Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

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mrspock
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Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by mrspock » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:31 am

A fun race to build $10k in your favorite index funds through using your favorite cash back CCs or other “sign-up bonuses”. The only friendly completely unenforceable rules are:

1. Hold a separate account or use a specific ETF or mutual fund for this to keep the accounting simple
2. No cheating by transferring cash obviously.
3. Transfers from other cash back cards or sign up bonuses are fair game. Churn like you’ve never churned before, but keep it above board.
4. Cash bonuses from investment accounts or banking sign-ups are fair game. The unfair advantage of these bonuses is balanced by the PITA nature of these bonuses to pull off.
5. Use any index ETFs or mutual funds you like.
6. Feel free to cash other CC points, but be mindful the are usually best used for travel rewards.
7. Personal spending only - Sorry, dude with the $2M yearly spending CC thread.... not invited :P

Post your play by play tricks you are using to build up your holdings.

For some inspiration, I’ve been doing this for 5 months and managed to build up $700 now (I’ll race to $10.7k). I’ve done:

1. Fidelity cash back CC signup bonus - $200
2. DiscoverIT CC first year bonus - $136
3. Misc spending - $364
4. Using US total market mutual fund FZROX as my fund - 0% ER

7% of the way there! I’ll update every couple months.


Good luck!
Last edited by mrspock on Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:53 am

What do you spend monthly? No way you get there unless you hit the high dollar value cards.

I started doing this just under a year ago and after opening 16 (7/9) credit-cards/banks I am just a bit over $4K after-tax (31% total tax rate on 9 bank bonuses).

This does not include the points themselves accrued on purchases, bonuses only.

Waiting_for_Godot
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Waiting_for_Godot » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:11 am

One option for those who have hit all of the low-hanging fruit could be to take the total amount they have saved (assuming most enthusiasts track totals over the years) through CB & bonuses and put that in a separate account.

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mrspock
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by mrspock » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:16 am

MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:53 am
What do you spend monthly? No way you get there unless you hit the high dollar value cards.

I started doing this just under a year ago and after opening 16 (7/9) credit-cards/banks I am just a bit over $4K after-tax (31% total tax rate on 9 bank bonuses).

This does not include the points themselves accrued on purchases, bonuses only.
$4k is pretty darn impressive for a years work, this gives me hope!

My spending averages around $3-4k per month, I basically put every dime on the CC. Some ideas I'm kicking around:

1. Look at the BofA 2.65% Cash Back CC (need Merrill Edge w/ 100k to get the 2.65% cash back rate)
2. I've never done a investment account bonus before, but for the 2.65% cash back CC w/ 50k points along with the $250-600 Merrill Edge bonus it might be worth the hassle.
3. Do some CC tax payment arbitrage, apparently it's 1.8% fee for the feds, so there's a decent delta between 2.65% and the 1.8% which might make this worth it.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:35 am

www.doctorofcredit.com was my bible.

Cap1 Money Market ($200 bank)
Chase Checking ($200 bank)
Varo ($500 bank bonus, that was a big one)
PNC ($300 bank)
BBVA ($200 bank)
Thrivent ($300 bank)
Bank of West ($150)

Cap1 Savor ($500)
Amex Delta Gold ($470)
Chase Saphire ($625)
Wells Propel ($450)
Chase Disney ($200)
Discover ($150)
Amex Preferred ($250)
Fidelity Visa ($150?)

Missing a few I believe, and got several other cards with bonus the year before. I also arbitraged a 1% Uber Barclays loan to get some of the bank bonuses.

XM16E1
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by XM16E1 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:15 am

Hey there I take issue with rule #7! :twisted:

junior
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by junior » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:57 am

MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:35 am

Amex Delta Gold ($470)

Doesn't this just pay in airline points? You can't fund an index fund with that.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:29 am

Between manufactured spending, churning, tradeline sales, reward $$ and gas points (I haven't paid more than 88 cents a gallon for 6 months), $10k is not all that difficult. I'm always interested in new things I'm not already doing. Awaiting the next version of iBonds online with cc and zero fee/ coins from the mint/ redbird kinda thing. I refuse to do the Simon gift card thing, floating $10k a visit.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

MotoTrojan
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:31 am

junior wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:57 am
MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:35 am

Amex Delta Gold ($470)

Doesn't this just pay in airline points? You can't fund an index fund with that.
Ah I suppose I did cheat then... I did get a $50 statement credit too. My Wells Propel also includes a 1.5x multiplier for use as airline credit.

