gets people thinking about their habits.


Yes, it helps. I tend to travel only once a year - abroad - and often don't stay in one place very long , so it's not quite clear that the 4th night benefit would be greatly valuable. I don't think I would be able to get thousands out of this card/year from what you describe. I might get enough to cover the annual fee, but there have been periods of times when I didn't travel at all for >12 months, such as after a job change, which I'm looking to do again in the near future, and during such times, I could not justify that annual fee. Card benefits can change over time and be taken away, and I would be very reluctant to keep the card open and keep paying the fee when not using its benefits.

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

Post by brajalle » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:34 am

madbrain wrote:I'm surrounded by Costcos here in Silicon Valley. The nearest Sam's Club is 45 miles away, and I have been to one. Really opposite indeed !

Does that $250 air travel credit apply to any airline ? Do you have to buy through Citi or can you buy directly from the airline ?


Hah, I'm in Indiana. The cost of living is probably much lower, but there are obviously tradeoffs =P. The Costco that is nearby isn't finished yet - still under construction. Looking forward to checking it out.

The card is popular, there's actually a whole thread dedicated to peoples experiences just with the $250 air travel credit - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/citi-tha ... ments.html

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

Post by travellight » Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:01 pm

re Citi Prestige:

I am in love with this card. I am normally frugal and don't get cards with AF. Exception was Southwest to get the companion pass, very much worth it and the best deal out there imo.

This is second best. Annual fee is $450 (or $350 with citigold account). I managed to get the $350. You get $250 airline credit per calendar year. You can apply this twice so that is worth $500. I planned to apply for this mid year so I would have time to take advantage of it twice. I will probably cancel it after the first full year. The other great feature for frequent travelers like I am is the 4th night free hotel booking. I already scored $278 for a 4th night in NYC in May, and then $178 for 4th night in Honolulu in June. (You book through their concierge and use the prestige card to pay for it; for flights you can book directly on any website but use the prestige to pay for it.) That is $456 in hotel value right there, plus the $500 in airfare already exceeds the cost of $350 by $606. In addition, being able to use Priority lounges is really nice. And, it really works. I've been on a mission to test this because it was hard to believe but I have used it many times when I am not flying first class. It also lets you into AA Admirals club but only when flying first class. You are allowed in when flying domestic, you don't have to be flying international as the normal rules say. This is worth probably $50 per visit but I don't count this because I wouldn't have paid it if it was not a freebie. The hotels and airfare I would have paid anyway.

I don't use the golf feature, or the Global travel credit of $100.

So, in addition to the 50k bonus points that you get with other cards, this card is so far a net of $606 better than annual fee free cards based on my usage as a frequent traveler. It would be even higher if I was a big spender staying in pricier hotels.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:23 am

travellight wrote:I don't use the golf feature, or the Global travel credit of $100.


Not sure if it's worth the trouble to you, but you may try to sell the Global Entry credit. I have the Ritz Carlton card which earns $300 in travel credits per year, only these credits are kind of hard to take advantage of because of what they count as a travel credit. One thing that does count are Global Entry fees. Over the course of 2 years, I've sold 6 Global Entry fees to friends and even friends of friends for $75 apiece. It's a win win if they're interested in Global Entry...they save $25 and I get a $75 credit. I find that a lot of my friends are vaguely aware of Global Entry but don't really get how great it is until I explain how they'll automatically get TSA Precheck, which makes the check-in at the airport process soooo much better.

You do have to trust the person enough to give them your credit card number or be there when they sign up so you can enter your credit card yourself.

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

Post by Houe » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:47 am

madbrain wrote:
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.

I do carry all 5 cards + debit in my wallet. I also mark the chase and discover to remind me of the rotating category. I've never lost my wallet in the 15 years I've carried cards, but yes that would be a pain to have to contact all those banks.

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

Post by obafgkm » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:33 am

brajalle wrote:Chase Amtrak Card - We're thinking of some more train travel, this one might be useful (plus great earning for Choice hotels).


You might want to check on this one -- in Fall 2015, Chase's contract with Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) ended, and Chase replaced the AGR credit card with a Chase Freedom card (new number, new physical card). Your Chase AGR card will not work anymore. Amtrak Guest Rewards's affinity card is now issued by Bank of America.

I liked the Chase AGR card (for the AGR points), and just put the Chase Freedom card in my dresser drawer without even activating it last fall. Then in mid-December 2015 I got some notification that Chase Freedom was giving 10% back on purchases from Amazon through the end of the year. It's now one of my favorites (though now that 5% back on groceries ended June 30, I've gone to using my credit union card, which gives 2% back year-round on gas and groceries).

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

Post by brajalle » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:47 am

obafgkm wrote:
brajalle wrote:Chase Amtrak Card - We're thinking of some more train travel, this one might be useful (plus great earning for Choice hotels).


You might want to check on this one -- in Fall 2015, Chase's contract with Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) ended, and Chase replaced the AGR credit card with a Chase Freedom card (new number, new physical card). Your Chase AGR card will not work anymore. Amtrak Guest Rewards's affinity card is now issued by Bank of America.


I don't actually have an Amtrak card, it was part of my watch-list that I'm considering. I'm aware of the switch, I just was thinking that Chase was the new bank and BoA the old, instead of vise versa. Opps! Thanks for the correction - hopefully nobody was confused.

