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  • Cash Rewards Cards

    I've had a request to do another post about Cash Reward Credit Cards. I'd like to hear about what you're using and why. The idea here is for someone who never carries a balance but who also doesn't want to be constantly opening and closing credit card accounts.

    I'm using:

    • Fidelity AmEx (soon to be Visa) 2% back on everything deposited into a Fidelity account once a month and then easily transferred to checking

    • PenFed Cash Rewards 5% back on gas applied to each statement as a credit

    • REI Visa through US Bank 1% back on everything, 5% back at REI. Use at REI and anywhere that doesn't take AMEX.

    • Sparks Visa Business Card 1% back on everything

    • USAA Visa of some kind- Never use, but it functions as overdraft protection on my checking account. I'm not even sure it's a Visa nor what its terms are.


    Someone else suggested the following:
    Target -- 5% at checkout, only used at Target

    AMEX Blue Cash Everyday -- only used at supermarkets 3%

    AAA Member Rewards --  no foreign trans fee, only used for travel 3%

    Citi Double Cash -- 2% on everything else


    What are you using?

     

     
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

  • #2




    I’ve had a request to do another post about Cash Reward Credit Cards. I’d like to hear about what you’re using and why. The idea here is for someone who never carries a balance but who also doesn’t want to be constantly opening and closing credit card accounts.

    I’m using:

    • Fidelity AmEx (soon to be Visa) 2% back on everything deposited into a Fidelity account once a month and then easily transferred to checking

    • PenFed Cash Rewards 5% back on gas applied to each statement as a credit

    • REI Visa through US Bank 1% back on everything, 5% back at REI. Use at REI and anywhere that doesn’t take AMEX.

    • Sparks Visa Business Card 1% back on everything

    • USAA Visa of some kind- Never use, but it functions as overdraft protection on my checking account. I’m not even sure it’s a Visa nor what its terms are.


    Someone else suggested the following:
    Target — 5% at checkout, only used at Target

    AMEX Blue Cash Everyday — only used at supermarkets 3%

    AAA Member Rewards —  no foreign trans fee, only used for travel 3%

    Citi Double Cash — 2% on everything else


    What are you using?

     

     
    Click to expand...


    I'm the same way, played the points game for a while but as a high earner (per hour to boot as well), I would be better served seeing one more patient per day rather than trying to squeeze out points. Especially for someone who does not like to travel.

    I'm using:

    - Fidelity Visa 2% cash back. Auto converts the points into my Fidelity account each month, I then manually transfer to my checking account. I use this card for all business charges to make bookkeeping simple come tax season.

    - Citi Double Cash 2% cash back. I typically redeem as a direct deposit into my checking account once monthly. I use this card for all personal charges.

    Comment


    • #3
      On the flip side of a simple credit card strategy.....

      I realize this guy's job is to talk about credit cards but nonetheless, it's a rather impressive list: http://thepointsguy.com/2016/06/credit-card-inventory-summer-2016/

      I think the annual fees on all his cards alone is >$6000/year!

      Comment


      • #4
        Citi Double Cash Back - 2% on everything

        AMEX Blue Cash - 3% grocery stores (will upgrade to the annual fee one once I have family for 6% back)

        Applying for the new Costo Visa card on June 20 - 4% gas (costco and "stand-alone" gas stations) up to 7k/yr, 3% restaurants and travel, 2% costco, 1% else

        Comment


        • #5
          We have a 1yo and 2.5yo:

          Amex blue cash preferred: 6% groceries (up to 6k), 3% gas. Have to apply it for statement credit.

          Target red card 5% off at the register

          Amazon prime store card 5% auto statement credit

          Fidelity visa 1.5% for everything else, will prob change to the 2% once the new card issuer sends out our cards, but this is by far my oldest card so will keep it for something.

          Unfortunately, can't use CC for my 3 largest monthly purchases: loans, rent, daycare.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a few cards to satisfy a few categories:

            1. Amex blue cash (annual fee version) = 6% groceries, (3% gas)

            2. Costco visa (starting June 20, $55 costco annual fee) = 4% gas, 3% restaurants and travel, 2% costco, (1% everything else)

            3. Barclay arrivals Plus (annual fee): essentially 2.1% if used on travel + no foreign transaction fee

            I spend enough on each card each year to more than make up for the annual fees, so worth it to me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Soon Costco Visa--gas (4%!!!) and groceries

              Delta Amex--I'm a whore for the miles, plus it gives lounge access and is supposed to increase your chance for upgrades.  Also no foreign transaction fees.

              REI mastercard for REI purchases and anything not prudent for Costco or accepted by Amex.

