Are you a caregiver? Tell us how you plan your getaway with loved ones for a chance to enter a weekly prize drawing.

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Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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My wife and I have only 2 credit cards. Both offer rewards. One offers 3% cash back on groceries and 2% cash back on department stores. The other offers 4% on gasoline, 3% on restaurants and travel, 2% at the co-branded (sponsoring) merchant store and 1% cash back everywhere else. We use these credit cards in lieu of checks or debit card, not only for the rewards but for security. We ran $31,000 through the cards in 2015 and earned approximately $2,000. That's like putting an extra $2K in untaxable income in your pocket! Do not overlook rewards cards. Combined with in-store membership credits it has a compounding effect. So if you shop at a particular store then take all you can get. It adds up!

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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Just to give an example of the compounding effect without naming the merchant's name. I've a grocery store membership, as I'm sure most of you do. My store gives 10 cents off gasoline for every $100 purchased. It's not uncommon for my wife and I to rack up 40 cents in gasoline credits in a typical month. We each have a car so we use them. And when we pay for gasoline we use the card having the 4% cash back on gas feature. It's a double whammy! 

 

Another example involves car rental. We travel a bit since we retired. Whenever we rent a car we rent it through our car insurance website. All major car rental agencies are listed, and when you rent a car they offer a promotional code. I've yet to find anyone who can beat my car insurance company on price. And when we go to pay for the rental we use the credit card which offers 3% cash back on travel. Again, it's the compounding effect. It all adds up.  

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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We have a card that gives 6% back on up to $6,000 spent in grocery stores per year; so I buy gift cards for places like Target, Amazon, and Shell gas at the grocery store, which is the same as saving 6% at those stores too.  Plus, my grocery store gives points to use towards gas purchases at Shell and often runs 4X points promotions on gift cards.  So a $100 Shell gift card can earn me $0.40 off per gallon of gas using the fuel points, plus I get $6.00 back on my credit card.  The savings really add up.

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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Message 4 of 26

You have to be careful and do your homework to get the most from these cards. Traveling? Taking a cruise, perhaps? It turns out that most credit card rewards programs do not include cruises in the travel expense category. They are not just giving examples of travel expenses in the fine print, they are listing the only expenses that will qualify! One of the two cards mentioned (the one that gives 3% on travel) does include cruises in the travel category. However, you should not stop there. The travel insurance offered by different cards varies greatly. The above mentioned card has a limit of $3000 per person for trip insurance coverage and only covers you to the amount spent on that card (in case you split the cost on multiple cards) other cards have higher limits and/or cover the whole cost if the charges for the trip are split. The bottom line is, read the fine print before deciding which card to use for charges.

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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Message 5 of 26
I'd like to know the name of the credit card
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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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I would like to know the name of the credit card

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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I would like to know the name of the credit cards that you and your wife have thank you
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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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Message 8 of 26

Can we have the name of the credit cards mentioned and their respective annual fees (if any) indicated as well. Thnx

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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Message 9 of 26

Be careful traveling out of the country.The Visa/Master Card charges 3% transaction fee (my AARP card did). Discover has no transaction fee. My mistake.

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Re: Getting the most from Rewards Cards

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Message 10 of 26

"Nothing is free".  "There's a sucker born every minute".

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