Card Selection Criteria

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
9 posts
User avatar
CarefulBuilder14
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 3960
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: United States

Card Selection Criteria

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:14 pm

It struck me that the rules I follow in selecting a card for a particular transaction are actually really complicated when I try to spell every step out.

Transfer partners, rotating categories, statement credits, other promotions, and a transaction-counter really make having even a large number of plain cash-back cards look simple by comparison.

I guess card selection feels intuitive to me because I can make mental shortcuts to quickly narrow down which card to use.

An approximation of the steps I use is:
1. Use a card that gives a statement credit or other special reward/benefit/savings.
2. Failing that, use Freedom or Discover for 5.5 URs/10% cash.
3. Failing that, use EDP for 3 or 4.5 MRs.
4. Failing that, get 5% cash with Sallie Mae.
5. Failing that, use EDP if under $2.

That doesn't take into account possible FTFs when I travel, keeping temporarily-useless cards active, and merchants that don't take all cards. Most of the time, though, it's obvious to me which card is best within two seconds. Usually, it's one of: Freedom, CSP, EDP, or Discover.

Who else follows a similarly complicated line of reasoning? Who has simpler criteria? Who just throws spending onto a card in response to a good CL/APR/customer service experience from the issuer?
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May


Kevin86475391
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 240
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:04 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby Kevin86475391 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:01 am

LOL, yeah I feel silly sometimes when I open my wallet to pay for something and have to take out a handful of cards to finally get to the one I actually intend to use for the transaction, but it varies so while I do my best to keep the order simple and logical, sometimes I have to flip around. I'm sure the cashiers are standing there thinking, "OMG, I he ever gonna pick one?!?"

I have a few others, but my four primary cards are:
-Discover It
-Chase Freedom
-BofA Cash Rewards
-Citi Double Cash

Obviously if possible I use the Discover or Freedom for 5%. Failing that I'll use the BofA for 3% or 2%. If that's out I grab the Citi for 2%. It's actually pretty simple though and I usually do know almost instantly which one is the best for the purchase. The only time not is if the Chase and Discover are 'tied' then it takes me a few extra seconds to pick between them.

I only do cashback rewards cards though, so that makes it simpler. I don't travel at all and have no use for miles/hotels/travel-related perks. I also never mess with trying to get a 'bonus value' or whatever by redeeming my cashback for affiliate gift cards or whatever. I'm sure that can be a great deal for some people if they're going to be shopping wherever anyway, but I don't want the restriction and exclusively want cashback for statement credits as my reward.

I also don't care about trying to accumulate a lot all at once or trying to concentrate it on one card. I just redeem whatever I've got at the beginning of each statement cycle - unless it's been a low-spend month on a card with a minimum redemption, in which case - no big deal at all, I just wait till next month. So it's always just a matter of 'which card will give me the most cashback for this transaction?"

Whatamuji
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed May 27, 2015 10:08 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby Whatamuji » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:05 am

My logic is currently pretty simple...all spending goes on my AMEX Hilton since I earn points on all the categories that I normally spend in. However I may decide to change things up once I've finished paying off the current balances on my BoA, Chase Freedom, and Amazon Store Card.
Kohls: $300, Discover IT: $1.8k, Capital One Quicksilver: $2k, Amazon Store Card: $2.2k, BoA Cash Rewards: 1k, Chase Freedom: 3.2k, AMEX HHonors 3k

Vermonster
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 725
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:09 pm
Location: NJ

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby Vermonster » Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:18 pm

Almost everything goes on a Freedom or CSP. We can leverage the points so well that I often have no problem taking the 1%. Grocery is always on the Amex and gas will be again after the Freedom quarter. I put some summer tuition on my DC so I can pay it of over time without racking up interest, so that card is SD for now.

From now until December I will be working significantly less, so a lot more will be going on the Amex at 0%. It just gives me chance to not stress about money for these few months, then pay everything off when I start working full time in January.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

User avatar
CarefulBuilder14
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 3960
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: United States

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:32 am

Vermonster wrote:Almost everything goes on a Freedom or CSP. We can leverage the points so well that I often have no problem taking the 1%. Grocery is always on the Amex and gas will be again after the Freedom quarter.