Direwolf14
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Direwolf14 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:55 am

If you're going to include banking and brokerage bonuses, I think I hit 10k in the past year. Did not sweep all proceeds to a separate account, however. In roughly the order I received them:

$2500 e*Trade brokerage
$1000 Ally 1% bonus
$100 BoA checking
$500 BoA premium rewards signup
$200 BoA cash rewards signup
$900 Merrill Edge brokerage (preferred rewards)
$375 Merrill Edge brokerage (preferred rewards)
$200 Discover savings
$600 Chase checking+savings
$625 Chase You Invest
$3500 Schwab brokerage

That's $10,500 plus Marcus should be paying out another $500 in 3 weeks for their 1% bonus offer. Add another $900 or so for actual credit card spend in the past year, so close to 12k in total. I don't think I can replicate this going forward, though, since some of the big brokerage bonuses aren't churn-able. I'd also like to thank http://www.doctorofcredit.com.

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Ketawa
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Ketawa » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:58 am

I started chasing CC bonuses seriously at the start of 2014. It took me until September 2015 to hit about $10K in value. I'm cheating and including miles/points rewards at conservative valuations.

Barlays Arrival Plus: $400
Chase Southwest Plus: 50K miles = $700
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select: 30K miles and $100 statement credit = $490
Chase Sapphire Preferred: 40K UR points = $400
Amex Platinum: 40K MR points = $500
Chase Southwest Premier: 50K miles = $700
Chase United Explorer: 50K miles and $50 statement credit = $650
Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles: 50K miles and $100 statement credit = $600
Barclays US Airways Premier: 40K miles = $520
Chase Hyatt: 2 nights = $400
Amex Hilton HHonors: 60K points = $300
Chase IHG Rewards: 80K points = $400
Chase Freedom: 20K UR points = $200
Chase British Airways: 50K Avios = $650
Citi Hilton HHonors: 50K points = $250
Amex Hilton HHonors Surpass: 80K points = $400
Amex Gold Delta SkyMiles: 50K miles and $50 statement credit = $550
Citi Hilton HHonors: 50K points = $250
Amex Gold: 50K MR points = $625
Amex Starwood Preferred Guest: 30K points = $720
Amazon.com Store: $40
Citi AAdvantage Gold: 25K miles = $325

Total $10,070

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm

This is for 2019 (so far):

Credit Cards
Capital One Savor (me) $500 cash back
Chase Southwest (wife) $1,100 estimated value (65k miles)
Chase United (me) $620 estimated value (40k miles)
B of A Premier Rewards (wife) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (me) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (me) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Premier Rewards (me) $500 cash back
Total $5,220 (no taxes on this)

Bank Accounts
Capital One Money Market Savings (wife) $200
Wells Fargo Business Checking (me) $300
Wells Fargo Business Checking (wife) $300
Capital One Money Market Savings (me) $500
Citi Checking (me) $200
Citi Checking (wife) $200
Bank of the West Checking (me) $250
U.S. Bank Checking (me) $300
U.S. Bank Checking (wife) $300
U.S. Bank Business Checking (me) $500
U.S. Bank Business Checking (wife) $500
Wells Fargo Checking (wife) $400
Total $3,950 (taxed at 12% federal and 0% state)

Brokerage Transfers (Roth IRAs)
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (me) $250
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (wife) $500
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (wife) $250
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (me) $250
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (me) $100
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (wife) $100
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (me)* $400
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (wife)* $250
Total $2,100 (no taxes on this since these are all in Roth IRA accounts)
*bonus expected to be received before the end of 2019

Grand Total from 1/1/19 to 10/23/19: $11,270
The above includes bonuses only. I've excluded other miles, points, cash back, or interest that we've received.

