What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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michaeljc70
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:31 am

I use the Citi Double Cash for almost all purchases. Unless I am doing bonus spends on reward cards. I prefer the reward cards that give miles on airlines I travel (AA/UAL) because I can get more than 1 cent per point. I just went to Europe on two one way tickets (different arrival/departure cities) for 40k miles on AA. It would have cost around $800. I avoid the cards that just give a $ credit for travel is that is almost always fixed at 1:1. I may be locked out of the AA/UAL so may have to do something else. The Barclays Arrival Plus is offering 70k points. I don't open credit cards that give puny rewards... nothing under $500 worth of rewards.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:36 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:31 am
The Barclays Arrival Plus is offering 70k points. I don't open credit cards that give puny rewards... nothing under $500 worth of rewards.
You’ll reconsider once you’ve gone through the big ones and get over the the thought that hard pulls are the end of the world. If you’re willing to do multiple cards you can get way better rewards than you can with the single big hitters. That Arrival card is giving you $700 bonus for $5000 spend, or a total of $800 when you add in the points you earn from the spend. My wife and I are currently doing 2x BOA Travel Rewards and 2x BOA Cash Rewards. We will get $940 for only $3000 spend. If we each open up 2x more Cash Rewards flavors we would get a total of $1760 for that same $5000 spend where you only received $800.

michaeljc70
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:37 am

How do you know if for the AA and UAL cards you will get the bonus? Obviously, if you are turned down you won't. But I believe there is language in the terms (which I believe might vary when comparing an unsolicited application vs. an offer you receive in the mail) that allow a bonus every 24 months or something like that. Some seem to be from when you got the bonus last and some seem to be since you closed the account. I guess what I am getting at is I don't want to open a card, do the spend, and then get nothing.

michaeljc70
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:41 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:36 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:31 am
The Barclays Arrival Plus is offering 70k points. I don't open credit cards that give puny rewards... nothing under $500 worth of rewards.
You’ll reconsider once you’ve gone through the big ones and get over the the thought that hard pulls are the end of the world. If you’re willing to do multiple cards you can get way better rewards than you can with the single big hitters. That Arrival card is giving you $700 bonus for $5000 spend, or a total of $800 when you add in the points you earn from the spend. My wife and I are currently doing 2x BOA Travel Rewards and 2x BOA Cash Rewards. We will get $940 for only $3000 spend. If we each open up 2x more Cash Rewards flavors we would get a total of $1760 for that same $5000 spend where you only received $800.
Well, you are comparing two people to one. They typically limit how many one person can open. As I said above, I can get around 2 cents of value from AA/UAL miles instead of 1 cent so 60k on AA is worth $1200 to me. I would think those BOA cards have some limits too as to how many times in a certain period you can open them. It is also more hassle to have more cards to open/close/do spends on and obviously can impact your credit.

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

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:56 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:15 pm
BTW, that link seems to mostly involve getting tickets for others, which could more easily look "off"...
Although we have different last names, we'd be traveling together, so I don't think *that* particular alarm bell would ring.
There are definitely examples where AS was reportedly suspicious of new accounts (without actual flights posted to them) being used to build up large miles balances.

Here is an example from that thread where the account holder reportedly wanted to book tickets for him/herself. I recall others, but can’t easily find them now.

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/25362194-post242.html

As that post shows, it doesn’t necessarily lead to forfeiture of the points. The problem is that even if you are playing by the rules, finding someone at the airlines who is willing to listen to you can be difficult/take some time. Regular customer service won’t talk to you and the “security department” is not reachable. They will eventually contact you... hopefully. I am sure your award travel arranger is aware of all this, though, and knows how to navigate the waters.

Account closures is a topic I pay attention to on FT, because we often have large account balances with various programs and occasionally book travel for each other (different last names, however lots of evidence we usually travel together) or family members (pure gifts). No issues ever, and of course we don’t ever sell miles or upgrades.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:00 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:41 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:36 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:31 am
The Barclays Arrival Plus is offering 70k points. I don't open credit cards that give puny rewards... nothing under $500 worth of rewards.
You’ll reconsider once you’ve gone through the big ones and get over the the thought that hard pulls are the end of the world. If you’re willing to do multiple cards you can get way better rewards than you can with the single big hitters. That Arrival card is giving you $700 bonus for $5000 spend, or a total of $800 when you add in the points you earn from the spend. My wife and I are currently doing 2x BOA Travel Rewards and 2x BOA Cash Rewards. We will get $940 for only $3000 spend. If we each open up 2x more Cash Rewards flavors we would get a total of $1760 for that same $5000 spend where you only received $800.
Well, you are comparing two people to one. They typically limit how many one person can open. As I said above, I can get around 2 cents of value from AA/UAL miles instead of 1 cent so 60k on AA is worth $1200 to me. I would think those BOA cards have some limits too as to how many times in a certain period you can open them. It is also more hassle to have more cards to open/close/do spends on and obviously can impact your credit.
Valid point—I was looking more at return per $1 spent. I agree to get the big ones out of the way as soon as possible, but I’m simply pointing out that holding off on the smaller bonuses to qualify for the big ones isn’t necessarily a great move.

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

Post by madbrain » Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:31 pm

Mister A wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:38 am
I think this depends a lot on your strategy and travel habits. The 1.5x bonus through the portal is also a tremendous win in terms of guaranteed flexibility.
I am assuming you mean the 1.5x bonus through the Chase travel portal.
With that said, you'll have to pry the Chase UR shopping portal out of my cold, dead hands. There are also some nice synergies between carrying both AEP and CSR.
Did you really mean the Chase UR shopping portal here, and not travel portal ?
I have never really found any opportunities to get extra rewards on any existing spending through the shopping portals for any credit cards.

Mister A
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Mister A » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:43 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:03 am
[All of this travel hacking has one thing in common—the more effort you’re willing to put in the more return you’ll get out. I don’t believe redeeming for $0.015/pt through Chase’s portal is actually getting $0.015/pt. I gave an example above where your seemingly 1.5cpp is really 1-1.1 cpp. Not such a great return. In addition, you are paying a premium for this service—to the tune of $159-$193.50/yr.
Yes, and this is where individual use cases definitely come into play. Your assessment is accurate, but personally, I'd never give up other rewards to use URs for hotel stays, because I usually won't get other loyalty credit (such as credit toward hotels.com nights). For airfare, on the other hand, it's been a very solid flexible redemption for me. I think we're in agreement that on a 1:1 basis, they're roughly comparable, but depending on a person's spending patterns, earnings may not be 1:1 and the difference may blow the annual fee out of the water.
madbrain wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:31 pm
I am assuming you mean the 1.5x bonus through the Chase travel portal....Did you really mean the Chase UR shopping portal here, and not travel portal ? I have never really found any opportunities to get extra rewards on any existing spending through the shopping portals for any credit cards.
The 50% bonus on the travel portal, since for cash redemptions towards airfare (if that's something you do), it really lifts the the 1.5x on CFU and 3x on CSR into something much more useful. Transfer partners are great if they have value on a flight you want, but that bonus puts a floor on what I'm going to get, plus I still get my SkyPesos.

