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This was meant to be a reply, but I moved it to a new thread.

I admit to being somewhat obsessed with credit card cash back rates. I juggle several cards specific for the rate I get back on certain items. More than several actually:

Amex Blue (after the first $6500 gives 5% on gas, groceries and drug stores, 1.25% on everything else. I get kind of jobbed on the first $6500 though.)

Discover (various 5% on different categories throughout the year, plus currently spend $500/month over 5 months and get $125, can be combined with the normal 5% special categories)

Capital One - or The Dog Card, since it has my deceased Sheltie's picture on it (2% on restaurants and entertainment related)

Amazon Chase (3% on Amazon . com purchases)

Target (5% off Target purchases)

AF Club Card Chase (2% on all military base purchases)

Also going to move some cash to a Capital One savings account, which pays more than my current ING, plus will give me an extra 2% on that card from June-August.

I haven't done it in the past because the periods don't line up well, but this year I'm going to calculate an average cash back rate (I'll include the 5% immediate Target discount). I expect it to be between 1.5% and 2%.

I'm well aware that these rewards are paid for by customers who pay interest, and by merchant fees (which cause all prices to be elevated.) And I also expect the rewards to be changed or phased out due to the new regulation. I'll change my habits accordingly. Until then, not maximizing my "something for nothing", to include maneuvering for every .5%, just seems wrong somehow.

v/r
Tom
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I guess everyone needs some kind of entertainment.

Me, I don't want to juggle lots of cards. I have one card that gives me a flat 1% cash back that is a business card. And another that gives me 1% cash back that is a personal card. That's it. That's all I want. The incremental few dollars I'd gain by having more cards isn't worth the hassle.
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Me, I don't want to juggle lots of cards. I have one card that gives me a flat 1% cash back that is a business card. And another that gives me 1% cash back that is a personal card. That's it. That's all I want. The incremental few dollars I'd gain by having more cards isn't worth the hassle.

My stretched wallet (and my a$$ from sitting on it) see your point. I didn't even mention the Govt. travel card I have to carry around. Or the local Credit Union ATM card. Or the USAA card we got just so we could scan deposits to our bank. I shouldn't even be be carrying that one around (I don't carry the Amazon card.) And I have to keep track of all the different billing periods.

But like you said, we all need our forms of entertainment (though obsession is really the better word.)

v/r
Tom
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JF: sounds like you and I are anti-matter/matter on this issue, each of us at the extreme positions! Would we explode if we ever met and tried to split a bill?
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My wife and I only have an American Express Gold Rewards charge card. We buy everything possible on that card. We rack up the points on a monthly basis. It comes in quite handy when I want to buy stuff. For instance, I bought both of us a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones with points last Christmas. That saved me $600+ right there. This year I'm going to try and do all my Christmas shopping with points.
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Jacketfan

Do you know how Amex Blue Cash counts Target? I assume it is not counted as groceries? I buy a lot of groceries there but mostly use the Amex Blue card. It might save me to get the Target card. The Amazon Chase card is intriguing to me as well. I buy a lot on Amazon so that would be a clear save.

I still have a gazillion credit cards (from when I was in debt and juggling rates) but currently I use only the Amex Blue Cash card and a Visa card or Master card (DH and I usually use different ones) for when we need to buy something where they don't take Amex. I use the Amex for everything for the reward that I can.
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We have an American Express TrueEarnings Business Card which we have because I have an Executive Membership at Costco which cost $100 a year. The Executive Membership more than pays for itself every year and this years rebate was over $250. Don't confuse this with the American Express Rebate that was $520 this year. We bought & charged new bedroom furniture and did a cruise this year. We have ALWAYS paid off all the charge cards in full every month.

The American Express TrueEarning card gives us 4% on gasoline as long as the purchase is under $75.00. It's only 1% on gas if we go over $75. (We have a motorhome...the gas rebate really adds up!) 3% on Restaurants, 2% on Travel and 1% on everything else. These rebates start with the first dollar spent.

I have a Mastercard and DH has a Visa card and we get some rebate, but I really don't pay attention because it's not as good as the AE. We only use these when we can't use the American Express. The reason my husband and I have two different cards is for peace of mind when we travel. If one of our wallets is stolen while traveling, we each have a different card that can be used if the other has to be canceled. What I love about AE is that we each have a different number but they are on the same bill.

