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mendelssohn

The Rewards Card Strategies Discussion Thread

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This is an important topic that almost never gets discussed here on CB. I have to admit that I cringe when I see someone apply for a bunch of different rewards cards with AFs and then ask how to best use them. Research is key, and I hope this thread can help a lot of people, myself included, better plan and work out a strategy for rewards.

 

I think the first thing to decide is what type of rewards you are after. If you're after cash back, that will mean a different set of cards than someone after travel rewards. Are you airline loyal? Travel for work? Travel only on award tickets?

 

__________

 

OK, thread intro is over. :D

 

Here's my current strategy. I am mainly after travel rewards, but I don't travel for work and plan on flying mostly on award tickets.

 

My main cards:

 

Chase SP: restaurants and travel

Chase Freedom: 5% categories

 

Amex PRG: groceries and gas when not in the Freedom 5%

 

Amex SPG: 1% category purchases

 

 

I supplement points earned in these programs with signup bonuses on co-branded airline CCs, but because I am booking award tickets, having a co-branded airline CC is not part of my long term plan.

 

Here are some changes I am considering for my porftolio:

 

Chase Freedom: 5% categories

Chase Ink Plus: 5% on office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services

Chase SP rewards would be redundant with Citi card

 

Amex PRG replace with Amex Everyday Preferred

Amex Everyday Preferred: groceries and gas when not in the Freedom 5%

 

Amex SPG: 1% categories

 

Citi Thank You Premier OR Prestige: would replace the restaurant and travel purchases from the CSP

 

I am open to opinions as to whether the Thank You Premier or the Prestige would be a better card. I am leaning towards the Prestige, but I will probably get the TY Premier first for the bonus.

 

This plan would give me cards in 4 major points programs and a lot of flexibility. Opinions?

Edited by mendelssohn

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CSP seems like a card designed for churning. Fantastic signup bonus. Almost no retention offers. Allowed to app for a new signup bonus 24+ months after receiving the last one. Does the Ink Plus keep your CSP UR points alive and transferable?

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CSP seems like a card designed for churning. Fantastic signup bonus. Almost no retention offers. Allowed to app for a new signup bonus 24+ months after receiving the last one. Does the Ink Plus keep your CSP UR points alive and transferable?

 

Yes. Otherwise, I would not close the CSP. It seems like a bad move to keep it open once I have one of the Citi cards though. I'd like to keep AFs to a minimum.

 

I agree though. The CSP is a churnable card.

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One other thing I wanted to discuss in this thread was a strategy for building a solid AAOA while also churning cards for signup bonuses.

 

As I continue to build my CC portfolio, I am going to continue adding cash back CCs even though I don't plan on focusing on cash back. I think it's a wise move to be ready to switch to a cash back strategy at any time, and these cards usually don't have an AF.

 

I would like to add enough long term cards to be manageable, but also to have a solid AAOA. Churning Amex cards will help build my AAOA in the short term. Since churning rewards cards for signup bonuses can kill your AAOA and they will not be left open long term because of an AF, I want to have a solid AAOA and enough long term accounts to keep my reports from only showing short term accounts.

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Can I post my cards here and somebody could give some suggestions?

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Can I post my cards here and somebody could give some suggestions?

 

That's the idea. Anyone can post anything and get help with their strategy, whatever it is.

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So I may use my BofA for gas since its 3%.

Ebates for online purchases when they are running bonuses. I bought a purse yesterday and they were offering 10% cash back, plus 3% if you used your Ebates card. (eBags)

I need to put my new Amex in heavy rotation to rack up miles since I'm from GA and it's a major Delta hub.

I swipe my debit card too dang much to not get any benefit from it. That's gonna change in 2015.

Edited by callmePeaches

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So I may use my BofA for gas since its 3%.

Ebates for online purchases when they are running bonuses. I bought a purse yesterday and they were offering 10% cash back, plus 3% if you used your Ebates card. (eBags)

I need to put my new Amex in heavy rotation to rack up miles since I'm from GA and it's a major Delta hub.

I swipe my debit card too dang much to not get any benefit from it. That's gonna change in 2015.

 

So what is your overall strategy? You mention travel rewards and cash back. What cards do you have currently?

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I am just now getting into travel rewards. I am looking for rewards for airline tickets. I am not airline loyal.

 

Some of the cards that I/We currently have are

 

Groceries

Sallie Mae

Amex ED

Capital One Quicksilver - This is currently SD.

 

Travel

2 US Airways

Amex SPG, I believe that the points can be utilized for airline miles. Correct me if I am incorrect.

