What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Post by giesen5 » Thu May 23, 2019 9:56 am

Yep, too late. I do not think there is another offer out there for $500 for $500 spend right now.

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

Post by matthewmon » Thu May 23, 2019 10:00 am

how about 3k spend?

giesen5
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Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by giesen5 » Thu May 23, 2019 12:27 pm

matthewmon wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 10:00 am
how about 3k spend?
Check out Doctor of Credit.

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

Post by IngognitoUSA » Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm

Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend

Leesbro63
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm

IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?

IngognitoUSA
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:54 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by IngognitoUSA » Thu May 23, 2019 2:55 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... edit-card/

peek
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:28 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by peek » Thu May 23, 2019 3:01 pm

IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:55 pm
Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... edit-card/
Technically it's a $405 bonus (95 dollar annual fee) but you get the perks of the card which include $100 back on airline incidentals and other benefits. I'm working towards this bonus right now. I applied for the BOA Travel Rewards at the same time ($250 dollar credits on travel) and got approved for both on the same day.

IngognitoUSA
Posts: 176
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by IngognitoUSA » Thu May 23, 2019 3:21 pm

peek wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 3:01 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:55 pm
Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... edit-card/
Technically it's a $405 bonus (95 dollar annual fee) but you get the perks of the card which include $100 back on airline incidentals and other benefits. I'm working towards this bonus right now. I applied for the BOA Travel Rewards at the same time ($250 dollar credits on travel) and got approved for both on the same day.
Technically you can get $100 in airline incidentals this year and next while paying only one annual fee. I think AA gift cards qualify. Then you get $100 for tsa. And if you have the $500 deposited directly to your boa account, there is some bonus.

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

Post by HomeStretch » Thu May 23, 2019 3:45 pm

matthewmon wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:50 am
I saw people saying you can get $500 cash back with the Capital One savor card but when I went to the website it said $300 cash back....am I too late for the $500? What other cards other than sapphire preferred can I get $500 for 3k spend in 3 months? thanks!
Capital One Savor bonus just changed from $500 to $300 per 5/22 post on doctorofcredit.com. Good site to check out the latest credit card bonuses and promos.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Thu May 23, 2019 11:31 pm

IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:55 pm
Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... edit-card/
I got denied by this card and now figure I'm basically a persona non grata at all the major issuers except Amex and Citi. I've had 48 cards in the last 5 years so easy to figure why. I think I'm gonna apply for an Amex biz platinum in August and then basically go off the schneid for a year or 2 and let things reset. Maybe even get under 5/24 and grab some Chase cards!

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

Post by Ketawa » Fri May 24, 2019 8:22 am

Bfwolf wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 11:31 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:55 pm
Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... edit-card/
I got denied by this card and now figure I'm basically a persona non grata at all the major issuers except Amex and Citi. I've had 48 cards in the last 5 years so easy to figure why. I think I'm gonna apply for an Amex biz platinum in August and then basically go off the schneid for a year or 2 and let things reset. Maybe even get under 5/24 and grab some Chase cards!
I was also denied for this card. The letter gave two reasons: too many new accounts, and not enough of an existing relationship with BoA (checking/savings/brokerage). I don't have any BoA products right now. Maybe I'll retry if the Merrill Edge brokerage bonus increases, I transfer my assets, and open a checking account.

I was also initially denied for a U.S. Bank Cash+ card and am waiting on reconsideration.

I'm currently at 8/24 and might need to slow things down for a while to let some of my newest accounts age.

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

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Fri May 24, 2019 8:38 am

Bfwolf wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 11:31 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:55 pm
Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:52 pm
IngognitoUSA wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 12:46 pm
Bank of America gives $500 for $3k spend
Details please?
https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-ca ... edit-card/
I got denied by this card and now figure I'm basically a persona non grata at all the major issuers except Amex and Citi. I've had 48 cards in the last 5 years so easy to figure why. I think I'm gonna apply for an Amex biz platinum in August and then basically go off the schneid for a year or 2 and let things reset. Maybe even get under 5/24 and grab some Chase cards!
Yes, pretty much the same. Once my refinance goes through I am going to close about 3 dozen cards and let everything reset. Focus entirely on checking and savings bonuses. May even venture into brokerage bonuses. I’ve gotten over $50k in rewards in the last 5 or 6 years or so and while I don’t “depend” on it, an 8-10k hole a year is noticed. I know the gravy train won’t last forever, but CC rewards have sent me and my wife on fabulous vacations, put a new roof on our house, and bought us a house fulls worth of new furniture.

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

Post by KATNYC » Fri May 24, 2019 4:02 pm

We've been using Chase Reserve and Chase Preferred for 2019 but in the past had used Chase Preferred, Citibank Premier and Chase SW (2 cards). We had their companion pass and used it to take several international trips, including Cuba when it was still allowed.
50,000 points just hit the new Chase Reserve account last week after hitting the spend.

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

Post by teamDE » Sat May 25, 2019 10:37 pm

Hey guys, let me run this plan by ya.

I currently have a BOA Cash Rewards card with the 3% category set to Online Shopping. I normally max out of the $2500/quarter limit with a few weeks to spare. This is "my" card.

I just got a American Express Gold card that my wife and I will share. We eat out way too much so the 4% on dining will be great, not to mention the 4% on groceries. We travel a reasonable amount, but she also books her airfare for work on her own CC so she can use this as well - 3% on travel booked directly. We'll use up the $10/mo on GrubHub and the $100/yr airline credits no prob.

My wife currently has some crappy old card with no rewards or points at all so we're looking for a card for her personal use. She's not one to fuss around with categories and activating things online monthly so i'm thinking the Citi Double Cash at 2% on everything would be great. She'll use the Amex Gold for food/travel and this for everything else.

Sound like a plan? Seems like everything compliments pretty well.

somekevinguy
Posts: 126
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by somekevinguy » Sat May 25, 2019 11:27 pm

teamDE wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 10:37 pm
Hey guys, let me run this plan by ya.

I currently have a BOA Cash Rewards card with the 3% category set to Online Shopping. I normally max out of the $2500/quarter limit with a few weeks to spare. This is "my" card.

I just got a American Express Gold card that my wife and I will share. We eat out way too much so the 4% on dining will be great, not to mention the 4% on groceries. We travel a reasonable amount, but she also books her airfare for work on her own CC so she can use this as well - 3% on travel booked directly. We'll use up the $10/mo on GrubHub and the $100/yr airline credits no prob.

My wife currently has some crappy old card with no rewards or points at all so we're looking for a card for her personal use. She's not one to fuss around with categories and activating things online monthly so i'm thinking the Citi Double Cash at 2% on everything would be great. She'll use the Amex Gold for food/travel and this for everything else.

Sound like a plan? Seems like everything compliments pretty well.
Seems good- any chance you can qualify for platinum honors through B of A (ie transfer a brokerage account or Roth IRA to Merrill edge)-total assets of 100k required? If so, that 3% becomes 1.75x (5.25%) and you could get the b of a travel rewards to get 1.5 (1.75x)= 2.625% on everything.

teamDE
Posts: 241
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by teamDE » Sun May 26, 2019 12:08 am

^>5% is pretty tempting, but i don't think its worth the hassle of putting money into Merill Lynch. I like my nice clean portfolio how it is. The $2500/qtr limit also reins in some of the potential.

