Welcome to the Q3 2012 edition of Maximizing What’s in Your Wallet!
As a reminder, this post is for all the credit card deadbeats out there looking to maximize cash back rewards. So, if you never carry a balance on your credit cards, have them set to auto-pay in full every month, and want to make the most of Q3 2012, then read on.
Here’s how you should allocate your spending:
Gas - This is a no-brainer. It’s the same card year round. It is the PenFed VISA Platinum Gas / Cash Rewards Card (a sponsor). You’ll get 5% back all the time on gas purchases. Just make sure you pay at the pump. I used to use this card for a lot more, but the rewards have been really scaled back such that only the 5% gas reward makes sense. However, as a gas card, it’s a great choice.
Groceries - I have been very pleased with my Blue Cash PreferredSM Card from American Express (a sponsor) which pays me 6% back on all grocery purchases. It also pays 3% on gas and 1% on everything else, but I only use it at the grocery store. The downside to the card is the card carries a $75 annual fee, but it’s worth it.
Restaurants - Use your Chase Freedom® Visa (a sponsor) for 5% cash back this quarter.
Drug Stores/Museums/Department Stores, and Clothing Stores - No special rewards this quarter. See the Everything Else category for a good fallback suggestion.
Hotels and Airlines - Use your favorite hotel card. Mine are the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card (both sponsors).
Movies - Discover it Card (a sponsor) is offering 5% the entire year.
Theme Parks - Discover it Card (a sponsor) is offering 5% this quarter.
Gifts - For gifts I use the Amazon VISA year round. When you buy through Amazon with the Amazon VISA you get 3% back and the first time you sign up, they give you $40 off your purchase. It’s well worth the sign up. I am tempted to use my new Blue Cash PreferredSM Card from American Express (a sponsor) to buy Amazon gift cards at a grocery store for the 6% cash back.
Two final thoughts: Please remember to sign up at Chase and Discover to be eligible for their 5% rewards, and remember this advice is ONLY for people who don’t carry a balance…EVER.