What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:16 am

4th and Inches wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:59 am
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a limited time 75k bonus up from the usual 50k bonus.

Thoughts on this deal and this card?

https://thepointsguy.com/news/capital-o ... ent-offer/
Great deal now that it's a transferable to airlines. And for $1 spend, you can get 1.5 miles.

Aeroplan, Air France etc. are good transfer partners.

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

Post by limeyx » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:33 pm

Trism wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:21 pm
limeyx wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:31 pm
lakpr wrote:
Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:44 am
What you are describing is something called “backdating”, and only Amex did this. Note that Amex too stopped this practice at least 3 years ago, and if you cancel the card but apply for another Amex card later, it will NOT inherit the opening date of the oldest card.

?
I just applied for a new Amex but did NOT cancel my existing one and the new card has my backdated years of membership
Don't know what would happen at card renewal If I were to cancel the original card though
There is a difference between the "Member Since" date on the card and what used to be actually valuable.

Amex used to report new Amex cards on your credit as if they were opened in the year you had your first Amex. I still have several (opened and closed) that appear on my credit to have been opened in 1995. Tremendous help for the average age of accounts metric in FICO scoring.

They stopped doing this a few years ago.
Did not know that.

b0B
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Amex bonus Strategy?

Post by b0B » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:05 pm

What is the best way to get all the Amex signup bonuses for all their cashback or MRpoint cards (once each). None of their cards are keepers for me, so I just want to spend the minimums (normal regular spending) and sockdrawer the cards, closing annual-fee cards as early as safely possible (>1 yr). I've read from DoC blog that Amex is watching out for bonus seekers. So how should I best go about getting these bonuses, without adverse action, clawbacks, or denial of future cards?

Some background: I discovered credit card bonuses a few years ago and got a bunch of cards. Then I waited a while, and then recently got another bunch of cards (8). The latter batch included two Amex cards, PRG and ED, which are my only ever Amex cards. So I want to get the rest of the cashback or MRpoint Amex cards for the signup bonuses personal, (not business, and not travel points/miles).

Should I apply for the next one when I finish the spending requirement from the previous one, getting card after card until the list is exhausted, so that I'm always spending on some Amex card (getting the bonus), so that it's less apparent that I'm ultimately sockdrawering all their cards, and maybe also get through the list before starting to cancel AF cards at month 13? I could put additional spend beyond the minimum on some Amex cards (to entice them to give me more cards) though the Amex cards are all less rewarding (other than bonus) than my non-Amex cards. Or should I space it out more timewise (1 or 2 per year)? The problem with spacing it out is that they have more time to see me cancelling their AF cards, and not spending on their cards.

What's the best way to approach this?

Is it safe to pay taxes to meet minimum spend (on Amex CCs)?

Can spouses safely refer each other? Are the referred bonuses less than other bonuses without referral?

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

Post by drk » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:22 pm

^ Slowly.

Also, given that Amex has started to look for churners, you won't make it very far by repeatedly opening and completing the MSR, then cancelling after a year. There's no reason to keep cancelling cards, including some of the ones with annual fees. If you don't want to do long-term business with Amex, it's not going to want to do business with you.

b0B
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Amex bonus Strategy?

Post by b0B » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:34 pm

drk wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:22 pm
^ Slowly.

Also, given that Amex has started to look for churners, you won't make it very far by repeatedly opening and completing the MSR, then cancelling after a year. There's no reason to keep cancelling cards, including some of the ones with annual fees. If you don't want to do long-term business with Amex, it's not going to want to do business with you.
Well I don't want to pay an AF for a card I don't want. I would keep non-AF cards, and use occasionally, but they're not as good as other cards. There's not that many cards (3 cashback and 5 MR pts), and each bonus is only once ever, so it's a limited process.

MikeG62
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeG62 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:02 am

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:16 am
4th and Inches wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:59 am
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a limited time 75k bonus up from the usual 50k bonus.

Thoughts on this deal and this card?

https://thepointsguy.com/news/capital-o ... ent-offer/
Great deal now that it's a transferable to airlines. And for $1 spend, you can get 1.5 miles.

Aeroplan, Air France etc. are good transfer partners.
I heard Cap One will pull from any one of the three CRA's. So if your reports are frozen, it appears applying for this card will require all three CRA's to be unfrozen. :(
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

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

Post by flamesabers » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:25 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:02 am
I heard Cap One will pull from any one of the three CRA's. So if your reports are frozen, it appears applying for this card will require all three CRA's to be unfrozen. :(
If I remember correctly from when I opened a Quicksilver card a few years ago, Capital One does a hard pull on all three credit bureaus.

