Best two rewards cards for me

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click23
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Best two rewards cards for me

Postby click23 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:27 am

Just a bit of history for me, I have two cards right now, a Chase Freedom card and a US Bank Platinum card. I have had these accounts 12 years and 3 years, and have a balance of $0 and $4,000 respectively. Both cards have a limit of $8,000. Over the next few months I will get that balance down, and hopefully paid off. I have never used the rewards on the Freedom card.

We travel locally quite a bit and spend a lot on diesel, and eat out a bit too. We spend 300-400 a month on fuel and groceries and have a $160 cell phone bill.

My thoughts getting the best cash rewards benefit is to get two cards and the two I am looking at are the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred and the U.S. Bank Cash+ card. The BCP for gas and groceries, and the Cash+ for dining and cell phone.

My credit scores are:
Experian 745
Transunion 775
Equifax 708

The only derogatory mark my credit report is that in December of 2012 I somehow missed a HELOC payment, but I caught it back up the next month. Our total debt is under 90K on a 80K household income.

I am brand new to the rewards game and just want to see if you guys think I can get these two cards, if this is a good idea or if you think there is a better option.


click23
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Postby click23 » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:56 am

US Bank has a page where you can see what cars you are prequalified for without doing a hard report, the only one I was presented was the Contour card, which is a prepaid card. This makes me sick, is this because of my high utilization on my current US Bank card? This is also the company that has my mortgage.

linuxmachine
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Postby linuxmachine » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:33 am

Cash+ is a bit of a mixed bag. Their categories rotate. For instance they recently dropped the hotel category. And their restaurant categiry is divided in two, between fast food and sit in dining. So if you want full restaurant coverage you need to use up both 5% slots on food. Cash+ can be a good short term strategy but I wouldn't expect it to be consistent over the long haul.

For gas and groceries Sallie Mae is a good alternative. 5% cash back up to 250 in gas/groceries. No annual fee. Also if you had the freedom that long and haven't cashed in your points, the chase sapphire preferred could be useful to get free hotel stays with points transfer. Sapphire also gets 2% back in dining and travel expenses. You could always downgrade to the no fee sapphire once you use up your points.

click23
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Postby click23 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:52 pm

I do not think the Sapphire card would be a good fit for us because of the way to earn the 2x points we only dine out, and very seldom stay in a hotel.

I am pretty much settled on the BCP for gas and groceries, unless someone else can reccomend a better card. The Sallie Mae is tempting, but with its monthly gas and grocery limit it has, I think we will be sticking with the BCP

In place of the Cash+ I am also looking at the Capital One Quicksilver card. And the more that I look at the Quicksilver card, the more that I like it and am now leaning towards it instead the the Cach+.


My main question is still do you think with my credit rating and history that I would quaify for these cards.

Thanks!

click23
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Postby click23 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:56 pm

And there is a typo in my first post, our total debt is under 60K.

linuxmachine
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Postby linuxmachine » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:14 pm

I don't think you should have any issue getting both the BCP and Quicksilver. The QS card should be easier to get, so if you are concerned, I'd opt for the BCP first

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:59 am

click23 wrote:I am pretty much settled on the BCP for gas and groceries, unless someone else can reccomend a better card.

If your spend in groceries, gas & drugstores is over (IIRC) $12,500 annually then the old Blue Cash may be better suited to your spend. Don't take my word for the threshold amount as I'm not sure if I'm recalling it correctly. It only gets you 1% up until $6,500 and then 5% unlimited (BCP's 6% on groceries is capped at $6K annually and gas is 3%) kicks in so you can do the math to verify.

If you can use MR points then the Everyday Preferred could be worth considering. You'd have to meet the usage requirement to get 4.5x on groceries and 3x on gas (versus the standard 3x and 2x respectively) but redemption may improve the rewards value. I haven't really looked into it myself since I have no use for MR points. Given that it's a new product there's probably discussion about it in other threads.

click23
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Postby click23 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:41 am

We do not spend quite that much on gas and groceries, and I have a HSA account for prescriptions which is deduced from my check before taxes. For gas and groceries we are close to $10,000 total.

I applied for the BCP last night and got approved for a CL of $2,000. I am going to pay down my outstanding CC balances, request a 3x increase on the BCP card and then wait a month to apply for the Quicksilver card. I know that C1 does not hand out CLI like AmEx does, so I want to get in the best possible shape before I apply for it.

linuxmachine
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Postby linuxmachine » Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:04 pm

click23 wrote:We do not spend quite that much on gas and groceries, and I have a HSA account for prescriptions which is deduced from my check before taxes. For gas and groceries we are close to $10,000 total.

I applied for the BCP last night and got approved for a CL of $2,000. I am going to pay down my outstanding CC balances, request a 3x increase on the BCP card and then wait a month to apply for the Quicksilver card. I know that C1 does not hand out CLI like AmEx does, so I want to get in the best possible shape before I apply for it.


Not sure whether the bank that finances your HSA allows you to reimburse yourself, but I just use my regular CC to pay for medical expenses, and just add a claim to get reimbursed. My bank switched out the CC to a debit only, and half the places I go don't take debit. Ordering checks from them requires me to jump through hoops. So I just decided to just not pay using HSA directly. But turns out it was a good thing, as I get points from my CC spend AND still pay for expenses pre-tax

There's on caveat though. Scan all your receipts, because while the bank doesn't care, the IRS will :P

Ulka
 
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Postby Ulka » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:34 am

Thanks for this post.



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