              Comment


              • #8
                Cash cards are ok and simple, especially if travel isnt your thing at all. You do not have to open/close a bunch of accounts to get good travel rewards, but obviously if you did that more it would help more. The travel cards just give you such bang for your buck (usually from the sign on bonus). I do some signing up every year or so. Currently have with varying reward leverls on many different things:

                 

                Chase Sapphire Preferred

                Chase Ink Business

                Citi AAdvantage

                Citi AAdavantage Business (this combo netted 110k miles first month!)

                Costco card just from membership there.

                Have my eye on one of the more fancy cards with some nice fringe perk benefits. Going to a wedding, family reunion, and either Hawaii/S. America in the next couple months from getting a couple of the above cards this winter.

                I dont know if we need a post, maybe a quick review (cash vs. points, etc...) and links to sites, there is definitely a lot of info out there and even some on the forum.

                 

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm not really one to chase the cash back cards.  I use mostly cards without annual fees:

                  Discover Motiva (1% cashback, add 0.25% if you redeem in store gift cards which I do, usually buybuybaby for kids items)

                  Banana Republic Credit Card (1% on everything, 5% at those stores, generally extra 20-30% savings when shopping there, $15 birthday gift, free shipping. I started this recently to replace my old wardrobe so will probably change after a while)

                   

                   

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We've really enjoyed using our points to pay for flights for vacation in recent years. Here's what we're using...

                    Chase Sapphire Preferred (3% travel, 2% dining, 1% everything else, awesome sign up bonus): The annual fee is free the first year, they waived it for us the 2nd year, got a discount on the annual fee the 3rd year. Love this card and as of now the fee is worth it.

                    Chase Freedom (5% rotating categories (right now its groceries which is awesome), 1% everything else)

                    Discover Cashback (5% rotating categories (right now restaurants), 1% everything else)

                    Citi Double Cash (2% on everything), use for everything except the categories above

                    Considering opening an airline card such as Delta or Southwest. But if we add too many more it will start to become a hassle to manage. Right now I feel its under control and we get 2-5% on all of our spending.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Fidelity VISA 1.5%/2% Cashback (to Fidelity account) is my all-season "go-to" card

                      I also use the following:

                      Amazon Chase VISA: 5% back as credit toward future Amazon purchases

                      Chase Freedom: Load up on 5% back as cash on quarterly specials-gas, groceries, etc.

                      Capital One Venture: 2% credit toward airfare purchases

                      Target VISA: 5% off all Target purchases, at the register (Everyone shopping at Target more than a couple times per year should be using this one!)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you travel at all cash reward cards are very sub-optimal. The value of a particular card is determined by not only by how many points you get back, but what that card allows you to do with those points. For example chase sapphire preferred card allows you to transfer the points to different airlines and hotel reward programs. For 30,000 points or 300 dollars in points you can stay in a 1000 dollar a night hotel with hyatt.

                         

                        If you're willing to put a small amount of work into opening and closing cards for the bonus you will do far better than the stated % backs.

                         

                        If you're not willing to do that (and most people look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them about churning) and you make an attending income you should probably have the amex platinum. It's 450 dollars, but if you look at what you get for it it very much pays for itself. If you cant get passed that number psychologically, get a chase sapphire preferred.

                         

                        Source (med student taking a 10,000 value trip to Europe next year for free.)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you're focusing on cash back cards, you should mention Bank of America's Travel Card which has 2.625 % cash back if you have over 100K invested with Merrill Edge and redeem for travel expenses. I don't have the card but plan to when I get a big enough taxable account.

                          Also I second that the points game is more lucrative than getting just cash back on your credit cards.

                          Comment


                          • #14




                            If you travel at all cash reward cards are very sub-optimal. The value of a particular card is determined by not only by how many points you get back, but what that card allows you to do with those points. For example chase sapphire preferred card allows you to transfer the points to different airlines and hotel reward programs. For 30,000 points or 300 dollars in points you can stay in a 1000 dollar a night hotel with hyatt.

                             

                            If you’re willing to put a small amount of work into opening and closing cards for the bonus you will do far better than the stated % backs.

                             

                            If you’re not willing to do that (and most people look at me like I have 3 heads when I tell them about churning) and you make an attending income you should probably have the amex platinum. It’s 450 dollars, but if you look at what you get for it it very much pays for itself. If you cant get passed that number psychologically, get a chase sapphire preferred.

                             

                            Source (med student taking a 10,000 value trip to Europe next year for free.)
                            Click to expand...


                            Allonblack, I'm interested in your advice. I live in a city that is a hub of Delta, which from my understanding has a horrible rewards card. I also have a wife with a severe aversion to American Airlines (multiple bad experiences in the past), so transferring Chase rewards points to them is out of the question. Which cards would you get if you were in my position?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sam's Club card 5% on gas (except for non Sam's and Walmart big box retailers such as Costco, Kroger, Publix, BJ's), 3% on restaurants and travel, 1% on everything else. Downside: you can redeem cash back only once per year and you have to have Sam's membership ($45/year). Worth it if you have Sam's membership anyway.

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