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Old 03-06-2016, 09:20 PM   #41
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....
I cannot honestly remember how many I have open right now, but the stack of unused cards in my safe is 3 or 4 inches high. I might have 20 right now if I had to guess.
That is a new one. Measuring your credit card stack with a ruler!
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The Chase Sapphire is the only card with an annual fee that I've kept. It is a great card for foreign travel and the ultimate rewards program is amazing. I also have the Freedom card that I use for the rotating categories and transfer points to the sapphire.
What do you get with the ultimate rewards? I haven't taken advantage of it.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:36 AM   #42
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I closed all my credit cards that I don't use since I'm not borrowing any more. I don't care about my credit score. But I closed some of my husband cards and his FICO score went down from 845 to 805. I'm sure that's still a very good score.
I used my IPad to capture all front and back of the credit cards and the one I'm done harvesting the rewards, I cut them off. I'm waiting for the one year to cancel them. Honestly, I have been paying cash two years before I planned to retire, I don't really need any credit card. I mean I can do without any card.


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We only have three no-fee credit cards open since retiring over 6 years ago (corporate issued card I carried went away). Two of the three credit cards were acquired within the last year or so - Citi Double Cash and Capital One Quicksilver (mentioned in my earlier post) along with our old Credit Union cards. FYI - Our Credit Union credit cards have to be closed if we close our accounts. Had to open a separate savings account to get an individual Credit Union CC way back when. That CC was my business travel back-up card for the American Express/Diners Club corporate cards I carried over the years (weren't accepted everywhere). We keep wife's Credit Union accounts open for local cash access/check depositing (use Ally online banking). Her checking/savings accounts have been open 17 years with Credit and Debit cards. Credit Union issued a separate card number to me against her account's CC when I closed my accounts (was not requested).

Our reasons for maintaining available credit - since retiring, the hardest thing with our finances is available cash (having to go to the Credit Union or no-fee ATM when we travel/snowbird). Really difficult to travel without credit cards (airfares, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc). We took $200.00 cash with us for Jan/Feb snowbirding and returned with about $80.00. We pay for just about everything with credit cards. Aldi accepting credit cards now will cut down on our debit card exposure (only use it for ATM cash withdrawals other than Aldi exception). Our last car purchase deal was sweetened with the offer of a $500.00 Veteran's discount when approved for financing with the Car Mfr. Paid it off with first payment.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:04 AM   #43
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I feel like a credit card reward lightweight compared to some of the folks out there, honestly.

But for the Ultimate Rewards, I check the rental car rates as they are cheaper than Costco on some (but I got a surprise the other day when it was actually cheaper to use the SW portal to book one in Phoenix). I also transfer points 1:1 from them to United, and booked my ticket to Denver with them. It is my go-to card when I'm not working on a spending requirement for another card, along with the Freedom rotating categories. You can use points and dollars for redemptions, which is nice, as well.

I also have been pleased with the IHG (Holiday Inn) card, it has a huge bonus and it is easy for me to find low (15k) point redemptions. I booked 5 nights of hotels for the upcoming Denver/Phoenix trip I'm taking with my niece all on points. The little promotion they ran Dec-Feb was fun too--you had to mail in cards with your info to their prize folks, and got to play a "pick a number" game online. I did it for mine and DH's accounts, and "won" 42k points on his account and 43k on mine. Not bad.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:19 AM   #44
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I've noticed this nice boost in rewards [for BoA Platinum Preferred], but I haven't been willing to hand any money over to any crappy BofA investments or CDs to get this larger reward benefit.
What we did was put 100K into the "merrill edge" brokerage and bought Vanguard ETFs that fit into our asset allocation. No transaction fees/commissions and counts for the rewards membership level. So far, in two years, I've never been contacted by any "helpful" financial advisor, but reports by others on bogleheads indicate that a couple of perfunctory attempts may be made.
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Another CC card offer I actually went for
Old 03-07-2016, 02:57 PM   #45
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Another CC card offer I actually went for

I'm glad I used these miles and reward points to book for travel, travel plan might have to change. At least with British airways, no charge for changing flight. Same with reward points, at least I didn't lose anything if I have to change my travel plans. My husband just got a call out of the blue for high paying consulting work. If they pay what they paid before its maybe worth his while. At least he doesn't have to commute.


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Old 03-07-2016, 03:37 PM   #46
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What we did was put 100K into the "merrill edge" brokerage and bought Vanguard ETFs that fit into our asset allocation. No transaction fees/commissions and counts for the rewards membership level. So far, in two years, I've never been contacted by any "helpful" financial advisor, but reports by others on bogleheads indicate that a couple of perfunctory attempts may be made.
So there is no account management fee?
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:49 PM   #47
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Apparently not. Merrill Edge is not the mainline Merrill Lynch, but their attempt to compete with Schwab, Ameritrade. E-trade and similar low cost brokers. At that account level, you get 30 free trades a month, so the ETF purchases are free. At one time there was a charge for dividend reinvestment, but that appears to have disappeared.

