What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
MikeG62
Posts: 2358
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeG62 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:33 pm

international001 wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:52 am
MikeG62 wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:14 pm
fujiters wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:58 pm
Edge215 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:44 pm
im still sticking with my fidelity 2%cash back and amazon visa TWO CARD combo in terms of bang for the buck and simplicity. this BoA merril lynch method seems VERY unwieldy. 100k cash transfer????
Not cash. Assets. For example, I transferred $110k in ETF shares from my Roth IRA. Very easy. $375 bonus for transferring, and $500 bonus for getting the Premium Rewards card.
I’ve spent enough time looking at this and decided I am going to take the plunge too.

Spoke with rep’s from both Merrill and BofA to make sure I fully understood the process (and to confirm the checking account I have at BofA was a qualifying account - which it is). I plan to transfer just north of $200K (either MF or ETF shares transferred in-kind) from my rollover IRA at Fidelity to a new Rollover IRA with Merrill Edge. This will result in a $900 transfer bonus in 90-days (no immediate tax consequences either). I will subsequently open a BofA premium rewards CC, get the $500 bonus and eventually reap the 75% uplift in the cash back rate (once my average assets over the trailing 90 days crosses over the $100,000 threshold). Down the road I will probably move $100K of the assets back to Fidelity and leave at least $100K with Merrill to qualify for the Platinum Honors level.
This is what I did as well

My journey: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=276374
Thanks I read that entire thread as part of my diligence. Very helpful.

I also spoke with a BofA rep to make sure my existing checking account was a “qualifying account”. Then reconfirmed the same with a rep from ML. Also, verified that the MF I intent to transfer is a fund I can hold at ML (answer is yes, only wrinkle is there is a fee to purchase any additional shares in that fund at ML, although that fee does not apply to dividend reinvestment). I won’t be buying any additional shares at ML anyway.

My plan is told hold the $200K at ML long enough to satisfy the requirements for the $900 transfer bonus, after which I will transfer back $100K to Fidelity leaving at least $100K behind to satisfy the requirement to qualify for the platinum honors level kicker for the premium rewards VISA card (of course I will pick up the $500 bonus for charging $3,000 to that card in the first 90 days too). This will then become my general purpose CC (“sock drawing” my current Fidelity VISA 2% CB card). Average annual spend on that general purpose card has ranged from $65K-$70K over each of the last three years. So the 65bps pickup in CB is ~$440 per year. I will probably cover the $95 annual fee with the $100 travel credit (we fly enough that this should be easy - probably pay for a seat upgrade on one flight to trigger that credit).

Once I have completed the setup of the rollover IRA and transferred the funds I may open a brokerage account at ML-Edge and move another $200K (in-kind) from one of my ETF’ in my brokerage account at Fidelity. I’ll keep those funds there for 6 months and get the $900 bonus for that account. Once done, I will either move that money back to Fidelity or to another broker for a transfer bonus (depending on what is being offered at that time). It’s not as good as the Ally $1,000 for $100K we got in late 2018/early 2019, but also we are not tying up cash in a market rate account either. These are funds that are invested in an equity ETF and will stay invested in that equity ETF. So why not pick up the $900 for what feels like less than an hours worth of effort.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

SurfCityBill
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 10:15 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by SurfCityBill » Sun Feb 16, 2020 6:06 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:57 pm
SurfCityBill wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:05 pm
My strategy was to open a Barclays World Elite MC to take advantage of an airline companion deal. I closed a similar account with Barclays (diff airline) about 16 months ago. That account was approved rather quickly (FICO 800+), no other debt. This time I received a letter asking me to forward a 4506-T form authorizing them to review my tax returns to verify income. I have no intention of allowing them that level of personal information for a basic credit card. Is this the new normal for credit card companies or do you think they're just playing hard ball with me due to the "recent" closure of a similar account?
Was the income information, occupation, etc. on the new application significantly different from the previous application?

I have applied for maybe 30 cards (including two Barclays cards) and was never asked to submit that form. But I have read about such cases on Flyertalk. It appears to occasionally happen, and I, too, would shred the request and move on.
So I took Barclays letter asking for the 4506-T and advised them that I had no interest in giving them the level of personal information they wanted for a simple credit card. I figured that was it. They actually sent me another letter thanking me for my application and would honor my request to withdraw the application and if I'd like to re-apply I would need to start the app process over. LoL. I think not.

