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For your benefit and reward

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Juice, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. Juice

    Juice
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    I am rewards program junkie. If theres one that I think will be beneficial, I sign up for it. Consequently, I am inundated with nonsensical emails. However, I still try to get the latest and greatest rewards credit cards, sign up for programs, etc.

    Recently I went for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which is an upgrade from the Sapphire Preferred. I travel a shit load for work so I justify the $450 annual fee with the points Ill get and not be paying for that Ill redeem for vacations and shit.

    I have a bunch of other hotel chain programs like Marriott rewards and Hilton HHonors that I try to take advantage of.

    Focus: What rewards programs do you use and recommend?

    Anti-Focus: Credit cards are the devil.
     
  2. rei

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    Air Miles used to be my buddy because all my groceries and gas came from places that took it, and my debit card gave me rewards for it as well. Since moving it collects dust though;

    PC Plus has been okay, despite the fact that when we actually deployed the system back when I worked there it was a clusterfuck

    PetroPoints from Petro Canada is a bag of ass - can't redeem directly for gas unless it's the total cost of gas; can only do stupid discount cards. I guess I can get free sub-par coffee easily with it?

    Shoppers Optimum used to be good if you spent too much time in drug stores, but I hear they've changed it to be more 'personal offer focused' and shitty.

    I had a Husky Rewards card for a while because I got wings there a lot, I think in a year of use it saved me maybe $15 on gas

    None of these are attached to a credit card, so I'm just selling my data for the rewards
     
  3. Frebis

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    I'm a Starwood guy myself. I stay exclusively at their brands and use their Amex card. (That may change after the Marriott merger). I haven't paid for a hotel in years thanks to points from the card and from work. I get suite upgrades roughly 70% of the time.

    I used to be a US airways man because I almost always got first class upgrades on domestic flights. Then they went away and southwest became the easiest way to get to where I was traveling. Their rewards are awesome, especially if you get top tier which means you get to bring someone with you for free. The downside is there is no first class and it's only domestic.
     
  4. JWags

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    I went from a couple flights a year to 100K+ miles per year with my new job, so I'm pretty embedded with United and Mileage Plus, mostly due to being able to piggy back on some of my Dad's benefits as a Million Mile flier as I ramp up in status, as well as options and availability out of Chicago. Already jumped a pretty packed standby list coming back from DC earlier this summer as well as being confirmed for regional upgrades to first class for my trip to LA this weekend, so thats pretty cool. Once I get status, the 6 international business class upgrades wont suck as well for my flights to HK and India.

    I don't have a ton of loyalty cards otherwise outside of CC. Sapphire Preferred is great. I have a Freedom too that I use for the 5x points on specific quarterly categories.
     
  5. bebop007

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    I currently have three cards:

    Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is the card I use for the bulk of my purchases. I was able to take off about $700 on my last trip (moving into a new place and furnishing it made it super easy to hit the intro bonus). Going forward it'll probably only save a few hundred bucks on travel each year, but that more than suits me. I've thought about doing just a quick churn with the Reserve. The $300 travel credit and $100 Global Entry credit would definitely ease the hit of the $450 annual fee. And the $1500 would likely pay for our next international trip and then some. However, I wanted to do some math to see if it would be worth to keep. Likely not, since I really don't fly all that much each year. But the rewards are ridiculously tempting.

    Bank of America Cash Rewards: This was my first foray into cc rewards so it's nothing exciting. Just a way to wade in slowly to the rewards realm. I really only use it for groceries nowadays and I may wind up switching to the AMEX cash rewards for a better reward rate.

    Capital One Quicksilver: I had just a bog standard Capital One card for ages. When trying to do the whole rewards thing, I initially wanted to upgrade to one of Cap One's rewards cards, but Cap One wouldn't offer one. I guess nearly a year of only putting about 50-60 bucks on it got them to change their minds because they just upgraded it less than a month ago. I doubt my spending habits will change much for this. Likely, I'll just use this as a way to fill in the what doesn't hit the max bonus from my Bank of America and Chase cards. I was leary of giving this one up entirely since I've had this card for over 15 years and am worried about dinging my credit score in the process. I'm an accounting nerd, what can I say?

    Anti-Focus: I kinda understand where Dave Ramsey and similar folks come from when they shit on credit cards......but only when it comes to less savvy/financially irresponsible people. If you have a good budget and can do a bit of research, you are leaving money on the table by not doing this. I've probably gotten about $1,000 in credit card rewards in less than a year. Small potatoes compared to some, but it was easy money. I'm gonna get about a hundred bucks from the Cap One upgrade and all I have to do is switch around a few automatic payments. Plus, given how many factors are contingent on a good credit score (from job hunting to home loans), it's silly not to stack the deck in your favor and game the system a bit.
     
