Best Reward / Cash Back Credit Cards

You’re proving my point here that you are looking at things incorrectly. If you already have a BCP card, it makes 0.0% sense to put ANY grocery spend on the BCE card. The $95 fee is sunk. You should only consider the fee in your calculation if you don’t have the card yet. Since you already have the card, you should continue putting all your grocery spend on the BCP (earning 6%) and put $1,000 of other spend on the BCE to earn the bonus, then sockdrawer the BCE.

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This is regarding the B of A Cash Rewards World Mastercard. I have this card. It once was known as the “1-2-3 card”, offering 3% reward on gasoline, 2% reward on groceries, and 1% reward on everything else.

B of A has announced an impending change. If you have the card you are already aware of what is coming. This is for those who do not have the card yet:

Commencing next week, B of A will allow you to choose your 3% category. You may still choose gasoline. But the new allowed alternative choices include: online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvement/furnishings.

Groceries remain at 2% and the 1% reward for all other charges, across the board, remains in effect too.

I have been well satisfied with my own card, though I use it solely for its across-the-board reward. Still, working with B of A has been a positive experience, I have no complaints at all, and I can recommend the card.


@shinobi I got the Hulu deal in December which is $1 a month for 12 months. It goes on my otherwise unused Discover card and each month they will forgive the balance which is slightly over $1 with tax.

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Discover cancels <= $2.00. We have the thread here:


I noticed Freedom CU had reversed most of my cash back reward (over $1,000) that was credited at the beginning of January. A phone call revealed they viewed this as a mistake. The spending in question was primarily charitable donations through the Paypal Giving fund, and did greatly exceed the credit limit on the card.

The representative said that to earn 5% back on purchases the balances had to remain on the card for a full billing cycle, something that was not obvious in the advertising.The terms did make it clear that cash advances to earn 15% had to remain for a full billing cycle, (thus preventing you from taking a cash advance and then paying it off, and repeatiing several times within a billing cycle).

I have requested a copy of the terms and conditions to look for this provision. I suspect it may not be there, since they had programmed their computers to give 10% back on purchases without imposing this provision.

The amount they believe they should have given in cash back appears to be significantly less than 1% of the purchases.

Has anyone else encountered this issue?

The issue is of importance going forward since I had planned to route most of my ordinary spending through this card including large tuition payments and tax payments (both on the last quarter estimated taxes for 2018, and estimated payments for 2019. My earlier plan was to pay these off before the end of January, and then take a cash advance for the credit limit to take advantage of their 5% offer on cash advances carried over a billing cycle and their .99% annual interest for six months.

The issue is of some importance since I do have large educational and tax expenses to be made in the near future, and I have cards that yield well above 2% on purchases (Alliant and BOA Travel cards) that these expenditures could be used for.

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Sorry I’m unable to be of more help than this. Will share what I can of my own experience but I am afraid it might not be relevant:

I have had good outcomes with the Freedom CU card. Received my 5% reward nearly instantly upon statement closure.

However, and this could be the rub, I operate (for reasons unrelated to this Freedom CU card specifically) all my credit cards beneath Argyll’s rule. That is to say, I pay off my balance prior to closure of my CC statements. This is done for reasons of credit score maintenance, something again not specifically related to Freedom CU but which might nevertheless be helping me obtain my rewards quickly.

I also can offer you the following:

Last month Freedom CU encountered a glitch with one of my charges. It was a relatively small charge, several hundred dollars. Because of the glitch, when I made my payment a few days prior to statement closure I was not seeing that charge. The glitch kept it hidden from me. So I accidentally underpaid my account by those same several hundred dollars.

I am relating this story because I did not receive a 5% reward for that small charge, and I was told by Freedom CU I would have to wait up to 60 days to receive that particular small reward.

Just sort of thinking out loud here, putting two plus two together your story and my experience, perhaps paying my card off in advance is, indeed, helping me receive my rewards very timely. Though who can say for certain?

Thanks. In my case I had paid off the balances quickly (so I could spend more).

It appears in your experience, rewards were earned on purchases that were made, and the loan paid off within a few days. In my case they paid, and then took the money back.