Separately, I also really did mean the shopping portal. Occasionally the cashback sites are clear winners, but it's usually close enough that if you accept the premise that a UR is worth at least 1.5 cents cash, simplicity tends to pull me back to Chase. Chase also usually hands out more URs than the Delta or United portals do in miles. Sometimes it can be hit-and-miss whether or not I got the best stack, but I did get some excellent hauls during special promotions (ex. 15x URs at eBags this summer).

I'll freely admit though, that with the AmEx Gold in the mix, I'm going to be watching closely this year to see whether or not I can flog CSR enough to justify it. Without the travel portal bonus, the value of the shopping portal to me would drop off a cliff.
Last edited by Mister A on Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

THY4373
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by THY4373 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:56 pm

Mister A wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:32 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:42 pm
I think Chase UR are incredibly overrated
I'd like to hear the reasoning on this. I'm frequently making tough calls between charging things to my Chase or AmEx ecosystems so always open to arguments.
Depends on your use of course but I tend to agree at least for my purposes UR is less valuable to me than to many others. In particular I am interested in international travel in J and F cabins. Korean was a huge loss and in fact I transferred a ton of UR over before they left (wish I had done more). United is decent transfer partner for Star Alliance and allows you to avoid YQ that Aeroplan and other tends to charge albeit with a higher point cost on UA. Southwest does nothing for me. The rest of the airline transfer partners are shared with one or more currencies some of which such as TYP and Amex have transfer bonuses. The hotel transfer partners are poor value other than Hyatt. Hyatt is great but small foot print and they significantly devalued the cash and point awards recently which was what I tended to use. I have over a million UR even with transfers to Korean and that is in part due to the fact they are just less useful to me than Amex MR and even TYP. That said UR has one advantage which causes me to collect them which is they have a lot of bonus categories and are better with this than other banks. So it is easy to generate UR for me vs some other currencies. I am hoping they will add some transfer partners in the future.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:13 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:56 pm
Mister A wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:32 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:42 pm
I think Chase UR are incredibly overrated
I'd like to hear the reasoning on this. I'm frequently making tough calls between charging things to my Chase or AmEx ecosystems so always open to arguments.
Depends on your use of course but I tend to agree at least for my purposes UR is less valuable to me than to many others. In particular I am interested in international travel in J and F cabins. Korean was a huge loss and in fact I transferred a ton of UR over before they left (wish I had done more). United is decent transfer partner for Star Alliance and allows you to avoid YQ that Aeroplan and other tends to charge albeit with a higher point cost on UA. Southwest does nothing for me. The rest of the airline transfer partners are shared with one or more currencies some of which such as TYP and Amex have transfer bonuses. The hotel transfer partners are poor value other than Hyatt. Hyatt is great but small foot print and they significantly devalued the cash and point awards recently which was what I tended to use. I have over a million UR even with transfers to Korean and that is in part due to the fact they are just less useful to me than Amex MR and even TYP.
Now that Avianca is available through both TYP and MR, it solves the Star Alliance YQ issues with AMEX and Citi as Avianca doesn’t charge YQ—although they do charge a $25 booking fee. Regarding the rest of your comments, this is my big issue with UR. The program has seen deval after deval. Not saying that every deval is Chase’s fault, but the program is at the weakest it’s ever been. AMEX has improved its program pretty significantly.
THY4373 wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:56 pm
That said UR has one advantage which causes me to collect them which is they have a lot of bonus categories and are better with this than other banks. So it is easy to generate UR for me vs some other currencies. I am hoping they will add some transfer partners in the future.
I don’t necessarily agree with this. Right now I’m running 3 primary cards:

AMEX Blue Business Plus: 2x MR everywhere
Citi TYP: 3x travel and gas
AMEX Gold: 4x dining and groceries

And then I use:

Chase Freedom/Ink Cash: 5x categories when it makes sense although I’m very very slowly stockpiling UR and wil have to upgrade a freedom to a sapphire in order to transfer.


TYP and MR work well together because they share many transfer partners. In addition both TYP and MR have offered transfer bonuses. I just don’t think this gets enough credit—-25%-50% transfer bonuses is huge and if you can take advantage greatly extends the usability of your points. On top of that if you can take advantage of AMEX offers you can generate even more MR. We recently bought some new living room furniture from Raymour and Flannigan and were able to get 45,000 bonus MR on top of any other discounts/coupons we were able to use.

THY4373
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by THY4373 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:06 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:13 pm
I don’t necessarily agree with this. Right now I’m running 3 primary cards:

AMEX Blue Business Plus: 2x MR everywhere
Citi TYP: 3x travel and gas
AMEX Gold: 4x dining and groceries

And then I use:

Chase Freedom/Ink Cash: 5x categories when it makes sense although I’m very very slowly stockpiling UR and wil have to upgrade a freedom to a sapphire in order to transfer.
Yeah it really depends on where you spend and how much you spend. I generate MR/TYP and now CapOne but I still generate more UR than those three combined.

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

Post by CDub » Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:55 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:13 pm
THY4373 wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:56 pm
Mister A wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:32 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:42 pm
I think Chase UR are incredibly overrated
I'd like to hear the reasoning on this. I'm frequently making tough calls between charging things to my Chase or AmEx ecosystems so always open to arguments.
Depends on your use of course but I tend to agree at least for my purposes UR is less valuable to me than to many others. In particular I am interested in international travel in J and F cabins. Korean was a huge loss and in fact I transferred a ton of UR over before they left (wish I had done more). United is decent transfer partner for Star Alliance and allows you to avoid YQ that Aeroplan and other tends to charge albeit with a higher point cost on UA. Southwest does nothing for me. The rest of the airline transfer partners are shared with one or more currencies some of which such as TYP and Amex have transfer bonuses. The hotel transfer partners are poor value other than Hyatt. Hyatt is great but small foot print and they significantly devalued the cash and point awards recently which was what I tended to use. I have over a million UR even with transfers to Korean and that is in part due to the fact they are just less useful to me than Amex MR and even TYP.
Now that Avianca is available through both TYP and MR, it solves the Star Alliance YQ issues with AMEX and Citi as Avianca doesn’t charge YQ—although they do charge a $25 booking fee. Regarding the rest of your comments, this is my big issue with UR. The program has seen deval after deval. Not saying that every deval is Chase’s fault, but the program is at the weakest it’s ever been. AMEX has improved its program pretty significantly.
THY4373 wrote:
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:56 pm
That said UR has one advantage which causes me to collect them which is they have a lot of bonus categories and are better with this than other banks. So it is easy to generate UR for me vs some other currencies. I am hoping they will add some transfer partners in the future.
I don’t necessarily agree with this. Right now I’m running 3 primary cards:

AMEX Blue Business Plus: 2x MR everywhere
Citi TYP: 3x travel and gas
AMEX Gold: 4x dining and groceries

And then I use:

Chase Freedom/Ink Cash: 5x categories when it makes sense although I’m very very slowly stockpiling UR and wil have to upgrade a freedom to a sapphire in order to transfer.


TYP and MR work well together because they share many transfer partners. In addition both TYP and MR have offered transfer bonuses. I just don’t think this gets enough credit—-25%-50% transfer bonuses is huge and if you can take advantage greatly extends the usability of your points. On top of that if you can take advantage of AMEX offers you can generate even more MR. We recently bought some new living room furniture from Raymour and Flannigan and were able to get 45,000 bonus MR on top of any other discounts/coupons we were able to use.
This was a helpful post. Thank you. I had overlooked Citi.

Question regarding foreign spending. Do you have a go to card for your international spend with that card rotation? I know the AMEX gold you mentioned has no FTF, however, it would only be at 1pt/$.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:17 am

CDub wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:55 am
This was a helpful post. Thank you. I had overlooked Citi.

Question regarding foreign spending. Do you have a go to card for your international spend with that card rotation? I know the AMEX gold you mentioned has no FTF, however, it would only be at 1pt/$.
Citi TYP has no FTF and is 2x dining and 3x travel. When we travel internationally I would use the no annual fee Uber Visa card where I get 4% cash back on dining and there are no FTFs. I think 4% cash back is better than 2x thank you points. You should look look into how much you really spend on international dining. We went on no foreign vacations in 2018 and we’ll go on 1 in 2019. That might amount to $500-$1000 in international restaurant spend. At the end of the day it’s small potatoes. If you travel for business a lot and are spending $10,000s on international dining, that might change the math for you though.

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

Post by Houe » Tue Dec 18, 2018 2:47 pm

I'm looking to simplify my CC collection. I'm looking to keep the following:

Citi Costco CC - 4% gas, 3% restaurants, 2% costco
Fidelity CC - 2% on everything
Amex blue - 3% groceries

I'm planning to rid myself of some other cards with rotating categories - too much effort to keep track of the categories.

YoungBogle
Posts: 25
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by YoungBogle » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:07 am

Rader wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:34 am
I already have a chase sapphire preferred and they won't let me get the sign on bonus for the CSR. Is there anyway around it? Or should I just stick with my CSP. I only travel like once or twice a year... I do eat out A LOT though.
You have to wait 48 months since you received the CSP sign up bonus.

If I were you, I would stick it out with the CSP until you hit 48 months and are eligible to get the CSR sign up bonus again and then apply for CSR. Also, try not to use any Chase UR’s till you get the CSR, cause the points are then 1.5x more valuable vs 1.25x.

xb7
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Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:41 pm

YoungBogle wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:07 am
Also, try not to use any Chase UR’s till you get the CSR, cause the points are then 1.5x more valuable vs 1.25x.
This is one of the things about the UR universe that I find confusing --- I'm considering moving to a Chase-card-centric approach in future. Some people and some reviews say the same thing as YoungBogle's quote above, benefit in 1.5x value via CSR. But others say that you just don't get good value out of going through the Chase travel portal --- presumably even WITH the 1.5x multiplier from the CSR --- and that the only really good way to use Chase UR points is to transfer them to travel partners.

My thought was that I might be satisfied with the 1.5x via the portal anyway, following the KISS principle, but I'm not finding really objective data by which to put the two points of view into context/proportion.

I'm with Amex now, and today had reason to call their customer service, which was just quick, efficient, a breeze. I do have one Chase card, and my experiences with them have been pretty bad. Yet the CSR is much much better aligned to my needs and, I guess you might say "profile".

It's a bit of a conundrum.

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

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:24 pm

xb7 wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:41 pm
My thought was that I might be satisfied with the 1.5x via the portal anyway, following the KISS principle, but I'm not finding really objective data by which to put the two points of view into context/proportion.
You can probably only find anecdotal data because while the 1.5 cent value is guaranteed, the valuation of any transfered point depends on what award you buy with it. Let’s say you plan to transfer your points to UA - are you generally able to get more than 1.5 cents per UA mile for award redemptions? If yes, that is better (*) than travel redemptions via Chase.

Various websites publish valuation estimates for loyalty program points/miles that you can use, but what ultimately matters what you are able to book.

I generally book premium awards with miles. I recently paid 70k UA miles for a UA business class one-way award to Europe. If these had come from UR, I could have used them to buy a $1050 ticket. That wouldn’t have given me a business class seat, so transfer would have been the right choice for me.

(*) you also need to factor in that revenue tickets purchased via Chase UR often earn award and status miles while true award tickets don’t,
I'm with Amex now, and today had reason to call their customer service, which was just quick, efficient, a breeze. I do have one Chase card, and my experiences with them have been pretty bad. Yet the CSR is much much better aligned to my needs and, I guess you might say "profile".
I call credit card companies maybe once a year (and I currently have cards with all major issuers). That means one call total. Customer service has never been terrible, but I just don’t have enough data to compare banks, and so it isn’t a factor. Anecdotally Amex is supposed to be better, but if I never actually have to call Chase... why would I care?

Tiffku08
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Tiffku08 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:07 pm

My go to’s:
Amex gold ( in rose gold 8-) ): 4X dining , 4X groceries , 3X travel
BoA cash rewards : 3% gas
Chase freedom: 5% rotating categories
Discover it : 5% rotating categories
Chase freedom unlimited: 1.5% everything else
Last edited by Tiffku08 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

investor997
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by investor997 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:37 pm

I'm trying to decide between CSR and CSP. My annual spend on Travel and Dining is enough to make up the CSR's higher annual fee, but Player 2 (same household) already has a CSR. Any high-value travel benefits the CSR offers (like lounges, insurance, etc) would be used on trips we take together so it's not really necessary for both of us to have one. If I got a CSP, I'd get the same sign-on bonus as the CSR and the annual fee would be waived for the first year. And since we're in the same household, I could always transfer my UR points to Player 2's account so they could be redeemed at the higher value offered by the CSR. Then after Year One, product change my CSP to a CSR as the difference in Annual Fee becomes miniscule ($150 - $0 vs. $150 - $95).

Thoughts?

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

Post by Jags4186 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 pm

xb7 wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:41 pm
YoungBogle wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:07 am
Also, try not to use any Chase UR’s till you get the CSR, cause the points are then 1.5x more valuable vs 1.25x.
This is one of the things about the UR universe that I find confusing --- I'm considering moving to a Chase-card-centric approach in future. Some people and some reviews say the same thing as YoungBogle's quote above, benefit in 1.5x value via CSR. But others say that you just don't get good value out of going through the Chase travel portal --- presumably even WITH the 1.5x multiplier from the CSR --- and that the only really good way to use Chase UR points is to transfer them to travel partners.

My thought was that I might be satisfied with the 1.5x via the portal anyway, following the KISS principle, but I'm not finding really objective data by which to put the two points of view into context/proportion.

I'm with Amex now, and today had reason to call their customer service, which was just quick, efficient, a breeze. I do have one Chase card, and my experiences with them have been pretty bad. Yet the CSR is much much better aligned to my needs and, I guess you might say "profile".

