Rewards Credit Cards

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bucknut1994's picture

Discover is still offering Cash Back match with no annual fee. They were my first credit card long before they offered that. I also have the Southwest Rewards Visa so will be interested to see what other suggestions people have. 

#94Ways

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Mortc15's picture

Depends what you're using it for. I have 2 Chase cards and love them both but neither has 'miles', but cash back. I have 2 because the Freedom card has 1% unlimited and 5% on categories throughout the year. My Freedom Unlimited card has 1.5% cash back on everything. So if it's a category for the quarter, ill use the freedom. If not I'll use the Unlimited. Can pay and do everything with both from the same app. Really convenient and no yearly fees. Interest is fairly high if you keep much of a balance. I don't and if you're asking about cash back I dont figure you do either. 

Buck-I4Life

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FTWinfrey08's picture

You can do a 1:1 transfer with Chase points to quite a few airlines. 

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cledaybuck's picture

Not with those two cards. You need to get a sapphire card (preferred or reserve) to do the points transfer. You can transfer the points from the freedoms to the sapphire and then to an airline on you have them though.

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Mortc15's picture

I can simply redeem travel items like airlines but it's not really 'miles' with freedom and unlimited cards. 

Buck-I4Life

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cledaybuck's picture

You can, but what is the point with those cards?  Why not just take the cash?

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Mortc15's picture

You really just use it for whatever you want at the time. Pay off your cc bill, get a gift card for any number of places. it's all just like cash. 

Buck-I4Life

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Buckeye_Condor's picture

I have Sapphire Preferred card. I'd wait until they run a deal like spend 3000 in the first 3 months and get however many points back.

95 dollar anual fee isnt too bad if you use it well. 

Connor Brown

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cledaybuck's picture

They always have those deals.  Currently 50k points for $4k spending in 3 months.

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Buckeye_Condor's picture

there you go. sign up for it, pay off some debt or something via the card, cover it with your tax return. bam 50K points. then take a vacation!

Connor Brown

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ohiowhitesnake's picture

I have a Hilton rewards card because I spend at least one week a month on the road. There are a few versions, with different bonuses, but some have fees. 

I have been looking into a Wells Fargo rewards card. Up to 5% back on most purchases and each month offers bonus cash back on food, gas and other useful day to day purchases. 

Feed the trolls

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FTWinfrey08's picture

Depends on your spending habits. Figure out where most of your spending goes and get a card/cards that maximize return. I have 3 chase cards and an AMEX that cover pretty much everything:

 Freedom - for the 5% back categories. Rotation typically includes gas, groceries, restaurants, drug stores, mobile pay, movies. 

Sapphire Reserve - 3% back on restaurants, bars, anything dealing with travel (flights, car rental, hotels, cruses, parking, Uber etc). Plus other perks.

Freedom Unlimited - 1.5% on everything else the others don’t cover. 

AMEX gold - for 4% on groceries and other perks. 

Racked up quite a bit of points from sign up bonuses and spending that I transfer to to travel partners for best redemption.   

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BuckeyeFan150's picture

Great feedback!

explain the last sentence re: transferring to travel partners? 

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osu992's picture

You earn "points" through spending. Some cards let you convert to those points to airline miles by transfer the points to a partner airline (link your accounts).

So for instance, with Chase Sapphire Preferred, 20K points are worth $250 to buy flights/hotels at the same rate that someone like Kayak/airline would charge.

So if a flight costs $190, but the airline was also selling it for $17.5K, you could:

a) buy it from the airline for $190
b) use 15.2K points through Chase's portal.
c) buy it through the airline after transferring points for 17.5K+$5.6 security taxes/fees

But sometimes that $190 flight is 12.5K points. Other times, it's 25K.

So depending on the situation, you can transfer the points to the airline to accomplish the sale.

Since Southwest's program works differently than the others (multiples of dollars spent, rather than miles flown, which usually relates to slower earn on ticket purchases), their flights are priced at about half as everyone else's in terms of the mile cost. So if that's your airline, transferring to Southwest usually works very well.

New Day for OSU. Same noon for TTUN.

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FTWinfrey08's picture

Basically what OSU992 said. The sapphire reserve is a bit different from the sapphire preferred as the bonus is 50% instead of 25%. 

A point is worth 1 cent when reframed for cash. 

Lets just use 50k points.... if you were to redeem those points for cash chase would give you $500. However if you redeem the points through chase’s travel portal it’s worth $625-750 depending on what card you have. 

It gets better though. You can transfer those points to certain airlines and hotel partners on a 1:1 ratio for better redemptions. I like using United and Hyatt. With United I’ve used $300 dollars worth of points to pay for a round trip ticket that would have cost over $700. With Hyatt you can get a crazy $600/night room at a 5 star place like the Park Hyatt Maldives for 25k chase points($250 worth in cash). Or what I like to do, spend 5K points ($50 worth) on a room that’s typically $100-200. 

Chase points will pay for my honeymoon. 

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Zonabuck's picture

Amex Everday Cash card is what we use. $75/year fee but 6% on groceries and 3% on gas. There’s a no charge version with 3% on groceries and 2% on gas. Even with just two of us, the $75 more than makes up for itself. 

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dubjayfootball90's picture

I have chase sapphire preferred. I absolutely love it. Chase has been unbelievable with any issues I have experienced, very quick to respond. Their point system is pretty nice with their “shop through chase” program. I got some flowers for Valentine’s Day at 30 points for each dollar spent. Each point is worth something like .0125 cents for travel something like that.

really the only card I use because I put everything on it and pay it off and rack up points. Bought a flight for me and wife to Ecuador using points and only spent $100 bucks. Travel is worth double, dining worth double, very nice travel perks, like if you rent a car through chase you decline the car rental insurance because chase has you covered,

i love chase sapphire preferred because of the safety I have with them.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

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osu992's picture

CSR if you travel, paired with a Freedom Unlimited.

You can transfer the points to Southwest, if you want. Southwest's reward's program is different than everyone else's. Their flights cost fewer miles, so you get more bang for your buck transferring points and buying with points there.

New Day for OSU. Same noon for TTUN.

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cledaybuck's picture

I would add the regular freedom too.

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btalbert25's picture

Fidelity has a Visa card that is pretty sweet.  You 2% cash back on purchases.  What's better is, if you have a Fidelity Cash Management account, brokerage account, college savings account, and a Roth IRA you can actually transfer that 2% into the various accounts.  I recently redeemed the "points" and transferred the cash to my bank account. 

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bucklox's picture

I rotate between Southwest Visa, Delta AmEx, Chase Sapphire and CapitalOne...essentially signing up for a new one every 6-8 months to take advantage of the sign up bonuses.  If you time it properly, you can get 80k-100k miles/points per year in sign up bonuses.  

Southwest currently has the best sign up bonus I've ever seen (I've been playing this game for about 6 years).  They're offering 50k miles and a free companion pass if you spend $4k in the first three months.  Typically to earn a companion pass, you have to fly something insane like 100 flights per year.  What is a companion pass?....essentially if you book a flight on SW for yourself, your designated companion (can be anyone you name, friend, spouse, child, etc.) gets a free flight to the same location.  The kicker here is that you can use points to book your flight.  E.g. a round trip flight to Vegas is about 12,000 points or $350...regardless of how you pay, points or money, your companion is free.  I believe this promo only lasts through the middle of February and the companion pass is good for all of 2019.  

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huffdaddy's picture

If you are married, have a regular travel companion, etc. - Southwest Companion Pass is a huge deal. Have had it for 2 years (you earn it with 110k miles/points in a year or through the promotion mentioned above). I would guess it saved my family $2,000 last year. 

"I don't think you necessarily have to get a trophy to be a winner." - Nick Saban 1/2/15.

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JohnnyKozmo's picture

Buddy of mine who refs CFB just got his companion pass at the end of the year.  Was literally 1 round trip flight away going into the end of 2018 so he grabbed a round trip to and from ATL back to DC just to get the companion pass.  

You're too stupid to have a good time. -Dalton

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mizzer's picture

We have the Cap One No Hassle: put everything on the card and then pay it off every month.  So what if their algorithm can predict our spending habits with 99% accuracy: free plane tickets, man!

Now, I travel a lot more so I'm looking for a dedicated airline card.  My problem is I can't settle on an airline.  There are things I like/dislike about each one.

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aphilly02's picture

That is why I will never get an airline card - it keeps my options low, even if I will receive better service and perks. My thought process has always been to be okay with whatever way I can get there, then have a specific chain of hotel brands where I know I will be comfortable and treated well. 8 hours of comfortable sky time vs 5 days of preferential treatment at a hotel... I take hotel benefits all day.

"To Buckeye Nation: You have my word that I'm going to give everything I have to continue the tradition of excellence and winning that this program has enjoyed during its storied history."

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aphilly02's picture

I rotate between my Hilton AMEX, Capital One Venture, and Discover It. I generally use my Hilton and Capital One for everything as they reward me via hotel points and miles respectively. I really use AMEX for my groceries, restaurants, and gas since it gets me 5x points than normal. Capital One's mile system is great if you use it for travel expenses. My initial offer got me 50,000 miles, which is $500 for travel expenses (as opposed to $250 for non-travel). But - use of bot really helps cut down my initial expenses when planning a trip. I use the Discover It for whatever their 5% cashback for the quarter is. This quarter is supermarkets, next is gas stations, Uber and Lyft.

"To Buckeye Nation: You have my word that I'm going to give everything I have to continue the tradition of excellence and winning that this program has enjoyed during its storied history."

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Elks' comb over's picture

“What’s great about the official Dave Ramsey card is that it always gets declined,” Ramsey said on his radio program. “Try to buy a new fishing reel? Declined. Try to book a family vacation you can’t afford? Declined. Replace a shredded tire you failed to budget for? Yup, you guessed it—declined.”

This is funny.

Anyways, I just use the Capital One Quicksilver. No need for rewards outside of just giving me cash back.

Earle’s target practice

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Zonabuck's picture

I get it. But if you pay your cards of every month, there’s thousands of dollars in annual benefits out there that people aren’t taking advantage of.  I have a Chase Amazon that gives me back 5% on all Amazon purchases. 5% cash back for purchases I’d make with a debit card, but it’s 5% off every time. 

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Elks' comb over's picture

Yeah I don’t agree with everything he says like his view on credit cards but I get his reasoning behind it. I also don’t believe him when he says he doesn’t use them. That’s free money so there is no way he doesn’t take advantage of that perk.

Earle’s target practice

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milhouse4588's picture

Depends on how much of an annual fee you're willing to pay.

Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum are the best bang for your buck, even with $450+ annual fees.

Amex Gold just changed their point earning structure and is fantastic as well.

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.

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Belliott's picture

I have the second level AMEX Cash rewards card. It has like a $100 annual fee but you get some pretty good cash back on gas and groceries and stuff like that 3-5% depending. If you use it as your main card instead of a debit card and just pay it off It’s pretty good

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RK84's picture

Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve, both great cards. Amex is a little steep on annual member ship, but the benefits are really good. Sapphire is a really good daily card, cash back, benefits, ease of use. Excellent Customer Service.

It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

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jmmysms's picture

I travel for a living so the rewards cards don't hold much value for me. I have had the expensive United and Hilton cards, good to have if you are going to take that one big trip of a lifetime.

I have a SamsClub card.

Get 5% back on gas, 3% back on dining and travel? and 1% back on everything else. This year I will get around $1050 back.

The only downside to this card is that you have to go to SamClub to get cash, use for a purchase, or as I do apply it to my statement. Of course I am at SamsClub probably every two weeks so that is not a big deal.

JMMYSMS

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xbuceye's picture

I think it just depends on your situation and spending habits. I had a Delta Skymiles AMEX for years when I traveled for work and living in Atlanta that was what I almost always flew. Now that I no longer travel much, I got rid of it and switched to Amazons Prime Rewards Visa. I was already a Prime member and spent a lot of money with them anyhow so with the 5% back for all purchases on Amazon along with 1-3% on everything else it was worth it to me. Two years ago my cash back bought me a 60" inch Vizio TV. I'm getting ready to buy a generator with my current cash back.
What works for me may not work best for you and vice versa.

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osuflacco's picture

Cap One venture is great, 2% back on everything (no categories etc.) and low annual fee.  Customer service is awesome too.  This has been my main card for years.  Real easy to use points, anything travel related (flights, hotels, uber,) you can use points to get a immediate credit.  I usually have about $2500/mth on their so getting $600/year in rewards minimum for the $69 fee.  

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NorCal Buckeye's picture

Have the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi and the Marriott Visa by Chase. Both are solid and we got a big signup offer for the Marriott with 100k points. Costco has 4% on gas, 3% on travel and restaurants, 2% Costco and 1% everthing else. I really like the cash reward with the Costco card instead of having to apply it to a trip or other reward. Cash money in your pocket (literally, they give you a stack of cash).

All this talk about the Chase Saphire has me interested though.

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cledaybuck's picture

There are two sapphire cards, preferred and reserve. Both allows transfers to certain airline and hotel programs.  https://www.creditdonkey.com/chase-transfer-partners.html

The annual fee is $95 (waived first year) for the preferred and $450 for the reserve, although the reserve comes with a $300 annual travel credit, so an effective $150 fee. You get 1 point/$ on all purchases and 2 pts/$ on travel and restaurants with preferred and 3 pts/$ with reserve.  In addition to the travel partners, points can be used like cash to pay for travel at .0125/pt with preferred and .015/pt with reserve. Both cards come with a 50,000 pt bonus with $4,000 spending in the first 3 months.

A lot of people pair a sapphire card with chase freedom and freedom unlimited (no annual fee) to get 1.5 points on all purchases (freedom unlimited), travel and restaurants with sapphire (2x or 3x pts), and 5x pts with freedom on whatever the quarterly bonus category is.

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OSU725's picture

I have two cards that I rotate. I have the Amex perferred (75 annual fee) and capital one quicksilver. I use the Amex at grocery stores (6% and gas s stations 3%) and the capital one for everything else 1.5% across the board). I don't travel on airplanes all that often so that is why I just took the 1.5 cash back for flexibility.

where I really make s killing is on gift cards. I shop at Kroger for gift cards. I get 6%off and then the 4x fuel points and fill up both of our cars. On a 500 hundred dollar gift card I get save close to 100 bucks. I do it around Christmas (Amazon) or for Lowes gift cards (and use them as cash). 

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GunnerBuck's picture

I've recently started to buy Kroger gift cards at Kroger to use for my grocery shopping. I've yet to see the real benefits of it but we will find out shortly if it makes it worth it. I've also started using their app to pay for purchases if I don't use a gift card. They're supposedly 5x fuel points that way but I havent seen them yet. 

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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hetuck's picture

I have a Southwest card because that is my preferred airline and like Norcal, a Chase Costco card. There is no annual fee if you are a Costco member and I would be regardless. He is correct: with your February statement, you get a cash-back voucher you exchange for Benjamins. Of course they hope you turn around and buy a new TV with it, but that is your choice. 

I read about this web site in Money magazine. I'm not interested in the extreme card swapping, but it does make interesting reading. 

https://10xtravel.com

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

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NorCal Buckeye's picture

So odd walking around with $1000 worth of cash in your pocket.  Felt archaic and unsafe.  I still put that day's purchase on my Costco CC and deposited that stack into the ATM.

Also have a SW card as a 3rd option, though I don't use it.  It's a carryover from before Costco switched to Visa, will probably cancel it right before the next annual fee.

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hetuck's picture

If anyone makes gift card purchases at Giant Eagle to get gas discounts, be aware they will no longer sell Amazon gift cards as of 3/14. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

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Bolt's picture

Chase is good if you're already doing a lot of banking business through them. I have a Sapphire card. I opened the Sapphire card while my wife and I were planning our wedding because they offer a waterfall of reward points if you spend X amount of dollars in the first 3-4 months after opening the card. I think it's like 50k points. We knew we'd be spending a bunch and would meet that threshold, which we did easily. I also opened a mortgage with Chase, which gave me another waterfall of points. On top of that, it's good for traveling. You get 2x points for any travel type expenses and 2x points for dining...from anywhere from a high end steakhouse to McDonalds. They used to have some price match purchase guarantees (that they may be phasing out because people were taking advantage of it pretty handily) and things like roadside assistance that I've used in lieu of AAA. I've also read about ways to find loopholes in how you can transfer points from a Sapphire card to one of Chase's travel partners like airlines to get super cheap trips to places like Hawaii for next to nothing (relatively speaking). All I know is I'm not a big spender and haven't traveled much since I got the card...I've had it for a couple years and have accrued enough reward points to pretty much fly my wife and I to the other side of the planet and back for free.

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

I have several rewards cards, most of which don't have annual fees (AF).  Of those that do have annual fees, I only pay the AF if there is a bigger payout than the cost. Cards I use:

  • Hilton Honors Amex Aspire - $450 AF, but it pays for itself.
  • Hilton Honors Amex Ascend - $95 AF
  • Hilton Honors no AF
  • American Airlines Citi Platinum Mastercard - $95 AF
  • M Life Rewards Mastercard no AF
  • Amazon Chase black card - $95 AF

I use the Ascend card for every purchase I make, at places they accept Amex, and easily hit the $15K annual mark to earn a free night certificate.  I also get 6 points/dollar spent on gas/restaurants/groceries with this card.
I use the Aspire card for all Hilton property purchases (14 pts/dollar) and airline & rental car charges (7 points/dollar).  The Aspire card comes with perks that exceed the AF, and the card really does pay for itself, all the while giving you Hilton's highest status (Diamond), if you don't stay enough to earn it the old fashioned way.
I keep the NF Amex because they send periodic offers for bonus points.  This year, for example, they offered 10,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 around Christmas.  Too easy, thanks for the points.  
I recently used two free night certificates earned thru my Amex co-branded cards for two nights that would have cost over $930.00.  So, there is great value to be had if you navigate the Hilton Honors program the right way.
I use my Amazon Chase for all of my Amazon purchases and receive 5% back.  I let it ride until Christmas, then cash them in when I'm shopping.
I have the AA Mastercard because my local airport has AA flights, and it gets me free checked bags and other perks (some of which they're taking away, sadly).
I have the M Life card for trips to Vegas and use it at MGM properties to earn points.

If you carry a balance, then the interest charge you will pay will out-value any rewards you are earning, so please don't engage this rewards game if you don't pay your cards off monthly.

There are a million ways to skin this cat, but I have the programs I have based on where I like to stay and the airline that's most accessible to me where I live.  There are sites like Flyer Talk that have tons of great data points from users, and I have read a lot about the Hilton Honors program there. 

The key to this whole game is finding out what works best for your spending, and provides optimized rewards for your lifestyle and travel habits.

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Mean Mr Mustard's picture

Best offers ?  I like American Express for this.  Decent companies have extra points deals with them.  Wal Mart, Starbucks and others have cash back deals right now. Are there any other good cards when it comes to this?

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GunnerBuck's picture

I havent used CC's in years, I don't have any in fact. Though that will change soon. I recently talked to a older, much smarter man that I who literally broke down the benefits for me. He used his CC's for his bills every month, essentially pays them off and used them for all purchases he makes. No matter how big or small. In the last 2 years, he's been to Las Vegas twice, Italy once and flown to and from TN multiple times all for free. When we were in LV last month he stayed at the Belagio with his points as well, 1500+ worth of hotel plus first class flights our there, all for free.  I will ask him which cards he recommends. 

"Come on, you sons of b!tches! Do you want to live forever?" -- Dan Daly, WWI

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Dublin Buck's picture

Lots of posts about the Sapphire card and its travel benefits.  I'm intrigued.  However, I have a 2 year old and a soon-to-be newborn, so we aren't travelling anytime soon (literally a few years down the road before we try flying anywhere).  Does anyone know expiration terms for points for this card or other similar cards?   

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DurhamBuckeye's picture

In terms of the Chase Sapphire, it earns Ultimate rewards points.  Those don't expire as long as you have the card open.  In terms of airline miles or hotel points, it depends.  The standard is usually that they never expire as long as you earn or redeem at least once every xx months (depends on the brand).

It's pretty easy to keep earning airline miles or hotel points even if you don't travel.  You could hold one of their credit cards and put some spend on it occasionally.  Or many have an online shopping portal that could earn some miles/points.  So for instance, if you have a purchase to make at Target, you could log onto American Airline's shopping website, it will redirect you to Target.com.  You make your purchase as normal & get 1 american airline mile per $ spent.

As an aside, there are shopping portals that give cash back as well.  I NEVER make an online purchase without using a shopping portal.  It's like free money/miles/points.

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Buctor's picture

Good advice, but there are big differences.  Best read the fine print.

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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Buctor's picture

I know this will raise the ire of some.  But folks using points is not the same as free.   Free would be if not pointe or no money was needed for the transaction.  You paid money to get these points, sometimes large sums.  So it is at no additional cost, not free.  Again I know I am quibbling, and it is just words.  But it raises my ire when businesses advertise things are free in this way.  It's only free if you can just walk in and they give whatever your talking about!  

Yes I'm old and grumpy, but I ain't wrong.

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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DurhamBuckeye's picture

I agree with this 100%, and think too many times people overlook that there is both real and opportunity cost to accruing miles and points.  Everybody should set their own benchmark to decide how to do it.

For us, we set a benchmark based on our having the Citi Double Cash Card.  That card has no annual fee & earns 2% back on every dollar we spend.  On top of that, it offers return protections, extended warranty, and even price matching for 60 days after a purchase is made.   

If I have an American Airlines Card that earns 1 mile per dollar on a purchase, then I am effectively deciding to pay 2 cents for every american airlines mile because I could have earned 2 cents for spending on the Double Cash card.  I WOULD NOT but American Airlines miles for 2 cents each, because I don't think they are worth that.

Of course, none of this matters if you carry a balance on your credit card from one month to the next, as the interest you pay will far outweigh any rewards/miles/cash back you earn.

It also drains the value if "earning miles" causes you to buy things on your card you wouldn't normally buy at all.

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Buctor's picture

I did not even think of those costs!  In today's world rarely is free free!!  In fact, it is sometimes extremely expensive!!!

Beat everyone, in every sport, all the time!!!

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DurhamBuckeye's picture

In today's world rarely is free free!!

Great point.  My family made a trip to Hawaii in January.  I booked us an ocean view room and the Westin Resort on Maui using points for two days.  Of course, there was the $30+ per night for a resort fee and $30 per night for parking, we were crammed in a small room, and we had to pay resort prices for food & drinks. Those were two expensive "free nights", especially when compared to the ocean view condo we had just rented with cash, where we cooked our own food in our kitchen or on the rooftop terrace where we watched the sunset.

Of course, I knew what I was getting into when I booked the hotel, and the resort fee and parking fee were no surprise.  It's also why we only stayed there for 2 nights of our 11 night trip.  And we all said we would prefer to just go back to the condo next time and skip the resort completely.

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cledaybuck's picture

You paid money to get these points, sometimes large sums.

No I didn't.  I paid money for a good or service I was going to purchase anyway.  It's not like I would have paid less if I had paid in cash.  The points are essentially free if I am paying my card off every month and have no annual fee.  The opportunity cost argument below is a bit different.

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Zonabuck's picture

This is absolutely where I am. I get 6% cash back on groceries I would otherwise be buying for 0% cask back. I pay $95 per year and get several hundred dollars in cash back to me for using that particular card. Same with the Target debit card that gets me a 5% discount, or the Amazon card that gets me a 5% discount, both at no annual fee. Using any other card (or cash), I buy the same goods and services but would get nothing back. It’s free money, period. 

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Il_Padrino's picture

Two for me:

1. American Express Platinum - WELL WORTH IT. 

Benefits here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/features-benefits/platinum/

*** Military get it for free if you have good credit

Chase Sapphire - love it for all the reasons already mentioned above.

Benefits are plentiful: https://thepointsguy.com/guide/lesser-known-sapphire-benefits/

Living the life!  Go Buckeyes!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

1942, 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968, 1970, 2002, 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

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dhilk3785's picture

I have three Chase cards and am fairly loyal to them because of the flexibility of their points, as outlined below. In general terms, Chase points are worth $0.01 each, unless redeemed through a Chase Sapphire Travel Portal or transferred outside of Chase. With Chase you can transfer points earned on one card to another to try to maximize your point value. My wife and I also have the Capital One Venture One (The no fee card), and that one has been good, but the Venture (with a fee) seems to have some decent perks (Global Entry/Pre-Check paid for).

Chase Freedom Card - I earn 1 point per dollar on all purchases and 5 points per dollar on rotating quarterly categories up to $1500 in spend (Q1 2019 has been gas, Q2 will be groceries). I typically only use this card for the quarterly category spend, then transfer those points to my Sapphire Reserve. $0 annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited - I earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, so use this one for most purchases outside of travel, dining, or the rotating categories of the Freedom. $0 annual fee

Chase Sapphire Reserve - I earn 3 points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases, so those are the only purchase I make with this one, unless travelling internationally. This one has a hefty $450 annual fee, but I get more than the fee's value out of it through redeeming points and taking advantage of other perks (No foreign transaction fees, access the Priority Pass lounges while travelling, discounts on Avis/National/Silver Car rentals).

Points redeemed through the Sapphire Reserve travel portal are valued at $0.015, so 50% more valuable than if redeemed through the other cards, so I will always transfer my Freedom & Unlimited points to my Sapphire Reserve. From there, I also have the flexibility of transferring to several different airline or hotel partners (United, Alaska, Southwest, Marriott, etc...), and have done that on occasion if the value is worth it. Otherwise, I'll book directly through Chase if using points.

All of this is with the caveat that you pay off your cards every month, as points are in no way more valuable than the interest charged on carrying a balance. What you actually want out of your card is really what should be the driving factor. For my family we get the most monetary and emotional value out of redeeming for travel, but for others it might be the cash back that's more valuable.

"Because I couldn't go for three."

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