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A few links to get this started:

http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/the-best-cash-back-credit-cards
http://www.dailymarkets.com/best-credit-cards-2012/
http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/top-credit-cards/nerdwallets-best-rewards-credit-cards/

Old Thread - message_topic.aspx?topic=609310 - Tons of great info there.


I'm think I'm going to apply for the Fidelity American Express for 2% back on all purchases, to combine with cards I already have that give me 3-5% on gas, grocery and restaurants.

http://personal.fidelity.com/products/checking/content/amex_rewards_card.shtml

8/8/2012 12:29:44 PM

David0603
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I'm really eyeing that southwest companion pass. I got denied by chase for the second southwest card a few months ago, but I just put a grand on my existing one, and figure if I apply for the business card this time I may have a shot.

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2011/12/13/southwest-credit-card-points-post-ive-got-a-southwest-companion-pass/

Currently churning the SPG Point American Express Credit Card just to take a brief hiatus from signing up for chase cards.

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2011/07/25/spg-30000-bonus-offer/

While also putting a fair amount of purchases on my chase freedom card for 5% back at restaurants and gas stations.

https://creditcards.chase.com/freedom/Activate.aspx

[Edited on August 8, 2012 at 1:34 PM. Reason : ]

8/8/2012 1:29:49 PM

NCSUWolfy
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^ ah ha, another travel hacker

whats up!

i got the double citi cards for AA and scored 150,000 AA miles before they ended the bonus. it was glorious & i high fived myself the whole way to south america because i was going for free

love travel hacking, some people are so good it's crazy.

8/8/2012 1:37:13 PM

David0603
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Hi there! I joined the game late and after rushing to make up for lost time I ended up being denied for the double citi AA. On the plus side I've gotten over a grand in straight cash this past year as well as $833 in Southwest credit plus close to 100,000 delta miles. I am pretty jealous of the people who started early and those with spouses who can churn as well. What card are you currently working?

8/8/2012 2:11:23 PM

slappy1
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^^whoa, what??

8/9/2012 2:33:07 AM

DamnStraight
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just got a chase freedom card this morning for mah 0% interest and all the rest of my wedding bills.

yeehaw.

8/9/2012 7:35:14 AM

skywalkr
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The fidelity Amex card is sweet. Been using it for around 3 years now and have earned at least $1000 in free cash back. I'm too lazy to carry an extra cash back card for things like gas and groceries but I do carry an American Airlines card mainly for the benefits while traveling (of course I am going to get status soon so then the card won't really help except to build my miles more than from business travel). I wish I could expense everything onmy personal cards for work, I would be killing the rewards. For work I have to use the corporate Amex and it has a rewards system but nothing close to 2% cash back.

8/9/2012 8:25:41 AM

wahoowa
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Did the double AA Visa/AmEx a few months ago. Will be signing up for the AA Business card in the next three months then followed by the SPG card. Hoping to build up 200K AA Advantage miles by next May for a trip to Europe with my soon-to-be wife.

Last week signed up for the BofA 1-2-3 Cash Rewards card. $400 cashback after spending $500 in 3 months plus an additional 10% cash back for depositing in a BofA checking account. AND no interest for 15 months will really help with wedding expenses.


How quickly do you guys close the card after earning the sign-up rewards? Or do you just leave it open?



[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM. Reason : a]

8/9/2012 10:38:56 AM

David0603
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Link?

I leave it open unless there's an annual fee.
I have about 6 cards I'm going to need to close early next year though.
Not sure how that's going to affect me...

8/9/2012 11:15:19 AM

NCSUWolfy
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I keep them open until the annual fee hits then I call in & cancel

I'm currently on the Chase Sapphire Preferred bandwagon. I need to hit up some more miles cards to top off some balances. I wish I had a spouse to churn with too! Trying to get my friends convinced that this works so they can travel with me.

How did you earn the Delta miles? Also did you have success getting approved for both Southwest cards? I don't fly southwest often but having a companion pass for free for nearly 2 years is too good to pass up! How did you manage the $8k spend to hit it? I'm trying to formulate a strategy to start working on it now & hit the requirements in Jan so I can get all of 2013 & 2014 with a free companion pass. My only worry is that they change the program by then & it won't work!

I used to have the Continental credit cards & the United visa. I'm wondering how long I need to wait before being able to earn the bonus on the Explorer card. Do you know?

8/9/2012 11:20:58 AM

Chief
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Where did you see delta miles mentioned? I'd be all over that since I use them solely for work.

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 11:34 AM. Reason : .]

8/9/2012 11:33:42 AM

David0603
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Almost all my miles are through sign up bonuses.