  6. Juice

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    Most of Dave Ramsey's callers have issues like, "I make 38K a year and I have $80,000 in credit card debt and a credit score of 620. I want to a buy a boat, should I open a new card for that?" Most of them are complete morons.

    I've only had the Reserve for about 3 weeks. So far its racking up points like crazy and Im not going out of my way to use it. I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred to just the Chase Sapphire which doesnt have an annual fee of $95 attached to it. So now I just use the Reserve. We'll see how it goes in about 6 months. But I'll probably hold on to it for a while because I've switched a few credit cards in the last year or so and your credit score takes a hit if you exceed the 5-24 rule.
     
  7. Currer Bell

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    I have been very happy with my Discover Card points program. I put most purchases on the card and then pay it off every month. In recent years since my kid became too old for toys, I've been saving up the points and then getting a bunch of gift cards for her Christmas presents.

    Speaking of the kid - she loves to go to the movies with her best friend, and so we rack up a lot of points on the Regal Cinemas rewards card and get free popcorn, soda, and movie tickets all the time.
     
  8. jdoogie

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    Just an FYI, if you're really into working to maximize your points/rewards, there's a whole subreddit dedicated specifically to this type of stuff.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/churning
     
  9. tweetybird

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    Big fan of the American Express Platinum card. The points are transferrable to a lot of different things so you're not stuck with a particular airline or hotel group, and there are tons of fun extras like resort credit and late checkout and automatic room upgrade if you stay in one of their partner hotels, free Global Entry and up to $200 compensation for onboard purchases on any airline (hellooooo wifi and snacks), and pretty great roadside assistance (I canceled my lifelong AAA membership as a result). Plus the concierge services they're famous for are everything they're cracked up to be.

    I live in a United hub city and travel regularly (plus my husband is a 1K thanks to work) so I'm basically a slave to them. The good news is that if you have status they actually treat you pretty well. The bad news is - I mean, it's United, they're not awesome. The secret benefit comes if you make Star Alliance Gold (not hard if you live in the US actually, the mileage seems to be pegged to the European market where flights are shorter) and then fly the partner airlines - you get access to their lounges which are generally way better than United domestic lounges, and I've gotten a ton of upgrades getting on the plane, including an upgrade to flat bed business class on a Swiss transatlantic flight.

    If you don't mind selling your browsing habits for presumed evil, Ebates and Honey Gold are both browser extensions that give you free money for shopping. Just click their link when it pops up on a partner site and boom, you get a percentage of your purchase cash back. Plus, Honey will find coupon codes for you, and sometimes Ebates will do a deal where you get a percentage more back if you take your money in a gift card instead of a check. Hi, Sephora gift card, so nice to see you, I will be VIB Rouge again this year.
     
  10. walt

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    Sort of Alt Focus: Don't sign up the the "Backstage Pass" at F.Y.E. They'll tell you it's free, and then a monthly 12.00 charge starts showing up on that credit/debit card you used to pay for your last purchase.
     
  11. bewildered

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    I've found that with coupons and rewards programs, I end up buying stuff that I wouldn't normally (a more expensive brand, or a product altogether) so I have tapered off my usage of them.

    I use a couple reward type programs for my weekly shopping like the Walgreens card and the cash saver app on my phone for Walmart. I also get 1.5% cash back on every purchase on my credit card. I am a firm believer in putting all transactions on my credit card because I like to track where every penny goes and it is easy when it is on one list. I don't do cash because easy come, easy go. If I spend it, it is like it was never there. And if it is stolen, I'm out of luck. Credit card all the way and the cash back further incentivizes that. I check it every now and then and it is usually surprising how much money is in there.
     
  12. Rush-O-Matic

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    I get airline miles on my credit cards and use those. But, my favorite that I enjoy the most, are the grocery rewards at Kroger. Their gas is usually the cheapest anyway, then I get 3¢ off per gallon regularly with the card. The best though is the bonus points. At Christmas time, you get 10x fuel points for every gift card you buy. And, during the year, they have 3x weekends for gift cards. I eat at Zaxbys a good bit, so I'll just pick up a few cards for there. I've had a few fillups where I got 50-60¢ off. I had a buddy who did some remodeling at his house. He bought tons of Lowes gift cards at Kroger and gave them to his subs instead of cash for materials. He got the max discount every time he filled up.
     
  13. bewildered

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    A couple of my sisters use Kroger rewards. If we had that grocery chain here, I would too. They are cheaper than the Walmarts around here and have better sales and markdowns. I would love to have a way to completely cease my need to shop at Walmart on a weekly basis. Plus, their rewards program like you described will actually save you a little pile of money if you shop with them.