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  • #16
    I love the target visa with 5% off on every purchase. Target is very near my house so I frequently shop there.  I find that combining the 5% with the target cartwheel app that I usually save $20 to $30 per trip.  I also have a 1.5% capital one cash back card. I have not used the new Costco card yet

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    • #17
      Gas_Doc,

       

      Get a chase sapphire preferred. Then transfer to the reward partner that is cheapest for your flight. This can take a little strategy, for example British Airways will often be best domestically, but you'll have to pay hundreds of dollars round trip to book to Europe in taxes. Most domestic carriers will cover that for you.

      Keep in mind If you sign up for the CSP preferred you will get 500 dollars in ultimate reward points. You can sign up for the chase freedom unlimited and chase freedom unlimited for an additional 150 dollars in UR points each and combine them. That should almost be enough for a round trip to Europe for 2.

       

      https://applynow.chase.com/FlexAppWeb/renderApp.do?PID=CFFD2&SPID=FJF6&CELL=600G&MSC=1499525875. Is my referral link for the chase freedom if you're feeling charitable.

       

      Alternatively if you live close to a southwest hub and fly a fair bit, and have a travel companion, acquire 110,000 miles using this technique (https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/4f81j5/chase_southwest_companion_pass_megathread/) and get a free 2nd ticket every time you buy a trip with rewards points.

      I would personally get a CSP even if you do the Southwest companion's pass for the warrantee extension and rental insurance.

       

       

       

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      • #18
        I will concede travel rewards far outweigh cash back rewards, but for now I still favor cash back cards as I travel very little, given four young kids and have no desire to cycle cards for bonuses.

        I use:
        1). BoA Travel Rewards: My workhorse card. Essentially an unlimited 2.625% cash back card on all purchases if you are BoA platinum honors, which means keeping 100k in BoA checking/savings and/or Merrill Edge. I keep a small Roth with Vanguard ETFs and 50k in muni bonds (VTEB VG muni index ETF) to maintain status. Does require a simple online 1 click redemption rather than auto statement credit which is my preferred no hastle way of receiving cash back.

        2). BoA Cash Rewards: 5.25% off gas, 3.5% off groceries (many Walmarts and Targets will also now code as grocery) and 3.5% off wholesale clubs (Costco, BJs) with BoA platinum honors up to $2500 quarterly cap. Auto redeemed into BoA checking. Rewards recently improved with increased quarterly caps and wholesale clubs included.

        3) Amex Blue Cash Preferred. 6% groceries up to $6000 cap. 6% on gift cards at grocery stores. Annual fee is soon increasing from $75 to $95 but still worth it for me as with family of 6, we still spend almost $10000/yr on groceries. Could also go with the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday card if you spend much less on groceries and still get 3% back.

        4). Amex Business Simply Cash. 3% on restaurants, including Dunkin and Starbucks. 5% at office supply stores (i.e. Staples) including 5% off gift cards, 5% wireless cell phone bill, 5% off several other OPEN business partners. Auto statement credit redemption.

        5). Amex Prime Store Card: 5% off Amazon purchases. Auto statement redemption.

        6). Fidelity Elan Visa: 2% off everything. Never use this card anymore but keep it in case BoA gets rid of Platinum honors program.

        All in all, we put almost all our spending on CC, with the exception of mortgage. This includes large daycare bills and property taxes. Last year, I earned 3.8% cash back on all non-mortgage spending for just under $5000 cash back with no effort.

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        • #19
          I agree with others that prefer points over cashback. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is great and Hyatt is a transfer partner. Have a 400/ nt reservation for 5k pts/ night coming up, which is equivalent to 8c/ pt. Transferring freedom points would be like >40% back at this valuation (with taxes) on the 5x bonus categories. I wouldn't have paid 400, but I would pay 250/ nt for this hotel, so more like >25% back. Can't really beat that.

          My personal favorite card is the Citi Prestige with its every 4th night free. It has a lot of other perks as well, but this is the primary reason that it is better than AMEX platinum IMO.

          I have an attending salary and have built good credit. I've opened up a few credit cards lately and have gotten some really nice value. I won't be a churner, but I think it's interesting.

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          • #20




            I agree with others that prefer points over cashback. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is great and Hyatt is a transfer partner. Have a 400/ nt reservation for 5k pts/ night coming up, which is equivalent to 8c/ pt. Transferring freedom points would be like >40% back at this valuation (with taxes) on the 5x bonus categories. I wouldn’t have paid 400, but I would pay 250/ nt for this hotel, so more like >25% back. Can’t really beat that.

            My personal favorite card is the Citi Prestige with its every 4th night free. It has a lot of other perks as well, but this is the primary reason that it is better than AMEX platinum IMO.