25,000 delta miles through the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card
30,000 delta miles through the Gold Delta Skymiles Amex
30,000 delta miles through Suntrust http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/06/18/suntrust-delta/
Plus additional miles for the actual money I spent on the cards.

I think the spending requirements were $500, and $2500 respectively in 3 months, no fee the first year.
PM me if anyone wants a referral for either card.

I only got approved for one of the two Southwest cards I applied for months ago. But I haven't tried getting the Southwest business card yet, so that will be my next application. I'm not sure where you're getting that $8K number from. The first sign up offer just required a single purchase on the card and the existing offer only has an $1K spending requirement. I am kind of pissed though b/c if I do end up getting it late this year I won't really get to utilize it as much had I gotten it when I first applied for both cards months ago.

I'm not familiar with the explorer card, but if you're planning on getting two Southwest cards from Chase in addition to your existing ones I'd probably pass on the Chase Explorer card for now.

8/9/2012 12:20:44 PM

quagmire02
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it's been a while since i've opened a card...about time to cash in on some bonuses, i think

not sure what to get...

8/9/2012 12:55:33 PM

NCSUWolfy
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you need 110,000 points to get the companion pass. you can get to 100,000 with the sign up bonuses but still need 10,000 more which could be done with credit card spend. i only spend about 1-1.5k a month on cc;s so i guess i'd need to switch over now to make it by early next year.

thanks for the links on delta.

do you know why you got denied for the second card? did you call the reconsideration line?

also how is your luck applying for & getting the business cards? do you own a business or are you just applying for them?


edit: looks like you can also transfer hotel points to get to the 110,000 points for southwest. there are tons of strategies for getting hotel points, i need to get better at those. i've had to pay for quite a few hotels lately & it's killing me!

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM. Reason : hotel points]



edit 2: do you have a link for the southwest business card? i can't seem to find one...

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 1:29 PM. Reason : card]

8/9/2012 1:20:12 PM

David0603
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I've gone on trips with several friends and do them the "favor" of booking all our flights and rental car using my Southwest CC so that has netted me about 5000 southwest pts thus far. You can also xfer pts from hotels to southwest.

10 Ways To Get Extra Points Towards The Southwest Companion Pass
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/01/09/southwest-companion/

The reconsideration line said it was b/c I had recently closed my Sapphire card and just got approved for the personal Chase Southwest Card. I could have probably called back enough times to get approval, but didn't want to risk them to blacklist my file or something crazy like that.

I don't technically own a business but the term is very subjective.

http://millionmilesecrets.com/2011/06/09/3-ways-you-may-qualify-for-a-business-credit-card/

Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Plus Business Card

http://www.mychasecreditcards.com/T600-009/Default.aspx?LP=6000245&CELL=6ZZR&vanity=southwest/2ffpartnersplus

8/9/2012 1:49:01 PM

NCSUWolfy
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hmm the business app wants tax id numbers and all that stuff

8/9/2012 2:11:04 PM

wahoowa
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you can use your SS number as a tax ID number. Independent contractors do just that.

8/9/2012 2:15:58 PM

NCSUWolfy
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thanks! i ended up finding that on MMS

im going to apply for both using the two browser trick. will report back soon!

8/9/2012 2:17:52 PM

FanatiK
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Recently rounded out my card collection with the US Bank Cash+ card:

http://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/cash-plus-signature.html?redirect=cashapply

it's one of those rotating 5% category cashback cards, except it lets you choose the categories every 3 months. Perfect addition to my stable of cards as it lets me choose (and change) the categories in which I'll benefit most from 5%. Plus, it has home improvement and bill pay options.

If you wait until you have $100 in rewards to redeem, you get $25 bonus which effectively makes this a 6.25% cashback card. Another advantage over the other 'rotating categories' cards: no limit on the amount of 5% cashback.

If you apply through their facebook page you get $50 after spending $500, to boot.

8/9/2012 2:21:00 PM

NCSUWolfy
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applied & it said it needed further review

same thing happened with my sapphire card & it showed up in the mail one day (which is one of the possibilities)

i only have 1 card open with chase right now but closed the united one about a month ago & have had several others but they have been closed for awhile


also, i got a targeted offer for citi for 30,000 AA miles. all i have to do is open a checking account, spend $750 & have 1 or more direct deposits made for 2 months in a row. seems pretty easy

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 2:34 PM. Reason : klfjkldsjf]

8/9/2012 2:24:00 PM

FanatiK
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^careful, Citi can and usually will send you a 1099 tax form for banking bonuses. And from what I've gathered, they tend to WAY overvalue things like miles.

