Moultrie Products
Credit Card Travel Rewards
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
grossklw 26-Dec-18
elkstabber 26-Dec-18
kota-man 26-Dec-18
Charlie Rehor 26-Dec-18
grossklw 26-Dec-18
grossklw 26-Dec-18
cnelk 26-Dec-18
NoWiser 26-Dec-18
grossklw 26-Dec-18
Charlie Rehor 26-Dec-18
grossklw 26-Dec-18
Nick Muche 26-Dec-18
deerhaven 27-Dec-18
Z Barebow 27-Dec-18
grossklw 27-Dec-18
Mule Power 27-Dec-18
Dirty D 27-Dec-18
cnelk 27-Dec-18
pointingdogs 27-Dec-18
StickFlicker 28-Dec-18
grossklw 28-Dec-18
Tilzbow 28-Dec-18
Knothead 28-Dec-18
grossklw 28-Dec-18
Knothead 28-Dec-18
DEC 28-Dec-18
From: grossklw
26-Dec-18
There always seems to be quite a few questions regarding rewards for credit cards so I thought I'd start a new thread with some options that I've used with quite a bit of success in the past.

The cabela's card at this point is absolute garbage in my opinion. Rewards are poor and the sign-up bonus is beyond laughable compared to most every other option. If you're not a huge spender, make sure you look at the sign-up bonus, that's where a lot of the meat is at!

Chase Ink has 80k points if you spend 5k in the first 3 months (annual fee of 95 right away). The chase ink card is great if you own a business and the chase ultimate rewards points are even better if you transfer them to travel partners than booking through their portal. Example, flight to/from Cancun this spring I was able to transfer to Southwest and use only 18k points or 180$'s. That same flight through their portal would've costed 60k points. The travel partners are where you make a killing, same thing with transferring to Hyatt, 5-600$/night hotels can be had for 25k points or 250$s.

Chase Saphire preferred and saphire reserve are also excellent choices if you're not a business owner (although I have no idea how they'd ever check if you just opened a business card in a personal name) with great sign-up bonus's of 50k with 4k spent, the reserve has a 450$ annual fee but you get a 300$ travel credit (which most people would literally always use). the saphire preferred has 95$ annual fee waived the first year . I or any ink member who refer's a new member gets 20,000 bonus points if you sign-up and use them as a referral. Another great perk to the program, and if you decide to sign-up for ink please use someone at least so they get the points!

If you book through Chase's portal points get modified by 1.25% for preferred and ink and 1.5% for saphire reserve. However it is a much better option to transfer to a partner but their booking site works pretty slick.

CapOne venture has a 75k sign-up right now when you spend 5k in the first 3 months. CapOne's points aren't as good as Chase's, but they've begun opening options to travel partners as well which could help in future years. Extremely easy to use points however if you don't want to transfer to travel partners. You simply go on a trip and then use your points for a statement credit.

Alaska Airlines provides great value. You get a once/year companion fare good for anywhere they fly, you end up paying full price for one ticket and get the other for around 120 bucks. You can transfer the companion to friends/family. My wife and I didn't use ours this year so we let my parents use our companion fare to go to Hawaii in 3 weeks. There's a 75$/year annual fee, which I gladly pay. You also get 1 free checked bag (for everyone that books with you on your trip up to 6 passengers) and 2nd is 25$, 3rd is 75$. Last year flying home from Alaska I checked 4 50# coolers of fish and 1 75# cooler for a measly 125$'s, a fantastic value!

You don't have to get as complicated as I do, but it's silly not to open at least one new card a year to get the initial sign-up bonus. And if you're married you can really get crazy with the sign-on bonus's. I always just transfer all my rewards to a new account when I open and cancel the previous card before I ever get charged a dime for their card's annual fee. Ex. I have a chase saphire that once I get my 50k bonus for spending 4k I will transfer all of these points to my wife's card before a year is up and never pay the yearly fee. Even better you can get the initial sign-on bonus with Chase for the same card every 2 years. So I just simply cancel and re-sign up when the time comes.

If you guys aren't churning cards (especially if you like traveling) at least a little through the year you're missing out on some pretty significant travel rewards with sign-up bonus's. My wife and I gain close to 250k miles every year just in sign-up bonus's.

Feel free to reach out to me here or through PM on any of these rewards things, my wife and I have gotten pretty good at legally working the system on this front over the years to get some pretty nice trips. The credit card companies are basically betting that you won't pay off you card in full so they dish out the big bonus's. If you open up a million your credit may ding a bit, but mine is still north of 800 with 3-4 inquiries every year under my name as well as my wife's. Happy traveling!

From: elkstabber
26-Dec-18
Great timing. Thank you for the info. It's time to get a new cc before the application season.

From: kota-man
26-Dec-18
What affect does cancelling all of these cards have on your credit score? I assume not much if you are staying above 800...

26-Dec-18
I have two credit cards. One I use regularly and the other for when my main one gets hacked.

Owning more than two means your not doing well financially and will have to work a long time.

From: grossklw
26-Dec-18
The only ding cancelling cards does is lowers my overall total credit limit, which has a small affect on my credit score.

Opening accounts has a bit of a higher effect on my score, it will occasionally dip into the 790-795ish range if I open two within a month or two of each-other, but great credit is great credit when you get to a certain point.

I don't get better rates on loans because I'm 805 compared to 795. In fact now that I look at it because I've done 2 in the last 3 months I'm now sitting at 797 (so I did lie that I'm right now at north of 800) and was at 809 last month so I did drop 12 points with two recent inquiries, but it's not like I've got a poor score with this strategy. Things that help "out-weigh" the negative is I'm 100% on-time with payments, my total credit usage usually stays below the 3-4% range, and my total credit line's are pretty significant (I use my cards for everything, but it still adds up to very little of my total credit lines).

I do keep my AK airlines card year-round as I'm legitimately too lazy to re-open it with the low annual fee and the sign-up bonus isn't worth the hassle with that card every couple years so I just pay the 75/year and take my companion fare. I also keep a BP card when I'm in that time period when I don't have a sign-up bonus I'm working towards to pay for gas to maximize what I'm getting (which isn't many times throughout the year)

I have a respectable net worth for a 29 year old with my real estate holdings and my credit score has only helped me get lower rates for my rental property loans. The positives of my credit card strategy have consistently outweighed small "dings" in my credit that I accrued through opening up future accounts. I hope that answers your question.

From: grossklw
26-Dec-18
Charlie I disagree, but what you've done has worked well for you and you've set yourself up very well. I like to travel so I utilize what's available to me. Just curious as to why you think having more than 2 means you're doing poorly financially? I don't spend any more money than I normally would when I get these bonus's. My day-to-day activities do not change a bit. I even put my daycare costs on it! I pay off all of my credit cards every month and have a pretty strict monthly budget. What's the difference if I spend 2k/month total on 2 credit cards vs 2k/month total on 5?

I'm just giving guys that are responsible with money more info, that's all, if it doesn't interest you you're free to move it along. If you don't have a budget and are dumb with money, then yes. I 100% agree with your statement. And no, I am not a Dave Ramsey fan but that is a completely different argument :)

From: cnelk
26-Dec-18
You can have multiple cards and only use a couple to get the rewards.

You dont need to cancel the others, just put them in your safe and dont use them [ unless there is an annual fee ].

Thats what I do and keep my 840+ credit score

From: NoWiser
26-Dec-18
I agree Luke. My wife and I put every single thing we can on a card, including daycare. If our points get low on one card, we cancel and sign up for another that has a good sign-on bonus. Each spring we go to Florida as a family for a week and I send her back in the fall when it's my week to hunt out west. We haven't paid a dime for a plane ticket in years. I just signed up for an Alaskan Airlines card a few weeks ago and will be able to use that for my dad and I to fly to Kodiak Island and back, first class, for free, for a week of fishing.

