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