I hope you and yours had a fantastic Thanksgiving.
I ate way too much of both of the desserts in the cover photo and am paying the price now.
Turkey day is over and now we’re all trying to decide how to spend money in order to save it. Below are some tips on which credit cards to use to maximize your returns today and on Cyber Monday.
- Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: If you have an Amazon Prime account, you’ll get 5% cash back on Amazon purchases with this Chase card, which the 5/24 rule is known not to apply to. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, you still get 3% cash back.
- Discover it® Cash Back: Thanks to Amazon being fourth quarter category for 5% cash back (this card has quarterly rotating category bonuses much like the Chase Freedom Card), you’ll get at least 5% back on your purchases. Discover also matches all the cash back you earn in the first year of card membership, meaning you’d effectively be earning 10% cash back which is very hard to beat.
This Wired article has a good roundup of electronics deals, many of which can be found on Amazon.
Department Stores & Warehouse Clubs,
- Chase Freedom: The fourth quarter’s 5x category bonus is for department stores like JC Penny and Nordstrom, as well as warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco. Superstores like Walmart and Target are not included. You’ll earn at least 5% cash back for purchases at these stores, but the trick is transferring the “Ultimate Rewards” earned your Freedom Card to a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred account which transforms them into that kind of Ultimate Rewards, worth anywhere from 1.25 to 1.5 cents a piece towards travel or more like 2 cents a piece when transferred to airline miles. Your effective return on warehouse club spending would then jump to anywhere from 6.25% to ~10%. Also note that anywhere you use your Freedom Card through Chase Pay will also earn a 5x category bonus.
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: If you don’t have the Freedom card, put department store purchases on your Blue Cash Preferred Amex for 3% cash back.
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: On up to $6,000 per year in purchases, this card will earn 6% cash back at grocery stores.
- Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: As Amazon bought Whole Foods, it’s not surprising that the Chase Amazon card also comes with big returns for Whole Foods shoppers. You’ll get 5% cash back at Whole Foods purchases, whether that’s online or at a physical location, if you have an Amazon Prime membership. No prime membership and your return drops to 3%.
Office Supply Stores
- Chase Ink Business Cash Card: Need to stock up on office supplies and plan on using a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal to do it? The Ink Business Cash Card will earn you 5% cash back, but even better, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred account and can move the Ink Business Cash points to one of those accounts–just like the tip I gave above for the Freedom Card–your return drastically increased to anywhere from 6.25% to ~10%.
Airfare Purchased Directly from Airlines
- The Platinum Card from American Express: If you’re going to book cash plane tickets at some point during this weekend of sales the Amex Platinum Card will earn 5 Membership Rewards per dollar spent if you’re buying directly from an airline. That’s around a 10% return if you value Membership Reward points at 2 cents each, which I do.
Everything Else Otherwise Unbonused
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: The Freedom Unlimited is just like the Freedom and Ink Business Cash in regards to the value of the Ultimate Rewards it earns, and how that value changes by moving them to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred account. It earns a simple 1.5 “Ultimate Rewards” per dollar spent on everything, worth just 1.5 cents when redeemed from the Freedom Unlimited account. Moving them to one of the accounts listed turns them into that kind of Ultimate Reward, meaning your return is boosted from 6.25% to ~10% depending on which account you move them to and how you redeem them.
Shopping Portals for Extra Rewards
Don’t forget to choose the card you use wisely when making Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases! If you have a large purchase and aren’t sure if you have a card that will earn a category bonus for it, let me know what it is in the comments and what options you have to charge it to. I’ll try to get back to you quickly.