Old Blue Cash rewards or another option?

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Detachable
 
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Old Blue Cash rewards or another option?

Postby Detachable » Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:02 am

I've recently been trying to figure out if I should swap my Blue Cash card for another rewards card and started looking at my spending. I put almost everything possible on my card, in order to maximize my rewards, the only exception being daycare, which has to go on a Discover card.

I spent slightly over 50K on my Amex card (PIF each month). Of that 50K, slightly over 11K was spent in grocery stores (according to my year end statement). Despite this, I only earned roughly 900 in rewards. The first 6,500 at half a percent really hurts. :\

Is there a better card for my particular spending habits?


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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:56 am

What is the highest number of cards you would potentially want to carry? And if you don't know your FICO score, do you have a clean credit history of a few years?

Would you prefer to stick with some sort of Amex, or are you comfortable trying other issuers?
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

Detachable
 
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Postby Detachable » Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:17 pm

I'd be happy switching. I currently carry 4 cards, but one is an old Mastercard which I haven't used in years. My Amex is my primary card, and my Discover is for daycare and places that don't take Amex. Both are PIF every month. I've also got a Macy's card for their one day sales.

My FICO score is 824.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:46 am

For gas and grocery spending, you may be able to improve upon your rewards by getting a BCE, BCP, Sallie Mae (Rewards, not Upromise), PenFed Platinum Rewards, or some combination of those. BCP has a $75 AF and PenFed requires a $15 one-time donation to one of two veteran organizations, if you don't otherwise qualify for membership. PenFed membership does not guarantee a card, but your credit puts you in a good position for one. I use a Sallie Mae / BCE combo, but the combined limits on those would not cover all your grocery spending.

If you spend a lot on gas, then the best thing might be to keep the BC as it is, and only use it for gas and grocery expenses, as well as some off-category spending each year to hit the $6,500 threshold. There is also a FICO advantage to keeping the old account open.

You can definitely improve your rewards on spending outside of gas and grocery categories. I'd suggest the Arrival+. It has an AF of $89, but all spending on it (no caps, no categories) earns an effective 2.2% when you use those points to pay for any travel purchase you make with the card. Instead of paying the entire bill from a checking account, you pay the travel portion with your rewards, and the non-travel portion with the checking account as normal.

Note that Barclays, which offers Sallie Mae and Arrival+, generally doesn't let customers open cards more frequently than six months apart, and your great credit might not necessarily exempt you from that restriction.

I like my Discover, and I usually favor it over my Freedom for 5% categories. Unless you happen to shop at some of the more out-of-the-ordinary retailers that have the really cheap gift cards (50% off face value, or more) you may find the simple 1% rewards a bit lacking.

My advice, which may sound complicated but is about as simple as the alternatives, is:
Use each card at least for a small transaction each month to keep them active.
Keep the BC as it is. Use it as your main card until you hit the $6,500 threshold each year. Then use it only for gas and groceries.
Use the Discover where you can get 5%.
Get an Arrival+ (assuming you fly now and then and stay in the occasional hotel) for everything else.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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Xorand
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Postby Xorand » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:12 am

What are the reward percentages for groceries and gas for your BC after you hit the 6500 mark?
AmEx - Platinum (NPSL) , Blue Cash Preferred ($19,000), Gold Delta Skymiles ($8,500)
Chase - Sapphire Preferred ($14,000), Disney ($11,500), Amazon.com ($9,000), Freedom ($8,000)
CapOne - QuickSilver ($7,250) / Platinum Rewards ($7,250)

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:35 am

Detachable wrote:I spent slightly over 50K on my Amex card (PIF each month). Of that 50K, slightly over 11K was spent in grocery stores (according to my year end statement). Despite this, I only earned roughly 900 in rewards. The first 6,500 at half a percent really hurts. :\

Is there a better card for my particular spending habits?

How does your spend break down? If 11K in groceries is typical that's going to be tricky as caps on grocery for other cards tend to be much lower.

First $6,500 should be 1% for the everyday categories and 0.5% for others.

Xorand wrote:What are the reward percentages for groceries and gas for your BC after you hit the 6500 mark?

5% with no cap.
https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/blue-cash/25330
You may need to log out and clear cookies if you have an AmEx account to get that link to work. Or use a different browser. Link doesn't work for me with Chrome which is my main browser but works for me with IE (which is never used to access my AmEx accounts).

TheSwarm
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Postby TheSwarm » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:34 am

Would an EveryDay Preferred work well in this situation? It's hard to work with those grocery numbers, but at least you can get 50% more points on all purchases if you swipe 30 times in a billing cycle.

Otherwise ya, Arrival+ or Citi Double cash because there is no limits and you at least get 2 points per dollar on everything.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:41 am

TheSwarm wrote:Would an EveryDay Preferred work well in this situation? It's hard to work with those grocery numbers, but at least you can get 50% more points on all purchases if you swipe 30 times in a billing cycle.

Otherwise ya, Arrival+ or Citi Double cash because there is no limits and you at least get 2 points per dollar on everything.


EDP has a $6k bonus grocery cap. Still, though, if the OP can make good use of MR points, it is a pretty good option.

It really is a great card for people who make good use of the MR system - I'm just not among them.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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Xorand
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Postby Xorand » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:20 pm

takeshi wrote:How does your spend break down? If 11K in groceries is typical that's going to be tricky as caps on grocery for other cards tend to be much lower.

First $6,500 should be 1% for the everyday categories and 0.5% for others.


5% with no cap.
https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/blue-cash/25330
You may need to log out and clear cookies if you have an AmEx account to get that link to work. Or use a different browser. Link doesn't work for me with Chrome which is my main browser but works for me with IE (which is never used to access my AmEx accounts).


OK. Just trying to reconcile against the BCP. I know someone with the BC but didn't know the before/after percentages.

In my use case, the BCP is a better deal, assuming $12,000 in fuel per year (we travel full-time in an RV) and $6,000 in groceries (gift cards, etc.). That returns $720 in rewards (12000 * .03 + 6000 * .06) compared to a return of 640 for the BC. However, that $80 gain is probably almost completely offset by the BCP annual fee of $75 (I'm assuming the BC doesn't have one?).
AmEx - Platinum (NPSL) , Blue Cash Preferred ($19,000), Gold Delta Skymiles ($8,500)
Chase - Sapphire Preferred ($14,000), Disney ($11,500), Amazon.com ($9,000), Freedom ($8,000)
CapOne - QuickSilver ($7,250) / Platinum Rewards ($7,250)



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