About a month or two ago I noticed that AMEX changed their Blue Cash/Preferred page to no longer show how close to the total of the $6k annual cap you’ve spent on groceries. They now only show YTD rewards earned, which in theory could help you figure out how much left you have to spend, but in my case, I’ve upgraded from the regular cash to the preferred, and I was preferred briefly at the start of the year before the upgrade, so my numbers are not reflective of how much spend I have left.
I imagine either this is a temporary glitch in their system, or more likely, is an intentional change to obfuscate how much 6% bonus spend we have left to make it harder to “Game the system” by only putting $6k of groceries on there and then switching to a different card.
If that’s the case, and it’s what I imagine it is, I will be discontinuing use of the BCP card and cancelling it, because if I accidentally spend $9k on groceries per year (and get significantly reduced rewards for the additional $3k spend), or if I underspend and only put $4k on groceries, then it didn’t make sense for me to pay the $95 annual fee, relative to my other options.
Perhaps it’s only a problem for me, because I have mixed-reward totals for the year, so that portion of the page doesn’t help me determine how much I have left to spend.
But even once the reward year refreshes, it’s still a hassle to have to multiply the YTD rewards by 0.6 and then subtract from $6k to see how much I have left to spend before I sockdrawer the card.
This negative user interface change happened at the same time that the AMEX SPG card dropped from 3 Marriott Points per Dollar of spend, down to 2 points per dollar of spend, giving it a 33% reduction in rewards as of Aug 1st, making the card effectively useless to me for non-Marriott Hotel spend. Previously, since I value Marriott points at around 0.9 cents each, the 3 Marriott Points for non-category spend was my best reward card, and now it’s crap.
Additionally in the last few weeks, AMEX cut off the “Backdoor” method of adding the same AMEX spend offer on multiple cards.
In short, AMEX is becoming useless to me. I am not a churner. I do legitimately spend $50k per year on business expenses.
Going forward, I think Chase Sapphire Reserve combined with the 1.5% Unlimited Freedom (which becomes 2.25% if used for travel) will become my primary spenders with a smattering of 5% Ink Office expense, when Visa Gift Cards go on sale (which I use not for manufactured spending, but for small amount purchases of daily spending of non-category spend, such as going to a taco cart, because when these are on sale with no activation fees, and I get 5% UR (*1.5 travel bonus), it becomes 7.5% cash back, as long as the thing I’m buying is under $200 or if the seller lets me use multiple cards.
At least as long as Chase continues to allow UR mergers across internally owned credit cards.
I do imagine Chase will eventually close down the grandfathered 5% Ink Office card and also block UR transfers across cards, at which time I will just go to Alliant 2% for everything and close all of my Chase/AMEX cards to simplify my life.
Or more likely, keep one card open at AMEX and Chase just to maintain established relationships and then max out signup bonuses and the cancel the cards, for as long as they let me. But never use their cards for actual spend because it won’t be worth the hassle of juggling several credit cards and paying annual fees on premium cards to do only marginally better than my free 2% Alliant CC.