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- Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
- Location: United States
I'd also point out that when it comes to allocating spending, it can be a lot easier to manage several plain cash back cards than multiple point-based travel cards with annual fees. It's easy to take an occasional $25 statement credit on a cash back card, or get a $10 gift certificate for a store card.
But for loyalty cards, once you get past a signup bonus, points don’t come in as quickly. To redeem for things of real value, you either need to spend a lot of money on several cards or concentrate your moderate spending into one or two systems.
25000 UR points with a CSP and a little cash for taxes can get you a decent round-trip coach plane ticket that could easily cost $400 or more. One $95 AF, one inquiry, one bill to pay. Just no free rooms or checked bags.
2500 UR points, 2000 Hyatt points, 17,500 Marriott points and 10,000 HHonors points gets you $25 cash, a $10 dining credit (H), a $25 Nike shirt (M), and a $14 Kate Spade luggage tag (HH). You get some big bonuses early on, and maybe status and free rooms make the cards' annual fees worth it for appropriate travelers. But some people seem to forget that it takes 15,000 Hyatt points to actually get $300+ of value. 1,500 Hyatt points are only worth a small fraction of $30. So the 2 Hyatt points on dining that look like they could be worth 4% with no cap may end up only being worth 1% if you don't have enough for a room.
I'll take a look at BillGuard. My concern is that programs I have used like CreditKarma and Mint make it easy to view activity across several cards from one website - but not for all issuers. The major ones like Chase, Amex, etc. make it easy to view activity, but Synchrony (my Brooks Bros card) and some other smallish issuers don't allow it.
Any time I want to take a quick look at Brooks Bros to make sure there's nothing fishy going on with it, I have to log in through the Brooks Bros website. On special sales it can save me 30%, which was nice when I was buying some ties for myself and some Christmas gifts months back. But it is a bit more of a hassle to check for fraud or billing errors. It hasn't had fraud but it has had billing errors.
JC Penney is a Synchrony card, and with the programs I've been using, it would require a separate login ID. But I will definitely try out BillGuard and see if that lets me access Synchrony. Plus, you only have one card with Synchrony, which I didn't realize at first. It looks like the Macy's cards connect easily, which I admit does surprise me a little. So it looks like at least 11 of your 12 cards are easy to monitor, which is good. Maybe Brooks Bros is just unusual in having a lot of billing problems. The CSR at Synchrony did act like it happened often on that card for other account holders.
Final edit: I'm not able to get Synchrony to work on BillGuard.
Very useful: SchwabPlat, CSP, IHG, Costco (was AA Plat), Freedom, SPG
Somewhat useful: Discover, ED (was EDP), BCE, Hyatt, Arrival
May close or PC: Prestige, BrooksBros
Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech