What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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jjbiv
Posts: 237
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby jjbiv » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:06 pm

madbrain wrote:
Texanbybirth wrote:Oh well! The branch told her she'd have it in 5-7 days. I will post when we get it to see if they're true to their word.


I don't think you will have to wait too long. I applied in person on monday afternoon, and just received the CSR card today at noon by UPS Express.


Applied online on Tuesday and just received an email from UPS to expect the card delivery on Monday. Pretty good service albeit somewhat expected for a card with a relatively high annual fee.

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

Postby madbrain » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:31 pm

madbrain wrote:I'm not sure if there are limits to how much you can prepay. I was $300 short of meeting the credit card spending requirement to earn the bonus points so prepaid PG&E by $300 and it went through just fine (I had a balance of $0 at the time).


Edit: my PG&E bill is closer to $1000/year according to Quicken. I received my CSR today and was able to make a $1000 prepayment. Of course, I will have to pay that charge off early, too. But this was a quick way to make a dent in the $4k/3 months spending requirement of the CSR.

I did not get an authorized user card for my husband on the CSR because of the additional $75/yr AU fee. Maybe a mistake, I don't know, but he is AU on my Citi Hilton which still has $1500 to go towards the $2k/3 months spending requirement.

So now we are down to $4.5k spending requirement in the next 3 months between those 2 cards - this is roughly our normal spending on credit cards, so we may not have to do much of anything to collect the signup bonuses, unless we want to collect them sooner than 3 months.

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

Postby nolapepper » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:17 pm

I have international travel every year.I also Need global entry for the whole family. This is my first time to play the card game. I might have to cancel if the points are not enough.

It did not state it will cost $75 for adding another user. Or maybe I missed the fine print?


traveler90 wrote:
nolapepper wrote:What are your strategies in spending $4000 in the first three months ? My monthly expense is low, around $700



If you are only putting $700 a month on a CC then I'm not sure why you would get this card? Unless it's purely for churning purposes and you plan on cancelling it next year.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Ron Ronnerson » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:48 am

madbrain wrote:Edit: my PG&E bill is closer to $1000/year according to Quicken. I received my CSR today and was able to make a $1000 prepayment. Of course, I will have to pay that charge off early, too. But this was a quick way to make a dent in the $4k/3 months spending requirement of the CSR...

So now we are down to $4.5k spending requirement in the next 3 months between those 2 cards - this is roughly our normal spending on credit cards, so we may not have to do much of anything to collect the signup bonuses, unless we want to collect them sooner than 3 months.


I'm glad the prepayment on the PG&E bill will make a dent in the spending requirement for your new account. I've used new cards to pay auto/home/umbrella insurance as well as cable and cell phone bills. Over three months, that tends to add up too. If you're still short, just stock up on a couple of gift cards (I've done so for Amazon and Target).

I know you mentioned manufactured spending before but that's not something I've delved into. I've prepaid bills, stocked up on household items, and purchased gift cards but that's the extent of it. From what I've heard, manufactured spending is difficult to do these days but I don't have first hand experience with any of that. We don't travel too much these days (have a toddler) so earning enough miles for a trip once in a while is all we're interested in. We will likely skip the CSR card (at least for the time being) due to no travel plans for the next year and the big fee.

Another thread mentioned a Hyatt card that gives two free nights at any of their hotels and this seemed to be a great deal. If the offer is still around in a couple of years, my wife and I hope to each apply for that card to earn four free nights. Then we'll transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt and add a few more days to do maybe a week long vacation at an all-inclusive resort such as Hyatt Zilara in Cancun. Of course, this is a good while away so I'm not holding my breath that the offer will still be around. Then again, maybe they'll further sweeten the pot for that offer like they did with the new CSR card (I can dream).

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

Postby madbrain » Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:23 am

nolapepper wrote:I
It did not state it will cost $75 for adding another user. Or maybe I missed the fine print?


You missed it.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/c ... ete-guide/

Authorized User Fee : $75 per year

gvsucavie03
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby gvsucavie03 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:21 am

2 cards: Penfed 5% gas, Citi Double Cash. Simple, got my score high to qualify for our mortgage.

We must remember a few things when we say things like "credit cards are awesome" and tallying how much we get back in cash, gift cards and travel points...

1. We assume balance paid in full each month and we have solid control over our finances.

2. The perks are designed by CC companies to get us to spend more. We are naive if we don't realize this.

For things we buy anyway (groceries, gas, car repairs, etc) we use the cards and get some decent cash back towards statements. They end up being rebate cards for us and we still budget exactly how much we will spend with them.

It also seems unwise to stack up on cards with signing bonuses. I certainly took advantage of one, but doing a bunch can do some serious damage to your credit. I do bank/checking bonuses without hard pull inquiry.

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

Postby Da5id » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:31 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:2 cards: Penfed 5% gas, Citi Double Cash. Simple, got my score high to qualify for our mortgage.

We must remember a few things when we say things like "credit cards are awesome" and tallying how much we get back in cash, gift cards and travel points...

1. We assume balance paid in full each month and we have solid control over our finances.

2. The perks are designed by CC companies to get us to spend more. We are naive if we don't realize this.


Like all things, you need to plan it reasonably. I paid an annual temple contribution to completely fulfill the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, getting a 50000 point ($500, or more if used for travel). I was going to pay that fee anyway. I paid for my sons club sports fee pretty much taking care of the United bonus. All painless. Also for me pretty easy to buy gift cards (Costco, Amazon) if I don''t have enough normal spending planned in the 3 month period, as I will spend at Costco and Amazon regardless.

I agree that the CC company wants you to spend "extra", and also counts on some screwing up the bonus, or paying interest, or continuing to pay the annual fee. All needs to be managed carefully...

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

Postby Texanbybirth » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:32 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:2 cards: Penfed 5% gas, Citi Double Cash. Simple, got my score high to qualify for our mortgage.

We must remember a few things when we say things like "credit cards are awesome" and tallying how much we get back in cash, gift cards and travel points...

1. We assume balance paid in full each month and we have solid control over our finances.

2. The perks are designed by CC companies to get us to spend more. We are naive if we don't realize this.

For things we buy anyway (groceries, gas, car repairs, etc) we use the cards and get some decent cash back towards statements. They end up being rebate cards for us and we still budget exactly how much we will spend with them.

