Best cash back card right NOW.

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fortfun
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Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by fortfun » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:16 pm

I know there are old posts on this topic but wanted to get the latest. Nerdwallet and Doctor of credit don't list many of the cards I hear about on Bogleheads. I've been playing the credit card churning game the past year and my credit has only been getting better. For some reason, my wife's has gone down (only with Experian--checking on that now). With that said, I think it may be time to slow down on the churning and just pick the very best cash back card. I've seen some people mention that Fidelity has one with 5%, yet I can't find it. What are the best deals Bogleheads have found on cash back cards? My score is Excellent (825 at the moment).

radiowave
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by radiowave » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:32 pm

Not sure what you mean by best deal? Are you looking for longevity for a card and just stick with it for a while? Personally I like Discover with it's 5% rotating categories and the Fidelity 2% card is quite good. The Bank of America rewards card connected with Merrill Edge (assets >100K give best cash back rewards) is well suited for someone who have accounts in both.
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tmcc
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by tmcc » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:55 pm

citi cash rewards (2% on all, no fee) or alliant cash back (3% intro rate waived fee, 2.5% after intro w/ $65/yr)

i think there is a fidelity 2% master card as well but you have to have an account.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by MotoTrojan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:07 pm

Uber Barclays Visa is free, $100 after spending $500 in 90 days, and is 4% back on dining and 3% back on travel. Also 2% online and 1% elsewhere, but I use my Citi 2% Double Cash anywhere that isn't dining/travel.

4% back on food (my highest budget item) has been amazing.

ThePrince
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by ThePrince » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:30 pm

MotoTrojan wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:07 pm
Uber Barclays Visa is free, $100 after spending $500 in 90 days, and is 4% back on dining and 3% back on travel. Also 2% online and 1% elsewhere, but I use my Citi 2% Double Cash anywhere that isn't dining/travel.

4% back on food (my highest budget item) has been amazing.
+1

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by FrugalProfessor » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm

With 100k assets at ME. Can transfer VTSAX directly from VG to ME if you want and pick up a transfer bonus along the way.

BoA Cash Rewards
5.25% gas
3.5% groceries (including Costco)

BoA Premium Rewards
3.5% travel
3.5% restaurants
2.625% everything else

Relatively low 2.5k quarterly spending limit on BoA cash rewards card can be defeated with a spouse having identical card. Both family members achieve platinum honors through a joint brokerage account.
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

radiowave
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by radiowave » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:42 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm
With 100k assets at ME. Can transfer VTSAX directly from VG to ME if you want and pick up a transfer bonus along the way.

BoA Cash Rewards
5.25% gas
3.5% groceries (including Costco)

BoA Premium Rewards
3.5% travel
3.5% restaurants
2.625% everything else

Relatively low 2.5k quarterly spending limit on BoA cash rewards card can be defeated with a spouse having identical card. Both family members achieve platinum honors through a joint brokerage account.
I recommend converting VTSAX to VTI prior to transfer to ME. The no commission only apply to ETFs not mutual funds. I think I wound up paying $20 something per MF trade. I don't use ME anymore for that reason.
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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by FrugalProfessor » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:56 pm

radiowave wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:42 pm
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm
With 100k assets at ME. Can transfer VTSAX directly from VG to ME if you want and pick up a transfer bonus along the way.

BoA Cash Rewards
5.25% gas
3.5% groceries (including Costco)

BoA Premium Rewards
3.5% travel
3.5% restaurants
2.625% everything else

Relatively low 2.5k quarterly spending limit on BoA cash rewards card can be defeated with a spouse having identical card. Both family members achieve platinum honors through a joint brokerage account.
I recommend converting VTSAX to VTI prior to transfer to ME. The no commission only apply to ETFs not mutual funds. I think I wound up paying $20 something per MF trade. I don't use ME anymore for that reason.
The only reason I have assets at ME is to fulfill the $100k requirement for credit card rewards. I do all transacting with new money at VG. If the credit card bonus weakens over time, I'll simply transfer VTSAX back over to VG. For whatever reason, I prefer owning index funds to ETFs (no bid ask spread, can buy fractional shares, etc). This forum has discussed much the conversion of VTSAX to VTI prior to transfer to ME, but I don't think I've ever seen discussed the possibility transfer to VTSAX directly there. This admittedly prevents me from buying more VTSAX there, but I prefer having VG as my main brokerage firm going forward.
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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fortfun
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by fortfun » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:53 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm
With 100k assets at ME. Can transfer VTSAX directly from VG to ME if you want and pick up a transfer bonus along the way.

