Author Topic: Fun credit card rewards goal  (Read 2832 times)

HBFIRE

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Fun credit card rewards goal
« on: August 05, 2019, 11:33:37 PM »
So over the past few years, I've been doing quite a bit of  CC churning.  One area I've focused on is american express MR points + the Platinum Charles Schwab so that I can invest my rewards.  With this combo, I've managed to just hit 10 K invested into my CS index funds using only amex MR points (mostly churned from my wife and me, some of it organic spend).

My new goal is to try to get this fund high enough to cover internet/netflix/amazon indefinitely assuming a 4% WR.  I figure I need to hit approx 20 K in index funds from MR pts, or approx double what I have.  Basically, the goal is to cover these unnecessary luxuries with free rewards long term.

Pretty fun, a CC reward index fund.

I used to hate personal finance in my younger years, but turning it into a sort of optimization game makes it fun.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 11:39:39 PM by HBFIRE »

ThatGuy

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 08:35:02 PM »
I wish I would've kept track of all the rewards/bonuses from credit cards and bank accounts etc. I've earned.  Definitely easy money.

kanga1622

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 09:50:10 PM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 10:28:42 PM »
Granted, the Amex CS is a high annual fee, but combining it with churning MR pts converted into index funds @ 1.25 and the Business Blue (2 pts back converted at 1.25x for 2.5% cash on organic spend) is pretty sweet.  I also use the biz gold for business so it gives 5% back in MR pts on my advertising spend, this converts to 6.25% cash back.  Its pretty nice contributing to index funds every month just from CC pts.  2 player mode makes it quite lucrative, but man the management of all those cards does get a bit tricky.  Curious to see how high I can get these CS index funds over say a 10 year period.  I think long term it might hit 100K+!  Not too shabby for a side hobby.  Then of course I do the tradeline sales as well so its been quite fun.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 10:38:10 PM by HBFIRE »

LifeHappens

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2019, 09:18:37 AM »
That's a great goal! I spend all my CC points (and more!) on travel, but there a lots of people who don't like to travel or have the time. Converting points into an Entertainment Fund is another fun motivator.

ducky19

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2019, 10:22:15 AM »
@HBFIRE - does the conversion to CS index funds count as income? Do you receive a 1099 from AmEx or CS? Have never thought of doing this before and I like the idea, just wanting to know the tax implications before digging into it more. Thanks!

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2019, 10:28:56 AM »
That's a great goal! I spend all my CC points (and more!) on travel, but there a lots of people who don't like to travel or have the time. Converting points into an Entertainment Fund is another fun motivator.

Yes we do quite a bit of travel as well (doing NYC next week, a cruise in Oct, then Bangkok in Dec) and have been using other churned cards for that, but I decided to start focusing more on the MR pts too just so that I have something to show for all of this churning.  Also, for every day spending I use the business blue (2.5% cash back) as well as the gold for groceries (5% back), and the biz gold for advertising spend with my business (also 5%) so basically my normal organic rewards and biz spend rewards goes right index funds.  If only the amex amazon card also gave MR pts.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 10:35:23 AM by HBFIRE »

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2019, 10:30:17 AM »
@HBFIRE - does the conversion to CS index funds count as income? Do you receive a 1099 from AmEx or CS? Have never thought of doing this before and I like the idea, just wanting to know the tax implications before digging into it more. Thanks!


Nope.  CC rewards are not taxed.  CS treats it as simple money you are investing.  I believe the IRS considers CC rewards the same as a rebate.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 10:36:17 AM by HBFIRE »

Catica

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2019, 03:56:04 AM »
So over the past few years, I've been doing quite a bit of  CC churning.  One area I've focused on is american express MR points + the Platinum Charles Schwab so that I can invest my rewards.  With this combo, I've managed to just hit 10 K invested into my CS index funds using only amex MR points (mostly churned from my wife and me, some of it organic spend).

My new goal is to try to get this fund high enough to cover internet/netflix/amazon indefinitely assuming a 4% WR.  I figure I need to hit approx 20 K in index funds from MR pts, or approx double what I have.  Basically, the goal is to cover these unnecessary luxuries with free rewards long term.

Pretty fun, a CC reward index fund.