 

I a planning on getting

Amex PRG for the wife and I

Amex SPG for myself

Amex HH for the wife and I

Chase SP for the wife and I

Chase Freedom

I may also get the Venture card from Cap 1.

 

My thinking on the duplicate cards for the wife and I is that we can get the 2x signup bonuses. What do you guys think? Should I leverage our portfolio that way or should we get different cards and AU each other?

Edited by FromBadtoGood

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My strategy? That's why I'm lurking on this post.

Ebates

BofA rewards

Amex Delta

PayPal MasterCard

Walmart

Cap1QS :(

 

My Ebates only has a $800 limit and PP has $2k I actually think I will use Ebates more. I tried to recon on approval but was turned down. Will they let me close PP and combine limits?

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My strategy? That's why I'm lurking on this post.

Ebates

BofA rewards

Amex Delta

PayPal MasterCard

Walmart

Cap1QS :(

 

My Ebates only has a $800 limit and PP has $2k I actually think I will use Ebates more. I tried to recon on approval but was turned down. Will they let me close PP and combine limits?

That is why mendel started this post, many people , including myself just start adding cards.

 

Let's figure out why we want them and how to maximize benefit. And it may not be an answer you have overnight, just a goal to find one.

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I am just now getting into travel rewards. I am looking for rewards for airline tickets. I am not airline loyal.

 

Some of the cards that I/We currently have are

 

Groceries

Sallie Mae

Amex ED

Capital One Quicksilver - This is currently SD.

 

Travel

2 US Airways

Amex SPG, I believe that the points can be utilized for airline miles. Correct me if I am incorrect.

 

I a planning on getting

Amex PRG for the wife and I

Amex SPG for myself

Amex HH for the wife and I

Chase SP for the wife and I

Chase Freedom

I may also get the Venture card from Cap 1.

 

My thinking on the duplicate cards for the wife and I is that we can get the 2x signup bonuses. What do you guys think? Should I leverage our portfolio that way or should we get different cards and AU each other?

 

It's definitely a good idea to double up on rewards cards bonuses!

 

For MR points, the Everyday Preferred is a much better choice than the no AF Everyday card. Remember that if you use it 30 times a month (split up purchases if necessary) that you get a 50% bonus on MR points earned. That means the first $6K in groceries will give you 27K MR points. Gas would be 3x points with the bonus.

 

I see that you have the US Airways cards. Was it just for the bonus? You might consider adding a Citi AAdvantage card to pad your AA miles accounts. This card currently has a 50K bonus: http://www.aa.com/pubcontent/en_US/disclaimers/BP-PLATHV.jsp

 

Are you hotel loyal? I'm not. I just got the Amex HH card with no AF for when I do stay at a Hilton property, and the SPG is a good card for earning from spending.

 

What value do you see in the Venture card? That's a cash back travel card, and the points that you earn on other cards can be much more valuable than cash back.

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My strategy? That's why I'm lurking on this post.

Ebates

BofA rewards

Amex Delta

PayPal MasterCard

Walmart

Cap1QS :(

 

My Ebates only has a $800 limit and PP has $2k I actually think I will use Ebates more. I tried to recon on approval but was turned down. Will they let me close PP and combine limits?

 

What I mean was what is your goal? Would you prefer to get cash back? Travel rewards? You need to figure that out first before coming up with a good strategy.

 

You mentioned that you wanted to get miles on your Amex Delta card. Have you considered opening a PRG and Everyday Preferred as well? Both of those cards transfer to Delta. I would suggest closing the PRG after a year, but using the Everyday Preferred as your grocery and gas card. See my post above about the earnings on this card.

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My strategy? That's why I'm lurking on this post.

Ebates

BofA rewards

Amex Delta

PayPal MasterCard

Walmart

Cap1QS :(

My Ebates only has a $800 limit and PP has $2k I actually think I will use Ebates more. I tried to recon on approval but was turned down. Will they let me close PP and combine limits?

 

That is why mendel started this post, many people , including myself just start adding cards.

 

Let's figure out why we want them and how to maximize benefit. And it may not be an answer you have overnight, just a goal to find one.

Just on here trying to get ideas, I spend tons on groceries being that I have teen boys, restaurants, gas. I would love cashback, statement credits, and discounts on travel.

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My strategy? That's why I'm lurking on this post.

Ebates

BofA rewards

Amex Delta

PayPal MasterCard

Walmart

Cap1QS :(

My Ebates only has a $800 limit and PP has $2k I actually think I will use Ebates more. I tried to recon on approval but was turned down. Will they let me close PP and combine limits?

That is why mendel started this post, many people , including myself just start adding cards.