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

Post by ChiefIlliniwek » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:21 am

travellight wrote:re Citi Prestige:

I am in love with this card. I am normally frugal and don't get cards with AF. Exception was Southwest to get the companion pass, very much worth it and the best deal out there imo.

This is second best. Annual fee is $450 (or $350 with citigold account). I managed to get the $350. You get $250 airline credit per calendar year. You can apply this twice so that is worth $500. I planned to apply for this mid year so I would have time to take advantage of it twice. I will probably cancel it after the first full year. The other great feature for frequent travelers like I am is the 4th night free hotel booking. I already scored $278 for a 4th night in NYC in May, and then $178 for 4th night in Honolulu in June. (You book through their concierge and use the prestige card to pay for it; for flights you can book directly on any website but use the prestige to pay for it.) That is $456 in hotel value right there, plus the $500 in airfare already exceeds the cost of $350 by $606. In addition, being able to use Priority lounges is really nice. And, it really works. I've been on a mission to test this because it was hard to believe but I have used it many times when I am not flying first class. It also lets you into AA Admirals club but only when flying first class. You are allowed in when flying domestic, you don't have to be flying international as the normal rules say. This is worth probably $50 per visit but I don't count this because I wouldn't have paid it if it was not a freebie. The hotels and airfare I would have paid anyway.

I don't use the golf feature, or the Global travel credit of $100.

So, in addition to the 50k bonus points that you get with other cards, this card is so far a net of $606 better than annual fee free cards based on my usage as a frequent traveler. It would be even higher if I was a big spender staying in pricier hotels.


Global Entry or TSA Precheck is the best investment I have ever made for traveling. Not having to wait in the long lines is great. If you fly at all you should take advantage of one of them. I would go with Global Entry which gets you TSA Precheck and if you travel internationally you get expedited entry.

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

Post by madbrain » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:34 pm

brajalle wrote:The card is popular, there's actually a whole thread dedicated to peoples experiences just with the $250 air travel credit - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/citi-tha ... ments.html


Thanks, that's one long thread. Don't see any of the Asian airlines I have flown before on that list, though it doesn't mean they don't work. But as an infrequent traveler, I'm still not sure the AF is worth it on that card.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by madbrain » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:37 pm

Houe wrote:I do carry all 5 cards + debit in my wallet. I also mark the chase and discover to remind me of the rotating category. I've never lost my wallet in the 15 years I've carried cards, but yes that would be a pain to have to contact all those banks.


I have never lost my wallet in 22 years carrying cards either - but had mine stolen a year ago, with 5 cards in it. All of which were used before I got a chance to report them stolen. This was not a fun process, though it didn't cost me anything in the end.

How do you mark the cards with rotating categories ? Stickers ? Markers wouldn't work since your card would be covered in marks after a couple years.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by travellight » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:38 am

Thanks for the thoughts on global entry, bfwolf and chiefilini.... I will likely do something with that feature.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Houe » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:18 am

madbrain wrote:I have never lost my wallet in 22 years carrying cards either - but had mine stolen a year ago, with 5 cards in it. All of which were used before I got a chance to report them stolen. This was not a fun process, though it didn't cost me anything in the end.

How do you mark the cards with rotating categories ? Stickers ? Markers wouldn't work since your card would be covered in marks after a couple years.

I use stickers to mark the rotating categories - I can't remember the categories! :) I used the wrong card a few times and got smarter!

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

Post by fareastwarriors » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:43 pm

Houe wrote:
madbrain wrote:I have never lost my wallet in 22 years carrying cards either - but had mine stolen a year ago, with 5 cards in it. All of which were used before I got a chance to report them stolen. This was not a fun process, though it didn't cost me anything in the end.

How do you mark the cards with rotating categories ? Stickers ? Markers wouldn't work since your card would be covered in marks after a couple years.

I use stickers to mark the rotating categories - I can't remember the categories! :) I used the wrong card a few times and got smarter!



I carry like 3 or 4 CC cards and I just remember the categories. Then again, none of my cards are those rotating category type of cards.

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

Post by curmudgeon » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:44 pm

travellight wrote:Thanks for the thoughts on global entry, bfwolf and chiefilini.... I will likely do something with that feature.


If you are thinking about doing Global Entry, start sooner rather than later. The wait for an interview slot (only available at a few locations nationwide) can be really long (like over 6 months in our case at SFO). Just doing the TSA one would have been a lot quicker.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:07 am

ddd wrote:
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.


Hi ddd,

I apologize for a late response: I was traveling and without communications.

Yes, I have confirmed that I received 5% for the $1500 Costco Cash Card purchase from costco.com in Q2, and I have double-checked it right now. Usually, I start out by making a small purchase to test if it works, and then spend more money. But in the second half of June, I had a very short time window between returning from one trip and leaving for another one, and I went all in.

Now, I should purchase a $100 Costco Cash Card to verify that it works in Q3 the same way as it did in Q2.

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

Post by brajalle » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:29 pm

ChiefIlliniwek wrote:Global Entry or TSA Precheck is the best investment I have ever made for traveling. Not having to wait in the long lines is great. If you fly at all you should take advantage of one of them. I would go with Global Entry which gets you TSA Precheck and if you travel internationally you get expedited entry.