As long as you can control yourself, I think it's crazy to not take advantage of these offers.

From: grossklw
26-Dec-18
CNELK- you are absolutely correct, that's a great way to keep popping those miles and credit score up while keeping the credit score free of any "dings".

I have several open that I don't even use that I just keep open to increase my overall credit limit that don't have an annual fee (which in turn helps my credit score). It'll be a cold day in hell before I ever close my Cabela's card, but I now spend less than 100$'s a year on it but the 15k credit limit looks great on paper. The only ones I cancel are the ones that have the annual fee (with the exception of Alaska air). The Chase points are the main card I prefer to open/close as they allow you to get the same sign-up bonus on the same card as long as you haven't opened the same one within the last 2 years. Their points are also the most valuable in my opinion if you know how to use them. With my real estate business I generally do one new card/year and transfer all points from business card to personal before I get charged the annual fee as well.

26-Dec-18
My apology for generalizing your plan. You are in a class of your own (especially at 29 years old). Keep it up.

Many of the guys I grew up with earned really good money but always spent more than they earned due to easy credit and living only for the day. I always spent less than I earned and it did work out nicely.

I’m 65 and would only have one credit card if I wasn’t worried about the card getting hacked so that’s why I have two. I like to simplify things so I can put all my productive time preparing for bow hunts:)

From: grossklw
26-Dec-18
No worries Charlie, everyone likes a good discussion. I hope by the time I'm 65 I'll opt for convenience over complication and spend all my productive time doing the same :)

From: Nick Muche
26-Dec-18
840+ credit score!? My goodness, I thought my 825 was good. Can’t seem to get any higher no matter what I try.

One credit card for me, AA.

From: deerhaven
27-Dec-18
Great info! Thanks for doing all the research and taking the time to share. I have been doing some shopping since the Cabela's sale. This thread comes at a great time for me.

From: Z Barebow
27-Dec-18
Great timing with this thread.

I am finally getting the Citibank double cash back card. (2% cash back on all purchases. 1 % at time of charge and 1% on payment) I like the idea of redeeming wherever I choose.

I was wondering what to do with my Cabelas CC. I have a $27.5K limit on the card, but I charged a whole $3.50 last month. (They have pissed me off) My currently plan is to shred the old card and replacement card. (I have other options if I get hacked on CitiBank) I wasn't going to close the Cabelas account though. Talk me out of that approach.

From: grossklw
27-Dec-18
Don't need to talk you out of that approach with the Cabelas card, it works just fine. Throw your Cabelas card in a drawer and never use it again or shred it, makes no difference. One of the things that goes into your credit score is % of your credit you use, so even if you never use that card again that nice 30k limit shows that your overall credit available is high, thus making your usage relatively low which helps the credit score.

In terms of cash back vs the travel cards the cash back cards are generally a worse value than the travel rewards (that isn't to say they're a bad value), even though they likely accrue the same # of miles. For the same amount of miles, I can likely get greater value using that on an airline or hotel than just getting money back off of my account. Example would be flying to Cancun example (I just picked two random dates in February, if you're flexible on when you fly it helps), if I use my miles and transfer to southwest my wife and I can go to Cancun and back for 46k miles on pretty good dates plus 178$'s bringing the total "cost" of that flight up to 620 dollars, if I were to pay cash for that same ticket it is 850$'s, or if you were to book through the chase portal it is 76k points. So by utilizing my travel miles and transferring to partners compared to cash each mile is actually worth closer to 1.5 cents, which adds up. Another example would be to stay at a high end Hyatt in Cancun it costs 600$'s/night, or I can transfer my miles to Hyatt and book that exact same room for 25k-30k miles, so my miles end up being worth more than 2x than they would be with cash!

