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Old 07-31-2020, 06:02 AM   #41
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Crlls, you may wish to donate your Alaska Air miles to a charity rather than have the expire unused n
My miles are on Alaska Air mileage plan which is different than the cancelled Alaska Air CC. IIRC, their miles do not expire, and can be used on American Airlines. So I checked:

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Mileage Plan miles do not expire, and may be left in your account as long as the Mileage Plan program exists. However, if there is no activity (earning miles or using miles) on your account for 2 years, the account will expire and your miles will be deleted.
So I guess I'll have to do something before Aug 2021. But then I checked again and due to Covid-19:

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Your current Mileage Plan status will be extended through December 31, 2021.
Thanks for rattling my cage and getting me check my plan. Good idea about the donation.
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:56 AM   #42
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... I agree, in the case of getting cash while in a foreign country, I'll use my Schwab debit card. Everywhere else I use my CC worldwide, unless they only take cash. ...
Now I'm confused. You do carry one of these dangerous cards?!!? What you describe is exactly what we do when traveling. Debit cards for the ATMs and credit cards or cash for everything else. I don't recall that I have ever had to dispute a charge made while traveling but I think it would be easier with a credit card, so that's our normal means of payment.

Domestic US I use my debit card almost daily. I have a fairly illogical aversion to borrowing money and tend to feel that a credit card charge is a sort of borrowing where a debit card is like paying cash. It costs me in "points" of course.
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Old 07-31-2020, 09:27 AM   #43
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Playing the reward points and air miles games were dumb of me. Thankfully I left it (along with credit score worshipping and borrowing) after I realized the fastest way to accumulate wealth is earning, saving, and investing. The rest is just a distraction.

If you are bored, there are tons of other hobbies that give satisfaction and useful skills. Churning credit cards is not worth it. It is just a scheme that the credit card companies want you to participate so you can practice spending more which is opposite of saving and therefore has negative impact of your wealth building.
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:42 AM   #44
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Playing the reward points and air miles games were dumb of me. Thankfully I left it (along with credit score worshipping and borrowing) after I realized the fastest way to accumulate wealth is earning, saving, and investing. The rest is just a distraction.

If you are bored, there are tons of other hobbies that give satisfaction and useful skills. Churning credit cards is not worth it. It is just a scheme that the credit card companies want you to participate so you can practice spending more which is opposite of saving and therefore has negative impact of your wealth building.
yup! ^^^^
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Old 07-31-2020, 04:54 PM   #45
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Now I'm confused. You do carry one of these dangerous cards?!!? What you describe is exactly what we do when traveling. Debit cards for the ATMs and credit cards or cash for everything else. I don't recall that I have ever had to dispute a charge made while traveling but I think it would be easier with a credit card, so that's our normal means of payment.

Domestic US I use my debit card almost daily. I have a fairly illogical aversion to borrowing money and tend to feel that a credit card charge is a sort of borrowing where a debit card is like paying cash. It costs me in "points" of course.
Seems we are somewhat similar after all:

So traveling, both you and I use CC for normal spending and debit cards for cash.

Within the USA, you prefer to use debit cards. I prefer to use CC. We both have some aversion to debt, my aversion is probably less than yours.
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Old 07-31-2020, 06:36 PM   #46
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yup! ^^^^
I was right with you guys up until a few years ago....totally not worth it.

Then there was a true "value proposition" that came up when I was planning some travel. All I had to do was apply online, get instantly accepted, then buy my travel arrangements with the card. For that, I got $800 worth of points and reimbursements. First year of annual fee was waived. Then I cancelled the card before the next annual fee. Too easy.

But as with any addiction, it became problematic; the offers got smaller, the price for not making the right chess move, higher. Now I'm almost back to where I started...totally not worth it.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:46 PM   #47
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If I was applying for a mortgage soon I would not close cards. In fact, when we did refinance early in the year I did not close any cards near that time. I also didn't take out any new credit while applying.

Some will say that number of cards hurts your credit score. In most cases unless you literally never use your cards I think it is better to keep cards.

