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5% Cashback on Gambling Winnings Credit Card

I used to play a lot of blackjack and poker online back in college, before the Port Security Bill in 2006 made it illegal for banks to conduct business with known casino sites, and made some decent cash too. Back then, and even today, casinos would give you 100% matching bonuses on your deposit as long as you put into play six times the bonus amount (nowadays it’s like 20 times). I would put in a hundred bucks, get a hundred bucks, put into play six hundred bucks and walk away with, on average, two or three hundred dollars of profit. I had a spreadsheet and everything, if I only I also had the First Ausus Chance Card from First Ausus Bank, a bank headquartered in Bermuda.

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How We Got A $1608.43 Cash Back Rebate Check

Citi CashReturns(SM) MasterCard® That’s right, we recently received a $1,075.98 check from Citi to go with our $532.45 check last month, all part of the greatest cashback plan in the world. Okay okay, I’m only kidding, it’s probably not the greatest cashback plan in the world but the Citi CashReturns card but it certainly softened the blow of paying for a wedding and honeymoon. Citi recently cut the promotion on this card so it fell off my list of the best cash back credit cards but it was hot while it lasted!

For those of you keeping score at home, and motivated enough to divide 1608.43 by .05, the cash back rebate included not only our wedding and honeymoon but almost all the spending of the last three months as well… but weddings are pricey.

So, how do you leverage a 3 month 5% cashback program as best as possible? Don’t apply for it unless you know you have a large capital expenditure in the next three months! This is perfect for big family vacations, weddings, home improvement projects, or anything else that’s expensive. I think that if you’re thinking about spending $10,000 or more ($500 cashback), then applying for this card is a smart move. If you don’t have anything on that scale, don’t apply! You want to save it for when you will have a big expenditure.

One other great thing about this card is that they automatically send you the rebate check, you don’t have to request it. I think it’s ridiculous that all cards don’t do this.


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Citi CashReturns: We Got A $500+ Rewards Check

Citi CashReturns(SM) MasterCard® Don’t think cashback reward credit cards are worth it? Well, a month ago I wrote about how the Citi CashReturns card was our wedding spending secret weapon because of its phenomenal 5% cash back rewards program. It was an idea my friend gave me and we’re now thankful he thought of it (and remembered to mention it to us!) because just the other day we received a check from Citi for $532.45. That’s right, in the last month we’ve spent a whopping $13,311.25 on wedding related items (mostly catering deposits, thankfully they took credit cards!) and we’re still a month out from the actual event!

While this is an extreme example, it’s the perfect case of how this CashReturns card has saved us a lot of money. That $500 is like getting our wedding cake for free… or part of our DJ for free… or a tuxedo for free. Another awesome feature of the card is that you don’t have to request the check, something I always felt was a ridiculous requirement. Of course I want my money, why would I ever “stockpile” cash? So, without any prompting, Citi sent us the check (we almost ripped it up because we thought they were convenience checks!).

The only downside to the promotional offer is that the 5% cashback is for only three months but that’s long enough for us to pay for the wedding and a honeymoon… all at an instant 5% discount!


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Top 15 Reward Credit Cards

Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN Money asked five credit card industry experts (basically representatives of companies that run credit card websites) and a frequent flier guru for their favorite cards in one of three categories: travel programs, cash-back programs, and savings programs. Travel programs are those cards that offer miles and upgrades and perfect for those with a lot of travel each year. The cash-back programs are, as you would expect, those cards that offer the best cash-back rebate. Finally, the savings programs are those cards that give you savings towards something, instead of straight cash, such as for a house, a car, or even directly into a brokerage account.

One trend you’ll see is that all of the winning cards are American Express! Is this some kind of conspiracy? Hardly. American Express is less widely accepted because they have higher merchant fees. The higher fees means that they’re able to offer higher reward earn rates because their profits are better. So, in each category you’ll see an American Express card winning out.

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Citi CashReturns: Our Wedding Spending 5% Discount Secret Weapon

Citi CashReturns(SM) MasterCard® This offer has expired.

I actually feel kind of stupid for not thinking of this earlier but my friend mentioned the Citi CashReturns card the other day and how he used it to take a 5% discount off his entire wedding. He took the CashReturns promotion of 5% cashback (no annual limit), put all of his wedding spending on it, and got himself a nice fat check for 5%. It was so easy that I felt stupid for not having thought of it first. I dismissed the card entirely from my mind when I heard it was 5% for only 3 months, I’ve written in the past about how those types of time limited cashback promotional offers suck but this time it’s different.

Why is it different? It’s because it’s 5% on everything and because we’re going to have a tremendous spike in spending for the next three months as all the wedding expenses get combined with all sorts of honeymoon expenses for a wonderfully expensive quarter. Let’s say the wedding catering costs approximately $15,000. On a conventional credit card, that’s still a nice fat $150 (not fat compared to the cost of course) cash back which is nice. At 5% that amount blossoms to $750! While it won’t replace typical wedding cost cutting strategies, it’s certainly nice to get a little off the top just for using a credit card.

