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Old 04-03-2019, 06:05 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by N02L84ER View Post
Discover separates out the cash back amount on our statements. We do not get the 5% applied to the "cash advance", but it is also not a true "cash advance" and does not immediately start accruing interest.
Pls confirm........you are saying you don't get 5% cash rewards on cash from a grocery store when "real" purchases do and at some point (when?) it would start accruing interest? This sounds different from what "OP" said and what
reps at both Discover and Chase told me. Now I'm confused........
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:45 AM   #222
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We have the American Express Blue Cash Back Card. 6% on groceries, 3% on gas and 1 % on everything else. $95 annual fee- still worth it as gas and groceries are our biggest expenses. We pretty much put everything we can on this card.


Last year we got back around $800. Then we got back around another $200 from our other cash back credit cards. Citi World Wide and Discover. They both alternate 5% cash back deals.

So- for example- if Citi is offering 5% cash back on gas for a a quarter (3 months)- then we switch to using it for our gas during that period of time.

Works out great and is simple and every year that is our vacation spending money.

As for Discover Card- yes- you can ask for cash back when you go grocery shopping or dept. store shopping (like at Walmart) and no interest accrues if you pay your credit card balance in full for that next statement.
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Old 04-03-2019, 07:57 AM   #223
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I knew there was a reason to have rentals! Thanks to the sewer/water bills, garbage bills, buying new carpet and such meeting minimum spends isn't too hard. Then there are the lumpy expenses: we have a $4200 hazard/liability policy due in May to the tune of $4200. We don't travel that much and have a mass of Chase UR points anyway, so I hunt cash bonus cards. This time I signed up for the Navy FCU Flagship Visa. $500 bonus + 2% cash back, annual fee waived first year and no 1099 to raise my income and pay tax on. Almost a 14% discount on the insurance bill and I write off the full $4200 on my taxes, since that's what I paid.
I've also prepaid utility bills into the future and normally pay car insurance as a lump sum. Haven't paid the fee to pay taxes with a card because I don't like paying extra to get the bonus, but that can be worthwhile if it's the only option.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:26 AM   #224
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Buying tickets with the intent of never using it and asking for a refund is unethical to me, kind of like buying a huge TV right before the Super Bowl, and then taking it back to the store the next week.
I would never consider doing something like the TV thing. I also find it distasteful to see the kinds of returns people make after obviously using a product. I'm not too worried about an airline ticket though...that seat is the same and I'd return it with plenty of time for the airline to sell it.

I wish I could say I was creative enough to think of this technique for "manufactured spend" (a new term to me), but the truth is I bought a mostly refundable ticket from a European airline which actually didn't cost too much more than the non-refundable one. The ticket is to get my wife back from a trip "early" due to her duties for caring for her dad. But if he's doing fine at the time, she can continue traveling.

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Your theory on then slowly spending down the refund may not work though, as most banks won't let you hold a credit balance for more than a cycle or so, and will send you a credit balance refund. For the amount you're talking about, it would be auto-issued by most banks, but maybe not all.
(my bold) That's an interesting point I didn't consider. That would make it real easy for them to take-back their bonus...they cut a check for the balance, less bonus.


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Hmm.... I'd be careful with this sort of hack. It could work, but I'd imagine that the CC companies are wise to these sorts of schemes and have measures in place to detect them. I believe the fine print does typically state that the spending required to receive the bonus must be net of any refunds received, regardless of when the refund is issued. So in the exact scenario you detailed above, I think what could end up happening is that a $500 charge would show up on your CC bill after you cancel the $3,000 refundable air ticket, since the CC company would (rightly) say that you never actually met the signup bonus spending requirement and therefore you owe them the $500 that you applied the phantom signup bonus to. Of course, this is all speculation on my part, but if I were you, I'd probably stick to buying lots of AMZN gift cards at the grocery store to meet the bonus spend requirement.
(my bold) Thanks for the advice. It would be a huge dissatisfier for someone who came into the situation "honestly", as my case would be. But I'd be glad to pay $500 if DW's dad was doing so well that we could return her "early return" ticket!


ADDITION: I just read the "fine print". In the regular credit card agreement, it just says the bonus program is contained in another document. And in the bonus program document, it seems not to address the "problem" of returned purchases. My thinking is that they probably don't try to claw-back the money very often, if at all. If it was a problem for them, you'd think they'd say "at our option, we may charge the customer for bonus funds, even if already applied", or something like that.



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Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
That said, a fully refundable airline ticket is the only one way to do it. You could go buy a nice piece of jewelry at Bloomingdales or Nordstrom as they offer returns up to a year.
Knowing there are many other even simpler ways of buying, then returning something make me think the CC companies are less likely to just "let it go". I've still got some time, so I could use that card for more purchases, just so we have the flexibility of turning in that early return ticket without worry.