To answer your question, no, income was approx the same.

zirconBH
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:29 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by zirconBH » Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:39 am

Earn 6,500 Bonus Stars with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. That is 43 lattes or 130 baked items. So.. my wife and I goto Starbuck on our bike rides and usually share a latte and bagel. This will come in handy and save us $$. The card won't be used after the first $500 to meet requirements to gain the points. We'll plan cancel to avoid the $49 fee.. but hey 6500pts is quite a bit of free latte assuming you like Starbucks. https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-c ... ks-rewards

TravelGeek
Posts: 3228
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:02 pm

zirconBH wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:39 am
Earn 6,500 Bonus Stars with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. That is 43 lattes or 130 baked items. So.. my wife and I goto Starbuck on our bike rides and usually share a latte and bagel. This will come in handy and save us $$. The card won't be used after the first $500 to meet requirements to gain the points. We'll plan cancel to avoid the $49 fee.. but hey 6500pts is quite a bit of free latte assuming you like Starbucks. https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-c ... ks-rewards
Welcome to Bogleheads! :beer

How much is that in cash? $4 per drink?

Doesn’t seem to say the AF is waived for the first year, so not clear to me you can avoid it.

Card wouldn’t worth it for me. Easy to get bigger signup bonuses.

slyfox1357
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:13 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by slyfox1357 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:59 pm

Easy for people to rag on the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card but signup of 6500 stars plus 300 with your first card load, is worth almost $300. Also, there's 8 free Starbucks chosen items a year, each year, value ~$50. Just these items wipe out the annual fee. Lastly, reloads to your Starbucks card (which you do anyway) accrue an additional 'star' so free pastries/drinks/food accrue 33.3% faster. This card is a no brainer for the Starbucks enthusiast, not really for anyone else though.

You can't 'cancel' the $49 AF, it hits as soon as you are approved and won't be cancelled.

zirconBH
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:29 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by zirconBH » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:37 pm

slyfox1357 wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:59 pm
Easy for people to rag on the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card but signup of 6500 stars plus 300 with your first card load, is worth almost $300. Also, there's 8 free Starbucks chosen items a year, each year, value ~$50. Just these items wipe out the annual fee. Lastly, reloads to your Starbucks card (which you do anyway) accrue an additional 'star' so free pastries/drinks/food accrue 33.3% faster. This card is a no brainer for the Starbucks enthusiast, not really for anyone else though.

You can't 'cancel' the $49 AF, it hits as soon as you are approved and won't be cancelled.
Thanks for the additional benefits info on this card like the 8 free item and reloads points.

GiannaLuna
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:33 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by GiannaLuna » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:17 pm

I have quite a bit of organic spend coming up soon in the coming weeks and months...so it seems like a good time to pick up a bonus, if possible. I prefer points and cash back over miles.
I'd rather not tempt fate with Chase, slots are full there. Mostly the same with Amex, just wondering about any lesser known cards not on the radar. Any banks less discussed that I might be forgetting.

Please suggest, thanks!

Jags4186
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:31 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:02 pm
zirconBH wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:39 am
Earn 6,500 Bonus Stars with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. That is 43 lattes or 130 baked items. So.. my wife and I goto Starbuck on our bike rides and usually share a latte and bagel. This will come in handy and save us $$. The card won't be used after the first $500 to meet requirements to gain the points. We'll plan cancel to avoid the $49 fee.. but hey 6500pts is quite a bit of free latte assuming you like Starbucks. https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-c ... ks-rewards
Welcome to Bogleheads! :beer

How much is that in cash? $4 per drink?

Doesn’t seem to say the AF is waived for the first year, so not clear to me you can avoid it.

Card wouldn’t worth it for me. Easy to get bigger signup bonuses.
The most valuable reward is the banana nut bread at $3.15 + tax. This costs 50 stars and for me, with tax, makes stars worth $0.0672 each. That makes your 6500 Star sign up bonus worth $436.80, minus $49 = $387.80 net sign up bonus.

This makes your card:
Unbonused spend, 1 star per $4 spend worth $0.0168 or 1.68% reward.
Groceries, local transit, internet, cable and phone services: 1 star per $2 spend worth $0.0336 or 3.36% reward
Starbucks spend, 3 stars per $1 spent equalling $0.1008 or 10.08% reward

And all you need to do is eat a hell of a lot of banana nut bread.

Of course, if you get an expensive drink, for example, a vanilla sweet cream nitro cold brew at $4.85 + tax that works out to only $0.034 per star since fancy drinks cost 150 stars. That cuts all of those above rates I listed in half.

A hot coffee costs $1.85 + tax or $0.039 per star...again about half the rates above.

TravelGeek
Posts: 3228
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:31 pm

And all you need to do is eat a hell of a lot of banana nut bread.
I hate banana bread. :twisted:

In your math, did you use "rack rate" pricing? For the last year or so I pretty much always have had 5%-10% discount offers for Starbucks (limited to a few bucks, but enough for a $20 or $30 SBUX card reload) on each of my seven Chase and BofA credit cards. And I believe that Starbucks gift cards are readily available at a discount price online. No reason for me to ever pay full price, but I am actually a recovering Starbucksoholic who occasionally relapses.