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

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:44 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:04 pm

I also discovered that 50K is not the best -- there is a better 75K targeted deal. Not sure how I can get myself targeted.
Reupping this question. I have an offer for 50K delta miles with the Amex delta card. There is a better 75K targeted deal, but I don't see it when I try and check for deals.

Is there any way I can get myself targeted ? Would calling Amex to see if they would offer me the higher deal work ?

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

Post by travellight » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:09 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:50 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:37 am
I'll probably net around $4000-$5000 this year in various bonuses, without a lot of effort. To each his own.
[ quote fixed by admin LadyGeek]

The real money is in the brokerage bonuses, if you have a nice nest egg.
Can you elaborate on this?

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

Post by Daendrew » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:21 pm

2% cash back with Fidelity which I use to invest in index funds or 2% cash back with citi which I lower my credit card bill with.

TravelGeek
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Re: Amex bonus Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:23 pm

b0B wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:34 pm

Well I don't want to pay an AF for a card I don't want. I would keep non-AF cards, and use occasionally, but they're not as good as other cards. There's not that many cards (3 cashback and 5 MR pts), and each bonus is only once ever, so it's a limited process.
I don’t know that anyone can really answer your question on how to bets avoid the wrath of Amex because they (like other banks) are more aggressively implementing anti churning measures and it takes a while to work your way through all their cards (and surely rules will change during that time).

I have several AF cards, and they all earn their keep through benefits. I try hard not to get on the do-not-do-business-with list of any bank. Pigs get fat, hogs...

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

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:02 pm

travellight wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:09 pm
Leesbro63 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:50 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:37 am
I'll probably net around $4000-$5000 this year in various bonuses, without a lot of effort. To each his own.
[ quote fixed by admin LadyGeek]

The real money is in the brokerage bonuses, if you have a nice nest egg.
Can you elaborate on this?
Schwab would give you $2,400 if you add $1 million to your Schwab account.

TravelforFun

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

Post by giesen5 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:27 am

flamesabers wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:25 pm
MikeG62 wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:02 am
I heard Cap One will pull from any one of the three CRA's. So if your reports are frozen, it appears applying for this card will require all three CRA's to be unfrozen. :(
If I remember correctly from when I opened a Quicksilver card a few years ago, Capital One does a hard pull on all three credit bureaus.
Yep, this is true.

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

Post by DrGrnTum » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:37 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote: ↑Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:04 pm

I also discovered that 50K is not the best -- there is a better 75K targeted deal. Not sure how I can get myself targeted.
Reupping this question. I have an offer for 50K delta miles with the Amex delta card. There is a better 75K targeted deal, but I don't see it when I try and check for deals.

Is there any way I can get myself targeted ? Would calling Amex to see if they would offer me the higher deal work ?
Here is a tread on Flytalk. I don't think calling in will get you a better offer.
I can't find anywhere a public offer for 75k on that card.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/america ... offer.html

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

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:08 am

Not exactly CC, but miles related -- I have a BankDirect account that gives me AA miles, which I use for international biz class travel (so very good redemption values).

Interest on the account is almost non-existent which was OK when competing accounts were paying 1% at most, but with online savings accounts now going to 2.1%+, the opportunity cost of the 0.1% interest on the BankDirect AA accounts becomes starker and starker.

Anyone have any experience with BankDirect AA from (say) pre-2008 days when interest rates on Online Savings were higher ? Did BankDirect have a higher interest rate in their AA accounts at that time (which might indicate they would ratchet up rates in response to market rates) ? Actually, I would be happy if they dropped the $12 monthly fee for AA accounts > 10K or the like.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:02 am

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:08 am
Not exactly CC, but miles related -- I have a BankDirect account that gives me AA miles, which I use for international biz class travel (so very good redemption values).

Interest on the account is almost non-existent which was OK when competing accounts were paying 1% at most, but with online savings accounts now going to 2.1%+, the opportunity cost of the 0.1% interest on the BankDirect AA accounts becomes starker and starker.

Anyone have any experience with BankDirect AA from (say) pre-2008 days when interest rates on Online Savings were higher ? Did BankDirect have a higher interest rate in their AA accounts at that time (which might indicate they would ratchet up rates in response to market rates) ? Actually, I would be happy if they dropped the $12 monthly fee for AA accounts > 10K or the like.
AA points can be purchased from American, for just under 2 cents per mile, so keep that choice in mind, too.
Only "problem" is that there is a limit per person of 150k points, but that does *not* include the "bonus" miles, which range from none to ~50k or 80k to a max (that we've noticed) of 120k with the purchase of the max 150k. (Price per point seems to remain approx constant; it's the number than varies throughout the year.)

And we agree with the "good redemption values", including upping the number of points used to travel F when possible.

