Maximizing Rewards - College Student

All about maximizing your rewards!
Members share tips and tricks for getting the most miles, & points.
6 posts
jwccf95
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Maximizing Rewards - College Student

Postby jwccf95 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:51 pm

Hey guys. After browsing the forum for months I finally decided to make a post to hear your suggestions. Basically, I've gotten hooked on the miles and points game and am looking for advice on how to maximize my rewards capabilities (which cards should i put spending on, which cards to apply for).

My profile:

18 years old
740+ credit score
Discover IT - $1500
Chase Freedom - $3000
AMEX everyday - $2000
BofA Travel Rewards - $700

As of now I've been using the discover and freedom for their 5% categories and then the amex and chase for all the extra 1% stuff. BofA was just for when I traveled to Europe earlier (chip + sig, no ftf, no annual fee)

I don't carry a balance on any of these cards, nor do I intend to. The majority of my spending is on restaurants and gas.

Should I look into getting another card in the coming months (I was thinking maybe the CSP next) or keep what I have? / What's the best way to maximize my rewards? I want to accumulate rewards for a week long trip to Europe in a year or two. Thanks for all your help; I appreciate it!


WilliamJefferson
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Location: Near one of those big lakes

Postby WilliamJefferson » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:16 pm

I'm new here too, but something I thought I'd say:

I'm 23 and have a 6-figure income. My first and only card (until yesterday) gave be $1500 limit to start, and was very hesitant to increase that to $3000 when I asked them. They only ended up doing it because of my income, despite the fact I've always paid it in full every month. That is to say, unless you're quite an exceptional 18 year old and are making quite a bit, I have a hard time seeing how many more banks are going to give you cards. But then again, I don't really know anything here.

From my looking:

Chase Freedom/Discover It are good cards for the quarterly 5%. I also got the Amex Blue Cash Preferred for 6% on groceries and 3% on gas. I tried to get the Sallie Mae Mastercard for 5% on gas but they rejected me. Also got the Fidelity Investment Rewards for 2% on everything, no limit. Anything category you don't have covered with something else, you can at least get 2% there. Then there's US Bank Cash+ which is apparently very hard to get, but you choose 2 categories for 5% so you can get 5% on restaurants (which otherwise doesn't seem possible).

takeshi
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Location: US

Postby takeshi » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:43 pm

jwccf95 wrote:What's the best way to maximize my rewards?

jwccf95 wrote:The majority of my spending is on restaurants and gas.

The general strategy is get the highest rewards on your biggest spend categories. How much spend do you have on restaurants and gas? Find cards that offer higher rewards on these all year versus just relying on rotators like the Freedom and it.

Points/miles cards in general aren't good fit unless you put a lot of spend on them. Cash back is generally better suited for lower spend.

jwccf95
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Postby jwccf95 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:25 pm

6 figures by age 23? I should leave school and do whatever you're doing....

I don't have any accounts with Fidelity - would that render this card useless for me?

Thanks for your input.

jwccf95
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Postby jwccf95 » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:28 pm

Being in college I really don't spend that much...maybe $100 / month max on restaurants and roughly the same in gas.

Ok, that makes sense. So a card that gives cash back, and a high rewards on gas and restaurants...that sounds like the barclay arrival would be the best for me? any other suggestions?

freyj6
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Postby freyj6 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:28 pm

jwccf95

Being in college I really don't spend that much...maybe $100 / month max on restaurants and roughly the same in gas.

Ok, that makes sense. So a card that gives cash back, and a high rewards on gas and restaurants...that sounds like the barclay arrival would be the best for me? any other suggestions?


That would be one of the worse choices you could go with given your situation. Like others have mentioned, if you have low spending in general and most of it is for gas, groceries and restaurants, you'll be best off with a 5% card that covers those categories.

Sallie Mae (5% gas, groceries and bookstores)
USBank Cash+ (Essentially 6.25% back on restaurants, or other categories)

It all depends on how much you actually spend on what though.
Current Strategy

Chase Freedom + Discover IT + Churning



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