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New Member
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎03-17-2013
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PIF and credit card rewards

I always PIF and I am concious about my credit card rewards. I use autopay to payup all the cards. I love mint.com that gives me a comprehensive picture.

I was wondering what prevents people from maximizing credit card rewards when they PIF each month on all thier cards. What strategies do you use to maximize those rewards?What are the hurdles you face when you spend across multiple cards with intention of maximizing rewards online or in-store? 

Regular Contributor
Posts: 120
Registered: ‎03-14-2013
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

It depends on which categories you spend the most in and what rewards you value - cash back, transfer to FF programs, etc. I am a low spender (about $12K per year on my cards) and this is my current strategy. I will get about 3.7% ($450) cash back on the year. I could probably increase the return dramatically if I went after a sign up bonus but I prefer to keep things simple.

 

$1500 on Amex BCE groceries, gas - 2.5% average

$3000 on Chase Freedom bonus categories only - 5%

$3500 on Citi Forward Amazon, restaurants - 4% cash back redeemed for Amazon gift cards

$4000 on BofA BBR everything else - $120 per year or 3% based on spend

$12K total spend for $450 return.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,863
Registered: ‎09-20-2011
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

I make sure I use the applicable categories on my Freedom, Discover, and BCP cards.  I also check the online shopping sites at Chase and Discover before making online purchases to see if the retailers have any bonus cash back there.  Sometimes the latter gets up to 10% bonus back.

New Member
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎03-17-2013
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

how do you remember which card to use  while shopping online or in-store...do you use the credit card portals to shop online with the cards?

Contributor
Posts: 94
Registered: ‎09-25-2010
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

[ Edited ]

Hi edited,

 

It's definitely very wise to avoid interest on rewards cards - interest rates are often higher so you'll want to avoid interest charges negating whatever rewards value you've earned. 

 

I do the following.  I wouldn't call anything here a 'hurdle" - it might take a little time to get used to rotating rewards and looking online at multple cards before making a purchase, but after a while it becomes second nature :smileyhappy:

 

1. Gas, Supermarkets: I use PenFed Cash Rewards for gas (5%) and AMEX BCP for Supermarket purchases (6%).  If Discover has a 5% gas quarterly promo I use Discover for gas instead because their reward redemption is much more useful to me.

 

2.  Online shopping: I check online shopping discounts from ShopDiscover against those of my other rewards cards, and generally go with whichever card nets the best rewards.

 

3. All other purchases: I typically use Discover for everything else - they are my preferred card, and I really like the added value they give with a number of Partner gift cards.  I am feeding a Pier 1 habit right now :smileywink: and Discover gives 20% extra cash back when you redeem rewards for Pier 1 gift cards (if you cash in $80 of rewards for a Pier 1 gift card, Discover sends you a $100 card).  I wait for Pier 1 markdowns to 20% or more, then use my gift cards to purchase - I've been able to do quite a bit of decorating, all funded by gift cards and patience. Gift cards have been useful for birthdays and Christmas, etc. as well.

 

IME, Discover LOVES lots of usage and PIFing - they've offered some really great promos (multiple 0% 6 month interest promos) and additional promotional cash back.  For me, maximizing rewards involves getting gift cards, and nurturing a relationship with a Company who has a tendency to offer even more appealing rewards and promos.

 

Some folks might prefer travel-related rewards, so they might take a very different approach than I, using different cards.  Think about what rewards would be most meaningful/helpful to you, and adjust your usage to utilize cards that net you the biggest bang. 

 

Best of luck :smileyhappy:

 

Edited for spleling :smileywink:

Blogger
Posts: 3,355
Registered: ‎10-19-2012
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

I don't rorate my cards just to maximize rewards. Having to remember when to use which card takes up too much of my free will for a very minimal gain. Not worth it to me personally. :smileyindifferent:

Senior Contributor
Posts: 4,694
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

[ Edited ]

edited wrote:

I always PIF and I am concious about my credit card rewards. I use autopay to payup all the cards. I love mint.com that gives me a comprehensive picture.

