Best cash back credit card combo?

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flroots
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Postby flroots » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:11 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:I use the Amazon gift cards regularly now - putting things in my cart, finding out the total, then buying a gift card for that amount.

I hope it would work for Discover and Freedom in season, too, for slightly more/much more than 1 cent per point on 5% categories.

This way I don't have to worry about merchant codes. If I needed to return something, I could use the gift card balance some other time.

Thanks. That sounds like a plan. I have read, however, that you lose some protection by not purchasing with the credit card. I guess this could arise if you have a problem with the product or perhaps you pay but never receive it? It would be interesting to hear from anyone what issues could arise if using a gift card rather than the credit card when making purchases.


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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:07 am

flroots wrote:Thanks. That sounds like a plan. I have read, however, that you lose some protection by not purchasing with the credit card. I guess this could arise if you have a problem with the product or perhaps you pay but never receive it? It would be interesting to hear from anyone what issues could arise if using a gift card rather than the credit card when making purchases.


Well, I've been an Amazon customer for a long time and have never had any problems that a call to customer service quickly couldn't fix. There can be a lot of hassle in actually exercising the protections through a credit card company.
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

flroots
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Postby flroots » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:13 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Well, I've been an Amazon customer for a long time and have never had any problems that a call to customer service quickly couldn't fix. There can be a lot of hassle in actually exercising the protections through a credit card company.
Thanks. That's good enough for me!

flroots
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Postby flroots » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:00 am

My main concern now is whether I made the right decision downgrading my BCP to BCE in favor of balancing our grocery spending between 2 SM's. My wife is not interested in keeping track of how much is left on her SM before either switching to my SM or the Citi Double Cash card. That leaves it up to me to track spending on both cards and some how keep both of us from exceeding the $250 cap each month. While it may be possible to optimize rewards using two SMs, I'm just not sure how practical it will be going forward. The BCP + SM was pretty straightforward in comparison. BCP would be the primary grocery card at our local grocery stores, Publix and Winn-Dixie, since it earns 6%. We could also use BCP to purchase gas cards at Publix to achieve a 26% discount on gas. Gift cards for Lowes and Home Depot are also available at Publix. SM would be used at Walmart and Target since they count as grocery stores. SM could also be used to purchase Walmart gift cards for use at Sam's Club or walmart.com. SM would also be used at Save-A-Lot since they don't accept AmEx. In the event that the $250 SM cap was reached we would just switch the spending that would have been on SM to our Citi Double Cash card which earns 2% on everything. The total annual cap for BCP+SM is $9000 and for BCP+2SM is $12,000. It's unlikely that we would reach either over the course of a year. In summary, I guess we should see how it works out with two SM's and if it becomes too complicated, reapply for the BCP. Comments?

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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:24 am

I'd imagine you could just upgrade the BCE back to a BCP (but I don't know if they would make you wait a certain amount of time before being eligible). In other words, if you find out it doesn't work for you, you can probably switch back to the old method relatively easily.

How difficult is it to track the SM grocery spending? Discover and Amex have tools that easily let you track spending by category, but would you have to do this manually with the SM? Is the monthly cap by calendar month or billing cycle?
-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

flroots
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Postby flroots » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:17 pm

Vattené wrote:I'd imagine you could just upgrade the BCE back to a BCP (but I don't know if they would make you wait a certain amount of time before being eligible). In other words, if you find out it doesn't work for you, you can probably switch back to the old method relatively easily.

How difficult is it to track the SM grocery spending? Discover and Amex have tools that easily let you track spending by category, but would you have to do this manually with the SM? Is the monthly cap by calendar month or billing cycle?
Thanks. It's very easy to track the SM grocery spending, but the difficulty comes into play in how to physically manage the spending on each so as not to go over $250 on either card. For example, my wife is within $30 right now of going over. What if she wants to spend $50 at the grocery store. She refuses to carry both cards and juggle between them based on the monthly caps :(

With respect to reversing the downgrade, the rep said it could be done within 49 days of the downgrade. If longer, one must wait 1 year before reapplying. I've calculated that the 1% difference in rewards at the grocery store is likely to save us $48/year which mostly makes up for the annual fee. Overall, it's a tradeoff between the cost of annual fee and the ease of management. We've decided to reverse our downgrade and go back to the BCP ;) Of course, we'll keep the 2 SM's. The SM card is really a no-brainer given the lack of annual fee, the wider acceptance, and especially the significantly broader definition of grocery stores.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:08 pm

I really like having a Freedom and earning UR points instead of having to track all of that this quarter!

It's probably easier to manage SM's $250 than the 30 transaction I'd need on an EDP to make it worth it, though. It would be a headache to email myself 20 $1 Amazon gift cards a month!
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

flroots
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Postby flroots » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:07 am

Has anyone tried buying gift cards in a grocery store with the Blue Cash Preferred? Technically they will not earn the 6% as a cash equivalent, but I suspect that it's not detected nor enforced. I have tested the purchase of gift cards in a grocery store with the Sallie Mae and you do earn the 5%. If it works with BCP then I'd get the extra percent and also minimize spending to Sallie Mae with its more limited cap.

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Postby RewardHop » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:15 am

flroots wrote:Has anyone tried buying gift cards in a grocery store with the Blue Cash Preferred? Technically they will not earn the 6% as a cash equivalent, but I suspect that it's not detected nor enforced. I have tested the purchase of gift cards in a grocery store with the Sallie Mae and you do earn the 5%. If it works with BCP then I'd get the extra percent and also minimize spending to Sallie Mae with its more limited cap.


Yeah it works, they cant detect if you bought gift cards or groceries.
[size=60]
Amex BCE: 3% grocery, 2% gas
Bank of America Better Balance Rewards MC: $25/quarter bonus
Barclaycard Rewards Visa Signature: 2% gas, groceries, utilities
Capital One Quicksilver Visa Signature: 1.5% everything
Chase Freedom Visa Signature: 5% rotating
Citi Forward Visa: 5% restaurants/fastfood, movie theaters, amazon.com
Discover It: 5% rotating
SallieMae MC: 5% Groceries, Gas, Amazon
US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature: 5% electronic stores, restaurants
Sock Drawered: Chase Sapphire, Chase Amazon[/size]

flroots
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Postby flroots » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:40 am

flroots wrote:Has anyone tried buying gift cards in a grocery store with the Blue Cash Preferred? Technically they will not earn the 6% as a cash equivalent, but I suspect that it's not detected nor enforced. I have tested the purchase of gift cards in a grocery store with the Sallie Mae and you do earn the 5%. If it works with BCP then I'd get the extra percent and also minimize spending to Sallie Mae with its more limited cap.
Thanks. That's good to know. Can't wait to buy gas gift cards with 20% discount from Publix for a total discount of 26%.



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