It also seems unwise to stack up on cards with signing bonuses. I certainly took advantage of one, but doing a bunch can do some serious damage to your credit. I do bank/checking bonuses without hard pull inquiry.


I won't get into a long debate here, but my wife and I both have excellent (800+) credit scores, yet we have applied for probably close to 30 credit cards in the last 4 years. Maybe we're not as extreme as some, but it really doesn't hurt your score in the way some ppl think.

I'll gladly take the sign up bonuses cc companies generously offer because other ppl can't control their spending! :D

gvsucavie03
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby gvsucavie03 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:54 pm

We are certainly a different breed on this forum, so the chances of us getting in over our head is low. Then again, there is a "get rich quick" towards the top...

Good insight on the 30 cards... Are all active? I still think it adds too much complexity.

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

Postby Texanbybirth » Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:39 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:We are certainly a different breed on this forum, so the chances of us getting in over our head is low. Then again, there is a "get rich quick" towards the top...

Good insight on the 30 cards... Are all active? I still think it adds too much complexity.


Not all are active, only maybe 7-8. I use Credit Karma to track both of our credit histories, and I have a very old Macy's card that my mom recommended I open when I was just 18.

You are right to an extent about the complexity. We're expecting our second child in a month. With two kids under two, I do think my/our card churning days are numbered. :D

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

Postby BeneIRA » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:43 pm

Some ways to reach the bonus:

Pre-pay taxes or pay back taxes. The fee is about 1.87%, which isn't bad at all.
Make a donation that you would have anyway.
Buy gift cards. If you're desperate, you can grab Visa gift cards at the end of your 3-month period to make it work. This would be a last resort for me, though.
Pre-pay insurance/any other bills. Rent is the big one. I just found out I can pay rent using a credit card and the fee is less than 2%. Paying a gym membership for a year or insurance for the year should net discounts.
If you're buying a new car, you should be able to use it for your down payment.
If you take the train, a monthly pass counts as both the 3% and counts toward the $300 reimbursement amount. Same with Uber and Lyft.
Top off your EZ-Pass, I-Pass, E-Pass, etc for tolls.

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

Postby Oleanmike » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:57 pm

We're fortunate to be retired and book cruises well in advance. We currently have 3 cruises booked with only a small deposit in place for each.

I applied for the Sapphire Reserve earlier this week and was approved. I'll apply the $4000 to one of the cruises and get the bonus as well as 3X points for travel. I'm thinking of having my wife apply for the Reserve before the 100,000 mile bonus disappears and do the same thing. The added benefit to that is that we can both use the airline lounges without the companion fee. Unfortunately, we just applied/paid for the Global Entry last month. Still a great card for our circumstances.

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

Postby madbrain » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:07 am

Oleanmike wrote:We're fortunate to be retired and book cruises well in advance. We currently have 3 cruises booked with only a small deposit in place for each.

I applied for the Sapphire Reserve earlier this week and was approved. I'll apply the $4000 to one of the cruises and get the bonus as well as 3X points for travel. I'm thinking of having my wife apply for the Reserve before the 100,000 mile bonus disappears and do the same thing. The added benefit to that is that we can both use the airline lounges without the companion fee. Unfortunately, we just applied/paid for the Global Entry last month. Still a great card for our circumstances.


The Reserve card was just introduced, I can't imagine going it away so soon. It will probably be around just a few months. I may ask my husband to go in branch to see if he is pre-approved for the CSR (he is at 5/24, so unsure). If so, he will apply once we are closer to fulfilling the spending requirement on my CSR (and my Citi Hilton), maybe towards the middle-end of october. This would still allow collecting the $300 travel credit before year's end, even if the spending for the 100,000 points bonus isn't satisfied until next year. I think if we take a long year's end vacation, it will work out fairly well.

We will have at least 230,000 Chase UR points by December. And with 2 CSRs, we could get $600 in travel credits in December, and another $600 in credits in January. Sure, it would be better to MS and have 330,000 UR points before the trip, but that requires MS which I'm not skilled at. Even without MS, we would probably satisfy the spending on the 2nd CSR by the end of Jan, possibly earlier (perhaps even while we are on the trip).

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

Postby lakpr » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:50 am

madbrain wrote:
Oleanmike wrote:I applied for the Sapphire Reserve earlier this week and was approved. I'll apply the $4000 to one of the cruises and get the bonus as well as 3X points for travel. I'm thinking of having my wife apply for the Reserve before the 100,000 mile bonus disappears and do the same thing. The added benefit to that is that we can both use the airline lounges without the companion fee.


The Reserve card was just introduced, I can't imagine going it away so soon. It will probably be around just a few months.


When the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was introduced, there was a 100K UR points bonus too, but it was discontinued within a couple of months and never offered again. The standard offer now is 50K points on CSP, and for a couple of years it was even 40K.

While the card itself will no doubt be still around, the bonus offer can (and will be, if the history is any guide) be slashedr especially if it proves too popular. I agree with Oleanmike that grabbing the offer now would make sense if you can afford it and are under the 5/24 rule.

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

Postby BeneIRA » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:44 pm

madbrain wrote:
Oleanmike wrote:We're fortunate to be retired and book cruises well in advance. We currently have 3 cruises booked with only a small deposit in place for each.

I applied for the Sapphire Reserve earlier this week and was approved. I'll apply the $4000 to one of the cruises and get the bonus as well as 3X points for travel. I'm thinking of having my wife apply for the Reserve before the 100,000 mile bonus disappears and do the same thing. The added benefit to that is that we can both use the airline lounges without the companion fee. Unfortunately, we just applied/paid for the Global Entry last month. Still a great card for our circumstances.


The Reserve card was just introduced, I can't imagine going it away so soon. It will probably be around just a few months. I may ask my husband to go in branch to see if he is pre-approved for the CSR (he is at 5/24, so unsure). If so, he will apply once we are closer to fulfilling the spending requirement on my CSR (and my Citi Hilton), maybe towards the middle-end of october. This would still allow collecting the $300 travel credit before year's end, even if the spending for the 100,000 points bonus isn't satisfied until next year. I think if we take a long year's end vacation, it will work out fairly well.