There's also Nexus, run by the Canadian government. US citizens can sign up. It costs $50, and gets you TSA PreCheck & Global Entry as well. It also has some extra Canadian point-of-entry benefits if you travel through Canada alot The downside is that you can typically only do the interview near the Canadian border/in Canada.

Most credit cards won't reimburse for this benefit though, but thought I'd mention it. You might have some luck with a phone call - I'd planned on trying with my Prestige, just haven't gotten around to swinging up by Detroit yet.

j0nnyg1984
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by j0nnyg1984 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:22 pm

brajalle wrote:
ChiefIlliniwek wrote:Global Entry or TSA Precheck is the best investment I have ever made for traveling. Not having to wait in the long lines is great. If you fly at all you should take advantage of one of them. I would go with Global Entry which gets you TSA Precheck and if you travel internationally you get expedited entry.


There's also Nexus, run by the Canadian government. US citizens can sign up. It costs $50, and gets you TSA PreCheck & Global Entry as well. It also has some extra Canadian point-of-entry benefits if you travel through Canada alot The downside is that you can typically only do the interview near the Canadian border/in Canada.

Most credit cards won't reimburse for this benefit though, but thought I'd mention it. You might have some luck with a phone call - I'd planned on trying with my Prestige, just haven't gotten around to swinging up by Detroit yet.


Just to clarify here. NEXUS is a joint US / Canadian program; it isn't ran by either one of the two nations independently, and the applicant must be approved by both sides in order to attain the card.

Additionally, approval in the NEXUS program doesn't grant the applicant Global Entry benefits. It allows the user to access GE terminals at Canadian airports on flights to the USA. The Nexus card would do absolutely nothing for someone traveling LHR / YYZ or FRA / DFW, for example.

The Wikipedia page has all of the details: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEXUS_( ... er_program)

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

Post by brajalle » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:00 pm

j0nnyg1984 wrote:
brajalle wrote:
ChiefIlliniwek wrote:Global Entry or TSA Precheck is the best investment I have ever made for traveling. Not having to wait in the long lines is great. If you fly at all you should take advantage of one of them. I would go with Global Entry which gets you TSA Precheck and if you travel internationally you get expedited entry.


There's also Nexus, run by the Canadian government. US citizens can sign up. It costs $50, and gets you TSA PreCheck & Global Entry as well. It also has some extra Canadian point-of-entry benefits if you travel through Canada alot The downside is that you can typically only do the interview near the Canadian border/in Canada.

Most credit cards won't reimburse for this benefit though, but thought I'd mention it. You might have some luck with a phone call - I'd planned on trying with my Prestige, just haven't gotten around to swinging up by Detroit yet.


Just to clarify here. NEXUS is a joint US / Canadian program; it isn't ran by either one of the two nations independently, and the applicant must be approved by both sides in order to attain the card.

Additionally, approval in the NEXUS program doesn't grant the applicant Global Entry benefits. It allows the user to access GE terminals at Canadian airports on flights to the USA. The Nexus card would do absolutely nothing for someone traveling LHR / YYZ or FRA / DFW, for example.

The Wikipedia page has all of the details: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEXUS_( ... er_program)


This is incorrect, it grants Global Entry benefits. See - https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-trav ... rams/nexus

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

Post by Bfwolf » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:24 am

brajalle wrote:
j0nnyg1984 wrote:
brajalle wrote:
ChiefIlliniwek wrote:Global Entry or TSA Precheck is the best investment I have ever made for traveling. Not having to wait in the long lines is great. If you fly at all you should take advantage of one of them. I would go with Global Entry which gets you TSA Precheck and if you travel internationally you get expedited entry.


There's also Nexus, run by the Canadian government. US citizens can sign up. It costs $50, and gets you TSA PreCheck & Global Entry as well. It also has some extra Canadian point-of-entry benefits if you travel through Canada alot The downside is that you can typically only do the interview near the Canadian border/in Canada.

Most credit cards won't reimburse for this benefit though, but thought I'd mention it. You might have some luck with a phone call - I'd planned on trying with my Prestige, just haven't gotten around to swinging up by Detroit yet.


Just to clarify here. NEXUS is a joint US / Canadian program; it isn't ran by either one of the two nations independently, and the applicant must be approved by both sides in order to attain the card.

Additionally, approval in the NEXUS program doesn't grant the applicant Global Entry benefits. It allows the user to access GE terminals at Canadian airports on flights to the USA. The Nexus card would do absolutely nothing for someone traveling LHR / YYZ or FRA / DFW, for example.

The Wikipedia page has all of the details: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEXUS_( ... er_program)


This is incorrect, it grants Global Entry benefits. See - https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-trav ... rams/nexus


Your link says:

"The NEXUS program allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada. Program members use dedicated processing lanes at designated northern border ports of entry, NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada by air and Global Entry kiosks when entering the United States via Canadian Preclearance airports. NEXUS members also receive expedited processing at marine reporting locations."

No mention of granting full Global Entry benefits when entering the USA from somewhere besides Canada. However, this article from the Detroit Free Press a couple of years ago confirms that NEXUS travelers get full Global Entry benefits.

http://www.freep.com/story/travel/michi ... /24009451/

giesen5
Posts: 267
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:32 pm

Any good sign-ups out there right now? Or rumors of ones that are coming up?

