Category Archives for Finance

Amex PRG Thumbnail

Amex PRG Review – Amex Premier Rewards Gold (Now Amex Gold Card)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

The Amex PRG card (now the Amex Gold Card) is one of the leading credit cards for point-earning on the market right now. Lots of people love using this card and if you’re thinking about it, I’m sure you’ll love it too.

In this post, I’m going to show you why if you’re a foodie and want to rack up lots of MR points, then this probably is the card for you.

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

Who Should Get the Amex PRG Card?

There are two possible types of people that could really like the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card. Those that like to dine out at restaurants and anyone who spends a good amount at supermarkets. 

Assuming that you eat throughout the day, I assume you fall under one of those categories. We’ll get into the benefits, perks, and more, but if you spend a chunk of your paycheck on these you could be earning 4x bonus points at restaurants and on groceries to sustain yourself. 

Sign-up Bonus

At the current time, the Amex Gold card is offering 35,000 Membership Reward points if you spend $2,000 in the first three months. This can be used to transfer to many of Amex’s transfer partners to get lots of value. It’s not a huge bonus but it is something. 

This bonus is tricky because Amex does run promotions sometimes where referral links and the CardMatch tool can show offers for 40,000 or 50,000 points. American Express is one company that sometimes shows a lower offer on its main website than when you go through a referral. 

This is important because you can only get one sign-up bonus for each card with Amex so you should always make sure you’re maximizing value. 

If you’d like to support ADP and like this post, you can always check if you have a higher referral option with my referral link to the Amex Gold Card here.

Benefits

This card comes with lots of perks but of course, these perks are here to offset the annual fee, which is $250. I’ll show you how you make that money back easily with these benefits. 

$120 Annual Dining Credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at participating dining partners, including Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and some Shake Shacks. This is a $10 credit monthly. Basically, if you don’t use the credit in a month like July, you won’t be able to use it in August. 

$100 Annual Airline Credit: A credit for incidental charges such as checked bags per calendar year. You have to enroll to use this and can only be used for one qualifying airline. 

Amex Hotel Collection: Booking a stay through their hotel collection gives you 2x points and each stay gives you an upgrade to a better room and a $100 credit to some restaurants or spas on the property. Each hotel is different so make sure to check the fine print. 

You get $220 in credits to use no matter what on airlines and restaurants and then if you use the Amex hotel once, you already are in the green. This, of course, doesn’t bring in the earning factors which we are going to talk about next. 

Earning Rates

The Amex PRG offers great earning rates. You get 4x points on dining across the world and in U.S. Supermarkets. You get 3x points on flights booked directly on the airline’s website or at amextravel.com. Everything else gets 1x points of course. 

4x dining and groceries basically makes this card the best in those two categories across the board in the credit card game. Of course, some people prefer certain points over others but if you have no preference this would definitely become your best card in those circumstances. 

3x on flights is alright but you get a better value with the Amex Platinum and cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred don’t restrict where you can purchase to get bonus points. 

To Wrap It Up

The Amex Gold card can help you rack up lots of points in your eating adventures over the years. This card earns a spot in my favorite credit cards to hold. 

If you'd like to support ADP and sign up for the card with our post, you can here and it's much appreciated!

Do you have the Amex Gold card? Are you thinking about getting it?

Let me know in the comments down below.

If you’re interested in learning everything about travel hacking, I have a post on the Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking for 2019 that will surely help you out so be sure to check that out.

And if you know someone that would enjoy this resource on the Amex PRG card, please share it with them because it will probably help them out. Thank you!

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek
How many Amex Cards

How Many American Express Cards Can You Have?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Each credit card issuer has a different way to judge how many credit cards they will let their customers have. In this post, you’ll find out how many American Express credit cards you can have at one time. 

Chase Travel Notice

Difference Between Charge Cards & Credit Cards

Under American Express they offer you both of these types of cards. We all know what credit cards are so let’s look at what the charge card is under American Express.

An Amex charge card technically doesn’t have a credit limit. You can only spend a certain amount on your credit cards ($1,000, $5,000, etc.) but on a charge card, within reason, they let you use it however you want.

The difference is that no matter what at the end of the month, they expect you to pay off the full balance. When you’re actually applying for a charge card, you get the terms that say if you leave a balance past your due date, you run a risk of your card getting shut down. 

The business side of me actually finds this interesting because most of the money banks make from credit cards is off the interest rates consumers pay them but charge cards don’t really carry interest over because you won’t have a balance for interest to accrue on. This means Amex really only makes money off the processing that you use with this card.

Unlimited Charge Cards

American Express doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of charge cards that you can have.

Here is a list of all the charge cards for Amex:

Personal Cards:

  • Green
  • Gold
  • Platinum

Business Cards

  • Business Green
  • Business Gold
  • Business Platinum

Now, most of these cards hold high annual fees ($250+) and they share lots of the same benefits. So even though you’re allowed to have all 6 of these cards at any time, it doesn’t really make sense paying for those annual fees because you won’t be getting a higher value than what you’re paying.

Amex Platinum


“Around” 5

Now for the reason why you’re checking out this post. I had to lead off talking about charge cards because Amex doesn’t count charge cards in this total. 

American Express typically only allows consumers to have five credit cards. I did say typically because there is a little indecision there by the credit card community. 

Some people have given data points that they only have four credit cards with American Express and no matter what they get denied for that fifth card. 

Some others say they applied after having five and got their sixth card. We don’t really know what would cause something like this because Amex doesn’t discuss this with consumers but we would have to assume it has to do with your own relationship with them. 

Two follow-ups to this answer…

This applies to both personal cards and business cards. If you have five personal Amex cards and apply for a business, you’re almost for sure going to be denied. If you have three personal and two business, it’s the same situation. 

Also, this cap only counts for cards that are issued directly from American Express, basically the cards you find on their website. 

Some other cards use Amex as their partner like the Wells Fargo Propel Amex and Macy’s store card. These cards don’t count towards this rule and you can apply for those if you would like to.

Shuffle Around

With these rules in place, it’s kind of the Amex meta to shuffle your cards once you reach that five-card limit.

Right now, I have the Amex Everyday card, the Amex Blue Business Plus card, and a Hilton Honors Business card along with the two charge cards I have with them. I want to get the Hilton Aspire card and also a Delta card when I start flying Delta. 

