Ask Me Anything (AMA): Credit Card Edition

Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is off to a great start.  I love talking about credit cards and recently wrote I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 & Was it Worth it? and Why Do We Keep 16 No Annual Fee Credit Cards?  I also do a series called “Keep, Cancel, or Convert?” where I explain why a credit card is worth keeping or why it should be converted or closed.

Today, I want to answer your reader questions.  If they are short and simple questions, I can answer them directly in the comments section.  If they are longer and more complicated questions, I might write a blog post about that topic. So without further ado, what questions do you have about credit cards?  Have a great weekend everyone!

25 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything (AMA): Credit Card Edition

  1. Stella

    Hi Grant, I am purchasing something from Monoprice. I have a US Bank card that has 5% off electronics category. Will this store come up as electronics purchase? If not, I am working on hitting bonuses with other cards. I just happen to have $150 in cash rewards to use on this card and the extra 5% bonus will help with my large planned purchase from Monoprice when combined with cash rewards already on there. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Stella, that is a great question. Here are the US Bank Cash Plus categories (https://cashplus.usbank.com/merchants/index). If you click on the Electronics Stores icon, you will see a list of eligible stores. I see Monoprice listed, so you should earn 5% cash back on your Monoprice purchase. Make sure to go through an online shopping portal to earn extra cash back on your purchase (here are several online shopping portals sorted by cash back rate: https://www.cashbackmonitor.com/cashback-store/monoprice/).

      Reply
  2. Tim Wilkins

    Hi Grant,
    Another timely post for a question that’s on my mind. . .
    I currently have Ink Preferred and Ink Cash business accounts with Chase. I have Sap Reserve too. My annual fee for Ink Preferred has posted, which I have had for two years, and I am wondering whether Chase will allow me to downgrade it to a second Ink Cash account. I have no trouble maximizing the 5x ‘office supply’ category on the Ink Cash card I currently have. And I believe maximizing a second Ink Cash account would be very doable as well. I have only kept the Ink Preferred this past year in hopes of the GC.com merchant coding sweet spot reappearing, however, to my limited knoweledge it hasnt, nor does any other coding sweet spot exist. I would welcome your thoughts and advice in this area either in this forum or by PM.
    Incidentally, I too shoot for a trip per month, somewhere. It energizes me to plan and travel, however it is quite difficult for my wife to keep up that activity with her job. So, kudos on being in a place with your wife where job/life allows you to enjoy that much travel time together!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Tim, that is a great question.

      I currently have a Chase Ink Plus CC and a Chase Ink Cash CC (previously was a Chase Ink Bold CC). In 2019, I didn’t get anywhere close to maxing out the 5x on my Chase Ink Plus CC and Chase Ink Cash CC, but I still keep my Chase Ink Plus CC, just in case a new 5x earning strategy comes around.

      If you max out the $25K 5x on your Chase Ink Cash CC and do not think you will miss any bonus categories or card perks on the Chase Ink Preferred CC (3x on travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone, and advertising), then it makes sense to product change to another Chase Ink Cash CC. I believe you can convert any Chase Ink Business CC to a Chase Ink Cash CC. Since you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve CC, you can move all your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to that CC to get the most value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

      Glad to hear that you have a similar goal to travel once per month. It is definitely easier for me than my wife to travel once a month, but I think she secretly enjoys the trips we go on :)

      Reply
  3. Erik

    Hi Grant,

    My spouse and I both have Chase sapphire Reserved cards (not authorized users, we both individually applied). We love the Global entry perk and lounge passes. However, we are thinking of cancelling one Chase sapphire reserved card, and combine all the points to just one card. Since we always travel together and can bring guests to the lounges, we do not feel the need that we should keep both cards. Should we keep both cards, or cancel one? We always use the $300 travel credit on the card, so the annual fee is really $450 – $300 = $150 per person. We’ve both had this card for 3 years now. It’d be nice to save $150/year. Let us know what you think. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Erik, that is a great question. I would recommend keeping one Chase Sapphire Reserve CC and adding your spouse as an authorized user. The cost is $75 per year for the authorized user, but both of you will get your own Priority Pass card. In addition, the authorized user can make purchases to earn 3x at travel and dining. If you always travel together and dine together, there may not be a need for the authorized user card.

      Instead of cancelling the second Chase Sapphire Reserve CC, I recommend downgrading / product changing to the Chase Freedom CC. Then you will have access to the 5% rotating cash back categories. You can downgrade to the Chase Freedom CC even if you already have another Chase Freedom CC. There is no fee to add an authorized user to the Chase Freedom CC, so you both can earn the 5% cash back on the rotating categories (up to $1,500 in spend per quarter).

      Since you are married and live at the same address, you can move Chase Ultimate Rewards Points between both of your accounts. I recommend moving all the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to the account that has the Chase Sapphire Reserve CC, so you have access to the transfer partners and get the 1.5 CPP toward travel redemptions.

      Let me know if you have any questions about these 2 credit cards.

      Reply
  4. Ida Haris

    Hi Grant,
    I have a saphire reserve and use it when I rent a car in Florida for the month. My question is, should i get my husband on as an authorized user since he is the primary who drives the rental car for the month? He is over 5/24 and cannot get his own and I’m not renting from Costco like in the past because I found the car on Priceline for $140 less for the month. Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Ida, that is a great question. Yes, you can add your husband as an authorized user on your Chase Sapphire Reserve CC. The cost is $75 per year for the authorized user, but they get their own credit card and their own Priority Pass card. Plus, when they use their authorized user card, they will earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for travel and dining and the points will automatically show up in your Chase Ultimate Rewards account. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
      1. Ida Haris

        The primary reason I want to get the card for him as an authorized user is for the car rental insurance coverage since he will be the primary driver for the month in Florida. Would that work?

