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Cash Back Swing Cards

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Frequent Contributor

Cash Back Swing Cards

There are a few cards on the market with multiple 3%+ regular cash back categories which kind can fit in between ecosystems. 

 

I call them swing cards because they can fill a niche where your regular earning is weak.

 

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred 6% Groceries/ 6% Streaming/ 3% Gas/ 3% Transit

USB Cash+ 5% in 2 Categories

PNC Cash Rewards 4% Gas/ 3% Dining

 

If you also had an Altitude Resreve, your covered with travel and mobile wallet but you'd need help with utilties (Cash+) and help with gas (no NFC readers at the pump).

 

Is there a way to stack these kind of cards together so you can maximize value?

Official travel point totals as of 3/21/20 (Goal Free Flights)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 163,976
British Airways Avios 11,332
AA Advantage 10,841
United MileagePlus 4,550
Expedia Points 2,523
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1,000
Hilton Honors 481
Delta Sky Miles 123
Marriot Bonvoy 0

Official cashback as of 3/21/20 (Goal Fund Roth IRA)
Acorns 418.87
Retail Me Not 85.12
Top Cashback 39.08
DOSH App 32.64
Raise Cash 27.49
PEI App 24.28
Club Overstock 23.87
Mr. Rebates 14.65
Rakuten 0.00

Other Point Category
Freebird 3,500
Samsung Rewards 2,750
Open Table 1,400
Message 1 of 25
24 REPLIES 24
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards


@Citylights18 wrote:

There are a few cards on the market with multiple 3%+ regular cash back categories which kind can fit in between ecosystems. 

 

I call them swing cards because they can fill a niche where your regular earning is weak.

 

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred 6% Groceries/ 6% Streaming/ 3% Gas/ 3% Transit

USB Cash+ 5% in 2 Categories

PNC Cash Rewards 4% Gas/ 3% Dining

 

If you also had an Altitude Resreve, your covered with travel and mobile wallet but you'd need help with utilties (Cash+) and help with gas (no NFC readers at the pump).

 

Is there a way to stack these kind of cards together so you can maximize value?


use each or any designated card at its featured reward category, dont stack cards that overlap reward structures unless your spend can handle the dilution of points. 

Message 2 of 25
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Super Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards

Other than my flat rate cards, I have the BCP for 6% on groceries and in app purchases more than $4, Savor for 3% on dining, Marvel for 3% on video game stores, BBVA for 3% on utilities, Rewards+ for 10 points for each purchase under $4 (this card is great for micro transactions on mobile games), Apple Card for 3% on Apple products, Amazon Store Card for 5% on Amazon, Discover It for 5% on rotating categories, and Target for 5% at Target. 

Of course I have the AOD card now so if that lasts, all of my 3% cards are no longer necessary. 

You can quickly run into rewards being diluted if you get a bunch of cards with minimum redemption thresholds but the only cards I have that has that issue are my BCP and Rewards+ since BBVA I could technically just make a small purchase and erase it with points so it isn't a big deal. 

Obviously this hinges on keeping track of which card to use for what but the WalletFlo website tracks all of that for me. It's not perfect (Rewards+ isn't my best grocery card, that's BCP, and BBVA only has one 3% category but they haven't implemented a way to designate that yet) but the cheat sheet is still handy. 


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Message 3 of 25
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Super Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards

You can't really stack cash back cards, unless I'm misunderstanding what you're asking. You simply could use the best card for each situation / the highest earning, but keep in mind the more cards you have, the longer it could take to reach redemption thresholds. Even with no threshold, it may not feel very exciting to redeem a dollar in rewards every month. Just depends on your tolerance and how much you want to maximize vs keep it somewhat streamlined. A lot of cards have similar bonus categories so they can quickly become redundant.

 

I think over optimizing your organic spending is a lot of effort for minimal gain. I have no issue with optimizing larger categories of my spend but things that are infrequent purchases, I'm less likely to want to open a new card for. There's something to be said for building up cash or points in one or two ecosystems even if you are not technically "optimizing" each purchase -- again, just depends on your perspective and how you want to do it. You could argue that by trying to maximize each purchase you're spreading too thin and that isn't really optimal.

Message 4 of 25
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards

@elixerin wrote:

@Citylights18 wrote:

There are a few cards on the market with multiple 3%+ regular cash back categories which kind can fit in between ecosystems. 

 

I call them swing cards because they can fill a niche where your regular earning is weak.

 

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred 6% Groceries/ 6% Streaming/ 3% Gas/ 3% Transit

USB Cash+ 5% in 2 Categories

PNC Cash Rewards 4% Gas/ 3% Dining

 

If you also had an Altitude Resreve, your covered with travel and mobile wallet but you'd need help with utilties (Cash+) and help with gas (no NFC readers at the pump).

 

Is there a way to stack these kind of cards together so you can maximize value?


use each or any designated card at its featured reward category, dont stack cards that overlap reward structures unless your spend can handle the dilution of points. 


That is all obvious but is there an ideal way to do it?

 

Are you better off trying to get a NFCU More Rewards and settle with 3% dining/groceries/gas when your 5% rotators don't kick in? The BCP seems to be a waste if you've got 5% rotators on grocery and having to recoup that $95 annual fee. 