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 2:41 PM. Reason : s]

8/9/2012 2:40:22 PM

David0603
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Still worth the risk

Quote :
"IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge dropped this bombshell: "When frequent-flier miles are provided as a premium for opening a financial account, it can be a taxable situation subject to reporting under current law." But she also said that miles received for using a credit card or credited to a passenger by an airline for taking a trip would be classified as rebates, and so not taxable.

There are a few disturbing leaps in her statement, the biggest of which is her use of the term "financial account," which opens up the door beyond just the checking and savings accounts that Citi customers were 1099-ed for, but also to investment funds like Fidelity and TD Ameritrade that award bonuses, as well as possibly credit card sign-up bonuses.

The other troubling implication has to do with the value of these points since, Eldridge says, "the amount of income to the taxpayer is the value of the property received, not the cost that the business paid to acquire the property." So despite the fact that Citi probably paid a fraction of a cent per mile it purchased from American Airlines to distribute to customers, it can claim each mile is worth 2.5 cents on the 1099's. How they came up with that number is a mystery, but certainly the tax deduction at this value that the bank is able to claim is part of the equation.

That just might be the saving grace for taxpayers, though, since points valuation is so murky and they can be redeemed for any number of items or benefits and wildly varying values. It's going to take the IRS a long time to figure out just what to do about taxing these points and whether it's worth the administrative and legal hassle.

Lazarus and the CPAs he talks to all admit that this issue is confusing even for tax professionals and the IRS, so there are still no definitive answers and there likely aren't going to be for a long time to come."

8/9/2012 2:48:34 PM

David0603
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Quote :
"Last week signed up for the BofA 1-2-3 Cash Rewards card. $400 cashback after spending $500 in 3 months "


Link?

8/9/2012 2:50:35 PM

wahoowa
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This is the slickdeals thread here but the offer is now expired:

http://slickdeals.net/f/4961306-DEAD-400-Cashback-after-spending-500-in-3-months-0-interest-for-15-months-Bank-of-America-Visa-Signature-No-annual-Fee-Current-BOA-customers-ONLY-LINK

8/9/2012 3:22:28 PM

FanatiK
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^^^I disagree. I'd much rather find an alternative credit card offer and not have to pay taxes on miles I receive. It's not like the CC offers are hard to come by or anything. Even the standard offer, at 25k points, beats getting an extra 5k points and having to pay tax on the whole lot.

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM. Reason : d]

8/9/2012 4:00:46 PM

PaulISdead
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Im looking for some advise.

My current big expenses are:

mortgage
groceries (taken care of with 6% back amex blue card @ 75 bux annually)
business travel (do not want but its happening more and more)
Home improvement
big box (costco and walmart)

i think ive got groceries taken care of and the card still gets 1% on everything.

Any ideas on increasing cash back returns? (not interested in travel points)

8/9/2012 4:02:44 PM

FanatiK
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check out the US Bank card I just posted about.

8/9/2012 4:07:46 PM

David0603
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Well obviously I don't want to have to pay taxes but I've yet to receive any 1099s from Citi, Chase, Barclay, etc so no worries thus far.

8/9/2012 4:38:30 PM

FanatiK
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That's because you haven't done any banking deals, I'm guessing. If it's a bonus associated with bank account, you're 99% sure to get a 1099 if it's above a certain value.

[Edited on August 9, 2012 at 11:43 PM. Reason : d]

8/9/2012 11:41:54 PM

David0603
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Reading FTL

Quote :
"30,000 delta miles through Suntrust"

8/10/2012 12:38:41 AM

FanatiK
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...and that was this year, right? Look for the 1099 next year, then. And remember that I warned you when you're having to take time to prove to the IRS that the miles aren't worth anywhere near as much as Suntrust says they are.

At any rate, I was only trying to make the other person aware of the probable tax implications associated with the offer. Just not worth it, IMO, unless the offer is substantially better than what you can get with a standard CC offer (and it's not @ 30k points).

[Edited on August 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM. Reason : d]

8/10/2012 8:32:28 AM

David0603
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Quote :
"unless the offer is substantially better than what you can get with a standard CC offer "



Uhhhh, how would paying taxes on 60,000 miles be "better" than paying taxes on 30,000 miles.

8/10/2012 9:21:36 AM

FanatiK
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reading FTL

Quote :
"Even the standard [CC] offer, at 25k points, beats getting an extra 5k points and having to pay tax on the whole lot."