It's a bit of a conundrum.
If your intent is to use UR points in the Chase portal you should not use Chase cards except for snagging the sign up bonuses. You should get a US Bank Altitude Reserve as it offers better rewards for a lower annual fee.

$400 annual fee with a $325 rebate vs $450 annual fee with a $300 rebate
3x on travel and mobile wallet purchases—essentially makes all spend 3x with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay
Each point is worth 1.5 cpp on redemption—essentially makes all spend 4.5% cashback
Points are used to erase purchases—you are not beholden to the Chase portal so you can book via your preferred method and you earn points for these purchases (for example, hotels.com to get an additional 10% savings on your hotel books)
12x GoGo WiFi passes per year

If your intent is to transfer points you should serious consider AMEX over Chase as I believe Membership Rewards is the more compelling product at the moment. Of course there’s nothing to keep you from having it all, but there are diminishing returns for splitting your spend across multiple ecosystems unless you have tons of spend.

arf30
Posts: 382
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by arf30 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:56 pm

How much are people with AMEX gold spending on it? It looks like you need to spend at least $12,500/year or $1,040/mo on groceries and dining just to break even vs a regular 2% cash back card, which seems pretty high.

Jags4186
Posts: 2765
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:00 pm

arf30 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:56 pm
How much are people with AMEX gold spending on it? It looks like you need to spend at least $12,500/year or $1,040/mo on groceries and dining just to break even vs a regular 2% cash back card, which seems pretty high.
If you take the $120/yr dining credit and the $100/yr airline credit at face value, the AMEX Gold card’s annual fee is $30. I think he $120 credit is worth face value and the $100 travel credit is worth about $80. That means the annual fee is about $60. I value MR at 1.8 cents each—that means my 4x spend is worth $0.072/$1 spent. That means for it to make sense to use this card over a 2% card on those categories I need to spend about $96/mo on dining/groceries for this card to make sense to me.

You can also pair it with a Blue Business Plus which gets 2x MR on all spend. It’s a good 2 card combo for people who value points.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7919
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:02 pm

arf30 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:56 pm
How much are people with AMEX gold spending on it? It looks like you need to spend at least $12,500/year or $1,040/mo on groceries and dining just to break even vs a regular 2% cash back card, which seems pretty high.
Don't forget that many of us use awards for premium international air travel, where the points are worth far more than if one took the 2 cents per point and then tried to pay for the trip.

So for us and others that do this, the "cash refund" isn't at all a good comparison.

We have Amex Platinum, and there are plenty of other perks, including $100 credit and some other freebies for most hotel stays, and sometimes upgrades (which have little or no cash value to us, as we usually wouldn't pay to upgrade, but it's nice when it happens).
And then the points can be transferred to a number of airlines.

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

arf30
Posts: 382
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by arf30 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 5:03 pm

That makes sense, thanks.

xb7
Posts: 59
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:46 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 pm
If your intent is to use UR points in the Chase portal you should not use Chase cards except for snagging the sign up bonuses. You should get a US Bank Altitude Reserve as it offers better rewards for a lower annual fee.
...
...
If your intent is to transfer points you should serious consider AMEX over Chase as I believe Membership Rewards is the more compelling product at the moment. Of course there’s nothing to keep you from having it all, but there are diminishing returns for splitting your spend across multiple ecosystems unless you have tons of spend.
I'll have a look at the Bank Altitude Reserve --- thanks. I'm not looking to snag bonuses, but rather to end up with a simple but good-fit effective suite of cards, i.e., that are easy to use and provide the best overall benefits. I'd been thinking that the Chase suite would be best, lead by the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), but --- not positive. I currently have the Amazon Prime card, which Chase manages, so already have to deal with their website and billing approach anyway.

I currently have the Amex Platinum, and have considered adding the Gold card. The big issues I have against the Amex approach are:

(1) The suite of benefits sort of contort my process so that I find myself having to work to get value out. I.e., make sure that Saks, Uber credits don't expire unused, so I end up seeking out ways to spend money that I otherwise wouldn't in order to get credits. Trying to use the $200 travel credit which is challenging (whereas it would be trivial with the CSR). The "Departures" magazine and various other appeals to a very luxurious lifestyle that doesn't fit me or my wife. I don't see myself using the concierge much if ever. The various promotions ("2x points if you buy eyeglasses at this vendor you've never heard of for the next month or so" etc) haven't matched my spending very well, nor do I want to have to pay attention.

(2) The CSR looks to be a better overall travel card in terms of general credit card benefits: travel insurance, baggage, etc, plus it's a visa; With Amex, always have to bring another card for times when Amex isn't accepted.

(3) The actual uses of "point multiplier" built into the Amex cards are limited --- 5x on flights and on hotels booked through Amex; I've not done the latter yet, but not as easy a benefit to use. I don't bother carrying the Platinum card in my wallet as it's just not made for everyday use. Gold adds a couple more things, and of course one can then get a third Amex card. Ultimately I want to be "all-in" for Chase or Amex, and would prefer to not have to deal with monthly statements from too-o many different firms.

(4) Adding an Amex Gold card potentially increases the value, but makes things that much more complicated too. $250 additional annual fee offset by an additional $100 airline credit that's hard to use, dining credits that would further try to skew my purchasing patterns and make me pay attention, sort of having the tail wag the purchase-decision dog. 3x on flights of no value since I already get 5x on flights from Platinum. Certainly some value from 4x on supermarkets and restaurants, but not clear that even makes up for the fee for our spending habits. I don't own a business, so don't qualify for business credit cards. The Amex EveryDay [Preferred] card options seem similarly underwhelming to me. In so many ways, the Amex suite of offerings don't seem to be a good fit to me now.

Offsetting those things, I'm interested to see if the Amex international airline program is as good as some say it is: TBD. The Fine Hotels thing doesn't interest me, but is clearly a significant benefit to some. I'm interested to see how often I use Centurion or Delta lounges and how much I like them; also TBD. My home airport does have a Centurion lounge which skews the logic some. And of course --- personal experience with great customer service.

Sorry to ramble on. I DO appreciate your input on this --- thanks!

ResearchMed
Posts: 7919
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:58 pm

xb7 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:46 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 pm
If your intent is to use UR points in the Chase portal you should not use Chase cards except for snagging the sign up bonuses. You should get a US Bank Altitude Reserve as it offers better rewards for a lower annual fee.
...
...
If your intent is to transfer points you should serious consider AMEX over Chase as I believe Membership Rewards is the more compelling product at the moment. Of course there’s nothing to keep you from having it all, but there are diminishing returns for splitting your spend across multiple ecosystems unless you have tons of spend.
I'll have a look at the Bank Altitude Reserve --- thanks. I'm not looking to snag bonuses, but rather to end up with a simple but good-fit effective suite of cards, i.e., that are easy to use and provide the best overall benefits. I'd been thinking that the Chase suite would be best, lead by the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), but --- not positive. I currently have the Amazon Prime card, which Chase manages, so already have to deal with their website and billing approach anyway.