Let's say you have 5 cards with $50000 in credit available. You pay your full bill everyone month. But the month before you applied for the mortgage the card you use the most had $3000 in charges on it. Note: These are all new charges that you will pay in full. Your total percentage of credit used is less than 10%.

Let's say, though, you decide you don't need all those cards and you close two and you now have $25000 in credit. You spend the same $3000. You are now using more than 10% if your available credit which will have a negative effect on credit score.

I kept all my cards while applying for the loan. If you want to close some later, do it afterwards.
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Old 07-31-2020, 10:19 PM   #48
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Whenever I spend a lot on a CC, example a cruise. I know I don't have to wait until the statement is created to pay.

I log into the CC site, see my high charges, and pay some or all it right away. For someone worried about high utilization of their credit line, this is a way to avoid that issue.

I still enjoy the benefit of using the CC, instead of writing a check, and I get the points.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:10 AM   #49
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If you're looking at "card count", that's only important if you're concerned about the slight increase in "life complexity" in brings.

As mentioned, credit utilization (the sum total of outstanding balances as it relates to the sum total of available credit) is important. Also the sum total of available credit as compared to "income", which I put in quotes because it's kind of an imaginary thing*.



* portfolio that throws off 3% vs portfolio that grows 3% and has 3% withdrawals, no difference.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:57 AM   #50
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Playing the reward points and air miles games were dumb of me. Thankfully I left it (along with credit score worshipping and borrowing) after I realized the fastest way to accumulate wealth is earning, saving, and investing. The rest is just a distraction.

If you are bored, there are tons of other hobbies that give satisfaction and useful skills. Churning credit cards is not worth it. It is just a scheme that the credit card companies want you to participate so you can practice spending more which is opposite of saving and therefore has negative impact of your wealth building.
You haven't been doing it right The only way it makes sense is if you DON'T spend more than you normally do and NEVER pay interest - your charges must be settled monthly. Which is not that different than paying cash for everything - except not actually carrying it in your pocket. Fairly easy if you're fiscally responsible adult. I assume we all are on this forum?

I have 15 cards right now (it changes periodically) and use them at different places depending on what benefits they offer. Amex Green gives me $10 off my phone bill, Chase Freedom pays 5pts/1$ spent at Amazon, Chase Reserve pays 10pts/1$ for Spotify and Netflix... etc. These are all purchases I make anyway - why not let banks sweeten the deal? Obviously this is not about $10 savings - I was doing it to fly in business and first class for peanuts (I won't say "free" since premium travel cards have annual fees) and stay in expensive hotels that I normally consider overpriced.

Last year I flew in JAL first class from NY to Tokyo for $5.56 and 72k AA miles and came back in business via Europe on Thai airlines and Lufthansa (maybe 80k Chase UR points?). In 2018 I went to HKG and SE Asia in Finnair business. A year before that, I was in South America... I still have 500k Chase UR points, 300k Amex MR points and 400k AA miles in my accounts. And my credit score (not that I care) is 820. Will those perks be worth anything if travel comes back? Who knows but accumulating these points didn't cost me anything...

It's a harmless hobby that actually creates value - unlike other hobbies that cost money - and it certainly doesn't prevent anyone from investing or creating wealth in any ways.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:07 AM   #51
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... It's a harmless hobby that actually creates value - unlike other hobbies that cost money - and it certainly doesn't prevent anyone from investing or creating wealth in any ways.
I think this is a good way to look at it. I have no interest in this hobby, but I had a SCORE mentoring client who was an accountant and she played the game with gusto. She traveled quite a bit with hubby but I don't think she ever paid actual money for the tickets. She was kiting balances as well as paying the points game when she bought things. I think the kiting of balances with consequent rewards for signing up for new cards was her main strategy.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:08 AM   #52
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You haven't been doing it right The only way it makes sense is if you DON'T spend more than you normally do and NEVER pay interest - your charges must be settled monthly. Which is not that different than paying cash for everything - except not actually carrying it in your pocket. Fairly easy if you're fiscally responsible adult. I assume we all are on this forum?