If you don't travel, I'd still likely open a new one or two every year to get some more cash back. But if you enjoy traveling this is a relatively easy way to maximize your points and get some significant perks for not really doing anything other than just having to keep your credit cards straight. Me personally, I keep my AA one year round, BP card for gas if needed, churn one business card/year after I get the bonus and transfer points to a personal card, and mix between CapOne, Chase, and Barclays (70k bonus right now) in my personal wallet. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. For simplicity sake if you're married and you each open up one new card a year you'll likely get 150k points or so which is pretty damn good.

From: Mule Power
27-Dec-18
I run 90+% of my expenses through Alaska Airlines and pay it off in full every month. I just put a 10k down payment on a Harley on mine. Have the cash.... put it on the card... pay it off. That’s almost half of on free full price ticket. I agree if you’re not get perks for the money you’re spending you’re missing the boat.

From: Dirty D
27-Dec-18
I'm curious if/why you prefer the travel card to the cash back card? I use my WellsFargo card for business (about $72K) this year but don't put much thought into the rewards, thinking I should...

From: cnelk
27-Dec-18
"I'm curious if/why you prefer the travel card to the cash back card?"

Matt, I think he travels more than you and I do. We just go up in the mtns! :)

From: pointingdogs
27-Dec-18
Alaska Airlines also. Dumped the Cabelas. Like to fly to Alaska for fishing and hunting. As stated above there are some great perks. I run everything through the card and pay it off every month.

From: StickFlicker
28-Dec-18
Mule Power, As was said earlier, you can often get more value out of the same amount of points when used to purchase travel than just getting cash back, which is why many of us prefer them. That's why I like Chase cards. They pay you in reward points that can be used for travel (sometimes at great premiums versus buying the travel with cash), or you can take the cash anytime you wish (and the points never expire as long as you have a chase card). You can buy all kinds of travel through the Chase website, or transfer your points/miles to Southwest, United, Air France, British Airways or a number of other airlines. Putting that $10,000 charge on your Alaska card earned you $100 worth of Alaska points. If you had signed-up for the Chase offer I linked in my earlier post, you would have earned $900, if you redeemed the points for cash, or you could save them to get at least $1,200 toward travel for the same purchase. The big chunks of points are earned for sign-up bonuses, not day to day spend. That's why I sign-up for one to two new cards each year.

From: grossklw
28-Dec-18
StickFlicker nailed it. If you're not a traveler at all other than elk hunting the cash back options work well. Especially something simple like CapOne spark that has unlimited 2% back. BUT, if you do like travel and even do it occasionally, you will get significantly better value with the travel cards.

I prefer the Chase cards as well, the points are just so incredibly versatile. I like the AlaskaAir for the companion fare but rarely actually use my rewards as they don't have as good of value as other airlines for where I personally live. If you live out west that's a different story. I have that card for the companion fare, not for the rewards.

From: Tilzbow
28-Dec-18
I used AMEX Delta for several years and took some real nice international first and business class trips on miles. Delta’s miles requirements sky rocketed a few years ago and I’ve since moved over to the Alaska Visa.

From: Knothead
28-Dec-18
Seems like an entrepreneurial person could figure out how to make a business out of managing other people's credit cars so the customer can maximize points. Time for somebody to take their idea on shark tank.

From: grossklw
28-Dec-18

grossklw's Link
This guy is a step ahead of you Knothead. He's where I learned a lot of what I use over the last couple years. He takes it to a whole different level though.

From: Knothead
28-Dec-18
Story of my life.

I had another idea of selling monthly subscriptions for razor blades. What do you think about that idea?

From: DEC
28-Dec-18
I dumped the Cabela's and moved over to an Amazon Visa. The rewards are way better, especially since we shop on Amazon for most everything these days. I build points probably 10 times faster so far than I ever did with my Cabela's card. I am not a big traveler (I generally fly on our company's private plane for work and for personal stuff I generally drive) so a travel points card does me little good.

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