So many choices - input on reward card makeover

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golf.ninja
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So many choices - input on reward card makeover

Postby golf.ninja » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:21 pm

So - goal is maximize cash back (not a big time traveler - will explain why I'm stating this).

Currently have:

2% Venture ($59 AF)
Barclay Arrival+ ($89 AF)
AMEX BCP ($75 AF)

Don't carry balances. So APRs/balance transfers do not factor into decision.

Venture was the staple. Was using the rewards to "erase" golf membership dues (club is categorized as a hotel). "Test driving" the Barclay card and to reap the signing bonus.

The Amex will be used for groceries only (5%)

Looking at Sallie Mae or Chase Freedom for Gas. Sallie Mae is 5% all year long, but we spend more than $250/month. Chase has a higher limit, but its not all year long.

And of course, now I find out about the Citi double cash... basically can replace Barclay/Venture and save myself the AF.

Thus - aside from keeping Amex for groceries, looking to do the following:

Drop Venture/Barclay - get Double Cash
Figure out Sallie Mae or Chase Freedom for gas. Leaning towards Sallie Mae since the spending over $250 is a smaller "loss" than not having 5% for 6 months with Freedom (and Amex BCP will still get me 3%).

Questions:

Am I missing anything by replacing Venture/Barclay with DC? I know DC has foreign transaction fees. But that's not something I'll run into (and can probably use Amex instead). I read some reviews where folks were having issues getting the 2nd 1% credited.

Any guesses on the willingness of Barclay card to 'downgrade' a fee card (arrival+) to a non-fee card (Sallie Mae)?
And would it be offensive if that request is made within 6 months of getting the first card (and right after I've redeemed the points)?

And how much of an impact (if any) will canceling these cards have on the credit score (assuming the new cards have the same limits)?

Thoughts? other suggestions?

Thanks in advance.


freyj6
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Postby freyj6 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:20 am

The choice between Sallie Mae and Freedom depends on a few things, although I'd eventually get both.

First, how much money do you spend on groceries? If you spend more than 6k a year, Sallie Mae will help compliment your BCP. If not, then that part is useless. For gas, Sallie Mae would most likely be much better because even if you spend over $250, you've still got 3% with your BCP. Second, what will the 2015 categories be for Freedom and will they do another $200 signup bonus this year? If good on both fronts, that's a good reason to pick Freedom up first.

As far as Double Cash, I'd say it's a much lower priority. You said you still have 6 months left until your annual fee hits on Arrival, why not just keep it around until then? Hold off on DC until you have neither venture or arrival.

I'm not sure about the card transfers. That's something I'm curious about too. My Arrival AF is about to hit so I wanted to downgrade to the regular version to keep the points, use them, and then convert to Sallie Mae eventually. Don't know if that'll work though.

Cheers
Current Strategy

Chase Freedom + Discover IT + Churning

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:03 pm

(nm - hit reply too quickly again)

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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:36 pm

golf.ninja wrote:Any guesses on the willingness of Barclay card to 'downgrade' a fee card (arrival+) to a non-fee card (Sallie Mae)?
And would it be offensive if that request is made within 6 months of getting the first card (and right after I've redeemed the points)?.


I don't have a relationship with Barclay so I can't add much, but are you aware of the Arrival (Non-AF version of the Arrival+)? It just gets 2X on travel and dining. Something to think about if you want to get rid of the AF and they won't PC to a Sallie Mae.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

golf.ninja
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Postby golf.ninja » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:26 am

Thanks for the inputs.

I was aware of the no fee Arrival - but never looked into the details. But that's a great idea! Especially since travel and food are pretty high for us in terms of spending ;)

And waiting a bit before nixing the fee cards certainly isn't going to hurt. Anyone know when Chase typically release their categories for the next year?

And great site. I've learned more about various credit cards than I ever knew in just a few days...

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:37 am

Downgrading an Arrival+ to a no-AF Arrival should be easy. Switching it to a Sallie Mae is another matter, since it's a hard card to get in general.