That would be my five limit right there. If a new amazing card came out that I would want. I would have to cancel one of these cards, probably the Amex Everyday, to get that new card. 

This is really the only way to get those better cards in the late game of the credit card life for Amex. Find a card that is not giving you as much value and replace it with the card that’s going to give you more.

To Wrap It Up

To some people having five cards with one bank seems excessive, but once you find out how much value each card can bring you, it really isn't that crazy to think about.

How many cards do you have with American Express? Which cards do you want to get eventually?

Let me know in the comments down below.

If you’re interested in learning everything about travel hacking, I have a post on the Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking for 2019 that will surely help you out so be sure to check that out.

And if you know someone that would enjoy this resource on the Amex cards, please share it with them because it will probably help them out. Thank you!

Chase Travel Notice

Chase Reconsideration Line – Phone Number & Tips to Get Approved

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Everyone at one point gets denied or not automatically approved for a credit card. If this happened to you with Chase, here’s how to fix it by calling the Chase Reconsideration Line.

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

What’s The Chase Reconsideration Line?

Whenever you fill out a credit card application and hit submit, the banks have an algorithm that it goes through to check and see if it can approve you. Every bank is different and Chase’s has some of the most specific rules in the game. 

Automation, of course, can have its flaws so the algorithm might see something in your application that can flag yours to be manually reviewed. If this review ends up a certain way you end up calling the Chase Reconsideration Line. 

This might be why you’re here now. 

The Chase Reconsideration Line Phone Number is 1-888-270-2127. 

This is not a 24 hour service so make sure to call around business hours during the week. Also this is the number for personal cards only. The phone number for the business line is 1-800-453-9719. Business reconsideration is a lot more in depth so we won’t talk about that today. 

When’s the Best Time to Call?

As of September 2019, there are really only three possible messages that could come up when you submit an application and don’t get automatically approved. I’m going to show you what those are and the tips to follow if you received that message. 

Within the Next 30 Days

90% of the time, you will get this message immediately following an application that isn’t approved right away. This is kind of their message letting you know they are going to manually review your application.

This does not mean you were rejected and you actually shouldn’t call in to reconsideration line yet. Sometimes, calling in at this point just puts unnecessary eyes on your account that aren’t needed. Just move on to the next step. 

Calling Chase’s Automated Application Status Line

This is the easiest way to check your application status over the course of these “30 days”. It’s unnecessary to call immediately after getting your 30 day message so wait a day at least before checking. 

This process could take a day or it could take a couple weeks so don’t use up your unlimited minutes calling all the time to check your status. 

Once you call, you’ll have to enter the necessary numbers to get to the status check option and then enter your social security number. This is how they check to see who they’re talking to and what credit card you are looking for. 

Just like earlier, there are a couple different messages that could be automatically messaged back to you. 

More 30 Days Messages

Just like before, all this means is that your application hasn’t had any decisions made for it yet. They either haven’t gotten to yours yet or they haven’t come to a decision. Just call back on another day and don’t worry about the Reconsideration Line for now. 

Two Weeks

If the message says that you’ll be notified in two weeks, this almost certainly means that your application has been approved! Congratulations!

7 - 10 Days

If you get his message, I’m sorry to say you’ve almost certainly been denied. This is when you would want to get ready to call the Chase Reconsideration Line but before you do let me give you some tips on what to say. 

5/24 & 2/30 Rules

Before we call in, let’s make sure that we are following those specific rules for Chase I mentioned earlier. 

Now this is mostly hard-coded into the algorithms and shouldn’t be the reason for your denial, but just to make sure, you want to check to make sure you are abiding by the 5/24 rule and the 2/30 rule. 

The 5/24 rule means that you won’t get approved for any Chase card if you’ve added five new credit card accounts to your credit report within the last 24 months. This is total new credit cards, not just Chase credit cards. 

The 2/30 rule means that Chase can only accept no more than two credit card applications in a 30 day period. This means if you apply for a card on the 4th and the 12th and get approved, but then apply again for another card on the 19th, you’ll get automatically denied for that third card. 

These rules could shut down any chance at reconsideration so might as well get those out of the way early. 

Credit Card Approval

Tips to Get Approved

When your calling the Chase Reconsideration Line here are a couple tips that can help you out.

Keep in mind that 90% of these phone calls are probably people just yelling at them angrily, so just being courteous to them on the phone call can go a long way.

Give A Specific Reason for the Card

This is probably the thing I would recommend has the most potential to say when talking to the representative. These banks don’t want to just hand out credit cards for no reason but if you give them a reason, it’s more justified for them to approve you. 

If you’re applying for a hotel or airline card, tell the representative that you want to start staying with them more and create a relationship.

If you are getting something like the Sapphire Preferred, tell them that the extra points in travel and dining would go a long way for you.

Even if you just say, I have a big purchase coming up and wanted to put it on this new card, I’ve found this even works for me in these situations. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Moving Credit from One Card to Another

One of the main reasons this manual review might happen in the first place is because you already have a specified amount of credit with Chase and they don’t want to justify giving you more. 

It’s not officially stated anywhere but people speculate that you could only get around 50% of your income you put on your application in credit with Chase. 

Sometimes the representative will tell you to do this and then they can approve you or sometimes you have to suggest it. 

Hang Up and Call Again

If you go through these two things and the representative tells you that they can’t approve you, just say thank you for your time and try again later. Give it a couple hours or another day. 

All these analysts have different thoughts and some might be more lenient and some might be more strict. Just keep in mind that these guys probably have some notes on the account saying that you called yesterday or whenever. 

Just say that you wanted to see if there’s any other chance and then give your reasons again from above. It can’t hurt to try again. 

To Wrap It Up

If you start signing up for more credit cards, you'll eventually get the dreaded review message. 

The key is not to panic and just follow the steps I outlined in this post. 

Have you ever got this message? Did you do the steps I stated here?

Let me know in the comments down below.

If you’re interested in learning everything about travel hacking, I have a post on the Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking for 2019 that will surely help you out so be sure to check that out.

And if you know someone that would enjoy this resource on the Chase Reconsideration Line, please share it with them because it will probably help them out. Thank you!

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

How to Ask For A Capital One Credit Limit Increase

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

There will come a point in your credit card journey where your spending outweighs the amount banks allow you to spend. Hopefully, this means that your income is growing and you're able to buy more things and the bank just doesn’t know it yet. 