            I have an attending salary and have built good credit. I’ve opened up a few credit cards lately and have gotten some really nice value. I won’t be a churner, but I think it’s interesting.
            Click to expand...


            The Citi Prestige is the card I really want. That will basically round out perks on most things depending on the card, the 4th night free is amazing among many other great perks.

            I'll also have to look into my BofA cash rewards as im also a platinum honors member, hadnt looked in so long I didnt know you could get over 5%/. Good stuff.

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            • #21
              I have 20+ credit cards. Let me know what specific rewards you are looking for and I'll suggest some products.

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              • #22
                I noticed that I don't see the Upromise MC for 5% back into a 529.  I was pretty strongly considering getting that.

                I've got the USAA Signature Visa, doesn't suck, 5% for gas (up to $7.50/mo, but I don't spend much on it), 1.5% all else.

                I'm also currently using Chase Southwest Visa, OK, but not that great.  No cash rewards, though.

                Will definitely have to check out the Amazon one - I see ads for it every ************************ day, but write them off as just another BS credit card ad.  We probably spend at least $250/month on Prime between household and baby needs.  We don't yet have a personal concierge in the budget..

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                • #23




                  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!
                  Click to expand...


                  This guy's blog was bought out by the credit card industry several years ago.  I still go there for good information about the latest offers and travel ideas, but you should realize in all likelihood he probably doesn't pay anything for those cards and also probably gets regular boluses of points to his accounts so that he can fly first class international on Emirates and then write it up for his blog so you'll be convinced to sign up for the new Chase Ultimate Rewards Whatever Card from which he and his blog's owners derive their income.

                  I have both cash and point cards, and I mainly use the point cards. I've been able to fly international first class and stay in 5-star hotels for free because of it.  But getting real value out of points requires: 1. regular ability to travel (ideally with flexible scheduling), 2. time and effort to devote to the hobby of smart point utilization.  Many people don't get maximal value out of points they chase.  Airlines frequently do point devaluations so points that are held depreciate in value.

                  Most people would be better off with a cash card.  I like the Citi Double Cash.  My wife uses her Target card (which is really more of a debit than credit) to save 5% on bulk purchases of household staples which has been a good deal.

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                  • #24
                    Oh I agree wholeheartedly, the blog definitely reeks of promotion

                    As someone who doesn't enjoy traveling, I also employ cash rewards cards only

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                    • #25
                      I currently use:

                      DiscoverIt - 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories up to $1500 in purchases, 1% cashback on everything else. Instead of a signup bonus, they have a promotion where they will double your cashback earned after the first year. This makes the cashback 10% on quarterly categories and 2% on everything else!! Just ask to sign up for Double Cash rewards. The card also has the benefit of no annual fee. The limits of this card is that it is not always accepted by all merchants.

                      Chase Freedom 1.5% Unlimited: I currently use this for all my non-category spending. Ultimate Rewards points are on of the most transferable rewards points to travel partners. I currently have it paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa which allows me to redeem rewards travel through Chase with a 25% point discount. (i.e. instead of 10,000=$100...7,500=$100). This helps the Ultimate Rewards points that you redeem go further.

                      Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is the only card that I have which carries an annual fee $95, waived during the 1st year. This card offers 5x points booked with Chase travel, 2x points on travel and restaurants, and 1x points on everything else. This card also offers additional benefits of primary rental car insurance, extended warranty on purchase, trip delay/lost luggage benefit, and several others.

                      I believe starting with a no-fee, cash-back credit card is the best way to build your credit score. This also prevents you from over-spending to try and reach some of the higher thresholds of the travel rewards cards. Once you are able to meet spending thresholds to acquire the signup bonuses, travel rewards provide significant value over cashback cards. As with investing, keep your credit card "portfolio" simple and diversified.

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                      • #26
                        I like my Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa- 2% at grocery/wholesale stores, 3% on gas and 1% on everything else with no fees. I also get an extra 10% for depositing my rewards into my BoA account. I might have to look into the Fidelity one though if it's going to be a Visa.

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                        • #27
                          I have Amex platinum.  I travel quite a bit.. so definitely meant for the traveler.

                          Free lounge access, delta sky lounge, centurion lounges, and priority pass for international or big city airport lounges.  Free food and drinks.  $50 value each time

                          Free TSA recheck or Global entry - $80/$100 value each card.  So my wife was also able to get it as well on a separate card same account.. no extra fee.

                          $200 credit to any specific airline for any purpose given annually by amex.  I use it on american airlines for meals and drinks.

                          Free complimentary Boingo wifi access at airports.

