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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saving Money with Credit Cards

UPDATE: Please see new Post "Credit Card Cash Back"
For readers that have the discipline to pay off credit cards in full each month, read on!

I was doing some research on credit cards, and ways to save money on web site called CreditCardForum.com.

For people who have American Express and pay for "mileage rewards", the American Express EveryDay card right now gives you $100 back after charging $500.   Pay for premium annual fee of $75 bucks, and get:

6% back on all groceries (Max 6K per year)
3% back on all gas and about dozen department stores (sears, jcpenny, macys, bloomingdales, lord & taylor, neiman marcus)
1% back on all else

For those too cheap to pay the $75, get 3% groceries, and 2% gas.  The extra % pays for itself for most households.

Next up is US Bank Credit card, with No Annual fee, you get (some vendors may have restrictions):
5% back on utilities!
5% back on fast food! (or restaurants)
2% back on drug stores

You can pick different categories than I did above.  I did so to compliment the Amex card above.
With the Amex credit card, there is a synergy for also choosing Amex card for other purchases and travel.

Fidelity American Express card has no annual fee (huge plus!) and pays 2% on everything cash back. Be sure to sign up for full autopay at autopay.fiacardservices.com

So there you have it, with the 3 cards above, you can get:
6% Groceries, 5% Utilities, 5% fast food , 3% Gas, 3% department stores, 2% on all else (Fidelity Amex)  is as good as you can get.  But there is no miles on the American Express credit cards.
According to this web site, buy GIFT CARDS from supermarket for other stores (such as Amazon.com) and get extra 6% off!

For those very adventurous, you can pump your Mortgage, Car Payments, Student Loan, and other reoccurring bills that normally don't accept credit cards through ChargeSmart.com.  But be careful of extra fees that may apply.  Make sure your credit card gives 2% or more back on such charges, otherwise I doubt it works for your favor.

Extra Benefits for Frequent Travlers
For those with moderate travel, the Starwood American Express.
Low mileage for rooms, free upgrades at Starwood hotels, and ability to transfer points to 30 different Airlines at a 1 to 1 rate all for $65 per year. Pretty good.

If you travel quite a bit, Platinum or Gold American Express may be your card to choose.  Gold American express offers  3x points on airfare, 2x points on gas, 2x points on groceries, 1x on everything else, a steep $175 annual fee, ouch!

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