Capital One is actually one of the smoothest companies when it comes to increasing your credit limit and you don’t need a perfect credit score to do it. 

Let me show you how.  

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

Step 1

Of course you have to log-in and then once you’re logged in, click on the “I want to…” with the gear symbol. 

Capital One Increase Step 1

Step 2

All the way at the bottom under “Offers and Upgrades” there is an option to “Request Credit Line Increase”. Click that. 

Capital One Increase Step 2

Step 3

A form will come up asking for things like your annual income, employment status and other questions. These things are necessary and actually required for Capital One to make a decision to increase your limit or not. 

Fill them out to the best of your ability and click Submit Request. 

Capital One Increase Step 3

Now Capital one can do a couple of different things here. They could approve your credit limit immediately. That is, of course, a good thing because mission accomplished. 

They could also take you to a confirmation page. This means that you will get notified in a few business days if your request has been accepted or denied. 

Requirements

Now, there are some things that are required to receive a credit limit increase with Capital One. 

Your account must be three months old at least. Within the past six months, you cant have received an increase or decrease in your limit on that account. Also, obviously, your account must be unsecured. 

These requirements doesn’t mean your automatically accepted if you apply. There are factors that go into deciding that. 

Factors for Credit Limit Increases

For any bank, a big one is going to be on-time payments. Your credit score and how much credit you use will factor the decision. Then you have all the things you input on the form, like your income and how much more credit you’re asking for. 

Will A Credit Limit Increase Lower My Score?

This actually depends and in some cases actually makes your score go higher. For Capital One, at the top of their request to submit for an increase it says “Asking for an increase won’t affect your credit score.”

This means that Capital One does not use a hard pull, or cost you an inquiry, when checking out your credit score. Some banks like Chase do use hard pulls and it could lower your score. 

If a bank like Capital One doesn’t do a hard pull but does give you an increase, it more than likely will increase your score because your credit utilization rate will go up. Basically your percentage of credit you use a month will go up because your limit will go up. 

To Wrap It Up

Lots of people ask for credit limit increases all the time. Some get accepted and some get denied. Now you know how to do it and what it takes to get accepted. 

If you used this post to ask for a credit limit increase from Capital One, let me know in the comments down below.

If you’re interested in learning everything about travel hacking, I have a post on the Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking for 2019 that will surely help you out so be sure to check that out.

If you know someone else that could use this post, maybe think about sharing it with them. It will probably help them out!

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

How to Use Cashback Monitor: Five Methods to Maximize Your Cashback

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

One of the best ways to get extra points, miles, or cash back is by using a shopping portal. 

If you don’t already know, a shopping portal is a website that lists specific companies and when you purchase through that website, you get some sort of points or cash back on your purchase.

Sounds like a great deal right? By buying things you were already going to buy online, you end up getting more back in your wallet at the end of the day.

This could come with a big problem though. Each shopping portal is different and there are so many. 

How could you know which one gives you the best return for your purchase?

In this article, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite tools, Cashback Monitor.

Chase Travel Notice

What is Cashback Monitor? 

When trying to explain Cashback Monitor, I usually say, “It’s like Expedia or Kayak but for shopping portals.”

Basically Cashback Monitor collects data from most of the main shopping portals available. You then put in what store you are looking for and your preferred method of return on your purchase. Their website will then show you the different portals you can use, the rates at which you will earn, and which would be best for you.

This takes all the hard work out of guessing yourself. Nobody wants to know the rates of 25+ portals at all times but we also don’t want to lose out on points or money back in our wallets.

I usually end up recommending this website to anyone I know that is interested in saving money or wants to gain more points on their purchases (so basically everyone!).

How to Use Cashback Monitor? 

Earning cash back with Cashback Monitor is pretty simple. First, you’ll head to their website. 

Cashback Monitor

Right away, you’ll see the most popular stores on the home screen so you can always browse there but I usually just use the search bar to search for the store I’m looking for.

Let’s search for Apple just for an example.

Cashback Monitor Apple

Once I search, I come to a page that shows me the best cash back rate, travel points rate, and credit card points rate.

Now depending on what’s more important to you can influence your decision. Sometimes if a rate is equal I'll choose the travel side because that allows me to get more value in the long run with travel hacking.

Other times when I want simple cash back, I can go that option as well. With this tool, we have the option to look at everything and make the best decision.

Now this is the first and main way to maximize your cashback with Cashback Monitor. Let’s look at some more.

Set An Alert

Now, we’ll get into another section about this later but this portals don’t always stay the same. You won’t get 2% at Apple from Ebates forever. This is another reason why this tool is so powerful.

So what they allow you to do is set an alert when a certain stores rates change based on what you program it to do. You have to create an account to do this but its simple and free to do. 

Once your account is made click the option in the top right corner of the screen and then press "Manage My Alerts" in the middle. This will bring you to the screen I'm on now.

Cashback Monitor Alert

Let’s use Apple again. We can set an alert that will email us if any credit card/bank portal gives us 3 points per dollar or more.

Right now, the highest is two and if it does rise, that might influence our decision on when and where we buy from the Apple store.

View the Best Rate History

We use Cashbackmonitor to make sure we’re getting the best rate possible, right? How can we know we’re getting the best rate possible ever?

We can easily tell what’s best today but maybe we want to know if there’s been a better deal before because it might come back eventually.

That’s where the Best Rate History option comes in.

Still using our Apple example, we can see in all the portals that the best rates have fluctuated since the website started taking in the data.

Sometimes you can tell that a certain store or portal will offer a special maybe for Christmas time or a certain quarter like the Chase Freedom, and predict when you can purchase your goods that way.

Assign A Different Value to Points/Miles

I talk about this in my travel hacking post but each credit card I have usually comes with a different value that I put on it.

Like some other experts, I usually value Chase UR points at around 2 cents per point. Basically this means that I believe every 10,000 points I have I can get around $200 in value out of it.

It can of course be more if I stay at a fancy hotel or take a first class flight but it’s never lower than 1.25 cents per point because of my Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

In Cashbackmonitor though, they value Chase at 1 cents per point because that’s the value if you exchange your points for cash.

This can obviously skew the way I look at things when using their website. To me, something that gives three dollars back on the cash back side but two Chase UR points means that I come out better picking the Chase option.

Because I’m getting around four dollars in travel value there.