Another option for my wife is the Fidelity Rewards card with flat 2%. She has a Fidelity brokerage account she could put the rewards into. Hrmm.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sun May 26, 2019 8:07 am

teamDE wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 10:37 pm
Hey guys, let me run this plan by ya.

I currently have a BOA Cash Rewards card with the 3% category set to Online Shopping. I normally max out of the $2500/quarter limit with a few weeks to spare. This is "my" card.

I just got a American Express Gold card that my wife and I will share. We eat out way too much so the 4% on dining will be great, not to mention the 4% on groceries. We travel a reasonable amount, but she also books her airfare for work on her own CC so she can use this as well - 3% on travel booked directly. We'll use up the $10/mo on GrubHub and the $100/yr airline credits no prob.

My wife currently has some crappy old card with no rewards or points at all so we're looking for a card for her personal use. She's not one to fuss around with categories and activating things online monthly so i'm thinking the Citi Double Cash at 2% on everything would be great. She'll use the Amex Gold for food/travel and this for everything else.

Sound like a plan? Seems like everything compliments pretty well.
You’re not getting “4%” with your AMEX Gold card. You’re getting 4 Membership Rewards points. If you’re redeeming the points at a value of $0.0125 or less then the Gold Card isn’t that great IMO. I’d recommend Uber Visa for 4% dining and no annual fee and the US Bank Altitude Reserve which is 4.5% cashback (well “travel reimbursement” but that is easily gamed) on travel and mobile payments for a $75 net annual fee. That gives you 4% or better almost everywhere. You can throw in a Citi Doublecash for anything else that doesn’t accept mobile payment.

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

Post by aristotelian » Sun May 26, 2019 8:17 am

teamDE wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 10:37 pm
Hey guys, let me run this plan by ya.

I currently have a BOA Cash Rewards card with the 3% category set to Online Shopping. I normally max out of the $2500/quarter limit with a few weeks to spare. This is "my" card.

I just got a American Express Gold card that my wife and I will share. We eat out way too much so the 4% on dining will be great, not to mention the 4% on groceries. We travel a reasonable amount, but she also books her airfare for work on her own CC so she can use this as well - 3% on travel booked directly. We'll use up the $10/mo on GrubHub and the $100/yr airline credits no prob.

My wife currently has some crappy old card with no rewards or points at all so we're looking for a card for her personal use. She's not one to fuss around with categories and activating things online monthly so i'm thinking the Citi Double Cash at 2% on everything would be great. She'll use the Amex Gold for food/travel and this for everything else.

Sound like a plan? Seems like everything compliments pretty well.
I am also using that card, with the category set to groceries. Planning to upgrade to Premium Rewards as soon as the holding period for my Roth IRA expires and I can transfer it without a penalty from TD.

teamDE
Posts: 241
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by teamDE » Sun May 26, 2019 10:33 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 8:07 am
teamDE wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 10:37 pm
Hey guys, let me run this plan by ya.

I currently have a BOA Cash Rewards card with the 3% category set to Online Shopping. I normally max out of the $2500/quarter limit with a few weeks to spare. This is "my" card.

I just got a American Express Gold card that my wife and I will share. We eat out way too much so the 4% on dining will be great, not to mention the 4% on groceries. We travel a reasonable amount, but she also books her airfare for work on her own CC so she can use this as well - 3% on travel booked directly. We'll use up the $10/mo on GrubHub and the $100/yr airline credits no prob.

My wife currently has some crappy old card with no rewards or points at all so we're looking for a card for her personal use. She's not one to fuss around with categories and activating things online monthly so i'm thinking the Citi Double Cash at 2% on everything would be great. She'll use the Amex Gold for food/travel and this for everything else.

Sound like a plan? Seems like everything compliments pretty well.
You’re not getting “4%” with your AMEX Gold card. You’re getting 4 Membership Rewards points. If you’re redeeming the points at a value of $0.0125 or less then the Gold Card isn’t that great IMO. I’d recommend Uber Visa for 4% dining and no annual fee and the US Bank Altitude Reserve which is 4.5% cashback (well “travel reimbursement” but that is easily gamed) on travel and mobile payments for a $75 net annual fee. That gives you 4% or better almost everywhere. You can throw in a Citi Doublecash for anything else that doesn’t accept mobile payment.
That's true. Although, i thought the Amex MR points were were valued at like $0.02 on thepointsguy.com, but i haven't dug into the numbers. The review mentioned the Amex Gold is effectively 8% cash back on dining? https://thepointsguy.com/guide/amex-gold-card-review/ I think that assumes the most points efficient option of transferring to an airline partner. We fly mostly JetBlue to see family which unfortunately has a 1.25:1 transfer ratio.

The Uber card does look quite compelling!

Either way, we're effectively going from 1% cashback with my BoA while dining to 4x points worth somewhere between 3 and 8% cashback depending on how we redeem, plus we get a few statement credits that we'll make use of.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sun May 26, 2019 11:18 am

teamDE wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 10:33 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 8:07 am
teamDE wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 10:37 pm
Hey guys, let me run this plan by ya.

I currently have a BOA Cash Rewards card with the 3% category set to Online Shopping. I normally max out of the $2500/quarter limit with a few weeks to spare. This is "my" card.

I just got a American Express Gold card that my wife and I will share. We eat out way too much so the 4% on dining will be great, not to mention the 4% on groceries. We travel a reasonable amount, but she also books her airfare for work on her own CC so she can use this as well - 3% on travel booked directly. We'll use up the $10/mo on GrubHub and the $100/yr airline credits no prob.

My wife currently has some crappy old card with no rewards or points at all so we're looking for a card for her personal use. She's not one to fuss around with categories and activating things online monthly so i'm thinking the Citi Double Cash at 2% on everything would be great. She'll use the Amex Gold for food/travel and this for everything else.

Sound like a plan? Seems like everything compliments pretty well.
You’re not getting “4%” with your AMEX Gold card. You’re getting 4 Membership Rewards points. If you’re redeeming the points at a value of $0.0125 or less then the Gold Card isn’t that great IMO. I’d recommend Uber Visa for 4% dining and no annual fee and the US Bank Altitude Reserve which is 4.5% cashback (well “travel reimbursement” but that is easily gamed) on travel and mobile payments for a $75 net annual fee. That gives you 4% or better almost everywhere. You can throw in a Citi Doublecash for anything else that doesn’t accept mobile payment.
That's true. Although, i thought the Amex MR points were were valued at like $0.02 on thepointsguy.com, but i haven't dug into the numbers. The review mentioned the Amex Gold is effectively 8% cash back on dining? https://thepointsguy.com/guide/amex-gold-card-review/ I think that assumes the most points efficient option of transferring to an airline partner. We fly mostly JetBlue to see family which unfortunately has a 1.25:1 transfer ratio.

The Uber card does look quite compelling!

