Best Reward / Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Reward / Cash Back Credit Cards


Oh my goodness what a wonderful outcome! Logged into my Freedom Credit Union account this morning not really expecting much. They said it could take five or six days for the CC rewards to be credited. Nope:

There was almost $700 in rewards in my savings. They paid the FULL 5% reward as promised, right across the board. I could scarcely believe my eyes. :grinning:

Q: So Shin, was any of that unconventional spending? Because if that all was owing to conventional spending it’s really not a big deal.

It was mostly unconventional spending, though there were a good number of smaller conventional purchases. But the big items were unconventional.

Q: When you use the term “unconventional” . . . could you put a finer point on that?

Sure. One major “purchase” is exactly the same one that NFCU screwed me on, paying zero reward. Freedom paid me 5%! Another purchase was my silver coins, documented elsewhere on this forum on the “Hot Deals” board.

Q: So you are saying coin purchases are “unconventional spend”?

Look, I dunno, OK. I never bought silver before. So I just do not know. Unconventional spending, generally, is purchase of anything which can readily be converted to cash. Quasi cash is how some financial institutions refer to it. And different ones treat such spending in different ways, with some paying rewards regardless . . . and others not.

Q: Nearly seven hundred bucks is a decent reward. Did you need to exhaust your entire credit line to garner that much?

Absolutely not! It was my first time using the card. I had no way in advance to know how they would treat some of my spend. So I did not go “pedal to the metal”. I was cautious. But this month it will be different!:grinning:

Q: Anything else you can add for benefit of others who might have or want this card?

Not much. First of all, I just checked the Freedom CU website and their offer for this card, at 5%, remains open.

Only other thing is a small wrinkle, CERTAINLY not a problem, that I want to report:

I adhered to Argyll’s rule on this card. Means I paid off my balance a day or two before the statement closed. On every nickel I paid off I received the 5% reward very timely. However, there was a glitch, a small charge which they sort of messed up and did not apply to my card until the last moment.

Q: OK, so they applied a charge late. Was that conventional or unconventional spending?

It was a small conventional charge, couple hundred bucks. Because the charge came in so late it was not covered when I made my Argyll payoff, though I did manage to pay off that small charge on the very last day, November thirtieth.

Q: So what? Where are you going with this, Shin?

Again, not a big deal and certainly NOT a complaint. But I did not receive the 5% reward for that small charge . . . yet. I assume I will next month.

So all I’m saying is that they might not be paying the 5% reward until you pay off your card.

Q: You sure of that?

No, not sure. Only can report what happened with that small charge that I paid off really late. I will be adhering to Argyll’s rule on this card anyway, going forward. The late payment on the small charge was only just a glitch. But if you have the card and did not garner your rewards as timely as I did, it might (or might not) have something to do with the timing of your payments.


You caught my attention, shinobi…

I have an acct with Freedom CU, but I don’t know how I missed this deal. So I just pulled up the promo offer for the 5% Cash back cc. But, I see it’s only good through 1/31/19. Yes, still 2 months left… Should I try?

So far I’ve been very happy with my Citi DC card.


In your spot I would definitely try. I say that because you already are a Freedom CU member. You most likely would have your card well before Christmas.

Course it is not worth the trouble unless you can spend some money on the card this month (December) and next month. Statements close the last day of each month. That would give you the remainder of this month, plus all of January.

On the other hand, if most of your spending is already covered, or almost covered, by other cards at 5% reward, or close to that, it’s probably not worth the trouble to apply. There are 5% rewards deals all over the place, but they customarily are limited to certain spending categories, e.g., gasoline or groceries or . . . . whatever. The cool thing about the Freedom CU card is that the 5% reward is an across-the-board reward. Something like that is more valuable to some folks than to others, depending on what you are buying with the card.


One other consideration for you, as you decide, is prepayments. In January I will be prepaying my electric bill, my telephone bill, certain medical insurance bills, etc., for a while into the future. I also will be buying gift cards to pay for stuff well into 2019. Then, of course, will be my January tax payments. With a 5% reward I can make money on those. Anticipate overpaying my Federal income tax, collecting the 5% reward on the overpayment, then re-claiming it as a refund when I file my 2018 return.

I agree with you that with expiration of the 5% come end of January it is not a long time to use a new card. But if you become creative there is money to be made. I jumped on the deal early because I wanted time in November to experiment, to learn how things would play out especially on the unconventional spending side of things, before “betting the farm”. Would have to allow that it all worked out better than I had anticipated. :grinning:


They can only post what the merchant has finalized. If it was delayed, it’s most likely because (for whatever reason) the merchant took longer than you expected to present the finalized transaction.


That small glitch charge, or whatever you want to call it. is not even close to being an item deserving of focus here. It’s unimportant, a subordinate thing entirely. Focus instead on this important fact:

The terms and conditions for the Freedom CU rewards card do NOT contain the boilerplate customarily found in T’s and C’s of other rewards credit cards relating to unconventional spending, or quasi cash purchases, or (again) whatever you wish to call the kinds of spend oftentimes engaged in by MSers. This is what gave me hope for the Freedom CU card early on. It is unusual to find a rewards card lacking, in its terms and conditions, that oftentimes disruptive and costly language (case in point: NFCU).