The total since 2016 is around $35k for us. Our credit scores remain in the 800s.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:39 pm

My marginal tax rate on interest income is 45%. That has put a damper on my bonus and rate chasing :annoyed

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:47 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:39 pm
My marginal tax rate on interest income is 45%. That has put a damper on my bonus and rate chasing :annoyed
I can totally see that. The silver lining, though, is that you're in the 45% tax bracket! At that tax rate, I likely wouldn't bother with bank account bonuses. They typically require a person to jump through a bunch of hoops and the reward at the end often tends to not be as nice as credit card and brokerage bonuses.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:37 am

I'm @ 15k using this approach. These cards:
- Alliant 2.5% card for almost everything (was 3% during the first year)
- Costco card for gas and restaurants (4% and 3%)
- Fidelity 2% for my teen son

I probably get $200/month. Savings reside in Alliant 2% account and CapOne MM 2% account (those rates vary, currently falling...)

cpumechanic
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by cpumechanic » Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:43 am

I am approaching $1000 in free gas this year.
I will also hit $2K in CC cash back so.... but that's the extent of it.
$10K in 12 months will be tough, but good luck to all

CPU
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the way
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by the way » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:48 am

btw you can get $2k right now if you can get the CapitalOne Spark 2% business card and spend 50k on it

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FrugalProfessor
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by FrugalProfessor » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:21 pm

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm
This is for 2019 (so far):

Credit Cards
Capital One Savor (me) $500 cash back
Chase Southwest (wife) $1,100 estimated value (65k miles)
Chase United (me) $620 estimated value (40k miles)
B of A Premier Rewards (wife) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (me) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (me) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Premier Rewards (me) $500 cash back
Total $5,220 (no taxes on this)

Bank Accounts
Capital One Money Market Savings (wife) $200
Wells Fargo Business Checking (me) $300
Wells Fargo Business Checking (wife) $300
Capital One Money Market Savings (me) $500
Citi Checking (me) $200
Citi Checking (wife) $200
Bank of the West Checking (me) $250
U.S. Bank Checking (me) $300
U.S. Bank Checking (wife) $300
U.S. Bank Business Checking (me) $500
U.S. Bank Business Checking (wife) $500
Wells Fargo Checking (wife) $400
Total $3,950 (taxed at 12% federal and 0% state)

Brokerage Transfers (Roth IRAs)
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (me) $250
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (wife) $500
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (wife) $250
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (me) $250
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (me) $100
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (wife) $100
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (me)* $400
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (wife)* $250
Total $2,100 (no taxes on this since these are all in Roth IRA accounts)
*bonus expected to be received before the end of 2019

Grand Total from 1/1/19 to 10/23/19: $11,270
The above includes bonuses only. I've excluded other miles, points, cash back, or interest that we've received.

The total since 2016 is around $35k for us. Our credit scores remain in the 800s.
You win.

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whodidntante
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by whodidntante » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:43 pm

the way wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:48 am
btw you can get $2k right now if you can get the CapitalOne Spark 2% business card and spend 50k on it
Capital one does not wish to be a churnee.

motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:08 am

May I make some suggestions?
1. Have an annual bonus accrual contest. Starting 1/1/2020.
2. Have different categories of competition:
A] Open Class, no restriction on CC spend or investable assets.
B] Two Comma Class; >= $1M investable assets.
C] Six Figure Class; <= $999,999 >= $100,000 investable assets.
D] Credit Card / Manufactured Spend Class
E] Economy Class: less than six figures’ investable assets.
F] Tax Advantaged Assets -only class.
G] Wildcard Class: highest bonus per investable assets / highest bonus per CC spend.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

JBTX
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by JBTX » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:18 am

Between credit card and bank bonuses I've exceeded $10k in total over the last 2+ years, not including ongoing rewards points. It helps a lot if you can claim a small business and have an IRS business tax ID.