I currently have the Amex Platinum, and have considered adding the Gold card. The big issues I have against the Amex approach are:

(1) The suite of benefits sort of contort my process so that I find myself having to work to get value out. I.e., make sure that Saks, Uber credits don't expire unused, so I end up seeking out ways to spend money that I otherwise wouldn't in order to get credits. Trying to use the $200 travel credit which is challenging (whereas it would be trivial with the CSR). The "Departures" magazine and various other appeals to a very luxurious lifestyle that doesn't fit me or my wife. I don't see myself using the concierge much if ever. The various promotions ("2x points if you buy eyeglasses at this vendor you've never heard of for the next month or so" etc) haven't matched my spending very well, nor do I want to have to pay attention.

(2) The CSR looks to be a better overall travel card in terms of general credit card benefits: travel insurance, baggage, etc, plus it's a visa; With Amex, always have to bring another card for times when Amex isn't accepted.

(3) The actual uses of "point multiplier" built into the Amex cards are limited --- 5x on flights and on hotels booked through Amex; I've not done the latter yet, but not as easy a benefit to use. I don't bother carrying the Platinum card in my wallet as it's just not made for everyday use. Gold adds a couple more things, and of course one can then get a third Amex card. Ultimately I want to be "all-in" for Chase or Amex, and would prefer to not have to deal with monthly statements from too-o many different firms.

(4) Adding an Amex Gold card potentially increases the value, but makes things that much more complicated too. $250 additional annual fee offset by an additional $100 airline credit that's hard to use, dining credits that would further try to skew my purchasing patterns and make me pay attention, sort of having the tail wag the purchase-decision dog. 3x on flights of no value since I already get 5x on flights from Platinum. Certainly some value from 4x on supermarkets and restaurants, but not clear that even makes up for the fee for our spending habits. I don't own a business, so don't qualify for business credit cards. The Amex EveryDay [Preferred] card options seem similarly underwhelming to me. In so many ways, the Amex suite of offerings don't seem to be a good fit to me now.

Offsetting those things, I'm interested to see if the Amex international airline program is as good as some say it is: TBD. The Fine Hotels thing doesn't interest me, but is clearly a significant benefit to some. I'm interested to see how often I use Centurion or Delta lounges and how much I like them; also TBD. My home airport does have a Centurion lounge which skews the logic some. And of course --- personal experience with great customer service.

Sorry to ramble on. I DO appreciate your input on this --- thanks!
You wrote "I'm interested to see if the Amex international airline program is as good as some say it is"

That's going to depend upon where one wants to go, and also which class of service, so it's not really a question of "as good as some say it is" -- it should be "how good are those awards for *you*...?"

Not only can those Amex rewards be used on their "airline partners", but (many people miss this, and in other programs as well) those awards can also be used in many cases for "partners of the partners".
For example, we can transfer the Amex rewards to Airline A, and then use them to purchase tickets on Airline B, when Airline B is *not* an Amex partner. That opens up many more choices.

RM
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xb7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:01 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 pm
If your intent is to use UR points in the Chase portal you should not use Chase cards except for snagging the sign up bonuses. You should get a US Bank Altitude Reserve as it offers better rewards for a lower annual fee.

$400 annual fee with a $325 rebate vs $450 annual fee with a $300 rebate
3x on travel and mobile wallet purchases—essentially makes all spend 3x with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay
Each point is worth 1.5 cpp on redemption—essentially makes all spend 4.5% cashback
Points are used to erase purchases—you are not beholden to the Chase portal so you can book via your preferred method and you earn points for these purchases (for example, hotels.com to get an additional 10% savings on your hotel books)
12x GoGo WiFi passes per year
Okay, I've looked at the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card a little. Thanks! It's not one that I'd read about before. I don't currently do business with U.S. Bank, so would have to open an account with them and, one more firm to deal with, but interesting.

One point, if I understand what I just read correctly, I've a slight quibble with your summary above. You said that each point is worth 1.5 cpp on redemption, which is true, but only if used through the U.S. Bank travel portal --- offsetting your comment about not being beholden to the Chase portal. I'll have to read further to see if there's any hint that the U.S. Bank travel portal represents any better a value at 1.5x than does the Chase portal.

One other wrinkle for me is WHEN to drop the Amex card, if I do. I've had it for less than a year, and I've read some suggestions that if I don't hold it until after I pay my next annual fee, I could be on a sort of Amex blacklist (?). Maybe not a problem, but ... ? That would mean I'd be keeping the Amex card for more than another year.

I miss the days before I decided to try to get more optimal benefits from credit card spending ... ! :-)

MotoTrojan
Posts: 2960
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MotoTrojan » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:04 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:36 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:31 am
The Barclays Arrival Plus is offering 70k points. I don't open credit cards that give puny rewards... nothing under $500 worth of rewards.
You’ll reconsider once you’ve gone through the big ones and get over the the thought that hard pulls are the end of the world. If you’re willing to do multiple cards you can get way better rewards than you can with the single big hitters. That Arrival card is giving you $700 bonus for $5000 spend, or a total of $800 when you add in the points you earn from the spend. My wife and I are currently doing 2x BOA Travel Rewards and 2x BOA Cash Rewards. We will get $940 for only $3000 spend. If we each open up 2x more Cash Rewards flavors we would get a total of $1760 for that same $5000 spend where you only received $800.
BoA rejected me for a few cards, but I did go on a big application spree (figured I could get through to a few before the inquiries hit my credit). The Arrival is on my list after things settle (regularly use an Uber card so figure I have a decent chance) but BoA is definitely on my radar. Maybe I'll open a checking/savings (and get a reward there) first, could help with approval.

xb7
Posts: 59
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:23 pm

xb7 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:01 pm
One point, if I understand what I just read correctly, I've a slight quibble with your summary above. You said that each point is worth 1.5 cpp on redemption, which is true, but only if used through the U.S. Bank travel portal --- offsetting your comment about not being beholden to the Chase portal. I'll have to read further to see if there's any hint that the U.S. Bank travel portal represents any better a value at 1.5x than does the Chase portal.

Whoops, looks like I had seen old news --- you were right, based on this article:
https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/ ... e-rewards/

Jags4186
Posts: 2765
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:00 pm

xb7 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:46 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:46 pm
If your intent is to use UR points in the Chase portal you should not use Chase cards except for snagging the sign up bonuses. You should get a US Bank Altitude Reserve as it offers better rewards for a lower annual fee.
...
...
If your intent is to transfer points you should serious consider AMEX over Chase as I believe Membership Rewards is the more compelling product at the moment. Of course there’s nothing to keep you from having it all, but there are diminishing returns for splitting your spend across multiple ecosystems unless you have tons of spend.
I'll have a look at the Bank Altitude Reserve --- thanks. I'm not looking to snag bonuses, but rather to end up with a simple but good-fit effective suite of cards, i.e., that are easy to use and provide the best overall benefits. I'd been thinking that the Chase suite would be best, lead by the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), but --- not positive. I currently have the Amazon Prime card, which Chase manages, so already have to deal with their website and billing approach anyway.