Q: Shin: understood. But the card still is only good for the next two months at 5% across the board after which Cinderella’s golden carriage turns into a 1% pumpkin! Right or wrong?

Correct. However, two things:

First, there is money to be made in these two months, probably the best two of any year for spending.

Second, I can still make very nice profit with a 1% card provided they do not tighten up the existing rules concerning unconventional spending. I am already doing this elsewhere.

So bottom line the Freedom CU 5% card has worked out. One word of caution, though:

I received a promo today via email for the card which contained warning the deal might not be offered much longer. Anyone wanting “in” would be wise to jump ASAP.


Membership in Freedom Credit Union is open to any qualified individual that meets the membership criteria for the American Consumer Council and live in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, or Delaware. ($8 membership fee). Membership is also open to the following: 1) those who live, work, attend school, volunteer or worship in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; 2) employees and students of Community College of Philadelphia and over 200 area Select Employer Groups also qualify.


I apologize. I grabbed that quickly from Ken’s website. Now am uncertain if it is current. You need to telephone them. Here is what they are publishing at this time, straight from the horse’s mouth:


You see, a while back Freedom had a 3% CD deal going on. Many of us, including myself, from all across the country joined back then to get that CD. It is possible that since then they have tightened up their eligibility requirements. Again, you need to call 'em to be sure.


We should setup a SEG for Fragile Deal and associate it with all of the really juicy credit unions. :slight_smile:


I remember reading somewhere (online application T&C?) recently that Chase now requires at least $1K/yr revenue for business cards. AFAIK, if you apply under your SSN, the credit line (the total of all Chase lines) will be based on your personal income.


I joined the ACC as step to joining the Freedom CU. I was told my credit card was approved subject to becoming a member. But after mailing in documents and then sending them as an attachment, they now say they still lack these things needed. Have others run into these problems>


Well first of all you will not regret joining the ACC. Cannot tell you how many times I have needed that certificate.

Regarding Freedom, it is a small CU. They have their ways of doing things, but I have found the reps there generally pleasant and friendly. Best bet is probably to follow through and try to fulfill their requests. You should come out OK in the fullness of time. I had no problems with them as best I’m able to recall. But I think other applicants might have had issues. It was a while back and it’s difficult for me to recall. Wish you good fortune as you move forward through the application process.


Update: I received a letter from Chase yesterday looking to confirm my Business name and address. I faxed them my county business license and a bank statement today. The only rub is that the business name I use is “FIRST NAME LAST NAME Tax Preparation” but my county license says “LAST NAME, FIRST NAME Tax Preparation.” That’s because I don’t have a fictitious name certificate. My state doesn’t require one if your last name is in the business name. However, the commissioner of revenue interprets that to mean my last name has to be the first word of the business name. It hasn’t been an issue when opening bank accounts, but we’ll see if it is an issue with Chase. I think it will probably go through.


After more phone calls my membership did go through with today as the date of approval of the card, which I hope to receive soon. I look forward to getting 5% on spending for a short time during which I expect to pay a son’s college tuition and room charges, and also estimated taxes, along with much regular spending. This appears to be one of the best credit cards deals I have run across.


I got instant approval for WF Propel but only a “we need more time to decide” message for Chase Sapphire Preferred. funny too that Chase keeping sending me reminder email to apply for that card.

I did not read anything in T&C that requires me to keep the Chase open for certain amount of time either.


WF Propel has a pretty good bonus of 30,000 points($300) after $3000 purchase in 3 months plus at least 1% rewards. That’s a 10% bonus.

WF Cash Wise VISA has $200 cash back after $1000 spending in 3 months. That’s a 20% bonus on the first $1000 plus 1.5% cash rewards.


Just checked in with my newfound BFFs at Freedom Credit Union. Oh my goodness is this going well. Am on second month now and am vigorously pushing the envelope after having, last month, merely experimented.

This is akin to finding money, a LOT of money, lying unattended in the street. The contrast with the skinflints (maybe tightasses would be a more apt description) at NFCU is vivid. In fact, the Freedom experience is the precise antitheses of the one I had at NFCU.

What does annoy me about Freedom, well actually about myself and not them at all, is that I very nearly did not “bother” to sign up for the deal. I saw it, at first, as strictly short term and not worth the effort. Came much too close to missing out on a wonderful deal. Need to loosen up a bit and make “go for it” my SOP.


Congrats, Argyll. That is a marvelous win for you. I’m happy for your success!!


You should “go for it” with a business card.


Well, I’ve not done that. I have no business, not even a “fig leaf” business. I have nothing of the sort. And in this digital age I do not want third parties of any nature to get the erroneous impression I do have a business.

'Cause I don’t.


Whatever it is you do with your credit card rewards arbitrage could very easily be classified as a business if you chose to do so. I don’t know what you mean when you say you don’t want “third parties” in this “digital age” getting an impression you have a business.