Even if you go out there and get the absolute lowest offer CC available, it still beats your 30k banking offer. Hence, the banking offer is not worth it unless it's going to offer more miles than you can get with a current CC offer. There is literally no reason to go with a banking offer over a CC offer if the mileage bonus is comparable.

to dumb it down for you: CC offer with any # of miles > 60k banking offer > 30k banking offer.

Can we move on yet?

[Edited on August 10, 2012 at 10:01 AM. Reason : d]

8/10/2012 9:57:16 AM

David0603
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No, we can't. These offers aren't mutually exclusive. Here, I'll break it down for you.

(CC offer with any # of miles + 30k banking offer) > CC offer with any # of miles

8/10/2012 10:09:27 AM

FanatiK
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Personally, I would just repeat the CC offer and get the miles again that way.

But, if you're hell bent on getting your banking offer too then don't let me stop you. I guess I've been doing this long enough that I don't get overly excited unless the offer is very generous. At some point you have to start being more selective about which offers you're going to spend time and energy (and tax money) on.

[Edited on August 10, 2012 at 10:34 AM. Reason : d]

8/10/2012 10:33:33 AM

David0603
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Well, I blew all my miles last month another trip so now I have 30K via that Delta Credit card which I can't really do shit with, so now with the additional 30K from Suntrust I can jetset to Costa Rica or somewhere cool. Even if I do get taxed on it, def worth it.

[Edited on August 10, 2012 at 10:49 AM. Reason : ]

8/10/2012 10:49:16 AM

synapse
play so hard
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Quote :
"Recently rounded out my card collection with the US Bank Cash+ card:

http://www.usbank.com/credit-cards/cash-plus-signature.html?redirect=cashapply

it's one of those rotating 5% category cashback cards, except it lets you choose the categories every 3 months. Perfect addition to my stable of cards as it lets me choose (and change) the categories in which I'll benefit most from 5%. Plus, it has home improvement and bill pay options.

If you wait until you have $100 in rewards to redeem, you get $25 bonus which effectively makes this a 6.25% cashback card. Another advantage over the other 'rotating categories' cards: no limit on the amount of 5% cashback.

If you apply through their facebook page you get $50 after spending $500, to boot.
"


Sweet, thanks for the post.

8/10/2012 11:08:50 AM

David0603
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So, I could choose restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores every month?

8/10/2012 11:12:23 AM

David0603
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Eh, kind of disappointing upon further reading.

Earn 5% cash back on two bonus categories that you choose, like home improvement stores or airline tickets
Earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries or drug stores – choose one

8/10/2012 11:30:53 AM

synapse
play so hard
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6.25% back on lowes/home depot sounds pretty appealing...especially if I can choose that category every quarter, which probably isn't the case.

8/10/2012 2:09:48 PM

FanatiK
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as far as I can tell, there's nothing stopping you from picking the same categories each quarter. I've already repeated them once.

8/11/2012 9:15:28 AM

David0603
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Quote :
"How did you manage the $8k spend to hit it?"


It looks like you can buy 10K pts for $250. Pretty reasonable imho.

http://www.southwest.com/rapidrewards/buy-points

8/11/2012 1:32:47 PM

David0603
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Just applied for the chase southwest business card. I got the generic, they'd let me know in a few days message. I'll probably call the reconsideration line if they deny me since I just put about a grand on my existing southwest card, so they can't bitch at me for lack of activity. I don't think they were too impressed with my previous balance of $2 last time I applied and got denied.

8/16/2012 1:15:33 PM

NCSUWolfy
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good luck! i'm still waiting to hear on my double application (used two browsers)

8/16/2012 3:33:54 PM

David0603
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What happened to waiting til 2013?

8/16/2012 3:54:51 PM

NCSUWolfy
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I remembered Thanksgiving & Christmas & figured it was worth doing now

8/16/2012 6:14:27 PM

David0603
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Yeah, that was my problem the past few years. I'd never plan ahead and always need the miles prior to when I would have actually received them had I signed up at that time.

8/17/2012 10:01:06 AM

adaptiveopti
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Has anyone had any luck churning Chase hotel rewards cards (specifically Marriott)? If so, how long after your initial application approval did you wait? Thanks.

8/19/2012 4:21:51 PM

NCSUMEB
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2494 Posts
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Could someone explain how hard pulls (inquries and new applications in my case) stay on your report for 24 months but only negatively affect your beacon for 12 months?

8/19/2012 5:58:07 PM

David0603
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^^ Wait for what?

^Whatever secret formula used to determine your credit score most likely only take into account inquiries in the past 12 months even though they remain on your report for 24.

8/19/2012 6:14:55 PM

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