I saw an article (can't remember where) that I believe stated that the best sign-ups occur in the fall.

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

Post by LarryAllen » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:57 pm

I love this stuff. A few ideas I had not considered before.

I signed up 4-5 years ago for Cap One card. At time they were matching their travel points 2-1 if you used a different travel card previous year. Short story I got $1,000 for that sign up.

Two years ago I did the Southwest double (personal and business) in late December and had the companion pass by mid-march so 21 months of use. Saved about $3,000 on travel with that so another nice win.

Still use Cap One for most purchases. It's 2% on everything. No rotating or any of that stuff. Just simple 2% on all.

I use Marriott card for some stuff to get about 25-30 elite nights. That plus my actual stays usually lets me keep my Marriott plat status. I hate the low return though at about 1%. Marriott plat also gets you United silver which gets you a free checked bag and usually upgrade to economy plus. Nice small perks.

Keep Hyatt and Starwood card for their low level of hotel status they give you. Probably not worth it. Although Mlife matches Hyatt so automatically have Mlife gold which avoids some lines and stuff in Vegas. Oh ya, and I keep the Hawaiian Air card which enables me to consolidate my family's miles from their Hawaiian flights into my Hawaiian Air account. Plus free checked bag. Usually once or twice a year flying there.

From this thread I signed up for the Amazon Prime card. 5% is a lot! Plus, I might do the Target card as we do spend a ton there... and by "we" I mean by better half.

I spent about $15k-20 a month between work and personal.

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

Post by madbrain » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:26 pm

giesen5 wrote:Any good sign-ups out there right now? Or rumors of ones that are coming up?

I saw an article (can't remember where) that I believe stated that the best sign-ups occur in the fall.


A bunch of them are here :

http://www.doctorofcredit.com/credit-ca ... p-bonuses/

I don't think there is any truth about the best sign-ups occurring in the fall.

I did the Chase Sapphire preferred and so did my husband. We are authorized users on each others' card. The $4000 minimum spending on my card was satisfied in the first week by our annual auto/home/umbrella insurance renewals. We are still working on the $4000 minimum spending on his card.
We will each earn 59,000 points (50000 signup + 5000 for authorized user + 4000 for regular spending), which can be redeemed for $590 cashback, or $737 in travel, each . Downside is that it will take 2 statements for the points to actually post. I do expect we will get them in time for our next vacation in the fall, though.

sharpjm
Posts: 657
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by sharpjm » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:44 pm

madbrain wrote:We will each earn 59,000 points (50000 signup + 5000 for authorized user + 4000 for regular spending), which can be redeemed for $590 cashback, or $737 in travel, each . Downside is that it will take 2 statements for the points to actually post. I do expect we will get them in time for our next vacation in the fall, though.

The $590 valuation is an awful redemption and even the $737 is far from the best. The best redemption for Chase points is typically to transfer to a partner airline like United, Southwest, etc where you can easily get 1.5cpp or more. With that type of redemption, you're looking at a value of at least $885 each. The 737 isn't bad, just wanted to be sure you're aware of some of the better options :happy

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

Post by madbrain » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:52 pm

sharpjm wrote:
madbrain wrote:We will each earn 59,000 points (50000 signup + 5000 for authorized user + 4000 for regular spending), which can be redeemed for $590 cashback, or $737 in travel, each . Downside is that it will take 2 statements for the points to actually post. I do expect we will get them in time for our next vacation in the fall, though.

The $590 valuation is an awful redemption and even the $737 is far from the best. The best redemption for Chase points is typically to transfer to a partner airline like United, Southwest, etc where you can easily get 1.5cpp or more. With that type of redemption, you're looking at a value of at least $885 each. The 737 isn't bad, just wanted to be sure you're aware of some of the better options :happy


Thanks. In the past, I have found that award flights are seldom available on the dates I want to travel, especially with United. They have deleted routes that I wanted to fly as well.

How long do the points take to transfer from CSP to United or other partners ? Is it instant ?

Also, would the CSP Trip Cancellation insurance apply to flights purchased with transferred points ?

The trip cancellation insurance is one of the main reasons for me to keep the CSP card in the future and pay the annual fee after 1 year. I get sick a lot and more than 50% of my travel ends up being cancelled for medical reasons. I always purchase trip separate cancellation insurance for that reason. However, that is an automatic benefit on the CSP, and presumably would apply to flights/hotels purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards points, making the $737 possibly a decent deal.

Edit: reviewed the CSP terms - looks like Trip cancellation would cover such trips bought with points transferred to partners, but :
If the monetary value of the redemption does not appear on the Insured Person’s
itinerary or redemption confirmation issued by the Common Carrier,
Rewards program manager, Tour Operator, Travel Agency, or Travel
Supplier the Company will reimburse the Insured Person
($.01)
per
point redeemed up to the Insured Person’s Benefit Amount.


Ie. in case of cancellation, one would only get 1 cent per point back, since flights purchased with miles usually don't show a dollar value on the receipt.
Of course, if the points are actually worth 1.5 cents with a carrier, vs 1.25 when redeeming through Chase travel, it may still make sense to buy a separate trip cancellation policy. It would be more complicated, though.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1634
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:13 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thanks. In the past, I have found that award flights are seldom available on the dates I want to travel, especially with United. They have deleted routes that I wanted to fly as well.