 

Let's figure out why we want them and how to maximize benefit. And it may not be an answer you have overnight, just a goal to find one.

Just on here trying to get ideas, I spend tons on groceries being that I have teen boys, restaurants, gas. I would love cashback, statement credits, and discounts on travel.

 

 

The Amex Everyday Preferred is a good choice for you then.

 

There's nothing wrong with your plans, but going after mixed rewards is not ideal IMO.

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The one thing I'd like to toss in early on in the thread is that the most valuable travel rewards are the ones you actually use.

 

Getting a bunch of cards because you read about a blogger who took a first-class trip to Chad and got eleven cents a mile isn't going to help you if you're only ever going to hop on a Southwest flight to go to Indianapolis and stay in a HoJo.

 

Start with one focused trip you're actually going to take - a trip that's well into the future (think 9-12 months) - figure out how many of which kinds of points will be required to cover all of your expenses, and then execute the plan.

 

Also, be realistic. If you aren't a big spender and you aren't going to do M$, focus entirely on signup bonuses.

Edited by cv91915

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Mendelssohn, we all appreciate the work and can of worms you just opened for yourself.

 

This will be a TON of work for you, but I know you enjoy it, and then it becomes more fulfilling.

 

Thanks man. I will lay out my strategy soon. I seriously need to develop a direction with my cards.

 

One fact I know is like you, I do not travel for work but do take a few flights a year that I'd like to make happen for little to no cost, by maximizing sign-up bonuses and the money I spend everyday.

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I am just now getting into travel rewards. I am looking for rewards for airline tickets. I am not airline loyal.

 

Some of the cards that I/We currently have are

 

Groceries

Sallie Mae

Amex ED

Capital One Quicksilver - This is currently SD.

 

Travel

2 US Airways

Amex SPG, I believe that the points can be utilized for airline miles. Correct me if I am incorrect.

 

I a planning on getting

Amex PRG for the wife and I

Amex SPG for myself

Amex HH for the wife and I

Chase SP for the wife and I

Chase Freedom

I may also get the Venture card from Cap 1.

 

My thinking on the duplicate cards for the wife and I is that we can get the 2x signup bonuses. What do you guys think? Should I leverage our portfolio that way or should we get different cards and AU each other?

 

It's definitely a good idea to double up on rewards cards bonuses!

 

For MR points, the Everyday Preferred is a much better choice than the no AF Everyday card. Remember that if you use it 30 times a month (split up purchases if necessary) that you get a 50% bonus on MR points earned. That means the first $6K in groceries will give you 27K MR points. Gas would be 3x points with the bonus. I did not know this. Thanks for the heads up on this. :good: This is why I love this board!

 

I see that you have the US Airways cards. Was it just for the bonus? You might consider adding a Citi AAdvantage card to pad your AA miles accounts. This card currently has a 50K bonus: http://www.aa.com/pubcontent/en_US/disclaimers/BP-PLATHV.jsp Yes it was just for the bonus. I meant to put the citi AA on the list I have it written down in my notebook.

 

Are you hotel loyal? I'm not. I just got the Amex HH card with no AF for when I do stay at a Hilton property, and the SPG is a good card for earning from spending. I am not hotel loyal. But we do tend to stay at hilton backed properties more than any other.

 

What value do you see in the Venture card? That's a cash back travel card, and the points that you earn on other cards can be much more valuable than cash back. I just saw they are offering 100k bonus miles is the reason I listed the Venture card.

 

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The one thing I'd like to toss in early on in the thread is that the most valuable travel rewards are the ones you actually use.

 

Getting a bunch of cards because you read about a blogger who took a first-class trip to Chad and got eleven cents a mile isn't going to help you if you're only ever going to hop on a Southwest flight to go to Indianapolis and stay in a HoJo.

 

Start with one focused trip you're actually going to take - a trip that's well into the future (think 9-12 months) - figure out how many of which kinds of points will be required to cover all of your expenses, and then execute the plan.

 

Also, be realistic. If you aren't a big spender and you aren't going to do M$, focus entirely on signup bonuses.

 

Solid advice.

 

Stay focused on your goals and make sure that cards with an AF are worth it to you.

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I am just now getting into travel rewards. I am looking for rewards for airline tickets. I am not airline loyal.

 

Some of the cards that I/We currently have are

 

Groceries

Sallie Mae

Amex ED

Capital One Quicksilver - This is currently SD.

 

Travel

2 US Airways

Amex SPG, I believe that the points can be utilized for airline miles. Correct me if I am incorrect.

 

I a planning on getting

Amex PRG for the wife and I

Amex SPG for myself

Amex HH for the wife and I

Chase SP for the wife and I

Chase Freedom

I may also get the Venture card from Cap 1.