RM
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SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:12 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:02 am
SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:08 am
Not exactly CC, but miles related -- I have a BankDirect account that gives me AA miles, which I use for international biz class travel (so very good redemption values).

Interest on the account is almost non-existent which was OK when competing accounts were paying 1% at most, but with online savings accounts now going to 2.1%+, the opportunity cost of the 0.1% interest on the BankDirect AA accounts becomes starker and starker.
AA points can be purchased from American, for just under 2 cents per mile, so keep that choice in mind, too.
Only "problem" is that there is a limit per person of 150k points, but that does *not* include the "bonus" miles, which range from none to ~50k or 80k to a max (that we've noticed) of 120k with the purchase of the max 150k. (Price per point seems to remain approx constant; it's the number than varies throughout the year.)
True enough, but the 2 cents per mile purchase is with after tax dollars (because 2.1% interest would be taxed), whereas the AA miles are not (at least for now) 1099ed.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:23 am

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:12 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:02 am
SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:08 am
Not exactly CC, but miles related -- I have a BankDirect account that gives me AA miles, which I use for international biz class travel (so very good redemption values).

Interest on the account is almost non-existent which was OK when competing accounts were paying 1% at most, but with online savings accounts now going to 2.1%+, the opportunity cost of the 0.1% interest on the BankDirect AA accounts becomes starker and starker.
AA points can be purchased from American, for just under 2 cents per mile, so keep that choice in mind, too.
Only "problem" is that there is a limit per person of 150k points, but that does *not* include the "bonus" miles, which range from none to ~50k or 80k to a max (that we've noticed) of 120k with the purchase of the max 150k. (Price per point seems to remain approx constant; it's the number than varies throughout the year.)
True enough, but the 2 cents per mile purchase is with after tax dollars (because 2.1% interest would be taxed), whereas the AA miles are not (at least for now) 1099ed.
Good point.

However, my point was more that points *can* be purchased, and one might want to keep in mind the "price" compared with the cost of using an interest bearing account, which seemed to be your primary consideration in your specific post.
Whether there is a "crossover" point would depend upon all of these factors.

(We've switched a bit more of our spending - not all of it - to Amex, as those points cannot be purchased, so IF we run out, one type can be replaced by purchasing, and the other just cannot be.)

RM
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Ketawa
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Ketawa » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:31 am

I recently did something that I didn't realize was possible to meet a signup bonus. Throwing this out there in case it helps anyone.

I picked up the AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire in early September with the bonus of 150K points for $4K in spend. 1 month later, I picked up the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier, 100K points bonus for $3K in spend, since it was rumored the bonus would be lowered and it did not fall under 5/24. (I'm glad I did, too; it seems like Chase has expanded 5/24 and I wouldn't be able to get it now.)

I am barely meeting the spend requirement for the AMEX card and it was going to be very difficult to spend $3K in a little over a month for the Chase card. An article on DoC talked about funding bank deposits with a credit card: Bank Accounts That Can Be Funded With A Credit Card. I was able to set the Chase IHG card's cash advance limit to $100 to ensure I avoided any cash advance fees, and funded a PNC checking account with $2K from the credit card. Now I can easily generate $1K in the next month through everyday spend. The checking account also has a $200 bonus as long as I maintain $2K in the account and use its debit card 10 times. I have to keep it open 6 months to avoid any closure fees, but I can park $2K there without any issues. Rumors are that the closure fee is rarely charged anyway.

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

Post by Ketawa » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:35 am

Something else that I'm sure a lot of people missed: for a few hours on Tuesday, it was possible to cash out Hilton Honors Points at 0.5¢ through Amazon. It was some kind of glitch and the second time it has happened. I cashed out almost 300K points for an Amazon e-gift card. The DoC post showed up in my RSS feed and I was able to take advantage of it. There are other ways to be notified of DoC deals linked in the post. [Dead – Back To 0.2¢] Hilton Points Can Be Redeemed At Amazon For A 0.5¢ Again!!

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

Post by Beehave » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:00 am

Goal: outstanding, trustworthy customer service.
Strategy: Use Amex whenever possible.
American Express is immediately and full-bore onto protecting your interests in cases of:
- fraudulent use or loss of card
- theft of item purchased with Amex card
- rental car damage
I prefer to do business with companies that have consistently shown that they have my back and Amex is one of the few.

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

Post by giesen5 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:21 pm

Ketawa wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:31 am
I recently did something that I didn't realize was possible to meet a signup bonus. Throwing this out there in case it helps anyone.

I picked up the AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire in early September with the bonus of 150K points for $4K in spend. 1 month later, I picked up the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier, 100K points bonus for $3K in spend, since it was rumored the bonus would be lowered and it did not fall under 5/24. (I'm glad I did, too; it seems like Chase has expanded 5/24 and I wouldn't be able to get it now.)

