Any Amex AA over several small EDP purchases?

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CarefulBuilder14
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Any Amex AA over several small EDP purchases?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:09 am

I’m reviewing my spending, and I’m finding that an EDP could make more sense for me than my Sallie Mae / BCE combo. (Edit: I'd then use Sallie Mae for non-Costco gas and books, and I'd just use BCE once every other month or so.)

I was wondering if anyone here had faced AA from Amex over what I’ll call ‘unusual but valid purchasing behavior’ such as buying $1 emailed retail store gift cards or making multiple small purchases at a grocery self-checkout to meet the 20/30 swipe minimum on ED/EDP. I'm not talking about buying a prepaid gift card to use on a major network - a common trigger for FR or account closure.

What I'd be doing isn't manufactured spend, but it is breaking down legitimate economic transactions into small pieces. I wouldn’t necessarily do that every month – just when I had made a small number of large purchases in a month and wanted to be sure I got the 50% extra.

I’ve heard of one person who made hundreds (or thousands?) of tiny purchases in one month under Chase’s old 10/10 Freedom program and got his or her account closed, but I think that’s far more extreme than what I’d be doing.

(Edit: I could always go to a vending machine that takes a credit card and just buy a few little packs of cookies. It wouldn't be cheap, but it would be worth getting extra MR points. There it would probably be inevitable that I buy things one at a time.)
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when


popamode72
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Postby popamode72 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:30 am

I've done vending machine purchases to meet the spend and never gotten an FR from that. I think a lot of the cases I've read about FR have been the result of aggressive MS and spooking Amex with spending higher amounts than usual.
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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:45 pm

I divided grocery store purchases into multiple transactions (in part to reach 20; in part to test the waters). They counted towards the 20 without a problem, but then again I'm not even at my second billing cycle.
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FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

notcool
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Postby notcool » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:41 am

I think that if you have to break up purchased this way or buy things at vending machines just to get trn needed swipes then it's possible that the card may be more hassle than it's worth.

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Postby oldsoldier » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:59 am

notcool wrote:I think that if you have to break up purchased this way or buy things at vending machines just to get trn needed swipes then it's possible that the card may be more hassle than it's worth.


I agree, I really don't think about it at all. I just use it for small purchases when I am out and about if i hit the magic number of twenty Yippie! If I don't, not a big deal. I am always pretty close or over when the end of the cycle rolls around.
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NFCU Platinum Visa $25,200
Barclay Arrival WMC $10,000
Cap One QuickSilver WMC $6,200
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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:31 am

I agree that micromanaging my number of swipes would not be fun. It's just that between Costco and traditional grocery store purchases, I could earn quite a few MR points when I hit 30 swipes. One MR point might not be as valuable, on average, as a UR point, but I would be getting a lot of them!

I've thought about getting an ED and seeing how I liked it, but the no-AF ED isn't as useful for me in the long run.

I am getting annoyed with the $250 Sallie Mae grocery cap, although the Freedom's 5.5% on groceries for Q1 2015 will mean neither the EDP or Sallie Mae would get much use until April.

Of course, if Amex ceases to be the exclusive Costco credit card network, a lot could change.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:11 pm

Keep in mind the app also has a tracker that will tell you how many purchases you've made until you hit 20 (or 30 with the EDP). Since you've determined the rewards structure would be beneficial to you, I think it comes down to how easily you will meet the swipe quota. If you think getting to the threshold won't be a problem on a normal basis, it could be a great card to have in the arsenal (and as oldsoldier says if there is a cycle here and there when you don't make it, no big loss); if it turns out to be more of a struggle, constantly monitoring your count and "manufacturing" a higher swipe number probably aren't worth the hassle.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

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Postby MB131174 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:47 pm

If you're looking to find swipes to make a "swipe quota", could you actually be spending more than the rewards are worth in the end?
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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:16 pm

MB131174 wrote:If you're looking to find swipes to make a "swipe quota", could you actually be spending more than the rewards are worth in the end?


It is possible that I'd spend more using plastic than cash, yes. There is a lot of research that shows people tend to spend more.

If I took the vending machine route, then I would be spending more. On the other hand, it might make me less inclined to buy more bulk junk food than is good for me at Costco, so there is perhaps a health benefit there.

It's very rare for me to go any grocery store for just one item, so I could just split what I would buy into two groups. I'm not spending more, just wasting a bit of time.

If I give myself 10 $1 gift cards on Amazon, and then redeem later them to cover 2/3 of a $15 book I wanted anyway, then I don't think I am likely to overspend based on a transaction target.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:05 pm

I've decided to go with the no-AF ED. The Freedom's Q1 grocery category will really cut down the value of an EDP. I have a good EDP alternative in the Sallie/(BCE or ED) combo, and the difference between 1.2 MR and 1.5 MR at Costco isn't so clear after the annual fee. I've just been using my Discover and Freedom more for non-grocery stuff, and CSP seems a much better choice if I'm going to pay an annual fee for something.

Upgrading ED to EDP in 2016 is perfectly possible if I like tracking my number of swipes. I'm not sure I like tracking very much at all, though, and have been using PRG lately if I don't know where I am relative to my Sallie Mae $250 grocery cap.

I also really want to see where the Costco card contract goes before committing further to Amex.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when



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