Either way, we're effectively going from 1% cashback with my BoA while dining to 4x points worth somewhere between 3 and 8% cashback depending on how we redeem, plus we get a few statement credits that we'll make use of.
I highly recommend you don’t look at points as cashback unless you’re redeeming for cash. AMEX points are worth $0.006 each when redeemed for statement credit or $0.0125 each if you have the Schwab AMEX Platinum (which comes with a $550 annual fee). Every time you choose to earn points instead of cashback you are effectively purchasing points for the cashback rate you could have otherwise earned.


Example: If you are using AMEX Gold for dining instead of the Uber Visa, you are in effect paying American Express $250 in annual fees for the privilege of purchasing Membership Rewards points at $0.01 each. Okay so sure, you get $10/mo in dining credits (may or may not be able to use) and $100 “airline credit” (I value at about 50% of that, but let’s say you are going to count it at $100), you are still paying AMEX $30/yr to buy MR points.


TPG’s point valuations are a joke IMO. Have you actually attempted to redeem your points? You will realistically get two ranges of redemptions: $0.005-$0.015 or $0.03-$0.10 and beyond. Notice how you’ll rarely get a $0.02/pt redemption. Why is that? Because you can really only redeem your points in 3 ways: cashback/statement credit/gift cards (very low end $0.005-$0.01), transfer to travel partner and book economy travel (low end, $0.008-$0.014ish), or transfer to travel partner and book premium accommodations (high end, $0.03+). The issue with the high end is that unless you have the ability to earn multiple 100,000s of points a year you’ll never earn enough points to redeem for premium international travel regularly. Two business class international tickets will cost you at least 240,000 points and usually those will be at off peak times, with connections, and odd days. Good luck finding summer saver award space in business class to Europe, for example. Ask yourself how long it will take you to earn 240,000 points—let’s say you spend $3000/mo on “food” at 4x—that’s almost 2 years and $500 in annual fees.

Now why do I say all this considering I earn a lot of points and use them? I say this because unless you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole, sign up for a bunch of credit cards for bonuses, take advantage of AMEX offer deals that make sense, buy gift cards at 4x or 5x to use at places you’d normally only earn 2x or 1x, be willing to switching between 3, 4, 5 cards at any given moment, take advantage of special offers made available to you (add 4 authorized users and spend $500 on each card to get 20,000 points type deals), it can be difficult to have points work out better than cashback—especially now that cashback offers are so strong and there are so many opportunities to purchase discounted travel.

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

Post by dbr » Sun May 26, 2019 11:25 am

The above is an excellent description of exactly what really happens.

I have a file of 25 points redemptions we have made over the last eight years and what is described above is a picture right down to the numbers of our experience.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Sun May 26, 2019 12:29 pm

There are two main work-arounds to the "spending needed" that Jags4186 describes.

The first are the bonus points for getting new cards. If two people are doing this, it can add up, even at the "only" 60k points per card. We haven't been able to get anything close to the 100k bonus points mentioned, although we keep looking. At least, not on the two programs we use.
(And that's another thing... making sure that one focuses on just one or two awards programs OR adds programs where the points can be linked/consolidated.)

The other is that is that at least with the AAdvantage program (American Airlines), one can purchase points at approximately 2 cents each (or just under). That's really only helpful for those who are going to be using the points for those international premium airline tickets, where it can be worth far more than the 2 cents per point, as described above, up to 5 to even approaching 10 cents per point compared with the cash price. There is a maximum of 150k points per person per year that can be purchased, but there is a frequent free "bonus" of up to approx 100k a few times per year.
We haven't purchased points yet, but we would if we needed to.
There isn't a way (not that we know of) to purchase Amex MR points, which is the other program we us.
Between the two programs, we have a broad choice of airlines, given the partner networks, etc., in each program.

The "value" to each person depends upon what one would actually have purchased if cash were needed.

For example, we *would* pay for international business (J) class, but we would NOT pay for most of the international F class, not at regular prices, anyway. (But if we are using points for those J tickets, we *will* add the small amount of points to get F seats if available, and we've had some luck thus far doing this.)

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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

Post by teamDE » Sun May 26, 2019 5:27 pm

Interesting! I just got the Amex Gold, hasn't even shown up in the mail yet. I guess i figured 4x would be worth at least 4% (based on TPG's ratings) but i see that that scenario is less likely. Seems like applying point to statement credit is the worst you can do at 0.06. Saving them for travel is fine, but we don't anticipate saving enough for or paying the difference for business class. Just isn't important to us. Also, we travel JetBlue the most and it seems to have the worst transfer ratio...

I don't like the idea of managing tons of cards so maybe the points game isn't for us. Maybe the Amex Gold wasn't the right choice. I do see some odd ball bonuses like the ebates partnership and various Amex Offers. Is there anything else worth using in the Amex universe?

Do either of the two JetBlue cards make sense? I can't find much info on determing their points value. I guess plane tickets are so variable its hard to say.
https://trueblue.jetblue.com/jetblue-card-comparison

Maybe the Uber VISA is the way to go.


What's the idea with getting a few cards withing the same rewards system? Like getting three Chase cards so you can add up their bonus points. Maybe my wife and I should each get a new card in the same family?


Since we tend to not get into these "games" (although interesting i must say) what are solid cards that basically i can trust in the long term without doing tons of research to eek out the deals? I thought Amex was that. Maybe Chase?

Thanks for all the info.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Sun May 26, 2019 5:31 pm

teamDE wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 5:27 pm
Interesting! I just got the Amex Gold, hasn't even shown up in the mail yet. I guess i figured 4x would be worth at least 4% (based on TPG's ratings) but i see that that scenario is less likely. Seems like applying point to statement credit is the worst you can do at 0.06. Saving them for travel is fine, but we don't anticipate saving enough for or paying the difference for business class. Just isn't important to us. Also, we travel JetBlue the most and it seems to have the worst transfer ratio...

I don't like the idea of managing tons of cards so maybe the points game isn't for us. Maybe the Amex Gold wasn't the right choice. I do see some odd ball bonuses like the ebates partnership and various Amex Offers. Is there anything else worth using in the Amex universe?

Do either of the two JetBlue cards make sense? I can't find much info on determing their points value. I guess plane tickets are so variable its hard to say.
https://trueblue.jetblue.com/jetblue-card-comparison

Maybe the Uber VISA is the way to go.


What's the idea with getting a few cards withing the same rewards system? Like getting three Chase cards so you can add up their bonus points. Maybe my wife and I should each get a new card in the same family?


Since we tend to not get into these "games" (although interesting i must say) what are solid cards that basically i can trust in the long term without doing tons of research to eek out the deals? I thought Amex was that. Maybe Chase?

Thanks for all the info.
What do you mean by "solid cards that basically [you] can trust"?
Why does Amex not meet that for you, if you aren't after the rewards?

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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

Post by lkar » Sun May 26, 2019 5:43 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 11:18 am
TPG’s point valuations are a joke IMO. Have you actually attempted to redeem your points? You will realistically get two ranges of redemptions: $0.005-$0.015 or $0.03-$0.10 and beyond. Notice how you’ll rarely get a $0.02/pt redemption. Why is that? Because you can really only redeem your points in 3 ways: cashback/statement credit/gift cards (very low end $0.005-$0.01), transfer to travel partner and book economy travel (low end, $0.008-$0.014ish), or transfer to travel partner and book premium accommodations (high end, $0.03+). The issue with the high end is that unless you have the ability to earn multiple 100,000s of points a year you’ll never earn enough points to redeem for premium international travel regularly. Two business class international tickets will cost you at least 240,000 points and usually those will be at off peak times, with connections, and odd days. Good luck finding summer saver award space in business class to Europe, for example. Ask yourself how long it will take you to earn 240,000 points—let’s say you spend $3000/mo on “food” at 4x—that’s almost 2 years and $500 in annual fees.
While I agree with much of what you wrote, I disagree with this point.

Value and redemption are two very different things. The value of your points is the price at which you are in equipoise about whether you would rather have the point or the cash. It correlates to how you redeem your points, but not perfectly and sometimes only very loosely. You may sometimes use a Chase point for a 1 cent redemption. Other times you might use 80,000 of them for a Lufthansa ticket that retails for $16,000. These are your redemptions but neither means that a Chase point should be valued at 1 cent or 20 cents. It is somewhere in between taking into account the sum of all these possibilities and their value to you.*

I think an attempt to value your points is crucial, and while I have an awful lot of problems with TPG and barely read him any more, I think his efforts to define a value for the various credit card reward currencies is crucial to anyone in this game. It helps you figure out which card to use for what, helps you decide whether an annual fee is worth it, and helps you compare to cash back. Nobody does more high level thinking and analysis on this question than Greg and Nick at frequentmiler. For value/redemption issues, they are indispensable.

I do agree with the point that how many points you can accumulate feasibly or how many you already have affects their value.

*Even redemption is slippery. Say you need to fly PHX-BOS and cash prices are very high. You have chase points and you transfer 25,000 to United for a $500 ticket. You got 2 cents per point redemption, right? Easy. Is it? What if there was a $469 ticket on American with equally convenient times and you don’t care which airline you fly. You booked United because you had points you could use for United but the cash cost of the ticket is actually not the value of the redemption for you. What if you have to check a bag and have a card that gives you a fee bag on delta but not American? Etc.

teamDE
Posts: 241
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:16 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by teamDE » Sun May 26, 2019 5:51 pm

I guess by that i mean by "trust" is a rewards system that'll be "pretty solid" without a lot of strategy. One that i don't have to jump through a lot of hoops to eek the value out of. maybe i'm not maximizing 100%, but if gets me a solid B+ level of value for many years that's ok with me. I see it as an investment of time to commit to a rewards program so i'm hoping it'll be good and stay good for the long haul.

When I first got on this kick i simply wanted to try and find my wife a rewards card. Then i thought, well maybe we should share a card good for dining rewards since we eat out so much in addition. So i got the Amex Gold for us to share and use on dining/groceries and some travel rewards as a bonus. I'm fairly happy with my BoA Cash Rewards with the only gripe being i hit the limits kind of early. Then for my wife who has no interest in chasing deals/categories, a generally decent card just to get something back. She and I both want separate cards in addition to our shared card.

Maybe we should get three new Chase cards or something to ratchet up those initial bonuses.

This is confusing. :)

Coato
Posts: 167
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Coato » Sun May 26, 2019 6:58 pm

I just ran the numbers for DW and I since we have gotten everything at some point and are going to settle in for a few years.

The math
Spending: Flights $1k, Groceries $12k, Gas $5k, Restaurants $3k, General $20k

Suite 1: What we've been doing
Schwab Amex Plat, Amex Gold, Amex Blue Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve
Reasoning: Can't travel with an Amex, it is simply too spotty with acceptance. Could switch out for the Capital One Quicksilver but on the $3k of general travel the quicksilver brings back $45 at 1.5% and the CSR brings $135 when cased out at 1.5 cents in the portal. So the card costs $60 per year for primary car insurance (we rent three weeks per year) and we use on tricky flights where the insurance matters.
Return $1438 in ROTH
Cost: $950
Benefits: $300 in AA seat upgrades (we use), Plat lounge in Sea (use twice per year), we use the $100 at Saks to buy Kiehl's stuff, Primary Insurance

Suite 2: Probably where we are going
Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited
Reasoning: Good travel card and 2.25% back in general. We could goose this with the 3% Chase Freedom Unlimited offer but that isn't in this math
Return: $1375 (assuming 1.5 cents per point in Chase portal. We do use Hyatt/United but too much variability to calculate)
Cost: $225 (DW as AU on CSR)

Suite 3: We are BofA Preferred Platinum but I hate dealing with BofA
BofA Travel Premium, BofA Cash Rewards (gas as category), Chase Sapphire Reserve
Reasoning: We got a $1k bonus to move to Merrill Edge, but I am already looking forward to leaving, based on a few checking account issues. ME is fine. BofA just lets me down every time. I would keep a CSR because the primary insurance matters to us
Return: $1455 in cash/Chase travel portal
Cost: $245

So outside of churning, this is what the return looks like give or take. Out current system looks better if you look at the other MR cards we have gotten bonuses on and redeemed. If we abandon plan 1 the decision is whether it is worth $50 a year to use B of A.

Caveat: Some of the math is probably a touch wrong, but most of the cost estimates are sloppy too. Close enough for me.
Last edited by Coato on Sun May 26, 2019 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sun May 26, 2019 7:03 pm

lkar wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 5:43 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 11:18 am
TPG’s point valuations are a joke IMO. Have you actually attempted to redeem your points? You will realistically get two ranges of redemptions: $0.005-$0.015 or $0.03-$0.10 and beyond. Notice how you’ll rarely get a $0.02/pt redemption. Why is that? Because you can really only redeem your points in 3 ways: cashback/statement credit/gift cards (very low end $0.005-$0.01), transfer to travel partner and book economy travel (low end, $0.008-$0.014ish), or transfer to travel partner and book premium accommodations (high end, $0.03+). The issue with the high end is that unless you have the ability to earn multiple 100,000s of points a year you’ll never earn enough points to redeem for premium international travel regularly. Two business class international tickets will cost you at least 240,000 points and usually those will be at off peak times, with connections, and odd days. Good luck finding summer saver award space in business class to Europe, for example. Ask yourself how long it will take you to earn 240,000 points—let’s say you spend $3000/mo on “food” at 4x—that’s almost 2 years and $500 in annual fees.
While I agree with much of what you wrote, I disagree with this point.

Value and redemption are two very different things. The value of your points is the price at which you are in equipoise about whether you would rather have the point or the cash. It correlates to how you redeem your points, but not perfectly and sometimes only very loosely. You may sometimes use a Chase point for a 1 cent redemption. Other times you might use 80,000 of them for a Lufthansa ticket that retails for $16,000. These are your redemptions but neither means that a Chase point should be valued at 1 cent or 20 cents. It is somewhere in between taking into account the sum of all these possibilities and their value to you.*

I think an attempt to value your points is crucial, and while I have an awful lot of problems with TPG and barely read him any more, I think his efforts to define a value for the various credit card reward currencies is crucial to anyone in this game. It helps you figure out which card to use for what, helps you decide whether an annual fee is worth it, and helps you compare to cash back. Nobody does more high level thinking and analysis on this question than Greg and Nick at frequentmiler. For value/redemption issues, they are indispensable.

I do agree with the point that how many points you can accumulate feasibly or how many you already have affects their value.

*Even redemption is slippery. Say you need to fly PHX-BOS and cash prices are very high. You have chase points and you transfer 25,000 to United for a $500 ticket. You got 2 cents per point redemption, right? Easy. Is it? What if there was a $469 ticket on American with equally convenient times and you don’t care which airline you fly. You booked United because you had points you could use for United but the cash cost of the ticket is actually not the value of the redemption for you. What if you have to check a bag and have a card that gives you a fee bag on delta but not American? Etc.
The “pretty good value” redemption has all but disappeared — most airlines have moved to dynamic pricing. Believe me, I’ve looked many many times but that mythical expensive economy ticket cheap points ticket is a frequently touted yet rarely if ever feasible option. Almost as mythic as that 80k $16k ticket (which you fail to mention comes with $1000+- taxes and fees).

My critique to the poster was mostly to tell him that just having the AMEX Gold card as a great card isn't all that great. It is a great card in conjunction with many other moving parts. However on its own you can do much better IMO.

teamDE
Posts: 241
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by teamDE » Sun May 26, 2019 8:00 pm

Is Amex Travel worth using?

Edit:
This guide/review implies (with his examples) that the prices are pretty inline with the big 3rd party sites. Basically its close and you get an edge with the points bonus. That seems sort of moot though because the Amex Gold gets 3X on airlines so i think itd be the same either using amex travel or an airline directly. It stands for hotels and car rentals though. It does seem that booking through The Hotels Collection has some real perks. Similar pricing, but they add in a $100/stay credit, a possible room upgrade, and some other little things.
https://upgradedpoints.com/american-express-travel
Last edited by teamDE on Sun May 26, 2019 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Coato
Posts: 167
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Coato » Sun May 26, 2019 8:18 pm

In my experience Amex Travel usually costs more than another portal (like Expedia, Tripadvisor), so it has never proven useful.

Edit to match your edit. I’m pretty sure the 5x Amex Travel bonus covers flights and “eligible hotels”, I’d double check your car rentals. For flights you get 5x anyway through the airlines ( with the Platinum at least). On hotels I could never get it to work, but you could easily pick three destinations and look at the same hotel through Amex and TripAdvisor and see.
Last edited by Coato on Mon May 27, 2019 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by lkar » Sun May 26, 2019 8:54 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:03 pm
The “pretty good value” redemption has all but disappeared — most airlines have moved to dynamic pricing. Believe me, I’ve looked many many times but that mythical expensive economy ticket cheap points ticket is a frequently touted yet rarely if ever feasible option. Almost as mythic as that 80k $16k ticket (which you fail to mention comes with $1000+- taxes and fees).

My critique to the poster was mostly to tell him that just having the AMEX Gold card as a great card isn't all that great. It is a great card in conjunction with many other moving parts. However on its own you can do much better IMO.
Again it is going to seem as though because I am responding to you with a difference of one point of view that I am disagreeing with you in the main. But I’m not. You’ve provided excellent advice here and I think you’re right on the nose on the Amex business gold.

My disagreement is that these redemptions are not mythic. They are much more difficult but with that comes some opportunities for those willing to obsessive. I’ve made redemptions that some would consider holy grail type redemptions but I can do it if I’m diligent and willing to get up in the night and call call centers in Australia, etc. it is also possible for ordinary people to amass huge numbers of points with effort. We flew together as a family of four last December over the holidays from the USA to Sydney, on to Singapore, and back for 786,000 points plus about $3,000 in business. The retail price of the tickets was somewhere around $58,000. This was hard but not impossible. My choice of locations was not that flexible nor were my dates thanks to a cruise and my work schedule. Getting four altogether was a bit of a home run. I was thinking 2 and 2 was likely but it worked out. By comparison redeeming for two or one with enough advance time is a piece of cake.

These types of redemptions are my sole reason for being in the credit card rewards and travel hacking game. I don’t go for cash back. I rarely redeem for domestic flights. I don’t mess with points in revenue programs. I don’t try for the Companion Pass. Etc. This is my reason for doing this. We’ve stayed in suites in Madrid, been driven across the tarmac in a Porsche to our first class seats in Frankfort, and had views of the grand canal in Venice in the last five years always in business or first.

But not even I would say I got 8 cents per point for my $55k redemption to Australia. Because I never would have paid that. We would have flown coach or premium economy. That said, when I talk about the value of my points I definitely do take into account their flexibility and potential. I booked the Sydney flight the minute it opened. I booked it through Aeroplan because they open their calendar for booking 356 days out, well before you have competition from other star alliance frequent flier members. I only had 200,000 or so Aeroplan points but needed 360,000. Amex transfer instantly and I knew I had maybe two minutes before someone else grabbed them. I was set up with two browsers going at midnight Toronto time. (See, crazy, yeah, but this stuff is fun for me.) So, when I think about “value” for my Amex points, I definitely tack on value for them being highly flexible and also because they transfer instantly. This is why I agree with the TPG and frequentmiler methodology even if I don’t always agree with their amounts.

MikeG62
Posts: 1938
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeG62 » Mon May 27, 2019 7:52 am

teamDE wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 5:51 pm
I guess by that i mean by "trust" is a rewards system that'll be "pretty solid" without a lot of strategy. One that i don't have to jump through a lot of hoops to eek the value out of. maybe i'm not maximizing 100%, but if gets me a solid B+ level of value for many years that's ok with me. I see it as an investment of time to commit to a rewards program so i'm hoping it'll be good and stay good for the long haul.

When I first got on this kick i simply wanted to try and find my wife a rewards card. Then i thought, well maybe we should share a card good for dining rewards since we eat out so much in addition. So i got the Amex Gold for us to share and use on dining/groceries and some travel rewards as a bonus. I'm fairly happy with my BoA Cash Rewards with the only gripe being i hit the limits kind of early. Then for my wife who has no interest in chasing deals/categories, a generally decent card just to get something back. She and I both want separate cards in addition to our shared card.

Maybe we should get three new Chase cards or something to ratchet up those initial bonuses.

This is confusing. :)
My recommendation would be the AMEX Preferred Cash which gives you 6% CB on groceries at a $95 annual fee. I’d combine this with the Uber CC for 4% CB on dining (no AF). Then since you seem to travel mostly on JetBlue, I’d get the JetBlue Preferred card (yes it has a $95 AF, but you’ll make up for that many times over with zero checked bag fees).

I would then add a 2% no AF CB card (whether Citi Double Cash or Fidelity).

I don’t think I’d bother with a trifecta of Chase cards. To make it work, you’d likely need the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 AF, or $150 net of travel credit) together with Freedom or Freedom unlimited. I have three Chase cards (among many from other banks) - CSR, Freedom (for the 5% categories only) and Chase United Visa (for free checked bags and priority boarding on United). You have said your wife wants simple and not bothering with specific cards for specific types of spending. Adding too many likely to put her over the top and just defaulting to one.