BoA Cash Rewards
5.25% gas
3.5% groceries (including Costco)

BoA Premium Rewards
3.5% travel
3.5% restaurants
2.625% everything else

Relatively low 2.5k quarterly spending limit on BoA cash rewards card can be defeated with a spouse having identical card. Both family members achieve platinum honors through a joint brokerage account.
Thanks professor. I'm going to check into this card.

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fortfun
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by fortfun » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:54 pm

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

algorithm
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by algorithm » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:47 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:16 pm
I know there are old posts on this topic but wanted to get the latest. Nerdwallet and Doctor of credit don't list many of the cards I hear about on Bogleheads. I've been playing the credit card churning game the past year and my credit has only been getting better. For some reason, my wife's has gone down (only with Experian--checking on that now). With that said, I think it may be time to slow down on the churning and just pick the very best cash back card. I've seen some people mention that Fidelity has one with 5%, yet I can't find it. What are the best deals Bogleheads have found on cash back cards? My score is Excellent (825 at the moment).
I guess those sites that you mentioned only list cards that give commissions when people apply through the affiliated links. I usually prefer to read articles that don't have affiliated links so that I know for sure that the recommendation is based on personal experience rather than commission or ads.

The article below has a good list of cash back credit cards. Check it out. Uber and costco are on the top list. Also Fidelity is on the list in this article.
https://www.hotpersonalfinance.com/maxi ... dit-cards/

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Ice-9
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by Ice-9 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:05 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm
With 100k assets at ME. Can transfer VTSAX directly from VG to ME if you want and pick up a transfer bonus along the way.

BoA Cash Rewards
5.25% gas
3.5% groceries (including Costco)

BoA Premium Rewards
3.5% travel
3.5% restaurants
2.625% everything else

Relatively low 2.5k quarterly spending limit on BoA cash rewards card can be defeated with a spouse having identical card. Both family members achieve platinum honors through a joint brokerage account.
I get that VG=Vanguard and BoA=Bank of America. Probably a dumb question, but I can't figure out for the life of me what ME is. Could someone please spell it out for the uninitiated?

open_circuit
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by open_circuit » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:11 pm

Ice-9 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:05 pm
I get that VG=Vanguard and BoA=Bank of America. Probably a dumb question, but I can't figure out for the life of me what ME is. Could someone please spell it out for the uninitiated?
Since the card mentioned is Bank of America, it must be Merrill Edge, a Bank of America brand / company ?

SrGrumpy
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:15 pm

algorithm wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:47 pm
fortfun wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:16 pm
I know there are old posts on this topic but wanted to get the latest. Nerdwallet and Doctor of credit don't list many of the cards I hear about on Bogleheads. I've been playing the credit card churning game the past year and my credit has only been getting better. For some reason, my wife's has gone down (only with Experian--checking on that now). With that said, I think it may be time to slow down on the churning and just pick the very best cash back card. I've seen some people mention that Fidelity has one with 5%, yet I can't find it. What are the best deals Bogleheads have found on cash back cards? My score is Excellent (825 at the moment).
I guess those sites that you mentioned only list cards that give commissions when people apply through the affiliated links. I usually prefer to read articles that don't have affiliated links so that I know for sure that the recommendation is based on personal experience rather than commission or ads.

The article below has a good list of cash back credit cards. Check it out. Uber and costco are on the top list. Also Fidelity is on the list in this article.
https://www.hotpersonalfinance.com/maxi ... dit-cards/
Not necessarily. I wouldn't say "only." A lot of these blogs are a public service. I don't begrudge Doctor of Credit from including an affiliate link. He is very upfront about it. He's made me thousands of dollars, so I am happy to show my appreciation where possible.

