Best Reward / Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Reward / Cash Back Credit Cards


Just curious, what is the logic of combining opening spend bonus with the category into a single percent?

In that case, would an equivalent statement would be: Chase ink preferred, 80k pts ($800 cash or more as transfer) $95 fee after $5k purchases. 3x points on travel, shipping, internet cable and phone, 1x everything else.
If you spend $5k at Taco Bell in the first three months, that works out to 15.1% cash back on tacos.

Or substitute: “If you spend $5k at grocery stores in the first three months, that works out to 15.1% cash back.”

(arbitrary card and unrelated purchase “category” example)
It seems to not make sense to me to express things that way, but my brain seems to be wired unusually, so maybe I’m just not seeing it.


I see $250 for Blue Cash Preferred, and $200 for Blue Cash Everyday.

Amex T&C has this clause: “if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it”, so plan to pay for the second annual fee as well for the BCP.


It’s something to consider when getting a new card. For example: the Amex Preferred card nets a current cardholder 4.4% back on groceries, If one applies for the Amex Everyday card and uses it instead, one would net 5.5% back on groceries the first year.


Everyday has no annual fee.


I didn’t say anything about Everyday having an annual fee.


I may have a data point on that shortly, although it wasn’t intentional to create one. First of all, BCP annual fee runs calendar year, so first year you pay a prorated amount (e.g. $79.16 on February 9 for 2018). And the timing of that is interesting because I upgraded from BCE to BCP on 11/24/17. On 12/15/18 I downgraded back to BCE because it was over the 12-month mark, and the rep did say my new $95 annual fee would be refunded. There was no mention of the $250 clawback.

I’m a little uncomfortable they haven’t posted the $95 refund yet, but at least no mention still of the clawback.


In which case, you should only consider the $1k spending necessary to trigger the bonus. The additional $5k spending beyond that will only be earning 3% since the bonus will have already been earned.


Not really. You have to hold the card a year anyway to keep the bonus, so why pay $95 for the BCP card? It’s the only other card with a higher regular rate for groceries and I don’t need two cards. After a year I’d then upgrade the Everyday card to the BCP if possible, but if you still have one you can’t do that.


Yes, really. After the first $1k, which earns the bonus, the rest only earns 3%. That may or may not still be your best option, but the bonus is no longer a factor in what using that card is getting you.


According to a rep, if you downgrade within 30 days of the fee date, you get the whole thing refunded. If it’s longer than 30 days, it’s pro-rated.


I count everything as a factor: multiple bonuses, regular rewards, 0% APR for 15 months, money that can be kept in savings, and time factors in applying for and changing cards,

Plus I might downgrade the BCP card and get a pro-rated refund.


An interesting outcome for me with my Discover Miles card. This was new to me. Might not be so for others.

I did my last large charge to the card prior to Christmas. After Christmas and prior to my statement closing, and in accord with Argyll’s rule, I paid off a really large balance in full.

At my age I guess stuff like this can happen. After making that large payment, for some reason (confusion?), I charged a very small eBay purchase, via PayPal, to my Discover card. The charge was scarcely more than one dollar. I discovered my error last Friday and immediately sent Discover slightly more than a buck to cover the charge.

Go into my Discover account this morning and, lo and behold, the money I sent them on Friday is showing as a CREDIT to my account (negative balance). I was expecting a zero balance.

Scratched my head. Did not understand. Another error on my part?


Discover, unbeknownst to me, had credited the money to my account on their own, wiping out my PayPal debit. They labelled this:


Never ran into this prior. Nice folks those Discover folks! :grinning:


There was a thread somewhere, either on FW, here, or some other site (or some combination) that listed all the card issuers that forgive balances under $1.

EDIT: under $X.YZ


I think everyone here agrees that you should count everything as a factor and no one is saying you don’t. But I think most of us agree with @Bend3r and @glitch99 that the best way of expressing the percentage cash back is not to say you’ll get “x% in the first year if you spend y” when a portion of that is the bonus paid on the first z and has no bearing on y. Anyone playing the card bonus game should be smart enough to look at them separately.


A card with 0% APR for 15 months means you can float most of your balance and earn 2% or more on money in savings for up to 15 months in addition to the 3% rewards on groceries. You can’t do that with existing cards.

I’m not just playing the bonus card game.

I’m playing the entire credit card game.


Agreed. I, too, recall seeing that way back. That said, the balance they paid off for me was slightly in excess of $1.00.

Of all the new CC relationships I have begun in this last year, Discover has been the best. It’s a pleasure being their customer. However:

They already owe me a FORTUNE not due to be paid until later this year. If they do not come up with that dough my tune will change for certain. :wink:


No one here is saying it’s not a good card and no one is saying that you don’t play the whole game, we just took issue with the way you framed the card’s capabilities below:

The first indication that this is the wrong way to frame it is that this is exactly how THE CREDIT CARD COMPANIES THEMSELVES frame it.

If you’re going to spend money on groceries, which we all do, it’s probably one of the best, if not the best no annual fee card out there. BUT, it is important to note, for people who have opening bonus opportunities, that after you get the initial bonus, you are “only” getting 3% back. That is less than if you put that grocery spending toward many other card’s opening bonus spend. What you said wasn’t misleading, it just doesn’t paint the picture as well as “You get $125 from SlickDeals for just signing up, $150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months (which is 15% back), and 3% back on all groceries.” The part that is misleading is that you arbitrarily say “in the first year.” That is because you usually only hear those words used to describe cards with an annual fee. BCE has no annual fee.

This is also misleading:

  1. The cash back on the BCP depends on how much you spend since it has a fee, so 4.4% relates to a specific spend amount.
  2. You use the “in the first year” language to compare a no fee card to a fee card.


I referred in previous posts to the $6K spending limit for rewards on groceries. I compared a no fee card to a fee card by deducting the fee from the rewards, which was the main point of the comparison.

I have a BCP card and last year spent almost exactly $6K in groceries that pay 6% rewards. Minus the $95 fee it amounts to 4.4%. This is exactly how it works.


Fully agreed that It’s technically still true/accurate, but it just makes it more difficult to compare cards. The reason is because each card has different requirements associated with the offer. Myself, I actually convert the % to a fixed amount to add to the opening bonus.

Then I’m left with two components:

  1. Fixed component, $ for X amount of spend in Y months. This would be where I’d generally stop in the calculation I might “share”.
    I may include the category bonus only if it’s a very broad category and I only include the amount this exceeds my current card(s). If you also are valuing open BT offers, these could also be added here. Myself, I may also subtract transaction costs if I intend to use property tax, income tax, or utilities to fulfill the requirements.
  2. Ongoing value, if any, over my existing cards after the opening bonus is earned. If I’ll make an extra net $50 annually in rewards, I could then convert that back to a present value if I really wanted to, but I usually don’t because it’s unpredictable when the benefits will be cut several years in the future.

The benefit I see in this method is you can directly compare $X total value for $Y spend for the efforts of one new account.

If you instead convert to %, you can’t directly compare them and it can make it more complicated. For a hypothetical example: 50% return on $150 spend is clearly not a better benefit than 15% on $5k. The 50% note is pretty much meaningless in my example.


I just applied and was approved for the BCE card. The slickdeals site said the bonus info was submitted successfully, so I might not use the card at all and just take the $125. That’s a bazillion% cash back!!