This is only important depending on which cards you have and if you value these points and miles that much. Some people just like the money going back in to their wallet no matter what, even if it could be a little less than the way I do it.

Either way, you’re getting money back so you can’t lose.

Personalize Your Monitor

Once I started using this feature, it became the most popular to me and I like it over any other method.

If you create an account (super simple and free), you can choose which cashback portals and points/miles programs you use and search stores just using those options.

Maybe you don’t have a Wells Fargo account or you don’t want to sign up to the 23 different cashback programs.

Just sign up to the biggest ones and only check off those options in this personalize menu.

Cashback Monitor My Monitor

You can see from the ones I have selected that I care more about the points & miles portals than cashback.

Now I don’t have to worry about searching through the programs I don’t have to find the best value for my purchase. I can go to “My Monitor” and search stores there and find the best value out of the options I have available for me.

Another important thing is that some of these programs require you to hit a certain point or cashback threshold before you can cash out. So if you make a purchase and only get $15 back but they require you to have $25 to withdraw, your money is stuck.

I’d rather have money available to withdraw in a program I use all the time than signing up for a program getting the best return possible but not being able to take out the money.

To Wrap It Up

Cashback Monitor is one of the best options to make sure you’re getting the most value out of using Cashback and Points/Miles shopping portals. There are so many portals out there and this tool allows you to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

If you want to learn more about getting started with travel hacking, make sure to check out the guide we have here and you’ll always be able to ask me questions in comments on ADP.

Have you ever used this tool? Or are you going to start using it because of this guide? Let me know in the comments down below.

Also, if you know someone else that would benefit from this post, please share it with them because it would probably help them out!

Chase Travel Notice
Reddit Churning

What Is Reddit Churning and Why You Should Check It Out

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

One of the most common questions I get when helping people with travel hacking is “Where can I learn more?”

I give a lot of advice but sometimes people want to be able to learn on their own time. There are blogs, podcasts, Facebook groups and more that help with travel hacking but the best one in my opinion has to be at Reddit Churning. 

At the time of this writing, there are over 165,000 people subscribed to this subreddit and I never see less than 400 people lurking in it at all times.

This community is the best place to learn how to travel cost effectively and still have some of the best vacations of your life. I’m going to explain everything you need to know about r/churning in this post.

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

What is Travel Hacking?

I feel like I need to explain this for the people who happened to come here and don’t know what travel hacking is. If you don’t know, then the churning subreddit won’t help you.

Travel Hacking is the act of collecting points and miles to get you free flights, hotel rooms, and more. I’ve earned hundreds of thousands of points for myself and used them to go on vacations worth thousands of dollars and I barely pay anything.

You also get upgrades at hotels, first class tickets instead of economy, lounge access at airports and hotels that can save you hundreds on food, and much more.

If you want to learn more about travel hacking, I have an ultimate guide on how to get started travel hacking that will walk you through everything you need to know so be sure to check that out.

Why The Reddit Churning Community Will Help You

Reddit Churning

Like I said earlier, there are a lot of podcasts, YouTube channels, groups, and blogs (like ADP) that will help you learn about travel hacking. But sometimes these aren’t the best things for you.

They only answer questions that are in their posts or videos. So if you have a specific question, which you always will if you get into the game, you can’t really ask it to the big guys most of the time.

If they do answer, they’ll tell you to just read the blog and you’ll have to look through every post to see if they answer your question.

Also, and this is especially with true with the biggest ones, they only really promote the cards that give them the most upside. For example, you have a situation and you’re looking at two Credit Cards, let’s call them A and B.

A is a perfect credit card for your situation. It will give you loads of value and if you learn from the blog that it’s perfect for you and sign up through them, they’ll make $25. (All hypothetical.)

B is a good credit card. It gives you okay value but the blog gets paid $200 everytime someone signs up for it from their blog.

Which brand do you think the blog is going to promote?

You can’t entirely blame them because it is a business but it’s still not morally right and it screws you over in the long-term.

The great thing about this reddit post is 99% of the people there are not making loads of money off other people getting credit cards from them. They have normal jobs and all do this as a hobby.

They have very little if anything to gain by giving you the advice you’re looking for which results in unbiased and (most of the time) factual advice.

Topics

Now one of the best parts about the churn reddit community is how clean they keep everything. I mentioned before that there are over 165,000 people using it so if it was just run like a Facebook group it would be chaos.

The way they keep it in order is they have different posts and subtopics and I’m going to go over some of them and what they are useful for and what not to do in them.

Questions

The questions subtopic is pretty self-explanatory but where a good amount of the action happens.

You honestly can just go in and ask almost any question you want. Maybe you have a question on how to grow your credit score or you want to be able to apply for business credit cards.

Just a couple things to suggest. Reddit isn’t a nice place sometimes in general and it’s filled with a lot of alpha males. If you go in there and ask a basic question like “How do I get a credit card?” you might get some mean answers.

Make sure you use the search option in the subtopic to see if your question has been answered if it seems elementary.

Also if you’re asking questions about specific cards to get, they have their own thread for that so don’t ask it in the questions thread. At the top of the questions thread it will say “If you have questions about what card to get, ask here.”

Click the here part and go to that thread. They are really big in making sure there is structure and won’t answer your question if you put it in the wrong spot.

Discussions

This is the next most popular topic and is kind of a catch all for everything that isn’t a question.

You go to this thread when you want to talk about you getting accepted for a certain card or a certain hack working or not working for you.

I mostly read this thread and never really post in it. I might comment if I can give some guidance to people but this seems more like a thread for the people who stay in the subreddit for hours at a time and just want to talk to each other.

Data Points

The questions and discussions topics are an everyday thing. For example, there will be a July 4th thread for questions or discussions and then they’ll make another thread for July 5th. This is because they are much more popular.

For the next two, these are weekly threads just because they don’t get used as much but I still think they are useful to mention here if you want to start using Reddit Churning.

For those that don’t know, a data point is basically one person talking about their experience for doing a certain action. In the credit card game, this means a lot of these are questions like, “applying for Chase Sapphire Preferred with a 710 credit score, any DPs on people who got accepted?”

Chase Sapphire Preferred

So basically someone asks that question and then people who did that task recently will give their experience on it so they can help the person decide if they should do it or not.

This helps when banks change their rules without advising their customers about it (which happens a lot.)

