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Credit Card Rewards for CY20
Old 01-05-2021, 10:23 AM   #1
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Credit Card Rewards for CY20

I have started similar threads in years gone by and thought I would do it again this year. Basically...how did you do w/ credit card (and other banking) reward programs?

In 2020, I continued to use the same "core" cards and churned a few (pretty much skipped that in 2019) new cards. I also took advantage of opening a couple some bank accounts for bonuses since I had a decent amount of cash sitting around doing nothing.

Primary Cards are:

USAA Limitless Cash Back (2.5% on everything)
American Express Cash Card (6.0% Groceries, 3.0% Gas; $95 annual fee)
Amazon Chase Card (5% on Prime Purchases)
Chase Freedom (only rotating categories; 5%)
Opened Chase Checking/Savings for $600 Bonus
Opened Local Bank Account for $300 Bonus
Opened Local Bank Account for $250 Bonus

So, total cash back rewards for 2019: $3276.57

Glad to have that amount back, but it also illustrates that we spent quite a bit of money with some large expenses.
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Old 01-05-2021, 10:43 AM   #2
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From Credit cards I collected: $1,078
From Bank account signup bonuses I collected: $1,000

My BOA cash card pays out 5.26% for online purchases, which includes Walmart grocery pickup orders
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Old 01-05-2021, 10:54 AM   #3
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I'm not real interested in playing the game... rotating categories or different rates for different cards or the like. Our main card is Citi Double Cash... 1% when charged and 1% when paid... but you lose out on the 1% when paid if you use rewards to pay so a net of 1.98% at the end of the day... and I'm happy with that given the simplicity.

Though that USAA Limitless Cash Back of 2.5% looks interesting... but alas, it seems to be no longer available and I'm not sure if I would qualify for USAA anyway.

Also see https://www.cardratings.com/best-cre..._link#flatrate
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:02 PM   #4
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I'm not really playing the CC games right now. A few years ago, I was hitting it pretty hard with manufactured spending and signup bonuses, and took home over $17,000 worth of points and cash back in one year.
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I'm not real interested in playing the game... rotating categories or different rates for different cards or the like.
I haven't found it to be too challenging, really. USAA card for most purchases, AMZN for AMZN, and AMEX for groceries and gas. The only rotating category card we have is the Chase and it's pretty simple...membership warehouse for a quarter, and gas for another quarter. It's not much w*rk for a few thousand dollars.

Unfortunately, the USAA Limitless card isn't available anymore. It was a pretty rare offering a couple of years ago w/ the only caveat being that you have a direct deposit with them (and meet membership requirements, but that's not too hard these days).
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:21 PM   #6
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I still have my 2% cash back card from PenFed. I have a Chase card for categories but if I don't remember to use it I don't fret.

A year or two ago I tried getting 50K points from some airline for a card, and was rejected. That kind of soured me on trying for sign up bonus points or $$.

If I ever get sick of Vanguard and want to switch I'll try for a bonus at Fido or Chuck. Problem is, I've got an HSA, DAF, and pension thru Fido, and old accounts at both TDAmeritrade and Schwab that might still be active so I don't know what they'd do.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:01 PM   #7
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I'm done signing up for any new credit card bonuses. I get plenty of cash from my existing cards, and no category rotation.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:19 PM   #8
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My stripped down simple rotation is:

Gro. Store & Online - BOA CASH 3.5% & 5.25% (it pays me 3.5% for Groceries, and 5.25% all online purchases)
Else - BOA Travel 2.6%
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:41 PM   #9
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That’s not a rotation, is it? Just different cash rewards offered on different cards all the time.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:52 PM   #10
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Our primary cards are both Fidelity - one for all our auto-pays and one for walking around/online purchases - no annual fee 2% back, which converts to cash and goes into a Fidelity savings account as it accrues. Chase Ink for streaming & internet & bookstores - which Amazon codes as. 5% on those expenditures and no annual fee. Gal feels special with her Chase Sapphire Reserve. I move all Chase card bonus and points earned into the CSR account, where they magically become worth 1.5 points when spent. We've been using it hard as Chase decided the points could be spent at Walmart or (at least for a while) building material stores. Tickled me to buy $1000 worth of fence supplies for $666 worth of points.
Looks like between Navy Flagship, Chase Ink Preferred, Spark, Wells Fargo, and BBVA we harvested over $3800 in bonus money, not counting spending points earned. Our bigger money maker was bank savings account bonus money, which I chased to try and make up for the paltry interest they paid. Lots of shifting money around to try and keep the cash making 3% or better.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
My stripped down simple rotation is:

