Going to be charging $100k+ over the next three years. How to maximize rewards?

All about maximizing your rewards!
Members share tips and tricks for getting the most miles, & points.
7 posts
x0rcist
 
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Location: NY

Going to be charging $100k+ over the next three years. How to maximize rewards?

Postby x0rcist » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:28 pm

I just got accepted into grad school and will be charging a significant amount of money over the next three years. Somewhere in the ballpark of $150,000 (tuition, fees, textbooks, etc.).

To put that into perspective, I usually charge less than $1,500/month. School alone will add, on average, ~$4,000/month to that.

There has to be a way to maximize my rewards given the amount I'll be spending.

Are there cards specialized for education expenses? Could I cycle the best sign up bonuses because I'll be consistently spending a lot of money?

Could I sign up for the card with the best bonus, charge tuition until I get the bonus, cash in, and then cancel the card (to avoid recurring fees) and sign up for the card with the next best bonus...?

As of right now I'm using my no-fee BofA Travel Rewards card which offers 1.5% cash back + an additional 10% cash back on top of that 1.5% at year end because I have a BofA savings account. It winds up at 1.65% cash back on all charges. I just put the $2,000 enrollment fee on that, so that's $33 cash back.

And don't worry, I'll be paying this money off on time because my company will be reimbursing me.

It'd be awesome to generate enough rewards to go on an all expenses paid trip or seed fund a new venture after graduation.

You guys are the experts. How would you handle this situation?

:money: :money: :money: :money:


freyj6
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Postby freyj6 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:42 pm

Other people here probably know more about churning cards than I do, but generally you want to apply for several cards at the same time and then wait a few months for the next few.

Depending on how good your credit is, you could probably do this pretty easily.

Some options that come to mind are the 100k points for 10k spend American Airlines deal, Barclaycard Arrival for 40k points for 3k spend, CSP for 40k points for 3k spend, and various other airline-specific cards with ~50k bonuses for 1-3k spend.

Good luck!
Current Strategy

Chase Freedom + Discover IT + Churning

jrmsu
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Location: Mississippi

Postby jrmsu » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:57 pm

The universities where I got my bachelor's and master's degrees both levied a 2.6% service charge for credit card tuition payments. I assume all universities do that. Whatever credit cards you decide to apply for, make sure that the cash back/rewards points make up for any charges imposed for using credit cards.
My Cards:

Discover It - $8,450 (9/13)
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa Signature - $5,000 (4/14)
Chase Freedom - $3,000 (5/14)
AMEX Hilton HHonors - $16,500 (6/14)


Laxsnor
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Postby Laxsnor » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:01 pm

jrmsu wrote:The universities where I got my bachelor's and master's degrees both levied a 2.6% service charge for credit card tuition payments. I assume all universities do that. Whatever credit cards you decide to apply for, make sure that the cash back/rewards points make up for any charges imposed for using credit cards.


Some universities will levy a fixed charge instead of a percentage- the university I attended levied a $7 charge on all credit card transactions, which made using a card an easy decision.
USBank Cash+ $12,000
Delta Amex $4,000
Sallie Mae $1,000

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kcm7
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Postby kcm7 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:47 am

One thing to keep in mind might be transfer partnerships. Some card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and some of the AmEx cards that have Membership Rewards let you transfer points to frequent flier programs. If you find a card that lets you transfer to an airline on 1-for-one basis (so, 1 pt = 1 mile), sign up for that card AND the airline's card to get a pile of miles.

For example, say get the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the sign-up bonus. Then, you might get the United card and get its sign-up bonus. Transfer the CSP sign-up bonus points to United miles, and you'll have 70K United miles.

Of course, this all depends on how you feel about annual fee cards. The CSP and United card have annual fees that kick in after the first year. If you plan on cancelling them once your miles are safely with United, that's one thing. But you seem to want to get a bunch of cards, and having that many annual fees could be expensive if you plan to keep your cards.
Cards:

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

augiedog
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Postby augiedog » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:03 am

jrmsu wrote:The universities where I got my bachelor's and master's degrees both levied a 2.6% service charge for credit card tuition payments. I assume all universities do that. Whatever credit cards you decide to apply for, make sure that the cash back/rewards points make up for any charges imposed for using credit cards.


I went to Broward College for my associates and they accepted credit cards and debit cards with no fees. I was surprised about CC fees when I switched to FIU. Instead I opted to make an ACH payment to FIU.

When I was going to Broward though, I took nearly every signup bonus there was where I could get $100 for spending $500 or $1000. Many credit cards offer bonuses, and depending on the way you are invited depends on how much bonus you get back. My Target card is the only card that didn't offer a signup bonus. I got an offer from Amex in the mail to get $250 off my first $1000 in spending, but that is invitation-only. Their website has comparable deals though. BoA also has the Better Balance master card which can pay $120 every year.

Keep in mind that the more cards you apply for, the longer you have to wait for the next signup. (Don't signup for $50 cash bonus when others will offer $100..)
American Express: Blue Cash Everyday (10k), Everyday, ; Discover It (7.3k) ; Target (2.1k)

Citi: Diamond (2k) ; Bank of America: Cash Rewards (2.6k) ; Capital One: Quicksilver (3k) , Sony ; Chase: Freedom (3.7k), Slate (3k), (Amazon) ; Barclay Ring ; Synchrony: Walmart MC, Amazon, Ebates

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:19 pm

x0rcist wrote:Could I cycle the best sign up bonuses because I'll be consistently spending a lot of money?

Could I sign up for the card with the best bonus, charge tuition until I get the bonus, cash in, and then cancel the card (to avoid recurring fees) and sign up for the card with the next best bonus...?

Sure, if your credit supports it. Otherwise you'll kill AAoA and pile on inquiries.



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