It is interesting you were promised that the rewards would be eventually paid. Did they say what rule they were relying on in this case?

I now have about $20,000 on deposit with them with my plan being to use my credit limit on purchases (including taxes) and then pay it off from funds on deposit with them. I am debating whether to do this.

For anyone interested here is the language on the footnote for the page advertising their offer (bolding is from me): The language seems clear that 5% is to be earned on all purchases made with their Visa card.

The issue for me is whether to go forward with my plans to pay tuition and taxes from this card, full credit line is now available, (since I paid off the ear before I discovered this problem), and enough money is on deposit with them to pay off the card again if need be.

If they deny my rewards, I would then need to argue, which might be time consuming, although the legal ground appear solid. That they initially paid 5% suggests their understanding was the same as mine at the time the rewards were deposited into my share account.

I notice the recapture was accomplished by debiting the Visa card for the 5% rebate that had been paid to my share account, which appears to be an unauthorized charge.

They probably have the legal right to cancel the card if they do not like the use it is being put to. I am not certain whether they could then decline to pay the 5% rewards promised on spending already done, or whether they could raise the interest rate above the .99% promotional one offered.

“*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Balance transfers/cash advances/purchases during the promotional period (6 months from the date the card is opened) will be eligible for the .99% APR. Balance Transfers will receive 5% cash back. Balance Transfer must be at least $500 and made within 60 days from the date the card is opened. Total amount of balance transfers during this period cannot exceed your credit limit. Balance transfers are subject to finance charges from the date they are posted to your account. Member is responsible for completing the balance transfer. Balance must remain through first billing cycle. 5% Cash Back reward will be applied by the 5th business day of the following month. All purchases made from November 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019 with the Cash Back card will receive 5% cash back deposited into the primary savings account at the credit union by the 5th business day of the following month. Purchases made after January 31, 2019 with the Cash Back card will receive 1% cash back deposited into the primary savings account at the credit union by the 5th business day of the following month. This offer is only available for new card applications during the promotional period. After the promotional period, the APR you receive on a Visa Cash Back card will be a variable rate that will be adjusted monthly and will be the sum of an index plus a margin. The Index will be based on the highest Prime Rate as published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal in effect on the day the introductory rate expires, and subsequently, 10 days prior to the first day of each calendar quarter of each year. The Index plus our Margin equals your Interest rate. Changes in the Index will cause changes in the Interest Rate. Your rate will not be less than 10.9% or greater than 17.9%. All rates accurate as of 11/1/18. The maximum credit card limit per Member is $30,000. The maximum unsecured debt per Member is $30,000. Offer subject to credit approval. Not everyone will qualify. You must be at least 18 years of age. Offer is available for a limited time, may be withdrawn at any time and is subject to change without notice.”

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Honestly nothing was said about any sort of rule. I just went along with what the rep told me. I’m content to wait since they had already paid me well over a grand in rewards on a VERY timely basis. That said

This is only for information. I am NOT trying here to influence your behavior or tell you how to do your business. That is strictly up to you . . alone. Period

However, I did not try to recycle my credit line. My Freedom CU line is generous to begin with and their 5% reward is not one I’m able to equal anywhere else for the kinds of charges I put on credit cards. So I went right up to the line but not over it . . . and again this is for information only.

Speaking in general, and not about Freedom CU in particular, I don’t recycle any of my lines. And, yes, I am aware some credit card pros say you should only go 30% to 50% of your line while I oftentimes come very close to maxing out. My only answer to that is “so far so good”. I compensate for not recycling my lines by having a good number of cards in the mix and using them all, except for Amex platform cards of course.

Sort of. I actually pay only once each month, a few days prior to close of my Freedom CU statement. Freedom CU statements close on the last day of the month.

Their having clawed back a portion of your rewards strikes me as astonishing. I would never have guessed such an action would be forthcoming from Freedom CU or any other financial institution, except perhaps in the wake of a crediting error, computer error, or something of that sort. Certainly I have no explanation for that having happened to you. It is totally off the wall.

