2% Cash Back (Maybe)?

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sticf
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2% Cash Back (Maybe)?

Postby sticf » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:13 am

Brief Background...

I recently changed positions at my company. This change means less travel, so when my Amex Corp card expired recently it was not renewed. This opens some other posibilities for card usage.

The Setup...
I will still have to travel once or twice a year for the company. This puts me in a position to take advantage of some “travel cards”. So far I am really looking at 2 cards (Discover Escape and Capital One Venture). I am looking to these because I while I do not travel a lot, they give 2pt/$1 on any spending. I understand to get full value for the points they have to be redeemed for travel expenses. This is where not having a Corp Card to make these cards 2% cash back.

The Plan...
I use the cards as primary cards for my daily expenses and living. When I travel for business I book with the card and use points I have built up to pay off the charges. Because I am traveling for business I can expense the charges to my company and receive an expense check (aka Cash at a 2% rate).

The Questions...
1.How often are points awarded for each card? (Monthly, Time of Charge, Yearly)
2.How easy are the points to redeam? (Minimum Amount, Maximum Amount, Pay back on next bill)
3.Am I missing something that would cause the plan to fail?

I know it is not that straight forward. However, it is not that complicated. Expenses in my company are paid very quickly (usually 2 days after submitting). I am not worried about getting paid from the company. Also for some reason my company downsizes I will have some points for a "free vacation"! :)
Thanks in advance.


jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:33 pm

I would just use a basic cashback card with a good reward, such as the Fidelity Amex from FIA, which gives 2% cash on everything. I think simpler is better if it's the same reward amount or only a little less in the end.
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.

sticf
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Postby sticf » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:57 pm

jeffysdad wrote:I would just use a basic cashback card with a good reward, such as the Fidelity Amex from FIA, which gives 2% cash on everything. I think simpler is better if it's the same reward amount or only a little less in the end.


I thought about that. The problem I have with those cards is it has to go into a Fidelity account. None of my retirement accounts are currently with Fidelity. I do not need another IRA and I am never going to use a 529 Plan. If I am mistaken please let me know. I am going off of their website information.

DarrellEW
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Postby DarrellEW » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:05 pm

You can open a checking account at Fidelty that will qualify.

They call it the Fidelity Cash Management Account, and it used to be known as mySmart Cash.

jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:39 pm

The Fidelity cash management account is free, has no fees, provides checks and a debit card, also for free.
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.

sticf
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Postby sticf » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:29 pm

Thanks for the info on the FIA card. However, I am still going to pass on it. Having another checking account is not something I need. I have one with in my adopted home state of CO with US Bank. And another local to Houston for cashing those annoying (:rolleyes :) hard checks I receive from different sources. I have no intention of shutting down my "remote" account. US Bank has treated me well for so long I am not about to give up on them unless they do something really crazy like BoA's Fees.

I did not realize that Fidelity offered checking but I will file it away for future reference.

Can any member with the cards I am interested in answer questions 1 and 2 above?

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Pete838
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Postby Pete838 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:20 pm

Discover typically pays cash or a statement credit whenever you reach $50 in rewards. Or you can redeem for garbage in their mall.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan

DavidNY
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Postby DavidNY » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:57 pm

Discover has a mostly lousy rewards program. If you use it, you can get about a 20% bonus for getting a gift card with the rewards, but really, why bother?

Money card
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Postby Money card » Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:07 am

STIf If I may make a suggestion why not get the same American express card but get the personal version instead of the corporate card?

I think both of your choices are perfect for you, the capital 1 venture and the Discover escape. I'm more familiar with the capital1. But I see the Discover escape looks like a very nice card.

sticf
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Postby sticf » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:13 am

Money card wrote:STIf If I may make a suggestion why not get the same American express card but get the personal version instead of the corporate card?


I have no general problem with Amex but I look at their points rewards programs and they do not excite me. If I traveled more, some friends of mine do more than 25% of their job on the road, it would be more attractive. I get a better rewards return with the Venture or Escape because I get 2% for everything. I spend more than 90% of my time in the city/suburbs. If our company policy had not forced me to get a Amex Green I never would have. That being said I do have a newer Blue Cash because it does fit into my spending habits.

I am leaning towards the Visa more because it will be accepted at 100% of the places I shop. This will allow for some simplification of my finances and rewards tracking. While I might give up some rewards because I am not "min/maxing" I think overall it would be a win to consolidate my spending to one card.



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