What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

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

Post by spammagnet » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:28 am

Ketawa wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:15 am
More recent evidence on this is mixed. There are comments/data points in that post and this one that state having those reports frozen was the reason for denial. I was able to get the U.S. Bank Cash+ card without freezing them. ...
Data points are always useful.

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

Post by Prokofiev » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:49 pm

Last week I was denied the bonus for the AmEx Hilton card w/130k bonus points. I have never had a Hilton card. I am only 3/24 under the Chase rules (doesn't really apply, I know) and have a 815 FICO. I was very surprised. Why? The box said I either had this bonus before ( I haven't) or I have had too many cards opened or closed recently. Looks like they are tightening the rules and bonuses. Can't blame them . . .
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler - Einstein

28fe6
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 28fe6 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:37 pm

Is it possible to have Chase switch your type of card, even if you are over 5/24?

I really want a United card, but I think I'm over 5/24. I have a Freedom and Freedom Unlimited that I would gladly trade; I have heard about people converting cards before, but an airline card??

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

Post by Horsefly » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:58 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it possible to have Chase switch your type of card, even if you are over 5/24?

I really want a United card, but I think I'm over 5/24. I have a Freedom and Freedom Unlimited that I would gladly trade; I have heard about people converting cards before, but an airline card??
No, I'm pretty sure you can't do that. I tried some years ago. Any of the "partner" cards that chase provides with Marriott, United, etc. can only be downgraded / upgraded for something in that same family. I had one of the original United cards, and I didn't like the annual fee (I think it was $90) combined with the fact that there was no real bonus benefit. As such, the card wasn't competitive even with their current Explorer and others. I really wanted to get a different card with Chase, but no amount of pleading or threatening worked. They made it clear that to change out of a United card, they could only give me a different United card.

What you're describing is actually the opposite, going from a non-affiliated Chase card to an affiliated United card, but I would bet the answer will be the same.

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

Post by THY4373 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:14 am

Prokofiev wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:49 pm
Last week I was denied the bonus for the AmEx Hilton card w/130k bonus points. I have never had a Hilton card. I am only 3/24 under the Chase rules (doesn't really apply, I know) and have a 815 FICO. I was very surprised. Why? The box said I either had this bonus before ( I haven't) or I have had too many cards opened or closed recently. Looks like they are tightening the rules and bonuses. Can't blame them . . .
This tends to happen (assuming you haven't had that particular card before) when you have applied for other Amex cards before and only put enough spend on them for the sign-up bonus. Assuming you have done that the way to get past this is to start putting some spend on any current Amex card you hold after a couple of months you may no longer have this issue.

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

Post by blackholescion » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:34 pm

I want to replace our BofA Travel Rewards (I'm tired of their fraud detection. Burned me one too many times. I've tried working with them, but any time I have to buy something like limited number of concert tickets, I seem to get burned).

Currently have Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

Debating getting Costco Visa for Costco + Gas (and international purchases) since we wouldn't have a Visa any more. However, need a daily driver. I'm somewhere between the Citi Double Cash or the slightly less convenient Amex Business Blue Plus for the 2x MR on every purchase up to 50k. We would come close to the 50k spend each year but not over as we do all of our recurrent spending and charity giving on a card wherever we can.

The inconvenience would be needing to make sure the travel is a good deal when transferring points to miles which takes time (first world problems). We fly Delta almost exclusively and our flights are 1-2 times a year either to Europe from the east coast or across to the west coast. Most of the time we travel it's to the beach which is at local places and we wouldn't be able to use any points to book.

Generally, I've been able to redeem skymiles at >=1.5 cents each so that gives me >=3% back on each dollar with this card, but I have to pay attention and know that we may not always be able to redeem at this value. I guess I'd be happy any time I get 1 cent per MR back since that's at least matching the double cash. The other drawback would be not being to just cash out the points since that's not a good value.

Anyone who does occasional travel and uses Amex MR and can chime in?

Thanks.

P.S., not interested in trying to remember rotating categories. That would make my wife lose her mind.

