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Credit Card Rewards Update

October 31st, 2017 at 06:09 am

2017 TALLY:

$500 Gift Cards (AmEx Gold, Moi)
$500 Gift Cards (AmEx Gold, MH)
$525 Gift Cards (Citi Thank You, MH)
$499 Travel Rewards (Capital One Venture,MH)
$200 Cash (WF Wise, MH)

**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.


MH got a $250 reward offer from AmEx. I tracked down the $500 offer link and applied for that one instead.

This is a LOT for us. I am not a big churner and have probably never opened 4 cards in one year for just one of us. Yeesh. I will probably lay off and not do any rewards for him next year.

{This level of credit card churning has absolutely no effect on our credit scores. Hell would freeze over before we ever carried a balance on a credit card}.

As to credit score, which is a question that I get a lot, we have 100% on-time payments and 10 years of good credit on our reports (even if the accounts have been closed). That's clearly about 90% of OUR credit score. No one knows exactly how it all works. About the only think I have ever noticed that impacts our score is utilization ratio. Like when I made a big purchase on our Target card and totally forgot it only had a $500 limit. (So we ended up with a very high utilization on one card). I mean, it probably never would have occurred to me in the first place. It dinged our score for a bit, but maybe just for a month or two. Nothing we couldn't overcome and I am talking maybe it went from 840 to 820. I'd consider this "no effect" since anything above 750 is an excellent credit score. This is something that didn't amount to a hill of beans in the long run. But as someone who needs a good credit score for her job, I will be cautious about utilization ratios in the future. As to most the rest, the only thing I really care about is paying my bills on time.

Since we have mostly never borrowed for anything and this credit card reward extravaganza is a more recent phenomenon, we have way below average # of cards/credit lines on our credit reports. (I think that's CRAZY!! Lord knows we have opened tons of credit cards in the last 8 years or so. How are we below average?!). So it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the future. But that's something that doesn't affect our score because we are at or below average. (P.S. I guess our willingness to close our credit cards is also a lot of this. Stuff older than 10 years completely drops off, so maybe we've already reached a bit of a peak.
If I apply for 4 new cards next year but 4 old cards completely drop off my credit report, it's hard to increase this number much at this point).

Closing credit cards and having only a year or two of open credit doesn't amount to a hill of beans, for us. My theory was since good credit stays on your report for 10 years that clearly that counts for something. I've since seen this theory confirmed, in the years since I figured this out on my own. This is why I have never given a flip about keeping old cards open. That is WAY too complicated for me, to keep track of open cards. (I felt this way when I opened one credit card every few years or so. So it never occurred to me to keep open all of these cards. No Way!). We close all accounts we are not using.

Anyway, so those are some notes on that front. With this $500 reward, we are on track for our second best year ever. About $3,500 in rewards. Year #1 was 2011, which was more than $4,000. (That was the year that Chase had a $1,000 cash bonus. Crazy!)

2 Responses to “Credit Card Rewards Update”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Wow, that's a lot in rewards. You played the game exceedingly well.

  2. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    great game playing. I am still looking at things.

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