How Do You Maximize Credit Card Rewards?

Tell us your credit cards rewards strategy here!

I don’t really pay attention to rewards. I just buy what I need. I use my cash back card for groceries. That gets me some cash every month. Grocery purchases also get me a discount on gas.

I generally use the highest paying cash rewards card for purchases.

My CU wants me to use their card 3 times a month for a “preferred” interest rate on my accounts there. I do that at a self check out for 3 items ringing each item separately.

When the reward earned is about $50 I request the reward. I do this because these folks sometimes change the rules with little notice.

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Yep I like my PenFed and Fidelity cars. Barclays used to have a good card but it’s a card I use for dart practice now

I’m a bit obsessive about this. I think Clark would be proud. I have a hierarchy of six cards that I use to maximize my credit card rewards:

  1. Amex Blue Preferred: 6% on groceries (limit $6k/year) and streaming services (no limit)
  2. Chase Amazon Visa: 5% on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases
  3. Chase Freedom Visa: 5% on quarterly rotating categories (limit $1.5k per quarter)
  4. Citi Costco Visa: 4% on gas (<4% on other categories not used due to #5)
  5. Fidelity Rewards Visa: 3% on everything else
  6. Citi DoubleCash: 2% on everything else

I use the highest reward available for each purchase.

When quarterly Chase Freedom is in the grocery category, I use that because we exceed $6k/year in groceries for Amex. But I don’t use either of these for occasional Whole Foods trips.

I use the Fidelity Rewards Visa for everything that doesn’t fall into one of the higher cards. I had the Citi DoubleCash before getting the Fidelity Rewards card which I used to use as the catch-all. I would eliminate it, but it’s the only account I have that provides virtual card numbers, so I keep it mainly for that. I have a $1 monthly recurring charge on it to keep it active.

Total credit card cash rewards in the last 12 months: $2,550.

All cards paid off monthly so interest is not a factor.

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Bingo! We use that card for nearly every retail purchase, of course, grocery items are major purchases we make on local retail. We use the Amazon card for purchases there as the 5% is pretty generous. Decisions on interest rates are zilch as we never carry a balance. We have a seldom-used Visa for situations where Amex ain’t accepted.

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I use my cash-back credit cards for just about everything, including utilities. To compensate for the fixed-rate “convenience fee” the utility companies charge, usually 2-4 dollars, I pay 2 to 4 months at a time so I can cover the fixed fee and still come out ahead.

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I am laughing because of what people on the Frequent Flyer forum said about me. Back in the day I had the Delta credit card.

I live in Hawaii and Kaiser send us to the island of Oahu (Honolulu) for some procedures. Kaiser pays the round trip airfare. Then if you must be sedated, they also pay the round trip airfare for a companion to go with you. Many times that person goes with you, when you get to Oahu they get a cab into town (shopping, beaches, sightseeing) while you take the shuttle bus to the hospital, then they meet up with you there for the flight home.

I was scheduled for a colonoscopy. Kaiser made the flight arrangements on my behalf.

I paid for the medical co-pay with my credit card to get miles. Nothing great about that because we all get miles when we spend money. HOWEVER, I added the flight codes into my own Hawaiian Air account and got credit for the trip because as you know, it is not the person paying rather the person flying that gets the miles.

The forum though that was a neat way to get miles on two airlines for a colonoscopy, and a free flight for two and a mini vacation for one. By the way, my procedure was not the ‘mini vacation’ but as they say, “Your Mileage May Differ!”.

Even having the forums offline for quite a while, I still have lost my sense of humor :slight_smile:

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I have a hierarchy of six cards that I use to maximize my credit card rewards

Me too, but not the exact same cards. I have two with rotating categories, so at the end of each quarter, I swap cards in my wallet and my wife’s wallet, and make a card-sized “credit card cheat sheet” to remind us which ones to use where. My wife likes to laugh about that.

