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
travellight
Posts: 2792
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by travellight » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:45 pm

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 use my Alliant visa which I learned about from this thread; it pays 3% cash back.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 50181
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:22 pm

While the discussion is primarily about how to get the best deal, I'd like to mention a strategy that may not be obvious. (I have one 2% cash back card - that's all I need.)

I just started my very first Health savings account. The fund provider issued a debit card for the convenience of minimizing the paperwork. That's nice, but I can do more.

In place of the debit card, I will be using my 2% cash back card for all expenses. It's a no-brainer.

(The idea was mentioned in this thread in 2016, but it's worth mentioning again.)
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

gvsucavie03
Posts: 1362
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:30 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:27 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:22 pm
While the discussion is primarily about how to get the best deal, I'd like to mention a strategy that may not be obvious. (I have one 2% cash back card - that's all I need.)

I just started my very first Health savings account. The fund provider issued a debit card for the convenience of minimizing the paperwork. That's nice, but I can do more.

In place of the debit card, I will be using my 2% cash back card for all expenses. It's a no-brainer.

(The idea was mentioned in this thread in 2016, but it's worth mentioning again.)
You can pay for medical expenses tax-free out of your HSA.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7904
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:29 pm

gvsucavie03 wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:27 pm
LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:22 pm
While the discussion is primarily about how to get the best deal, I'd like to mention a strategy that may not be obvious. (I have one 2% cash back card - that's all I need.)

I just started my very first Health savings account. The fund provider issued a debit card for the convenience of minimizing the paperwork. That's nice, but I can do more.

In place of the debit card, I will be using my 2% cash back card for all expenses. It's a no-brainer.

(The idea was mentioned in this thread in 2016, but it's worth mentioning again.)
You can pay for medical expenses tax-free out of your HSA.
But she can also let the HSA (which has new contributions each year, if still eligible) grow tax-deferred... or grow "tax-free" if later used for medical expenses.

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

gvsucavie03
Posts: 1362
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:30 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by gvsucavie03 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:44 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:29 pm
gvsucavie03 wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:27 pm
LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:22 pm
While the discussion is primarily about how to get the best deal, I'd like to mention a strategy that may not be obvious. (I have one 2% cash back card - that's all I need.)

I just started my very first Health savings account. The fund provider issued a debit card for the convenience of minimizing the paperwork. That's nice, but I can do more.

In place of the debit card, I will be using my 2% cash back card for all expenses. It's a no-brainer.

(The idea was mentioned in this thread in 2016, but it's worth mentioning again.)
You can pay for medical expenses tax-free out of your HSA.
But she can also let the HSA (which has new contributions each year, if still eligible) grow tax-deferred... or grow "tax-free" if later used for medical expenses.

RM
And you can always get reimbursed out of the HSA (if you want) or just leave it in there.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 50181
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:57 pm

All good points. I should explain that I'm starting off with a zero balance. There's nothing in my HSA I can use at this time. So, a cash-back credit card makes the best use of my current situation.

As noted in several suggestions, I'll build up my HSA and let the tax-deferred status go to work for me. There are several strategies here, including an investment account option. When ready, I'll start a discussion in another thread to keep this one focused on credit cards.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

28fe6
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by 28fe6 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:25 pm

I just got my $50 credit for my Uber card, towards my Amazon Prime renewal. This is one of the few cards I can see myself continuing to use regularly even after getting the opening bonus. Food is my biggest spending category, so 4% is great, plus no problems using internationally, and $50/ year towards Amazon prime. Great card for low spenders like me.

Jags4186
Posts: 2757
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:03 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
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
I believe all Barclaycards issued have chip and pin capability. No card issued in the United States is a chip and pin only card.

drk
Posts: 1000
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:33 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by drk » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:48 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:57 pm
As noted in several suggestions, I'll build up my HSA and let the tax-deferred status go to work for me.
A minor correction: tax-free status.

I co-sign your plan: I do the same with my medical expenses.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 50181
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:58 pm

You are certainly correct. I've never had an HSA before - rookie mistake.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7904
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:34 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:03 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
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
I believe all Barclaycards issued have chip and pin capability. No card issued in the United States is a chip and pin only card.
Thanks.
We hope so, and that's one big reason we added this card.
(The bonus points were hefty, too, but we could have selected a different card for bonus points.)

We'll be in Europe this spring, so perhaps we'll have a chance to test it somewhere.
Of most interest is some sort of place where there is no person, and a chip & PIN is required... that's when we'd want this, of course!

Uh, "chip and pin capability" -- what do you mean by "capability? Do we have to do something to activate a real PIN?

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

Jags4186
Posts: 2757
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Jags4186 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:32 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:34 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:03 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
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
I believe all Barclaycards issued have chip and pin capability. No card issued in the United States is a chip and pin only card.
Thanks.
We hope so, and that's one big reason we added this card.
(The bonus points were hefty, too, but we could have selected a different card for bonus points.)

We'll be in Europe this spring, so perhaps we'll have a chance to test it somewhere.
Of most interest is some sort of place where there is no person, and a chip & PIN is required... that's when we'd want this, of course!

