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Your Questions Answered
For the past week I have been asking readers to send in their questions so I can answer them. Here are the related posts:
- Your Questions Answered – Most Common Points & Miles Acronyms
- Credit History with Converted Accounts, Max Number of Amex AUs, Money Orders at Walmart & More
- Ink Bold or Plus, Paying for Someone Else’s Global Entry & Shopping Portal Clawbacks after Returns
- Credit Card Churning – How to Decide Which Cards Stay & Which Cards Go
- Parking Money in Bluebird, Personal Expenses on a Business Card & Funding Checking Accounts with a Credit Card
If you want to get your question answered, simply head over to this post and leave the question in a comment. I am working to get through most of them this week.
Our first question comes from Mr. Dioji:
Why does it seem that people prefer to get $200 VGCs from Staples rather than $500 ones from a grocery store? My guess is that office does have a lower limit, thus requiring $200 max. My other guess is that people like earning 5x UR points rather than whatever grocery bonus. Is this accurate? If so, then I think I’m just better off going the easier route of 5 $500 VGCs from grocery to max out my Redbird daily load, rather than 12 $200 ones from office supply stores.
You have hit on a key point in your comment. People have different priorities and thus what is your best strategy may not work for someone else. To start lets look at the two options you present.
- Purchase $500 Visa gift cards at a grocery store for $5.95
- Purchase $200 Visa gift cards at Staples for $6.95
Lets start with Staples. $6.95 is a high fee, so there really isn’t a reason to purchase those cards other than if you receive 5x like with the Chase Ink. Even if you conservatively value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, you earn earning about $8.57 after accounting for the fee. ($206.95*.075-$6.95)
On the other hand, you rack up a lot more spend on a $500 card. If you have a card that pays 2 or 3% at a grocery store then buying cards there might make sense. For example, on a card that earns 3% at a grocery store, you will earn $9.22 on the purchase of one card.
So as you can see purchasing a card from the grocery store gives you more value, but it also takes up more of your liquidation bandwidth. So lets say you can load $5,000 per month to your REDbird. You could buy:
- 25 Staples cards and earn: $214.25 worth of points (More reward, but more time to liquidate.)
- 10 Grocery store cards and earn: $92.20 in cash (Less reward, but easier to liquidate.)
Of course your card may have a bigger or smaller grocery bonus, so feel free to plug in your own values. Hopefully that example gave you an idea of why people like Staples, although I can guarantee you that a lot of people like grocery stores too. It really just depends on your priorities, which cards you have and how you value the rewards.
Finally, if you don’t have a card that earns a bonus, there are far cheaper ways to purchase gift cards. Many malls charge only $3.95 for $500 cards and you can also get $500 cards for about $4.50 through GiftCardMall.
Our second question comes from Kerrigan:
Hi, when you’re going through Shop through Chase, do you get bonus points if you’re buying something with a GC? Do I have to use a Chase credit card to get bonus points?
As you can see above, Shop Through Chase requires you to login with an Ultimate Rewards card in order to get to the portal. They then say you have to pay with that card to receive the points. That really isn’t true.
I have used Shop Through Chase a number of times and paid with other credit cards and even gift cards. The transactions processed just like with any other portal. The one area you could run into a problem is if there is an issue.
In the past people have been denied when asking for help since they didn’t use a Chase card. I did run into a situation once where my purchase didn’t track, however in that case Chase did give me the points even though I used a third party card.
Our third question comes from Jeanne:
Are secondary cards on American Express Platinum accounts eligible for the $200.00 Airline credit?
While certain things like Priority Pass Select membership and the Global Entry fee credit apply to authorized cards, the airline credit only works on the main card. For that benefit you get $200 total per calendar year! This means you can get the credit twice during your first year of card membership.
There are quite a few more questions left to answer and I’ll be trying to get to a few each day. If you want your question answered then please leave a comment here. Also, feel free to chime in with your experiences and opinions about any of these questions in the comments! Have a great weekend!
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