We will have at least 230,000 Chase UR points by December. And with 2 CSRs, we could get $600 in travel credits in December, and another $600 in credits in January. Sure, it would be better to MS and have 330,000 UR points before the trip, but that requires MS which I'm not skilled at. Even without MS, we would probably satisfy the spending on the 2nd CSR by the end of Jan, possibly earlier (perhaps even while we are on the trip).


Hi Madbrain,

I have read some of your posts and it seems like you are the resident expert on traveler's insurance. If I may, I wanted to inquire as to your thoughts on the enhanced traveler's insurance that the Chase Sapphire Reserved provides. Do you think another traveler's insurance policy is needed with it? Is the coverage the CSR provides sufficient? Any insight you can provide would be great.

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

Postby madbrain » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:08 pm

lakpr wrote:When the Chase Sapphire Preferred card was introduced, there was a 100K UR points bonus too, but it was discontinued within a couple of months and never offered again. The standard offer now is 50K points on CSP, and for a couple of years it was even 40K.

While the card itself will no doubt be still around, the bonus offer can (and will be, if the history is any guide) be slashedr especially if it proves too popular. I agree with Oleanmike that grabbing the offer now would make sense if you can afford it and are under the 5/24 rule.


I believe you are right that the 100k introductory offer will not last forever. I'm willing to bet it will last at least a month, though.
I'm not even sure if my husband will qualify for the CSR, but I wouldn't want to have him apply for it before at least the end of September due to the difficulty in meeting spending requirements on so many cards at once. I may ask him to go into a branch before then to find if he is pre-approved for the CSR card, though, since he is right at the 5/24 Chase cutoff.

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

Postby Gemini » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:24 pm

Just applied online - says decision pending - "we need to review your app a little longer" - how to proceed? just wait it out or is there a number to call?

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

Postby madbrain » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:35 pm

EDITED.

BeneIRA wrote:I have read some of your posts and it seems like you are the resident expert on traveler's insurance. If I may, I wanted to inquire as to your thoughts on the enhanced traveler's insurance that the Chase Sapphire Reserved provides. Do you think another traveler's insurance policy is needed with it? Is the coverage the CSR provides sufficient? Any insight you can provide would be great.


Well, I certainly have had to actually make claims on travel insurance policies (standalone, not from Chase) more often than I ever want to, but I'm not sure if that qualifies me as the resident expert. To be honest, I have not read the full terms for the CSR travel insurance policy yet. My understanding is that this coverage is the same as with the CSP, but I could be wrong. I have not actually booked travel with my CSP or CSR yet, as I got those cards recently, and am not a frequent traveler - I typically take one large vacation annual trip. And hopefully, even when I do, I won't have to make a claim on the policy, but I know the probability is high that I will, probably 50/50.

I have read about both positive and negative experiences with the trip cancellation part of the travel insurance with Chase. There is a thread on Flyertalk about this currently in the Chase forum (I chimed in at the end).

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chase-ul ... ments.html

From I read, it seems there are issues with travel booked through Chase that is refundable. It appears that someone got their flight refunded, but then got a separate cancellation fee charged by the airline. Which is exactly the same that you would have ended up with if you had booked that flight with another card that did not offer travel insurance, and not booked it through Chase. Ie., zero coverage appears to have applied in this situation. In my experience, it is very common for flights to Asia to actually be refundable minus a cancellation fee, even though they are marketed and sold as "non refundable" flights.

Based on this one experience, one might want to book only flights/hotels through Chase that are truly completely non refundable using the CSP/CSR. I'm guessing the Chase policy would have to refund in full in that situation.

From this point of view, as far as I can tell, the Chase coverage is inferior to a standalone travel insurance policy. However, a standalone travel insurance policy on even just one large annual trip will normally cost more than the $95 annual fee of the CSP, or the $150 (net) annual fee of the CSR. So unless you have a high likelihood of cancellation (like me, based on past experience), or you are booking mainly travel that is refundable with change fees, the Chase travel insurance might be good enough for you. It may not be good enough for me, though. Based on what I'm reading, unless Chase clarifies the terms, I will likely close both my CSP before the 1 yr is up.

I'm still not quite sure about the CSR. I have to do more math to see if it makes sense. Let me take a quick shot at it. The net rewards rate with the CSR is 4.5% on travel and dining purchases if you redeem for travel booked through Chase (3 points for every 100 dollars, 1.5 cent per point). With $8000, that is $360 in rewards, less than $150 annual fee - net of $210.

Let me compare with using a cash back card. About $4000 would be domestic purchases (booked from a US travel site) and I would use my Fidelity VISA 2% and earn $80. The other $4000 would be foreign purchases, and I would use the Capitalone Quickilver MC to avoid foreign transaction fees. So, I would earn 1.5% cash back back on those $4000 or $60.

So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.

If I assign as value of 0 the chase Chase trip cancellation coverage, then the combo of the other cards comes out ahead.
Ie. I would purchase a separate $200 travel insurance policy. So with CSR the net would be $50 - $200 or -$150 with the separate coverage.
And with the combo, $150 - $200 or -$50 with the separate coverage.

It's probably not fair to assign a value of $0 to the Chase travel insurance coverage. It's clearly worth more than $0. But it appears to still not be as good as a separate policy.

Also, the $8000 number is really on the low end - we often spend far more than that - $8000 on flights and hotel alone, and $4000 on meals and other things (not all of which can be charged to credit cards, though). For the longest and most expensive trips, we have probably spent $20k total. With higher travel spending, the CSR probably still makes sense vs the combo of other cards.

Either way, I will have one year to decide whether to renew the CSR or not. If my husband gets approved for his own CSR, we will probably only keep one, though.


There was an error in this part - the net apples to apples is really $210 for the CSR vs $140 for the combo of the other 2 cards. So the CSR appears to make sense as long as we travel at least once a year, regardless of how good or bad the Chase travel insurance benefit may be.

I can add one more comparison - the CSP. CSP gets 2 points per dollar on travel and dining categories.
And points are redeemed at 1.25 cents each.
$8000 in travel and dining purchases would amount to 16000 points, which would be worth $200 in rewards.
Net of the $95 annual fee that is due after the first year, that is a total of $105.

In this case, the combo of Fidelity 2% VISA and CapitalOne 1.5% MC gets much better net cashback - twice as much, at $210.
But only if the CSP travel insurance coverage is valued at $0, which is probably not fair, even though it's not as good as a standalone policy.