Thanks, all, for the "manufactured spend" ideas:

Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtest View Post
As for Manufactured Spend...sure, it's a thing. I just don't get into that level. I do prepay for Grocers and Gas Gift cards, only if I am coming up on a quarter where that is not a category between our 3 rewards cards.
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Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Easy way to meet spending used to be simply buying Visa gift cards at the grocery store or CVS. This time of year, you could pay your taxes with a credit card.
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Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
... an easy way to get around this is to purchase the AMZN gift cards at a grocery store along with your other groceries, and it all just gets lumped together and coded as retail/food/grocery purchase.
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One thing would be to pre-pay some bills you have that are payable by credit card.
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I've also prepaid utility bills into the future and normally pay car insurance as a lump sum. Haven't paid the fee to pay taxes with a card because I don't like paying extra to get the bonus, but that can be worthwhile if it's the only option.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:34 AM   #225
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This is a good reminder. I have several annual insurance bills due this month, and a card I just acquired last month that will give me 20,000 reward points for $3000 spend in the first 60 days.

Good thing I use a credit card to pay my insurance bills.

I think I've calculated that the points convert to cash or statement credit at 80%.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:12 PM   #226
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........................

As for Discover Card- yes- you can ask for cash back when you go grocery shopping or dept. store shopping (like at Walmart) and no interest accrues if you pay your credit card balance in full for that next statement.
.........but do you earn rewards on that cash back......like 5% when in season?
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:14 PM   #227
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Pls confirm........you are saying you don't get 5% cash rewards on cash from a grocery store when "real" purchases do and at some point (when?) it would start accruing interest? This sounds different from what "OP" said and what
reps at both Discover and Chase told me. Now I'm confused........


As for Discover Card- yes- you can ask for cash back when you go grocery shopping or dept. store shopping (like at Walmart) and no interest accrues if you pay your credit card balance in full for that next statement.



Sorry, I wasn't clear. If you always pay your Discover balance in full, no interest will accrue on the "cash advance" and you do not get the 5% award on the "cash advance". With a true cash advance, interest would accrue starting from the day of the cash advance. HTH

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Old 04-03-2019, 04:16 PM   #228
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......................................... Right now the Discover card features a 5% rebate on grocery purchases. Of course I often hit the $60 "cashback" key at checkout. What a great ATM alternative, getting a $3 rebate instead of getting hit with a $3 surcharge.
Apparently this is not true.......no rewards on cash back. Do you agree or not?

https://www.cardratings.com/can-i-ge...edit-card.html

An exception to the rule: Discover cards offer cash back at the register A comment from a reader sent us digging into another option for cash back at the register. It turns out that Discover cardholders CAN receive cash back, up to $120 in a 24-hour period (local retailers might have a lower limit) at a select group of about 75 retailers. This "cash over your purchases" amount is subject to the same APR as your regular purchases (not the higher APR that many cash advances are subject to). If you make sure and pay off your credit card statement balance each month, this essentially means that you're making a cash withdrawal for free. It is convenient, for sure, but make sure you don't treat it like "free money." You will pay interest on the amount you get back if you don't pay off your statement balance each billing cycle. One more thing, you won't earn rewards on the cash-over amount.

Read more at: https://www.cardratings.com/can-i-ge...edit-card.html
Copyright © CardRatings.com
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:20 AM   #229
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I was always skeert to take the Discover cash at the register since forever, cash against credit card meant no grace period. We all on this board simply do not pay interest to the credit card company. Not saying that Discover cash at the register gets no grace period, just that I am too shy to have tried it.
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Old 04-05-2019, 03:34 PM   #230
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WRT buying gift cards. Never done this. So if I use the CC to buy Amazon card online at Amazon, that gift card (GC) is electronic, right? So anyone hacking my account would use it. So I would keep it small -- can you add money to an electronic GC? Then I would add the money just before any purchase.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:07 PM   #231
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There has been stories now and then in the news about gift cards being bought at a store, or given as a gift, and when the person goes to use them, they are worthless.

Turns out, a bad person only needs to read the numbers off blank cards, then when someone buys the card, the cashier puts the $$$ onto the card.

So the bad person, just has to check all the numbers copied down, every couple of days, and when they see one get a balance, go spend it.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:55 PM   #232
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WRT buying gift cards. Never done this. So if I use the CC to buy Amazon card online at Amazon, that gift card (GC) is electronic, right? So anyone hacking my account would use it. So I would keep it small -- can you add money to an electronic GC? Then I would add the money just before any purchase.
There is some protection for the gift card. I believe they require some credit card verification when you add a new shipping address.
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Old 04-05-2019, 04:57 PM   #233
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There has been stories now and then in the news about gift cards being bought at a store, or given as a gift, and when the person goes to use them, they are worthless.

