That’s correct but it comes out to 65.00 cash back if spent in drugstores/groceries and some 7/11 shops, then upward and onwards. if you buy 11 VGC at 5.95 fee for 64.95 (over a 2 month period like I do) and the rest on groceries it’s like “free” a wash. But we constantly need liquidation methods for the VGC. I think I have been using the 3 family cards for 14 years!!! The main confusion on these cards is the dating system Amex uses. Not a calendar year but each card has a starting date that is any month and day and ends up 1 year later. I do have a system to keep track. And as an AU we get different card # also for more confusion. But there is a trick to the Amex card numbering system but I don’t care too much about that.
You’re off by $0.50 +2 GCs – need 13 (*5.95=$77.35 in fees) to get over the OBC hump.
Those who don’t MS would need to spend > $10500 on OBC in the 5% categories to break even with Alliant or BCP. For those who don’t spend that much organically, OBC requires MS to earn its place in the wallet. Good for you for keeping 3 of them going. Mine is in the drawer and only gets love from Offers, once in a blue moon.
My annual fees have been more than completely paid for by free years plus bonuses. I’ve had the card 9 years.
First year is free plus there’s a bonus that pays for another several years.
You can get the first year free plus a $250 bonus, which pays for 3 1/2 years of annual fee. so you would be getting a real 6% for those years. I also request discounts occasionally and have received $20 off once, and $10 a couple of times.
There are often bonuses, like for insurance, cable, cellphone, Amazon. I don’t use the ones for stores much but I have averaged about $55 a year. In addition, the BCP offers 6% back on select streaming and 3% back on gas stations and transit.
Last, but not least, frequently after I have spent $6K for the year, I downgrade to the Amex Everyday Blue Cash which has no annual fee, and get part of the annual fee returned. I’ve done this several times and usually had $30-$40 returned. Then about 9-12 months later, I get an offer to upgrade to the Preferred with no fee for one year and a bonus so I take that.
When I upgraded this year I got one free year plus a $150 bonus, that makes it two and a half years no fee, so no annual fee for me now. Including the bonuses against the fee, and the free years, the fee has been more than completely paid for.
If you were to apply right now you would get no annual fee for the first year plus $250 back for $3K spend in six months, plus 0% APR for 12 months. The free first year plus $250 pay 3 and a half years of annual fee.
This line of thinking makes it difficult to compare cards with better sign up bonuses. The sign up bonus should just be thought of as a bonus, not something that “pays” for future AFs. I actually see a $300 bonus for $3K spend, which makes this equivalent to a $660 bonus for $6K of groceries in year one and ~4.4% on $6K of groceries thereafter. More with downgrade refund and upgrade bonus, which then can be counted against the AFs since it’s no longer a new account and there’s nothing to compare. That’s not bad. Unless $6K is all one could spend on a credit card, at which point one would be better off getting a new card (or two, or three) every year .
The only things I count towards future annual fees are annual benefits and anniversary bonuses, like those on CSR, Venture X, SWA or Delta cards. I subtract the value of the annual benefits, like travel credits and miles (and the value of the 1.25x or 1.5x UR multiplier with CIP/CSP or CSR) from the AF to figure out my actual annual cost, if any.
The OBC isnt an option anymore. If you have one, great, otherwise it does no good to sell the benefits over anything else because no one can apply for it anyways.
Unless they’ll claw back the bonus if closing the account any sooner than 3.5 years, that bonus doesnt “pay for” multiple years of fees. After you’ve received the bonus, it is your money - and any subsequent fee is being paid out of your pocket. The bonus gooses your gain the first year, then it is no longer part of the ongoing calculation.
Argyll, Scripta, yes they did have 300 signup bonuses on BCP recently and in the past. But to test your guy’s knowledge since I like your thought process::;1) how does AMEX make $$ on the OBC. I see 2500 cash back per year on each card…(They know its an MS card) They get swipe fees but cmon, that does not pay for anywhere near the cashback…My family saves up the cash back, then its free groceries up to 2500 on each card, and they carry over to the next year. 2)how many folks still use this card do you think? 10k…5k…1k…?? I had most of the 3 cards for 15-17 years. I was young back then. I survived the shutdowns of 10/2006. and reapplied a few months later with the new cap. 3) do you think AMEX will ever close these cards, or are they used to show investors and advertisers how much folks charge?TIA for both of your fantastic insights!!! Happy TDay!!
Because you remain an outlier. For every one of you (and myself, to be honest), I know numerous people with such cards sockdrawered.
No offense, but that’s a rookie mistake Unless there is increased incrimental value (you get better value redeeming $500 than you do redeeming $100), you always want to cash out rewards as soon as they’re available. You reference the shutdowns of 2006, but there were mass Amex shutdowns in 2014 or so, where people suddenly had 5-figure reward balances in limbo (and cashing out required getting lucky with an accomodating CSR). Just some friendly advice, it always seems like a good plan until suddenly it isnt.
gltich99. Yes thanks for the insight. I guess I will start cashing out when the rewards are available. The hammer could close me and others at any time.
I know this is probably the wrong thread but as an “outlier’” I’m still using 2 BOA Better Balance rewards cards. 30.00 every 3 months on 2 cards. Just pay 3.00 to my elec company every month and not paying it off. I wait for BOA to tell me my bill is ready. I pay it immediately when it’s ready and rinse and repeat with the 3.00 charge. had these 2 cards for at least 6 years. 120.00 yearly x2. So 240.00 for 6 years is nice. The best card out there but I do charge $36.00 each per year. 240.00 - 72 =168.00. I’m thinking of charging 2.00 starting in 2023!!! get my profit up!!
I meant 240.00 per YEAR for 6 years.
Rate increase for December. Now only 40 basis points below Ally…
They sent me an email:
We’re putting you first with another rate increase! Enjoy earning more on your money with our new, increased savings rate of 2.60% APY.
Can they spare it?