I used to hate personal finance in my younger years, but turning it into a sort of optimization game makes it fun.
Is it really worth it if you figure in $550 yearly fee for the card?

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2019, 07:44:21 AM »

Is it really worth it if you figure in $550 yearly fee for the card?

For me it has been very worth it profit wise + benefits used essentially turning my wallet into a MR pt liquidation machine, but this is something I'll have to evaluate each year.  The first year is definitely worth at least double the annual fee, its each year after that you have to run the numbers.  Our Charles Schwab CC index fund surpassed 10 K.  They do offer a discount on the plat for putting more assets with CS, but I haven't really bothered with it even though CS is an excellent brokerage.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 07:47:56 AM by HBFIRE »

Roadrunner53

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2019, 09:47:55 AM »
I read something about people buying quarters from the treasury years ago to get CC points and then those who bought the quarters would return them to the bank, pay off the credit card and keep the points. I read that you cannot do that any longer. Does anyone have other ideas on that line? Something you can buy, return and keep the points? It is a bit shady to do this I guess.

ducky19

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2019, 10:34:36 AM »
@HBFIRE - does the conversion to CS index funds count as income? Do you receive a 1099 from AmEx or CS? Have never thought of doing this before and I like the idea, just wanting to know the tax implications before digging into it more. Thanks!


Nope.  CC rewards are not taxed.  CS treats it as simple money you are investing.  I believe the IRS considers CC rewards the same as a rebate.

Gotcha. I saw an article about some companies sending out 1099's, but realized it was for referrals. Thanks for clarifying!

thedigitalone

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2019, 10:52:22 AM »
They do offer a discount on the plat for putting more assets with CS

We've been considering signing up for the Amex Plat card via Schwab, do you know where I can find more info on a discounted offer?  We have quite a bit of assets in our Schwab account, so this might be a win for us.

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2019, 11:11:29 AM »
They do offer a discount on the plat for putting more assets with CS

We've been considering signing up for the Amex Plat card via Schwab, do you know where I can find more info on a discounted offer?  We have quite a bit of assets in our Schwab account, so this might be a win for us.

Yeah, its not much: "Receive a $100 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $250,000 or receive a $200 Card statement credit if your qualifying Schwab holdings are equal to or greater than $1,000,000, when measured following Card account approval and annually thereafter. For information on qualifying Schwab holdings, please refer to the "

https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/credit_cards

Of course, they have Vanguard and also pretty great index funds of their own with low expense ratios, so it costs nothing to just use them for investing.  I just havent moved my assets there I guess due to inertia haha.

BoA also has its own program as well, which I briefly looked into. Haven't done a thorough comparison to see which would really be superior.  I enjoy the benefits of the plat and combined with the gold card its a pretty nice full wallet system.  Having the rewards go right into an investment is a good feeling.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 11:15:19 AM by HBFIRE »

hgjjgkj

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2019, 02:19:30 PM »
Is Amex Platinum for Schwab distinct from Amex Platinum?

Can any Amex MR points earned from any card be transferred to Schwab?

catorbe

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2019, 03:03:40 PM »
I read something about people buying quarters from the treasury years ago to get CC points and then those who bought the quarters would return them to the bank, pay off the credit card and keep the points. I read that you cannot do that any longer. Does anyone have other ideas on that line? Something you can buy, return and keep the points? It is a bit shady to do this I guess.

This is a form of what some call Manufactured Spending because you're not buying goods and services in the normal sense. There are many methods, some of which you can find on /r/churning, but often people don't share the best methods due to shut downs once they get too big. Another example would be to get 5% back at Walgreens on gift cards, buy money orders with said gift cards, and deposit money orders for the repayment of the credit card. This has gotten much more difficult and most people have reported issues buying the money orders without questions/concern from the selling party. USPS used to be good, now it's sporadic and typically hardcoded negatively. Walmart can be tough about it. But there are other methods, you just really have to do your research and figure out your own market and what works for you. Be willing to spend a little to make a bit more and you'll find what works, but also start small and work your way up!

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2019, 03:39:01 PM »
Is Amex Platinum for Schwab distinct from Amex Platinum?