So for our patterns, the CSR appears to be a fairly clear winner long-term, even if we only use the card for our typical once a year foreign vacation of $8k+.
Last edited by madbrain on Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Texanbybirth » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:30 am

jjbiv wrote:
madbrain wrote:
Texanbybirth wrote:Oh well! The branch told her she'd have it in 5-7 days. I will post when we get it to see if they're true to their word.


I don't think you will have to wait too long. I applied in person on monday afternoon, and just received the CSR card today at noon by UPS Express.


Applied online on Tuesday and just received an email from UPS to expect the card delivery on Monday. Pretty good service albeit somewhat expected for a card with a relatively high annual fee.


Applied last Tuesday and got the card in the mail last night. I'm impressed! It's like they're telling people they can't expedite it, but they're expediting all cards anyway. Happy bonus-earning! :beer

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

Postby SRenaeP » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:09 pm

I received my rejection letter today. Too many cards opened in the last two years. :(

-Steph

Jags4186
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Jags4186 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:55 pm

madbrain wrote:So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.


Why is there an additional $160 annual fee for the CSR?

$450 annual fee - $300 travel credit = $150 annual fee.

$360 rewards - $150 net annual fee = $210 in total rewards

so $210 vs $140 with the cash back cards, $70 advantage for the CSR plus all the other benefits.

Jags4186
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Jags4186 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:57 pm

Gemini wrote:Just applied online - says decision pending - "we need to review your app a little longer" - how to proceed? just wait it out or is there a number to call?


You can call 888-245-0625 to try to get an instant decision.

I applied and received a pending 2 weeks notice on Monday 8/22. Today I called and was told they couldn't tell me anything and that I would hear something in writing within 30 days. About an hour ago the card showed up in my chase.com account information with a !$34k! credit limit.

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

Postby Gemini » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:43 pm

Logged into chase today to check a transaction and saw I got approved the CSR. Nice little surprise!


Now what to do with the CSP? Downgrade to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited? I have neither. Which one makes the most financial sense?

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

Postby mpsz » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:02 pm

Gemini wrote:Logged into chase today to check a transaction and saw I got approved the CSR. Nice little surprise!


Now what to do with the CSP? Downgrade to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited? I have neither. Which one makes the most financial sense?


Freedom gives 5x UR points in rotating categories, 1x UR everywhere else: https://creditcards.chase.com/freedom/calendarreminder

Unlimited gives 1.5x UR everywhere with no bonus categories.

Data point: I was able to downgrade my CSP to a second Unlimited via secure message (no phone call).

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

Postby madbrain » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:19 pm

Gemini wrote:Now what to do with the CSP? Downgrade to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited? I have neither. Which one makes the most financial sense?


Depends if you like the idea of rotating categories.
It's a pain to remember what they are as they change each quarter.
You don't really know for sure what rewards rate you are getting ahead of time as it depends on the merchant code.
And, with the Freedom, you need to re-activate the 5% rewards for new categories each quarter.
The 5% reward rate is only on the first $1500/month of spending, also.
For all these reasons, I don't carry or use my Chase Freedom. The only reason I have it in the first place is because Chase forcibly downgraded me from a better rewards ard program that no longer exists, and that card was one of my oldest accounts.
The old card had a 5% on fixed categories, restaurants, gas and drugstores if I recall correctly, and there was no cashback limit. I can't remember what that card was called. I think it was originally a First USA card, then Bankone, then Chase, and Chase finally killed it.

Doom&Gloom
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Doom&Gloom » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:25 pm

madbrain wrote:
Gemini wrote:Now what to do with the CSP? Downgrade to Freedom or Freedom Unlimited? I have neither. Which one makes the most financial sense?


Depends if you like the idea of rotating categories.
It's a pain to remember what they are as they change each quarter.
You don't really know for sure what rewards rate you are getting ahead of time as it depends on the merchant code.
And, with the Freedom, you need to re-activate the 5% rewards for new categories each quarter.
The 5% reward rate is only on the first $1500/month of spending, also.
For all these reasons, I don't carry or use my Chase Freedom. The only reason I have it in the first place is because Chase forcibly downgraded me from a better rewards ard program that no longer exists, and that card was one of my oldest accounts.
The old card had a 5% on fixed categories, restaurants, gas and drugstores if I recall correctly, and there was no cashback limit. I can't remember what that card was called. I think it was originally a First USA card, then Bankone, then Chase, and Chase finally killed it.


It depends upon your spend patterns and whether remembering the 5X category is too much trouble for you. Freedom is one of my most frequently used cards. I will likely be converting my CSP to a Freedom Unlimited in the next few days since I do not have a FU.

Jags4186
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Jags4186 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:32 pm

Ideally you'd want to have a Freedom Unlimited, Freedom, Ink Cash, and Sapphire Reserve for the "quad".

Use Freedom for rotating categories, Ink in 5x and 2x categories, CSR for 3x travel and restaurants, and Freedom Unlimited for all unbonused spend.

By doing this you can earn between 2.25% and 7.5% cash towards travel on all expenses for a net annual fee of $150. Of course you can increase your redemptions even more by transferring to travel partners.

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

Postby Texanbybirth » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:34 pm

There is currently a $150 sign up bonus on a paltry $500 minimum spend. It's my understanding that if you downgrade to a FU then you wouldn't be able to take advantage of that offer. Am I wrong?

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

Postby madbrain » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:39 pm

Texanbybirth wrote:There is currently a $150 sign up bonus on a paltry $500 minimum spend. It's my understanding that if you downgrade to a FU then you wouldn't be able to take advantage of that offer. Am I wrong?


I think that's correct. The downside is that you would have one more credit inquiry if you apply for a new card. And you may be denied due to the Chase 5/24 policy.

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

Postby madbrain » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:42 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
madbrain wrote:So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.


Why is there an additional $160 annual fee for the CSR?

$450 annual fee - $300 travel credit = $150 annual fee.

$360 rewards - $150 net annual fee = $210 in total rewards

so $210 vs $140 with the cash back cards, $70 advantage for the CSR plus all the other benefits.


Thanks for catching the error. I have corrected my post. The net annual fee is $150, and was also double-counted.
I also added a comparison with the CSP in the edited post.

