Changing Our Reward Credit Card Strategy (Again)

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After a good run, the time has come to once again change our reward credit card strategy. First, AmEx reduced the rewards on their Blue Cash card, and then the same thing happened to the Chase Freedom card.

Over the past year or two, we’ve been using our AmEx Blue Cash card for nearly everything, with the Chase Freedom card serving as a backup at places that don’t accept AmEx. While we’re leaning toward replacing our AmEx (more on this in a forthcoming post), we’ve decided to drop our Chase Freedom card cold turkey.

Goodbye Chase, hello Citi

In its place, we’ll be using the new Citi Forward card. As you might have read in my recent review, this card offers ThankYou points instead of cash rewards. Not great, but the reward structure is pretty sweet…

You get five points for every dollar spent on books, movies, music, and at restaurants. And guess what? All purchases at qualify as “bookstore” purchases. Given that you can trade your points in for $100 store gifts cards on a point per penny basis, this equates to a 5% discount on all Amazon purchases, not to mention restaurants, etc.

Don’t forget the bonus

Oh, and don’t forget about all those bonus points that you’ll get when you sign up — 6k once as long as you make $50 in purchases during the first three months, and another 5k for signing up for paperless statements. This is enough for a $100 store gift card right off the bat, and you’ll still have 1k points to spare.

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15 Responses to “Changing Our Reward Credit Card Strategy (Again)”

  1. Anonymous

    Too bad I already have too many credit cards. Better cards come out after I’ve already got quite a few…I never know if it’s worth it to go for another card, though this Citi card looks pretty good.

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this. I wasn’t aware of the changes. We use the AmEx Blue Cash card for everything (and a back-up non-rewards Chase for the few places that won’t take AmEx). I’ll be interested to see what cards you select as your new go-to set.

  3. Anonymous

    been using the schwab invest first since dec… 2% unlimited is pretty hot, along w/ cash back automatically deposited into account every month. not to mention no foreign transaction fee. used it abroad and didn’t have to worry about the extra 2-3% transaction charges – sweet!

  4. Nickel

    Dave: I think it’s even better than that — 2% rewards is $10 back on $500 in purchases. The Schwab card, combined with the Citi Forward card for select purchases (primarily restaurants and Amazon for us) would make for a very, very nice combination. Look for an upcoming post on the subject.

  5. Anonymous

    The Charles Schwab Invest First card is the best cash back card out there. Spend $500 and you get $5 back. No limit on the amount of cash you can get back.

  6. Anonymous

    Charles Schwab Invest First Credit Card:
    -2% unlimited cash back on all purchases
    -cash is automatically deposited into Schwab One account at end of each month.

  7. Anonymous

    Does this mean everything will be 1% cashback now? I’ve been holder of Freedom for a year now, and waiting for my 200 pts for $250 card. How can I use my 130 some points? I’d like to keep it until I get enough back and drop them like it’s hot. The Citi sounds very good too! I even have Amazon card, so I can drop that also!

  8. Anonymous

    The risk of plastic comes from the user. If you are responsible in your spending, you have nothing to worry about. I use a credit card for all my purchases and simply pay the bill in full every month. I would hate to have to go to an ATM to get cash whenever I needed to buy something. That sounds incredibly inconvenient and inefficient.

  9. Anonymous

    no thanks. these shady rewards are not worth the risk of plastic. What’s in my wallet? MONEY! Not Citi/Chase/Amex/Capital One Scum!

  10. Anonymous

    I’m still liking the Driver’s Edge card. 3% on groceries/gas/drugstores (6% for the first year), 1% on everything else, $1 of rewards for every 100 miles driven on your own car, and redeemable for auto purchases or service. $1,000/yr cap and rewards can accrue for 5 years.

    I estimate I can gain $750+ in rewards in the first year, and $500+ in subsequent years. I also like the somewhat narrow redeemability. It’s broad enough that anyone who drives is assured of getting their rewards out without any problem, but narrow enough that it acts as a sort of savings account / emergency fund as well.

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