 

If I use my CSP-CF-CFU combo and figure I can get at least 1.25% without a point transfer on discounted travel.

 

5x Afinity FCU CR Rotator (up to 7%-10%)

5x Freedom Categories (6.25%)

6x AMEX BCP Groceries (6%)

5x Discover Rotating (5%)

5x US Bank Utilities (5%)

3x USB Altitude Reserve Mobile Wallet (4.5%)

4x PNC Cash Rewards Gas (4%)

3x AMEX BCP Transit (3%)

2x CSP Dining/Travel (2.5%)

1.5x CFU non-cat spend (1.9%)

 

If you believe a Chase point is worth 3x transferring to Hyatt that almost makes earning outside of the Trifecta moot, especially mobile wallet redemptions that won't work at the gas pump (maybe its better to just pay for gas inside). The Cash+ though seems to be tough to beat on utilties and you can also use for fast food. If you're will to accept it earns 2% gas it could be a good swing card.

Official travel point totals as of 3/21/20 (Goal Free Flights)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 163,976
British Airways Avios 11,332
AA Advantage 10,841
United MileagePlus 4,550
Expedia Points 2,523
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1,000
Hilton Honors 481
Delta Sky Miles 123
Marriot Bonvoy 0

Official cashback as of 3/21/20 (Goal Fund Roth IRA)
Acorns 418.87
Retail Me Not 85.12
Top Cashback 39.08
DOSH App 32.64
Raise Cash 27.49
PEI App 24.28
Club Overstock 23.87
Mr. Rebates 14.65
Rakuten 0.00

Other Point Category
Freebird 3,500
Samsung Rewards 2,750
Open Table 1,400
Message 5 of 25
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Super Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards

For that list you just posted some will end up being redundant. The rotating cards usually have gas once or twice a year so is it really worth getting the PNC just for gas expenses? For many people, that's not a huge amount of money every month. Plus, BCP gives you 3% all year, so the PNC would be an extra 1% maybe half of the year. Probably not significant.

Message 6 of 25
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Mega Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards


@Citylights18 wrote:

 

If you also had an Altitude Resreve, your covered with travel and mobile wallet but you'd need help with utilties (Cash+) and help with gas (no NFC readers at the pump).

 

 


I know it's a side point, but round here a number of pumps do have NFC.   And ExxonMobil app supports Samsung Pay (and probably Apple on those devices) allowing you to get the 3x AR bonus on those that dont

Message 7 of 25
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Valued Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards

Geo-fenced but about 14 states are OK

Bank of the West Cashback

3% - Gas, Grocery, Fast-Food, Restaurant and 1% other.

NAF, Cashback,  Master Card

FNBO 2% Cashback Visa (20k) / Bank of the West Cashback MC (20k) / US-Bank Cash+ (15k)
FNBO Travel Elite (15k) / Citi Double Cash (20k) / US Alliance 3% (20k)
Ficos : 830 / AAoA : 9 yrs / AoOA : 24 Yrs / AoYA : 0
Message 8 of 25
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards


@kdm31091 wrote:

For that list you just posted some will end up being redundant. The rotating cards usually have gas once or twice a year so is it really worth getting the PNC just for gas expenses? For many people, that's not a huge amount of money every month. Plus, BCP gives you 3% all year, so the PNC would be an extra 1% maybe half of the year. Probably not significant.


What about the 3% on the PNC for fast food? That is something you can't do with the BCP.

 

So if you were going to do a fast food/gas runner card it would work better than the BCP.

Official travel point totals as of 3/21/20 (Goal Free Flights)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 163,976
British Airways Avios 11,332
AA Advantage 10,841
United MileagePlus 4,550
Expedia Points 2,523
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1,000
Hilton Honors 481
Delta Sky Miles 123
Marriot Bonvoy 0

Official cashback as of 3/21/20 (Goal Fund Roth IRA)
Acorns 418.87
Retail Me Not 85.12
Top Cashback 39.08
DOSH App 32.64
Raise Cash 27.49
PEI App 24.28
Club Overstock 23.87
Mr. Rebates 14.65
Rakuten 0.00

Other Point Category
Freebird 3,500
Samsung Rewards 2,750
Open Table 1,400
Message 9 of 25
Highlighted
Frequent Contributor

Re: Cash Back Swing Cards


@Kforce wrote:

Geo-fenced but about 14 states are OK

Bank of the West Cashback

3% - Gas, Grocery, Fast-Food, Restaurant and 1% other.

NAF, Cashback,  Master Card


That is the same as NFCU More Rewards.

Official travel point totals as of 3/21/20 (Goal Free Flights)
Chase Ultimate Rewards 163,976
British Airways Avios 11,332
AA Advantage 10,841
United MileagePlus 4,550
Expedia Points 2,523
Southwest Rapid Rewards 1,000
Hilton Honors 481
Delta Sky Miles 123
Marriot Bonvoy 0

Official cashback as of 3/21/20 (Goal Fund Roth IRA)
Acorns 418.87
Retail Me Not 85.12
Top Cashback 39.08
DOSH App 32.64
Raise Cash 27.49
PEI App 24.28
Club Overstock 23.87
Mr. Rebates 14.65
Rakuten 0.00

Other Point Category
Freebird 3,500
Samsung Rewards 2,750
Open Table 1,400
Message 10 of 25
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