- Centurion Member
- Posts: 875
- Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:32 pm
- Location: Texas
That's a record for me. This has included a combination of Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Amazon Rewards, Fidelity Amex (through FIA/BofA), Discover, Amex Gold, Citi Forward, Citi AT&T Universal, Citi Diamond, Citi Cash Returns.
I spend anywhere from $1,600 to $4,000 a month and it works out to about $26,000-28,000/year. My Fico is in the high 700s to about 800. I never carry a balance so no interest paid.
Most of the rewards came in the form of cashback: checks or deposits to my Roth IRA. I also included rebates on my AT&T/U-Verse bills received via the AT&T-branded Citi card. Some of it was in statement credits, and I got gift cards from Bed, Bath, Beyond and Land's End.
My total cashback/rewards would be higher but several months ago I got tired of keeping track of it all and now I only use the Fidelity Amex (2% on everything) and Chase Amazon (3% on purchases from Amazon, from whom I buy a lot).
I dropped all of the Citi cards because I was dissatisfied with their customer service and I really didn't like their website. The Amex Gold and Chase Sapphire cards were only acquired for their introductory points/cashback and never used thereafter because I think their programs are stingy. I still have Discover but never use it as their program doesn't complement my spending habits.
What about Amex Blue Cash, you ask. I've got one of those, too. However, according to the calculator on the Amex website, using Blue Cash exclusively still got beat by using Chase Freedom exclusively for my spending. I didn't use Blue Cash at all because their tiered reward structure would have required me to divert more lucrative reward spending from other cards in order to jump the wake to the higher Blue Cash cashback rate, not worth it.
Chase Freedom, I can't figure out what's going on with them. Chase told me the Freedom 3% in top 3 was ending but now they say I'll still have that AND the new thing they're doing, which is 5% in rotating categories (???). I'm going to revisit this one and see if it would be worth it to sub it for the Amazon card.
The Fidelity Amex website is so much better than all the others, in my opinion, that it's the only one I want for my everyday spending; plus, the 2% straight cashback to my Roth is straight forward and swept to the account automatically. And their call center is in the U.S. and staffed with corn-fed Midwesterners.
In summary, I'm guessing I made about $350-450 extra by striving to maximize my rewards across all the cards above. The novelty of the game wore off and I threw in the towel before I had originally planned. But I also see value in limiting the number of cards used as it's easier to track/control spending that way.
Years ago I was a "revolver" and paid my share of interest. It's nice being a "transactor" and getting some of that money back.
American Express: Blue Cash Preferred (groceries, 6%; gas, department store, 3%); Gold Delta SkyMiles (Delta Air Lines, 2 miles/dollar, free checked bag).
US Bank: Cash+ (utilities, phone, internet, restaurant, 5%; drugstores, 2%).
FIA Card Services: Fidelity Amex (everything, 2%); Fidelity Visa (everything, 1.5%).
Chase: Freedom (rotating, 5%); Amazon (Amazon.com, 3%); PriorityClub (IHG hotels, 5 points/dollar); Sapphire (not in use).
*All cards are registered with PriorityClub IDine program for 8 points/dollar at participating restaurants.