I feel your pain on maxing out the $6k/year on Amex groceries. It’s only going to get worse, I’m afraid.

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My solution to that is I have a label maker that I use to put a sticker at the top of each card to remind me of the current rebates for each.

No pain there. We don’t hit the limit until very close to the end of the year and 6% on $6k is pretty generous, I think.

6% on $6k is pretty generous, I think.

It’s not really generous. You pay $95/year for half of it. Put another way, you get 6% * $6,000 - $95 = $265 cash back on that $6,000, which is about 4.4% net. That’s pretty good, but not nearly 6%.

If you used the regular Amex Blue Cash, you’d get 3% or $180 on that $6,000. And of course, if you spend more or less than $6,000, your effective cash back percentage goes down.

I think I just convinced myself to cancel my Blue Cash Preferred card, given that some quarters I already get 5% from Chase or Citi.

if you got a free year or bonus points, BE SURE TO CANCEL BEFORE THE RENEWAL

Great point! I did forget to take the $95 fee into account. I do use my Chase Freedom for one quarter for groceries, and still get just over $6k the other three quarters on Amex. The 4.4% still beats my best other option of 3%. Since I’m into squeezing every penny out of the rewards, I’ll stick with the Amex.

And then there’s streaming. I put about $800 a year on the Amex for streaming services, so that’s another $48 reward making the net rebate 4.6%.

You are really maximizing. How do you keep it straight. Are you married, How does your wife feel about this.

I try to keep it as simple as possible and even there, it is not simple.

  • Rotating Categories are a pain in the butt.
  • I soured on Supermarkets since WalMart is not included.
  • Is Trader Joes a Supermarket? that would be a plus.

My Primary is the USAA 2.5% CB on everything… no longer offered… will be terminated at end of 2022.
Will replace with the Alliant Credit Union 2.5% on everything.

I have the PenFed 5% on Gas… no longer offered…
and the Chase Amazon… enter once and done 5% :grinning:
Also have the Costco.

BTW, thinking of canceling the PenFed 5% on gas and using the Costco 4% for gas… hardly worth the effort for the amount of gas we buy.

and we use the Double Cash for on line and subscription type charges. Do not want these comingled with the 2 page 2.5% card where it is more difficult to notice recurring and Fraud Charges.

Okay, you’re probably going to laugh at how over-the-top I am. :slight_smile: For the cards I carry, I have a label-maker sticker on the top to remind me (picture below). They are in my wallet in order of preferred use, so I use first one that applies. I don’t carry the Amazon Visa since it’s mostly used on the Amazon website (stored there) and I just remember to use it via my Apple Watch when I’m at Whole Foods. I only use the Costco card for gas since the Fidelity card is just as good for everything else. I do have to periodically check if I’m close to the $1500 limit on the Chase Freedom, which I have a calendar reminder for. When I get there, I take the card out of my wallet.

She doesn’t mind. I do the vast majority of the shopping. She occasionally uses the wrong card, and I just ignore it.

I don’t do Walmart, so that’s not an issue for me.

Yes, TJ counts as groceries for both Amex and Chase Freedom.

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BTW, I had to look at the Fidelity 3%.
I have a Fidelity… hardly use it… But did not know about the 3%

Then I saw that you had to be a member of their Wealth Management with fees of ,5 to 1.5% of Assets under Management. Unless you really need/use this service it does not seem to be a fair trade to get 3%…

Take Care!

Yup, their regular card is 2% cash back. Yes, I am in the WM program at Fidelity. I find the additional personal services to be worth it. Note that the fee listed is “gross”. They rebate all commissions, etc, so the net fee works out to be less.

Is Trader Joes a Supermarket? that would be a plus.

It is for the Amex Blue Cash (3%, no fee) and Blue Cash Preferred (6%, $95 annual fee) cards.

Also, Aldi’s qualifies as a Supermarket with the Amex Blue Cash [3%].