I was wondering what prevents people from maximizing credit card rewards when they PIF each month on all thier cards. What strategies do you use to maximize those rewards?What are the hurdles you face when you spend across multiple cards with intention of maximizing rewards online or in-store? 


For me, the issue is mainly the inconvenience of carrying around so many cards.  

 

I prefer very thin billfolds which hold only an ID and 3 cards.  In order to maximize fully, I'd have to carry around 5 or 6 cards, which will never be practical for me.  My wallet is like the "high rent" district with only a select few cards making it's way into it.

Blogger
Posts: 3,355
Registered: ‎10-19-2012
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Re: PIF and credit card rewards

[ Edited ]

Open123 wrote:

edited wrote:

I always PIF and I am concious about my credit card rewards. I use autopay to payup all the cards. I love mint.com that gives me a comprehensive picture.

I was wondering what prevents people from maximizing credit card rewards when they PIF each month on all thier cards. What strategies do you use to maximize those rewards?What are the hurdles you face when you spend across multiple cards with intention of maximizing rewards online or in-store? 


For me, the issue is mainly the inconvenience of carrying around so many cards.  

 

I prefer very thin billfolds which hold only an ID and 3 cards.  In order to maximize fully, I'd have to carry around 5 or 6 cards, which will never be practical for me.  My wallet is like the "high rent" district with only a select few cards making it's way into it.


My wallet is not that thin: it holds my ID, my public library membership card, my insurance card, my public transportation card, my business cards, and several payment cards. With such a packed wallet, adding any extra credit card is quite a hassle.

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,300
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
0

Re: PIF and credit card rewards

[ Edited ]

Open123 wrote:

edited wrote:

I always PIF and I am concious about my credit card rewards. I use autopay to payup all the cards. I love mint.com that gives me a comprehensive picture.

I was wondering what prevents people from maximizing credit card rewards when they PIF each month on all thier cards. What strategies do you use to maximize those rewards?What are the hurdles you face when you spend across multiple cards with intention of maximizing rewards online or in-store? 


For me, the issue is mainly the inconvenience of carrying around so many cards.  

 

I prefer very thin billfolds which hold only an ID and 3 cards.  In order to maximize fully, I'd have to carry around 5 or 6 cards, which will never be practical for me.  My wallet is like the "high rent" district with only a select few cards making it's way into it.


+1. This is exactly the same for me. I frankly can't be bothered rotating through too many cards, since it generates a lot of hassle for very little extrs returns at the margins.

 

My "1-2 punch" using the CSP (for dining, travel and UR purchases) and United Club card (everything else) nets me a very good return. My JPM Ritz is only used until 10k spend is hit, then it goes away for the rest of the year.

 

I'm already getting at least 3-4% (1.5 UA miles x 2 cpm, or 2.14 UR x 2 cpm) on everything, so those rotating category cards would be the only real improvement. Given how low their caps are, that all have forex fees, and that some categories will simply go unused based on my spending patterns, it would be a lot of extra hassle for very little in the way of additional rewards.

FICOs: EX: 826, EQ: 817, TU: 810
Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL
Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank American Airlines Executive World Elite MasterCard - $22,500 CL
J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
New Member
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎03-17-2013
0

Re: PIF and credit card rewards

While shopping in brick and mortar stores, i find it a pain to carry all my cards ( but i do carry specific cards if its a planned large purchase ahead of time) . However while shopping online ( i am mostly sitting at home with my huge wallet stack next to me)  i dont mind going through a bunch of cards with the intent of maximizing rewards. However its not easy to compare rewards for online stores across credit card portals in one place. Do you find this as a problem as well?.  I am trying to solve this problem and I am working on a solution to help others who might have the same problem. I would love to hear from folks who find this a problem as well...

 

 

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