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

Post by lakpr » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:42 pm

@blackholescion,

You may want to stick to either the Citi Double Cash, or Alliant Credit Union's Platinum Rewards visa. Straight 2% cash back (in Citi's case you get the second 1% after you pay back the charges), no muss no fuss, no annual fee on either ... I don't think it gets any simpler than that.

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

Post by LilyFleur » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:08 pm

lakpr wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:42 pm
@blackholescion,

You may want to stick to either the Citi Double Cash, or Alliant Credit Union's Platinum Rewards visa. Straight 2% cash back (in Citi's case you get the second 1% after you pay back the charges), no muss no fuss, no annual fee on either ... I don't think it gets any simpler than that.
I recently got my Citi Double Cash MasterCard due to this thread, and I love it.
I've gotten used to shuffling between Citi Double Cash and the Citi Costco Visa. (i.e., gas on the Costco Visa-4% , regular grocery stores on the Double Cash-2%, restaurants on Costco Visa-3%, home improvements-Double Cash-2%). My new pricey health insurance can be charged on my Double Cash card, so that eases the pain a wee bit; I also charge all my prescriptions and doctor co-pays on that card. Oh, and Amazon Visa for Amazon purchases-5%.

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

Post by BruDude » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:10 pm

I got a targeted offer from Chase Ink business offering $2,000 cash back for spending $50k within 6 months of account opening. Best CC cash back deal I’ve ever seen. Anyone else get this?

elainet7
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Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by elainet7 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:38 am

Got my 450 back for both of us from Td bank for opening cc and spending 500 in 3 mos. very nice free dollars

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:49 am

I’m currently hitting the AMEX Blue Business Cash. We received 15,000 Membership Rewards points when my wife referred me. I then will receive 2% cashback and $500 bonus after spending $15,000 in 12 months. We have some significant expenses coming up which will basically hit that $15k in the next 30 days. I also get 0% APR for 12 months which I will take advantage of.

I value MR points at $0.015 each so I have this as:

$225 in Membership Rewards
$500 bonus
$300 from spend
~$275 Interest on $15k in savings at 2% for 11 months

8.66% return on a large chunk of spend.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:54 am

BruDude wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:10 pm
I got a targeted offer from Chase Ink business offering $2,000 cash back for spending $50k within 6 months of account opening. Best CC cash back deal I’ve ever seen. Anyone else get this?
That’s only a 4% bonus. If you’re adverse to opening many cards and can easily hit that spend it’s fine, but you should be able to get far more than $2000 in bonuses for $50k in spend.

Compare it to opening day the Capital One Spark for $500 after $3000 spend. That’s a 16.6% bonus.

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

Post by jsaver » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:27 am

blackholescion wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:34 pm
Anyone who does occasional travel and uses Amex MR and can chime in?
Between MR and Chase I had 300k points. I've rarely been able to use them when I wanted to. I finally realized (duh) that these points are only a good deal if you're willing to accept whatever travel deals are being offered, and you can't use them very often if you have specific plans. For example, I transferred a bunch of points to United to try to use them to upgrade to first class on a cross-country flight I take twice a year and I have yet to get that upgrade.

So I recently switched to a straight 2% cash back card which I'm using for almost everything. I also grabbed an AmEx Schwab Platinum so I can redeem the MR points to cash at 1.25 cpp. I'll spend enough to cover the sign-up bonus, then cancel my AmEx cards with membership fee. I plan to cancel my Chase Sapphire card too. The only annual fee card I plan to keep is a Chase United card.

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

Post by THY4373 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:35 am

jsaver wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:27 am
Between MR and Chase I had 300k points. I've rarely been able to use them when I wanted to. I finally realized (duh) that these points are only a good deal if you're willing to accept whatever travel deals are being offered, and you can't use them very often if you have specific plans. For example, I transferred a bunch of points to United to try to use them to upgrade to first class on a cross-country flight I take twice a year and I have yet to get that upgrade.

