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Forget gas and groceries—streaming services are the new trend in credit card rewards


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On 9/7/2019 at 10:27 PM, cv91915 said:

So happy that US Bank eliminated car rentals and bookstores (Amazon) as 5% categories on the Cash+.  Now we get $0.55/month back for Netflix!!!!

As I've noted, I'm cleaning up on USBank Cash+ with 5% on utilities and streaming -- both categories I don't have bonuses for on other cards (as opposed to Amazon 5% on the store card, and 4.5% on car rentals as travel on CSR).

 

The card was tailor-made as an add-on to my credit portfolio.

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On 9/8/2019 at 11:14 PM, hdporter said:

As I've noted, I'm cleaning up on USBank Cash+ with 5% on utilities and streaming -- both categories I don't have bonuses for on other cards (as opposed to Amazon 5% on the store card, and 4.5% on car rentals as travel on CSR).

 

The card was tailor-made as an add-on to my credit portfolio.

Thanks for the nudge.

 

I just went through our utility bill payments for the past 12 months.  I'm currently paying all of these through our checking account (bill pay), obviously for $0 rewards.

 

Conclusions (after considering potential rewards minus credit card payment fees):

  • One of our water/sewer bills is too small to outrun the payment fee, so I'll continue to pay that through bill pay;
     
  • I'm assuming that our California trash bills (paid directly to a private company) wouldn't qualify as utilities, so I'm not including a potential annual net of $9.89 from the total immediately below;
     
  • The remaining utilities (gas, electric and Internet services for both homes plus water/sewer for the Mud Hut)  would have netted us $175.87 at the run rate of the past 12 months.

 

Of course, there is no way to know if US Bank will continue to offer Utilities and Cable/Internet/Streaming as 5% categories, but it's a small effort to switch these bills over, so I'm going to give it a shot.

 

This was also a good exercise to look at historical averages per bill so I can update the spreadsheet I maintain that forecasts our expenses for the next 12 months.  I haven't changed those estimates in at least 5 years.

 

EDIT: Forgot about Netflix... that should get us another $0.55/month.  :lol: 

Edited by cv91915
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Too late to add Utilities as a 5% category on the Cash+ this quarter, but I just paid a water/sewer bill that's due on 9/25 with my Bank of America Travel Rewards Visa, which will net:

 

$196.26 - amount due

      2.00 - credit card payment fee

$198.26 - total purchase

 

$    5.20 - 2.625% rewards on 198.26

    (2.00) - credit card payment fee paid

$   3.20

 

I've been paying this bill via checking/bill pay.

 

 

Edited by cv91915
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Cash + was a wake-up call for me to with respect to earning cb on utility payments.  In Philly, all 3 major utilities levied sufficient fees on credit card payments that credit card payment wasn't economic.

 

I had assumed it was the same in Georgia; I've been missing out for 7 years.  My smallest bill, natural gas, does have a $4.95 fee so (like your water) so that continues with billpay.  Water and electric bills levy no fees on cc pmts.  With a 1/3 acre lawn and a pool, I'm reaping nicely on our water bill the 2 quarters I've been with the card.  Our A/C bill is no slouch, either ;)

 

 

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23 hours ago, cv91915 said:

EDIT: Forgot about Netflix... that should get us another $0.55/month. 

I need to backtrack on this one.

 

I recently had a 10% back offer at Lowe's (up to $13 back) from Bank of America, so I went into a nearby Lowe's store and bought $130 in Netflix gift cards and loaded those into our account.  

 

It will be well into 2020 before the next Netflix charge.

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I need to backtrack on this one.
 
I recently had a 10% back offer at Lowe's (up to $13 back) from Bank of America, so I went into a nearby Lowe's store and bought $130 in Netflix gift cards and loaded those into our account.  
 
It will be well into 2020 before the next Netflix charge.


When did you start watching TV?
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On 9/16/2019 at 5:17 AM, cv91915 said:

Thanks for the nudge.

 

I just went through our utility bill payments for the past 12 months.  I'm currently paying all of these through our checking account (bill pay), obviously for $0 rewards.

 

Conclusions (after considering potential rewards minus credit card payment fees):

  • One of our water/sewer bills is too small to outrun the payment fee, so I'll continue to pay that through bill pay;
     
  • I'm assuming that our California trash bills (paid directly to a private company) wouldn't qualify as utilities, so I'm not including a potential annual net of $9.89 from the total immediately below;
     
  • The remaining utilities (gas, electric and Internet services for both homes plus water/sewer for the Mud Hut)  would have netted us $175.87 at the run rate of the past 12 months.