Looks like CSR clearly wins for us even beyond the introductory offer. CSR is better than CSP, and better than the Fidelity 2% and CapOne Quicksilver 1.5% card combo.

It's a little bit less clear between the CSP and other 2 cards combo - depends how you value the CSP benefits.

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

Postby madbrain » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:00 pm

Jags4186 wrote:Ideally you'd want to have a Freedom Unlimited, Freedom, Ink Cash, and Sapphire Reserve for the "quad".

Use Freedom for rotating categories, Ink in 5x and 2x categories, CSR for 3x travel and restaurants, and Freedom Unlimited for all unbonused spend.

By doing this you can earn between 2.25% and 7.5% cash towards travel on all expenses for a net annual fee of $150. Of course you can increase your redemptions even more by transferring to travel partners.


For some definition of "ideally". That's a lot of cards to carry and remember when to use which ! And you have to be prepared for the unexpected with the merchant codes. My wallet has slots for 8 cards, but that doesn't mean i actually want to carry that many.

"Ideally" for me would be a single payment card that I could use for all purchases and cash withdrawals, without any fee, that always gets the maximum amount of possible cashback without having to think about it.

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

Postby Gemini » Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:27 pm

Appreciate the input. Seems like the 5x rotating categories may suit me better - just have to remember to use the card as I only carry one or two cards in my wallet daily.

Do you guys plan on keeping the CSR for good? I now have CSR, And CSP, which I will be downgrading to Freedom. Spouse has CSP and debating if we should get another CSR and downgrade to F as well - but then what will we be the plan in a year? Can we then upgrade from Freedom to CSP without a credit hit next year?

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

Postby guitarguy » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:22 am

madbrain wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
madbrain wrote:So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.


Why is there an additional $160 annual fee for the CSR?

$450 annual fee - $300 travel credit = $150 annual fee.

$360 rewards - $150 net annual fee = $210 in total rewards

so $210 vs $140 with the cash back cards, $70 advantage for the CSR plus all the other benefits.


Thanks for catching the error. I have corrected my post. The net annual fee is $150, and was also double-counted.
I also added a comparison with the CSP in the edited post.

Looks like CSR clearly wins for us even beyond the introductory offer. CSR is better than CSP, and better than the Fidelity 2% and CapOne Quicksilver 1.5% card combo.

It's a little bit less clear between the CSP and other 2 cards combo - depends how you value the CSP benefits.


In comparing the CSR and CSP above, I don't think you're doing the cards justice by saying you're redeeming points at 1.25% for the CSP and 1.5% for the CSR. In fact I think you're devaluing the points by choosing to redeem them that way.

I disagree that you're stuck getting less value per point with the CSP vs. the CSR. If you transfer the points out to partners like Hyatt or Southwest, you'll get the same value regardless of which card you have, and you'll likely be able to do better than 1.5 cpp.

When comparing the 2 cards, I think depending on how much you spend and whether the extra 1% earning on travel/dining is worth the $150 vs $95 fee is the main point of interest.

Also the other benefits can be compared, but I find the airport lounge and TSA credits to not be very valuable since I rarely travel alone. Have fun in line and out with all the other lemmings dear, I'll be going through pre-check and I'll be in the lounge. Probably won't fly! haha

Based on our spending patterns I actually think the CSP will come out ahead by just a small margin...could probably be considered negligible...so our plan is to cycle through and just hold either one at any given time.

Jags4186
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Jags4186 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:19 am

guitarguy wrote:
madbrain wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
madbrain wrote:So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.


Why is there an additional $160 annual fee for the CSR?

$450 annual fee - $300 travel credit = $150 annual fee.

$360 rewards - $150 net annual fee = $210 in total rewards

so $210 vs $140 with the cash back cards, $70 advantage for the CSR plus all the other benefits.


Thanks for catching the error. I have corrected my post. The net annual fee is $150, and was also double-counted.
I also added a comparison with the CSP in the edited post.

Looks like CSR clearly wins for us even beyond the introductory offer. CSR is better than CSP, and better than the Fidelity 2% and CapOne Quicksilver 1.5% card combo.

It's a little bit less clear between the CSP and other 2 cards combo - depends how you value the CSP benefits.


In comparing the CSR and CSP above, I don't think you're doing the cards justice by saying you're redeeming points at 1.25% for the CSP and 1.5% for the CSR. In fact I think you're devaluing the points by choosing to redeem them that way.

I disagree that you're stuck getting less value per point with the CSP vs. the CSR. If you transfer the points out to partners like Hyatt or Southwest, you'll get the same value regardless of which card you have, and you'll likely be able to do better than 1.5 cpp.

When comparing the 2 cards, I think depending on how much you spend and whether the extra 1% earning on travel/dining is worth the $150 vs $95 fee is the main point of interest.

Also the other benefits can be compared, but I find the airport lounge and TSA credits to not be very valuable since I rarely travel alone. Have fun in line and out with all the other lemmings dear, I'll be going through pre-check and I'll be in the lounge. Probably won't fly! haha

Based on our spending patterns I actually think the CSP will come out ahead by just a small margin...could probably be considered negligible...so our plan is to cycle through and just hold either one at any given time.


Don't disagree. Redeeming for cash is usually the worst option, but in reality 1.5 CPP is very aggressive and it makes it a solid baseline to work off of. Lots of people redeem points for domestic airfare and hotels at a lower value than that.

Either way you slice it, the CSR is better though. Say you value each point at 2.1 cents, as The Points Guy suggests. Then the CSR makes 6.3 cents on 3x bonus categories versus 4.2 cents with CSP. The rift has widened further. The CSR requires even less bonus spend to equalize the annual fee $2619/yr versus $2750 at a straight travel cash redemption.

If you spend less than $2619/yr on travel and dining out then I would say you are not the target customer.

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

Postby Texanbybirth » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:38 am

Just found out I have the great fortune of paying about $2200 of medical bills. The nice thing is that this won't actually come out of my pocket because the insurance company sent me a check to make the payments. (I have given up trying to understand how UHC runs their business, and I'm tired of fighting them.) We will hit the CSR spending requirement through normal monthly spending by October, so this is just icing on the cake.

We've already both signed up for the CSP, and I'm technically over 5/24 @ Chase (SWA, Freedom, AMEX Gold, Citi Prestige). My wife is right at 5/24 (SWA, CSP, CSR, CapOne, US Bank), so I'm hesitant to ask her to apply for anything with Chase. (I just checked Credit Karma and actually the CSR account hasn't shown up on her credit report. I'm wondering if that will help with 5/24.) What other card offers are out there for a ~$2k minimum spend? I was thinking of going for some low-hanging fruit, ie cards with ~$500 minimum spend with $150 cash back. We can split the bills into 4 chunks of $500 to get 4 rewards. The only card I'm really seeing with that offer, though, are the Chase Freeom (Unlimited) cards, and like I mentioned I don't think we'll both qualify given the 5/24 rule. Any other cards out there I'm missing? We will soon be paying for delivery of our second child (probably $2,500), so I suppose we could combine all of this spending onto one card if there is one out there with a fairly high minimum spend that is worth it.

Thanks!

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:15 am

Jags4186 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
madbrain wrote:
Jags4186 wrote:
madbrain wrote:So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.


Why is there an additional $160 annual fee for the CSR?

$450 annual fee - $300 travel credit = $150 annual fee.

$360 rewards - $150 net annual fee = $210 in total rewards

so $210 vs $140 with the cash back cards, $70 advantage for the CSR plus all the other benefits.


Thanks for catching the error. I have corrected my post. The net annual fee is $150, and was also double-counted.
I also added a comparison with the CSP in the edited post.

Looks like CSR clearly wins for us even beyond the introductory offer. CSR is better than CSP, and better than the Fidelity 2% and CapOne Quicksilver 1.5% card combo.

It's a little bit less clear between the CSP and other 2 cards combo - depends how you value the CSP benefits.


In comparing the CSR and CSP above, I don't think you're doing the cards justice by saying you're redeeming points at 1.25% for the CSP and 1.5% for the CSR. In fact I think you're devaluing the points by choosing to redeem them that way.

I disagree that you're stuck getting less value per point with the CSP vs. the CSR. If you transfer the points out to partners like Hyatt or Southwest, you'll get the same value regardless of which card you have, and you'll likely be able to do better than 1.5 cpp.

When comparing the 2 cards, I think depending on how much you spend and whether the extra 1% earning on travel/dining is worth the $150 vs $95 fee is the main point of interest.

Also the other benefits can be compared, but I find the airport lounge and TSA credits to not be very valuable since I rarely travel alone. Have fun in line and out with all the other lemmings dear, I'll be going through pre-check and I'll be in the lounge. Probably won't fly! haha

Based on our spending patterns I actually think the CSP will come out ahead by just a small margin...could probably be considered negligible...so our plan is to cycle through and just hold either one at any given time.


Don't disagree. Redeeming for cash is usually the worst option, but in reality 1.5 CPP is very aggressive and it makes it a solid baseline to work off of. Lots of people redeem points for domestic airfare and hotels at a lower value than that.

Either way you slice it, the CSR is better though. Say you value each point at 2.1 cents, as The Points Guy suggests. Then the CSR makes 6.3 cents on 3x bonus categories versus 4.2 cents with CSP. The rift has widened further. The CSR requires even less bonus spend to equalize the annual fee $2619/yr versus $2750 at a straight travel cash redemption.

If you spend less than $2619/yr on travel and dining out then I would say you are not the target customer.


$2919, don't forget you need to spend an extra $300 in travel and redeem the credit to offset the $450 total fee. Unless Chase lets you double dip and earn 3X plus get the credit...not sure how that would work. Maybe they would. For now I'll assume they won't.

I average about 1.8 cpp on UR point transfers...mostly to Southwest. At that rate, I'd need to spend $3078 on travel/dining to negate the $450 for the CSR, and at that spend level the CSP would come out ahead by $15. Conversely, I'd only need to spend $2650 to break even with the CSP, and at that spend I'd be $7 in the hole with the CSR.

Point being, like I said, the difference is whatever...call it $20 either way per year. Basically negligable. At that point, I'll alternate and hold one or the other and try to churn the bonuses every couple years.

Jags4186
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Jags4186 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:53 pm

guitarguy wrote:$2919, don't forget you need to spend an extra $300 in travel and redeem the credit to offset the $450 total fee. Unless Chase lets you double dip and earn 3X plus get the credit...not sure how that would work. Maybe they would. For now I'll assume they won't.

I average about 1.8 cpp on UR point transfers...mostly to Southwest. At that rate, I'd need to spend $3078 on travel/dining to negate the $450 for the CSR, and at that spend level the CSP would come out ahead by $15. Conversely, I'd only need to spend $2650 to break even with the CSP, and at that spend I'd be $7 in the hole with the CSR.

Point being, like I said, the difference is whatever...call it $20 either way per year. Basically negligable. At that point, I'll alternate and hold one or the other and try to churn the bonuses every couple years.


If you're only spending $3000/yr on 2x/3x categories I'd say you could come out ahead with a few fee free cash back credit cards. I spend closer to $10000/yr on those categories so the CSR soundly beats the CSP.

Best of luck!

Alexa9
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Alexa9 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:18 pm

2% card with an occasional free flight (or two) sign up bonus.

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

Postby batpot » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:39 pm

Wife got instantly approved for the CSR.
With a very hefty credit line.
Just in time, too, cause we need a new shed. :beer
Take note, that they do charge and additional $75 on top of the $450 for any additional cards you get. Seems odd, but whatever...I don't need one.

I didn't even bother to try, as I was rejected on an ink a month or so ago due to 5/24....even though i signed up using my EIN rather than my SSN. :|

Just have to decide where we're going now...

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

Postby madbrain » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:09 pm

guitarguy wrote:[
In comparing the CSR and CSP above, I don't think you're doing the cards justice by saying you're redeeming points at 1.25% for the CSP and 1.5% for the CSR. In fact I think you're devaluing the points by choosing to redeem them that way.

I disagree that you're stuck getting less value per point with the CSP vs. the CSR. If you transfer the points out to partners like Hyatt or Southwest, you'll get the same value regardless of which card you have, and you'll likely be able to do better than 1.5 cpp.


Partners usually have restrictions on awards, especially airlines. It is a lot of work to find a suitable award flight, especially one that will has a higher value than 1.5cpp. You need to open accounts with all those partners and follow their rules.