So I recently switched to a straight 2% cash back card which I'm using for almost everything. I also grabbed an AmEx Schwab Platinum so I can redeem the MR points to cash at 1.25 cpp. I'll spend enough to cover the sign-up bonus, then cancel my AmEx cards with membership fee. I plan to cancel my Chase Sapphire card too. The only annual fee card I plan to keep is a Chase United card.
Using points requires flexibility and advance planning. In six years I have pretty much been able to get wherever I want to on points usually in premium cabins but this often requires some flexibility on dates, planning well ahead and having points across multiple carriers/alliances. Also it probably helps that most of my trips are international because in my experience international carriers are better at releasing award seats at least at the saver level. That said a 2% cash back card is hard to beat if you aren't willing to put in the time and effort to learn the burn side of the things.

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

Post by drk » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:40 am

28fe6 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:37 pm
Is it possible to have Chase switch your type of card, even if you are over 5/24?

I really want a United card, but I think I'm over 5/24. I have a Freedom and Freedom Unlimited that I would gladly trade; I have heard about people converting cards before, but an airline card??
Chase only lets you change cards within the same brand. You could change one United card for another, or a Sapphire card for a Freedom one, but not a Freedom for a United or a Marriott for a Freedom.

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

Post by natchez » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:25 pm

This is a REALLY long and old thread so I may be covering old ground here, but in case not:

I use the Southwest Airlines card from Chase solely to get the companion pass and free flights. In the 8 or 9 years we have been "earning" the companion pass we have almost never paid money for a flight unless on another airline. This works as we live in a city served by Southwest and we, and the kids, travel often to other cities that have Southwest flights. One of the kids attends college in a city served by Southwest and we are constantly flying the kid back and forth via flights obtained with points. I earn the companion pass by spending, not by flying, because every flight I take is with points so my "flying" component is always at zero, and my spouse (or child or whoever) flies with me for free. And I can book well in advance flights for the family for trips I am not positive we are going to take, then if the trip doesn't work out, I can cancel and get all of the miles back and use them for the next trip. It's a great card and program. I've already earned the next companion pass that will take us through December 2020. I'll keep doing this at least as long as my kid is in college because the volume of SWA flights we need is so high.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:57 pm

blackholescion wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:34 pm
I want to replace our BofA Travel Rewards (I'm tired of their fraud detection. Burned me one too many times. I've tried working with them, but any time I have to buy something like limited number of concert tickets, I seem to get burned).

Currently have Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

Debating getting Costco Visa for Costco + Gas (and international purchases) since we wouldn't have a Visa any more. However, need a daily driver. I'm somewhere between the Citi Double Cash or the slightly less convenient Amex Business Blue Plus for the 2x MR on every purchase up to 50k. We would come close to the 50k spend each year but not over as we do all of our recurrent spending and charity giving on a card wherever we can.

The inconvenience would be needing to make sure the travel is a good deal when transferring points to miles which takes time (first world problems). We fly Delta almost exclusively and our flights are 1-2 times a year either to Europe from the east coast or across to the west coast. Most of the time we travel it's to the beach which is at local places and we wouldn't be able to use any points to book.

Generally, I've been able to redeem skymiles at >=1.5 cents each so that gives me >=3% back on each dollar with this card, but I have to pay attention and know that we may not always be able to redeem at this value. I guess I'd be happy any time I get 1 cent per MR back since that's at least matching the double cash. The other drawback would be not being to just cash out the points since that's not a good value.

Anyone who does occasional travel and uses Amex MR and can chime in?

Thanks.

P.S., not interested in trying to remember rotating categories. That would make my wife lose her mind.
If you're in a Skyteam exclusive hub like ATL, then transferring to either Delta or to Flying Blue is going to be an important use of your Amex points. Be sure to check Flying Blue though, I bet that's usually a better deal than Delta for Skyteam flights.

My personal experience with Amex points, coming from a Star Alliance hub (ORD), is that I've mostly transferred them to Aeroplan for flights to Europe. Biz class one way is 55K to Western Europe and 57.5K to Eastern Europe. You have to avoid Lufthansa, Austrian, and Air Canada metal coz they'll screw you with exorbitant fuel surcharges.

Of course even if you're in ATL, you can still fly Star Alliance to Europe, it just usually requires a domestic leg first.

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

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:02 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:57 pm
blackholescion wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:34 pm
I want to replace our BofA Travel Rewards (I'm tired of their fraud detection. Burned me one too many times. I've tried working with them, but any time I have to buy something like limited number of concert tickets, I seem to get burned).