I currently have the Amex Platinum, and have considered adding the Gold card. The big issues I have against the Amex approach are:

(1) The suite of benefits sort of contort my process so that I find myself having to work to get value out. I.e., make sure that Saks, Uber credits don't expire unused, so I end up seeking out ways to spend money that I otherwise wouldn't in order to get credits. Trying to use the $200 travel credit which is challenging (whereas it would be trivial with the CSR). The "Departures" magazine and various other appeals to a very luxurious lifestyle that doesn't fit me or my wife. I don't see myself using the concierge much if ever. The various promotions ("2x points if you buy eyeglasses at this vendor you've never heard of for the next month or so" etc) haven't matched my spending very well, nor do I want to have to pay attention.

(2) The CSR looks to be a better overall travel card in terms of general credit card benefits: travel insurance, baggage, etc, plus it's a visa; With Amex, always have to bring another card for times when Amex isn't accepted.

(3) The actual uses of "point multiplier" built into the Amex cards are limited --- 5x on flights and on hotels booked through Amex; I've not done the latter yet, but not as easy a benefit to use. I don't bother carrying the Platinum card in my wallet as it's just not made for everyday use. Gold adds a couple more things, and of course one can then get a third Amex card. Ultimately I want to be "all-in" for Chase or Amex, and would prefer to not have to deal with monthly statements from too-o many different firms.

(4) Adding an Amex Gold card potentially increases the value, but makes things that much more complicated too. $250 additional annual fee offset by an additional $100 airline credit that's hard to use, dining credits that would further try to skew my purchasing patterns and make me pay attention, sort of having the tail wag the purchase-decision dog. 3x on flights of no value since I already get 5x on flights from Platinum. Certainly some value from 4x on supermarkets and restaurants, but not clear that even makes up for the fee for our spending habits. I don't own a business, so don't qualify for business credit cards. The Amex EveryDay [Preferred] card options seem similarly underwhelming to me. In so many ways, the Amex suite of offerings don't seem to be a good fit to me now.

Offsetting those things, I'm interested to see if the Amex international airline program is as good as some say it is: TBD. The Fine Hotels thing doesn't interest me, but is clearly a significant benefit to some. I'm interested to see how often I use Centurion or Delta lounges and how much I like them; also TBD. My home airport does have a Centurion lounge which skews the logic some. And of course --- personal experience with great customer service.

Sorry to ramble on. I DO appreciate your input on this --- thanks!
The AMEX Platinum is not a good card for earning rewards unless you have tons of airline spend. You need to take a look at the ancillary benefits and see if it’s worth keeping. Personally it’s not worth having.

Basic AMEX MR combo is AMEX Gold plus AMEX Blue Business Plus. This gives you 2x everywhere and 4x dining and groceries. I view the $120 dining credit at face value and the $100 credit at about $80. So that is a net $60/yr in annual fees plus you get AMEX offers.

Don’t get me wrong—if Chase Freedom is 5x groceries I’d rather have 5x UR than 4x MR, but if you’re looking for simple and rewarding 2 cards where minimum earn is 2 transferable points is hard to beat.

Accrual
Posts: 87
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:22 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Accrual » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:01 am

Guys -

Need some advice. Looking at applying for a new credit card specifically for travel / cash back rewards. I currently use Chase Freedom Unlimited. ~$15k of spend per year.

In the past, I have had Chase Sapphire Preferred (Opened 6/2017) and Barclays Arrival + (Opened 5/2015).

Currently planning a domestic family trip in the Spring (so hitting the min. spend requirements shouldn't be an issue). May plan for an international trip sometime in 2019.

Should I go CSR, meet the minimum spend requirements, and then reapply for the Arrival + (as it has been over two years), and then reapply for the CSP in July?

Thanks for the advice in advance. Currently in paralysis by analysis looking at all of the options.

TravelGeek
Posts: 2560
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:04 pm

Accrual wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:01 am
Should I go CSR, meet the minimum spend requirements, and then reapply for the Arrival + (as it has been over two years), and then reapply for the CSP in July?
I think Chase won’t give you the CSP in July if you have the CSR. You can only have one of the two.

dentite
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:51 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by dentite » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:16 pm

Hello Folks!

I did something stupid and closed out a credit card from bank of america I had for several years because there were not good rewards associated with it. This dropped my credit score. I did some research on credit cards, and picked:

Venture Capital One card - waived first annual fee, 50,000 miles and 2x miles on every purchase. - currently have around 70,000 miles (supposedly 1:1 mile transfer).

I can carry a balance on a card but pay them off prior to any interest. What is the mix I should carry here? I've read a lot of different posts. I have plenty of liquidity to pay off cards and merely carry them now for the credit score and benefits. I mainly shop at Walmart which some cards do not qualify as grocery. What cards should I rotate?

****I use credit cards to basically pay for everything possible to get benefits (anywhere from $15,000-$30,000 per year)

lakpr
Posts: 430
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by lakpr » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:23 pm

I suggest a general purpose 2% card, either from Alliant Credit Union (they have a no fee 2% version, as well as a $59 fee 2.5% version) or Citi Double Cash. You must have at least three credit cards for getting the maximum benefit out of Fico algorithm, and also to diversify against any one card being compromised.

Keep your Venture card, it is a good card. Add one or both cards I mentioned above. Note that in the immediate term your scores would slip even further due to the 0 age on the new cards, but you should get those lost FICO points back within an year max.

BeneIRA
Posts: 521
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:11 pm

On UR vs. MR. I would rather have the Chase Sapphire Reserve + Chase Freedom (or two) + Chase Freedom Unlimited. For me, I don't do business cards, so the Blue Business Plus is out. The Amex Gold card I don't value the credits at face value. $80 for the $100 air credit that Jags quotes is fair to me but I do not value the $120 credit at face value, either. Let's call that $110. So I am paying $250 for $190 of value or a $60 annual fee. The 4X at restaurants and grocery stores are pretty good, but the Freedom will occasionally give 5X back at grocery stores or wholesale clubs, which can be generally used as grocery stores, such as this quarter. Freedom almost always has at least one gas station quarter. Restaurants, if it is a chain, I grab a gift card on a gift card deal and virtually never use my card. If it's not a chain, then yes, on a quarter where the Freedom doesn't have restaurants, I am losing. Internationally, Amex is almost never accepted, so that's no good.

For me, while UR has definitely been devalued, I am much more attached to that ecosystem than MR. Although, with the companion pass, I valued Southwest somewhat highly and I have always been a big Hyatt fan and do sometimes go out of my way to stay at one. So take that with a grain salt.