Oh and if you buy a lot on Amazon, get one of their 5% CB cards (also no AF).

I detailed my reward card experience up thread a bit for 2018. Earned over $4,500 net of all fees and none were from CC bonus offerings. So it can be a nice upside without a ton of effort or thought. Just need to the right mix of cards and use them in the right circumstances.

Good luck.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

Pepper11
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Pepper11 » Mon May 27, 2019 9:05 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 7:52 am

My recommendation would be the AMEX Preferred Cash which gives you 6% CB on groceries at a $95 annual fee. I’d combine this with the Uber CC for 4% CB on dining (no AF). Then since you seem to travel mostly on JetBlue, I’d get the JetBlue Preferred card (yes it has a $95 AF, but you’ll make up for that many times over with zero checked bag fees).

I would then add a 2% no AF CB card (whether Citi Double Cash or Fidelity).

I don’t think I’d bother with a trifecta of Chase cards. To make it work, you’d likely need the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 AF, or $150 net of travel credit) together with Freedom or Freedom unlimited. I have three Chase cards (among many from other banks) - CSR, Freedom (for the 5% categories only) and Chase United Visa (for free checked bags and priority boarding on United). You have said your wife wants simple and not bothering with specific cards for specific types of spending. Adding too many likely to put her over the top and just defaulting to one.

Oh and if you buy a lot on Amazon, get one of their 5% CB cards (also no AF).

I detailed my reward card experience up thread a bit for 2018. Earned over $4,500 net of all fees and none were from CC bonus offerings. So it can be a nice upside without a ton of effort or thought. Just need to the right mix of cards and use them in the right circumstances.

Good luck.
Add Duck's Unlimited for 5% gas to that recommendation and you have most everything covered.

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

Post by spammagnet » Mon May 27, 2019 11:29 am

Pepper11 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 9:05 am
Add Duck's Unlimited for 5% gas to that recommendation and you have most everything covered.
If you live in an area served by Publix grocery stores, buy your groceries on gas card weekends ($50 gas gift card for $40) using a card that pays extra for grocery purchases. We accumulate our grocery purchases for those weekends and stock up on expensive BOGO specials (e.g., olive oil, dishwasher detergent) for stuff that we'd buy, anyway. We haven't paid full price on gas in months.

Your consumption rate for groceries and gas may differ, reducing the value of this approach.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 27, 2019 11:55 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 11:18 am
TPG’s point valuations are a joke IMO. Have you actually attempted to redeem your points? You will realistically get two ranges of redemptions: $0.005-$0.015 or $0.03-$0.10 and beyond. Notice how you’ll rarely get a $0.02/pt redemption. Why is that? Because you can really only redeem your points in 3 ways: cashback/statement credit/gift cards (very low end $0.005-$0.01), transfer to travel partner and book economy travel (low end, $0.008-$0.014ish), or transfer to travel partner and book premium accommodations (high end, $0.03+). The issue with the high end is that unless you have the ability to earn multiple 100,000s of points a year you’ll never earn enough points to redeem for premium international travel regularly. Two business class international tickets will cost you at least 240,000 points and usually those will be at off peak times, with connections, and odd days. Good luck finding summer saver award space in business class to Europe, for example. Ask yourself how long it will take you to earn 240,000 points—let’s say you spend $3000/mo on “food” at 4x—that’s almost 2 years and $500 in annual fees.

Now why do I say all this considering I earn a lot of points and use them? I say this because unless you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole, sign up for a bunch of credit cards for bonuses, take advantage of AMEX offer deals that make sense, buy gift cards at 4x or 5x to use at places you’d normally only earn 2x or 1x, be willing to switching between 3, 4, 5 cards at any given moment, take advantage of special offers made available to you (add 4 authorized users and spend $500 on each card to get 20,000 points type deals), it can be difficult to have points work out better than cashback—especially now that cashback offers are so strong and there are so many opportunities to purchase discounted travel.
I agree with most of what you wrote, and I don't care about TPG's or anyone else's valuations. But there is a middle ground of redemption that I follow. For example, I can open one CC every year earning 50k UR points. In combination with regular spending I can earn over 60k UR/year that would pay for a round trip on UA in Economy to Europe in summer. Cash price for these tickets is $1,000-$2,000 and changes/cancellations are more difficult. Thus, at a relatively low level of involvement, I am saving over $1,000/year. With two cards/year and two trips to Europe per year, I am saving over $2,000/year.

I don't mind flying in Economy but I hate losing sleep on the way to Europe. I tried flying Eastward in business, but my sleep was still curtailed. Now I am trying a new protocol. A night at IAD before an early flight. A day flight IAD-LHR. A night at LHR after a trans-Atlantic flight. A flight from LHR to my destination. I found that the lowest-point hotels at IAD and LHR are Holiday Inns and signed for a Chase IHG card that will provide me with several free nights at airport hotels.

My strategy is not completely hands-off, and it's not as clever as those of true enthusiasts. But it is a middle ground that enables me to fly to Europe a couple times a year virtually free and arrive to Europe much more rested than I would have been even in Business class.

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

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

Post by Jags4186 » Mon May 27, 2019 12:20 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 11:55 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 11:18 am
TPG’s point valuations are a joke IMO. Have you actually attempted to redeem your points? You will realistically get two ranges of redemptions: $0.005-$0.015 or $0.03-$0.10 and beyond. Notice how you’ll rarely get a $0.02/pt redemption. Why is that? Because you can really only redeem your points in 3 ways: cashback/statement credit/gift cards (very low end $0.005-$0.01), transfer to travel partner and book economy travel (low end, $0.008-$0.014ish), or transfer to travel partner and book premium accommodations (high end, $0.03+). The issue with the high end is that unless you have the ability to earn multiple 100,000s of points a year you’ll never earn enough points to redeem for premium international travel regularly. Two business class international tickets will cost you at least 240,000 points and usually those will be at off peak times, with connections, and odd days. Good luck finding summer saver award space in business class to Europe, for example. Ask yourself how long it will take you to earn 240,000 points—let’s say you spend $3000/mo on “food” at 4x—that’s almost 2 years and $500 in annual fees.

Now why do I say all this considering I earn a lot of points and use them? I say this because unless you’re willing to go down the rabbit hole, sign up for a bunch of credit cards for bonuses, take advantage of AMEX offer deals that make sense, buy gift cards at 4x or 5x to use at places you’d normally only earn 2x or 1x, be willing to switching between 3, 4, 5 cards at any given moment, take advantage of special offers made available to you (add 4 authorized users and spend $500 on each card to get 20,000 points type deals), it can be difficult to have points work out better than cashback—especially now that cashback offers are so strong and there are so many opportunities to purchase discounted travel.
I agree with most of what you wrote, and I don't care about TPG's or anyone else's valuations. But there is a middle ground of redemption that I follow. For example, I can open one CC every year earning 50k UR points. In combination with regular spending I can earn over 60k UR/year that would pay for a round trip on UA in Economy to Europe in summer. Cash price for these tickets is $1,000-$2,000 and changes/cancellations are more difficult. Thus, at a relatively low level of involvement, I am saving over $1,000/year. With two cards/year and two trips to Europe per year, I am saving over $2,000/year.

