Best Current Sign-Up Bonus/ Rewards Strategy

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hokie12
 
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Best Current Sign-Up Bonus/ Rewards Strategy

Postby hokie12 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:25 am

Hi everyone. First time poster- found the forum the other day and seems like some great information is out here! Similar to some other post I wanted to get your thoughts on two items: the best sign-up bonus currently available & recommendations on which card(s) would be the best to combination for me to use on a daily basis.

A) I was looking to get a new card with the best sign-up offer. It looks as though the majority of these sign-up offers have spending requirements. The highest I would go spending wise for a 3 month window would be around $3k. In terms of the sign-up bonus alone what's the best available option out there now? I was looking at the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Is one better than the other or is there any other cards I should consider? Even if the sign-up offers are the same, is one rewards program more valuable than the other? I also saw Citi also had a similar card, but the spending requirements might be higher. My thought is here I would probably sign-up for one card now and get the spend for the bonus and then close the account when the annual fee comes due as I don't know if I spend enough to make the annual fee worth it. Thoughts?

B) I was also going to add a card to try to maximize my day to day rewards points. A few notes- I spend around $10k a year on my cards- currently use the Chase Freedom card, but also have a JetBlue AMEX (which I should probably just get rid of as I probably don't get $40 in value out of it a year). The vast majority of my spending is on restaurants/bars along with gas and the occasional travel. I don't carry a balance on any of my cards- so I am just looking for the best combination in terms of rewards points. I was reading about the U.S. Bank Cash Plus Card. I was thinking of putting the 5% categories at restaurants and fast-food, then rotate those categories against the Chase Freedom categories. Would that card be the best bet, or are there other cards that are more valuable rewards wise to me for my day to day purchases?

Thanks for all your help!


MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:40 pm

Yep. I think getting a card just to get a sign up bonus and then closing it is like buying the cheapest gas to save 10 cents a gallon - it sounds like a great idea until it messes up your fuel system and then you pay hundreds to get that fixed and don't save anything at all. Why is it like that? Because you take an inquiry which granted does wear off fairly quickly in most cases (and no effect at all after a year) but you drop your AAoA unless you get Amex backdating and thus lower your score. Not to mention a lot of lenders (Amex included) are getting wise to churners and really restricting sign up bonuses these days because of people doing this who don't care about what it does to their credit.


So I'd ask you to consider that. That's about all I have to offer you can easily do the research on these cards if you want to churn them but I can't see myself spending hours of time to give you full details about cards you just want to get for a sign up bonus and then dump. Just sign up for whatever has the biggest bonus then who cares about the rest?

hokie12
 
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:49 am
Location: Boston, MA

Postby hokie12 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:16 pm

Thanks for the reply! I am not overly familiar with how much a credit pull or cancellation would change my credit score, but I think you raise a great point. I don't plan on opening a bunch of cards just to obtain the sign-up bonus, but I think it's worth considering since I'm looking at new cards anyway. I would like to be able to get a card and keep it open, however I just don't know if the Sapphire or Arrival Plus card would offer better rewards per dollar spent than a Freedom/ Cash Plus card combo given my spending levels when considering the annual fee levels that kick in after the first year. I have searched around and looked at a bunch of cards, but was just wondering if the rewards program was better with the Sapphire or Arrival Plus card based on peoples experiences? Or if there was another card that is worth considering given my spending? Thanks!

MemberSince99
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Postby MemberSince99 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:56 pm

Since you only spend 10k a year on your card, then I would say the CSP probably isn't going to give you bang for the buck even though it's a travel card with 2% on restaurants. It really requires higher spend than that to make it worth it. In that case the Arrival might be better with 2% all around (and potentially higher). Honestly UR is hard to beat but you have to consider your spend and your return on that spend. I don't think you can go wrong with either though I will say that CSP is only 6 dollars a year more than the Arrival card yet it offers American CSRs who actually pick up the phone - no voice mail hell to navigate through to talk with someone who can help you (and Barclay's service is not as good).


So, you have to consider if that is important to you or not. If it is, then the CSP might be your card. Even with 10k spend a year, if it will grow over time it might be worth it.


I guess the bottom line is both waive the fee first year to give you a chance to see how it fits your needs, and both give you a big sign up bonus. Both will work for travel. They cost about the same, both give you 2% at restaurants and Chase has the better service and UR is a great way to do travel to maximize your rewards (by sending your points to Chase travel partners, which gives you higher rewards).


I know that might sound confusing but you can't go terribly wrong either way is the bottom line, just depends on which you think fits you better and only you will be able to determine that.

supercoolman
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Postby supercoolman » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:09 am

what I heard is that some banks ban churners forever

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Postby MB131174 » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:11 am

supercoolman wrote:what I heard is that some banks ban churners forever


That wouldn't surprise me one bit, with how popular it is. When there are blogs devoted to it, something will crash eventually. There seems to be more written about the immediate benefits of cards, not what they will do for you longterm.

To me, churning seems like a headache. Keeping up on offers, making sure you hit required spend, canceling cards. It's just not worth it. Give me a card or two that has longterm advantages and I'm happy. Doesn't mean I'm not open to reevaluating cards, but I personally don't want to play the churn game.
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takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:25 am

hokie12 wrote:Is one better than the other or is there any other cards I should consider? Even if the sign-up offers are the same, is one rewards program more valuable than the other?

These are subjective matters and you really just have to look at the rewards programs and see what suits you best. I find UR points very useful given the transfer partners and the rate at which I earn UR points given my spend and UR cards but YMMV.

hokie12 wrote:Would that card be the best bet, or are there other cards that are more valuable rewards wise to me for my day to day purchases?

Hard to say without a better idea of the volume of your top spend categories. If the Freedom's categories don't suit you and/or the quarterly limits aren't sufficient for your spend then it's not really a good fit. The US Bank Cash+ is probably the highest % you'll find on restaurants but it also has caps.

hokie12 wrote:but was just wondering if the rewards program was better with the Sapphire or Arrival Plus card based on peoples experiences?

You really don't need experiences to determine that. Look at your spend. Look at the rewards earn rates. Look at rewards redemptions. Does one fit you better than the other? They're very different programs. IIRC the Arrival is more of a cash back card but you redeem against travel purchases. With the CSP best value per point is generally obtained by transferring to partners so you need to look at the partners, ensure that they're companies that you'd use and look at their rewards redemptions.



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