I tend to book my travel last minute, and flight awards are almost never available. I have never stayed in a Hyatt hotel yet, and it has been years since I flew with Southwest.

If anything, I may be overvaluing the Chase UR points a little bit at 1.25cpp/1.5cpp. I was looking for a rental car yesterday for an upcoming trip to Vegas later this week and found prices that were better by 7% on Hotwire vs booking through Chase - same size car but different rental agency. This was a fairly small amount, though. I chose to pay cash rather than with points, since I still have minimum spending requirements to meet on 2 cards.
I also charged my flights to the card on monday for the same reason, and also to collect the $300 travel credit, which has already posted.

My favorite hotel in Saigon that we stay at every time is also not part of any hotel chain, and I wonder if I would be able to book a room on it through Chase at all - I have not checked yet. In this case, the Chase points would be valued at 0cpp.
Edit: it's there, and Chase doesn't seem to be overcharging for it.

I would much rather not have to go through Chase for booking, and get a 1.5cpp credit for travel purchases after they post.

When comparing the 2 cards, I think depending on how much you spend and whether the extra 1% earning on travel/dining is worth the $150 vs $95 fee is the main point of interest.

Also the other benefits can be compared, but I find the airport lounge and TSA credits to not be very valuable since I rarely travel alone. Have fun in line and out with all the other lemmings dear, I'll be going through pre-check and I'll be in the lounge. Probably won't fly! haha

Based on our spending patterns I actually think the CSP will come out ahead by just a small margin...could probably be considered negligible...so our plan is to cycle through and just hold either one at any given time.


I have never used the lounge. But Chase told me yesterday on the phone that the lounge benefit applies to guests also. They said you need to present a separate pass for it, though, which will arrive in a couple of weeks. We are actually flying tomorrow and they told me I can charge the lounge fee to the card, and they will reimburse me when I call afterwards.

I don't particularly care about TSA credits either. Chase told me there is one $100 TSA credit per user on the card. So an additional travel would need to be authorized user, and incur the $75 authorized user fee. I did not add my husband.

That said, I don't really value those benefits as I have never used them before and wouldn't fork money for them if they weren't covered by the card.
With our spending patterns, the $55 difference in annual fees is more than covered by the higher point redemption rate, as well as the higher earnings rate on travel/dining. We have a lot of other dining spending throughout the year that I didn't count in my calculation.
Last edited by madbrain on Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Whakamole » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:13 pm

I'm getting my CSR, and it's the first time where the spend is a bit more than I usually put on the cards. I'm thinking of "prepaying" my taxes - I won't owe much this year, but it would allow me to meet the requirement and (next year) get my refund in convenient I-Bonds. Does this sounds like a good strategy?

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

Postby guitarguy » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:17 pm

madbrain wrote:
guitarguy wrote:[
In comparing the CSR and CSP above, I don't think you're doing the cards justice by saying you're redeeming points at 1.25% for the CSP and 1.5% for the CSR. In fact I think you're devaluing the points by choosing to redeem them that way.

I disagree that you're stuck getting less value per point with the CSP vs. the CSR. If you transfer the points out to partners like Hyatt or Southwest, you'll get the same value regardless of which card you have, and you'll likely be able to do better than 1.5 cpp.


Partners usually have restrictions on awards, especially airlines. It is a lot of work to find a suitable award flight, especially one that will has a higher value than 1.5cpp. You need to open accounts with all those partners and follow their rules.

I tend to book my travel last minute, and flight awards are almost never available. I have never stayed in a Hyatt hotel yet, and it has been years since I flew with Southwest.


If you're flying domestic, I'd highly recommend checking out Southwest. Booking an award flight literally could not be easier, and there are no restrictions whatsoever...if there's an open seat you can book it with points. I'm getting just over 1.8 cpp on average by transferring UR points to Southwest. Since my in-laws live right near a SW hub and we can get nonstop flights from our closest airport...this is super convenient for us too.

EDIT: We also transferred for a 2-night stay at a Hyatt and got 1.9something cpp on that stay, but admittedly that is a small sample size of only 1.

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

Postby guitarguy » Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:24 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
guitarguy wrote:$2919, don't forget you need to spend an extra $300 in travel and redeem the credit to offset the $450 total fee. Unless Chase lets you double dip and earn 3X plus get the credit...not sure how that would work. Maybe they would. For now I'll assume they won't.

I average about 1.8 cpp on UR point transfers...mostly to Southwest. At that rate, I'd need to spend $3078 on travel/dining to negate the $450 for the CSR, and at that spend level the CSP would come out ahead by $15. Conversely, I'd only need to spend $2650 to break even with the CSP, and at that spend I'd be $7 in the hole with the CSR.

Point being, like I said, the difference is whatever...call it $20 either way per year. Basically negligable. At that point, I'll alternate and hold one or the other and try to churn the bonuses every couple years.


If you're only spending $3000/yr on 2x/3x categories I'd say you could come out ahead with a few fee free cash back credit cards. I spend closer to $10000/yr on those categories so the CSR soundly beats the CSP.

Best of luck!


We use the Freedom, Ink Cash, Freedom Unlimited, CSP combo to maximize UR points...so we need a premium card to be able to transfer all those points out to partners. Comes out significantly ahead of a cash back card!!

We still have the Amex BCP for groceries...until Chase comes out with a 5X card for groceries I won't let go of this one.

And yeah..for $10k/yr spending on 2X vs 3X...you definitely found a winner!

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

Postby patrick » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:04 pm

madbrain wrote:
I'm still not quite sure about the CSR. I have to do more math to see if it makes sense. Let me take a quick shot at it. The net rewards rate with the CSR is 4.5% on travel and dining purchases if you redeem for travel booked through Chase (3 points for every 100 dollars, 1.5 cent per point). With $8000, that is $360 in rewards, less than $150 annual fee - net of $210.

Let me compare with using a cash back card. About $4000 would be domestic purchases (booked from a US travel site) and I would use my Fidelity VISA 2% and earn $80. The other $4000 would be foreign purchases, and I would use the Capitalone Quickilver MC to avoid foreign transaction fees. So, I would earn 1.5% cash back back on those $4000 or $60.


Interestingly, if you used the Bank of America Travel Rewards at 2.625% instead of the 2%/1.5% cards, the rewards on $8000 spending would come out to $210 -- exactly even with CSR in this case.

