I've made $818.73 off cashback/cc promos since October.

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jeffysdad
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I've made $818.73 off cashback/cc promos since October.

Postby jeffysdad » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:42 pm

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.

Thoughts?
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.


cpaynter
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Postby cpaynter » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:47 pm

Nice! Congrats; that's a great haul.

I, too, considered the AmEx Blue Cash, but I calculated that even if I used it exclusively, it still would fall far short of a multi-card combo for me. And as soon as you pair the AmEx Blue with anything else, you really start to lose because of those tiers.

Do you have the Chase Freedom or the Chase Freedom Plus? I was also under the impression that the 3% on top 3/5 categories would be ending for all regular Freedom customers, but would remain for Plus customers. I have one of each, and my regular one got the 3% dropped in June, while the 3% remains for the Plus. I also enrolled my regular Freedom in the 5% quarterly promotion (just got my Q2 bonus points over the weekend), and didn't enroll the Plus. I do think this 5% quarterly bonus program is worthwhile (as well as Discover's quarterly 5% bonus program, which is the only reason, IMHO, to use the Discover card), and I'm willing to jump through the hoops for a few extra bucks in cashback. Some quarters I don't even use my Discover card if the categories aren't ones in which I'm spending money anyway, and I expect the same to be true for the Chase Freedom quarterly special.

Despite that cash dangling out there, I haven't applied for the Sapphire because I haven't wanted to add another inquiry to my report. I don't know about you, but my score is heavily impacted by number of inquiries (because of applying for so many cards) and low average age (because I have so many new cards and because I foolishly allowed several old cards to go dormant and get closed for non-use). I'm hoping to get my score back in to the high 700's (it's at 750 right now) before applying for more cards. I have a firm rule: I never apply for a card unless it will benefit me at least $100 in the first year. That's what I figure a hit on my credit report is worth. Fortunately, there never seems to be a lack of new credit cards to apply for to make a few extra bucks.

Chris.

jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:08 pm

I don't know which Chase Freedom I have. I've had it for an awfully long time and it doesn't say "plus" on it so I assume that it's not.

You're right about the hard pulls on your credit report, but I wouldn't sweat that too much. That attribute is one of two or three given the least weight in the CS calculation. I too have a lot of hard pulls and its brought my score down a bit I'm sure, but not that much. I've also inadvertently shortened my credit history (to my score's detriment) by canceling unused cards or allowing them to drop off. I don't think it's that big of a deal, though.
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.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:22 pm

jeffysdad, we are running head to head right now because I'm at $820.83 for the year, beating you by over $2. ;) A significant portion of my cash back is coming from grocery stores. I do a lot of Whole Foods and other health food stores and the 5% my old Chase Freedom offers really helps there. I whip out the Discover More in quarters where the categories benefit me. What I like best about that card is that two quarters out of the year Discover gives 5% on department stores. For cell phone the AT&T Universal card is one way to go but alternately if you have the Amex Simply Cash business card, which I use, it also gives 5% on cell phone bills. For spending outside of reward categories I try and go with the Blue because I'm getting 1.5% but the Fidelity at 2% is something I have contemplated for quite some time. I don't use Fidelity but it may be worth opening an account with them just to get the card. Do they have any free brokerage accounts?
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:14 pm

I'm glad I'm not the only one, MoP.

You most certainly can get a free brokerage acct. at Fidelity, or at Schwab, for which FIA/BA also offers a comparable rewards card, only it's a visa or a mc, which might be better than Amex since they're more widely accepted.

If you get an FIA card, either the Fidelity or the Schwab, I think you'll really like their website. I'm assuming you manage your accts. online. The FIA site, imo, is nicely uncluttered and offers some unusual features.

One is that transactions appear on the site as pending as soon as your card is swiped. You can see the merchant name and amt. for individual pending transactions; they aren't aggregated into a total pending amt. as with all the other card websites I've seen.

Also, statements are available immediately as soon as the account cycles, and the PDF versions are formatted correctly (unlike with Citi). You can also drop your statement data directly into a spreadsheet or Quicken, etc.

I hope I'm not disappointed by their customer service in the future, but so far it's been excellent. I think I've said before on here that in the case of the Fidelity Amex FIA/BA has to maintain two partner relationships with companies for whom image is important(Fidelity and Amex), so they might be willing to go the extra mile to do that.
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.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:54 pm

I thought Schwab ended their 2% cash back credit card earlier this year? At least for new applicants. Have you heard anything about that?

Yes, I manage my accounts online so a nice interface is always helpful. It's surprising how many of them are so poorly designed.

I was considering a Merrill Lynch credit card but it appears they have ended their 2% cash back program. Now it's only 1.25%. I imagine they did this because it's now part of Bank of America. If it was kept BOA customers would wonder why all their cards only give 1% but their Merrill division was giving 2%. If the Schwab card has been discontinued that leaves the Fidelity but that one has also been scaled down.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

jeffysdad
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No, Mop, I wasn't aware of Schwab card being discontinued...

Postby jeffysdad » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:27 am

I hope that doesn't portend that soon the Fidelity card will be as well. I really like that 2% I'm getting. If that goes I guess I'll go back to Chase Freedom. The new cards are much better looking, in case you haven't seen.
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.

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Postby Jane MIA » Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:02 pm

I just found credit card forum and WOW this is giving me so much insight into how much money I can make off credit cards! I mainly use debit but with all the rewards I am missing out. What is the best card right now for gas and groceries?

Thanks!!

jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:32 am

Jane, if you can get it, the Chase Freedom that offers 3% in top three spending categories per month is probably the best as gas and groceries are available categories. Otherwise, if you spend a lot, Amex Blue Cash as it pays 5% on gas and groceries after you spend $6,500 per year.
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.

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Cucumber
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Postby Cucumber » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:33 pm

I get a lot of rewards percentage-wise but I don't spend a whole lot so there is like no way I would be able to do what you guys are doing in a year or less :(
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