My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

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Blaze93
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:18 am

My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Blaze93 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:55 am

If you have suggestions please let me know. I am 25 single and male, and my FICO score is 780.

Cards:

Chase AARP - 3% back on dining / gas
Chase Freedom - 5% rotating categories
Discover IT - 1% / 5% rotating categories
Discover Miles - 1.5% cash back all
Amex Blue Cash - 3% supermarkets

Where else can I maximize returns ?
Bills / utilities ? Thanks in advance

Also I have 2% cash back for a year on the IT card since I just got it.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!!

- Blaze

PFInterest
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by PFInterest » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:01 am

AARP?...

Blaze93
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:18 am

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Blaze93 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:03 am

It’s a credit card not a retirement plan.

3% dining / gas. None of my cards have any fees.

Mike Scott
Posts: 991
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:34 am

Don't dismiss cards with annual fees until you look at all of their perks. It is not unusual for the perks to offset the fees if they are things you will use.
Also the pay back on new card sign up bonuses is usually closer to 10-12% than the 2-5% you get for ongoing use on most rewards cards. Check doctorofcredit.com for his section on "best cards for ...."

PressIt
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:44 pm

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by PressIt » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:37 am

Blaze93 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:55 am
If you have suggestions please let me know. I am 25 single and male, and my FICO score is 780.

Cards:

Chase AARP - 3% back on dining / gas
Chase Freedom - 5% rotating categories
Discover IT - 1% / 5% rotating categories
Discover Miles - 1.5% cash back all
Amex Blue Cash - 3% supermarkets

Where else can I maximize returns ?
Bills / utilities ? Thanks in advance

Also I have 2% cash back for a year on the IT card since I just got it.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!!

- Blaze
I guess it depends how much you want to micro manage your cards. Once your discover bonus ends, your highest general use card gets 1%. Quicksilver gets 1.5, citi double cash 2%, PayPal 2%.. so at some point it would make sense to switch to one of those no fee cards.

If you really wanna maximize at the expense of doing some work, us bank has a card to get 5% on categories of your choice, and the uber card isn’t too shabby. All no Fee.

I’d wait until your discover bonus is over to get a new 2% card. Could net you a bigger starting Limit if you put more time in between your most recently opened card.. and you’re getting 2% now anyways so not losing out by waiting.

mega317
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by mega317 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:22 pm

No posts to this 50 page thread in a couple weeks, start it back up!

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=192008

am
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by am » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:01 pm

Before you get carried away with too many cards, consider the dollar amounts your winning also. In some cases it may not be worth getting another card. If you forget to pay a bill, it may negate all the benefits. Simplicity is also worth something.

brajalle
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by brajalle » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:00 pm

You're missing some low hanging fruit - a 2% general CB card. I'd recommend the Citi Doublecash, their purchase protection perks (cash rewind, extended warranty, etc) put it up over several of the others IMO.

Past that, there's the Ft. Knox FCU card that has 5% CB on gas. The uber card that is 4% on dining, 3% on hotel/airfare. It also has a cell phone protection perk if you pay your cell bill with it and if you put $5k/yr on it a $50 streaming service rebate.

Citi Dividend is a rotating 5% CB card, you can typically product change a citi card to it.

I also buy a ton of gift cards at the grocery store for fuel points (7-14% off + coupons if offered) plus the supermarket CB, but I think Amex might use some l3 data on grocery purchases of gift cards.

I'm sort of middle of the road on complex/simple, I don't want to carry 10 cards, but I'm fine using more than 1-2.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:07 pm

Mike Scott wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:34 am
Don't dismiss cards with annual fees until you look at all of their perks. It is not unusual for the perks to offset the fees if they are things you will use.
Also the pay back on new card sign up bonuses is usually closer to 10-12% than the 2-5% you get for ongoing use on most rewards cards. Check doctorofcredit.com for his section on "best cards for ...."
+1

You really seem to be in pretty good shape for cash-back. I would concentrate on sign-up bonuses as any additional CB you could manage to squeeze out will be peanuts by comparison.

Forestervt2
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Forestervt2 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:09 am

Agreed, the best value is in opening new cards for the signup bonuses. However, if you are mainly interested in cash back, I would certainly recommend the ducks unlimited card which earns 5% on gas if you drive a lot. Also if you have 100k in Merrill edge or BOA, in addition to 100 free trades/ month, free safety deposit box, etc. you qualify for a 75% bonus on credit card rewards. That gives to 2.67% back on all purchases with the travel rewards card. Also, 5.5% on gas and 3.5% on groceries with the cash rewards card. BOA cards also usually come with a $150 sign up bonus.