Can any Amex MR points earned from any card be transferred to Schwab?

yes and yes.  Have to open a schwab acc, but there is $100 bonus to do so.  The Plat gives 60 K MR pts as sign up bonus which can be liquidated into CS for $812.  The gold card earns 5% cash back with CS for restaurants/grocery. biz gold also earns 5% back for 1 category.

hgjjgkj

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2019, 06:57:26 AM »
Is Amex Platinum for Schwab distinct from Amex Platinum?

Can any Amex MR points earned from any card be transferred to Schwab?

yes and yes.  Have to open a schwab acc, but there is $100 bonus to do so.  The Plat gives 60 K MR pts as sign up bonus which can be liquidated into CS for $812.  The gold card earns 5% cash back with CS for restaurants/grocery. biz gold also earns 5% back for 1 category.
This is insightful.

1) So could you get Amex Schwab Platinum and vanilla Platinum and then get 120k worth of points to Schwab.
2) If Open a Schwab account and then get this card, could I then later close this card and use no fee amex cards to earn points to redeem at Schwab?

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2019, 04:12:37 PM »

This is insightful.

1) So could you get Amex Schwab Platinum and vanilla Platinum and then get 120k worth of points to Schwab.
2) If Open a Schwab account and then get this card, could I then later close this card and use no fee amex cards to earn points to redeem at Schwab?

Yes, any MR points you earn on any amex card can be liquidiated once you have the Schwab account + schwab plat card.  Once you close the schwab amex card you can no longer use this liquidation.   I believe the business blue card is the only one without a fee that gives MR pts -- its my favorite general use card since it's 2.5% back with schwab.

Here's  a good walkthrough:  https://www.doctorofcredit.com/opening-schwab-brokerage-checking-amex-platinum-credit-card/

Btw, schwab is nice to have in any case as a secondary checking acc.  It's useful if you do any overseas travel (no ATM fees overseas).  They also have great index fund offerings.  I may eventually use them as my primary brokerage.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 04:16:20 PM by HBFIRE »

kpd905

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2019, 07:33:30 AM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

Keep doing this for a while and you might come to a point where it is impractical to spend anywhere near all of it on Christmas presents.

These were our numbers for the last few years (this is credit cards and bank bonuses, plus other random stuff like Swagbucks):

2016: $6600
2017: $10,880
2018: $20,630
2019 so far: $6,000

Ours gets lumped in with the rest of our money, but it would be cool to see it all in one place like OP did.

HBFIRE

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2019, 12:05:11 PM »
Our total CC rewards would be interesting to add up, I haven't done it yet.  For personal use, I know we have done ~ 1 M airline bonus pts from sign up bonuses over the past year.  2 player mode makes it quite a bit easier.  Some of this was MR pts some of it not.  Citibank AA is the easiest to churn as you can keep using mailers to get the same cards every few months (biz and personal).  I also do tradeline sales to make a few grand a year. Our business spends a very high amount as its how it drives revenue (ad buying arbitrage).  We average around 300 K in spend a month buying on google/bing and put it all on a 2% cash back SPARK card.  Over 6 K/month in CC rewards from that (split between me and a partner)!  I occasionally do the bank account rewards if its low hanging fruit but most of the time I find it's pretty tedious and requires 3 months of tied up capital which I'm already earning 4% on.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 12:21:39 PM by HBFIRE »

kanga1622

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2019, 07:57:41 PM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

Keep doing this for a while and you might come to a point where it is impractical to spend anywhere near all of it on Christmas presents.

These were our numbers for the last few years (this is credit cards and bank bonuses, plus other random stuff like Swagbucks):

2016: $6600
2017: $10,880
2018: $20,630
2019 so far: $6,000

Ours gets lumped in with the rest of our money, but it would be cool to see it all in one place like OP did.

That would be fantastic but I’m not a hard core churner so I don’t expect to get that high. We are hoping to hit $1000 this year with almost no effort. We don’t have a very high monthly spend (or income) so don’t have as much flow through as many others. I am thinking next year I’ll see if I can find a nice sign on bonus to start off 2020 with a good bump to the Christmas budget.

hgjjgkj

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2019, 06:37:34 AM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

Keep doing this for a while and you might come to a point where it is impractical to spend anywhere near all of it on Christmas presents.

These were our numbers for the last few years (this is credit cards and bank bonuses, plus other random stuff like Swagbucks):

2016: $6600
2017: $10,880
2018: $20,630
2019 so far: $6,000

Ours gets lumped in with the rest of our money, but it would be cool to see it all in one place like OP did.