It's definitely good to keep a limit on the number of different travel currencies you're earning in! Anytime I think about Citi Prestige as a long-term card, I ask myself if I really want to earn in TYs as well as URs and MRs (and hotel-specific rewards). So far, the answer has been "No".
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May

whit
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:04 pm
Location: ca

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby whit » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:16 pm

right now its CSP for whatever, although most of my purchases are food or uber so i'm ok on getting the 2x..to get upwards of 4k spend for bonus..but i am probably going to buy a staple piece to fill in the gap because while i eat nice once in awhile, most of my food $ is just that..$ sign on yelp if even.

amex is tied for whenever i buy plane tickets, since it'll be with delta/air france/etc

discover for itunes, cell phone bills, etc..necessities that i'm going to have to pay for anyways..but get double cashback since i signed up for the promo in time for existing cardholders.

citi for everything else; amex and csp gave me a very generous starting limit but, i'm still loyal to citi since i've been with them since day 1 and they've been really great with me.

i also have all cards in my spankin' new wallet now, but i usually keep the CSP in my pocket for easy access.

User avatar
CarefulBuilder14
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 3960
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: United States

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:53 pm

Some people on MF take a rather peculiar approach of rotating cards for everyday spending:

Say you have 16 cards and designate them A, B, C, D...through P.
In week 1, you use cards A through D.
In week 2, you use E through H.
In week 3, you use I through L.
In week 4, you use M though P.
In week 5, you use A through D again, etc.

Has anyone ever done this? It strikes me as remarkably inefficient for earning rewards. You can't easily make optimal use of category bonuses, and your rewards are spread across too many currencies.

I guess if a person got a lot of cards while rebuilding and needs to keep them active, it's an efficient way to do so.
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May

Whatamuji
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed May 27, 2015 10:08 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby Whatamuji » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:17 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Some people on MF take a rather peculiar approach of rotating cards for everyday spending:

Say you have 16 cards and designate them A, B, C, D...through P.
In week 1, you use cards A through D.
In week 2, you use E through H.
In week 3, you use I through L.
In week 4, you use M though P.
In week 5, you use A through D again, etc.

Has anyone ever done this? It strikes me as remarkably inefficient for earning rewards. You can't easily make optimal use of category bonuses, and your rewards are spread across too many currencies.

I guess if a person got a lot of cards while rebuilding and needs to keep them active, it's an efficient way to do so.


And you'd also have to do a lot of spending to keep that list going. If you have that many cards and you don't have much of a need to spend money, then that system is gonna fail right off the bat.
Kohls: $300, Discover IT: $1.8k, Capital One Quicksilver: $2k, Amazon Store Card: $2.2k, BoA Cash Rewards: 1k, Chase Freedom: 3.2k, AMEX HHonors 3k

User avatar
CarefulBuilder14
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 3960
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: United States

Re: Card Selection Criteria

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:39 pm

Whatamuji wrote:
CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Some people on MF take a rather peculiar approach of rotating cards for everyday spending:

Say you have 16 cards and designate them A, B, C, D...through P.
In week 1, you use cards A through D.
In week 2, you use E through H.
In week 3, you use I through L.
In week 4, you use M though P.
In week 5, you use A through D again, etc.

Has anyone ever done this? It strikes me as remarkably inefficient for earning rewards. You can't easily make optimal use of category bonuses, and your rewards are spread across too many currencies.

I guess if a person got a lot of cards while rebuilding and needs to keep them active, it's an efficient way to do so.


And you'd also have to do a lot of spending to keep that list going. If you have that many cards and you don't have much of a need to spend money, then that system is gonna fail right off the bat.

Well, it doesn't take a lot of spending. All it takes is four transactions a week. It's just that the rewards aren't great, and on some cards will take time to redeem - even if the minimum redemption is only $25.

It's "good" for people who have cards they don't need, but don't want to actually close them (for whatever reason).
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May



Return to “General Credit Card Talk”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests