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Good Trio?

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Regular Contributor

Good Trio?

Hey, guys !!

 

Now that I have converted my Chase Frredom to the Freedom Flex, I have the following "go-to" cards:

 

Amex BCP ($30000) 6% groceries and 3% gas

Chase Freedom Flex ($28,200, cut from $56500)  3% drugstores and dining, 5% quarterly categories (if they match my spending needs)

Citi DC 2% ($24000) for 2% all else

Also:

Costco Visa (wife's) 2% back at Costco, do not use it for anything else because I do not care to wait a year to get Costo certificate? 

Target Redcard 5% back at Target

Does this seem like I have all bases covered? We do not travel, so don't really care about travel rewards.

 

Message 1 of 15
14 REPLIES 14
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Established Contributor

Re: Good Trio?

That seems pretty good so far.

 

US Bank Cash+ card would be good for more 5% quarterly categories, and you actually get to choose them yourself from a list. So you can make one of them "utilities", and another one "fast food", for instance.

 

Discover IT Cashback would provide you with even further rotating 5% categories, similar to the freedom flex. The more the merrier.

 

Also maybe worth looking into one of the new 3% everyday cashback cards from CU's like AOD. Otherwise your DoubleCash card is still pretty good for the "everything else" role.

 

Lowe's and Amazon Prime cards are also good for 5% cashback at their respective retailers.

 

All of the above cards have no AF (except the Amazon card requires $119/yr Prime membership, of course, and probably isn't worth getting unless you were already paying for Prime anyways)

    Total Loan Balance: $28k / $70k

    Total SL: $41.2k
Goal cards:



United 1K - 675,000 lifetime flight miles    |    Chase 6/24
Message 2 of 15
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Good Trio?

If you have your higher-spend categories covered and your cash back isn't spread too thinly among different minimum redemptions, that's pretty much all you need from a cash back lineup, rewards-wise, imo.

 

Edit: And a decent flat % card, ofc.

Wallet: Chase FU & Disco IT CB
Sock Drawer: Chase Amazon, State Farm GN
TU 817, EX 817, EQ 826
Message 3 of 15
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Established Contributor

Re: Good Trio?

If you do a lot (up to $10k per year, $2500 per quarter) of online shopping, could consider the BoA Cash Rewards for the 3% category unless you're fine with waiting for something like Amazon or Paypal to rotate as the quarter or want a dedicated card like Amazon's 5% one.

Ignoring the waiting to redeem for Costco, it beats your BCP for gas. I'd say the 1% difference could be worth waiting if you don't need the money sooner. But honestly, if you want to eliminate that card the BoA Cash Rewards can do that too because it gets 2% on wholesale stores (like Costco, Sams, Walmart) and redeems whenever. That adds into the 3% quarter/annual cap amount though.
as of 10/13/20
Current Cards:
Message 4 of 15
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Valued Contributor

Re: Good Trio?


@johnny50 wrote:

Now that I have converted my Chase Frredom to the Freedom Flex, I have the following "go-to" cards:

 

  • Amex BCP ($30000) 6% groceries and 3% gas
  • Chase Freedom Flex ($28,200, cut from $56500)  3% drugstores and dining, 5% quarterly categories (if they match my spending needs)
  • Citi DC 2% ($24000) for 2% all else

Also:

  • Costco Visa (wife's) 2% back at Costco, do not use it for anything else because I do not care to wait a year to get Costo certificate? 
  • Target Redcard 5% back at Target

Does this seem like I have all bases covered? We do not travel, so don't really care about travel rewards.


In general, not a bad looking rewards lineup, @johnny50, but answering your question is difficult without more information about how much you spend in different categories.  We tend to assume everyone has similar spending patterns but in reality there can be a lot of differences. 

 

For example, how much do you spend on groceries annually?  Be careful with the assumptions about the Blue Cash Preferred.  YMMV depending on many factors.  BCP has the $95 AF and a cap of $6K to get 6%.  Factoring those two together, you're only netting 4.4% maximum return based just on grocery purchases, not the full advertised 6%.  And, you get the absolute maximum of 4.4% if you spend exactly $6K on the BCP on groceries, not a penny less or a penny more.  If you spend more, your rewards plummet to 1%, quickly lowering your average return.  If you spend less, the baseline effect of the AF weighs down your returns.   What can help the return on the BCP is if you charge a lot of streaming services where you can also get 6% back.

 

  • So, if you don't spend at least $3,150 or more on groceries, you're better off with a 3% BCE with no AF.   If you shop alot at Target and Costco as I would assume since you mentioned those, you might find the grocery returns are diminished. 
  • ... And if you spend more than $6,000 annually on groceries and have high spend in that category, you may need other grocery options in addition to BCP.

There are cards that pay a simple 3% on groceries (and even EVERY thing) with no cap, unlike the AMEX cards.  One of my cards (AFBA/5-Star Bank) is managed by UMB (United Missouri Bank) and falls under their "Simply Rewards" program.  It earns an uncapped 3 points (3%) on restaurants, gas, and all groceries including at discount stores such as Walmart or Target, which is typically excluded by AMEX. 

 

UMB Bank:

https://www.umb.com/

*UMB operates in MO, IL, CO, KS, OK, NE, AZ, and TX and may be geofenced.  But my AFBA/5-Star Bank card, as a partner card, was not geofenced, so there may be a back door to this card through 5-Star Bank (CO) if UMB restricts.