I am barely meeting the spend requirement for the AMEX card and it was going to be very difficult to spend $3K in a little over a month for the Chase card. An article on DoC talked about funding bank deposits with a credit card: Bank Accounts That Can Be Funded With A Credit Card. I was able to set the Chase IHG card's cash advance limit to $100 to ensure I avoided any cash advance fees, and funded a PNC checking account with $2K from the credit card. Now I can easily generate $1K in the next month through everyday spend. The checking account also has a $200 bonus as long as I maintain $2K in the account and use its debit card 10 times. I have to keep it open 6 months to avoid any closure fees, but I can park $2K there without any issues. Rumors are that the closure fee is rarely charged anyway.
Oh yes, this is a big thing. PNC, Memory Bank, Umpqua, Bank of India (California) and many others accept larger credit card initial deposits. A great way to meet MSR in one big hit. Myself and P2 have met over $70,000 MSR spending this way over the past two years, I'm sure there are others that are much higher.

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

Post by Barefootgirl » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:46 pm

Currently, for personal reasons, I have little need for air travel, so what are other valuable uses for Amex Membership Rewards points and Citi Thank You Points?

I do use my UR points, by transferring to Hyatt.

Thanks
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Ketawa
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Ketawa » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:58 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:46 pm
Currently, for personal reasons, I have little need for air travel, so what are other valuable uses for Amex Membership Rewards points and Citi Thank You Points?

I do use my UR points, by transferring to Hyatt.

Thanks
I cash out MR points to a Schwab account at 1.25¢ each. This requires the AMEX Platinum Schwab card. With little need for air or hotel travel points, I'd rather have cash at a decent value than struggle to find a good redemption.

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

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:34 pm

https://wallethub.com/answers/citi-than ... 140668949/

This is relevant to me since I am working on 2 citi premier cards and should ultimately end up,with 120000 pts between the two.

Seems to me the best option will probably be gift cards:

https://hub.thankyou.com/tygr-web/gcLan ... rc=TYUSENG#

It looks like they are 1:1 value but may vary by citi account type/product.

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

Post by chocolateolive » Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:58 am

Would appreciate some advice:

The 4 credit cards I have/use are:

1. Amex platinum
2. Amex gold
3. Amex blue cash preferred
4. Barclay mastercard (only use this when Amex is not accepted)

As you can see, I am a heavy Amex user. I have about 580,000 amex points, which I am coming to realize might not be as useful as I thought.

I was amassing amex points so I can use them to purchase business/first class tickets for faraway vacations for me and my husband. However, my husband is going to Australia for xmas this year and I was surprised to find out that I could not cover the cost/mileage of the trip from LA to Australia sufficiently with the points I had.

Should I keep the platinum and blue cash preferred and cancel the gold since I mostly use the gold for points at supermarkets and restaurants? The blue cash preferred has 6% cash back at supermarkets, but would only offer 1% back on other purchases.

At this point, I am paying a total of $895 in amex cc fees for the three cards, which is pretty ridiculous.

My father in law suggested that the best point to mileage conversion cc is the American Airlines one. Should I get that and cancel the gold amex?

I welcome all thoughts and suggestions!

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

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:55 am

chocolateolive wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:58 am
Would appreciate some advice:

The 4 credit cards I have/use are:

1. Amex platinum
2. Amex gold
3. Amex blue cash preferred
4. Barclay mastercard (only use this when Amex is not accepted)

As you can see, I am a heavy Amex user. I have about 580,000 amex points, which I am coming to realize might not be as useful as I thought.

I was amassing amex points so I can use them to purchase business/first class tickets for faraway vacations for me and my husband. However, my husband is going to Australia for xmas this year and I was surprised to find out that I could not cover the cost/mileage of the trip from LA to Australia sufficiently with the points I had.

Should I keep the platinum and blue cash preferred and cancel the gold since I mostly use the gold for points at supermarkets and restaurants? The blue cash preferred has 6% cash back at supermarkets, but would only offer 1% back on other purchases.

At this point, I am paying a total of $895 in amex cc fees for the three cards, which is pretty ridiculous.

My father in law suggested that the best point to mileage conversion cc is the American Airlines one. Should I get that and cancel the gold amex?

I welcome all thoughts and suggestions!
Interesting.

What airline partners of Amex have you looked at for tix to Australia.
What class of seats are you wanting?

The person who helps us with our "rewards" tickets for business and first class has suggested that for that particular trip we would specifically want to use our Amex points, and not our AAdvantage points (given the choice of airlines/comfort/availability/etc.).

