Frequent Contributor
Posts: 274
Registered: ‎12-31-2008
The Best Way to Use Reward CC?

Hi all,


I'm in need of a bit of advice on using my reward CCs.  First, I ALWAYS PIF each month (even if something shows up on the statement it has no finance charge).  Second, I have no interest right now in adding new cards, so work with what I've got please.


I have:

PenFed Cash Reward Visa - 13.99% APR - $9,500 limit

USAA MC - 7.75% APR - $24,000 limit

USAA Amex - 9.9% APR - $14,000 limit

VS CC - 24% APR (?) - $680 limit (VERY rarely used - usually once every 6 months to keep alive and paid off 2 days after purchase)* (not reward but only other CC)


Right now, I'm using PenFed for gas, MC for "other", and Amex for my cell phone... (iphone = $78/mo) where "other" is food, clothes, presents and other items just for me (my husband and I only use checking accounts for regular joint spending).


The problem is that both the MC and Amex get poorer rewards - 1 point/dollar and 3,000 points = $25 dollars.  However, I have our joint reward checking account tied into the total rewards program as well so that brings in around $850/mo additionally (2 points per dollar = ~425 points per month) - if that matters.


My concern is that my MC is the highest limit and I want to be loyal to USAA (and keep my limit high and APR low, just in case).  However, I guess that means I'm loosing $5 for every $3000 I spend by going with USAA MC & Amex over PenFed (for the "other" category).  That said, at most I generally only spend $4000-5000 per year (depending on buying airline travel and not including gas).  So that's a "cost" about $5-7 per year to use USAA more instead of PenFed - do you think that's reasonable?  Should I put anything "big" (ie, over $100) on PenFed and smaller stuff on MC?


Any suggestions for me or comments?  I just want to make sure everything goes smoothly as I use CC more and more (added the Amex and PenFed within the last calendar year so juggling multiple cards is fairly new).



Current Scores: EQ: 740 (2/7/13)

Starting Score: 799
Current Score: 762
Goal Score: 800

Take the FICO Fitness Challenge