The fine print says “Your Citi CashReturns Card account (“Card Account”) will receive a rebate based upon eligible transactions appearing on your current month’s billing statement.” Which reads to me like you can charge the maximum, pay it off mid-month, then charge some more, pay it off; and have every transaction count towards cashback. The credit limit we have on the card simply isn’t enough to cover all the charges in the short period of time so our mid-billing period payments still have to go if we want to maximize the returns. Lastly, another thing we’ve done is consolidated all of the Citi accounts into that card to increase the credit limit to the max.

There you have it, a slap-my-forehead-its-so-obvious type of idea my friend suggested that should help us out just nicely.

Incidentally, I find it amazing that vendors aren’t willing to cut you a price break to work with cash or check considering the fees they have to pay, oh well, our gain anyway.


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Money’s Best Cashback Reward Credit Cards

Money magazine recently did a recap of the best reward credit cards out there and they were surprisingly on the money with a lot of their picks. Personally, I roll with the Discover Open Road card for gas purchases and the Citi mtvU card for food, and then my American Express True Earnings card for practically everything else.

For Big Spenders

Blue Cash from American ExpressBlue Cash from American Express – The only knock against the Blue Cash is the tiered rewards system, something a lot of other cards have abandoned, but when you exceed the $6500 a year level, you can get 5% cash back on the coveted everyday purchase category of supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations and 1.5% everywhere else with no annual rebate cap. With how few 5% cash back cards there are for that category, if you are willing to use this card for a lot of things to get to that $6500 level, the 5% will reap rewards that very few other cards can meet.

Balance Carriers

Discover® More – If you are carrying a balance, I wouldn’t recommend the Discover® More card even though it offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for a full 18 months (then the Regular APR) because they now carry a fee, I’d instead go with any other Citi card because they don’t have a transfer fee. There are plenty of no fee or zero fee balance transfers out there that can get you the same offer and I’ve compiled a list of 0% balance transfer credit cards here. The card itself is useful for its cash back potential because the Discover® More’s reward program rotates quarterly on where you can get the 5% Cashback Bonus.

Heavy Drivers

Citi Drivers Edge Platinum Select MastercardDiscover Open Road Citi Driver’s Edge Platinum Select MasterCard, Discover Open Road – The really cool thing about the Citi Driver’s Edge Platinum Select is that for every hundred miles you drive, you basically get $1 in cash back. Another huge plus is 6% cash back on everyday purchases (gas stations, supermarkets and drugstores) but unfortunately that lasts only 12 months, then it falls to 3%, and is capped at $1,000 a year (which is higher than most caps). I think the whole free money for driving aspect is clever and if you consider the average annual mileage of 12k – 15k, that $120 – $150 isn’t chump change.

Money also recommended the Discover Open Road card, it used to be their Gas card, but the only advantage it has over the Driver’s Edge is the 5% cashback that lasts “forever,” instead of for only 12 months. The Open Road card doesn’t come with the especially lucrative cash back for driving bonus so I think it has to take a back seat to the Driver’s Edge.

Heavy Flyers

Discover Open Road, Capital One No Hassle Miles Rewards – I’m always ambivalent to cards that offer miles because I live so close to a Southwest hub and am able to get really good prices on flights to almost anywhere I want to go, so I’m a little inexperienced with what programs are good and what programs are not so I’ll just defer to Money’s judgment.

Source: CNN Money


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Just Say No To Teaser Cashback Offers

Information in this post is outdated.

I’m not a fan of credit cards that offer promotional cash back offers because, let’s be honest, they charge their interchange and processing fees regardless of what their reward program is, so why not kick as much back to the cardholder in Month 1 as you would in Month 7 (or 13)? So, when Citi announced that the Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card would now be offering 5% cash back on purchases at gas stations, supermarkets, drugstores, convenience stores, and utilities for only 6 months, I thought that was a joke. I’m sorry, that particular Citi card isn’t going to get a coveted share of wallet with a promo rate like that, especially since Citi just reduced the rewards from this 5% to the current 2% rate. (here are some of the best cash back credit cards available today, don’t settle for promotions)

Listen Citi, you won’t get people applying for your card and putting it in their wallet if they only get 6 months. Make it permanent. Consumers, don’t get duped by these types of offers. Applying for new cards all the time, chasing a few measly percentage points on cashback is going to be brutal to your credit score. Find a card that won’t play these cashback games, apply for it, and stay loyal to it so the card companies know they can jerk people around by adjusting the rules as they see fit.

It’s clear that Citi regrets their decision to reduce the rate from 5% to 2% (otherwise why offer the promotion?) and it’s clear that they also enjoy the added revenue from not paying out as much (otherwise why make it 6 months and not permanent?), so don’t give them a reason to herald this offer a success by clamoring back for 3% extra for six months.


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2007Q1 Discover Get More: 5% on Travel

If you’re a Discover card holder (the Miles card is excluded), the Get More program will apply for travel related services in the first quarter of next year (January through March).

The 5% cash back applies on these purchases (only on the first $1,000 in purchases):

  • Airlines
  • Cruises
  • Hotels
  • Car Rentals
  • Amtrak® Trains
  • Greyhound® Buses

Incidentally, you still have a few days to take advantage of a Discover mall spending promotion they have going on until December 31st. Spend $200 on your Discover card and bring the receipts to a Mall’s concierge/customer service desk for a $20 gift card.


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