We've used both Amex and AAdvantage (but never on AA metal; always on partners... much nicer equipment/service).

RM
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TravelGeek
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:01 am

chocolateolive wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:58 am

I was amassing amex points so I can use them to purchase business/first class tickets for faraway vacations for me and my husband. However, my husband is going to Australia for xmas this year and I was surprised to find out that I could not cover the cost/mileage of the trip from LA to Australia sufficiently with the points I had.
Getting a business or first class Saver award to Australia during the Xmas period (aka as prime season for travel to down under) is very hard.
At this point, I am paying a total of $895 in amex cc fees for the three cards, which is pretty ridiculous.

My father in law suggested that the best point to mileage conversion cc is the American Airlines one. Should I get that and cancel the gold amex?
Hopefully you actually took advantage of some of the benefits of the cards, such as the travel credits, the TSA/GE fee reimbursement, the lounge access, the Uber/Sacks credit? In other words, the net fee you paid is hopefully not $895.

AA is not a transfer partner for Membership Rewards, so I don’t quite understand the suggestion of your FiL as you wrote it. There are Citi cards and SPG/Marriott cards that offer transfers to AA (or direct AA earnings)

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

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:15 pm

Any thoughts on BoA Premium Rewards CC ? 50,000 pts = $500 signup, and a few other benefits.

Normally, I like to go with transferrable points or UA/AA miles, but there really aren't any I'm eligible for right now.

ADDED: I should add I'm Platinum Honors
Last edited by SlowMovingInvestor on Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AlphaLess
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Re: Amex bonus Strategy?

Post by AlphaLess » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:41 pm

b0B wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:05 pm
What is the best way to get all the Amex signup bonuses for all their cashback or MRpoint cards (once each). None of their cards are keepers for me, so I just want to spend the minimums (normal regular spending) and sockdrawer the cards, closing annual-fee cards as early as safely possible (>1 yr). I've read from DoC blog that Amex is watching out for bonus seekers. So how should I best go about getting these bonuses, without adverse action, clawbacks, or denial of future cards?

Some background: I discovered credit card bonuses a few years ago and got a bunch of cards. Then I waited a while, and then recently got another bunch of cards (8). The latter batch included two Amex cards, PRG and ED, which are my only ever Amex cards. So I want to get the rest of the cashback or MRpoint Amex cards for the signup bonuses personal, (not business, and not travel points/miles).

Should I apply for the next one when I finish the spending requirement from the previous one, getting card after card until the list is exhausted, so that I'm always spending on some Amex card (getting the bonus), so that it's less apparent that I'm ultimately sockdrawering all their cards, and maybe also get through the list before starting to cancel AF cards at month 13? I could put additional spend beyond the minimum on some Amex cards (to entice them to give me more cards) though the Amex cards are all less rewarding (other than bonus) than my non-Amex cards. Or should I space it out more timewise (1 or 2 per year)? The problem with spacing it out is that they have more time to see me cancelling their AF cards, and not spending on their cards.

What's the best way to approach this?

Is it safe to pay taxes to meet minimum spend (on Amex CCs)?

Can spouses safely refer each other? Are the referred bonuses less than other bonuses without referral?
We (wife and husband team), open around 3-4 CCs each, per year. We don't just bonus-seek and close cards. We typically make an effort to keep useful cards, to reduce or eliminate annual fees, and hang on to certain cards for the long haul.

Along the way, we end up opening some cards, and then closing them in a year.

Spouse referrals: yes, have done it.

Taxes: maybe. We always put the $5K+ semi-annual R/E tax on a CC, often times on Amex. This is good for bonus-seeking, not necessarily ongoing stuff. CC fee is around 2%, so for bonus-seeking, this is a good return. Amex Plat gives 1.5x the points on larger purchases, and with a 1.55 multiplier, you are effectively ahead with even paying a 2% fee, but it is always nice to use this for a bonus. Spend $5K in one charge, get 60K bonus (plus 7.5K points from the spend), while paying $100 fee.

6-8 cards per year, at 50-70K points is around 300-500K points per year. Plus our normal spend, tilted towards categories probably gives us another 100K or more points. That's a good haul. Sometimes, companies throw us a bone, e.g., spend $5K and get 40K -> we will take that deal just like a bonus. There have been other deals as well, such as sign-up for pay-as-you-go, and get 15K MR points. Add in referrals as well, and you have a pretty good situation. E.g., the Chase Ink Biz 80K deal netted us 180K Chase UR points for not much work. That was ONE HECKUVA deal (dollar value of deal to us: $2700, after tax, for what was like $8K or $10K in spending).