This happened when Chase expanded their 5/24 rule to almost all cards instead of the basic ones like their Chase Trifecta. These data points helped the community find out what is considered available and unavailable quicker than any other method.

Trip Reports & Success Stories

The last one I’m going to mention is mostly a feel good post that you will find yourself in from time to time after a vacation.

Trust me, the first time you go on a trip that you paid $40 for but you should have paid $1000, you’re going to want to brag about it.

This is a place to do that and get encouragement from other people and also inspire others to do it as well.

I give thanks here when I go on a trip to the people that gave me advice on what routes to take or point redemptions to use back when I used to ask for lots of advice on there.

This isn’t one you use a lot but still a great one to know about. If you ever need inspiration to learn more, see the trips people are going on.

Now, there are some other threads in the subreddit but these are so small that I didn’t think you needed to learn about most of them on this post. If you see another thread in there and want to learn about it, just click on it and there will be a quick description and rules on how to use it right at the top.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Reddit Churning

Here is a good time to take you through why I advise people to use this as a learning tool and also a couple reasons why I make sure people are careful when using it. Just like everything else in life there is a balance and you need to be able to distinguish the good from the bad here.

The three biggest advantages to me are how fast the community will answer your questions, how structured everything is and will stay, and access to people that have been in the game since the start.

I used to ask questions in here all the time and it would only be about five to ten minutes mostly that I’m waiting to get my first response and then I’ll be getting responses all day. Now I like to answer questions to help people out and be one of those responders but either way, this all helps the learning process.

Three of the biggest disadvantages that come with using this is how hostile people are, sometimes you get answers from people who aren’t experts, and you will get some biased advice and messages at times.

Like I said earlier, Reddit can be toxic sometimes. You’re dealing with real people that usually use these platforms over the more popular ones because the way they talk to people isn’t allowed. If you ask a question that is stupid in their eyes or in the wrong thread, you’ll get some colorful comments thrown your way.

Just don’t worry about them and do whatever is necessary to help your situation. Usually when someone talks to you nasty, another member will come in to defend you.  

You also need to be careful about taking advice from only one person. That’s why this group is so great because it’s so big that you’ll always get a consensus. It’s a community that anyone can join, so the first person to answer your question could give you bad advice. If you ask a question, wait until you get a couple of responses before you take action.

And just like everywhere else, there are the bottom feeders. If you give a trip report talking about you living a great life, you could get messages from people asking to give you money or if you ask which credit card to get, someone might message you begging you to sign-up using their link.

This is common on any platform so just move along and don’t worry about it. Just kind of the way of the road.

Other Helpful Subreddits

There are a few more subreddits that I browse along with r/churning that can help you out.

r/awardtravel

This subreddit is all about ways to burn the points that you’re gaining from the churning subreddit. They have their own structure there so check them out.

r/personalfinance

This is more of a place to have general questions about finance. They are kind too conventional for me but I’ve studied personal finance methods for ten years now and like the methods that I use. If you feel like you’d like to learn more about it, then check out this subreddit.

Wrap It Up

Reddit churning can help you out in your travel hacking game almost immediately. Right when you get in, you’ll be able to ask the questions you want to ask or just read what others are saying and take in information without saying one word.

If you want to learn more about getting started with travel hacking, make sure to check out the guide we have here and you’ll always be able to ask me questions in comments on ADP.

Have you ever used the churning subreddit? Let me know in the comments down below what you think of it.

Also, if you know someone else that would benefit from this post, please share it with them because it would probably help them out!

Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek
Chase Travel Notice

4 Steps to Set Up A Chase Travel Notice (Even Do It In The App!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

There’s nothing worse than planning a vacation abroad, getting there, and your card getting declined when you’re in line to buy something.

The banks do this for our protection. If you live in Arkansas and your bank knows this, but there is a charge on the card in Thailand, they’re going to freeze the card for your account’s safety.

You should always notify Chase of your international travel plans by sending Chase a travel notification.

Luckily, it’s really easy to set up a Chase Travel Notice and here are the four steps to doing it on a computer and your Chase Mobile App.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Setting up your Chase Travel Notice

Step 1: Log-in to your account

First thing you need to do is log-in to your Chase Account on the website or you can go on your app and log-in.

Chase Login Screen

Step 2: Go to Profile & Settings

If you are on a computer, click the three bar menu in the top left and a bigger menu should appear. Find Profile & Settings near the top and click that.

If you are on the app, click the icon that looks like a person in the top right of the main screen. A screen should pop up and click My Settings.

Chase Profile & Settings

Step 3: Find Travel in the menu 

On the computer, you’ll see a scrollable menu on the left side of your screen. Scroll towards the bottom and you’ll see the option to click “Travel” under the More Settings section. Click that.

On the app, once you’re in the My Settings page, scroll down until you see the “Travel” option under my settings as well.

Chase Travel Notice

Step 4: Enter the details of your trip

Click the update button and Chase will ask you for the departure date and the return date as well as the states/countries you are visiting. Don’t worry, you can pick more than one!

If any of the details of your trip changes, you can always come back to this notification and either update it or cancel it altogether. No harm, no foul.

You can also call Chase to send a travel alert

If you like to do things the old fashioned way, you can get this done just by calling the phone number on the back of your Chase card. Tell the operator that you want to set up a travel notice and they’ll guide you on what to do from there.

If you’re already outside the United States, you can call Chase’s international phone number at 1-302-594-8200.

Chase Travel Notice FAQs

Do I need to set up a travel notification? 

You don’t necessarily need to do anything. You can always not do it and run the risk of them declining you or not. In my opinion, it’s just easier to set up the notification that way you won’t get locked out of spending money in a foreign place for a good amount of time.

How long in advance can I set my notice? 

For your credit cards, you can set a notice up to a year in advance and it can only last for a year. So if you’re out of the country for longer than a year, you’ll have to go back in and update the dates once you’re there.

For debit cards, you can only set this up 14 days in advance.

Can I cancel or change my notice after submitting it?

Yes, your notice will stay under this travel section until the return date has been hit. So if you need to change any details like dates or places visiting or even cancel, you just come back to this screen and change what you need.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Some of Chase’s cards like the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited come with foreign transaction fees of 3%.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred does not have any foreign transaction fees and is a perfect card to start earning miles and points if you haven’t already. It also rounds out our Chase Trifecta nicely.

To Wrap It Up

Now you know how to notify Chase that you’re traveling. You can either use the four steps I listed above or just give them a simple call.

