I signed up for Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) and I realized I am now getting 3%+ on every one of my purchases with just a handful of credit cards
Airfare 3% CSR
Office Supplies 5% Old Chase Ink
Hotels 3% CSR
Rental Cars 3% CSR
Gas 5% PenFed Gas Card
Groceries 3% AMEX Blue Cash
Telecom (Cable Internet, Phone) 5% Old Chase Ink
Restaurants 3% CSR
And then for all non-category spend, I am using various Gift Debit Cards that I buy using either 5% Office Supply Chase card, or this quarter Chase Freedom I bought $1500 worth of gift debit cards from a store that accepts Apple Pay. There are fees on those cards, but even with the fee, the Chase Freedom-bought cards give 4% off, and I only buy Office Supply Gift Cards when Staples or Office Max runs a promotion reducing the fees. They only do that every 2 to 3 months, but it’s more than enough to cover my non-special category spend outlined above.
As long as I am spending $500 or less per month on non-category spend, then I’ll always seem to have enough gift debit cards that I got at 3%+ discount, to cover that spend. And on months where a large one time expense occurs (like a $2.5k dental crown last week), I’ll use a new credit card that I get that has minimum spend requirements, so the effective bonus is usually 10%+ on that spend. I don’t get many new credit cards for bonuses, but I also don’t have many large one time surprise expenses outside of the category spend either.
The CSR has a $450 annual fee, but I’m planning to deduct that off my taxes since I travel for work, and given SE Tax, Federal Tax, and State Tax, I’m in the 50% bracket, so the $450 fee becomes $225 net cost to me. And given the $300 annual travel credit, which I was able to use in the first week, then keeping the card is a net benefit of $75 to me, after tax savings, ignoring every other benefit of the card. I had to wait to get the card until recently since of 5/24 but now that I have it, it seems like my 2% card is getting almost no use.
I know this sounds like a blog post, and it’s not really new information, but I wanted to share my excitement to realize I’ve effectively retired my 2% card.