Currently pursuing for spouse and I:

BOA cash back rewards: $200 times 2
BOA travel rewards: $250 times 2 travel credits
Amex Blue cash Business: $500 for $20k spend - good for end of year taxes, insurance etc, college tuition plus you get 2%
Simple bank: $500 times 2

Just finished:

BOA business checking: $500
Wells business checking: $1000
Citi personal checking:$500

Ive hit pretty much all the big dollar credit cards and going forward will only be able to repeat some of them every 2 years or so.

Recommend you start with chase and knock out as many as you can before you get to 5/24.

JBTX
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by JBTX » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:34 am

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm
This is for 2019 (so far):

Credit Cards
Capital One Savor (me) $500 cash back
Chase Southwest (wife) $1,100 estimated value (65k miles)
Chase United (me) $620 estimated value (40k miles)
B of A Premier Rewards (wife) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (me) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (me) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Premier Rewards (me) $500 cash back
Total $5,220 (no taxes on this)

Bank Accounts
Capital One Money Market Savings (wife) $200
Wells Fargo Business Checking (me) $300
Wells Fargo Business Checking (wife) $300
Capital One Money Market Savings (me) $500
Citi Checking (me) $200
Citi Checking (wife) $200
Bank of the West Checking (me) $250
U.S. Bank Checking (me) $300
U.S. Bank Checking (wife) $300
U.S. Bank Business Checking (me) $500
U.S. Bank Business Checking (wife) $500
Wells Fargo Checking (wife) $400
Total $3,950 (taxed at 12% federal and 0% state)

Brokerage Transfers (Roth IRAs)
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (me) $250
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (wife) $500
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (wife) $250
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (me) $250
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (me) $100
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (wife) $100
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (me)* $400
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (wife)* $250
Total $2,100 (no taxes on this since these are all in Roth IRA accounts)
*bonus expected to be received before the end of 2019

Grand Total from 1/1/19 to 10/23/19: $11,270
The above includes bonuses only. I've excluded other miles, points, cash back, or interest that we've received.

The total since 2016 is around $35k for us. Our credit scores remain in the 800s.
I had overlooked US Bank business cash. Thanks for the tip.

Does your wife (or you) have a business, or are you able to do the cards without one? I can claim one, but I havent tried for DW.

Boilermaker10
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Boilermaker10 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:35 pm

This year:

Credit cards:
Capital One Savor: $500
Fidelity Visa: $150
Wells Fargo cash wise: $150
Bank of America Cash back: $200
Capital One venture (in process): $500

Bank Bonus:
Discover: $200
Simple Finance (in process): $500

Total: $2,200

Going to start limiting credit cards to $500 or better and above and go after more bank bonuses. Also can do business cards and have not dipped into that yet.

Ron Ronnerson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:33 pm

JBTX wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:34 am
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm
This is for 2019 (so far):

Credit Cards
Capital One Savor (me) $500 cash back
Chase Southwest (wife) $1,100 estimated value (65k miles)
Chase United (me) $620 estimated value (40k miles)
B of A Premier Rewards (wife) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (me) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (me) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Premier Rewards (me) $500 cash back
Total $5,220 (no taxes on this)

Bank Accounts
Capital One Money Market Savings (wife) $200
Wells Fargo Business Checking (me) $300
Wells Fargo Business Checking (wife) $300
Capital One Money Market Savings (me) $500
Citi Checking (me) $200
Citi Checking (wife) $200
Bank of the West Checking (me) $250
U.S. Bank Checking (me) $300
U.S. Bank Checking (wife) $300
U.S. Bank Business Checking (me) $500
U.S. Bank Business Checking (wife) $500
Wells Fargo Checking (wife) $400
Total $3,950 (taxed at 12% federal and 0% state)

Brokerage Transfers (Roth IRAs)
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (me) $250
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (wife) $500
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (wife) $250
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (me) $250
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (me) $100
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (wife) $100
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (me)* $400
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (wife)* $250
Total $2,100 (no taxes on this since these are all in Roth IRA accounts)
*bonus expected to be received before the end of 2019

Grand Total from 1/1/19 to 10/23/19: $11,270
The above includes bonuses only. I've excluded other miles, points, cash back, or interest that we've received.