Cop51
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Location: NJ

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Cop51 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:53 am

I try to keep it simple. Chase SR for everything and chase freedom for the 5% quarter bonus. Then I roll the chase freedom points to the chase SR card for the increase in travel purchase through chase. Some will even say that’s to complicated.

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jharkin
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Location: Boston suburbs

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by jharkin » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:56 am

Seems like a pretty good start for the OP. Here we do:

Amex Blue Cash Preferred - 6% groceries/3% gas
Amazon prime chase visa - 5% on Amazon and Whole foods market
A few store cards to places we shop heavily - Target (5%), Lowes (5%), etc
Discover IT - for the occasionally useful rotating categories
Citi DoubleCash (2%) for everything else, including some utilities (phone) and all the annual insurance premiums (atuo/home/umb/life)

About the only thing we don't do:
- Try to churn things like utility and tax bills by finding cards that offer enough CB to make the convenience fees worthwhile.
- Use a cashback card for medical bills and reimburse with paper receipts through the HSA (have medical on auto pay).

UpperNwGuy
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Location: Washington DC

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am

My general spending goes on PenFed's 2% cash back card. My travel and dining goes on the Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 4.5% when redeemed for travel.

I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.

I don't churn credit cards, and I don't engage in manufactured spending. Nor do I use credit cards to pay rent, taxes, etc.
Retiree with a pension and a 60/40 taxable portfolio: Total Stock + Total Int'l + Total Bond + Interm Term Tax Exempt.

FiscallyResponsible
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by FiscallyResponsible » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:14 am

Alliant Visa Signature - 3% back on everything for first year, 2.5% after that. This is the best base card I have found.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred - 6% back on groceries. Also use "Amex offers" every month that more that offset the annual fee.
Costco Visa - 4% gas mainly. Also has Rewind feature that is very useful. If you buy bigger ticket item, will automatically search for cheaper prices online for 2 months. You will be refunded the difference if one is found. In the first year, I saved about $400 using this feature on vacuum/washer/dryer purchases.
Chase Freedom - 5% rotating. This is the original credit card that I started with.

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midareff
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Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by midareff » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:42 am

Blaze93 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:55 am
If you have suggestions please let me know. I am 25 single and male, and my FICO score is 780.

Cards:

Chase AARP - 3% back on dining / gas Uber Visa Barclay Bank 4% cash back dining
Chase Freedom - 5% rotating categories Discover 5% Rotating
Discover IT - 1% / 5% rotating categories PenFed Gas 5% cash statement credit
Discover Miles - 1.5% cash back all Fidelity Visa 2% cash back on everything
Amex Blue Cash - 3% supermarkets AMEX Blue preferred 6% to $6K less $95 fee

Where else can I maximize returns ?
Bills / utilities ? Thanks in advance

Also I have 2% cash back for a year on the IT card since I just got it.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!!

- Blaze

brushwood
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:28 am

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by brushwood » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:42 am

FiscallyResponsible wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:14 am
Alliant Visa Signature - 3% back on everything for first year, 2.5% after that. This is the best base card I have found.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred - 6% back on groceries. Also use "Amex offers" every month that more that offset the annual fee.
Costco Visa - 4% gas mainly. Also has Rewind feature that is very useful. If you buy bigger ticket item, will automatically search for cheaper prices online for 2 months. You will be refunded the difference if one is found. In the first year, I saved about $400 using this feature on vacuum/washer/dryer purchases.
Chase Freedom - 5% rotating. This is the original credit card that I started with.
I've been thinking about getting the Costco card but I would usually want to use a different card for my purchases. I'd only use the Costco visa for bigger purchases when I want the price protection or extended warranty. I read that it works as your membership card but do you have a regular membership card too? How about your household card? Do you have to get that person added as an AU? I'd rather not if I don't have to since this card would be for only certain purchases.