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samsoes
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by samsoes » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:19 pm

Ice-9 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:05 pm
I get that VG=Vanguard and BoA=Bank of America. Probably a dumb question, but I can't figure out for the life of me what ME is. Could someone please spell it out for the uninitiated?
Non-intuitive acronyms are ubiquitous on this forum, but in this case, methinks that it means Merrill Edge.
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invst65
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by invst65 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:33 pm

Combination of Fidelity with 2% cashback on everything with no fee + AMEX Blue Preferred with 6% on groceries, 3% on gas, 1% on everything else ($95 fee) works for me. Obviously I only use the AMEX for gas and groceries, the Visa for everything else (and I do mean EVERYTHING including bills that will take it).

On foreign transactions it's a wash between the two. AMEX has no foreign transaction fee while Fidelity Visa charges 1%. So basically, they are both 1% cashback on foreign transactions.

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Ice-9
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by Ice-9 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:45 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:19 pm
Ice-9 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:05 pm
I get that VG=Vanguard and BoA=Bank of America. Probably a dumb question, but I can't figure out for the life of me what ME is. Could someone please spell it out for the uninitiated?
Non-intuitive acronyms are ubiquitous on this forum, but in this case, methinks that it means Merrill Edge.
:oops:

mageedge
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by mageedge » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:04 pm

invst65 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:33 pm
Combination of Fidelity with 2% cashback on everything with no fee + AMEX Blue Preferred with 6% on groceries, 3% on gas, 1% on everything else ($95 fee) works for me. Obviously I only use the AMEX for gas and groceries, the Visa for everything else (and I do mean EVERYTHING including bills that will take it).

On foreign transactions it's a wash between the two. AMEX has no foreign transaction fee while Fidelity Visa charges 1%. So basically, they are both 1% cashback on foreign transactions.
I have the Blue Cash Preferred card, which is excellent for groceries, however I think you will find it has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

CMD1
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by CMD1 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:08 pm

I am a fan of the Fidelity Visa. 2% cash back, no hassle, no fees and they gave me a sign up bonus to boot.

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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by flamesabers » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:36 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:16 pm
What are the best deals Bogleheads have found on cash back cards?
I think it depends on where you shop primarily, how much you spend and what level of complexity in terms of managing your card(s) you're willing to accept.

If you're wanting to get a single card that doesn't have an annual fee, no special requirements and earns the same cashback rate for all types of purchases, a 2% cashback card is the best currently available I think. Citi's Double Cash Card (technically 1.99% cashback) and Paypal's Cashback Mastercard are two that comes to mind.

A temporary consideration is the Discover IT Cashback card. For the 1st year, Discover matches all cashback earned, effectively turning its 1% cashback earned for all purchases that aren't in the 5% rotating categories into 2% cashback earned.

If you're willing to manage a number of cards, there are a variety of cards that offer 5% cashback for select types of purchases but usually only up to a certain limit each year.

Mike Scott
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by Mike Scott » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:43 pm

First is any new card I am trying to meet the sign up bonus, then Amex BCP for groceries, FNBO Visa for 5% gas, Chase Prime for 5% at Amazon and a CapOne Spark 2% for anything else unless it is a 5% quarter for Discover or Chase Freedom. I can often buy gift cards to use for ordinary spending at 5-25% off face value. I'm not doing any manufactured spending but It's still been worth a few thousand in bonuses for the last few years.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:02 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:36 pm
Citi's Double Cash Card (technically 1.99% cashback)
Not for me - I get the full 2% back.

My two cards: Citi Double Cashback for the 2% (rebate to your bank account when you pay your bill - this gives you 2%) and then the Amazon Prime Chase - 5% back for all Amazon purchases.

carguyny
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by carguyny » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:28 pm

I like this combination:
1. Amex Platinum with Charles Schwab (5% travel + 25% bonus into Schwab, discounted annual fee),
2. Alliant cash back card as previously mentioned (3% going down to 2.5%)
3. Amazon Prime Visa from Chase (5% at Amazon and Whole foods - often good rolling categories)

Chasing a Gas cars hasn't been worth it to me due to a PHEV and EV as daily drivers.

davewwjd
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by davewwjd » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:43 pm

Hello, I've been hunting the forum but I couldn't resist posting on credit cards! My favorite is the Schwab Platinum with the Amex Blue Business Plus for non bonused spending. The Blue Business Plus gets 2 points per dollar and combined with the Schwab Platinum give you a return of 2.5% if redeemed for cash.