The total since 2016 is around $35k for us. Our credit scores remain in the 800s.
I had overlooked US Bank business cash. Thanks for the tip.

Does your wife (or you) have a business, or are you able to do the cards without one? I can claim one, but I havent tried for DW.
My wife and I have separate businesses, each of which is registered with the county. We got fictitious business names for our businesses (that’s what they’re actually called in California) and the names of our businesses were published for four weeks in a local paper. Neither my wife nor I have earned any money from our businesses. We say as much when applying for business accounts.

rich126
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Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by rich126 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:30 pm

I'm not willing to do a lot of work involving moving money around. I may transfer $15K to Chase for a $600 bonus and keep it there for 6-12 months considering interest rates are so low.

I recently signed up for the AMEX Blue CAsh Preferred card. It was an easy $250 cash back after spending $1,000. Usually I go for points but I haven't seen anything exciting. The 6% grocery and 3% gas refund isn't bad either for $95 a year until I get something better.

A guy I used to talk to in a bar had a couple of businesses in his past and he supposedly put $1M a month on an American Express charge card and claimed he had 30,000,000 points with AMEX. Even at 1 cent a point that is $300K. Never saw the actual numbers so I can't say for sure but I did see his Ferrari so he had some play money.

Ron Ronnerson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:13 pm

rich126 wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:30 pm
I'm not willing to do a lot of work involving moving money around. I may transfer $15K to Chase for a $600 bonus and keep it there for 6-12 months considering interest rates are so low.

I recently signed up for the AMEX Blue CAsh Preferred card. It was an easy $250 cash back after spending $1,000. Usually I go for points but I haven't seen anything exciting. The 6% grocery and 3% gas refund isn't bad either for $95 a year until I get something better.

A guy I used to talk to in a bar had a couple of businesses in his past and he supposedly put $1M a month on an American Express charge card and claimed he had 30,000,000 points with AMEX. Even at 1 cent a point that is $300K. Never saw the actual numbers so I can't say for sure but I did see his Ferrari so he had some play money.
It's important to factor in money that is potentially lost in interest. For example, say you tie up $15k for one year at Chase but previously had that money at a bank that pays 2%. Transferring those funds to Chase effectively lowers the amount of the bonus due to the lost interest ($300 of the $600 bonus would be lost due to the lower rate in my example).

I used to have the Blue Cash Preferred card but have changed it to the one without the fee in the past year. Years ago, you could get 6% at grocery stores with no limit. Now, it is limited to $6k of spending per year. After that, the rate goes down to 1%. So, spending exactly $6k at grocery stores would result in $360 cash back but there is a $95 fee. So, the actual cash back is $265 if spending exactly $6k. This means it is a rate of 4.4% cash back at $6k of spending and less and less as you get further away from that amount in either direction. Their regular card without the fee offers 3% at grocery stores. For someone who will spend close to $6k, the Preferred card is probably a good choice. Just run the numbers to make sure it is the best choice for you. A $250 bonus is not bad for a card you would otherwise want anyway. I wouldn't open this account just for the bonus, though.

Ron Ronnerson
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Location: Bay Area

Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:23 pm

FrugalProfessor wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:21 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:33 pm
This is for 2019 (so far):

Credit Cards
Capital One Savor (me) $500 cash back
Chase Southwest (wife) $1,100 estimated value (65k miles)
Chase United (me) $620 estimated value (40k miles)
B of A Premier Rewards (wife) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (me) $500 cash back
US Bank Business Cash (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (me) $500 cash back
B of A Business Advantage (wife) $500 cash back
B of A Premier Rewards (me) $500 cash back
Total $5,220 (no taxes on this)

Bank Accounts
Capital One Money Market Savings (wife) $200
Wells Fargo Business Checking (me) $300
Wells Fargo Business Checking (wife) $300
Capital One Money Market Savings (me) $500
Citi Checking (me) $200
Citi Checking (wife) $200
Bank of the West Checking (me) $250
U.S. Bank Checking (me) $300
U.S. Bank Checking (wife) $300
U.S. Bank Business Checking (me) $500
U.S. Bank Business Checking (wife) $500
Wells Fargo Checking (wife) $400
Total $3,950 (taxed at 12% federal and 0% state)

