Best cash back MasterCard?

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yfan
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Postby yfan » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:50 am

The best cash rewards cards that come in at least one MasterCard variant (so far as I can tell) are as follows:

CITI DIVIDEND: I have this card, and I'm actually kind of surprised no one mentioned this. It's a World MasterCard. Mine even has an EMV chip. Rewards structure: base of 1%, rotating categories of 5% cashback that change by the quarter.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards: The MLB and Susan G Komen branded versions of the card are Mastercards. 1% base, 2% on groceries and 3% on gas. I have the HRC branded version of this card, which is a VISA.

CapitalOne Quicksilver: Despite some info presented here, the CapOne Quicksilver card does NOT have an annual fee and has a 1.5% flat cash back on everything. It comes in both Mastercard and VISA varieties. The Quicksilver One card, which is for people who cannot get approved for the Quicksilver card, is the one that carries an AF along with the same rewards structure.

Of the above, only the CapitalOne cards nix your foreign transaction fee. Both Citi Dividend and BankAmericard cash rewards have FTFs.


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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:52 pm

I'm surprised Sallie Mae Rewards MC hasn't gotten more discussion here. The spending caps are low, though, and you only get 1% for off-category spending. If you need a MC with no AF and rewards, though, it can double in your wallet as a good gas and grocery card.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
2017 ideas: Delta Gold, Wyndham, Hilton Reserve, SPG, First Tech or UNFCU, Freedom Unlimited, Aviator, Fairmont, R-C, Sapphire Reserve
Closed: PRG
Letting new accounts cool off since May

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onion
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Postby onion » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:11 pm

yfan wrote:The best cash rewards cards that come in at least one MasterCard variant (so far as I can tell) are as follows:

CITI DIVIDEND: I have this card, and I'm actually kind of surprised no one mentioned this. It's a World MasterCard. Mine even has an EMV chip. Rewards structure: base of 1%, rotating categories of 5% cashback that change by the quarter.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards: The MLB and Susan G Komen branded versions of the card are Mastercards. 1% base, 2% on groceries and 3% on gas. I have the HRC branded version of this card, which is a VISA.

CapitalOne Quicksilver: Despite some info presented here, the CapOne Quicksilver card does NOT have an annual fee and has a 1.5% flat cash back on everything. It comes in both Mastercard and VISA varieties. The Quicksilver One card, which is for people who cannot get approved for the Quicksilver card, is the one that carries an AF along with the same rewards structure.

Of the above, only the CapitalOne cards nix your foreign transaction fee. Both Citi Dividend and BankAmericard cash rewards have FTFs.


The regular Cash Rewards card is also a MasterCard sometiems for some reason. My brother and I have the same Bank Americard Cash Rewards, mine is a Visa and his is a MasterCard. The bankers weren't able to tell us why it was like that, but it is possible to get a MasterCard when applying for the regular Cash Rewards.
FICO TU - 728 - 8/14
FICO EX - 716 - 7/14
FICO EQ - 740 - 7/14

Bank of America Cash Rewards - $2,400
Best Buy - $3,000
American Express Blue Cash Everyday - $8,000
American Express Everyday - $10,000
Discover It Chrome - $500 (AU on fiancée's card, helping her build credit)
American Express Platinum - NPSL
Barclaycard Arrival+ - $3,000
Capital One Yamacard - $11,000

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onion
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Postby onion » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:16 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:I'm surprised Sallie Mae Rewards MC hasn't gotten more discussion here. The spending caps are low, though, and you only get 1% for off-category spending. If you need a MC with no AF and rewards, though, it can double in your wallet as a good gas and grocery card.