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by FrugalProfessor » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:08 pm

Ice-9 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:05 pm
FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm
With 100k assets at ME. Can transfer VTSAX directly from VG to ME if you want and pick up a transfer bonus along the way.

BoA Cash Rewards
5.25% gas
3.5% groceries (including Costco)

BoA Premium Rewards
3.5% travel
3.5% restaurants
2.625% everything else

Relatively low 2.5k quarterly spending limit on BoA cash rewards card can be defeated with a spouse having identical card. Both family members achieve platinum honors through a joint brokerage account.
I get that VG=Vanguard and BoA=Bank of America. Probably a dumb question, but I can't figure out for the life of me what ME is. Could someone please spell it out for the uninitiated?
BoA owns Merrill Edge, so if you want the 75% boost on CC rewards, you need 100k rotting in a checking account OR 100k of investments at Merrill Edge (ME). The boglehead crowd here will likely have 100k of Vanguard assets to transfer easily to ME to meet the criteria. The reason I haven't converted to ETFs prior to transferring is to have the option of transferring the mutual funds back without dealing with ETF nonsense.
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

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fortfun
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by fortfun » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:10 pm

Very helpful! Thanks again everyone!

dustinst22
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by dustinst22 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:18 pm

Alliant 3% cash back first year 2.5% back after that. Great return.

invst65
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by invst65 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:56 am

mageedge wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:04 pm
invst65 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:33 pm
Combination of Fidelity with 2% cashback on everything with no fee + AMEX Blue Preferred with 6% on groceries, 3% on gas, 1% on everything else ($95 fee) works for me. Obviously I only use the AMEX for gas and groceries, the Visa for everything else (and I do mean EVERYTHING including bills that will take it).

On foreign transactions it's a wash between the two. AMEX has no foreign transaction fee while Fidelity Visa charges 1%. So basically, they are both 1% cashback on foreign transactions.
I have the Blue Cash Preferred card, which is excellent for groceries, however I think you will find it has a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.
Yes, I remember that now. Looked it up before going to Australia and decided to use the Visa instead - at least they are only lopping off one of the cashback points. 2.7% is an outrageous fee.

Freefun
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by Freefun » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:11 am

carguyny wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:28 pm
I like this combination:
1. Amex Platinum with Charles Schwab (5% travel + 25% bonus into Schwab, discounted annual fee),
2. Alliant cash back card as previously mentioned (3% going down to 2.5%)
3. Amazon Prime Visa from Chase (5% at Amazon and Whole foods - often good rolling categories)

Chasing a Gas cars hasn't been worth it to me due to a PHEV and EV as daily drivers.
How do you get 5% travel + 25% bonus discounts using schwab Amex plat?
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:08 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:08 pm
BoA owns Merrill Edge, so if you want the 75% boost on CC rewards, you need 100k rotting in a checking account OR 100k of investments at Merrill Edge (ME). The boglehead crowd here will likely have 100k of Vanguard assets to transfer easily to ME to meet the criteria. The reason I haven't converted to ETFs prior to transferring is to have the option of transferring the mutual funds back without dealing with ETF nonsense.
Reports are that Edge will accept transfers of most Admiral class funds and allow reinvestment (but not purchases). Not that I care. I like ETFs. Edge will also give you a cash bonus on that 100k transfer.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

dustinst22
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by dustinst22 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:13 pm

