Maximizing Credit Card Spend Part 4
- Part 1 – Small Purchases, Dining, and International Spend
- Part 2 – Hotels, Airlines, and Rental Cars
- Part 3 – Office Supplies, Groceries, Large Purchases
- Part 4 – Large Purchases, Department Stores, & Summary
Large Electronics Purchases
For many people, buying an expensive TV or top of the line computer is an infrequent and carefully thought out event. Hours are spent doing research, making sure the right device is chosen. What many people fail to take into account, however, is a year or two down the road when that device breaks or malfunctions. What kind of warranty did it come with? Will the manufacturer fix it? Luckily, using the right credit card can ease some of those worries. Most electronics come with at least a one-year warranty – computers, TVs, home-theater systems, etc. The bad thing is that you’re likely to have those items for much longer than one year. However, when you use an American Express card the warranty is automatically extended by one year by American Express. This means that that one-year warranty just became a two-year warranty for no additional charge. You’ll even get an additional year if you buy an extended warranty from the manufacturer. For instance, if you buy a brand new MacBook Pro and purchase the three-year AppleCare extended warranty, it will automatically become a four-year warranty with American Express covering the fourth year. Rick always says how great a card the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express is from a reward standpoint, but it’s also a perfect card for buying electronics!
In 2011, the Chase Freedom card offered 5X Ultimate Rewards points at Department Stores in the fourth quarter. In 2012, Chase is again offering 5X UR points during the fourth quarter, but only at Best Buy and Kohl’s. 5X UR points is huge to me and I make sure to use my Freedom card wherever the 5X points currently are. If you have a Chase Freedom card, make sure to check to see when Department Stores will be up – most likely during the fourth quarter for the holiday shopping season. If you don’t have a Chase Freedom card, the Discover More Card offers a similar system. Every quarter there are rotating categories that offer 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases. For 2012, the fourth quarter has Department Stores and All Online Shopping for those that prefer to avoid the crowds. While the Discover card’s rewards can really only be used towards statement credits and gift cards, 5% cash back is still 5%. If you prefer to earn points, most cards will be the same, depending on how you value a program’s points.
Over the last several weeks I’ve covered many different shopping categories as a way to get you all to maximize your credit card spend. Unless you have room in your wallet for 10+ cards, you’ll have to make sacrifices in certain categories. My first advice would be to figure out where you spend most of your money. It doesn’t matter if you can get 10X points at nail salons if you never go to them! With that said, remember that gift cards can be a great way to boost your earning potential. If you shop at Amazon a lot, but have a card that offers 5X points at grocery stores, buying Amazon gift cards at grocery stores would automatically boost your Amazon earning. I’m a huge fan of the Chase offerings: the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Bold are a great triple threat when it comes to most types of spends. However, if you have a more specialized type of spend, make sure to get a card that rewards you for it.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day FlyerTalk is giving away A FlyerTalk Luggage Tag & Hoodie combo for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (with your First Name, Last Initial, and 3 letter airport code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49