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

Postby madbrain » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:47 pm

patrick wrote:Interestingly, if you used the Bank of America Travel Rewards at 2.625% instead of the 2%/1.5% cards, the rewards on $8000 spending would come out to $210 -- exactly even with CSR in this case.


Yes, except you don't need to move and immobilize $100k to qualify for the CSR, so would call that a win for the CSR, regardless of whether one likes to do business with BofA or not (and I don't).

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby madbrain » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:56 pm

guitarguy wrote:We still have the Amex BCP for groceries...until Chase comes out with a 5X card for groceries I won't let go of this one.


Since you have the Freedom, I'm guessing that groceries has been one of the rotating 5% categories in the past - not all the time.

This quarter, warehouse clubs are on the list - that means Costco. If you happen to shop there, you can't use your Amex BCP, as Costco stopped accepting Amex. In any case, the merchant code is "warehouse club" so you could never have gotten 5% with your BCP at Costco even in the past.
But you can get 7.5% back at Costco - 5% with the Freedom, and then transfer and redeem at 7.5% towards travel with the CSR. That's hard to beat, and we do all our grocery shopping at Costco. But I'm still meeting my minimum spending requirement on CSR first and not carrying the Freedom.

I was surprised to see that even Costco.com no longer accepts Amex, so you can't buy a Costco cash card with Amex either.
Previously, Costco.com accepted VISA/MC/Amex/Discover, so you could buy a Costco cash card with pretty much any card, if you didn't want to get Amex. Now they have removed Amex. You can't even buy anything on Costco.com with Amex by paying the 5% non-member surcharge. That Amex/Costco divorce must have been a really nasty one.

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

Postby guitarguy » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:08 am

madbrain wrote:
guitarguy wrote:We still have the Amex BCP for groceries...until Chase comes out with a 5X card for groceries I won't let go of this one.


Since you have the Freedom, I'm guessing that groceries has been one of the rotating 5% categories in the past - not all the time.

This quarter, warehouse clubs are on the list - that means Costco. If you happen to shop there, you can't use your Amex BCP, as Costco stopped accepting Amex. In any case, the merchant code is "warehouse club" so you could never have gotten 5% with your BCP at Costco even in the past.
But you can get 7.5% back at Costco - 5% with the Freedom, and then transfer and redeem at 7.5% towards travel with the CSR. That's hard to beat, and we do all our grocery shopping at Costco. But I'm still meeting my minimum spending requirement on CSR first and not carrying the Freedom.


We do a small amount of our shopping at Costco. Dog food, products, and some other things that don't go bad we can can stock up on, but with just my wife and I the quantities are usually too much for anything perishable. We do buy some meat there but mostly prefer our local butcher.

Already maxed out the $1500 for this quarter on restaurants/warehouse clubs (bought a $500 gift card to a restaurant for my mom as a gift to help pay for my brother's rehearsal dinner). We would use the Freedom Unlimited at Costco now until next quarter starts. 5% for warehouse clubs is good for the rest of 2016.

And from my experience, transferring to SW via CSP (or the CSR when I drop below 5/24 and can get that) nets me 9% on Freedom bonus categories. :wink:

Until things change on our end I consider, as others that choose to transfer their points out to partners should, the 1.25 vs 1.5 % redemption on the CSP vs CSR moot. YMMV. :beer

Jags4186
Posts: 1042
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Jags4186 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:36 am

Gemini wrote:Appreciate the input. Seems like the 5x rotating categories may suit me better - just have to remember to use the card as I only carry one or two cards in my wallet daily.

Do you guys plan on keeping the CSR for good? I now have CSR, And CSP, which I will be downgrading to Freedom. Spouse has CSP and debating if we should get another CSR and downgrade to F as well - but then what will we be the plan in a year? Can we then upgrade from Freedom to CSP without a credit hit next year?


Well, the plan is for both of us to get the CSR (we need in branch pre approvals and I haven't dragged my wife yet to check for her, I was good to go on that front). Then downgrade one to a Freedom after redeeming 2x $300 credits. Keep the other one indefinitely or until benefits get neutered enough that CSP or Ink Plus becomes a better value proposition.

You need either Ink Plus, CSP, or CSR to be able to transfer points with Chase. As long as those points remain incredibly useful to me--and as long as they transfer to Hyatt and United 1:1 they will be--I will suck it up and pay the annual fee for one of these. Right now the $150 AF on CSR is worth it over the other two.

guitarguy
Posts: 1575
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby guitarguy » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:22 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Gemini wrote:Appreciate the input. Seems like the 5x rotating categories may suit me better - just have to remember to use the card as I only carry one or two cards in my wallet daily.

Do you guys plan on keeping the CSR for good? I now have CSR, And CSP, which I will be downgrading to Freedom. Spouse has CSP and debating if we should get another CSR and downgrade to F as well - but then what will we be the plan in a year? Can we then upgrade from Freedom to CSP without a credit hit next year?


Well, the plan is for both of us to get the CSR (we need in branch pre approvals and I haven't dragged my wife yet to check for her, I was good to go on that front). Then downgrade one to a Freedom after redeeming 2x $300 credits. Keep the other one indefinitely or until benefits get neutered enough that CSP or Ink Plus becomes a better value proposition.

You need either Ink Plus, CSP, or CSR to be able to transfer points with Chase. As long as those points remain incredibly useful to me--and as long as they transfer to Hyatt and United 1:1 they will be--I will suck it up and pay the annual fee for one of these. Right now the $150 AF on CSR is worth it over the other two.


I've yet to transfer to United...but may be considering a big transfer soon if my friend decides to get married in Europe. What are your thoughts on how easy it us to book reward flights with United? Are there a lot of hoops to jump through? Are the reward charts complicated?

Da5id
Posts: 1225
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:20 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Postby Da5id » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:28 am

guitarguy wrote:I've yet to transfer to United...but may be considering a big transfer soon if my friend decides to get married in Europe. What are your thoughts on how easy it us to book reward flights with United? Are there a lot of hoops to jump through? Are the reward charts complicated?


Have a look at: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/flight ... edeemmiles

You can see what is available for miles based on dates, and see a calendar of the months around the trip with when the best deals (economy) are.


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