For someone who doesn't travel international premium cabins, then the 1.5X on the Chase Travel Portal or US Bank rewards is valuable. Traveling to Asia from the west coast or to Europe from, say, Boston, and the fares typically aren't too high and using the 1.5X probably makes sense.

dentite
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:51 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by dentite » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:20 am

lakpr wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:23 pm
I suggest a general purpose 2% card, either from Alliant Credit Union (they have a no fee 2% version, as well as a $59 fee 2.5% version) or Citi Double Cash. You must have at least three credit cards for getting the maximum benefit out of Fico algorithm, and also to diversify against any one card being compromised.

Keep your Venture card, it is a good card. Add one or both cards I mentioned above. Note that in the immediate term your scores would slip even further due to the 0 age on the new cards, but you should get those lost FICO points back within an year max.
Thanks for the reply. I did some research after reading your post. Here is my idea, let me know what you think.

1. Venture Capital One Card - 2x miles with 1:1 mile transfer (waived annual first years fee then $95 after that) - currently have 70,000 miles - this is my general go to current card

Additions I am thinking about putting in the rotation:

2. Gas Card - Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card - no annual fee plus 3x on gas (up to $2500 per quarter which is probably what we spend) and I also use back of America for checking so redeeming the points adds an extra 10% bonus into their checking account.

3. Rotational card for higher percent back - Discover it® Cash Back - no annual fee with 5x back on rotational quarter schedule up to $1500.

The plan is to use the highest percent cash back then default to the Venture Capital One Card. I figure the Venture Card will pay for a nice trip every two years with my current uses of credit cards which is probably around $30,000 per year conservatively.

What do you think? *** I don't really travel much for work so cards with a ton of travel bonuses are not for me and I don't dine out too much other than some fast food places.

lakpr
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:59 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by lakpr » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:34 pm

Sounds good to me, although it looks like you are paying $95 annual fee on the venture card for an effective 2% cash back, when you can have that for free with either Alliant or Citi. Once you exhaust the rewards from your initial bonus on Venture, I would suggest canceling it and moving on to Citi Double Cash.

Citi also automatically doubles the manufacturer warranty on anything you buy using their credit card, up to a 2 year maximum. This sits on top of the manufacturer warranty, so for something you buy that has one year warranty, you get a total of 3 years warranty for no cost. For this reason, I highly recommend Double Cash card, I would replace the Bank of America rewards card in your plan with it, if I were you, if you are planning on keeping the Venture.

But of course, your original plan sounds good as well.

Jags4186
Posts: 2765
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:18 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:11 pm
On UR vs. MR. I would rather have the Chase Sapphire Reserve + Chase Freedom (or two) + Chase Freedom Unlimited. For me, I don't do business cards, so the Blue Business Plus is out. The Amex Gold card I don't value the credits at face value. $80 for the $100 air credit that Jags quotes is fair to me but I do not value the $120 credit at face value, either. Let's call that $110. So I am paying $250 for $190 of value or a $60 annual fee. The 4X at restaurants and grocery stores are pretty good, but the Freedom will occasionally give 5X back at grocery stores or wholesale clubs, which can be generally used as grocery stores, such as this quarter. Freedom almost always has at least one gas station quarter. Restaurants, if it is a chain, I grab a gift card on a gift card deal and virtually never use my card. If it's not a chain, then yes, on a quarter where the Freedom doesn't have restaurants, I am losing. Internationally, Amex is almost never accepted, so that's no good.

For me, while UR has definitely been devalued, I am much more attached to that ecosystem than MR. Although, with the companion pass, I valued Southwest somewhat highly and I have always been a big Hyatt fan and do sometimes go out of my way to stay at one. So take that with a grain salt.

For someone who doesn't travel international premium cabins, then the 1.5X on the Chase Travel Portal or US Bank rewards is valuable. Traveling to Asia from the west coast or to Europe from, say, Boston, and the fares typically aren't too high and using the 1.5X probably makes sense.
Yes I agree regarding 5x...I use my Freedom and Ink Cash for 5x UR categories. When I have enough UR for redemption I’ll upgrade an Ink Cash to Ink Preferred to make the transfer. But the reality is I probably only earn 10,000-15,000 UR a year nowadays so holding a UR card with an annual fee makes no sense. For example in January I’ll prepay my EZ Pass $1500 which should cover my tolls for a whole year.

I value the $120 dining credit at face value because the places we order from are on seamless. If I had to change habits or restaurants I would have discounted the credit.

X Factor with MR for me is AMEX offers. That’s usually good for at least 20,000-30,000 additional points a year.

BeneIRA
Posts: 521
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by BeneIRA » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:24 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:18 pm
BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:11 pm
On UR vs. MR. I would rather have the Chase Sapphire Reserve + Chase Freedom (or two) + Chase Freedom Unlimited. For me, I don't do business cards, so the Blue Business Plus is out. The Amex Gold card I don't value the credits at face value. $80 for the $100 air credit that Jags quotes is fair to me but I do not value the $120 credit at face value, either. Let's call that $110. So I am paying $250 for $190 of value or a $60 annual fee. The 4X at restaurants and grocery stores are pretty good, but the Freedom will occasionally give 5X back at grocery stores or wholesale clubs, which can be generally used as grocery stores, such as this quarter. Freedom almost always has at least one gas station quarter. Restaurants, if it is a chain, I grab a gift card on a gift card deal and virtually never use my card. If it's not a chain, then yes, on a quarter where the Freedom doesn't have restaurants, I am losing. Internationally, Amex is almost never accepted, so that's no good.

For me, while UR has definitely been devalued, I am much more attached to that ecosystem than MR. Although, with the companion pass, I valued Southwest somewhat highly and I have always been a big Hyatt fan and do sometimes go out of my way to stay at one. So take that with a grain salt.

For someone who doesn't travel international premium cabins, then the 1.5X on the Chase Travel Portal or US Bank rewards is valuable. Traveling to Asia from the west coast or to Europe from, say, Boston, and the fares typically aren't too high and using the 1.5X probably makes sense.
Yes I agree regarding 5x...I use my Freedom and Ink Cash for 5x UR categories. When I have enough UR for redemption I’ll upgrade an Ink Cash to Ink Preferred to make the transfer. But the reality is I probably only earn 10,000-15,000 UR a year nowadays so holding a UR card with an annual fee makes no sense. For example in January I’ll prepay my EZ Pass $1500 which should cover my tolls for a whole year.

I value the $120 dining credit at face value because the places we order from are on seamless. If I had to change habits or restaurants I would have discounted the credit.

