Credit Card Bonus Strategies Q & A

Posted by Madison on June 11, 2013

Finding credit card strategies that generate free money and cash back is probably my favorite hobby. Probably? Ok, it is.

Let’s tackle the growing list of questions readers have about some of the credit card strategies we’ve talked about recently.

Bluebird Strategy

We recently discussed how to Use Bluebird to Pay Bills with a Credit Card. I’m earning effective cash back of 6.9% with the strategy.

As a recap, here’s a quick overview of the strategy: Purchase gift cards with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to earn 6% cash back and gas rewards. Then load the gift cards onto the Bluebird account at Wal-mart and use the Bluebird checking account to pay bills you normally can’t pay with a credit card.

Can you give more details about how you purchase Visa gift cards at the grocery store with a credit card? What store chain do you go to? I’ve tried doing this in the past but have been told that Visa gift cards can only be purchased with cash or debit cards. – Camilia

I purchase my gift cards at various Roundy’s grocery stores (In my area they are called Copps or Pick n Save). They take a credit card as long as you show an ID. If your store doesn’t allow it, try another store. I’ve also found that the cashiers seem much more willing to work with me if I’m also purchasing groceries at the same time.

How are you getting gift cards with such small fee’s? – Jj

The cards at my grocery store have a $5.95 fee for a $500 VISA gift card. Are the ones you find more expensive?

I’ve only seen $200 ones at Walmart and Sams Club and the fee is 5.95. That’s good to know they have $500. Does the cashier look at you funny for buying such a big one? – Jj

I think most of the cashiers know my face by now! However, if I’m shopping with my husband and he sees that I’m purchasing gift cards, he will immediately offer to take the kids to the car… I think it’s his way of making sure the cashiers don’t start to recognize him and associate him with my credit card games!

Although, since you mention Walmart and Sam’s Club, it’s also important to point out that if you are using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express card, you need to make the purchases at a grocery store to earn the cash back.

You say that you purchase $5000 in Visa gift cards per month using the AMEX cash back card that gives you 6%, and you say you make about $344.07 net cash rewards per month. I thought the AMEX cash back card had a cap of $6000 in purchases per year so you can receive the 6% cash rewards…. could you explain how you do it because I am interested in this but I am not understanding how you make that money per month when there is a cap per year on the AMEX card. I would appreciate it, thanks. – Eleazar

The cap doesn’t kick in until your renewal on the Amex BCP card. My renewal isn’t until next year, so my spending on the card at grocery stores is still unlimited this year. You could also use the Citizens Bank 5% Cash Back Credit Card too if you’ve already maxed out your annual limit on the Blue Cash Preferred. In addition, whenever cards rotate cash rewards each quarter, you could switch to other cards that earn higher cash back.

Credit Card Annual Fees

If I open, for example, the Chase Ink card – let’s say I spend the required amount to get the bonus, redeem the rewards, then close the account. Do you know if there are any fees for following that process? I figure it would be pretty simple for free money by taking 2 minutes to apply online, going to the grocery store and buying $5k of gift cards, redeeming rewards, closing account (after I have used my $6k on Amex Blue Cash Preferred! haha). I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks – Mike

Yes, that’s exactly what I do all the time. If a card doesn’t have a fee, I won’t close it, but if there’s an annual fee that will kick in after a year, then I close it after redeeming my rewards. I’m in the process of working on it right now with this list of cards: Quick $2,000+ Springtime Credit Card Application Spree.

More Ways to Meet Spending Requirements on Credit Cards

Some time back I read an article on ways to spend money in a given time. eg. credit card company offers spend X amt of dollars within 3 months. If I remember it mentioned about Amex prepaid cards. I searched a lot, but could not find that article. Appreciate if you could sent me the link for that article. – Roger

You are right, it is hard to find, since the title wasn’t really very good. I’ll have to fix that!

Here are some of my strategies above and beyond everyday spending to meet credit card spending requirements, including the American Express Gift cards:

More Credit Card Q & A

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