I don't mind flying in Economy but I hate losing sleep on the way to Europe. I tried flying Eastward in business, but my sleep was still curtailed. Now I am trying a new protocol. A night at IAD before an early flight. A day flight IAD-LHR. A night at LHR after a trans-Atlantic flight. A flight from LHR to my destination. I found that the lowest-point hotels at IAD and LHR are Holiday Inns and signed for a Chase IHG card that will provide me with several free nights at airport hotels.

My strategy is not completely hands-off, and it's not as clever as those of true enthusiasts. But it is a middle ground that enables me to fly to Europe a couple times a year virtually free and arrive to Europe much more rested than I would have been even in Business class.

Victoria
Yes I hope everyone didn’t take my little rant wrong...I love points. I love the game, I love earning them, I love finding outsized value, etc. etc. etc. I just feel bad for folks who read TPG and say “well he said they’re worth $0.02 each so I should pay a $95/$250/$450/$550 annual fee to Chase/American Express because I’m earning 2%/3%/4%/6%/8%/10% cash back on my purchases!” Well...maybe. It sucks for the person who for example gets the AMEX Gold card, puts all their spend on it, and decides they want to fly somewhere so they go and look at the Delta website find out that it costs 480,000 points to fly business class somewhere. They end up settling and buying an economy flight through AMEX’s travel portal at $0.01/pt. That person would have been better off just earning cashback.

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

Post by VictoriaF » Mon May 27, 2019 12:57 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:20 pm
Yes I hope everyone didn’t take my little rant wrong...I love points. I love the game, I love earning them, I love finding outsized value, etc. etc. etc. I just feel bad for folks who read TPG and say “well he said they’re worth $0.02 each so I should pay a $95/$250/$450/$550 annual fee to Chase/American Express because I’m earning 2%/3%/4%/6%/8%/10% cash back on my purchases!” Well...maybe. It sucks for the person who for example gets the AMEX Gold card, puts all their spend on it, and decides they want to fly somewhere so they go and look at the Delta website find out that it costs 480,000 points to fly business class somewhere. They end up settling and buying an economy flight through AMEX’s travel portal at $0.01/pt. That person would have been better off just earning cashback.
Good points [pun intended],

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

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

Post by teamDE » Mon May 27, 2019 3:17 pm

More good thoughts.

Wow the 5% cash back Amazon card seems like a no brainer. We spend more than we'd like on Amazon and also Whole Foods which is our most convenient grocery store. We don't spend a lot of groceries (although we're trying to cook more), but when we do its mostly Whole Foods since its right down the street. My BoA Cash Rewards is set to Online Shopping and so i get 3% on Amazon, but 3 < 5 and i max it out. Using the Amazon card for Amazon would free up some spending space on the BoA at other Online places or maybe i'd switch it to gas or something. My wife would also use it on her Amazon account.

We got my wife the Citi Double Cash for her primary card. We'll switch all our bill payments to it as well. (she wasn't instantly improved despite excellent credit. I added myself as an additional card user, maybe they balked because i jsut got the Amex a few days ago? It said they'd mail a decision, should we call?)

Amex Gold may not be perfect, but we'll use it for Dining and Groceries (except Whole Foods) and Travel and just save points for a rainy day bonus i guess. If nothing else they're flexible so we'll have options for using them some day. We'll get back most of the annual fee in credits and The Hotel Collection perks seem pretty sweet and easy to use.

I'll use my BoA Cash Rewards daily and switch to the City Double Cash if/when i exceed my rewards spending limit.

Good enough for rock n roll? Some day i'll up my game. :)

michaeljmroger
Posts: 468
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by michaeljmroger » Mon May 27, 2019 3:29 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:44 am
You need the Schwab Platinum to cash out MR at 1.25¢ each. Keep in mind the Schwab Platinum comes with a $550 annual fee and a 60,000 point bonus so you’ll need to hit that minimum spend for it to make sense to go this route (or find $550 value in AMEX Platinum).
Do you know if the statement credit they offer ($100 if your holdings are greater than $250,000, $200 if they’re over $1m) are taxed as regular income or if they’re essentially tax-free?

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

Post by MikeG62 » Tue May 28, 2019 6:53 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 11:55 am

I agree with most of what you wrote, and I don't care about TPG's or anyone else's valuations. But there is a middle ground of redemption that I follow. For example, I can open one CC every year earning 50k UR points. In combination with regular spending I can earn over 60k UR/year that would pay for a round trip on UA in Economy to Europe in summer. Cash price for these tickets is $1,000-$2,000 and changes/cancellations are more difficult. Thus, at a relatively low level of involvement, I am saving over $1,000/year. With two cards/year and two trips to Europe per year, I am saving over $2,000/year.

I don't mind flying in Economy but I hate losing sleep on the way to Europe. I tried flying Eastward in business, but my sleep was still curtailed. Now I am trying a new protocol. A night at IAD before an early flight. A day flight IAD-LHR. A night at LHR after a trans-Atlantic flight. A flight from LHR to my destination. I found that the lowest-point hotels at IAD and LHR are Holiday Inns and signed for a Chase IHG card that will provide me with several free nights at airport hotels.

My strategy is not completely hands-off, and it's not as clever as those of true enthusiasts. But it is a middle ground that enables me to fly to Europe a couple times a year virtually free and arrive to Europe much more rested than I would have been even in Business class.

Victoria
Sounds like a good idea and one DW and I will consider when flying to Europe. When I was working I have taken daytime flights to Europe to avoid the overnight flights (as well as having taken many overnight flights). Like you I have not slept well on the overnight flights, even in business class.

Two questions. What Chase cards are you using that you are earning bonus UR points every year? Top of head, this seems like the Sapphire Reserve/Preferred cards, but are there others? Also, how are you earning several free hotel nights each year with the Chase IHG card? Does it have an AF?
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VictoriaF
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue May 28, 2019 8:14 am

Attention:

IHG Point Breaks for June, July, and August 2019 go live today, 28 May 2019 at 12 noon. See https://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/content ... ointbreaks .

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

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

Post by VictoriaF » Tue May 28, 2019 8:39 am

MikeG62 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 6:53 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 11:55 am

I agree with most of what you wrote, and I don't care about TPG's or anyone else's valuations. But there is a middle ground of redemption that I follow. For example, I can open one CC every year earning 50k UR points. In combination with regular spending I can earn over 60k UR/year that would pay for a round trip on UA in Economy to Europe in summer. Cash price for these tickets is $1,000-$2,000 and changes/cancellations are more difficult. Thus, at a relatively low level of involvement, I am saving over $1,000/year. With two cards/year and two trips to Europe per year, I am saving over $2,000/year.

I don't mind flying in Economy but I hate losing sleep on the way to Europe. I tried flying Eastward in business, but my sleep was still curtailed. Now I am trying a new protocol. A night at IAD before an early flight. A day flight IAD-LHR. A night at LHR after a trans-Atlantic flight. A flight from LHR to my destination. I found that the lowest-point hotels at IAD and LHR are Holiday Inns and signed for a Chase IHG card that will provide me with several free nights at airport hotels.