Jags4186
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:41 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 5:44 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:31 pm

And all you need to do is eat a hell of a lot of banana nut bread.
I hate banana bread. :twisted:

In your math, did you use "rack rate" pricing? For the last year or so I pretty much always have had 5%-10% discount offers for Starbucks (limited to a few bucks, but enough for a $20 or $30 SBUX card reload) on each of my seven Chase and BofA credit cards. And I believe that Starbucks gift cards are readily available at a discount price online. No reason for me to ever pay full price, but I am actually a recovering Starbucksoholic who occasionally relapses.
I used the pricing of the local Starbucks I go to. Of course, if you are getting discount Starbucks cards (I generally grab a $100 one for $60 on Amazon 3 or 4 times a year) then the rewards are worth less. So if you average, for example, a 20% discount at Starbucks on all your purchases, then your stars are worth 20% less.

slyfox1357
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:13 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by slyfox1357 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:05 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:31 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:02 pm
zirconBH wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:39 am
Earn 6,500 Bonus Stars with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. That is 43 lattes or 130 baked items. So.. my wife and I goto Starbuck on our bike rides and usually share a latte and bagel. This will come in handy and save us $$. The card won't be used after the first $500 to meet requirements to gain the points. We'll plan cancel to avoid the $49 fee.. but hey 6500pts is quite a bit of free latte assuming you like Starbucks. https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-c ... ks-rewards
Welcome to Bogleheads! :beer

How much is that in cash? $4 per drink?

Doesn’t seem to say the AF is waived for the first year, so not clear to me you can avoid it.

Card wouldn’t worth it for me. Easy to get bigger signup bonuses.
The most valuable reward is the banana nut bread at $3.15 + tax. This costs 50 stars and for me, with tax, makes stars worth $0.0672 each. That makes your 6500 Star sign up bonus worth $436.80, minus $49 = $387.80 net sign up bonus.

This makes your card:
Unbonused spend, 1 star per $4 spend worth $0.0168 or 1.68% reward.
Groceries, local transit, internet, cable and phone services: 1 star per $2 spend worth $0.0336 or 3.36% reward
Starbucks spend, 3 stars per $1 spent equalling $0.1008 or 10.08% reward

And all you need to do is eat a hell of a lot of banana nut bread.

Of course, if you get an expensive drink, for example, a vanilla sweet cream nitro cold brew at $4.85 + tax that works out to only $0.034 per star since fancy drinks cost 150 stars. That cuts all of those above rates I listed in half.

A hot coffee costs $1.85 + tax or $0.039 per star...again about half the rates above.
Since we're are talking value for your stars and you mentioned 'expensive drinks', the 150 star handcrafted drinks can be ANY size drink with any/all customizations your heart desires. So, start with a Venti, add milk of choice, add unlimited expresso shots, favorite syrup, etc....you catch my drift, your perfect drink every time, comped, north of $7.

Jags4186
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:27 pm

slyfox1357 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:05 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:31 pm
TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:02 pm
zirconBH wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 11:39 am
Earn 6,500 Bonus Stars with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card. That is 43 lattes or 130 baked items. So.. my wife and I goto Starbuck on our bike rides and usually share a latte and bagel. This will come in handy and save us $$. The card won't be used after the first $500 to meet requirements to gain the points. We'll plan cancel to avoid the $49 fee.. but hey 6500pts is quite a bit of free latte assuming you like Starbucks. https://creditcards.chase.com/rewards-c ... ks-rewards
Welcome to Bogleheads! :beer

How much is that in cash? $4 per drink?

Doesn’t seem to say the AF is waived for the first year, so not clear to me you can avoid it.

Card wouldn’t worth it for me. Easy to get bigger signup bonuses.
The most valuable reward is the banana nut bread at $3.15 + tax. This costs 50 stars and for me, with tax, makes stars worth $0.0672 each. That makes your 6500 Star sign up bonus worth $436.80, minus $49 = $387.80 net sign up bonus.

This makes your card:
Unbonused spend, 1 star per $4 spend worth $0.0168 or 1.68% reward.
Groceries, local transit, internet, cable and phone services: 1 star per $2 spend worth $0.0336 or 3.36% reward
Starbucks spend, 3 stars per $1 spent equalling $0.1008 or 10.08% reward

And all you need to do is eat a hell of a lot of banana nut bread.

Of course, if you get an expensive drink, for example, a vanilla sweet cream nitro cold brew at $4.85 + tax that works out to only $0.034 per star since fancy drinks cost 150 stars. That cuts all of those above rates I listed in half.

A hot coffee costs $1.85 + tax or $0.039 per star...again about half the rates above.
Since we're are talking value for your stars and you mentioned 'expensive drinks', the 150 star handcrafted drinks can be ANY size drink with any/all customizations your heart desires. So, start with a Venti, add milk of choice, add unlimited expresso shots, favorite syrup, etc....you catch my drift, your perfect drink every time, comped, north of $7.
Ok so if you want to make a disgusting 1000 calorie drink that costs $9 for 150 stars it’s still only $0.06/star. Banana bread is still better deal 😉

Post Reply