App-O-Rama: Making money from credit cards
January 22, 2014
Disclaimer: This is free money but it costs seed money to make money, and it can cost you big-time if you overspend what you can afford. One should never get into this intending to carry a balance. Seriously. Don’t do that.
This is a thing I’ve done a few times in the past (name courtesy of Fatwallet Forums) and had been considering another one, but what with all the traveling and planning, hadn’t quite the brain power to kickstart the process.
Then, last fall, PiC voiced the niggling little thought at the back of my mind: We should get new credit cards and juice the bonuses, right? With all these wedding expenses coming up …
Man after my heart. OF COURSE WE SHOULD.
I did some research and picked the following cards, getting overly ambitious along the way. My main requirement was that the annual fee had to be waived for the first year and after that it was just a matter of how high the bonuses could be:
1. American Express Business Gold
50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of Card membership.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Earn 40,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from account opening
3. Chase Ink Bold
50K Ultimate Rewards bonus points for $5,000 spend (3 months)
4. Citi Hilton Visa
40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after making $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 4 months of opening your account.
5. Marriott Rewards Visa
60,000 bonus points* after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months from account opening + 1 FREE night stay* (Category 1-4) after account approval
At this point, we have ‘managed to spend’ enough to hit all the Bonus limits on all the cards.
I probably should have been more discriminating in selecting cards for more specific bonuses. At the time, it didn’t matter so much because I didn’t have any plans for them, but now that I’m starting to plot and plan, well, it would have been nice 🙂
As we’re still working on cleaning up our combined finances and accounts, we’ve decided to cancel a few of our existing cards and are considering keeping one of the above as a replacement. They generally have decent rewards, I don’t like their annual fees, but I’m needing one card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Or at least the “emotional” side of me does. Before I make the call, I’ll have to do the math and see how much I have to save on transaction fees and other benefits – it might not actually be worth it!
My AmEx Starwood is the strong favorite card that I’m keeping as the hotel and hotel–> airfare transfers are great. Typically my rule of thumb is no annual fees, period, but since we redeem for at least a few hundred or more dollars’ worth of hotel stays every year, that offsets the $65 fee pretty handily.
:: What’s your favorite credit card? Why?