My strategy is not completely hands-off, and it's not as clever as those of true enthusiasts. But it is a middle ground that enables me to fly to Europe a couple times a year virtually free and arrive to Europe much more rested than I would have been even in Business class.

Victoria
Sounds like a good idea and one DW and I will consider when flying to Europe. When I was working I have taken daytime flights to Europe to avoid the overnight flights (as well as having taken many overnight flights). Like you I have not slept well on the overnight flights, even in business class.

Two questions. What Chase cards are you using that you are earning bonus UR points every year? Top of head, this seems like the Sapphire Reserve/Preferred cards, but are there others? Also, how are you earning several free hotel nights each year with the Chase IHG card? Does it have an AF?
I have three Chase Ink card: Preferred, Cash, and Unlimited; Chase Freedom; Chase MileagePlus Explorer; and Chase IHG. I had and cancelled Chase Sapphire Preferred because it had duplicate features of the cards I already have. With Chase Ink Cash (no AF), I buy gift cards at Staples earning 5 UR/$. Store GC such as Amazon and Whole Foods are free; Visa GC sometimes go on sale with fees waved. Chase Ink Preferred ($95/year) earns 3 UR/$ on travel expenses, but most importantly, it currently serves as my Chase gateway for transferring points to airlines and hotels. Mileage Plus Explorer ($95/year) provides me with access to more flights, free luggage check-in, priority boarding, and 2 annual passes to United lounges. The IHG card ($89/year) came with 120k bonus points, and in the future will provide 1 free night/year and 4th night free on points booking.

The points I earn from regular spending are relatively insignificant in comparison to the bonus points from opening cards. When 48 months expire since I have collected the CSP bonus, I will apply for Chase Sapphire Reserve and cancel Ink Preferred. A few years later, I will reapply for Ink Preferred. Likewise, I may close and reopen the IHG card. In the mean time, Chase may offer some new cards.

I also have some reserves of American Airlines miles and Marriott and Hilton hotel points that I can use when my UR or IHG points run low.

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

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

Post by MikeG62 » Tue May 28, 2019 9:08 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:39 am

I have three Chase Ink card: Preferred, Cash, and Unlimited; Chase Freedom; Chase MileagePlus Explorer; and Chase IHG. I had and cancelled Chase Sapphire Preferred because it had duplicate features of the cards I already have. With Chase Ink Cash (no AF), I buy gift cards at Staples earning 5 UR/$. Store GC such as Amazon and Whole Foods are free; Visa GC sometimes go on sale with fees waved. Chase Ink Preferred ($95/year) earns 3 UR/$ on travel expenses, but most importantly, it currently serves as my Chase gateway for transferring points to airlines and hotels. Mileage Plus Explorer ($95/year) provides me with access to more flights, free luggage check-in, priority boarding, and 2 annual passes to United lounges. The IHG card ($89/year) came with 120k bonus points, and in the future will provide 1 free night/year and 4th night free on points booking.

The points I earn from regular spending are relatively insignificant in comparison to the bonus points from opening cards. When 48 months expire since I have collected the CSP bonus, I will apply for Chase Sapphire Reserve and cancel Ink Preferred. A few years later, I will reapply for Ink Preferred. Likewise, I may close and reopen the IHG card. In the mean time, Chase may offer some new cards.

Victoria
Thanks Victoria.

The Ink cards don’t work for me as they are business cards. I otherwise have the CSR, Freedom (for the 5% bonus categories) and the Mile Plus Explorer as well. I do have over 300,000 UR points primarily from the CSR card, so I’ve got a good base of UR’s to use. So far my best uses have been by transferring points to Hyatt (with value per dollar spent to earn those UR’s in excess of 10 cent on the $) and Marriott (at close to 10 cents on the $). I try to hold the line on uses that can get me at least 7 cents per dollar spent to earn the points.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

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

Post by Horsefly » Tue May 28, 2019 9:46 am

In the past year I got the Chase Ink Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Freedom Unlimited. I'm currently at 5/24 until early August, at which point I'll get the Chase Freedom. I really wish I would have gotten the Sapphire Reserve instead of the Sapphire Preferred, but when I applied for the Sapphire Preferred I didn't know all the things I know now.

Between the sign-up bonuses (on the Ink Preferred and Sapphire Preferred) and using the Sapphire Preferred for most of the meals and lodging on our 5-week trip to Australia, I've accumulated almost 180K CUR points. I'm still new-enough to the game that I'm not sure exactly how to best use the points, although it would be great if we can use them to ease the pain of getting Polaris-class tickets to Europe next summer for our river cruise.

I have a bunch of other cards for various reasons: Fidelity 2% Visa, Costco Citi Visa, Chase Amazon Prime 5% Visa, Chase United Club Visa. Since I got the Chase Freedom Unlimited under the new offer (3 pts per $ on the first $20K), the Fidelity Visa will probably stay in the drawer for a while.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by WestCoastNewbie » Tue May 28, 2019 10:31 am

Does anyone know if Airbnb qualifies for 3% travel on Costco Anywhere Card? Planning to make a large booking and want to make sure I maximize the rewards points.

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

Post by Horsefly » Tue May 28, 2019 10:34 am

WestCoastNewbie wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 10:31 am
Does anyone know if Airbnb qualifies for 3% travel on Costco Anywhere Card? Planning to make a large booking and want to make sure I maximize the rewards points.
AirBnB is coded as travel / lodging, and I believe it has worked that way for me on the Costco Card and the Chase cards.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Tue May 28, 2019 11:31 am

For general purchase: I use Fidelity 520 2% Visa. Goes directly toward my kid college fund
For Costso shopping: I use Costco Visa 2% on general purchase,3% over eating out. 4% for gas
For traveling or eating out: I use Chase Reserve 3% on everything, 4.5% effective if you use their travel portal

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

Post by VictoriaF » Tue May 28, 2019 1:31 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:14 am
Attention:

IHG Point Breaks for June, July, and August 2019 go live today, 28 May 2019 at 12 noon. See https://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/content ... ointbreaks .

Victoria
Point Breaks went live at about 12:30 PM. I have immediately booked Crowne Plaza Lille - Euralille, France, for 4 nights using 45k IHG points (15k x 3, 4th night free). Then I decided to book Crowne Plaza London - Albert Embankment for 1 night using 15k points, but it was already unavailable for the night I wanted.

Lesson learned: start with the most expensive hotels in the most desired destinations.

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

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

Post by spammagnet » Tue May 28, 2019 4:57 pm

MikeG62 wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 9:08 am
... The Ink cards don’t work for me as they are business cards. ...
There is little to prevent you from opening business cards as a sole proprietor, using your SSN as tax ID. It is a common approach. Chase really doesn't care as long as you pay for what you spend. An added advantage is that business cards typically don't affect your personal credit report.

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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by spammagnet » Tue May 28, 2019 5:00 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 8:14 am
Attention: IHG Point Breaks for June, July, and August 2019 go live today, 28 May 2019 at 12 noon. See https://www.ihg.com/rewardsclub/content ... ointbreaks.
Is this a regular event?

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