Currently have Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

Debating getting Costco Visa for Costco + Gas (and international purchases) since we wouldn't have a Visa any more. However, need a daily driver. I'm somewhere between the Citi Double Cash or the slightly less convenient Amex Business Blue Plus for the 2x MR on every purchase up to 50k. We would come close to the 50k spend each year but not over as we do all of our recurrent spending and charity giving on a card wherever we can.

The inconvenience would be needing to make sure the travel is a good deal when transferring points to miles which takes time (first world problems). We fly Delta almost exclusively and our flights are 1-2 times a year either to Europe from the east coast or across to the west coast. Most of the time we travel it's to the beach which is at local places and we wouldn't be able to use any points to book.

Generally, I've been able to redeem skymiles at >=1.5 cents each so that gives me >=3% back on each dollar with this card, but I have to pay attention and know that we may not always be able to redeem at this value. I guess I'd be happy any time I get 1 cent per MR back since that's at least matching the double cash. The other drawback would be not being to just cash out the points since that's not a good value.

Anyone who does occasional travel and uses Amex MR and can chime in?

Thanks.

P.S., not interested in trying to remember rotating categories. That would make my wife lose her mind.
If you're in a Skyteam exclusive hub like ATL, then transferring to either Delta or to Flying Blue is going to be an important use of your Amex points. Be sure to check Flying Blue though, I bet that's usually a better deal than Delta for Skyteam flights.

My personal experience with Amex points, coming from a Star Alliance hub (ORD), is that I've mostly transferred them to Aeroplan for flights to Europe. Biz class one way is 55K to Western Europe and 57.5K to Eastern Europe. You have to avoid Lufthansa, Austrian, and Air Canada metal coz they'll screw you with exorbitant fuel surcharges.

Of course even if you're in ATL, you can still fly Star Alliance to Europe, it just usually requires a domestic leg first.
Now you can transfer to Avianca and there are no fuel charges passed through :sharebeer

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

Post by jsaver » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:38 pm

natchez wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:25 pm
This is a REALLY long and old thread so I may be covering old ground here, but in case not:

I use the Southwest Airlines card from Chase solely to get the companion pass and free flights. In the 8 or 9 years we have been "earning" the companion pass we have almost never paid money for a flight unless on another airline. This works as we live in a city served by Southwest and we, and the kids, travel often to other cities that have Southwest flights. One of the kids attends college in a city served by Southwest and we are constantly flying the kid back and forth via flights obtained with points. I earn the companion pass by spending, not by flying, because every flight I take is with points so my "flying" component is always at zero, and my spouse (or child or whoever) flies with me for free. And I can book well in advance flights for the family for trips I am not positive we are going to take, then if the trip doesn't work out, I can cancel and get all of the miles back and use them for the next trip. It's a great card and program. I've already earned the next companion pass that will take us through December 2020. I'll keep doing this at least as long as my kid is in college because the volume of SWA flights we need is so high.
Looking at SW's site I find this:

"How do I Earn Companion Pass? Simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you'll earn Companion Pass"

Both the Premier and Priority cards earn 1 point per dollar on normal purchases. You get 6K anniversary points every year on the priority card. So you have to spend $104K to get a companion pass? The companion pass is basically a 50% discount for a full year and a bit. Meanwhile the card costs $99/year. On a 2% card w/no annual fee that 104K is worth $2080. That would cover 3-4 flights or whatever else you want to spend it on.

So to be worthwhile, you need a huge spend and also need to fly 3-4x in the next year with a companion, I guess.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:52 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:02 pm

Now you can transfer to Avianca and there are no fuel charges passed through :sharebeer
That's true, I forgot about Avianca. The watch-out with them is 2 fold:

1) Not all the availability you'd see with United or Aeroplan is at Avianca.

2) Their customer service is much worse than United or Aeroplan if you end up needing to call somebody.

Avianca is also a bit more expensive to Europe in biz class than Aeroplan....I believe 63K miles.

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

Post by jbmitt » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:02 pm

For the Southwest companion pass, one of us would open both credit cards and get it early in the calendar year and the following year. Subsequently, the other one of us would do it. Rinse and repeat.