Either way, your account will be safe and you’ll be able to enjoy your travels in peace.

If you want to learn how to earn points and miles and get free vacations, I have an ultimate guide on travel hacking that can definitely help you out.

Leave a comment below if you used this to help you with set up your travel notifications.

Also if you know anyone else that is traveling abroad, send them this post, because it will probably help them out!

Chase Travel Notice
Chase Trifecta

The Chase Trifecta: The Best 3 Credit Card Combo You Must Have in 2019

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

One of the main topics in the credit card rewards game is maximizing the rewards you earn on the spend you already do daily.

Whether you have been earning rewards for years now or you’re just getting started, you shouldn’t change your spend much now that you have rewards credit cards.

In my opinion (along with lots of others), there is no better set-up than the Chase Trifecta.

This trifecta allows you to spend what you normally spend but still rack up tens of thousands of points a year which can mean hundreds to thousands of dollars of vacations and travel to get you enjoying your life even more.

In this post, I’m going to run you through the entire Chase Trifecta and why you should be using it. So let’s get started.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Why The Chase Trifecta Is Important

The reason why the Chase Trifecta is one of the most popular credit card set-ups out there is because of how versatile it is. If you’re on this post, you probably understand how credit cards rewards systems work.

Depending on what you’re buying, you can get 5 points per dollar when you purchase something, you can get 3 points, 2 points or 1 point, etc. 

Well, we all know that life makes us buy different things almost daily. We go grocery shopping one day of the week, get gas the next day, go to the doctor, and then run out of groceries and eat at restaurants for the rest of the week.

This set-up makes it so you are always earning as many Chase Ultimate Rewards points as possible. We’ll talk later about how valuable these are and what you can get with them.

This game is all about maximizing the spend you are already doing and picking the cards that will give you the most points for your hard earned dollars.

I want to clarify that the Chase Trifecta is probably the best out there but you can only get these cards if you are under the 5/24 rule.

This means if you have been approved for 5 or more credit cards from any provider in the last 24 months, you will automatically be denied for these cards.

Now that we know why getting this trifecta is important and the one rule preventing you from getting it, let’s get to the three cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The first card I’m going to recommend to get is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card is actually the glue sticking all of this trifecta together which is why I’m mentioning it first. 

The reason why this card is so important is because you can take all your Chase UR points and if you book for travel through the Chase Portal, your points get an extra 25% boost.

That could sound intimidating so let me show you what this means.

Let’s say within all your cards you have 25,000 points. If you want to book a plane ticket, your 25,000 points equals a flight worth $250.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your 25,000 points isn’t worth $250. Chase multiplies the value of those points by 1.25. This makes your 25,000 points actually worth 31,250 or $312.50. 

So in my mind, having this card allows you to basically make an extra 62.50 appear out of thin air. That’s how great this could be. (not to mention the travel partners which I’ll talk about later!)

This only involves the redemption of the points. The card itself is a great deal as well.

You get 2x points on anything dining or travel related and I can vouch that these are my two biggest expense categories out of everything I buy.

This study shows food is our most expensive purchase every year and we all know depending on our lives how expensive travel can be as well.

Wouldn’t you want a card that can give you double the points back every time you used it? This would ultimately allow you to use your UR points on some of your travel, allowing you to save the money that you would have spend anyway. How sweet is that!?

So if you’re a foodie or a roaming traveler, you’re going to end up wanting to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred pronto.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Image

Now like I said earlier, the reason why the trifecta is so powerful is because you can capitalize on what you’re buying to get the most points using these three special cards. 

With the Chase Freedom, 5x Chase UR points based on what the rotating category is for that specific quarter. Basically, every quarter (3 months) Chase announces new categories that are covered. 

In recent quarters, there has been gas stations, drug stores, restaurants, and even Amazon.

Chase allows you to earn 5x points on up to $1500 in purchase in these categories per quarter or 7,500 points. When you combine this with the superpower from the Chase Sapphire Preferred where you get 1.25x the points, this equals 9,375 points.

This is an extra $93.75 towards travel that most of us spend anyway on these categories. These points add up to a lot at the end of the year.

Chase Freedom Unlimited 

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Now we have your food and travel covered and we have the rotational categories down per quarter. 

Now you’re probably thinking, “what about those doctor appointments and when I need to change the oil in my car? What card do I use then?”

This is where the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes in. 

The Freedom Unlimited is the simplest card out of all of three of these because it earns 1.5x points for every purchase no matter what it is. 

If you’re getting a haircut or paying off your Netflix subscription, you’re going to earn 1.5x UR points for both of these.

And once again, you can pair this up with the Sapphire card and get 2.25 points back basically that can be used on travel.

Basically this card is your last resort card, if you don’t have any card that will get you more, at least you’ll get 1.5x back.

How you could spend your points

Just for fun, now that you’ve learned the three cards that give you the best chance at maximizing your points in the credit card game, let’s see what you can get with these points.

You can fly around the United States and Caribbean for cheap with Southwest points

I’ve found deals for as low as 4,500 points each way. Southwest is tricky because their point value actually changes with the price of their tickets unlike United, but sometimes this can be a good thing.

When Southwest runs their sales of one-way flights for $49 or around there, make sure to check the points values for the flights. They almost always drop as well.

You can stay at a luxury hotel with Hyatt

Transfering your points to Hyatt is one of the best transfers you can make in the travel hacking game.

For example, you can transfer 25,000 points and get a free night at the Park Hyatt Maldives. This can easily be worth $1,000 depending on the time of year you go and would be worth every point.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa


To Wrap It Up

Everyone will have their own opinion on what the best card set-up is. Some only want cash-back cards or some will only want cards that help them with a specific airline or hotel.

In my opinion, if you want a general and diverse travel rewards option, the best one out there is the Chase Trifecta. It really helps you make the most of your everyday purchases.

Do you use the Chase Trifecta? Which cards are you missing if you don’t?

Let me know in the comments down below.

If you’re interested in learning everything about travel hacking, I have a post on the Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking for 2019 that will surely help you out so be sure to check that out.

And if you know someone that would enjoy this resource on the Chase Trifecta, please share it with them because it will probably help them out. Thank you!

Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Get A 700 Credit Score

How to Get a 700 Credit Score: Go from 0 – 700 in 90 Days

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Credit scores are one of the many mysteries to 90% of the population. Most people know that they are important but have no idea how it works. This is scary because we need credit scores for everything.