Look, Ed, there is no way you can rely on the likes of me to answer that with any credibility whatsoever. It’s something you have to decide for yourself. However, I will risk offering you the following:

Tuition and taxes are, in my view, far more conventional and commonplace charges to your card than the kind of charges I make to my Freedom CU card. My own charges are, by comparison to those you contemplate, quite unconventional, questionable, and surely much closer to “the edge”. Yet I have been given by Freedom CU no cause for concern regarding receipt of rewards, which they have paid promptly and in full.

The one “glitch” item I mentioned earlier, for several hundred dollars, where there was a problem, was BTW a completely conventional charge. But the overwhelming bulk of my Freedom CU spending has been unconventional . . . . and no problems have ensued.

It would be enormously helpful if you referred to this as your “Freedom CU card” rather than “Freedom card”. The latter has well-known context in the rewards game. The former does not.

Unless you know of a simple, yet honest way to establish a relationship with the Philadelphia area. Then we can all care.


Agreed. Sorry. I have edited my posts. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.


There is a honest way for those in many states to become a Feedom CU member, which is by joining a Consumer’s organization for $8.00. Given the time to become a member and physically get a card so spending can be done, starting the process now might not be worth the trouble, in spite of stated terms that are among the most attractive I have seen.

Because their VISA card offer was probably the most attractive I have seen I presumed some others here would have jumped on it, when it was first discussed here, and might have relevant experience, or expertise.

I agree, I should have put CU after the Freedom references since the Freedom is a Chase brand name that is well known.

Thanks for that response. I did see shinobi’s reference to ACC upthread. And I’m already a member of that for another CU. However, I could find nowhere in Freedom CU’s membership requirements any reference to ACC, and nowhere on ACC’s list of affiliated CUs mention of Freedom CU. So that appears to no longer be the case.

Next time I’m in Philadelphia, I’ll make it a point to help an old lady across the street and see if claiming to be a volunteer holds up.

If you are really interested in this card, I would call and inquire. When I was joining the phone representative had to ask someone else and was told that was still true. They do require you fax in (or mail) your membership certificate, and after they approved the card, issues with getting this paper work to the right person delayed things for weeks.

If trying to get the card now, I would phone in, get to a representative in loans, and make clear that you do qualify (if you do) and then get it to them quickly. Then supply the information needed for an application.

It wuld be good business for them not to accept new customers from outside of their service area, because there is nothing special about their card or CU to make them attractive once the promotional benefit is exhausted, unless a branch is very convenient to you.

If anyone is interested I did put tuition (and related charges for room and board) on my Freedom Credit Union Visa and paid a 2.75% charge for using a credit card. I may make a few more purchases to use up my credit limit , and will then carry the balance forward at their .99% interest rate.

I think I will be on good grounds to argue if I do not get 5% back.

Although I appear to be on very good legal grounds for arguing I am entitled to the 5% on purchases, I may take the easy way out and not make any more charges in excess of the credit line.

I do expect to dispute the unauthorized charge to recover the earned cash rebate already earned, I may delay doing so until at least after the end of the month to reduce the risk of the card being canceled when it is still valuable.

Thanks. My charges, primarily Charitable contributions through the Paypal Giving Fund, were of a conventional type, and many would argue that making charitable contributions to support cancer research is an admirable activity that public spirited credit unions should be comfortable with, and even encourage.

One reason I am a little surprized at their action is that their promotion ends at the end of January. If it was badly designed and too generous, I would have expected them to honor the promotion, and then to make a note that any future promotions should be less generous (possibly explicitly limiting the value of the purchases the promotion would be paid on).

I suppose they do have the right to cancel a card whose usage they disapprove of. It is not clear whether they can then raise the interest rate on the unpaid balance above the promotional rate.

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Honestly, that sounds like the CSR making a “best guess” or otherwise BSing to try to explain away the issue, in the hopes that you’ll just let it go. If you push, any further explanation you get is going to start narrowing down to some version of “rewards abuse”. A legal push will get you those rewards eventually (I dont know that there’s experience with this CU to know if it’ll take a gentle push, or a full throttle charge), but frankly it’s a little surprising that your account remains open at this point.

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Thanks. Fear of closure is one reason I went ahead an charged most of next term’s expenses now.

Making charitable contributions and paying off your balance does not constitute rewards abuse…