charged wrote:I did the math and you are right that I'd end up saving more, but my spending habits might change and I'm still not interested in the card with the annual fee.
Personally I very much agree with this philosophy. I avoid annual fees for the same reason. Just because I spent X amount on a given category last year doesn't mean I'll spend it again next year and I'd never want to be penalized for saving and budgeting. I also don't like to be locked into any one card. Annual fee rewards cards can be good if you want to spend a lot on a particular card consistently, but personally I'm all about dividing up my spending across multiple cards. Personally, I'd rather get $50-$100 less in rewards annually for the luxury of being able to spread my spending across 4 or more cards instead of being stuck using the same one for everything. I really like to dilute my spending over multiple cards and personally don't care about diluting my rewards since I only do cash back anyway and don't really care how long it takes to reach thresholds as long as I get my money eventually.
That said, I've gone from having the Amex BCE on my own eventually list to deciding it's just not worth it. To me the redemption in $25 increments would be hugely annoying. I wouldn't care at all about a $25 threshold and also don't personally care if there's a 1-2 statement lag, but having to redeem exactly $25, $50, $75, etc. at a time is just absurd and not something I want to put up with.
However, my personal biggest problem with the BCE and Amex would be the application itself. I'm fine providing income info, but I've recently learned that Amex asks about assets in checking and savings accounts on applications. I find that much too intrusive and am unwilling to provide that information when other lenders do not require it.
Personally, I'd only find marginal additional value from getting a BCE and while I'm willing to eventually app for that marginal value, I'm not willing to do so at the cost of that extra layer of information they want that I personally find much too intrusive. I can certainly understand why they'd want to know about my assets since that speaks to my ability to pay them, but as long as other lenders are willing to approve me without requiring me to disclose such things, I would much rather not. So for me the BCE/Amex in general isn't worth it, but YMMV.