Turns out, a bad person only needs to read the numbers off blank cards, then when someone buys the card, the cashier puts the $$$ onto the card.

So the bad person, just has to check all the numbers copied down, every couple of days, and when they see one get a balance, go spend it.
Yes, you donít want to buy gift cards unless they are packaged such that the numbers arenít visible. And the package hasnít been tampered with. The gift cards I see in stores nowadays hide those numbers. In fact even inside the package they are covered with something that has to be pulled off.
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Old 04-05-2019, 11:50 PM   #234
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I was pretty keen to get a new CC today.
It's United Airways , with 60K miles and no fee the first year.
However, it turns out the 60K is actually 40K by spending 2K in 3 months, (easy) and the other 20K is spending a total of 8K in the first 6 months.

8K is pushing it pretty hard for me at this time, so I'm passing on it.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:39 PM   #235
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Knowing there are many other even simpler ways of buying, then returning something make me think the CC companies are less likely to just "let it go". I've still got some time, so I could use that card for more purchases, just so we have the flexibility of turning in that early return ticket without worry.

Thanks, all, for the "manufactured spend" ideas:
I was thinking about this again today, since I'm trying to meet a large spending threshold for a new card with a big sign-up bonus. As we discussed earlier in the thread, your idea about buying a full-fare, refundable airline ticket and then canceling it well after receiving the sign-up bonus might work, or it might not. But I thought of something that would be quite similar in spirit, yet virtually guaranteed to work. Here are the steps as I see them:
  1. Buy an expensive ticket to somewhere on Southwest airlines using your rewards credit card.
  2. Cancel the reservation a few days after you purchase the ticket.
  3. Southwest will issue a refund in the form of "reusable travel funds", which are deposited in your Southwest account and can be applied to one or more one-way or round-trip Southwest fares within the following 12 months.
  4. Since the original ticket purchase does not get refunded to your card when you cancel, it fully and permanently counts towards your sign-up bonus spend, and you can use the residual travel funds at your discretion.

The only downside to this that I see is that you would need to make sure you use up all the residual travel funds on Southwest flights that you would have taken anyway over the 12 months following your cancellation. This would be pretty easy to do with some proper planning, I think. I may end up trying this if I find myself more than, say, $500 short of my spending threshold as the deadline approaches for my current rewards card.
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Old 04-08-2019, 10:29 PM   #236
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Besides pre-paying some bills another way I increase my spending to meet a threshold is to stock up on stuff we use.
Example I'll buy $200 worth of toilet paper it keeps for a long time, and means I won't need to buy anymore for many months.
Plus all sorts of other food that keeps, example canned food (check the expire date first) by the case.

The great thing is this won't end up wasted , saves me the trouble of buying it later, meets my threshold , and I can always claim to be a Prepper
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Activation Timing
Old 04-09-2019, 09:06 AM   #237
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Activation Timing

For those who've studied this more than I...

Can you fudge the 90-day clock (for the signup bonus) by activating the card after "waiting a while" (some weeks or months)?

If that does alter the start date, then the next question is, how long can you wait before activating before something happens?

And then, what is that "something"? IOW, what do the card companies do if you don't activate your card in a timely fashion? Also, do you still owe the annual fee if you never activate it?
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:17 AM   #238
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Besides pre-paying some bills another way I increase my spending to meet a threshold is to stock up on stuff we use.
Example I'll buy $200 worth of toilet paper it keeps for a long time, and means I won't need to buy anymore for many months.
Plus all sorts of other food that keeps, example canned food (check the expire date first) by the case.

The great thing is this won't end up wasted , saves me the trouble of buying it later, meets my threshold , and I can always claim to be a Prepper
A few years back, I stocked up on stuff from Amazon before Amazon collected sales tax on sales in my state. I still have lots of boxes of rubber gloves from that purchase. Good to know I don't need to purchase gloves for housecleaning for many years still .
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:18 AM   #239
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For those who've studied this more than I...

Can you fudge the 90-day clock (for the signup bonus) by activating the card after "waiting a while" (some weeks or months)?
No, I don't think so. The 90 day clock starts on the day your account is opened, not on the day you activate your card. I asked about this once when I had to call in due to a problem with the website I was using to apply for a particular card (AmEx, IIRC).
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:19 AM   #240
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For those who've studied this more than I...

Can you fudge the 90-day clock (for the signup bonus) by activating the card after "waiting a while" (some weeks or months)?

If that does alter the start date, then the next question is, how long can you wait before activating before something happens?

And then, what is that "something"? IOW, what do the card companies do if you don't activate your card in a timely fashion? Also, do you still owe the annual fee if you never activate it?
No. The categories are something you "opt in" to each quarter. So just like a business cycle going Q1 to Q2, the card companies rewards categories cycle along with the quarter. If you don't opt-in you don't get the feature of the reward. I've opted in after a quarter starts before with no issue.
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