How long do the points take to transfer from CSP to United or other partners ? Is it instant ?



With Southwest you are virtually guaranteed 1.5 cents a point vs any cash flight, so you just replace the cash flight you would've done with a points flight (there are no blackouts) and you'll get 1.5 cents/point in value.

CSP to United and Southwest are both instant. I can't speak for their other partners.

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

Post by giesen5 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:20 pm

I don't think there is any truth about the best sign-ups occurring in the fall.

Aha, found it: http://twocents.lifehacker.com/the-best ... 1768963469

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

Post by madbrain » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:34 pm

Bfwolf wrote:With Southwest you are virtually guaranteed 1.5 cents a point vs any cash flight, so you just replace the cash flight you would've done with a points flight (there are no blackouts) and you'll get 1.5 cents/point in value.

CSP to United and Southwest are both instant. I can't speak for their other partners.


OK, but I never fly Southwest. I almost exclusively fly international. With the instant transfer to United, it would be an option, if the flight is available as award flight. But again, points would be refunded at 1 cent only by CSP if cancelled. I suppose it's better than not being refunded at all :). But if cancelled, not as good as the 1.25 rate refund directly through Chase, with no need to choose an award flight only.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:38 am

madbrain wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:With Southwest you are virtually guaranteed 1.5 cents a point vs any cash flight, so you just replace the cash flight you would've done with a points flight (there are no blackouts) and you'll get 1.5 cents/point in value.

CSP to United and Southwest are both instant. I can't speak for their other partners.


OK, but I never fly Southwest. I almost exclusively fly international. With the instant transfer to United, it would be an option, if the flight is available as award flight. But again, points would be refunded at 1 cent only by CSP if cancelled. I suppose it's better than not being refunded at all :). But if cancelled, not as good as the 1.25 rate refund directly through Chase, with no need to choose an award flight only.


As you're probably aware, you can get really excellent value on United points if used for International business class. Even if you don't really value the flights at the full business class price, you can get good value. But yes, seat availability is limited. It is often best to find the flight you want before making the transfer. If you're able to look out 6+ months ahead when booking, that can help a lot.

Another valuable transfer partner is Hyatt if you are looking for hotels on those International trips.

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

Post by madbrain » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:28 pm

Bfwolf wrote:As you're probably aware, you can get really excellent value on United points if used for International business class. Even if you don't really value the flights at the full business class price, you can get good value. But yes, seat availability is limited. It is often best to find the flight you want before making the transfer. If you're able to look out 6+ months ahead when booking, that can help a lot.

Another valuable transfer partner is Hyatt if you are looking for hotels on those International trips.


Thanks. No, I wasn't aware about international business class. I have only flown business once, and that was only because the airline upgraded me due to running out of seats in coach. I never look for any seats other than coach when booking. My husband and myself are fairly short, lightweight people and the extra legroom just wouldn't be that helpful. Unless the business class flight effectively ends up costing less than coach, I don't think this would be a deal for us.

Almost every time when I booked 6+ months ahead, the trip ended up being cancelled for unforeseen medical reasons. I usually book much closer to departure now to avoid the hassle of having to submit a claim with travel insurance - within 1 or 2 weeks. On our last two trips, we booked only the first leg and the last leg - from the US, and back, and the first hotel. For everything else, we booked after we got there, just 2-4 days ahead. It worked out well, mostly, except for one night that I had to be hospitalized in Hanoi for gastro enteritis, but I still made the flight 36 hours later. None of the trip was paid from rewards, everything paid for cash (well, on credit cards).

I think for general spending, a 2% cashback credit card, like the Fidelity card, works much better for us - far better than trying to squeeze more than 1 cent value out of some reward point program. That issue only comes into play with the card signup bonuses. We probably won't be using our two Chase CSPs for any charges other than travel after our minimum spending is satisfied (one card is already satisfied); and we will close one of them before 1 year to avoid paying the annual fee twice. Even the trip cancellation benefit is not clearly a net win - for a $10,000 annual trip, a travel insurance policy for trip cancellation costs about $200 or 2%. But the CSP has a $95 annual fee. With the Fidelity 2% card, one would earn $200 in cash back and then pay $200 for the travel insurance - net is $0. With the CSP - one would earn $100 in cash back, and pay a $95 annual fee - net $5. Or $125 in travel rewards, less $95 annual fee - net $30. The CSP becomes valuable if taking more than one trip, as we would otherwise need to buy multiple travel insurance policies. But usually we only take a single trip per year. The convenience of not having to separately buy a travel insurance policy in the right amount for the trip is still worth it, though.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:35 pm

madbrain wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:As you're probably aware, you can get really excellent value on United points if used for International business class. Even if you don't really value the flights at the full business class price, you can get good value. But yes, seat availability is limited. It is often best to find the flight you want before making the transfer. If you're able to look out 6+ months ahead when booking, that can help a lot.

Another valuable transfer partner is Hyatt if you are looking for hotels on those International trips.


Thanks. No, I wasn't aware about international business class. I have only flown business once, and that was only because the airline upgraded me due to running out of seats in coach. I never look for any seats other than coach when booking. My husband and myself are fairly short, lightweight people and the extra legroom just wouldn't be that helpful. Unless the business class flight effectively ends up costing less than coach, I don't think this would be a deal for us.