You need one for renting an apartment, buying a car and getting utilities for your house. You even need a credit score to get a cell phone. Banks don’t like doing business people with low credit or no credit. That’s why this post is going to help you get to a 700 credit score as quickly as possible.

Now, I just want to clarify, this post is about a person starting out their credit journey or basically at the beginning of it.

If you have made some mistakes and have some delinquencies or lots of missed payments, then this post isn’t for you. It takes a little bit more than a couple months to fix that but it is fixable. We might talk about this in a later post.

I have a complete guide on how to increase your credit score that works for everyone who already has a score. But if you are new or a beginner on your credit journey then this post is for you and let’s get started.
Travel Hacking Joseph Sleek

Credit Score Basics

Now as this is for the credit card beginner, or someone who is basically just getting started or hasn’t even gotten started yet with their credit journey, I think it’s essential to go through the very basics of good credit building. 

I’m first going to explain to you the two most important things when talking about keeping your credit score high and that’s paying your bills on time and keeping your utilization low.

Paying your bills on time is kind of obvious. Missing just one credit card (or any type of loan) minimum payment drastically affects your credit score.

Credit History

If you look at the image above, paying your bills 100% of the time leaves you with an excellent grade in that category, paying 99% gives you a good score and so on.

I want to clarify this doesn’t mean you have to pay the whole bill. This just means paying or not paying the minimum that the bank is telling you to pay.

My advice is if you aren’t responsible and don’t think you can remember to pay every month, set up an auto-payment on your account. It’s easy for every major bank and I’m sure there are steps when you open your account to do it.

The second most important thing might need some more explaining. Your utilization is how much of your credit limit is being used at a certain time.

The best way to explain this is with examples. If you have one credit card, with a $1,000 limit, and you have $100 on it when the statement closes, your utilization is 10%. You just divide the amount on the card by the limit.

$100/$1000 = 10%

If you have two cards that both have a $1000 limit but you still only have $100 on one card, what is the utilization?

$100/$2000 = 5%

Credit Utilization

Now, banks want to see that you keep this number low. If you look at this new image, you can see that the excellent grade is between 0-9%. That’s the best you can be. Most financial experts say to stay under 30% but if you can help it, get to that 9% and you’ll be happy.

I promise you that if you are a new user and your utilization is above 30% and you get it down to 9% or lower, your score will increase way more than you thought it would in 30-60 days.

I’ve seen scores jump from low 600s to the 700s in a couple weeks just from them simply lowering their utilization.

So, What Next?

Now, these two things is all you really need to know to get your score up to 700. It could take two weeks or it could take two years. It all just depends on your specific credit profile and how your credit journey is going.

But I know you might be thinking, “I want my score above 700 in three months or six months, not two years? How do I do that Joseph?”

So I’m going to give you two shortcuts that I know work for most. This isn’t an exact science and it could not work. But I believe it will give you the boost you need to get the score you want.

The first one is becoming an authorized user for someone else. Basically this means that you go to your parents or someone that you know is very responsible (if your parents aren’t, do not go to them) and asking them if you can be an authorized user on their credit card.

Now this only really works if you are new to the card game. If I got an authorized user on my parents account, it wouldn’t even move my score (plus I have better credit than my parents).

But if you know someone who is responsible and you feel comfortable to ask them for this, then go ahead. Tell them that you want to be an authorized user and tell them why. I’m sure they’ll understand if you tell them it will help your credit score if they do it.

If they’re hesitant, get this. They can get you the card and then never give it to you. You don’t actually have to use the card to get the boost, the card just goes on your report with all of their history.

I did this for my sister. She asked me to help her credit so I got her an AU on my Chase Freedom Unlimited and her score boosted over 50 points in a month because of my good history with the card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Now, some things to keep in mind. Not all cards come with free authorized users. If your parent or the person you’re asking has a prestigious card like the Amex Platinum, that card is $175 to add one authorized user.

I wouldn’t ask anyone to do that. Find a card that they have had for a long time and it would be free and ask to do it for that one.

The other thing is make sure you do this right. If the person you’re asking doesn’t have good credit, this could ultimately end up screwing you. Don’t do this with someone you look up to and then find out that they’re really irresponsible and have been bankrupt a couple times.

That will hurt your score more than you can imagine. If you handle this right though, this will get your credit score up to 700 in no time.

The second shortcut is to ask your current credit cards for a limit increase on the cards you have. This plays into the utilization factor.

I mentioned before that the best way to raise your score is by paying down your utilization. But this involves money and sometimes we don’t have the money right away to do these things. This is your next best option.

Let’s say you have a card with a $3000 limit and you have $500 on the card. That’s a 16.6% utilization rate. (Remember the math from earlier?)

Now, there’s a way to ask your bank if you can raise that $3000 limit. Sometimes it’s in your account and sometimes you have to call. Just Google the credit card you have and credit limit increase and you’ll find out how to do it.

chase credit limit increase

The bank looks at your account and if they believe that you are trustworthy, they could raise the limit anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to 2x what your limit is already. 

So now you could have a $6000 limit and you still only have $500 on the card. That is now a 8.3% utilization rate which is lower than the 9% we were looking for.

Like I said earlier, going from a 20-30% utilization down to below 10% will raise your score almost immediately.

One warning with this is just like with everything else in this game, you have to be responsible. Banks set these limits not only to protect themselves from getting in trouble but also to protect you.

If you have a $1000 limit and you always go to that limit because you think of it almost like a bank and just spend the maximum amount because you can, this isn’t for you.

Because the bank will give you a limit to $2000 and even though you’re overspending to $1000 every month and taking care of it, psychologically you’re going to want to spend the $2000 now instead and it’s going to screw you up.

I’ve seen instances where that has happened and it’s not good.

But if you’re responsible, this could be a quick way to get your utilization down and get your credit score to rise.

To Wrap it up

Now, credit scores do not raise by 50 points overnight. It does take a little bit of time so you need to be patient, especially if your score is on the lower side.

A lot of increasing your score involves constant action and just keep taking the steps that I mention in this post. You’ll see your credit score hit 700 in no time.

Did you use any of these tips to increase your score? Or maybe you have a suggestion that I didn’t recommend here? Let me know by writing a comment down below.

