Cash Back Reward To My Credit Cards in 2010

I’ve always chosen cashback instead of air mileages for my credit card reward. The reason is cashback goes into your pocket directly, and unlike air mileages or point systems, it is not subject to the conversion factor change in the future.

I have arranged my spending on credit cards as follows:
1. Grocery, drugstore, and any gasoline purchases not at Costco for a flat 5% cashback on HSBC Platinum Cashback Card.
2. Restaurants for 3% cashback and travel related stuffs for 2% cashback on True Earnings American Express card.
3. Essentially 2% cashback on Citi’s Driver’s Edge Option credit card for everything else. It’s 1% + 1% via submitting mileage record. I just submit it for every oil change that I need to do for my car. On this card, it’s actually by point system. I only buy $100 Macy’s gift card using 10000 Thank You points so that I can get a conversion factor of 1 point for 1 cent. Unfortunately, this program is going away now.

I have searched on the internet for a better deal to replace the Citi’s Driver’s Edge card, but I can’t find anything. EmigrantDirect had a 1.4% cashback on everything but it’s gone too. The best thing that I could find is the 2% cashback on Fidelity Rewards American Express card, but the credits go into your Fidelity brokerage account.

I will need to think about this deal, since I’m a little wary of opening another brokerage account just for that. I have consolidated most of my accounts at WellsFargo (where I trade free through PMA account) and InteractiveBroker (for cheap options). I definitely don’t want to have my cash simply sitting in the Fidelity brokerage account doing nothing. Based on my past spending pattern, I can get about $275 just from 2% Citi Driver’s edge card. If I move that spending to any of my existing 1% cashback card, I would throw away $125 per year. Hmm. Something to think about.

In any case, if you don’t use any of the cashback credit card, you are definitely missing out BIG time. I got $362 back on my HSBC, $276 on my Citi Driver’s Edge, $250 on my True Earning AMEX for a total spending of about $34700 on these three cards. That’s $888 that you may be missing.

At the minimum, you should get yourself the True Earning AMEX (assuming you buy stuffs at Costco) and Chase Freedom card for basic 1% cashback & 5% cashback on rotating categories. That’s just a little effort to “earn” while you spend. It really adds up!

Frugal at

Replacement For Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card

Yes, Citibank Dividend Platinum Select card will no longer pay out 5% but 3% cashback on gasoline, grocery, and drug, starting October. I have found my replacement credit cards.

I have planned to cancel my cards, and have applied & received the following two new credit cards:

  1. HSBC Direct Rewards Platinum credit card: Flat 5% cashback on gasoline, grocery, and drug purchases. Up to 1% on other purchases. Because it has a tier structure on the cashback for other purchases, I won’t be using this card for other purchases. You also will get the cashback every 12 months, and it needs to be more than $10.
  2. Citibank Driver’s Edge Option credit card: 6% rebates on supermarket, drugstore and gas station purchases for 12 months, 3% after that. 1% rebates on other purchases. And $1 for every 100 miles you drive, :) . The downside is that rebate dollars must be spent through ThankYou network.

The best thing that I like about the old Citibank Dividend Platinum Select is that it pays cash, and you don’t need to wait for one year. Too bad that I will be settling for something else because the 5% rebate really adds up very quickly.

Here are the posts from other PF bloggers from whom I’ve found out about the above cards:

  1. From Consumerism Commentary
  2. From Blueprint for Financial Success

P.S. Today is a Thursday on which I normally don’t post. But I have decided to at least put out this short but somewhat important money-saving post. Because of the increase in traffics in the last few weeks, I have put in extra efforts for posting everyday except Sunday. Higher traffics certainly incentivize me to post more often. Not sure if it is an incentive for you to social bookmarking my posts by digg, reddit, del.ici.ous, any other sites or through emails. But in any case, I thank you for just visiting my website.

The Only Credit Card Guide You’ll Ever Need

J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly has one of the best and comprehensive guide on credit card that I have ever seen. Any questions related to credit card probably can be answered here in his article. The article has collected the best sources of information from all of the PF bloggers, plus a lot of good information from government on legals, and resources from around the web.

Other articles that I think will be useful to many of you are:

  1. Ten Secrets of Success (for Entrepeneurship)
  2. 27 Money Tips for College Students
  3. Nine Tips For Young People Starting Careers

Check it out! This is My Digg of the Week.