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What's the best credit card reward points


petitepedal
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17 minutes ago, petitepedal said:

Travel etc...

Focus instead, IMHO, on a cash reward no fee card.  If you don't regularly travel - ie fly United, American, Delta, or whatever, those points are a PITA to accrue.  Cash back - especially on groceries and gas - is way more "normal" activity and your bill goes down a few percentage points.

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I have a no fee , cash rewards card. Works for me since the pandemic has required me to use cc for 95% of my purchases. Not that I get huge annual cash back, because I'm a conservative buyer. Quite honestly I just ended up with present  card after I looked briefly at options. The other options seemed too complicated re more spending vs. my simple life. :party:

In fact, I seemed to get monthly fee break...because have been with bank for over 4 decades. Fees waived for me under senior's discount which I started to get a decade ago. :whistle::huh:  At the time, I was bewildered but wasn't going to question this since it appeared I was being grandfathered for being a loyal customer.

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1 hour ago, Razors Edge said:

IMHO, on a cash reward no fee card.

This... and the entire bill gets paid each month, so there are NO fees or huge interest charges ever.

22 minutes ago, bikeman564™ said:

I've never had a rewards card. 

I'm sure I don't have the best rewards,  but I get 1% back on everything, and 5% back on the stuff they select for 3 months, until the next 3 months cycle for 5%.  That adds up of the year. 

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5 minutes ago, petitepedal said:

had enough points to fly out

Years ago (things may have changed since then) I had people tell me about their credit card points for airfare.  Then they told me about blackout dates, and when the points expire. 

I'm more of a take the money and run guy.  Sure it may not pay for a flight, but I have the money now. 

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42 minutes ago, Bikeguy said:

Years ago (things may have changed since then) I had people tell me about their credit card points for airfare.  Then they told me about blackout dates, and when the points expire. 

I'm more of a take the money and run guy.  Sure it may not pay for a flight, but I have the money now. 

When I was commuting to FL I collected a lot of airline points but that was back when they were easily used for vacations.  Now I'm with you, I'll take my cash back when I use the card for groceries, gas and some of my bill paying.  I pay the card off every month so using it to get points for other bills seems to be like free money.

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Out here on the best coast Alaska has a bunch of routes & hubs. So I use the Alaska card. It's pretty easy to find flights & connections. I use it mostly to fly to a hub (SFO/LAX/SEA) and then to wherever I want to go. I used miles to book the NYC flights

 

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2 hours ago, petitepedal said:

A friend uses Capital One for everything...and had enough point to fly out and visit @Randomguy Oh wait..she is visiting a niece..who just happens to live near RG :whistle:  anyway...the points covered the airfare :dontknow:

I get advertising for that firm.  

Given recent changes in life, I don't think I will be flying that frequently as in the past.  Probably longer distance flights, but much rarer , so a travel-based cc doesn't make sense for me.

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4 hours ago, petitepedal said:

A friend uses Capital One for everything...and had enough point to fly out and visit @Randomguy Oh wait..she is visiting a niece..who just happens to live near RG :whistle:  anyway...the points covered the airfare :dontknow:

I'd ask myself "what does a flight from MSP to NYC cost?" and then work the numbers from there.  I see $185 r/t (probably excluding $20 in fees), but even say $300.  With a 1% cash back cards, you get $300 back for every $30k you charge (at a minimum since can get 2x or 3x pts).  So, you could be saving miles up for a future flight - tracking miles, making sure none expire, finding the perfect time to get that same flight - OR you could just bank the cash back, and not worry about anything expiring.  It's a much "less hassle" way to roll.  Add in, a travel card usually has a higher annual fee ($50-$100 for basic cards), but does come with a couple of perks like free baggage, early boarding, or club passes - BUT those only matter IF you travel that airline solely and regularly. Otherwise the $75 annual fee you paid which would get you and a companion free checked bags ($30/ea), really could be $150 or$225 of fees if you only fly every 2 or 3 years.  

I think if you are planning to travel a lot more by plane - especially with one company (United, AA, Alaska, whatever) - then they make more sense, but rarely traveling or shopping best prices, a cash rewards card seems better for sure. 

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58 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

OR you could just bank the cash back,

:party:

Show Me The Money GIF - Show Me The Money - Discover & Share GIFs

 

58 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

I'd ask myself "what does a flight from MSP to NYC cost?" and then work the numbers from there.

I also ask myself...  what would it cost me to drive to NYC?    Even at  $5.00 per gallon, the entire trip would set me back about $150 in gas.   (Yeah... I'll keep my Prius for a while.) 

If we flew, it would be about $250 each (WoBG would be traveling too).  We'd have extra luggage, WoBG does not travel light. $$    And we may have some ass on the flight so it gets delayed or has to land in Ohio to arrest the guy.

The flight,  I'd need about 2 hours to get to the Chicago airport, arrive about 2 hours early, the 2 hour flight (if it is on time), at least 1 hour to find my luggage, and more time to possibly rent a car.  So 7 hours at best to get there.   VS if I drive, 13 hours to drive one way. That would be 6 extra hours.  I'm retired... I have the time.   And  WoBG can take ALL the stuff she wants in the car.

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7 minutes ago, Bikeguy said:

:party:

Show Me The Money GIF - Show Me The Money - Discover & Share GIFs

 

I also ask myself...  what would it cost me to drive to NYC?    Even at  $5.00 per gallon, the entire trip would set me back about $150 in gas.   (Yeah... I'll keep my Prius for a while.) 