Almost every time when I booked 6+ months ahead, the trip ended up being cancelled for unforeseen medical reasons. I usually book much closer to departure now to avoid the hassle of having to submit a claim with travel insurance - within 1 or 2 weeks. On our last two trips, we booked only the first leg and the last leg - from the US, and back, and the first hotel. For everything else, we booked after we got there, just 2-4 days ahead. It worked out well, mostly, except for one night that I had to be hospitalized in Hanoi for gastro enteritis, but I still made the flight 36 hours later. None of the trip was paid from rewards, everything paid for cash (well, on credit cards).

I think for general spending, a 2% cashback credit card, like the Fidelity card, works much better for us - far better than trying to squeeze more than 1 cent value out of some reward point program. That issue only comes into play with the card signup bonuses. We probably won't be using our two Chase CSPs for any charges other than travel after our minimum spending is satisfied (one card is already satisfied); and we will close one of them before 1 year to avoid paying the annual fee twice. Even the trip cancellation benefit is not clearly a net win - for a $10,000 annual trip, a travel insurance policy for trip cancellation costs about $200 or 2%. But the CSP has a $95 annual fee. With the Fidelity 2% card, one would earn $200 in cash back and then pay $200 for the travel insurance - net is $0. With the CSP - one would earn $100 in cash back, and pay a $95 annual fee - net $5. Or $125 in travel rewards, less $95 annual fee - net $30. The CSP becomes valuable if taking more than one trip, as we would otherwise need to buy multiple travel insurance policies. But usually we only take a single trip per year. The convenience of not having to separately buy a travel insurance policy in the right amount for the trip is still worth it, though.


Airline miles don't seem the way to go for you given your reasons for not wanting to book far in advance. That doesn't mean you can't play the signup bonus game though. There are lots of hotel credit cards and cash back cards that give generous sign-up bonuses.

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

Post by madbrain » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:47 pm

Bfwolf wrote:Airline miles don't seem the way to go for you given your reasons for not wanting to book far in advance. That doesn't mean you can't play the signup bonus game though. There are lots of hotel credit cards and cash back cards that give generous sign-up bonuses.


Correct, overall, with the infrequent travel, and no advance planing, I would rather have dollars then points/miles currency which can be devalued easily, and also have expired on me on more than one occasion in the past. I will play the signup bonus game still, though. I have never had a hotel credit card and often stay at independent hotels rather than chain hotels, so I don't think I will go for those hotel credit cards, and probably not redeem for hotel points, unless it's instant and cheaper that way.

Don46
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Don46 » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:53 pm

This is interesting. Most of you are not using credit cards to build miles for airline tickets.
I am about to retire and looking forward to a lot of overseas travel. I built up about .5 million miles in my American Airlines frequent flier account by taking advantage of new offers and running a lot of expenses through my AA cc.
"Free" tickets are often hard to come by and damned expensive if you cannot be flexible, but when we are retired we want to travel during shoulder seasons and can travel any day of the week to take advantage of lower cost (in miles) tickets.

After building up those miles, I went with a Barclay Arrival Plus card which gives 2% back on all travel expenses. I now see on this post that there are much better deals with no annual fees. Thanks for that.

giesen5
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Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:07 pm

Looking for some help. I am thinking of taking the family of 4 on a 3-4 week trip to Peru next summer. Thinking about a three pronged trip - Galapagos, Amazon and Machu Picchu. This may be too much, but I am starting big. From Lima, it looks like we would fly to each of them. I am looking at ways to get some of that airfare covered through credit cards.

What I have now:
United miles: Enough to fly the family of 4 to Lima and back (Seattle)
(1) Barclay Arrival and (1) Capital One Venture: Currently have about $1000 in rewards from these two, would cover some of those travel expenses
Hilton and IHG card: Probably could cover 2-4 hotel nights in Lima

I am thinking that my wife and I should each get another Capital One and Barclay card to get to $2000 in travel rewards. Any other cards that you would suggest? The following cards have been attained since January of this year, a bit worried that we are hitting the wall. Have not been denied a card, yet. We currently have the following, between the two of us:

Chase Sapphire (2)
Chase Freedom (2)
Chase United (2)
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase IHG
AMEX Hilton
Barclay Arrival Plus
Capital One Venture

MikeMak27
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeMak27 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:33 pm

My strategy is to get as much cash back as possible and use it to pay the balance. Right now in my wallet I have
Sallie Mae MasterCard: 5% cash back on bookstores up to $750 a month (Amazon.com included), gas & groceries up to $250 a month each.
Chase freedom: 5% cash back at restaurants 1% everything else
MLB banks of America cash rewards: spend 500$ get 200$ statement credit.
Not in my wallet
Discover it: 5% cash back at home improvement and Amazon.com this quarter
Capital One Quicksilver: linked to my uber account since every 10th ride is free. I strategically use the 10th free ride on long trips. Approximately 20-30% off uber if used correctly.

Otherwise, I am constantly signing up for new cards to collect signup bonuses.
Mac 3 fund portfolio: 45% US small cap value (IJS, VBR), 35% Emerging Markets (IEMG, VWO, FPMAX), 20% intermediate term US treasuries (FIBAX, IEF) & Cash

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Elsebet
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Location: Washington state

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Elsebet » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:46 pm

We just use our Costco VISA for everything possible. We used to use the Costco Amex but some merchants wouldn't accept it and we'd use a debit card in that case. Now we no longer use a debit card except to get cash. We don't get into the manufactured spending/churn stuff, just not our thing.