I have 15 cards right now (it changes periodically) and use them at different places depending on what benefits they offer. Amex Green gives me $10 off my phone bill, Chase Freedom pays 5pts/1$ spent at Amazon, Chase Reserve pays 10pts/1$ for Spotify and Netflix... etc. These are all purchases I make anyway - why not let banks sweeten the deal? Obviously this is not about $10 savings - I was doing it to fly in business and first class for peanuts (I won't say "free" since premium travel cards have annual fees) and stay in expensive hotels that I normally consider overpriced.

Last year I flew in JAL first class from NY to Tokyo for $5.56 and 72k AA miles and came back in business via Europe on Thai airlines and Lufthansa (maybe 80k Chase UR points?). In 2018 I went to HKG and SE Asia in Finnair business. A year before that, I was in South America... I still have 500k Chase UR points, 300k Amex MR points and 400k AA miles in my accounts. And my credit score (not that I care) is 820. Will those perks be worth anything if travel comes back? Who knows but accumulating these points didn't cost me anything...

It's a harmless hobby that actually creates value - unlike other hobbies that cost money - and it certainly doesn't prevent anyone from investing or creating wealth in any ways.
Exactly.
I just live my life normally, but do pick which CC pays for which item/service rather than simply use 1 card all the time.

The rewards are simply a bonus for my normal activity.

I don't even optimize as I leave bonus cash on the table since I'm not going to be tempted into extra spending, or work at getting any bonus.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:43 AM   #53
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You haven't been doing it right The only way it makes sense is if you DON'T spend more than you normally do and NEVER pay interest - your charges must be settled monthly. Which is not that different than paying cash for everything - except not actually carrying it in your pocket. Fairly easy if you're fiscally responsible adult. I assume we all are on this forum?

I have 15 cards right now (it changes periodically) and use them at different places depending on what benefits they offer. Amex Green gives me $10 off my phone bill, Chase Freedom pays 5pts/1$ spent at Amazon, Chase Reserve pays 10pts/1$ for Spotify and Netflix... etc. These are all purchases I make anyway - why not let banks sweeten the deal? Obviously this is not about $10 savings - I was doing it to fly in business and first class for peanuts (I won't say "free" since premium travel cards have annual fees) and stay in expensive hotels that I normally consider overpriced.

Last year I flew in JAL first class from NY to Tokyo for $5.56 and 72k AA miles and came back in business via Europe on Thai airlines and Lufthansa (maybe 80k Chase UR points?). In 2018 I went to HKG and SE Asia in Finnair business. A year before that, I was in South America... I still have 500k Chase UR points, 300k Amex MR points and 400k AA miles in my accounts. And my credit score (not that I care) is 820. Will those perks be worth anything if travel comes back? Who knows but accumulating these points didn't cost me anything...

It's a harmless hobby that actually creates value - unlike other hobbies that cost money - and it certainly doesn't prevent anyone from investing or creating wealth in any ways.
I don't travel much and when I do, 90% is on company's dime. I guess everyone is different.

I also did't sign up CC with annual fee and I always paid the monthly balance off so I guess you were just stating common sense..

What I think you missed from my post is that using CC tends to get your spending up. It is a behavior modification because using CC is so easy and during the transaction, instead of exchanging your money with goods or services, you get your CC back. It completely skipped the process where you feel the money leaving you for good in real time. That to me is a deal breaker.

With reward points you have to spend in order to get rewards. The CC companies don't care the initial sign-ups bonus points they lose to you. Their solid intention is to get you use the card and develope an habit of using it until the day you die. The more people use CC, the more people get into debt, and the CC companies will enjoy their 18%-24% interest and overdue charges.

You can argue you take advantage of their offers and never fell into their traps. Good for you! But the number of your type is less than the number of those households that have $18k in recurring debt. So when you encourage people (most of them do not have sufficient knowledge or self spending control) to start collecting points, you become the accessory for screwing up their financial well-being. I am not sure why you would be the free advertisement for CC companies so they can prey on the less informed.