Brokerage and mutual fund accounts are like the credit cards - I am accumulating too many. I'm selling a rental, so I'm tempted to deposit the proceeds to get the bonus and juice the rewards. Not yet convinced it's worth the hassle.
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:13 PM   #48
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Seeing the number of folks using Fidelity 2% Visa, I checked it out today. We have been pretty happy with Chase Sapphire Preferred especially for international travel.
Am I missing something, the Fido card does not appear to offer no fee foreign exchange purchases. Correct
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:45 PM   #49
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Seeing the number of folks using Fidelity 2% Visa, I checked it out today. We have been pretty happy with Chase Sapphire Preferred especially for international travel.
Am I missing something, the Fido card does not appear to offer no fee foreign exchange purchases. Correct
Nwsteve
Right - the foreign transaction fee is 1%, which basically means your reward drops to 1% when used overseas.

That's why I use the BofA Travel Rewards card which gives me 1.5% (1.65%) rewards (statement credit) and no foreign transaction fee when I travel overseas.

I use the Fidelity 2% AMEX card for most of my USD purchases.
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:57 AM   #50
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Guess I'm in the minority here regarding BOA. We have used BOA/Merrill Edge for decades with no problems. Until yesterday however we never used BOA for credit cards. The other exception is with our stashed savings where we chase yield, but we always set up on line transfers so no biggie. So we have been enrolled in the Platinum Preferred Rewards program in order to take advantage of the freebies such as account maintenance fee waiver and free trades. I never paid attention to the 75% reward increase for CC's so thanks to the OP for starting this thread. dde0d We will now get 2.65% rewards and no annual fee and no FTF. Bye bye Capitol One. Can't beat that. And I set up an additional Rollover IRA yesterday and will transfer $200,000 from my TRowe Price Solo 401K into it today for the $1,000 bonus in 6 months. I'll then merge that account with my old BOA IRA after 6 months and was told I could easily do that by phone. I'll do the same thing next year and the year after for a total of $3,000 in bonus'. A win win.

As regards the universal bad reputation of BOA for customer service, we've never experienced this. We pay them zero in fees every year, love their on line platform which shows all accounts including both BOA and Merrill Edge accounts as well as my business accounts. I love the bill pay platform, free intuit payroll service including free generation of W-2's and all federal and state filing of employer forms and also like the Merrill Edge Research tools and online trading platform. I am one rare happy customer.
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:55 AM   #51
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General comment, I'm always impressed by the new angles members here come up with to work the system.
You want to really work the system, research manufactured spending with the Wells Fargo unlimited 5% cash back on gas/grocery/drug store purchases for 6 months credit card.

Quick summary - buy Visa gift cards at drugstores (which are really debit cards with PINs) and then cash them out in various ways like money orders, bill pays at certain places, loading to certain prepaid cards and then doing bill pays etc. You pay off the card by liquidating the GCs and earn a net 4% on thousands of dollars in spending every month.

Tons of free money, but does require some effort (and a little risk). And I'm totally not going to get into the ins/outs of it here, but for savvy ERs with free time looking for some play money it's a fairly easy way to make a lot of it.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:19 AM   #52
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You want to really work the system, research manufactured spending . . .
Does this still work? I heard that most of the card companies have cracked down on this particular technique.

And the folks who do this kind of stuff aren't going after the small 1-2% cash back rewards on purchases. They're targeting credit card sign-up bonuses that are worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars a pop but often require several thousand dollars of charges on the card to qualify.

Most folks don't spend enough on their own to qualify for signing bonuses on tons of cards so they "manufacture" spending in the way you describe.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:31 AM   #53
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Guess I'm in the minority here regarding BOA. We have used BOA/Merrill Edge for decades with no problems. Until yesterday however we never used BOA for credit cards. The other exception is with our stashed savings where we chase yield, but we always set up on line transfers so no biggie. So we have been enrolled in the Platinum Preferred Rewards program in order to take advantage of the freebies such as account maintenance fee waiver and free trades. I never paid attention to the 75% reward increase for CC's so thanks to the OP for starting this thread. dde0d We will now get 2.65% rewards and no annual fee and no FTF. Bye bye Capitol One. Can't beat that. And I set up an additional Rollover IRA yesterday and will transfer $200,000 from my TRowe Price Solo 401K into it today for the $1,000 bonus in 6 months. I'll then merge that account with my old BOA IRA after 6 months and was told I could easily do that by phone. I'll do the same thing next year and the year after for a total of $3,000 in bonus'. A win win.