 

The BCP's 3% back on gasoline is easily matched or exceeded by many cards including that CITI Costco card in your wallet that pays 4%.  Yes, there is an inconvenience to wait for the cash.  But on $6K annually for gasoline, that's another $60 a year you'd be saving at 4% versus 3% on the BCP.  (And remember, depending on grocery spend, that BCP AF could also chip away at your "real" return on gasoline too.) 

 

Here is a link to a message I recently wrote listing the highest paying gas cards currently available:

https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/gas-cards/m-p/6105506#M1737863

 

The 2% on the CITI DC isn't a bad baseline return.  But since your focus is on cash back rewards, there are other options you might consider moving up to that pay even more than 2%. 

 

AOD FCU or US Alliance FCU:

3% uncapped and uncategorized with no AF:

https://www.aodfcu.com/

https://www.usalliance.org/

 

Alliant FCU Visa Signature:

3% year one, 2.5% thereafter. 

On up to $10K purchases monthly.

No AF year one, $99 thereafter.

https://ww2.alliantcreditunion.org/

 

If you can move an IRA or investments to Merrill Lynch in Bank of America's Preferred Rewards Program, you can qualify for higher earnings on their credit cards.  With either $20K (Gold level), $50K (Platinum level), or $100K (Platinum Honors level), you can earn either 25%, 50%, or 75% respectively above their base rates.  On the Cash Rewards card, that bumps up the 2% on groceries and wholesale clubs to either 2.5%, 3%, or 3.5%.  You also get to choose a 3% category which can be changed monthly and includes gas, online shopping, drug stores, home improvement & furnishings, dining or travel.  With Preferred Rewards status, that 3% increases to 3.75%, 4.25%, or 5.25%!   The cap on the 2% + 3% category spending is $2500 per quarter to get the higher rates, then 1% above that. 

 

And if you qualify for Preferred Rewards and get the Premium Rewards card, the 1.5% baseline (uncapped and uncategorized) return increases to 1.875%, 2.25%, or 2.625%.  Plus that card gives you 2% on dining out and travel (which bumps to 2.5%, 3.0%, or 3.5% with Preferred Reward status, which could beat the return on your Citi Costco or Chase Freedom cards in the Dining Out category.)

 

Just some options for you to consider.  If not now, maybe something to consider down the line.  Smiley Happy



Updated 10/08/2020
Total Length of Credit = 35+ years; AoOA (Currently open accounts) = 27+ years;
AAoA = 8+ years; AoYA = less than 1 year (Aug 2020)
Total Open Credit Lines Over $538K. Utilization Less Than 1%.
Inquiries until Nov 2020 (TU:3 -- EQ:4 -- EX:9)
New Accounts: 3/6 months; 8/12 months; 12/24 months (as of 10/15/20)
*Hover cursor over each card to see name & CL, or press & hold on mobile app.
Message 5 of 15
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Super Contributor

Re: Good Trio?

One nice thing about BCP is that you can downgrade to BCE and gently churn upgrade bonuses before downgrading again...and it's still all one account for AAoA and "new credit" purposes.

 

But it can take some micromanagement with rotating category cards.

Spend: BofA PR + WWFCR, BBP, Schwab Platinum, CFF+CF, Costco, Discover
Perks: IHG49, Hyatt75, Delta Platinum, "Old" SPG95
SD/AAoA Ballast: Arrival, CFU, DC
Upgrade/downgrade games: BCE, EDP
Mostly earning MRs and cash back as I use up hotel and airline points spread across several programs.
Message 6 of 15
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Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Good Trio?

That's a nice trio of cards. You seem to have the "most important" bases covered (somewhat subjective, but still). I'm loving that limit on the DC lol. I want. 

 

Discover It: 19.7k
Amex ED: 18k
Citi DC: 7.7k
Best Buy Visa: 3k
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Once you go Berner, you never go back.
Message 7 of 15
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Established Member

Re: Good Trio?

You could throw a Discover card in for additional 5% options, a Cash + for 5% back on regular bill payments, a Walmart card for 5% off Walmart online (and 5% in store first year) if you do a lot of Walmart shopping. Same for Amazon, but that requires an (overpriced) Prime membership. Synchrony Marvel mastercard offers 3% off entertainment expenses (movie theaters, amusement parks, video game purchases/rentals), but that's a pretty narrow category so it would only make sense if you do lots of shopping in those categories. The PNC Cash visa can increase your gas cashback to 4%, and you can use it interchangeably with the Freedom Flex for 3% on dining (would help keep your per card utilization down). PNC card also offers 3% back on fast food (unsure if Freedom Flex includes fast food as a 3%).

 

That's about all I can think of currently, excluding travel.

 

 

Message 8 of 15
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Established Contributor

Re: Good Trio?


@Swolehas wrote:

(unsure if Freedom Flex includes fast food as a 3%).


It does. It has the same broad "dining" category as the Sapphires, which also includes many meal delivery services like Doordash.

 

I even had a bowling alley membership code as "dining" one time Smiley Very Happy

    Total Loan Balance: $28k / $70k

    Total SL: $41.2k
Goal cards:



United 1K - 675,000 lifetime flight miles    |    Chase 6/24
Message 9 of 15
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Valued Contributor

Re: Good Trio?

@johnny50 I think your wallet is fairly complete.  Congratulations!

Daily Carry: PenFed Power Cash • NFCU Flagship • NFCU More Rewards • Chase Freedom Unlimited
Sock Drawer: PenFed Promise • NFCU cashRewards • Chase Freedom • Chase United MileagePlus • UNFCU Azure
Message 10 of 15
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