We moved and our local airport as well as our entire state isn’t served by Southwest so we don’t utilize it any more.

It did have a lot of value. We essentially had unlimited buy one get one free airfare. It easily saved us in excess of $5k.
Last edited by jbmitt on Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by investor997 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:03 pm

jsaver wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:38 pm
Looking at SW's site I find this:

"How do I Earn Companion Pass? Simply fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year, and you'll earn Companion Pass"

Both the Premier and Priority cards earn 1 point per dollar on normal purchases. You get 6K anniversary points every year on the priority card. So you have to spend $104K to get a companion pass? The companion pass is basically a 50% discount for a full year and a bit. Meanwhile the card costs $99/year. On a 2% card w/no annual fee that 104K is worth $2080. That would cover 3-4 flights or whatever else you want to spend it on.

So to be worthwhile, you need a huge spend and also need to fly 3-4x in the next year with a companion, I guess.
You don't need to spend $104K. The credit card sign-up bonus is presently 40K points for $1K in spend so you've got 69K points to go. Still a lot but not insurmountable. You just need to get creative. You can earn a LOT of points by using shopping portals and the Southwest hotel site where you can sometimes find hotels that pay 10K points *per night*. For example, last year I paid $425 to spend a night at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Maui in exchange for 10,850 points (10K from the hotel site and 2*425 put on the Southwest VISA, which pays 2X points at many hotel chains).

Other folks sign up for two Southwest cards at once (business + personal) so they can bag *two* sign-up bonuses. That will sometimes get you nearly all of the 110K points all in one shot.

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

Post by jsaver » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:05 am

investor997 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:03 pm
You don't need to spend $104K. The credit card sign-up bonus is presently 40K points for $1K in spend so you've got 69K points to go. Still a lot but not insurmountable. You just need to get creative. You can earn a LOT of points by using shopping portals and the Southwest hotel site where you can sometimes find hotels that pay 10K points *per night*. For example, last year I paid $425 to spend a night at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Maui in exchange for 10,850 points (10K from the hotel site and 2*425 put on the Southwest VISA, which pays 2X points at many hotel chains).

Other folks sign up for two Southwest cards at once (business + personal) so they can bag *two* sign-up bonuses. That will sometimes get you nearly all of the 110K points all in one shot.
Sure, I'm aware of all the tricks but was replying to someone who seems to just have this as their every day card and isn't jumping though hoops. You can't get the SUB every year. There's obviously folks who enjoy chasing these bonuses. I'm just sticking to 2% cash back from now on.

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

Post by ndpage » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:29 am

I've simplified my strategy over time as many of the category bonuses i used to have dried up. I carry four credit cards and one fee-rebated debit/ATM cards (with a second one in reserve at home).

- Amex Platinum: Delta SkyClub and PriorityPass Lounge access (I travel a lot for both business and personal) and $200 in Uber credit offset the high annual fee. Plus it's my oldest card, over 25 years. Effective 7% return on airfare (5x MR category) on American Airlines via a 40% bonus to British Airways. Non-stop one-way award flights under 1150 miles on American are 15k BA miles with only a $6 cancelation penalty vs $300-$400 cash.

- Amex Delta: My next $2k/month goes on this. It helps me maintain Platinum level status instead of Gold. Complicated math that is person-specific, but for me it comes out to conservatively 4% for benefits ($1000 on $25k spend) and 1.2% for the miles. All my monthly autopay that can go on a credit card lands here.

- Everything else domestically except Costco goes on a Citi 2% CB card.

- Costco is Visa-only so it goes on my Chase BA Visa. I also put all my overseas vacation spending on it to protect my main three cards from fraud.

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

Post by Bfwolf » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:59 pm

ndpage wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:29 am
I've simplified my strategy over time as many of the category bonuses i used to have dried up. I carry four credit cards and one fee-rebated debit/ATM cards (with a second one in reserve at home).

- Amex Platinum: Delta SkyClub and PriorityPass Lounge access (I travel a lot for both business and personal) and $200 in Uber credit offset the high annual fee. Plus it's my oldest card, over 25 years. Effective 7% return on airfare (5x MR category) on American Airlines via a 40% bonus to British Airways. Non-stop one-way award flights under 1150 miles on American are 15k BA miles with only a $6 cancelation penalty vs $300-$400 cash.