Even though they are low, they can be better than many other cards. Lets look at the AmEx cards, the Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% on groceries up to $6,000 a year and 2% on gas with no limit. The Sallie Mae will offers 5% on groceries up to $3,000 and 5% on gas for another $3,000. Let's pretend we spend $6,000 in each category per year. With the AmEx card you'd end up with $180+$120=$300. With the Sallie Mae you'd end up with $150+$150=$300, AND you'd get 5% on Amazon as well for $6,000 a year. Its a great card and with the right spending patterns, it can give better rewards than many other cards.
FICO TU - 728 - 8/14

FICO EX - 716 - 7/14

FICO EQ - 740 - 7/14



Bank of America Cash Rewards - $2,400

Best Buy - $3,000

American Express Blue Cash Everyday - $8,000

American Express Everyday - $10,000

Discover It Chrome - $500 (AU on fiancée's card, helping her build credit)

American Express Platinum - NPSL

Barclaycard Arrival+ - $3,000

Capital One Yamacard - $11,000

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:33 pm

For me it was a close call between getting that and BCE. The move to a no-AF Amex was my priority this time but Sallie Mae is definitely on my short list! I heard they dislike seeing a lot of recent pulls and new credit, so it might wait.

I expect it may be easier to manage several Amex cards through the Amex website than it is to manage an account with a fourth issuer. I could do four issuers...maybe even five...but I know I would probably be overwhelmed if I got 7 issuers as my signature would suggest possibly getting. I'd probably add Barclays and one of FIA (Fidelity) or NFCU. BofA and Synchrony/GECRB (Brooks Bros) would be the ones to avoid.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
2017 ideas: Delta Gold, Wyndham, Hilton Reserve, SPG, First Tech or UNFCU, Freedom Unlimited, Aviator, Fairmont, R-C, Sapphire Reserve
Closed: PRG
Letting new accounts cool off since May

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onion
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Postby onion » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:55 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:For me it was a close call between getting that and BCE. The move to a no-AF Amex was my priority this time but Sallie Mae is definitely on my short list! I head they dislike seeing a lot of recent pulls and new credit, so it might wait.

I expect it may be easier to manage several Amex cards through the Amex website than it is to manage an account with a fourth issuer. I could do four issuers...maybe even five...but I know I would probably be overwhelmed if I got 7 issuers as my signature would suggest possibly getting. I'd probably add Barclays and one of FIA (Fidelity) or NFCU. BofA and Synchrony/GECRB (Brooks Bros) would be the ones to avoid.


Same. I went for the AmEx just to get my foot in the door with them for backdating and because of all their great benefits. Sallie Mae is up next for me, definitely. Its a Barclaycard, and although that is true, they're not as strict as they're made out to be. When they pulled my TU, I had 6 inquiries over the past year and one recent one, as well as two AmEx cards that were just a month old reporting to my account. I was instantly approved for $3,000.

It really isn't so bad managing a bunch of cards. I don't know if I just got lucky or what, but my cards tend to close on the same days. My BoA, Best Buy, and BCE cards close on the 19th, my Platinum, Discover and Everyday close on the 6th, and I don't know about the Arrival Plus yet because it won't tell me since I've had it less than a week. It only requires me to take care of bank stuff twice a month which is pretty cool. So yeah, 7 really isn't any worse than it was when I just had my BoA and Best Buy cards. I set them all to autopay just in case I forgot or something, so worst case scenario they'll all report a small balance rather than just one card reporting a balance.
FICO TU - 728 - 8/14

FICO EX - 716 - 7/14

FICO EQ - 740 - 7/14



Bank of America Cash Rewards - $2,400

Best Buy - $3,000

American Express Blue Cash Everyday - $8,000

American Express Everyday - $10,000

Discover It Chrome - $500 (AU on fiancée's card, helping her build credit)

American Express Platinum - NPSL

Barclaycard Arrival+ - $3,000

Capital One Yamacard - $11,000

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:12 pm

onion wrote:Same. I went for the AmEx just to get my foot in the door with them for backdating and because of all their great benefits. Sallie Mae is up next for me, definitely. Its a Barclaycard, and although that is true, they're not as strict as they're made out to be. When they pulled my TU, I had 6 inquiries over the past year and one recent one, as well as two AmEx cards that were just a month old reporting to my account. I was instantly approved for $3,000.


