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Old 05-07-2013, 08:31 AM
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nhindian nhindian is offline
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Default Using a credit card for rewards?

Ever since graduating from college and paying down all of my credit card debt, I rarely use the two I have. For starters, they are terrible interests rates and have awful incentives. Outside of a few instances, I never use them.

However, after paying my student loans for this month, I was wondering if I should be using a credit card to pay them and reap the rewards for it. Of course, all principal will be paid at the end of the month.

What type of program should I be looking for and what rewards? any opinion of how you like yours?
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:36 AM
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solarcurve solarcurve is offline
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I just got this one a couple months ago

http://www.capitalone.com/credit-car...08_1581776598_

Essentially 1.5% cash back on everything - and it's simple as you don't have to do anything or keep up with categories, etc. Just get 1.5% back on everything.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:48 AM
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George Oscar Bluth George Oscar Bluth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhindian View Post
Ever since graduating from college and paying down all of my credit card debt, I rarely use the two I have. For starters, they are terrible interests rates and have awful incentives. Outside of a few instances, I never use them.

However, after paying my student loans for this month, I was wondering if I should be using a credit card to pay them and reap the rewards for it. Of course, all principal will be paid at the end of the month.

What type of program should I be looking for and what rewards? any opinion of how you like yours?
Few if any student loans allow you to use a credit card to pay them in a way that will earn you credit card rewards. That said, I like the capitalone card that gives you equivalent to 2% travel rewards for about $40/year.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:42 AM
Beach Bum Beach Bum is offline
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If you are going to put everyday purchases on a rewards card just make sure to be diligent on paying off. As you mentioned interest rates are high and if you are paying high interest by carry balances it quickly offsets rewards.

I now have a United Club card, it waived the $395 annual fee for the first year and I'll see if I keep it next year. My other cards are all over 10 years old and so not like I shop for new cards, but I travel a lot and this gives me United Club access and a lot of United miles. They also have a $95 annual fee (explorer) card which I may end up switching to if not wanting to pay the $395.

If you have the ability to put big charges on your card then it can work out nicely. I used to always have a corporate AMEX that I wasn't getting points on, but now do not have a corporate card so use the United Card I have. I'll put about $30k in work travel and expenses this year on the card alone.

Then my car payment allows for credit card use, so rather then setting up auto withdrawal I pay with the card each month and instantly transfer money to it.

I tried hotel rewards but they never added up. I still have the standard Chase Card, the Amex Blue and a Citi card but am sick of earning points for a $100 gift card time-to-time. I figured time to go big and start earning tons of United Miles.

United Mileage Plus also has a great reward booking incentive on Stopovers. Basically you get a free stopover (> 1 day stay) at any city in between departure and ultimate destination as long as it's something like < 15% out of the way.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:02 AM
nonlnear nonlnear is offline
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The best card(s) really depends on your spending profile. Are we talking $1k/month or $10K/month here? Are you comfortable getting multiple cards and rotating the categories, or do you want simplicity? Also, rewards are nice but some card perks may occasionally be worth more than extra percentage point of cash back - like extended warranties, rental car insurance, etc.

I use Penfed Platinum Cash Rewards for gas (5% cash back on all gas station purcahses, directly credited to each month's statement with no minimum accrual) and Amex Bluecash Everyday. I like the non-cash perks Amex offers, so even though one could get a bit more cash back from holding multiple "categories" cards, I don't bother. I am probably a hair over the break-even point for the BCP card, but I want to clear that hurdle comfortably before taking on an annual fee.

Unless you do the spreadsheet legwork to compare annual fee cards against the next best no fee card (not against the alternative of no rewards card at all - which is usually how card companies present their break-even calculatiosn) avoid annual fees like the plague. Until you KNOW they are worth it, they aren't.

Last edited by nonlnear; 05-07-2013 at 10:05 AM..
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:16 AM
hellomath hellomath is offline
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My pick: https://www.fidelity.com/cash-manage...-express-cards

2% cash back.

The only downside is not every place accepts American Express.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:25 AM
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mathmajor mathmajor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellomath View Post
My pick: https://www.fidelity.com/cash-manage...-express-cards

2% cash back.

The only downside is not every place accepts American Express.
^ That's what I use. Backup card is an Amazon Visa with 1% everywhere "else."

Rewards diverted to my Fidelity account so I don't spend them (unlike the Amazon card where, of course, I spend them.)
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:46 AM
smekta smekta is offline
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AmeX has a 6/3/1 on groceries/gas/everything else for 75 bucks a year. Best everyday card that I've found, but it wont do much for frequent flyers.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:33 PM
MathGeek92 MathGeek92 is offline
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i have the same Amex card... use it for everything that takes Amex.. backup card... Amex is great.. not only for the cash back but for the other added benefits.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:58 PM
hellomath hellomath is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smekta View Post
AmeX has a 6/3/1 on groceries/gas/everything else for 75 bucks a year. Best everyday card that I've found, but it wont do much for frequent flyers.
I found out most of the grocery places I go aren't considered grocery stores by the CC companies.

Last edited by hellomath; 05-24-2013 at 04:02 PM..
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