You might find you only need a BCE instead of a BCP once you have a Sallie Mae. Logistically, it's easier to start earning 5% and then switch to a 3% card when you pass $250 a month. If you spend well above $6k a year in groceries, alternating between 6% with a yearly cap and 5% with a monthly cap actually takes a fair amount of planning. You want to use up the $6k at 6%, but that can mean going over $250 a month on the Sallie Mae near the end of the year - and only making 1% on grocery spending above that.

Since you like the Venture, then the Arrival would be better for you than the Arrival+. The Arrival+ and Venture overlap so much that it would be hard to justify the AF of Arrival+.

If I had both, I'd keep the Arrival+ and close the Venture. That's largely because I like Barclaycard and already have the Sallie Mae with them, so it's more convenient.
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

golf.ninja
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Postby golf.ninja » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:50 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Downgrading an Arrival+ to a no-AF Arrival should be easy. Switching it to a Sallie Mae is another matter, since it's a hard card to get in general.


Good to know about Arrival+ to Arrival. I don't think getting a Sallie Mae will be an issue (of course, I probably just jinxed myself by stating that).

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:You might find you only need a BCE instead of a BCP once you have a Sallie Mae. Logistically, it's easier to start earning 5% and then switch to a 3% card when you pass $250 a month. If you spend well above $6k a year in groceries, alternating between 6% with a yearly cap and 5% with a monthly cap actually takes a fair amount of planning. You want to use up the $6k at 6%, but that can mean going over $250 a month on the Sallie Mae near the end of the year - and only making 1% on grocery spending above that.


I just upgraded from the super old BCE (5% on groceries/RX, 3% gas, after $6500 purchase). The issue with that was because we were putting the majority of our spending on Arrival+, meeting that $6500 threshold was not worth it at just 1%. The 6k will definitely be maxed out since I plan on getting gift cards from Safeway. This sort of allows me to double dip (6% from Amex, and quicker gas rewards points for Safeway). I get that there may be some planning going from 6% then the 5% with the risk of running over the $250 cap. But I think that will happen anyways as the Sallie Mae will probably be used for Walmart (I understand they don't automatically exempt the superstores like Amex, and based on the Arrival+, walmart groceries are categorized as grocery stores).
And worse case, I'd use Venture/Arrival+ or replace them with Double-Cash, and still get 2%.

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Since you like the Venture, then the Arrival would be better for you than the Arrival+. The Arrival+ and Venture overlap so much that it would be hard to justify the AF of Arrival+.

If I had both, I'd keep the Arrival+ and close the Venture. That's largely because I like Barclaycard and already have the Sallie Mae with them, so it's more convenient.


Yea, I think I'm leaning more towards the regular Arrival vs. Venture. Especially if I end up with the Sallie Mae, I'm assuming I can manage both cards with the same portal access. Makes life a bit easier.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 8:07 pm

One point in favor of the Sallie Mae first, BCE second combo is that the Barclaycard website is easy to use and has good tools for tracking spending.

I have $14 left in my $250 monthly grocery 'bonus budget' on Sallie Mae, and it's only been 6 days since my last statement. It's easy to know when to switch to BCE. Some issuers don't categorize your spending or even show pending transactions.
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

golf.ninja
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Postby golf.ninja » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:47 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:One point in favor of the Sallie Mae first, BCE second combo is that the Barclaycard website is easy to use and has good tools for tracking spending.

I have $14 left in my $250 monthly grocery 'bonus budget' on Sallie Mae, and it's only been 6 days since my last statement. It's easy to know when to switch to BCE. Some issuers don't categorize your spending or even show pending transactions.


Yup - I got the Sallie Mae card and Freedom. Given what everyone said about Sallie Mae (and Barclay in general), I wasn't sure if I was going run into any issues. But got approved immediately. Great - so I then went to apply for the Freedom, and got the pending review response - WTF? That was even listed as a card for just "good" credit (as opposed to Excellent). So that sort of threw me off.

After reading some posts here and other areas, got a number to call. Was a bit nervous because there are posts about "be extra nice to the analyst etc..". That wasn't hard at all as they were extremely pleasant to work with. But they just asked a few questions (similar to when you're getting your credit report - monthly mortgage amount, which of the following cars do you own, etc.), and boom. Got it.



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