Cash back portfolio analysis

A place to talk about cash-back credit cards and card-linked deals
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cater
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Cash back portfolio analysis

Postby cater » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:50 am

I've been out of the game for awhile and want to check up on the cards I'm using to maximize cash back. I prefer a simplistic approach and don't want to carry around 10 cards.

PenFed - 5% on gas
US Bank Cash+ - 5% on amazon, 5% fast food, 2% restaurants
Fidelity Visa - 2% on everything

Are these still the best cards for these categories? Have any new cards sprung up over the last two years that offer significant cash back on groceries or restaurants? A majority of my spending is typically on restaurants/groceries/travel.

I've also seen a huge influx of people using Chase Sapphire Reserve / Preferred. I've always strayed away from mileage cards (although I do travel often), just because I typically find cheap flight deals through Google Flights or other, and don't necessarily trust the internal systems that I'm forced to use to book flights with most of these cards. Are there any worth looking at? Just curious if there may actually be more savings here than in cash rewards, assuming I'm spending $2000+ on flights per year.


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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Cash back portfolio analysis

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:24 pm

cater wrote:I've been out of the game for awhile and want to check up on the cards I'm using to maximize cash back. I prefer a simplistic approach and don't want to carry around 10 cards.

PenFed - 5% on gas
US Bank Cash+ - 5% on amazon, 5% fast food, 2% restaurants
Fidelity Visa - 2% on everything

Are these still the best cards for these categories? Have any new cards sprung up over the last two years that offer significant cash back on groceries or restaurants? A majority of my spending is typically on restaurants/groceries/travel.

I've also seen a huge influx of people using Chase Sapphire Reserve / Preferred. I've always strayed away from mileage cards (although I do travel often), just because I typically find cheap flight deals through Google Flights or other, and don't necessarily trust the internal systems that I'm forced to use to book flights with most of these cards. Are there any worth looking at? Just curious if there may actually be more savings here than in cash rewards, assuming I'm spending $2000+ on flights per year.

There are 3% dining cards. Chase and Discover occasionally have 5% dining categories, but those are capped.

Depending on how much you spend and how often you're willing to change cards, bonuses may be an important consideration or not.

There are some cards that offer 2.5% back on everything, but they come with catches (AF or direct deposit). There's also the BofA Travel card which, with $100k at BofA, offers 2.625% back in travel statement credits.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

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kcm7
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Re: Cash back portfolio analysis

Postby kcm7 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:36 pm

cater wrote:I've also seen a huge influx of people using Chase Sapphire Reserve / Preferred. I've always strayed away from mileage cards (although I do travel often), just because I typically find cheap flight deals through Google Flights or other, and don't necessarily trust the internal systems that I'm forced to use to book flights with most of these cards. Are there any worth looking at? Just curious if there may actually be more savings here than in cash rewards, assuming I'm spending $2000+ on flights per year.


If you're trying to keep things simple, I agree -- stick with cash. If you were a more frequent flier or were loyal to an airline that UR transfers to, I'd say give it a chance.
Cards:

-Capital One Quicksilver
-Barclaycard Arrival (no AF)
- US Bank (no rewards)
-IHG

TXviking
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Re: Cash back portfolio analysis

Postby TXviking » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:08 am

cater wrote:I've also seen a huge influx of people using Chase Sapphire Reserve / Preferred. I've always strayed away from mileage cards (although I do travel often), just because I typically find cheap flight deals through Google Flights or other, and don't necessarily trust the internal systems that I'm forced to use to book flights with most of these cards. Are there any worth looking at? Just curious if there may actually be more savings here than in cash rewards, assuming I'm spending $2000+ on flights per year.


CSP and CSR are worth looking at. I won't necessarily say they are right for you. They are right for me, and while there are some limitations (for example, direct redemptions through the UltimateReward site seem to be pricier than what I can usually dig up through Kayak/Expedia/Priceline) I've gotten flight redemptions on international flights that more than make up for the AFs.

Give those cards a closer look, read articles and posts about them here and elsewhere (The Points Guy, Nerdwallet and other sites have some good writeups.) They are not as flexible as a straight cashback card, but they can be more rewarding, and they are FAR more flexible than the traditional tied-to-one-airline type of frequent flyer credit cards.



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