How are you earning so much? I have plateaued hard after a first year where maybe I earned $5,000. I became well over 5/24 and ineligible for a ton of cards. With checking bonuses, the time lag is so high that  accounts opened in Oct/Nov won't pay out until 2020. Would love to hear how you reached even 10k

MasterStache

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2019, 10:30:17 AM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

Keep doing this for a while and you might come to a point where it is impractical to spend anywhere near all of it on Christmas presents.

These were our numbers for the last few years (this is credit cards and bank bonuses, plus other random stuff like Swagbucks):

2016: $6600
2017: $10,880
2018: $20,630
2019 so far: $6,000

Ours gets lumped in with the rest of our money, but it would be cool to see it all in one place like OP did.

How are you earning so much? I have plateaued hard after a first year where maybe I earned $5,000. I became well over 5/24 and ineligible for a ton of cards. With checking bonuses, the time lag is so high that  accounts opened in Oct/Nov won't pay out until 2020. Would love to hear how you reached even 10k

Some years are going to be better than others. This year we have already surpassed over 5K in bank bonuses alone. Add in tradelines and CC bonuses and we are over 10K. Credit Card bonuses have definitely slowed down. We started churning in 2015 before a lot of the companies started instituting strict rules and we were probably over 10K in CC bonuses alone that year.

hgjjgkj

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2019, 12:56:11 PM »
My tradelines never earned more than 2K in the best year . Maybe your cards are just more valuable. Interesting

MasterStache

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2019, 06:36:14 AM »
My tradelines never earned more than 2K in the best year . Maybe your cards are just more valuable. Interesting

This year has been our best year by far selling tradelines. We had quite a few cards that aged past 2+ years.

hgjjgkj

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2019, 08:27:27 AM »
My tradelines never earned more than 2K in the best year . Maybe your cards are just more valuable. Interesting

This year has been our best year by far selling tradelines. We had quite a few cards that aged past 2+ years.

Do you use the old or new company?

kpd905

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2019, 11:43:39 PM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

Keep doing this for a while and you might come to a point where it is impractical to spend anywhere near all of it on Christmas presents.

These were our numbers for the last few years (this is credit cards and bank bonuses, plus other random stuff like Swagbucks):

2016: $6600
2017: $10,880
2018: $20,630
2019 so far: $6,000

Ours gets lumped in with the rest of our money, but it would be cool to see it all in one place like OP did.

How are you earning so much? I have plateaued hard after a first year where maybe I earned $5,000. I became well over 5/24 and ineligible for a ton of cards. With checking bonuses, the time lag is so high that  accounts opened in Oct/Nov won't pay out until 2020. Would love to hear how you reached even 10k

For checking bonuses, I open every account available to us as soon as possible, and close it as soon as terms allow.  This lets you get many of the bank bonuses every year or so.  Credit cards have slowed down a bit this year as we both went way over 5/24, but I have been opening business cards and also having family members open cards and put me as an authorized user.  I hit the spend and split the bonus with them.

This was our list of banks and cards last year:

Bank bonuses

Bank of America business checking ($200)
BBVA compass ($200)
WI bank and trust x 2 ($400)
Old National Bank x 2 ($400)
Chase Checking ($300)
HSBC ($350)
PNC ($200)
Memory Bank x 2 ($200)
Incredible Bank + 3 referrals ($600)
Bank of the West ($100)
CIBC ($150, didn't qualify but they sent me a check for the inconvenience, count it!)
Wells Fargo ($200)
Waterstone Bank ($250, will be paid out over the next 12+ months, but I don't want to update every month)
North Shore Bank ($300, also paid out over next 12 months)
Fidelity x 2 ($400)
US Bank ($225)
Chase Business ($300)
Chase Personal ($300)
Citi ($200)
First Federal Bank of Wisconsin ($300)
BMO Harris ($200)
PNC ($300)
Citi ($200)
HSBC ($200)
Wells Fargo ($200)
Huntington ($500)