- Amex Delta: My next $2k/month goes on this. It helps me maintain Platinum level status instead of Gold. Complicated math that is person-specific, but for me it comes out to conservatively 4% for benefits ($1000 on $25k spend) and 1.2% for the miles. All my monthly autopay that can go on a credit card lands here.

- Everything else domestically except Costco goes on a Citi 2% CB card.

- Costco is Visa-only so it goes on my Chase BA Visa. I also put all my overseas vacation spending on it to protect my main three cards from fraud.
What is your rationale for having Chase BA be your Visa card? Surely you can do better than collecting avios.

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

Post by changingtimes » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:57 pm

After a big spurt of getting new cards at the end of July, I've settled on this:

AmEx Blue Preferred for 6% cash back on groceries and streaming
Chase Freedom for 5% cash back/Unlimited Rewards pts in revolving categories (gas right now) -- already got the 15,000-pt bonus
Amazon Prime for 5% Amazon/WF and 2% drugstores
Cap One Savor for dining, 4% cash back (to get the $300 sign-up bonus)
Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3% UR points travel (and eventually dining). Already used up the $300 travel credit, and will be reupping PreChek later this year--already got the 50k point bonus
Chase Freedom Unlimited 1.5% cash back/UR points
Hilton Amex Surpass for Hilton spending (already got the 130k points) and will go for $15k spend for a free weekend night

On the two Freedom cards, I can then move those points to my Reserve account so that those points are then worth 1.5%.

I also opened a Chase checking and savings account to get the $600 bonus.

Very complicated, but I'm single, so I can handle it. :-) Wish we had had these cards when DH was still around, with all of our eating out and traveling!

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

Post by blackholescion » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:51 am

jsaver wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:27 am
blackholescion wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:34 pm
Anyone who does occasional travel and uses Amex MR and can chime in?
Between MR and Chase I had 300k points. I've rarely been able to use them when I wanted to. I finally realized (duh) that these points are only a good deal if you're willing to accept whatever travel deals are being offered, and you can't use them very often if you have specific plans. For example, I transferred a bunch of points to United to try to use them to upgrade to first class on a cross-country flight I take twice a year and I have yet to get that upgrade.

So I recently switched to a straight 2% cash back card which I'm using for almost everything. I also grabbed an AmEx Schwab Platinum so I can redeem the MR points to cash at 1.25 cpp. I'll spend enough to cover the sign-up bonus, then cancel my AmEx cards with membership fee. I plan to cancel my Chase Sapphire card too. The only annual fee card I plan to keep is a Chase United card.
THY4373 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:35 am
jsaver wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:27 am
Between MR and Chase I had 300k points. I've rarely been able to use them when I wanted to. I finally realized (duh) that these points are only a good deal if you're willing to accept whatever travel deals are being offered, and you can't use them very often if you have specific plans. For example, I transferred a bunch of points to United to try to use them to upgrade to first class on a cross-country flight I take twice a year and I have yet to get that upgrade.

So I recently switched to a straight 2% cash back card which I'm using for almost everything. I also grabbed an AmEx Schwab Platinum so I can redeem the MR points to cash at 1.25 cpp. I'll spend enough to cover the sign-up bonus, then cancel my AmEx cards with membership fee. I plan to cancel my Chase Sapphire card too. The only annual fee card I plan to keep is a Chase United card.
Using points requires flexibility and advance planning. In six years I have pretty much been able to get wherever I want to on points usually in premium cabins but this often requires some flexibility on dates, planning well ahead and having points across multiple carriers/alliances. Also it probably helps that most of my trips are international because in my experience international carriers are better at releasing award seats at least at the saver level. That said a 2% cash back card is hard to beat if you aren't willing to put in the time and effort to learn the burn side of the things.
Bfwolf wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:57 pm
blackholescion wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:34 pm
I want to replace our BofA Travel Rewards (I'm tired of their fraud detection. Burned me one too many times. I've tried working with them, but any time I have to buy something like limited number of concert tickets, I seem to get burned).