Maybe I shouldn't wait too long for Sallie Mae. My TU has only two inquiries - one from last month and one from 2012. Experian has 6 pulls - anytime I have applied for credit, ever, Experian has gotten pulled. I'm not sure about Equifax.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
2017 ideas: Delta Gold, Wyndham, Hilton Reserve, SPG, First Tech or UNFCU, Freedom Unlimited, Aviator, Fairmont, R-C, Sapphire Reserve
Closed: PRG
Letting new accounts cool off since May

yfan
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Postby yfan » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:21 pm

onion wrote:Even though they are low, they can be better than many other cards. Lets look at the AmEx cards, the Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% on groceries up to $6,000 a year and 2% on gas with no limit. The Sallie Mae will offers 5% on groceries up to $3,000 and 5% on gas for another $3,000. Let's pretend we spend $6,000 in each category per year. With the AmEx card you'd end up with $180+$120=$300. With the Sallie Mae you'd end up with $150+$150=$300, AND you'd get 5% on Amazon as well for $6,000 a year. Its a great card and with the right spending patterns, it can give better rewards than many other cards.


It really really really is about what one's spending pattern is. For me, the best gas card is an Amex, but it's the Costco Amex True Earnings card. I would have a Costco membership anyway, so there is no annual fee for the card. Yet it allows 3% cashback on gas - but that's not the important part. The important part is that it allows 3% cashback for Costco gas, which is already roughly 3-5% cheaper than anything you can find in the vicinity. Double that up and I am saving between 6% and 8% compared to paying the going rate. No gas card can beat that. Yes, it's only up to $4,000 spending, but I don't more than that on gas.

With respect to Amazon, after they jacked up the price of Prime, I dropped my membership, and discovered yet another benefit of American Express - A free Shoprunner membership, which allows me to have 2-day shipping from a whole host of online retailers. I am also really impressed by ShopDiscover. Between those two, Amazon has pretty much lost my business. And this coming from someone whose spending on Amazon used to be several hundred a month.

There's no such thing as "the best" gas card or "the best" cashback card. It all depends on what you spend on, and may depend on where you shop.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:35 pm

yfan wrote:It really really really is about what one's spending pattern is. For me, the best gas card is an Amex, but it's the Costco Amex True Earnings card. I would have a Costco membership anyway, so there is no annual fee for the card. Yet it allows 3% cashback on gas - but that's not the important part. The important part is that it allows 3% cashback for Costco gas, which is already roughly 3-5% cheaper than anything you can find in the vicinity. Double that up and I am saving between 6% and 8% compared to paying the going rate. No gas card can beat that. Yes, it's only up to $4,000 spending, but I don't more than that on gas.


Costco gas with the TrueEarnings is definitely the cheapest, and 3% is still not bad when there's not a Costco around. 5% or 5.5% (Freedom) is better, though, at those times.

I would usually just get the cheap, slow Amazon shopping but lately have been buying kindle books more. Shoprunner is definitely nice, and gets free shipping in places where not even the store's own card will offer free shipping!
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
2017 ideas: Delta Gold, Wyndham, Hilton Reserve, SPG, First Tech or UNFCU, Freedom Unlimited, Aviator, Fairmont, R-C, Sapphire Reserve
Closed: PRG
Letting new accounts cool off since May

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onion
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Postby onion » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:14 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Maybe I shouldn't wait too long for Sallie Mae. My TU has only two inquiries - one from last month and one from 2012. Experian has 6 pulls - anytime I have applied for credit, ever, Experian has gotten pulled. I'm not sure about Equifax.


I know we don't usually say this kind of thing, but you've got some great odds at getting accepted.
FICO TU - 728 - 8/14

FICO EX - 716 - 7/14

FICO EQ - 740 - 7/14



Bank of America Cash Rewards - $2,400

Best Buy - $3,000

American Express Blue Cash Everyday - $8,000

American Express Everyday - $10,000

Discover It Chrome - $500 (AU on fiancée's card, helping her build credit)

American Express Platinum - NPSL

Barclaycard Arrival+ - $3,000

Capital One Yamacard - $11,000



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