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

Post by sgrovercleveland » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:53 pm

In order of use:

Elan Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa - General spend card with 2% back for all categories not covered by below cards

Barclaycard Sallie Mae MasterCard - 5% back on gas and grocery, and during off-months I'll use it for 5% on Amazon

Discover IT / Chase Freedom - Depending on the category, I will use it to get 5%. I'll also use Discover Deals' shopping portal to get 5% off stores like Walmart or Target.

AMEX Blue Cash Everyday - Mostly just use it for AMEX Offers, which are surprisingly good. Otherwise, it's my backup grocery card if I go over Sallie Mae's $250 limit or if Sallie Mae is nerfed in the future.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1634
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:36 pm

giesen5 wrote:Looking for some help. I am thinking of taking the family of 4 on a 3-4 week trip to Peru next summer. Thinking about a three pronged trip - Galapagos, Amazon and Machu Picchu. This may be too much, but I am starting big. From Lima, it looks like we would fly to each of them. I am looking at ways to get some of that airfare covered through credit cards.

What I have now:
United miles: Enough to fly the family of 4 to Lima and back (Seattle)
(1) Barclay Arrival and (1) Capital One Venture: Currently have about $1000 in rewards from these two, would cover some of those travel expenses
Hilton and IHG card: Probably could cover 2-4 hotel nights in Lima

I am thinking that my wife and I should each get another Capital One and Barclay card to get to $2000 in travel rewards. Any other cards that you would suggest? The following cards have been attained since January of this year, a bit worried that we are hitting the wall. Have not been denied a card, yet. We currently have the following, between the two of us:

Chase Sapphire (2)
Chase Freedom (2)
Chase United (2)
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase IHG
AMEX Hilton
Barclay Arrival Plus
Capital One Venture


Yeah if you've already got the airline tickets down there and the hotel in Lima covered, I'm not sure you're going to be able to get much value on the rest of the trip on airline/hotel specific points, so going back to Barclays and Capital One makes sense. It sounds like Barclays lets people get the bonus again, what is Cap One's policy? http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/12/0 ... nus-again/

You might also consider the Capital One Spark card which is for small businesses but gives you straight $500 in cash.

fittan
Posts: 75
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by fittan » Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:34 pm

Step 1: Max out 5% offers

- Discover and Chase freedom have 5% rotating category. Sometimes they "overlap" but often don't. For example, Discover is 5% for home improvement store and Chase is 5% for restaurant and Costco now.

- Side note. There are ways to "extend" these 5% category by buying gift cards. Let's say Discover is 5% for gas now, I would load up say $500 on Speedy gas (used to be Hess). I will be "loading up" on Costco gift card next.

- For Amazon, get their 5% store card for automatic 5% cash back.

Step 2: Use 2% card (e.g. Citi doublecash) for everything else.

Jags4186
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:12 pm

madbrain wrote:
Bfwolf wrote:Airline miles don't seem the way to go for you given your reasons for not wanting to book far in advance. That doesn't mean you can't play the signup bonus game though. There are lots of hotel credit cards and cash back cards that give generous sign-up bonuses.


Correct, overall, with the infrequent travel, and no advance planing, I would rather have dollars then points/miles currency which can be devalued easily, and also have expired on me on more than one occasion in the past. I will play the signup bonus game still, though. I have never had a hotel credit card and often stay at independent hotels rather than chain hotels, so I don't think I will go for those hotel credit cards, and probably not redeem for hotel points, unless it's instant and cheaper that way.


Airline miles are great for booking far in advance or if you're willing to travel last minute. For those who are FIRE'd or just plain retired this seems to me to be the absolute best way to get the most bang for your buck.

giesen5
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:44 pm
Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:22 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
giesen5 wrote:Looking for some help. I am thinking of taking the family of 4 on a 3-4 week trip to Peru next summer. Thinking about a three pronged trip - Galapagos, Amazon and Machu Picchu. This may be too much, but I am starting big. From Lima, it looks like we would fly to each of them. I am looking at ways to get some of that airfare covered through credit cards.

What I have now:
United miles: Enough to fly the family of 4 to Lima and back (Seattle)
(1) Barclay Arrival and (1) Capital One Venture: Currently have about $1000 in rewards from these two, would cover some of those travel expenses
Hilton and IHG card: Probably could cover 2-4 hotel nights in Lima

I am thinking that my wife and I should each get another Capital One and Barclay card to get to $2000 in travel rewards. Any other cards that you would suggest? The following cards have been attained since January of this year, a bit worried that we are hitting the wall. Have not been denied a card, yet. We currently have the following, between the two of us:

Chase Sapphire (2)
Chase Freedom (2)
Chase United (2)
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase IHG
AMEX Hilton
Barclay Arrival Plus
Capital One Venture


Yeah if you've already got the airline tickets down there and the hotel in Lima covered, I'm not sure you're going to be able to get much value on the rest of the trip on airline/hotel specific points, so going back to Barclays and Capital One makes sense. It sounds like Barclays lets people get the bonus again, what is Cap One's policy? http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/12/0 ... nus-again/

You might also consider the Capital One Spark card which is for small businesses but gives you straight $500 in cash.


