- Centurion Member
- Posts: 875
- Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:32 pm
- Location: Texas
If your reward is in points, the first thing you need to know is how many you get per dollar spent, which is pretty obvious. Then you need to know what the redemption rate is on the points.
If you get one point per dollar and spend, say, $2,000 you will have 2,000 points. If those 2,000 points are worth $20, then your reward rate is 1%. However, those 2,000 points might only be worth $10 or some other amount.
Some of the Citi cards offer a generous number of points per dollar spent in certain categories. To figure the actual percentage of the reward you need to check out their "ThankYou" network site and see what you can get for those points. Sometimes it's better to redeem for a gift card that you will use rather than cash back because the reward rate is higher. This is true with some of the things offered at ThankYou, if I remember correctly, and also for Discover.
These days I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a real 2% return on what you charge. Fidelity Amex will give you this, paid into a Fidelity account.
You can get 5% on groceries this quarter with Chase Freedom. Discover is paying 5% at restaurants this quarter. Rotating promotions usually cap how much you can earn. For instance, Discover only pays 5% on the first $300 spent at restaurants during the quarter; the rest earns 1%.
Before you spread your spending around to maximize reward return, you have to remember that there are redemption thresholds. It takes $2,500 spent with Fidelity Amex before you can get anything ($50 with $2,500 spending). Chase and Discover also have a minimum required to redeem.
At one time CapitalOne's rewards card would let you redeem at any amount. However, their card only paid 1% across the board, if I remember correctly. I do not know if this is still true.
I use Fidelity Amex as my default card for everything except whatever high-reward categories are in effect at Chase Freedom and Discover. That way I'm always getting at least 2% and sometimes 5%.
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.