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Yes, if your husband uses the authorized user card to pay for the rental car and is the primary driver, then the primary rental car insurance will cover him and the car.

          Reply
  5. Darlene

    I have had two Citi Thank you preferred cards. One was originally a Premier card that I downgraded. I asked to product change one of the preferred cards to the Double cash card which they did. Now I wonder if that was a blunder. I like to apply for a new Premier card every 2 years for the bonus points. Will the product change to a cash card look like a closed a Thank You card and therefore, will I have to wait 2 years for a new Premier card instead of the remaining one year?

    If that is true, I have some time to revert back to the original card per their rules. But will that really not accomplish anything since the cash card has a new number & the record may already show that I cancelled (ie, product changed) the preferred TY card? Help!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Darlene, that is a tricky situation. Can you see if your credit card number changed when you product changed to the Citi Double Cash CC? If it did, then it will probably look like a new CC to Citi. If it stayed the same, then it will probably not look like a new CC to Citi. I believe you have 30-60 days to reject the conversion process which should fix the problem if you card number changed. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  6. lorem ipsum

    Hi Grant,

    Great idea for a blog post! What card would you recommend for everyday spend (not working on minimum spend and not earning bonus points)? Assume for this question that I have no preference for airlines or destinations.

    I’m wondering if I should concentrate on one type of transferrable points or strive for diversification. I currently have Chase Freedom Unlimited for UR, Amex Blue Business Plus for MR, Citi Double Cash for TYP, and Bank of America Cash Rewards for cashback (am Platinum Honors and get the 75% bonus). If it matters, my balances are 830K UR, 624K MR, and 249K TYP. Would your recommendation change if I were just starting out and have no points?

    TIA

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      That is a great question. I like using my AMEX Blue Biz Plus CC, unless they don’t take AMEX, then I use my Citi Double Cash CC. If the merchant accepts ApplePay, then I use my US Bank Altitude Reserve CC.

      Since you have all the banks covered, is there an airline or hotel partner that you tend to favor more than others (like United or Hyatt)? If not, I would say to focus on Citi TYPs since that is your smallest balance.

      Reply
  7. Ron

    Grant, I’m sure we’d all like to know how big the commissions are for pushing credit cards? Don’t have to be specific, but something like ‘more than $149.99 but less than $150.01’ would work.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I can’t really give a specific number, but it varies by which credit card you get. I prefer to do Chase and AMEX referrals because I value the points more than the CC commissions (but I end up paying taxes on both since I get 1099s every year). I hope that is somewhat helpful.

      Reply
    2. Travel808

      Hi Grant
      I had an amex retention with my old SPG card spend 2000 to get 20k
      Unfortunately I missed the spent by 3.00 because I ended up using an amex offer ‍♂️

      Totally my fault…

      Called amex retention twice and got the same rep both times…he wouldn’t budge at all

      Tried reaching out to askamex on Twitter with no response…

      Any suggestions other than to just let it go?

      It’s been 2 months post deadline for the retention offer

      Reply
      1. Grant Post author

        Try reaching out on Twitter to @AskAMEX and @AmericanExpress. Maybe they will give you a one time courtesy credit. If that doesn’t work, I would let it go. Sorry the AMEX Offer screwed you up :(

        Reply
  8. Lisa

    Hi Grant,

    My question is related to the Sapphire cards from Chase and their 48 month rule. If my Sapphire Reserve card has been held for 48 months in early fall, can I cancel that card and apply for the Sapphire Preferred to receive a new Ultimate Reward bonus? Is there an amount of time you would suggest waiting to apply for the Preferred card? I get great use from my Sapphire Reserve, but a sign-up bonus of UR is always good (assume no business available for Ink). As you mention to a previous poster – I will likely downgrade my Reserve to a Freedom before the application for Preferred.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Lisa, thank you for the question. I think you have the right strategy in place. I would wait the 48 months, then downgrade to the Chase Freedom CC or Chase Freedom Unlimited CC, then wait 1-2 months for the conversion to be complete and you get your new CC. Then after that, you should be fine to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred CC. Hopefully there will be a good sign up bonus at the time too.

      Reply
  9. Pingback: Ask Me Anything (AMA): Hotel Edition

  10. harv

    Grant, I know you have many business cards which have annual fees and a real business. My question is whether you deduct the annual fees for each business card as business expenses to offset income when you file your Schedke C. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Great question, Harv. Yes, I deduct every business card for Travel with Grant that has an annual fee. On my personal side, if I get a 1099-Misc for credit card referrals, I will deduct the annual fee for that card too. Disclosure: I’m not a tax expert, so consult your tax professional.

      Reply
  11. travel4life

    Regarding the Ritz Carlton card airline credit, do you have to request reimbursement every time you use it? Is it also good on any airline or tied to one for the year like AMEX? How do you get the most value for these credits? I’m considering PC from my boundless to this after my one year mark. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Yes, you have to request reimbursement after each qualifying purchase. It works on any airline, as long as the purchase is one of the reimbursable charges. I use it mainly on basic economy flights. After booking with another CC or with miles, I can pay extra to get a seat assignment and carryon bag. For 2019, I paid for exit row seats on Aer Lingus, which cost ~$350 and got a $300 reimbursement from the Ritz Carlton CC.

      Check out this post for more info: https://travelwithgrant.boardingarea.com/2019/11/12/why-did-i-upgrade-my-chase-marriott-bonvoy-boundless-visa-signature-to-jpmorgan-chase-ritz-carlton-visa-infinite/

      Reply

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