Just realized that Avios can be used for the inter-country flights. That would be helpful - those flights are adding up to around $2-3k.

Bfwolf
Posts: 1634
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:07 pm

giesen5 wrote:Just realized that Avios can be used for the inter-country flights. That would be helpful - those flights are adding up to around $2-3k.


You mean like your flights within South America? That could definitely be huge. I'd definitely recommend going on the BA website and checking for availability on your flights. I've had limited but occasional success using my Avios for short-trip 7,500 point AA flights...they are just often sold out/unavailable. I had better success booking far in advance to use my Avios to fly to Europe on Aer Lingus....20K one-way from Chicago to Dublin which I felt really good about.

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Exige
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Location: Littleton, CO

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Exige » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:31 am

We recently got the Costco card.

We will be using the costco card for:

Gas 4%
Restaurants and travel 3%
and costco purchases 2%

Everything else we use the 2% citi card

This has worked well for us and we have very low expenses so our cash back does not equal much more than 1000$ for a year putting everything possible on the cards. We usually take the cash back and use it for all of our christmas expenses.
‘I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. And so will you.'

giesen5
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:44 pm
Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:19 am

Just checking in.

My previous post was about Ecuador and Peru, well, that is off the table because of my wife's fear of Zika. Completely understand.

So now we are back on for Italy next summer. Unfortunately I pulled the trigger on the Chase British Airways card. Oh well. Here is what we have between my wife and I so far, all this year (just started this January):

Chase Sapphire (2): UR for airfare
Chase Freedom (2): UR for airfare
Chase United (2): for airfare
Chase Freedom Unlimited: UR for airfare
Chase IHG: for limited hotel stays (maybe not for Italy)
Chase British Airways: not sure yet
AMEX Hilton: for limited hotel stays (maybe not for Italy
Barclay Arrival Plus (2): for travel reimbursements (air bnb)
Capital One Venture: for travel reimbursements (air bnb)

Since I started late and did some research, I was able to hit the Chase cards early and often. Now it looks like I am out of the game, unless I apply for business cards.

Hope your credit card reward gaming is going well!

Jags4186
Posts: 1385
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:08 am

Exige wrote:We recently got the Costco card.

We will be using the costco card for:

Gas 4%
Restaurants and travel 3%
and costco purchases 2%

Everything else we use the 2% citi card

This has worked well for us and we have very low expenses so our cash back does not equal much more than 1000$ for a year putting everything possible on the cards. We usually take the cash back and use it for all of our christmas expenses.


$1000/yr at 2% is $50,000 in expenses. I would't say that's very low expenses :moneybag :moneybag :D

guitarguy
Posts: 1715
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:31 am

giesen5 wrote:Since I started late and did some research, I was able to hit the Chase cards early and often. Now it looks like I am out of the game, unless I apply for business cards.

Hope your credit card reward gaming is going well!


I just ended up nabbing the Ink Plus card for my business...applied in branch and got a KILLER offer...much better than the online offer. Mine was 70k UR points plus first year annual fee waived. Very happy!

As a side note, also opened a business checking and got $500 for that too! 8-)

:beer

Drew777
Posts: 597
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:53 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Drew777 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:06 pm

guitarguy wrote:
giesen5 wrote:Since I started late and did some research, I was able to hit the Chase cards early and often. Now it looks like I am out of the game, unless I apply for business cards.

Hope your credit card reward gaming is going well!


I just ended up nabbing the Ink Plus card for my business...applied in branch and got a KILLER offer...much better than the online offer. Mine was 70k UR points plus first year annual fee waived. Very happy!

As a side note, also opened a business checking and got $500 for that too! 8-)

:beer


I believe the 70k in branch offer has been around for a while now. It may be the normal in branch offer at this point. Be careful with the checking if you're doing any manufactured spending. Having a checking account with the major banks is a big no-no if you're MS'ing (especially with Chase).

moneywise3
Posts: 298
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:54 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by moneywise3 » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:25 pm

My strategy is my time is for loving my family. Not wasting my time on slick deals. I will always have enough for everything I would ever want. Those who "save" more money, end up paying it as taxes or to charity. I am up for debate if anyone wants to challenge that. Its an open invitation!

guitarguy
Posts: 1715
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by guitarguy » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:26 pm

Drew777 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
giesen5 wrote:Since I started late and did some research, I was able to hit the Chase cards early and often. Now it looks like I am out of the game, unless I apply for business cards.

Hope your credit card reward gaming is going well!


I just ended up nabbing the Ink Plus card for my business...applied in branch and got a KILLER offer...much better than the online offer. Mine was 70k UR points plus first year annual fee waived. Very happy!

As a side note, also opened a business checking and got $500 for that too! 8-)

:beer


I believe the 70k in branch offer has been around for a while now. It may be the normal in branch offer at this point. Be careful with the checking if you're doing any manufactured spending. Having a checking account with the major banks is a big no-no if you're MS'ing (especially with Chase).


I don't bother with any MS. Buying gift cards for places I'm going to shop at office supply stores or grocery stores is about as close as I get to cheating the system.

I had heard of the 70k offer, but hadn't heard that the first year AF was waived with it. Was happy about that!

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