We tend to collect:
- Amex MR (use the Amex Biz Platinum to harvest points are higher rate, 1.55x currently); NO inter-family point transfers,
- Chase UR (use Chase Saph Reserve for 1.5x currently); Inter-family transfer of UR points allowed: move points from family member to another who holds a Saph Reserve at the time,
- City TY (use TY Prestige for best redemption); inter-family transfer of TY points allowed,
- Mostly airlines and hotels that work for us. Currently, AA, UA, and DL all work for us, and that is what we collect. A lot.

For the high annual fee cards (such as Amex Plat, Chase Reserve, Citi Prest), we diligently use the rebates. Amex is hardest, but we are still in good shape. Priority Pass is overrated, because between the two of us, we have 4 or 5 CCs that provide it. Amex Centurion Lounges are OK.

We are constantly spending our points. Hanging on to points is futile, as the industry is constantly devaluing. So this is not a collecting strategy, but rather, collect-and-spend, rinse-and-repeat strategy.

We tend to fly in premium cabins (but not always), because redemptions are better on those.

We don't status-chase: if it happens, then it happens. A dollar in the bank always trumps the status.

Some tactical advice:
- a lot of the cards have annual or semi-annual bumps (like the Delta Amex varieties). Wait for them, because you get something like 2x higher bonus. They have something like 6 cards: Reserve and Reserve Biz, Plat and Plat Biz, and Gold and Gold Biz. That's like enough for 6 years of rinse-and-repeat, if you do one per year. Times 2 for wife+husband = lots of points.
- there was a deal about 3 years ago: open a Citi (at the time) Gold account, get 40K points. I did that, plus a Citi TY variety card, and received a total of 90K. Then I did the Prestige, and got another 60K. Total was 150K. But with Prestige, the value of Citi points went from 1c to 1.6 cents, so total haul from that was $2,4K, plus a 60% multiplier on my then current stash of something like 200K TY points. Total value from those activities: $3.6K. Tax free!
- we did something similar with Amex.
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

b0B
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by b0B » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:14 pm

^ Thanks. I have no use for points/miles (unless they convert easily to cash at a decent rate), so I'm looking at a smaller universe of cards. But at the moment, the Amex ones are the only ones I can readily get, so I just have to pace it right.

Mister A
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Mister A » Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:32 pm

chocolateolive wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:58 am
As you can see, I am a heavy Amex user. I have about 580,000 amex points, which I am coming to realize might not be as useful as I thought.
If you're not going to use the MRs with transfer partners for business/first, you might consider ditching your Platinum for a Charles Schwab Platinum.

This has the same perks package (as far as I know), but allows you to push MRs into a Charles Schwab account at 1:1.25.

Considering AmEx only gives you 1:.6/1:.7 on other cash-out options, that's not bad.

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

Post by FrugalProfessor » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:18 am

+1 to the BoA credit card strategy w/ platinum honors rewards.

2 BoA Cash Rewards cards (1 per spouse) = $5k/quarter spending cap.
1 BoA Premium Rewards card.

5.25% gas (including Costco's)
3.5% wholesale/groceries/travel/dining
2.625% all else

~$0 annual fee after jumping through a couple of hoops.

The vast majority of our annual spend is at Costco (I have 5 kids who eat a lot), so the 3.5% really helps amplify our bonuses relative to other setups (i.e. Costco Visa, Fidelity 2%, etc).

I wrote about my experiences here: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/best-cr ... 8-edition/
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

Generator515
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Generator515 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:26 pm

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:15 pm
Any thoughts on BoA Premium Rewards CC ? 50,000 pts = $500 signup, and a few other benefits.

Normally, I like to go with transferrable points or UA/AA miles, but there really aren't any I'm eligible for right now.

ADDED: I should add I'm Platinum Honors
I have a bunch of other cards but I put a lot of spend on this card as a Platinum Honkrs myself. We usually do 2-3 trips a year from Newark so was nervous losing the United bag fee but the $100 airline credit on the premium rewards covered it no issue. Plus now I am not beholden to United. We flew Delta from LGA AND bags were covered with the credit.

Earnings wise it is tough to beat the roughly 2.6% for everyday spend. Pair with the Cash Reward card for 5.25% on gas and 3.5 Costco/grocery it is a powerful simple combo.

arf30
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by arf30 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:49 pm

Do you have to use BofA checking with platinum rewards? The cards are tempting but I've had issues with their incompetence and customer service in the past and would rather not use them for banking.

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

Post by drk » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:18 pm

arf30 wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:49 pm
Do you have to use BofA checking with platinum rewards? The cards are tempting but I've had issues with their incompetence and customer service in the past and would rather not use them for banking.
You need to have a BofA checking account open, but that's all. Mine currently has a couple of bucks in it. It's a terrible checking account.