Currently have Amex Blue Cash Preferred.

Debating getting Costco Visa for Costco + Gas (and international purchases) since we wouldn't have a Visa any more. However, need a daily driver. I'm somewhere between the Citi Double Cash or the slightly less convenient Amex Business Blue Plus for the 2x MR on every purchase up to 50k. We would come close to the 50k spend each year but not over as we do all of our recurrent spending and charity giving on a card wherever we can.

The inconvenience would be needing to make sure the travel is a good deal when transferring points to miles which takes time (first world problems). We fly Delta almost exclusively and our flights are 1-2 times a year either to Europe from the east coast or across to the west coast. Most of the time we travel it's to the beach which is at local places and we wouldn't be able to use any points to book.

Generally, I've been able to redeem skymiles at >=1.5 cents each so that gives me >=3% back on each dollar with this card, but I have to pay attention and know that we may not always be able to redeem at this value. I guess I'd be happy any time I get 1 cent per MR back since that's at least matching the double cash. The other drawback would be not being to just cash out the points since that's not a good value.

Anyone who does occasional travel and uses Amex MR and can chime in?

Thanks.

P.S., not interested in trying to remember rotating categories. That would make my wife lose her mind.
If you're in a Skyteam exclusive hub like ATL, then transferring to either Delta or to Flying Blue is going to be an important use of your Amex points. Be sure to check Flying Blue though, I bet that's usually a better deal than Delta for Skyteam flights.

My personal experience with Amex points, coming from a Star Alliance hub (ORD), is that I've mostly transferred them to Aeroplan for flights to Europe. Biz class one way is 55K to Western Europe and 57.5K to Eastern Europe. You have to avoid Lufthansa, Austrian, and Air Canada metal coz they'll screw you with exorbitant fuel surcharges.

Of course even if you're in ATL, you can still fly Star Alliance to Europe, it just usually requires a domestic leg first.
Thank you all for the great information! My use case would be a straight transfer to Delta and use the miles from there. I haven't seen too many cases of at least economy not being available for 1.3 cents valuation or higher. After doing some math, that extra 0.6-1.2% average would translate to somewhere around $150-$300 extra dollars a year on this card (25k spend or so). That's probably not worth the effort, despite having the opportunity to cash in at a much higher value on premium class flights. For Europe we are flexible. For the domestic flights, it's holidayish flights to see relatives and we don't mind economy for those since there's direct flights. I could still get mileage tickets today for winter travel this year at 1.3 cents per mile.

Not in ATL, but in the SE. Still have direct flights via Delta and Alsakan to where we need to go.

Sounds like I'm going to go with the 2% card for the ease of use. Thank you again for the great information!

THY4373
Posts: 1147
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by THY4373 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:15 am

Bfwolf wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:59 pm
What is your rationale for having Chase BA be your Visa card? Surely you can do better than collecting avios.
Agreed heck there are better Amex and Chase cards for earning Avios if that is your thing. I see only two reasons to hold the Chase BA card.

The travel together cert if you are putting $30k on your card in a year.
The $200 rebate x3 on their insane surcharges but only ex-US.

The above features are only good when flying on BA metal and thus you are stuck with their insane surcharges. The only reasons I could see for somebody wanting either are those willing to pay premium to fly direct to London in either business or first class.

Oh I guess there is the 10% discount on paid BA tickets too.

ndpage
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:02 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ndpage » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:20 pm

Bfwolf wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:59 pm

What is your rationale for having Chase BA be your Visa card? Surely you can do better than collecting avios.
Inertia.. ;) I had an old wonderful Citi Forward Visa that gave me 4.75% on restaurants that I used for years and they ended the program. I had gotten the BA card for the original 100k bonus and the lack of an overseas exchange fee. The only place that takes Visa and not MC is Costco, so I don't worry about it much.

I value Avios at about 1.7% as I have a very targeted domestic short-haul use for them, such as buying tickets at peak at Thanksgiving when the coach fare is $280 vs. 15k+$11 round trip. I will eventually get a different Visa, but I rarely spend more than $100/month on it so it's not a high priority.

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