As regards the universal bad reputation of BOA for customer service, we've never experienced this. We pay them zero in fees every year, love their on line platform which shows all accounts including both BOA and Merrill Edge accounts as well as my business accounts. I love the bill pay platform, free intuit payroll service including free generation of W-2's and all federal and state filing of employer forms and also like the Merrill Edge Research tools and online trading platform. I am one rare happy customer.
We've also been a BofA customer for a long time. I read about the horrible customer service, but that hasn't been our experience in person or over the phone. We are very careful to avoid fees, however.

They did a great job with the online bill pay early on, and it is still really good.

We don't use their ATM cards overseas because the fees are higher for foreign transactions. We've opened other accounts for cash overseas and for ATM fee reimbursement (Schwab, Fidelity). I'm more comfortable having a separate bank account for cash withdrawals when traveling anyway, as if something goes wrong, my principal checking account is out of the loop.

Our checking is free, and we get the free checks (one glitch which was readily handled at a small local branch).

The credit cards are good, have great online features like travel notification and tons of alerts. They are strict with foreign purchases, but I know how to work with them to make sure a foreign charge goes through.

Don't know if I'll take the Merrill Edge step, as that's might be a lot of trouble for an additional 1%. If their CDs were more competitive, I'd consider that route, but the rates currently offered on CDs and savings accounts are pathetic - almost 0!
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:37 AM   #54
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Guess I'm in the minority here regarding BOA. We have used BOA/Merrill Edge for decades with no problems. ...

As regards the universal bad reputation of BOA for customer service, we've never experienced this. We pay them zero in fees every year, love their on line platform which shows all accounts including both BOA and Merrill Edge accounts .... I love the bill pay platform.... I am one rare happy customer.
We are in the same camp as you; happy BoA customers for over ten years with our needs met by the online platform, mobile deposits, and the like. But, the fee structure (like at many financial institutions) may not be attractive for all--especially those just starting out, to whom being "platinum preferred" is a pipe dream. (and it would be nice if they still offered medallion signature guarantees!)
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Old 03-08-2016, 11:26 AM   #55
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I put a lot of stuff that I normally paid cash or online on my credit cards like insurance, cable fee, Verizon. They all add up, surprisingly. I don't spend any more than I normally do.


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Old 03-08-2016, 03:05 PM   #56
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I put a lot of stuff that I normally paid cash or online on my credit cards like insurance, cable fee, Verizon. They all add up, surprisingly. I don't spend any more than I normally do.
I think most of us do that. Though I still have a niggling voice in my ear telling me that in the long run I am running up costs that I will eventually end up paying.

OTOH, the stores must have some increase in efficiency in handling quick CC transactions, rather than taking in cash and making change. And they can avoid much of the counting and record keeping that is done to prevent theft and mistakes with cash. And, of course, they avoid the delays that occur with the people who write checks. Then, again, maybe not.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:38 PM   #57
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We don't use their ATM cards overseas because the fees are higher for foreign transactions. We've opened other accounts for cash overseas and for ATM fee reimbursement (Schwab, Fidelity). I'm more comfortable having a separate bank account for cash withdrawals when traveling anyway, as if something goes wrong, my principal checking account is out of the loop.
We use a Capitol One Checking Account for foreign travel with no foreign transaction charges and no ATM fees as long as using machines in the ALLpoint system. We transfer a limited amount into that account before each trip and can always transfer more money in via on line linking if needed.
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:07 AM   #58
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Thanks for the tip Lsbcal! I opened the B of A card today and was able to get the free temporary lift on my credit freeze. We have a larger purchase coming up this month and that will take care of the required $1000 purchase in order to get the $200 worth of points. They told me that the free lift of the freeze would last for 72 house, so I also applied today for the Fidelity 2% card I'd been wanting to open. Once the dust settles we will use the B of A for foreign travel to take advantage of it's no foreign transaction feature. We will then cancel the Chase Sapphire to ditch the annual fee. We will plan on using Fidelity for most other purchases and continue to use Chase Freedom when their quarterly category applies. We do use an Amazon card for Amazon purchases. Now we just need to find cards that pay better than 2% on gas and groceries on a year round basis!
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Another CC card offer I actually went for
Old 03-09-2016, 09:35 AM   #59
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Another CC card offer I actually went for

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I think most of us do that. Though I still have a niggling voice in my ear telling me that in the long run I am running up costs that I will eventually end up paying.

OTOH, the stores must have some increase in efficiency in handling quick CC transactions, rather than taking in cash and making change. And they can avoid much of the counting and record keeping that is done to prevent theft and mistakes with cash. And, of course, they avoid the delays that occur with the people who write checks. Then, again, maybe not.

I checked receipts when I paid using credit cards. Some restaurants tend to over charge. I caught a few once. I make sure they give me the itemized list so I can check. Some don't.


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Old 03-09-2016, 01:35 PM   #60
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I just submitted the online application for the Fidelity 2% Visa but I have a freeze in effect at all three agencies. I'm assuming that Elan will contact me when they can't access my credit info and then I would be able to temporarily unfreeze whichever credit bureau they are using. Is this a fair assumption?
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