                          Automatic gold status at Hilton and SPG hotels.. free upgrades, breakfast.

                          And the points.. recently stayed at a chicago downtown Hilton hotel 2bed suite $500 x 6 nights = $3000.. all for free.  Approx 120000 points.  I won't pretend I understand the point system.. but I was able to convert Amex points to DOUBLE the amount Hilton points.  This perk alone in one year has paid the annual fee ($450) x 5 years!

                           

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                          • #28




                            I have Amex platinum.  I travel quite a bit.. so definitely meant for the traveler.

                            Free lounge access, delta sky lounge, centurion lounges, and priority pass for international or big city airport lounges.  Free food and drinks.  $50 value each time

                            Free TSA recheck or Global entry – $80/$100 value each card.  So my wife was also able to get it as well on a separate card same account.. no extra fee.

                            $200 credit to any specific airline for any purpose given annually by amex.  I use it on american airlines for meals and drinks.

                            Free complimentary Boingo wifi access at airports.

                            Automatic gold status at Hilton and SPG hotels.. free upgrades, breakfast.

                            And the points.. recently stayed at a chicago downtown Hilton hotel 2bed suite $500 x 6 nights = $3000.. all for free.  Approx 120000 points.  I won’t pretend I understand the point system.. but I was able to convert Amex points to DOUBLE the amount Hilton points.  This perk alone in one year has paid the annual fee ($450) x 5 years!

                             
                            Click to expand...


                            My wife has this card as she travels frequently for business.

                            The annual fee is a bit steep at $450 but there are benefits that reduce the hit.

                            - Statement credit for Global Entry (even as someone who travels infrequently, I can appreciate TSA precheck which comes bundled with Global Entry)

                            - $200 reimbursement for airline fees. A quick Google search will reveal how you can apply those towards gift cards for airlines allowing an indirect way to pay for tickets with this reimbursement.

                            - Gold elite status with Hilton and SPG properties

                            - no foreign transaction fees

                            - roadside assistance coverage

                            - Purchase protection. I've always found this to be Amex's biggest strength. They almost always side with the customer. You are able to enter purchase protection claims online whereas almost every other company puts you through the torture of a phone call. It is one of the few cards that even covers lost items, up to 90 days from purchase. And it doubles the warranty on any product up to one full year. While I prefer using my cash back cards for almost everything else, I do utilize the Platinum card for large purchases where I desire a better warranty (TVs, computers, cell phones, etc)

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                            • #29
                              Definitely agree with the above about points cards giving great benefits when compared with cash back cards when used properly.  I have no problem opening new cards to get sign on bonuses and maximize my spending.  However, I think there are a few caveats when talking about their value.

                              Having points for the purpose of having a ton of points can be counterproductive as points can be devalued with time.  Find something you want to get your points for and then redeem it.  This applies to sign on bonuses, not the points you get for regular spend.

                              The other thing is that redeeming an amazing trip with first class travel and 5 star hotels doesn't necessarily translate into "saving" that much money on your trip.  Most of us wouldn't or couldn't pay 800/night for a hotel or buy a 10000 dollar first class suite.  The real savings is the price of the hotel room you would have purchased.

                              I love the idea of using all those points and sign on bonuses to counter the loss of wages from taking a week off from work.  Rather than paying for a family vacation for 5 AND not getting paid, at least i can avoid those airline and hotel costs.

                              To answer the question:

                              Chase Sapphire preferred (95/year)

                              Chase Freedom

                              Hyatt Visa (85/year)

                              Amex blue cash (soon to be converted to Amex everyday preferred)

                              Amex Delta gold (will be cancelled soon since i won't be checking bags after moving closer to "home")

                              Cards to get:

                              Chase Ink: 5% back on business stores (staples) and cell phone/internet/cable

                              maybe the Citi Prestige card?

                              My wife and family all think I'm crazy

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                              • #30
                                Just signed up for Amazon Prime and Target cards since my wife primarily shops at these 2.

                                Changing my go to card to the Citi Double Cash because you can't beat 2% unlimited cash back with no annual fee. (Was using the Capital One with 1.5% prior to this offer).

                                Just forced into opening SunTrust card as part of my mortgage but at least it comes with 6% for gas and groceries for 1 year. (Was using Bank of America Cash Rewards for 2% on groceries and 3% on gas).

                                Use also the Chase Freedom card with rotating 5% categories with my favorites being restaurants, Amazon, and gas. But this drives my wife insane: "Now which card do I use?!"

                                I hate dealing with travel points because the time used jumping through the hoops and the over value they have since I can travel cheaper with a 2 second Google search. Cash is cash: easy to transfer and use.

                                The key to remember: only get benefits on things you would buy with cash anyways.

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