 

Of course, there is no way to know if US Bank will continue to offer Utilities and Cable/Internet/Streaming as 5% categories, but it's a small effort to switch these bills over, so I'm going to give it a shot.

 

This was also a good exercise to look at historical averages per bill so I can update the spreadsheet I maintain that forecasts our expenses for the next 12 months.  I haven't changed those estimates in at least 5 years.

 

EDIT: Forgot about Netflix... that should get us another $0.55/month.  :lol: 

It looks like SDG&E uses a third-party service for credit card transactions, which doesn't appear to be tied to SDG&E's billing system.  As such, it appears that I can specify any payment amount.

 

Since Utilities as a 5% category will not be active until 10/1 I'm going to wait before attempting to do this, but if I make one payment that covers the current bill plus the estimated total on the next five statements, I could pay this bill only twice a year and just pay two credit card fees.  

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/22/2019 at 7:50 AM, cv91915 said:

It looks like SDG&E uses a third-party service for credit card transactions, which doesn't appear to be tied to SDG&E's billing system.  As such, it appears that I can specify any payment amount.

 

Since Utilities as a 5% category will not be active until 10/1 I'm going to wait before attempting to do this, but if I make one payment that covers the current bill plus the estimated total on the next five statements, I could pay this bill only twice a year and just pay two credit card fees.  

I just paid the September SDG&E bill plus the equivalent of ~6 months of future SDG&E bills on the Cash+ for a single $1.50 credit card fee.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

In addition to this month's two ISP bills, I also just prepaid the Mudland electric and gas bills right up to the $2,000 quarterly 5% category cap.  
 

The gas company has a $750/payment maximum for the $1.75 credit card fee, so I did the full $750 and then used the remainder of the $2k quarterly cap to prepay the electric bill.

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1 hour ago, cv91915 said:

In addition to this month's two ISP bills, I also just prepaid the Mudland electric and gas bills right up to the $2,000 quarterly 5% category cap.  
 

The gas company has a $750/payment maximum for the $1.75 credit card fee, so I did the full $750 and then used the remainder of the $2k quarterly cap to prepay the electric bill.

 

Uh ... Prepay???  I really wish my $2k/quarter was "prepaying" something.  However, water/gas/electric, ATT/DirecTV, Netflix/Hulu tap the $2k out in full!

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/9/2019 at 4:39 PM, cv91915 said:

In addition to this month's two ISP bills, I also just prepaid the Mudland electric and gas bills right up to the $2,000 quarterly 5% category cap.  
 

The gas company has a $750/payment maximum for the $1.75 credit card fee, so I did the full $750 and then used the remainder of the $2k quarterly cap to prepay the electric bill.

I'm going to max the 5% purchases again this quarter, but by the time March ends I will have all of our gas and electric bills prepaid through the end of the year, leaving just a slow trickle of eligible charges in the utility and streaming/TV categories for the remainder of the year.

 

It would be nice if this card had other useful categories.

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  • 2 months later...

I've done some basic sanity checks in the past, but I just went through my first quarter utility and ISP/streaming rewards in detail to confirm that everything was posting correctly, and almost everything is working as planned.

 

While the merchant name for our quarterly municipal water/sewer payments is "City of Mudland Utilities," their MCC code says that they are:

 

GOVERNMENT SERVICES (NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSIFIED)

 

As such, I paid a 2% credit card fee to get just 1% back on the ~$160 payment I made in March.

 

I'm going back to paying this bill from our checking account.

 

 

Edited by cv91915
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With the recent cutoff moratoriums in place. Duke Energy is currently waiving CC fees. When in place the fee was a flat $1.50 regardless off payment amount. I'm currently good until at least August.

 

Piedmont Natural Gas here has never charged a CC fee. I'm good until at least November.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/8/2019 at 8:14 PM, hdporter said:

As I've noted, I'm cleaning up on USBank Cash+ with 5% on utilities and streaming -- both categories I don't have bonuses for on other cards (as opposed to Amazon 5% on the store card, and 4.5% on car rentals as travel on CSR).

 

The card was tailor-made as an add-on to my credit portfolio.

I am really considering applying for USBank Cash for the 5% utilities. However, I don't have a banking relationship with them and I've read they prefer it. Hmmm, just might try them. 

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11 minutes ago, cv91915 said:

You're starting to talk to yourself.

Yeah but I didn't just start. Been having great conversations with myself for a long time. 

 

Seriously, Bill Matrix is a third party payer with SDG&E and I was curious if you gained rewards paying utilities with USBank Cash. If not, which card did you use. Please, purty please....

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