Whoever think their expense put on the CC is just essentials, you can do a lot better in saving without CCs. That is not just my experience. Too bad cash transaction it neither convenient or safe online especially during COVID.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:56 AM   #54
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What I think you missed from my post is that using CC tends to get your spending up. It is a behavior modification because using CC is so easy and during the transaction, instead of exchanging your money with goods or services, you get your CC back. It completely skipped the process where you feel the money leaving you for good in real time. That to me is a deal breaker.
I don't know the answer but I'll ask the question. As you say people tend to spend more on CC purchases than if it was cash purchase. Would the same mindset apply to debit cards vs cash? Does the act of pulling out a plastic card contribute to overspending? Surely somewhere there is a study

I ask only because some posters liking debit cards over CC. No judgement either way.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:05 PM   #55
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We use 2, and one debit card.

Credit card for bills that are on auto pay. Low limit. I set this up because I got tired of having to change things when the got cloned, Target, Home Depot, and other incursions.

Credit card for all other stuff. We use this for just about everything else except gas.

Debit card for gas. Linked to a bank account with a low balance. I use it as a gas card 99% of the time.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:04 PM   #56
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What I think you missed from my post is that using CC tends to get your spending up.
I did not miss this point. Perhaps this is your experience. Possibly it is the experience of millions of CC holders (who in turn fund my sign up bonuses with their spending - we can agree on this point). But as a fiscally responsible adult I do not share it, nor do I think that a square piece of plastic in my wallet (or an image on my iPhone) is a license for increased spending.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:17 PM   #57
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... What I think you missed from my post is that using CC tends to get your spending up. ...
I don't know if that is true or not. It sounds plausible considering the balances that people carry. You state it as fact. Do you have a link or a reference?

For DW and me it is definitely not true. Method of payment has no effect on our spending decisions. I would guess that we have that in common with most of the posters here, admittedly a skewed population though.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:33 PM   #58
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What I think you missed from my post is that using CC tends to get your spending up. It is a behavior modification because using CC is so easy and during the transaction, instead of exchanging your money with goods or services, you get your CC back. It completely skipped the process where you feel the money leaving you for good in real time. That to me is a deal breaker.
While it is true that credit card purchases are larger than cash ones, and some premium cards show average charges higher than lower ones, the link to behavior depends on the person.

And the overspend-because-i-can, might be true for a younger person, or one with isn't very secure with their own personal budget and finances, but not for the vast majority of those here on ER. I'm simply using the card for, A) rewards back/benefits, and, B) protection - in case of items not received, or that trip gone wrong, etc. I know I have not thought "oh I can spend more because credit card!" since my 20's.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:34 PM   #59
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I did not miss this point. Perhaps this is your experience. Possibly it is the experience of millions of CC holders (who in turn fund my sign up bonuses with their spending - we can agree on this point). But as a fiscally responsible adult I do not share it, nor do I think that a square piece of plastic in my wallet (or an image on my iPhone) is a license for increased spending.
Not a license. It is a human tendency to do more things that are easy (aka instant gratification from using the plastic). I thought this is a common knowledge:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/billhar...h-credit-cards

https://www.npr.org/2020/02/13/80576...for-young-peop

My point was by using sample size of one (you being the responsible spender) to infer that whatever works for you should work for all is not a good thing because in reality it may benefit a small portion of the CC users but it helps to bring the rest of the population finance down.

If CC companies losed money and handled their business like charity (and we know they did't), then you wouldnt get new CC sign-ups offers in the mail all the time.

It all comes down to whether you are aware of how things are made. The US consumer debts are not all because of using CC. But I would not do free advertisment knowing my method could save me a few bucks but can ruin other less informed / less principled consumers.
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Old 08-05-2020, 03:12 AM   #60
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Today I closed my Delta AMEX card . No need to pay a $95 fee for something I do not need for the foreseeable future. Don't care about credit scores or any other BS.

+1 Well put
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