 

My thinking on the duplicate cards for the wife and I is that we can get the 2x signup bonuses. What do you guys think? Should I leverage our portfolio that way or should we get different cards and AU each other?

 

It's definitely a good idea to double up on rewards cards bonuses!

 

For MR points, the Everyday Preferred is a much better choice than the no AF Everyday card. Remember that if you use it 30 times a month (split up purchases if necessary) that you get a 50% bonus on MR points earned. That means the first $6K in groceries will give you 27K MR points. Gas would be 3x points with the bonus. I did not know this. Thanks for the heads up on this. :good: This is why I love this board!

 

I see that you have the US Airways cards. Was it just for the bonus? You might consider adding a Citi AAdvantage card to pad your AA miles accounts. This card currently has a 50K bonus: http://www.aa.com/pubcontent/en_US/disclaimers/BP-PLATHV.jsp Yes it was just for the bonus. I meant to put the citi AA on the list I have it written down in my notebook.

 

Are you hotel loyal? I'm not. I just got the Amex HH card with no AF for when I do stay at a Hilton property, and the SPG is a good card for earning from spending. I am not hotel loyal. But we do tend to stay at hilton backed properties more than any other.

 

What value do you see in the Venture card? That's a cash back travel card, and the points that you earn on other cards can be much more valuable than cash back. I just saw they are offering 100k bonus miles is the reason I listed the Venture card.

 

 

 

I'm pretty sure that the 100K "miles" was for Venture card holders that refinance a mortgage with Cap1. I remember seeing something like that the other day.

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The one thing I'd like to toss in early on in the thread is that the most valuable travel rewards are the ones you actually use.

 

Getting a bunch of cards because you read about a blogger who took a first-class trip to Chad and got eleven cents a mile isn't going to help you if you're only ever going to hop on a Southwest flight to go to Indianapolis and stay in a HoJo.

 

Start with one focused trip you're actually going to take - a trip that's well into the future (think 9-12 months) - figure out how many of which kinds of points will be required to cover all of your expenses, and then execute the plan.

 

Also, be realistic. If you aren't a big spender and you aren't going to do M$, focus entirely on signup bonuses.

That is good sound advice CV. I am planning on a trip to Jamaica next summer and a trip to Washington next fall. So I will be looking to maximize my points.

 

I have also been focusing on M$ slowly. Thanks for the advice! Your experience in the travel game is invaluable!

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I am just now getting into travel rewards. I am looking for rewards for airline tickets. I am not airline loyal.

 

Some of the cards that I/We currently have are

 

Groceries

Sallie Mae

Amex ED

Capital One Quicksilver - This is currently SD.

 

Travel

2 US Airways

Amex SPG, I believe that the points can be utilized for airline miles. Correct me if I am incorrect.

 

I a planning on getting

Amex PRG for the wife and I

Amex SPG for myself

Amex HH for the wife and I

Chase SP for the wife and I

Chase Freedom

I may also get the Venture card from Cap 1.

 

My thinking on the duplicate cards for the wife and I is that we can get the 2x signup bonuses. What do you guys think? Should I leverage our portfolio that way or should we get different cards and AU each other?

 

It's definitely a good idea to double up on rewards cards bonuses!

 

For MR points, the Everyday Preferred is a much better choice than the no AF Everyday card. Remember that if you use it 30 times a month (split up purchases if necessary) that you get a 50% bonus on MR points earned. That means the first $6K in groceries will give you 27K MR points. Gas would be 3x points with the bonus. I did not know this. Thanks for the heads up on this. :good: This is why I love this board!

 

I see that you have the US Airways cards. Was it just for the bonus? You might consider adding a Citi AAdvantage card to pad your AA miles accounts. This card currently has a 50K bonus: http://www.aa.com/pubcontent/en_US/disclaimers/BP-PLATHV.jsp Yes it was just for the bonus. I meant to put the citi AA on the list I have it written down in my notebook.

 

Are you hotel loyal? I'm not. I just got the Amex HH card with no AF for when I do stay at a Hilton property, and the SPG is a good card for earning from spending. I am not hotel loyal. But we do tend to stay at hilton backed properties more than any other.

 

What value do you see in the Venture card? That's a cash back travel card, and the points that you earn on other cards can be much more valuable than cash back. I just saw they are offering 100k bonus miles is the reason I listed the Venture card.

 

 

 

I'm pretty sure that the 100K "miles" was for Venture card holders that refinance a mortgage with Cap1. I remember seeing something like that the other day.

 

Ah ok. I just saw the little caption at the top I haven't looked into it yet.

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