$7175 paid

Credit cards

Citi AA business card - 75,000 points after $3k spend
Sold Chase points from a CSP for $600 to a miles broker
Bank of America Premium Rewards $547 statement credit + $85 for selling the $100 AA gift card
Bank of America Business card - $200 statement credit
Bank of America Premium Rewards #2 $550 + $85 for selling AA card
Hilton Business Card - 100,000 points
Barclays AAviator Business card x 2 - 50,000 AA miles each
Citi Premier x 2 - $1451.70 cashed out, SM'd them to be matched to 60,000 point offer for both
Chase United Mileageplus Explorer - $100 statement credit and 45,000 miles
Chase Ink Cash - $530
Citi AA - 75k AA miles
Citi AA - 65k AA miles
IHG Premier - 105,000 IHG points
Wells Fargo Propel - $375
Wells Fargo Business Platinum - $575

Total: $5098

Tradelines
$2000 paid

MasterStache

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2019, 09:51:07 AM »
My tradelines never earned more than 2K in the best year . Maybe your cards are just more valuable. Interesting

This year has been our best year by far selling tradelines. We had quite a few cards that aged past 2+ years.

Do you use the old or new company?

Both ( :

MasterStache

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Re: Fun credit card rewards goal
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2019, 09:54:22 AM »
I’ve been tracking all my credit card reward points, gift cards for answering surveys, and other random “freebies”. We save them all up each year and they cover our Christmas expenses. This year we’ve done such a good job that we will have money left over.

Keep doing this for a while and you might come to a point where it is impractical to spend anywhere near all of it on Christmas presents.

These were our numbers for the last few years (this is credit cards and bank bonuses, plus other random stuff like Swagbucks):

2016: $6600
2017: $10,880
2018: $20,630
2019 so far: $6,000

Ours gets lumped in with the rest of our money, but it would be cool to see it all in one place like OP did.

How are you earning so much? I have plateaued hard after a first year where maybe I earned $5,000. I became well over 5/24 and ineligible for a ton of cards. With checking bonuses, the time lag is so high that  accounts opened in Oct/Nov won't pay out until 2020. Would love to hear how you reached even 10k

For checking bonuses, I open every account available to us as soon as possible, and close it as soon as terms allow.  This lets you get many of the bank bonuses every year or so.  Credit cards have slowed down a bit this year as we both went way over 5/24, but I have been opening business cards and also having family members open cards and put me as an authorized user.  I hit the spend and split the bonus with them.

This was our list of banks and cards last year:

Bank bonuses

Bank of America business checking ($200)
BBVA compass ($200)
WI bank and trust x 2 ($400)
Old National Bank x 2 ($400)
Chase Checking ($300)
HSBC ($350)
PNC ($200)
Memory Bank x 2 ($200)
Incredible Bank + 3 referrals ($600)
Bank of the West ($100)
CIBC ($150, didn't qualify but they sent me a check for the inconvenience, count it!)
Wells Fargo ($200)
Waterstone Bank ($250, will be paid out over the next 12+ months, but I don't want to update every month)
North Shore Bank ($300, also paid out over next 12 months)
Fidelity x 2 ($400)
US Bank ($225)
Chase Business ($300)
Chase Personal ($300)
Citi ($200)
First Federal Bank of Wisconsin ($300)
BMO Harris ($200)
PNC ($300)
Citi ($200)
HSBC ($200)
Wells Fargo ($200)
Huntington ($500)

$7175 paid

Credit cards

Citi AA business card - 75,000 points after $3k spend
Sold Chase points from a CSP for $600 to a miles broker
Bank of America Premium Rewards $547 statement credit + $85 for selling the $100 AA gift card
Bank of America Business card - $200 statement credit
Bank of America Premium Rewards #2 $550 + $85 for selling AA card
Hilton Business Card - 100,000 points
Barclays AAviator Business card x 2 - 50,000 AA miles each
Citi Premier x 2 - $1451.70 cashed out, SM'd them to be matched to 60,000 point offer for both
Chase United Mileageplus Explorer - $100 statement credit and 45,000 miles
Chase Ink Cash - $530
Citi AA - 75k AA miles
Citi AA - 65k AA miles
IHG Premier - 105,000 IHG points
Wells Fargo Propel - $375
Wells Fargo Business Platinum - $575

Total: $5098

Tradelines
$2000 paid

I thought we were doing well with bank bonuses (roughly $4800) but you've got us beat hands down. Good work!