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

Post by spammagnet » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:13 am

TravelforFun wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:02 pm
Schwab would give you $2,400 if you add $1 million to your Schwab account.
0.24% for the hassle of opening a new brokerage account and transferring $1,000,000?

pdavi21
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by pdavi21 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:30 am

Goal. Cash back

Cards. 150+ cash back intro bonus for 500-1000 spend, no annual fee, 3-4 per year. Citi double cash as back up. Used to use barclaycard for 5% gas, groceries, amazon, but they closed it.

Rewards. Cash only. Focus on intro bonuses.
Redeem as received.

Final Thoughs. I also like running up zero interest balances while holding reserves in high yield savings accounts.

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

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:18 am

spammagnet wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:13 am
TravelforFun wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:02 pm
Schwab would give you $2,400 if you add $1 million to your Schwab account.
0.24% for the hassle of opening a new brokerage account and transferring $1,000,000?
No hassle. I called Schwab, they told me what to do, I did it online, printed some forms, signed, and send them off and the whole account got transferred. It probably took 30 minutes of my time. I try to do this every year.

TravelforFun

28fe6
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 28fe6 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:44 am

For some reason nobody will give me any new cards, even though my scores are in the high 700s and even 800. I just applied for two cards and got declined. The stated reason was "too many new cards". I have only opened 2 cards this year, and one of them was an Amazon card. I read here about people opening multiple cards per year; how many is typical and how long do I have to wait? I wanted a new bonus card to pay my taxes with.

Also if I apply on an airplane to one of the "special in-flight offers", does it increase my odds of getting accepted?

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

Post by IlliniGuy » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:40 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:18 am
+1 to the BoA credit card strategy w/ platinum honors rewards.

2 BoA Cash Rewards cards (1 per spouse) = $5k/quarter spending cap.
1 BoA Premium Rewards card.

5.25% gas (including Costco's)
3.5% wholesale/groceries/travel/dining
2.625% all else

~$0 annual fee after jumping through a couple of hoops.

The vast majority of our annual spend is at Costco (I have 5 kids who eat a lot), so the 3.5% really helps amplify our bonuses relative to other setups (i.e. Costco Visa, Fidelity 2%, etc).

I wrote about my experiences here: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/best-cr ... 8-edition/
I recently started using a similar strategy, but with only one Cash Rewards card. FrugalProfessor's blog post is an excellent summary. That post includes a helpful discussion about using the available $100 airline incidental credit to recoup nearly all of the $95 annual fee for those that wouldn't otherwise use the credit. FrugalProfessor was successful in purchasing and then reselling an American Airlines gift card. One point to note about this credit is that it is available on a calendar year basis, so here in December, if you have this card and haven't yet received this credit, then I suggest reading the blog post. From the fine print on the Bank of America website:
Airline Incidental Statement Credit. You are eligible for a statement credit of up to $100 each calendar year if you make qualifying airline incidental fee transactions.
I was glad to learn about this as I had just recently gotten this card, I was charged the annual fee right away, and I was not going to be able to use the credit this year until I learned about this.

xerxes101
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xerxes101 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:23 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:18 am
+1 to the BoA credit card strategy w/ platinum honors rewards.

2 BoA Cash Rewards cards (1 per spouse) = $5k/quarter spending cap.
1 BoA Premium Rewards card.

5.25% gas (including Costco's)
3.5% wholesale/groceries/travel/dining
2.625% all else

~$0 annual fee after jumping through a couple of hoops.

The vast majority of our annual spend is at Costco (I have 5 kids who eat a lot), so the 3.5% really helps amplify our bonuses relative to other setups (i.e. Costco Visa, Fidelity 2%, etc).

I wrote about my experiences here: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/best-cr ... 8-edition/
I have these cards too, and I really like them. How did you manage to waive the $95 annual fee for B of A Premium Rewards?

bryansmile
Posts: 56
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by bryansmile » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:35 am

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:18 am
+1 to the BoA credit card strategy w/ platinum honors rewards.

2 BoA Cash Rewards cards (1 per spouse) = $5k/quarter spending cap.
1 BoA Premium Rewards card.

5.25% gas (including Costco's)
3.5% wholesale/groceries/travel/dining
2.625% all else

~$0 annual fee after jumping through a couple of hoops.