Gro. Store & Online - BOA CASH 3.5% & 5.25% (it pays me 3.5% for Groceries, and 5.25% all online purchases)
Else - BOA Travel 2.6%
We signed up for BofA business checking - they held $50k for 3 months and paid a $750 bonus. Timing worked out perfectly for us to pay quarterly taxes with those accounts. only have $5000 in each checking account now (avoiding the $16/month fee they are starting this month. Am considering closing but the stepped up points for having certain sums there has given me pause. Just not sure there is enough incentive given the ease of our Chase Ink.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:31 PM   #12
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we only use the Fidelity 2% cash back. Got $4,216 back in 2020.
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:20 PM   #13
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Thatís not a rotation, is it? Just different cash rewards offered on different cards all the time.
Good catch, should have been my simple card usage , not rotation.
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Old 01-05-2021, 11:24 PM   #14
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We signed up for BofA business checking - they held $50k for 3 months and paid a $750 bonus. Timing worked out perfectly for us to pay quarterly taxes with those accounts. only have $5000 in each checking account now (avoiding the $16/month fee they are starting this month. Am considering closing but the stepped up points for having certain sums there has given me pause. Just not sure there is enough incentive given the ease of our Chase Ink.
What I did was transfer $100K to Merrill Lynch for a stock account, as $$ in ML counts towards the Preferred Rewards program, so I get top tier.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/preferred-rewards/

I do keep $2K in my BOA checking account, just because I wasn't sure I could keep less and avoid fees. Some day I'll check on that.
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Old 01-06-2021, 04:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
My stripped down simple rotation is:

Gro. Store & Online - BOA CASH 3.5% & 5.25% (it pays me 3.5% for Groceries, and 5.25% all online purchases)
Else - BOA Travel 2.6%
My setup too, but use the BOA Travel card as my automated charge card, so if there is a hacking of any other card, I don't have to reset all the automated payments.
I use the Premier card (same 2.6%) for other purchases and the $95 fee is effectively reimbursed by the $100 baggage allowance in normal non Covid years.
I use 3 cash cards for the 3.5%/5.25% scenario.

Not mentioned here is that one must have 100k in BOA/ML in order to get these rates.
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Old 01-06-2021, 05:21 AM   #16
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Good catch, should have been my simple card usage , not rotation.
I have several different cards too, many having a large reward for a specific area like groceries or gas or dining/hotel. I tend to go for cards that have a nice cash reward in an area I spend a lot. I haven't gotten a new card in a couple of years now, and I'm pretty much done.

I can handle using different cards for different categories (so far, anyway). What I can't handle is a reward category arbitrarily changing every 3 months, so I have avoided those cards.

The BofA Cash Rewards select your own category has been quite sweet, and I do plenty of online shopping outside of Amazon (where I get 5% cash rewards from the Amazon Store Card) so I selected online shopping for 3% - and keep it there!!!
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:10 AM   #17
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1 credit card - Amazon Chase Card - $77 in rewards for 2020
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:16 AM   #18
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Wow some of you really rack up the points.
I have used the same B of A credit card forever and use to get 1% cash back on everything. They have since reduced that to .6% on cash, .8% for gift cards and 1% for travel rewards.
2020 we put $28530 on the card and redeemed the points for$228 worth of gift cards.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I haven't gotten a new card in a couple of years now, and I'm pretty much done.

I can handle using different cards for different categories (so far, anyway). What I can't handle is a reward category arbitrarily changing every 3 months, so I have avoided those cards.
Similar story here, we limit all CC spending to three cards:

PenFed Visa - 5% cash back on gas/diesel
Amazon (Chase) Visa - 5% on Amazon purchases
USAA Visa - 2.5% cash back on all purchases

Haven't bothered totaling up the cash back for the year but I estimate it to be around $800 - $900.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:57 AM   #20
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I might be able to get more if I got some of the special product cards, but don't bother. Just use Costco Visa for most all purchases on a card. Usually get around $900-1000 per year in cash back reward. Used to get more when I was traveling for work, but that's history now!
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