Does ME charge any additional fees? Any disadvantage to having funds with them? Actually now that I look closer, its not really much of a gain over just using an Alliant CC for general use with Uber CC for 4% restaurants, Amex BCP for 6% groceries, and several card options for 4% gas (1% loss, meh). In fact I don't think it is a gain over that combo. The only category it would make sense is gas (1.25% more than standard cards). On regular spend, Alliant is offering 3% for first year @ a no annual fee and lower annual fee after first year than the boa. After that it's 2.5. So suppose you put 50 K on general spend. First year $1500 on the alliant vs $1217.50 on the BoA w/75% bonus. $1191 vs $1217.50 after that. It'll never catch the initial gains of the Alliant in the first year due to compounding earnings. Now if ME is offering a big enough incentive to put funds in there, and it doesn't cost anything to have them in there, that could be something. But the CC rewards alone aren't enough.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:47 pm

dustinst22 wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:13 pm
Does ME charge any additional fees? Any disadvantage to having funds with them?
No. If I had to choose one brokerage that would be it.
Actually now that I look closer, its not really much of a gain over just using an Alliant CC for general use with Uber CC for 4% restaurants, Amex BCP for 6% groceries, and several card options for 4% gas (1% loss, meh). In fact I don't think it is a gain over that combo.
It's a gain because you don't have to use a combo.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by FrugalProfessor » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:02 pm

dustinst22 wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:13 pm
Does ME charge any additional fees? Any disadvantage to having funds with them? Actually now that I look closer, its not really much of a gain over just using an Alliant CC for general use with Uber CC for 4% restaurants, Amex BCP for 6% groceries, and several card options for 4% gas (1% loss, meh). In fact I don't think it is a gain over that combo. The only category it would make sense is gas (1.25% more than standard cards). On regular spend, Alliant is offering 3% for first year @ a no annual fee and lower annual fee after first year than the boa. After that it's 2.5. So suppose you put 50 K on general spend. First year $1500 on the alliant vs $1217.50 on the BoA w/75% bonus. $1191 vs $1217.50 after that. It'll never catch the initial gains of the Alliant in the first year due to compounding earnings. Now if ME is offering a big enough incentive to put funds in there, and it doesn't cost anything to have them in there, that could be something. But the CC rewards alone aren't enough.
Alliant has 59 annual fee. Ignore promotional 3% first year. With a $59 annual fee and 2.5% cash back, you need to spend 11.8k to break even relative to a $0 annual fee 2% card (Fidelity Visa or Citi Double Cash).

The BoA cash rewards has $0 annual fee. The BoA premium rewards has $95 annual fee which can be offset with $100 travel credit (American Airlines egift cards count) every year or $100 TSA precheck / global entry every 4 years. If you don't like this, you can switch to the $0 annual fee BoA Travel Rewards card which produces 2.625% "travel back" on any purchase. After owning the BoA premium rewards for about 5 months, I've received $300 of bonuses (2x$100 travel credits + 1x$100 global entry credit) in addition to the $500 sign up bonus. I don't travel or dine out that much, so I'll probably drop down to the $0 annual fee travel rewards before paying the next annual fee.

With 100k at Merrill Edge, I'm convinced that the BoA cash rewards + BoA travel rewards or BoA premium rewards is the dominant cash back combination out there. We shop almost exclusively at Costco, and it's nice getting 3.5% there + 5.25% on gas there. No other card on the planet comes close to that.
I blog. Taxes are the lowest hanging source of alpha.

dustinst22
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by dustinst22 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:05 pm

The Alliant card has no annual fee the first year, and is significantly better for the first year (see example on 50 K of spend).

We stopped shopping at Costco as soon as it became one of the worst values in terms of cost (many years ago it was one of the best values, now its near the bottom). That said, their gas is cheap.

After the first year the 2 cards are almost a draw. I don't really see a compelling enough reason to go through the hassle of putting funds in ME.

dustinst22
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Re: Best cash back card right NOW.

Post by dustinst22 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:20 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:02 pm
If you don't like this, you can switch to the $0 annual fee BoA Travel Rewards card which produces 2.625% "travel back" on any purchase.
Can this be redeemed as cash, or is it restricted? Edit: just saw it can be redeemed for cash.



Is this accurate? Old article but claiming only 0.6 cents per point:

"The main problem with this is that it’s only really a 2.625% cash back card if you have enough travel expenses to redeem against, if you actually redeem it for cash you’re only going to get a maximum of 1.575% cash back."

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/bank-of- ... purchases/

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