X Factor with MR for me is AMEX offers. That’s usually good for at least 20,000-30,000 additional points a year.
Agreed, Amex offers are pretty great. I have other Amex cards to get Amex offers. I would think if you had the CSR and you prepay tolls at $1,500 at the beginning of the year then you would value the travel credit of $300 at face value. One year some unnamed bridges in New York caused my travel credit to almost be worth face value. For me, the travel insurance is also valuable and I use my CSR as an AAA membership as well since I can use it four times per year up to $50 per incident in terms of roadside assistance which I have unfortunately had to use very recently. With that and the Priority Pass membership, it's worth it to me.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:12 am

BeneIRA wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:24 pm
Agreed, Amex offers are pretty great. I have other Amex cards to get Amex offers. I would think if you had the CSR and you prepay tolls at $1,500 at the beginning of the year then you would value the travel credit of $300 at face value. One year some unnamed bridges in New York caused my travel credit to almost be worth face value. For me, the travel insurance is also valuable and I use my CSR as an AAA membership as well since I can use it four times per year up to $50 per incident in terms of roadside assistance which I have unfortunately had to use very recently. With that and the Priority Pass membership, it's worth it to me.
Can’t value the $300 travel credit at face value because you don’t earn rewards on the $300 in spend. So depending on what you value UR at it’s only worth around $285.

xb7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:35 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 7:12 am
Can’t value the $300 travel credit at face value because you don’t earn rewards on the $300 in spend. So depending on what you value UR at it’s only worth around $285.
Good point; I don't anticipate getting a 5% return on credit card stuff in general, so might value it a little higher, but this mental model is worthwhile in making comparisons.

The situation in which I more often think along this line is when someone says, for example, "With the Amex Gold Card you get 4% back on meals out". Since I already have a 2% cashback card with no fee, it's just a net 2% more back. Except that it's yet more complicated insofar as one is a cash back card, so then I have to establish a $$ value on MR points ... and for me that's in the context of not yet having personally used MR points for anything.

What's particularly hard in valuing different card options IMO is putting a value on the less tangible stuff. For example, simplicity vs. hassle value of collecting the rewards/credits, the quality of customer service, brand bias towards or against partner companies, etc. Having a 'metal' card is of no interest to me, but it seems like some people care. OTOH I have a perhaps irrational desire to have access to airport lounges, above and beyond the practical benefits.

If you're not into churning and just want to establish an overall 'best fit' small suite of cards, this kind of thing makes it harder. Being a geek, I try to quantify everything on a spreadsheet, but it seems like there's always one more bit of information or one more way of looking at things.

Such as not valuing a $300 travel credit at the full $300 !

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

Post by tooluser » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:40 pm

Currently not behind the paywall, but search for the title on Facebook.com if it is:

Rewards Credit Cards Gained a Fanatic Following—Now Banks Are Pulling Back
https://www.wsj.com/articles/rewards-cr ... 1546365926

"Major perks like airfare and cash back were meant to lead to higher returns. But consumers figured out how to game the system."

The article essentially says that the trend is down, but not out. Might be some specific details more relevant to some readers.
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:07 pm

I removed a post linking to the WSJ article from a website which violates the WSJ Subscriber Agreement.

A better choice is to link to the article via Facebook (permitted). See: Re: The Wall Street Journal to close Google loophole entirely for a javascript method than can be used from your browser.
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SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:04 am

I currently get 2.25% on BoA Premium rewards as I am Platinum Honors.


I see that https://www.pay1040.com/ charges 1.87% for making Federal Tax payments. I actually have a fairly significant estimated tax payment to make because of Vanguard distributions :(

It seems like I can get .38% (2.25 - 1.87) of my payment back, so it would benefit me to pay pretty much the entire amount I have due by CC (subject to credit limits, of course). Is there any mistake in my reasoning ?

PS: actually it would be a little more than 0.38%, since I can get approximately 2.2%/12 or so in interest from online banking until I need to pay.

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

Post by ZinCO » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:07 am

SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:04 am
I currently get 2.25% on BoA Premium rewards as I am Platinum Honors.


I see that https://www.pay1040.com/ charges 1.87% for making Federal Tax payments. I actually have a fairly significant estimated tax payment to make because of Vanguard distributions :(

It seems like I can get .38% (2.25 - 1.87) of my payment back, so it would benefit me to pay pretty much the entire amount I have due by CC (subject to credit limits, of course). Is there any mistake in my reasoning ?

PS: actually it would be a little more than 0.38%, since I can get approximately 2.2%/12 or so in interest from online banking until I need to pay.
It's an even better deal if you qualify for 2.625% back on the Premium Rewards card. Been doing this for years (with the Travel Rewards card before Premium Rewards existed). That is, as long as you have to pay the taxes anyway...

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

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:10 am

ZinCO wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:07 am
SlowMovingInvestor wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:04 am
I currently get 2.25% on BoA Premium rewards as I am Platinum Honors.


I see that https://www.pay1040.com/ charges 1.87% for making Federal Tax payments. I actually have a fairly significant estimated tax payment to make because of Vanguard distributions :(

It seems like I can get .38% (2.25 - 1.87) of my payment back, so it would benefit me to pay pretty much the entire amount I have due by CC (subject to credit limits, of course). Is there any mistake in my reasoning ?

PS: actually it would be a little more than 0.38%, since I can get approximately 2.2%/12 or so in interest from online banking until I need to pay.
It's an even better deal if you qualify for 2.625% back on the Premium Rewards card. Been doing this for years (with the Travel Rewards card before Premium Rewards existed). That is, as long as you have to pay the taxes anyway...
I am Platinum honors, so I just realized it's 2.625% for me too ! Makes the deal even better.

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

Post by fareastwarriors » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:25 am

Southwest Companion offer.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/southwest ... nt-offers/

Is the annual fee waived for the first year? Does anyone know?

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

Post by BeneIRA » Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:34 pm

fareastwarriors wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:25 am
Southwest Companion offer.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/southwest ... nt-offers/

Is the annual fee waived for the first year? Does anyone know?
No, it is not. I highly recommend Doctor of Credit for resources as opposed to The Points Guy, who is the Edward Jones of the points and miles world. He will only talk about it if it earns him a sales commission.

Here is the link to Doctor of Credit:

https://www.doctorofcredit.com/new-chas ... ough-2019/

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

Post by Rainier » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:42 am

I like to have a true Chip + PIN card for international travel. Historically I had the Barclay Arrival + for the bonus then the free version of the Arrival (I hate their award system btw, too restrictive on reimbursements).

I recently just got the Barclay Uber and will ditch the Arrival. Here is why:

- True Chip + PIN
- No foreign fees (obviously)
- No annual fee
- $600 of cell phone insurance if you pay your mobile phone bill with the card
- 4% back on dining, 3% back on travel, 2% back on internet purchases (amazon, most online stores, streaming services)
- $50 statement credit after $5,000 in annual spend applied to streaming services, effectively adding 1% back if you keep spending to around $5,000 annually on the card.

I primarily use UR and MR cards for most of my spend and their dining/travel categories are inline with this card but I got the Uber card for the free phone insurance, plus the Chip + PIN. No matter what, I needed a chip + PIN card and Chase/AMEX don't offer one. This card spends most of the time in my desk but is linked to Amazon and my recurring phone/streaming services. I'll try to keep spending to $5,000 annually as the return get worse after that.

Signup bonus is only $100 but easy to get and posts as soon as you hit the spend level (hint hint AMEX). Great card if you don't want to pay an annual fee and can't benefit from the Chase/AMEX premium cards.

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

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:38 am

Is there a way us to verify if our new Barclay Arrival card (partner of AA) IS a "chip and PIN" rather than regular "chip and signature"?

Thanks.

RM
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