The vast majority of our annual spend is at Costco (I have 5 kids who eat a lot), so the 3.5% really helps amplify our bonuses relative to other setups (i.e. Costco Visa, Fidelity 2%, etc).
I'm glad the strategy works for you.
The majority of us go to Costco maybe once of month and shop at Aldi, Kroger or Stop n Shop each week. Here's something I do:
5% Gas - Penfed cash rewards visa
6% Groceries - Amex cash preferred
2% everything else - penfed power cash visa

I could add Costco visa for 3% travel, but I mostly use points for travel.

bryansmile
Posts: 56
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by bryansmile » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:47 am

28fe6 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:44 am
For some reason nobody will give me any new cards, even though my scores are in the high 700s and even 800. I just applied for two cards and got declined. The stated reason was "too many new cards". I have only opened 2 cards this year, and one of them was an Amazon card. I read here about people opening multiple cards per year; how many is typical and how long do I have to wait? I wanted a new bonus card to pay my taxes with.

Also if I apply on an airplane to one of the "special in-flight offers", does it increase my odds of getting accepted?
Check your credit report, did you get 5+ cards in the prior 24 months?

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

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:14 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:44 am
For some reason nobody will give me any new cards, even though my scores are in the high 700s and even 800. I just applied for two cards and got declined. The stated reason was "too many new cards". I have only opened 2 cards this year, and one of them was an Amazon card. I read here about people opening multiple cards per year; how many is typical and how long do I have to wait? I wanted a new bonus card to pay my taxes with.
I have opened about two cards per year for the last few years. I read reports from others who open a lot more. That said, different banks have different rules. Without knowing what those two declined cards were and what other cards you have and when you opened them, it is difficult to comment. Also, how does your total credit compare to stated income?
Also if I apply on an airplane to one of the "special in-flight offers", does it increase my odds of getting accepted?
Should make zero difference.

mindgap
Posts: 27
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by mindgap » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:17 pm

Hi,

Im relatively new to the US (2 years) but I was able to push my credit score to around 740.

I wonder about the best strategy to get free or cheaper flights to Germany since I need to go there on a regular basis (yearly)? What would be the card of choice for me?

So far I have the following cards:

OpenSky (closed, needed it to start my credit score journey)
Capital One - Quicksilver One
Amex - Every Day Card

TravelGeek
Posts: 2458
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:46 pm

mindgap wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:17 pm
I wonder about the best strategy to get free or cheaper flights to Germany since I need to go there on a regular basis (yearly)? What would be the card of choice for me?
There are lots of ways to Germany, but if you want to minimize connections, the combination of United and Lufthansa probably offers the most choices and has decent award availability. And Chase has United cards and Ultimate Reward cards (transfer to United) to get miles fairly quickly.

An alternative is to simply buy cheap(er) flights. Depending on when you fly and what class of service, “free”awards can be a bad value compared to just paying cash and earning cashback instead. Condor (a more leisure oriented airline) often has very reasonably priced fares to Germany.

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

Post by FrugalProfessor » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:56 pm

xerxes101 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:23 am
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:18 am
+1 to the BoA credit card strategy w/ platinum honors rewards.

2 BoA Cash Rewards cards (1 per spouse) = $5k/quarter spending cap.
1 BoA Premium Rewards card.

5.25% gas (including Costco's)
3.5% wholesale/groceries/travel/dining
2.625% all else

~$0 annual fee after jumping through a couple of hoops.

The vast majority of our annual spend is at Costco (I have 5 kids who eat a lot), so the 3.5% really helps amplify our bonuses relative to other setups (i.e. Costco Visa, Fidelity 2%, etc).

I wrote about my experiences here: https://www.frugalprofessor.com/best-cr ... 8-edition/
I have these cards too, and I really like them. How did you manage to waive the $95 annual fee for B of A Premium Rewards?
$100 egift card at American Airlines (https://www.doctorofcredit.com/triggers ... The_Credit), which is sold for $85 on raise.com. We will also utilize the global entry credit every few years. The combined effects of for these two actions leads to a net $0 annual cost for the card.
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:22 pm

Barefootgirl wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:46 pm
Currently, for personal reasons, I have little need for air travel, so what are other valuable uses for Amex Membership Rewards points and Citi Thank You Points?

I do use my UR points, by transferring to Hyatt.

Thanks
I closed my Amex card recently and used the 85k points I had accumulated from signup bonus and purchases to get: a $500 Ruth Chris Steakhouse gift card, two $100 Olive Garden gift cards, and several Panera Bread gift cards totaling $125. I could have gotten other stuff for more values but I'm happy with what I got.

TravelforFun

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

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:32 pm

Question about the BoA Travel Rewards Card Airline Fee Refund: I applied, was accepted , and expect to get the card shipped soon.

But I am travelling a lot and may have literally no more than a day or 2 left this year when I get the card. Can one just charge something like an AA gift certificate immediately and get the airline incidental fee refunded ? I vaguely remember that for some Amex cards, you first need to set your airline and then charge it, which can take 1-2 days. I am assuming that the fee refund is per calendar year.

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