Author Topic: What credit card arsenal will get me the most cash back?  (Read 4388 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Age: 44
  • Location: Troy, NY
What credit card arsenal will get me the most cash back?
« on: May 15, 2013, 04:49:44 PM »
So, what are the credit card(s) that will save an average spender ($25k/yr on the cards) the most money?  There are a gazillion different credit cards out there that one can get, so I'm wondering if anyone in mustacheland can help me improve on my system.  Here's what I currently use:

- Chase freedom and Discover cards that each have revolving 5% cash back categories and no annual fees.  I try to just put my 5% back purchases on these, but obviously the Chase Visa is required for those places that don't take Discover. 

- Discover Escape card - has an annual fee ($60) but gives 2% back on everything.  So I put non-5% back stuff on it.  Also, it gives you primary insurance coverage when renting a car.  The only caveat is that the money back has to be taken as a discount off travel purchases; not a problem assuming you spend 2% of your credit card spending on travel.  Also, they give you $10/month for 25 months when you start provided you make a purchase every month.

I'm aware of a Bank of America card that gives 3% off gas, then 2% off something else and 1% off everything else.  So it would be worth an additional 1% off gas for me compared to the discover escape card.  This would be worth like $25/yr to me, but for that it's not really worth adding another card.

Also, I know Chase Sapphire can be gamed for $500 off travel when you sign up and spend $3k with them; but long term, it wouldn't beat the 2% on the Escape card.

I fly once to twice a year, but on a wide variety of airlines, so long term I don't think I would get much benefit from the airline focused reward cards.  I know there are a few cards that give you $100-250 if you're flying their airline, but those are kind of like one-time scams (unless you're flying the airline more than once a year). 

Thoughts?  My apologies if this has been covered somewhere else on the site, but after a little searching on the side I haven't seen a comprehensive post about the best stable of credit cards; more just offhanded comments liking a particular card (chase sapphire, etc) which, by my calculations, are worse than my current arsenal of cards.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 86
Re: What credit card arsenal will get me the most cash back?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2013, 05:56:02 PM »
I feel like I've got a good slate of cards. Amex Blue Cash Preferred for groceries (6%) and gas (3%); Chase Freedom for 5% rotating categories; Amazon Visa for Amazon (3%), pharmacy, and restaurants (2%); US Bank Cash+ for two 5% categories and one 2% category. I also have Citi Dividend Platinum for its 5% categories, but it isn't as good as the Chase Freedom and I generally hate Citibank. I have an airline card with a fee which makes baggage free. My wife and I use the Amazon as the primary card.

I don't have the BoA card you mentioned because the Amex gives same cash back percentage for gas.

I don't have Discover cards because they aren't accepted as widely as Bisa, MC, and Amex. If there's a niche that Discover would be good for, I'm all ears.


  • Bristles
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  • Location: TX
Re: What credit card arsenal will get me the most cash back?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 07:01:54 AM »
See this thread for ideas on how to maximize the benefit from the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, which is my favorite cash-back credit card.

Without playing games and carrying lots of cards, your best bet is to get a 2% back on everything card (preferably a Visa or Mastercard - too many places don't take Amex) and charge as much as possible to it. This card is pretty good, though it does carry an annual fee. It has a large sign-up bonus ($400), too.

You may also want to see this FatWallet thread, which has tons of ideas and information.


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