Thoughts on this Credit Card Combination/Strategy?

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MAHaines
 
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Thoughts on this Credit Card Combination/Strategy?

Postby MAHaines » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:45 pm

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express ($75 annual fee)
6% Groceries - $6,000 limit
3% Department Stores (many major) - no limit

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus from American Express (no annual fee)
5% Gas - $3,000 limit

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® (no annual fee)
5% Restaurants - $2,000 quarterly limit (combined with other 5% category)
5% ** Undecided. Thoughts? ** - $2,000 quarterly limit (combined with other 5% category)
2% Drug Stores - no limit

Barclaycard ArrivalTM World MasterCard® ($89 annual fee)
2x Points on all purchases - no limit
Anything not in a category above would be put on this card. Would the Capital One® Quicksilver® be better for an occasional traveler? Would the Chase Sapphire Preferred® be better?

Is this a good way to leverage rewards? Can it be done better? Would any of the other quarterly rewards cards complement this? In my mind, it all sounds well and good. But if there is anything I am missing, I'd love to know. Thanks!


antiism
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Postby antiism » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:39 pm

This is pretty close to what I just did. I have BCP and US Bank, but instead of USAA, I signed up for the Sallie Mae Mastercard. 5% on Groceries, Gas, and Bookstores including Amazon ($250/250/750 monthly limits). I have Restaurants and Fast food as my categories right now because pizza and sub places count as fast food. I'll end up dropping one of the two for Hotels and/or electronics stores in the next two quarters.

I'm about to go on a trip out of the country, so I'm thinking about getting Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a $400 bonus for putting $3000 on it in 3 months, has a chip and pin, pairs nicely with Chase Freedom, and transfers points to a lot of airlines. The 2% is only on travel and dining, so it's not quite as good. If you want 2% on everything, you might want to look at the Fidelity Amex, which doesn't have an annual fee and is another that I'm considering.

I'm looking at getting the Huntington voice. That has one 3% category that you get to choose, but one of those options is utilities.

There's also one from BoA that gives you $25/quarter if you spend money and pay more than the minimum every month. My thought is to hook Netflix up to it, setup autopay, and then direct deposit the $25 into my checking, giving me free Netflix plus a little.

TheLethargicAge
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Postby TheLethargicAge » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:08 pm

If you don't travel much, you're better off with the Quicksilver for non-category spending. As for the second 5% category on the Cash+, I'd go with Fast Food, so you'll have all your bases covered as far as dining (it sucks U.S. Bank considers them separate categories).
Blue Cash Preferred ($24K), Costco TrueEarnings ($8K), Better Balance Rewards ($6K), CashForward ($15K), Sallie Mae Rewards ($10K), Quicksilver ($17K), AARP Rewards ($15K), Freedom ($15K), Double Cash ($16.5K), It ($28.5K), Fidelity Investment Rewards ($18K), Cash+ ($11K)

linuxmachine
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Postby linuxmachine » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:09 pm

if you're looking for fixed points, this is pretty good. if you want hotel points or airline miles, you'll want to switch over to the freedom/sapphire and the amex everyday preferred to replace some of your cash back cards.

haikuginger
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Postby haikuginger » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:11 pm

linuxmachine wrote:if you're looking for fixed points, this is pretty good. if you want hotel points or airline miles, you'll want to switch over to the freedom/sapphire and the amex everyday preferred to replace some of your cash back cards.


Yep, this is the key. This set of cards seems to be an excellent assortment if you want straight cashback, but if you can get more than around 1.5cpp out of airline points, then you'd want to look at a different array. The other thing with cashback is that it's psychologically harder to save it long-term; when your rewards are denominated, you think about them in terms of value on the scale of what they're currently worth. In comparison, if you're saving airline/Ultimate Rewards/Membership Rewards points, you can think of it in terms of, "I'm halfway to the vacation I promised myself," rather than "I have enough to redeem for xxxxx gadget on Amazon".

Just my thoughts.

freyj6
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Postby freyj6 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:20 pm

Mostly looks good. It depends on how much your travel, how much your spend on groceries and what your overall spending is.

Like someone else said I'd recommend going for Sallie Mae over the USAA card. If you spend more than 6000 on groceries you can cover the rest with it, and if you spend less than 4500 BCP isn't worth it.

Barclaycard > quicksilver if you spend more than about 12,500 per year in uncategorized spending and you travel enough to use the miles. (That would be a little less than 300 a year in travel). If you don't, quicksilver is better. If you take travel a bit more and you're good with points, CSP/Freedom might be better.

Cheers
Current Strategy

Chase Freedom + Discover IT + Churning

MAHaines
 
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Postby MAHaines » Thu May 01, 2014 9:42 pm

freyj6 wrote:Mostly looks good. It depends on how much your travel, how much your spend on groceries and what your overall spending is.

Like someone else said I'd recommend going for Sallie Mae over the USAA card. If you spend more than 6000 on groceries you can cover the rest with it, and if you spend less than 4500 BCP isn't worth it.

Barclaycard > quicksilver if you spend more than about 12,500 per year in uncategorized spending and you travel enough to use the miles. (That would be a little less than 300 a year in travel). If you don't, quicksilver is better. If you take travel a bit more and you're good with points, CSP/Freedom might be better.

Cheers


Why replace Barclaycard with CSP?

mrow
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Postby mrow » Thu May 01, 2014 11:45 pm

MAHaines wrote:Why replace Barclaycard with CSP?


More places you can transfer your points to for travel than with the Barclaycard. And with the Chase Freedom you get the revolving bonus categories each quarter and you can then transfer those points to the CSP to transfer to travel partners.

timhansel01
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Postby timhansel01 » Tue May 20, 2014 4:52 pm

Is there any place where I could find a comprehensive guide to CC combination and strategies? Sometimes I feel like my son playing with his magic the gathering cards, just trying to find the right combo to win... or go to Japan for the summer!

Thanks for the info!

takeshi
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Postby takeshi » Wed May 21, 2014 12:55 pm

MAHaines wrote:Is this a good way to leverage rewards? Can it be done better?

Better and good are always highly subjective. It really depends on spend and not just the cards themselves. Sallie Mae can be a better fit for lower spend. The old Blue Cash can be better than the BCP for higher amounts of spend.

timhansel01 wrote:Is there any place where I could find a comprehensive guide to CC combination and strategies?

I've never seen any such thing. It's really just a matter of looking at your spend (a bit more involved if looking at points/miles) and finding suitable cards versus relying on generalized solutions.



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