FiscallyResponsible
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:02 pm

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by FiscallyResponsible » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:56 am

brushwood wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:42 am
FiscallyResponsible wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:14 am
Alliant Visa Signature - 3% back on everything for first year, 2.5% after that. This is the best base card I have found.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred - 6% back on groceries. Also use "Amex offers" every month that more that offset the annual fee.
Costco Visa - 4% gas mainly. Also has Rewind feature that is very useful. If you buy bigger ticket item, will automatically search for cheaper prices online for 2 months. You will be refunded the difference if one is found. In the first year, I saved about $400 using this feature on vacuum/washer/dryer purchases.
Chase Freedom - 5% rotating. This is the original credit card that I started with.
I've been thinking about getting the Costco card but I would usually want to use a different card for my purchases. I'd only use the Costco visa for bigger purchases when I want the price protection or extended warranty. I read that it works as your membership card but do you have a regular membership card too? How about your household card? Do you have to get that person added as an AU? I'd rather not if I don't have to since this card would be for only certain purchases.
My wife and I both have a Costco Visa card and it does function as our membership card (our picture ends up on the back). It's all traced to the same account but the cards have different numbers.

investor997
Posts: 328
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by investor997 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:02 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am
I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.
BofA Cash Rewards pays back 2% on groceries, but if you have $100K in a Merrill Edge account and have Platinum Honors status, you get a 75% point adder bonus making it 3.5% back on groceries (and Costco).

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flamesabers
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Location: Rochester, MN

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by flamesabers » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:48 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am
I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.
It's not exactly what you're looking for, but Discover has groceries as one of their quarterly rotating 5% categories. There is no minimum redemption requirement for the Discover IT card.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:55 pm

am wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:01 pm
Before you get carried away with too many cards, consider the dollar amounts your winning also. In some cases it may not be worth getting another card. If you forget to pay a bill, it may negate all the benefits. Simplicity is also worth something.
These days almost all cards have alert systems. You should never miss a payment unless you're incapacitated or something. Even if you miss one, at least for the few times it happened to me, the card issuer will usually waive the fee and interest the first time.

To me simplicity is not particularly important. Making extra money usually involves some complexity.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

UpperNwGuy
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Location: Washington DC

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:53 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:48 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am
I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.
It's not exactly what you're looking for, but Discover has groceries as one of their quarterly rotating 5% categories. There is no minimum redemption requirement for the Discover IT card.
A quarterly grocery category would only help me three months out of the year.... and neither Chase Freedom nor Discover IT are willing to promise that they will have a grocery quarter every year. So, for me, not worth the trouble.
Retiree with a pension and a 60/40 taxable portfolio: Total Stock + Total Int'l + Total Bond + Interm Term Tax Exempt.

UpperNwGuy
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Location: Washington DC

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:55 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:02 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am
I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.
BofA Cash Rewards pays back 2% on groceries, but if you have $100K in a Merrill Edge account and have Platinum Honors status, you get a 75% point adder bonus making it 3.5% back on groceries (and Costco).
I'm not willing to change brokerages just to get an extra few dollars of credit card rewards. (Also, I'm single and would not benefit from a Costco membership.)
Retiree with a pension and a 60/40 taxable portfolio: Total Stock + Total Int'l + Total Bond + Interm Term Tax Exempt.

darrvao777
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by darrvao777 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:57 pm

I favor a simplified approach

Citi double cash 2% for everything

I’d focus on earning more at work, it will dwarf anything you get back from a credit card rewards program

deltaneutral83
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:01 pm

investor997 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:02 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:55 pm
BofA Cash Rewards pays back 2% on groceries, but if you have $100K in a Merrill Edge account and have Platinum Honors status, you get a 75% point adder bonus making it 3.5% back on groceries (and Costco).
I'm not willing to change brokerages just to get an extra few dollars of credit card rewards. (Also, I'm single and would not benefit from a Costco membership.)
Anyone who has $100k to move around "in kind" and has use for nice credit card bennies would do well to utilize Merrill (until of course the next best thing comes around). BofA has two very nice cards that combine to give you 5.25% on gas, 3.5% on groceries/travel/dining, and 2.625% on everything else with $100k under the BofA/Merill "roof." The grand they gave me to move from TDA when TDA decided to limit their commission free ETFs plus $100 for the associated checking account/the $500 for the premium credit card/$200 for the lower end card/free ETF trades/credit card (% as mentioned) perks was simply too much to ignore. Online "paperwork" and subsequent phone call to set up account was probably 60 minutes of work and all online. I am not that concerned with interface of trading software nor did I have any other customized requests requiring special customer service, it was basically moving VTI from TDA to Merrill. I actually chatted with my Merril rep and asked him what the catch was and he basically said for someone like me I'm a loss for the company. Of course none of this is pertinent if you aren't interested in playing the transfer game.
darrvao777 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:57 pm
I’d focus on earning more at work, it will dwarf anything you get back from a credit card rewards program
Your statement is implying that it's a painstaking amount of time to learn about credit cards and brokerage bonuses, and thus the two must be mutually exclusive. The are not. Career progression doesn't preclude credit card/brokerage benefits and vice versa.

lakpr
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by lakpr » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:27 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am
My general spending goes on PenFed's 2% cash back card. My travel and dining goes on the Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 4.5% when redeemed for travel.