I have a Target Visa which I now try to remember to use when I shop at Target since they started the 5% instant rebate. We got the Target card about 2 years ago to get 15% off the Playstation3 we purchased.

Utahtea
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One of my credit card CSRs advised me that if I were to go to (for example) Wallys and buy some stuff, and pick up a few grocery items as well, the whole tab gets the 2% grocery rebate.

It might be worthwhile to buy a few groceries at target to see if that works there as well.

My incentive to go to Target was the Cheap Pepridge Farm cookies. Now I am on Atkins, so there is no reason to go to Target. Life is Sad, sometimes.

bill
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I am down to one card that I use for business expenses.
However, my job is 100% travel, so i end up spending $600 - $1000/week on that card.
It is Discover- which is mostly 1% except for the special categories, every couple-three months. I am nowhere near as organized as RAD and 2gifts, but I do all right with my rewards (combining them with rebates & other stuff)

I do appreciate the extra $$each month, and many times just apply my rewards credit to my balance

peace & discover
t



too lazy/disorganized to use more than one card
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Amex Platinum Cash Reward card. After the first $5k in spending, you get 1.5% cash back on everything. I run every penny I can through this card, including DW's work expenses. Last year's rebate check was a little over $1000.
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Oops, it's actually Amex Platinum Cash Rebate. This card was the previous offering through Costco, which has different terms from the one currently offered.
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Do whatever works for you and makes you happy, but if maximizing dollars is truly the goal, that time and effort would probably pay more rewards elsewhere.
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One of my credit card CSRs advised me that if I were to go to (for example) Wallys and buy some stuff, and pick up a few grocery items as well, the whole tab gets the 2% grocery rebate.



I don't believe that is the case. My understanding is that whatever category the merchant uses is what the rewards are based on.

For instance, my local supermarket has the category of "Merchandise & Supplies - Groceries".

Target is showing up on my statement as "Merchandise & Supplies - Wholesale Stores"

Amazon.com shows up as "Merchandise & Supplies - Department Stores "

Gas stations show up as "Transportation - Fuel" while mechanic shops are " Transportation - Auto Services ". However, I got my car fixed at my local shell, which sells both gas and mechanic services. Since they run all their credit cards through one terminal, the car repair is coded as "fuel", which I get 5% on.

I use American Express Blue Cash. While there may be a slightly better rewards program out there, AMEX's website is top notch, and the searching capabilities are amazing. For instance, I can type in "IKEA" into the search, set the time period as "year to date" and it shows my the 7 charges so far I've made at IKEA (both my card and my wife's cards, since we're on the same account). It also shows the total.

One odd thing I noticed is that LL Bean charges show WHAT I bought at LL Bean, which I've never seen before on a credit card statement.

William
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Do whatever works for you and makes you happy, but if maximizing dollars is truly the goal, that time and effort would probably pay more rewards elsewhere.

Any time or effort I spend on this subject goes to what I'm buying and how much it's costing and is it worth it. The American Express card is just my preferred way to pay and the rebate is a bonus because I know how to work the system.

Utahtea
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Currently, I using my Citi Driver's Edge card the most. I get a 2% rebate towards any new or used car.

PSU
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Currently, I using my Citi Driver's Edge card the most. I get a 2% rebate towards any new or used car.

Heads up - they just replaced ours with something else.
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I like to use my Target Visa at Wal Mart because I think its funny (a feeling of superiority?)

joycets
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I like to use my Target Visa at Wal Mart because I think its funny (a feeling of superiority?)

joycets


Holders of WalMart credit cards probably also use them at Target.
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depending on how much you spend each year total on CC's you may be better off sticking with just a single card, or at least the Blue one until you reach the $6,500 floor for the larger benefits to kick in.

Wife and I used to juggle different cards and we found that it creates a mess that is hard to clean up with you're trying to boost your credit score for huge purchases (like a house).

So we've condensed EVERYTHING down to just two cards: AmEx Blue and a USAA Master Card (which we only have to cover the rare place that doesn't take AmEx).

We try to charge absolutely every single thing we can each month, and put it ALL on the AmEx. Between the 5% back on food/groceries/gas/drugs and 1.25% on everything else we average a cash back return around 2-2.2% overall (between $500-700 every May).

Makes life so much easier to not have to worry about which card to pull out.

-T
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