If we flew, it would be about $250 each (WoBG would be traveling too).  We'd have extra luggage, WoBG does not travel light. $$   

The flight,  I'd need about 2 hours to get to the Chicago airport, arrive about 2 hours early, the 2 hour flight (if it is on time), at least 1 hour to find my luggage, and more time to possibly rent a car.  So 7 hours at best to get there.   VS if I drive, 13 hours to drive one way. That would be 6 extra hours.  I'm retired... I have the time.   And  WoBG can take ALL the stuff she wants in the car.

Does your formula for driving expense include tolls? It should, that’s another $200 round trip. 

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A lot of the premium travel cards give the most points (5 points for each dollar) on travel expenses such as airfare and hotels.  So they can be useful if you already travel a lot.  But they're not the highest rewards for everyday purchases.  Some of the travel cards have associated websites for booking travel where your points are worth some multiple more for booking, but the prices on the websites are usually full market prices, so it's often not a good deal. If you travel a lot on a particular airline or stay regularly at a hotel, then an affiliate card may make sense, but in most cases a general card (like the Cap One) is more flexible.

If you want to save for travel, but most of  your purchases are not travel related, I'd go for cash back and you could use the money for whatever you want including travel (and book on sites where you may get discounts plus you're not locked in to one airline or hotel chain).  There are a few cards that give 2% or 1.5% on everything, or other cards that have lower overall percentages, but bonus categories (such as groceries or gas).   Depending on your spending habits one or the other may be be better for you, but they're all likely to be close.

 

 

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12 hours ago, petitepedal said:

A friend uses Capital One for everything...and had enough point to fly out and visit @Randomguy Oh wait..she is visiting a niece..who just happens to live near RG :whistle:  anyway...the points covered the airfare :dontknow:

How much did she charge to get the free tix? Does she carry a balance? I got a free macbook once on a business card. I used the card for everything. It wasn't that my cc company was generous and gave me a $1k computer, I charged a lot of stuff. I got a bunch of free airline tix from using a Delta card. I used the card a lot and they gave 60k in miles for signing up. 

My CU pays 4% on my checking acct. I have to use my debit card 10 times a month. That's easy money. I put larger purchases on my cc and take the cash every month. It's simple.

There is no magic bullet with cc rewards. Rewards are paid by the merchant. CC companies get a % for every swipe and the processor gets a %. Consumers that don't pay off the balance pay interest to the CC company.

If you use your cc for everything and spend a lot of money, you get more back. If you are not a spender, you don't get much in rewards, but you are not spending a lot of money. Not spending money will net you more than spending money and playing the rewards game.

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I have a Southwest Card. I get about 6 round trip airfares each year, including our trip to Hawaii. I think that beats what I’d earn with 1% back. I don’t love the $75 annual charge, but I fly SW anyway (it’s our airport’s major carrier), so it has other perks like priority boarding that I’d pay to get, otherwise.

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25 minutes ago, Prophet Zacharia said:

I have a Southwest Card. I get about 6 round trip airfares each year, including our trip to Hawaii. I think that beats what I’d earn with 1% back. I don’t love the $75 annual charge, but I fly SW anyway (it’s our airport’s major carrier), so it has other perks like priority boarding that I’d pay to get, otherwise.

How is priority boarding a perk? You get to sit on the plane longer than the rest of us. You don't arrive earlier.

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The cards I mention are all no annual fee cards that always pay at least 1% cash-back.  Some of the cards limit more than 1% cash-back to $1500 in spending per quarter. That's spending I don't reach on any card unless I'm buying a large appliance.

I can only speak for the 7 cards I own in order to max. out my cash-back as much as is practical.  Each one does some things the other's don't do.

If I could only own one card, it would either be Discover, which has 5% cash-back rotating quarterly categories that include groceries and gasoline and 1% otherwise, or the Citi Double Cash Mastercard, which does 2% on everything.

Cards with 5% rotating categories each quarter include Discover and Chase Freedom Visa.  They usually have one quarter that does gasoline and one quarter that does groceries (not in warehouses like Costco, Sam's Club. etc.).

The Capital One Walmart Mastercard does 5% cash-back in Walmart stores for 1 year, then 2%. It does 5% cash-back on Walmart Online always.

The Amazon.com Store Card does 5% cash-back at Amazon always.

The Citi Costco Visa, in addition to 2% cash-back on Costco merchandise and 4% on Costco gasoline, also does 4% on gasoline at standalone stations (Exxon, etc.) and 3% on restaurants and bar-restaurants.

The American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card does 3% cash back on supermarket groceries.

My fall-back card, when the other cards aren't giving more than 2% cash-back on a purchase, is the Citi Double Cash Mastercard: you get 2% cash-back always: 1% when you make a purchase and the other 1% when you pay for the purchase.

NOTE: don't use cash-back points to do things like reduce your bill on a purchase because you're not getting any cash-back for the points you're using up.  Always apply cash-back points to your statement if possible - that way all your purchases are generating cash back.

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Philander Seabury said:

Our card is so so. 1% that you have to redeem from their catalog. Come to think of it that sort of sucks. It has been a while since we redeemed. Bought something big, but I can’t remember what. 

That sounds like the old S&H Green Stamps

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