I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.
Not quite 3% but Penfed Platinum Rewards Visa gives you 3% in points at every grocery store. But each point is worth only .85 cents so it becomes a 2.55% card. This is really the BEST non rotating bonus for groceries. But it does have the hassle of redeeming in multiples of $25 (not just minimum of $25) quite similar to Amex you pointed above. The redemption is in terms of gift cards

darrvao777
Posts: 192
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by darrvao777 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:35 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:01 pm
darrvao777 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:57 pm
I’d focus on earning more at work, it will dwarf anything you get back from a credit card rewards program
Your statement is implying that it's a painstaking amount of time to learn about credit cards and brokerage bonuses, and thus the two must be mutually exclusive. The are not. Career progression doesn't preclude credit card/brokerage benefits and vice versa.
Well, to each his/her own.

I don't think it's a painstaking amount of time but there's a diminishing amount of returns if you are talking about running 5+ credit cards to squeeze out percentage points on your spend.

The amount of time the OP would need to invest starts to expand if he includes annual fee cards which he has thus far eschewed.

For someone who is 25 and ambitious (like the OP), I'd send all my energy to the career side for maximum return.

UpperNwGuy
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Location: Washington DC

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:38 pm

lakpr wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:27 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am
My general spending goes on PenFed's 2% cash back card. My travel and dining goes on the Chase Sapphire Reserve to earn 4.5% when redeemed for travel.

I'm still looking for a decent card with 3% grocery rewards. I've tried Amex Blue Cash Everyday and hated the two month delay in posting of rewards and the $25 minimum redemption requirement, so I closed the card and just use my 2% card for groceries.
Not quite 3% but Penfed Platinum Rewards Visa gives you 3% in points at every grocery store. But each point is worth only .85 cents so it becomes a 2.55% card. This is really the BEST non rotating bonus for groceries. But it does have the hassle of redeeming in multiples of $25 (not just minimum of $25) quite similar to Amex you pointed above. The redemption is in terms of gift cards
I've been a PenFed member since the early 1990s, so I know them well. I had the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa that you mention, and I was annoyed that 3 points did not equal 3%. I was also annoyed by the need to redeem via gift cards. (My PenFed Power Cash Reserve Visa lets me redeem by deposit to my PenFed checking account, and that is so much easier.) However, my biggest grievance with the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa was the secret, sudden devaluation of the points a few years ago. I will never hold that card again.
Retiree with a pension and a 60/40 taxable portfolio: Total Stock + Total Int'l + Total Bond + Interm Term Tax Exempt.

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

Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:55 pm

lakpr wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:27 pm
Not quite 3% but Penfed Platinum Rewards Visa gives you 3% in points at every grocery store. But each point is worth only .85 cents so it becomes a 2.55% card. This is really the BEST non rotating bonus for groceries.
I’d argue that my old Chase United Airlines Select Visa is better. It gives me 2x United Miles on grocery store purchases (also gas, home improvement and 3x on United, Star Alliance). Since I value UA miles at more than 1.3 cents per mile, I win :)

The card isn’t available anymore, so it won’t help anyone else and I debate every year whether it is actually worth keeping (it has an AF that is essentially paid for by an annual 5000 mile renewal bonus).

TravelGeek
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Re: My Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:59 pm

darrvao777 wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:35 pm
Well, to each his/her own.

I don't think it's a painstaking amount of time but there's a diminishing amount of returns if you are talking about running 5+ credit cards to squeeze out percentage points on your spend.

The amount of time the OP would need to invest starts to expand if he includes annual fee cards which he has thus far eschewed.

For someone who is 25 and ambitious (like the OP), I'd send all my energy to the career side for maximum return.
I have plenty of cards and spend plenty of time learning about earnings and redemptions. The latter is often forgotten - optimizing the earnings side is one thing, but then you need to learn the redepmption side. If you want to make it a hobby and have sufficient travel opportunities to make it worthwhile, then it may be worth it. But I agree with your suggestion to at least consider the opportunity cost of not focusing on career or investments.

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