Brokerage Transfers (Roth IRAs)
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (me) $250
Transfer from TDA to Merrill Edge (wife) $500
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (wife) $250
Transfer from TDA to E-Trade (me) $250
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (me) $100
Transfer from E-Trade to TDA (wife) $100
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (me)* $400
Transfer from Merrill Edge to E-Trade (wife)* $250
Total $2,100 (no taxes on this since these are all in Roth IRA accounts)
*bonus expected to be received before the end of 2019

Grand Total from 1/1/19 to 10/23/19: $11,270
The above includes bonuses only. I've excluded other miles, points, cash back, or interest that we've received.

The total since 2016 is around $35k for us. Our credit scores remain in the 800s.
You win.

0% state income tax is something I long for.
As a teacher, I have a fair amount of tax deferred space available (403b, 457b, IRA, and pension). After putting money into the various retirement accounts and taking deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes (not a small amount as I'm in the Bay Area), my California income taxes go down to nothing. This surprises some people but it is achievable.

On a side note, I like your blog very much. I used a recommendation on your site to teach my daughter to read this past summer. Just wanted to say thank you for putting out so much excellent content!

mayday23
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:29 am

Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by mayday23 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:51 am

junior wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:57 am
MotoTrojan wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:35 am

Amex Delta Gold ($470)

Doesn't this just pay in airline points? You can't fund an index fund with that.
you can sell airline points. Generally they go for about a penny a point.

PatrickA5
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:55 pm

Re: Cash Back Bonuses - Race to $10k

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:58 am

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:13 pm
rich126 wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:30 pm
I'm not willing to do a lot of work involving moving money around. I may transfer $15K to Chase for a $600 bonus and keep it there for 6-12 months considering interest rates are so low.

I recently signed up for the AMEX Blue CAsh Preferred card. It was an easy $250 cash back after spending $1,000. Usually I go for points but I haven't seen anything exciting. The 6% grocery and 3% gas refund isn't bad either for $95 a year until I get something better.

A guy I used to talk to in a bar had a couple of businesses in his past and he supposedly put $1M a month on an American Express charge card and claimed he had 30,000,000 points with AMEX. Even at 1 cent a point that is $300K. Never saw the actual numbers so I can't say for sure but I did see his Ferrari so he had some play money.
It's important to factor in money that is potentially lost in interest. For example, say you tie up $15k for one year at Chase but previously had that money at a bank that pays 2%. Transferring those funds to Chase effectively lowers the amount of the bonus due to the lost interest ($300 of the $600 bonus would be lost due to the lower rate in my example).

I used to have the Blue Cash Preferred card but have changed it to the one without the fee in the past year. Years ago, you could get 6% at grocery stores with no limit. Now, it is limited to $6k of spending per year. After that, the rate goes down to 1%. So, spending exactly $6k at grocery stores would result in $360 cash back but there is a $95 fee. So, the actual cash back is $265 if spending exactly $6k. This means it is a rate of 4.4% cash back at $6k of spending and less and less as you get further away from that amount in either direction. Their regular card without the fee offers 3% at grocery stores. For someone who will spend close to $6k, the Preferred card is probably a good choice. Just run the numbers to make sure it is the best choice for you. A $250 bonus is not bad for a card you would otherwise want anyway. I wouldn't open this account just for the bonus, though.
Exactly why I tend to shy away from the bank deposit promos. You have to subtract out the difference in interest you could have earned by leaving the money in a MMF (currently around 2%). Once I did these calculations and figured out the hoops necessary to get the bonus, it just wasn't worth my time. I also don't care to get a bunch of 1099's in the mail.

I've been doing the CC points/miles game for over a decade and have averaged around $5K - $7K in savings (per year) on my vacations. But, even then you need to subtract out the credit card fees (if any). Also, the CC game is non-taxable.

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