Once you get your score up, why not learn how to get vacations for pennies on the dollar? Check out my Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking and learn how to vacation for free or pretty damn close to it!

And if you know someone that would enjoy this post, please share it with them because it will probably help them out. Thank you!

Top Credit Cards for Travel Hacking
Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2019 – My Top 4

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

When I sit down and coach people on how to start getting credit card rewards and points, some ask me the question, “What if I just want some easy cash-back credit cards?”

Some people can’t keep up with having 15+ credit cards like I do and changing their strategies every month. Some just want a simple card or two to use and just keep getting back cash so they can live a little better.

Lucky for them, banks know this and offer some cards that are perfect for this kind of user.

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

In this post, I’m going to show some credit cards and why they are good cash back cards. Each card is good for different reasons so we need a way to measure how beneficial they would be to you.

That’s why we can focus on these three factors to decide which card or cards would be best for you.

Earning Rates

Let’s start it out simple. How much cash-back will you earn during your purchases? Some cards have a consistent 1.5 - 2% per purchase.

Some earn you extra cash-back depending on what category the purchase is.

Earning Rates can make cash back cards completely different between everyone. There are cards that offer 5% back on Gas but if you don’t own a car then that card really isn’t worth it to you is it. It’s just case to case.

Ease of Redemption

This can easily be as big of a deal to you as the earning rate.

Do you want to earn points like Chase UR that can be used as cash or towards travel?

Do you want to be able to cash out your points and get it deposited into your account?

Some cards only allow you to use them as statement credits against your credit card. Maybe that’s a negative to you. All just depends on how you want your cash-back to actually come back to you.

Extra Perks or Factors

Most cash-back cards won’t come with lounge access or get you status at hotels, but they can offer other things. Maybe you want purchase protection or delay coverage.

Some have foreign transaction fees meaning if you use them out of the United States, you’ll pay even more.

It can also have annual fees that make having the card less valuable to you.

Things like these can be a positive or a negative and affect your plan on picking the card or not.

Which is the best cash back credit card for you?

Now that we know the three factors that we are basing our recommendations on, we can get to the cards. I set it up like this so that you can easily decide if you want or do not want certain cards.

If you want transferable points that you can use for cash or travel, then you can cancel out certain cards that don’t offer it.

If you don’t purchase much gas like our example earlier, then you can cross that off your list.

So let’s get into it!

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Image

Current Sign-up Bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from opening the card.

On normal purchases, the Chase Freedom card offers 1% back on all purchases. That doesn’t sound very good. However, there is also 5% rotating categories that change every quarter and you can get 5% back on up to $1500 worth of purchases. 

These categories change from things like gas stations and drugstores to groceries and Amazon purchases. Most of the time there is more than one category so you have more options on how to get the cash back.

Now, the Chase Freedom earns you Chase UR points. If you want you can just have the Freedom and earn 1% cash back that you can put towards a statement credit or deposit into your account.

You can also pair it with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and use it towards travel. This is special because the CSP adds an extra 25% to your points turning a maxed out 7,500 point quarter into 9,375 worth of points instead.

This is a special travel hack and beyond just cash back cards but I thought I should point it out especially because that’s what makes this cash-back card so special.

This card also offers purchase protection and an extended warranty but unfortunately has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

We have an article if you want to learn more about getting approved for your first Chase card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited


Current Sign-up Bonus: $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from opening the card.

Now, let’s say you want to be part of the Chase family but you don’t want to have to worry about rotating categories and thinking about where to purchase things.

The Freedom Unlimited is for you then.

This card offers 1.5% points on every purchase you make, no matter what you buy. Like the Freedom, this card also gives you Chase UR points so you can use them for travel, as a statement credit, or deposit it into your account.

It has the same extra perks as the Freedom like the purchase protection and extended warranty and has the 3% foreign transaction fee as well.

What some people like to do with these two is have both and use the Freedom Unlimited for all their purchases except the ones that fall under the categories for the regular Freedom card.

That is an easy and almost thoughtless way to maximize your spending without too much brain power into this credit card game.

We have a full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited here. 

Discover It Cash Back

Discover it card

Current Sign-up Bonus: $50 back after just one purchase within the first three months.

You know what’s better than getting 5% back on rotating categories? Getting 10% back.

That’s what you get with the Discover card. Technically, you get that in the first year but it’s still awesome.

Just like the Chase Freedom, this Discover card offers 5% categories each quarter but they also have a promotion that for all new card owners, they match your rewards that you earn in the first year.

This means that your 5% you are earning in rewards turns into 10%. Not only does this happen with the rotating categories but it also happens on the standard earning rate for purchases, making the normal 1% you get 2%.

The Discover doesn’t have transferable points though so you can get the cash back as a statement credit on the card or deposit it into any account you want.

This card also has no foreign transaction fees so could be a great option if you are a consistent traveler outside of the United States.

Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash

Current Sign-up Bonus: This card 95% of the time doesn’t have a sign up bonus. You can always check though.

The Citi Double Cash is probably one of the simplest cards for anyone getting started in the credit card rewards game. This card gives you 1% back when you purchase something and 1% back when you pay it off.

So, basically 2% back on all purchases. No categories to pay attention to or hoops to jump through. There is two negatives though.

The first is that there is no sign-up bonus. This is usually a red flag for me because of the 5/24 rule and how the game is right now. If I’m going to sign up for a card, I usually want something substantial within the first three months to make it justifiable.

The second negative is that you can only redeem rewards in $25 or more. That means you also can’t redeem your rewards as a statement credit or a deposit (only into Citi accounts) until you’ve spent $1,250 on the card.

So it has a couple drawbacks but the positive is that it’s a very simple card that you can always use. This can be a valuable card to some depending on their situation.

To Wrap It Up

Cash runs the world. At some point, all these airline miles and hotel points could completely change up the game and make them worthless, but cash will always be the same. It’s simpler and easier to measure how you’re doing in the rewards game.

Hopefully this list of cards has given you some ideas on what you can look for in a cash-back credit card.

Please feel free to use any of the links in this post and sign up for one.

Let us know if you have any of these cards, or are signing up for one because of this post, in the comments down below.

Also if you know anyone else that would benefit from this, feel free to share this post with them to help them out.

If you'd like to learn more about travel hacking and how it allows me to travel in luxury for pennies on the dollar, read our Ultimate Guide to Travel Hacking here.