Uh, "chip and pin capability" -- what do you mean by "capability? Do we have to do something to activate a real PIN?

RM
You will need to set a PIN and also use the card as chip and signature first.

Be advised barclaycards will always default to chip and signature and only after that failing will it allow you to use a PIN.

User avatar
Rainier
Posts: 1377
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:59 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Rainier » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:51 am

ResearchMed wrote:
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
Call them. But I believe all BarclayCards are Chip and PIN.

BTW, even with a Chip and PIN you don't always have to enter a PIN. Most of the times you still sign, PIN only gets used at unmanned stations like train ticket machines

xb7
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:13 pm
Location: WA State, USA

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by xb7 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:44 am

"BTW, even with a Chip and PIN you don't always have to enter a PIN. Most of the times you still sign, PIN only gets used at unmanned stations like train ticket machines"
I hiked the Portuguese Camino in 2017 with an English friend, and was using at the time a USAA card that they had assured me was "Chip and Pin" --- well, it did have a chip in it anyway. And I did have a pin for it. But.
My friend and I would go to pay our bill in a restaurant at the same time using the little card reader unit that they carry to your table there. He would enter his card and then key in his pin. I would enter my card, and then they would print something out for me to sign. This happened multiple times, so I didn't get the impression that most of the times he signed for things.

To be clear, I'm not saying that you're 'wrong' --- just that my limited experience suggested otherwise. I still find all of this stuff unpredictable and mysterious.

I too have had just a couple of experiences of going to a train station in a small town --- where there is no staffed ticket booth --- and finding that I couldn't buy a ticket at a machine. My current hope is that going forward some of these will take Google Pay or Samsung Pay, as those are being used in Europe as well as in the U.S. I'm slowly becoming comfortable with using Samsung Pay at various types of terminals --- because it's not limited to just NFC-capable pay points, but anywhere that you slide a magnetic strip. Though I think that latter is also more of a U.S. thing as Europe has had chipped cards longer than we!

While I have no experience with using one of these electronic payment methods overseas, I've read in a couple of places that it should work (though don't know about train kiosks ...), such as this:
https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/chip-pin/

And this:
https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card ... n-card.php

One side benefit to learning to get comfortable with "pay by phone" is that it's more secure. It's never fun to get that call saying that fraud has been detected on your credit card, and I figure this can reduce the odds of that at least a little bit!

Lacrocious
Posts: 326
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by Lacrocious » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:16 am

We did England/France in 2017 with Barclay Arrival - Chip & Signature + Chip & Pin secondary. It worked as stated. Restaurants printed a receipt to sign (Chip & Signature), while kiosks for bus/tube/tickets were Pin. The only gas station we used required all pumps to come inside before pumping - so it was Chip & Signature as well.

They can tell you are not a local by the signature requirement. Might have to look closer at the Uber card.
- L

fareastwarriors
Posts: 930
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:31 pm

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by fareastwarriors » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:45 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
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/

Thanks. I read both but didn't get a chance to look through it carefully when I posted.

Got approved for it. Sweet!
:)

MikeG62
Posts: 1255
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by MikeG62 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:04 am

Was booking a car rental yesterday for an upcoming trip to Florida and discovered a benefit of my jetBlue Plus Mastercard I did not know I had. Turns out this card is a World Elite Mastercard and as such it entitles the cardholder to, among other benefits, elite level status with three car rental companies (AVIS, National and SIXT). Since I was planning to rent with SIXT, I called the MC world elite phone number (855-802-1387) and asked them to reach out to SIXT and request my status get upgraded to elite status. The CS rep volunteered to send the same request to AVIS and National. You only need to provide them with your membership numbers for each company.

This article covers the benefits of the world elite Mastercard's:

https://wallethub.com/edu/world-elite-mastercard/52556/

The specific benefits of elite status with SIXT are detailed here:

https://www.sixt.com/rental-services/si ... sixt-card/

The ones which appeal most to me are the free double upgrade in U.S. locations and free additional drivers for all rentals in the U.S. (in addition of course to discounted rental rates).
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

deskjockey
Posts: 197
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:15 am

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Post by deskjockey » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:21 pm

Rainier wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:51 am
BTW, even with a Chip and PIN you don't always have to enter a PIN. Most of the times you still sign, PIN only gets used at unmanned stations like train ticket machines
Unfortunately, that's incorrect. Most cards in the US are what's called "signature priority" cards, which is the behavior you describe, but all cards in Europe (and elsewhere around the globe) are PIN priority cards--it defaults to having you input the PIN so long as the equipment has a number pad. If there is no number pad, it will print out a signature slip.

The problem with a lot of signature priority cards is that they don't always work very well in PIN-only environments, like kiosks. It has something to do with how they're set up--someone once explained it to me, but it was too techie for me to really care. A few U.S. card issuers are starting to offer PIN-priority cards that eliminate this problem overseas. The State Department Credit Union is one such issuer, for example (for unsurprising reasons, given their target audience).

Post Reply