Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What's In My Wallet

I recently read a couple of "what's in my wallet" posts by two of the bloggers on my sidebar, Gary @ View from the Wing and Lucky at One Mile at at Time.  Both posts discuss the credit cards, etc. that they carry around every day.  Because Gary and Lucky both recommend cards and earn money from referral links (and I don't), I thought it might be interesting to look at what I carry around on a daily basis and to explain why.  So, here it is:

Citi Thank You Premier:  This is my first year with the card, so I haven't paid any annual fee on this card.  I completed the required spending for a 50K sign-up bonus, but I'm still carrying the card to use for restaurant spending, where it earns two Thank You points per dollar.  Transferable points are the gold standard in the points and miles world and I'm always looking for ways to diversify my points portfolio.  Thank You Points are what I consider a "second-tier" transferable currency since they only transfer to a limited number of airlines. I should note that this card also earns 3 points per dollar on gas, but I use a different card (that earns "first-tier" transferable points) for that.

Hilton HHonors Surpass:  I've had this card for a number of years, primarily because it has a pretty good earning structure and awards Hilton Diamond status with $40,000 in annual spending.  I use it for all of my grocery store spending, where it earns 6 points per dollar.  Because I'm able to do some manufactured spending at grocery stores, I can pretty easily hit that $40K mark each year.  Depending on my Hilton balance, I may pull this card out of my wallet when I hit it this year.  If I do, I'll likely start using the next card for grocery store spend.

Fidelity Investment Rewards Amex:  This card is my touchstone for all other cards.  No annual fee and a flat 2% cashback everywhere, all the time.  By "touchstone", I mean it sets the valuation benchmark for determining whether to use another card for bonus categories.  For instance, the Surpass card earns 6PPD at grocery stores.  By using the Surpass instead of the Fidelity card, I'm paying an opportunity cost of 2 cents for 6 Hilton Points.  Because I value Hilton points at around .4 CPP, I get 2.4 cents worth of value for every dollar spent, making the Surpass a slightly better choice at the grocery store.

Barclay Arrival+ Mastercard: This is an $89 annual fee card.  I use this card to do some grocery store MSing.  It earns an effective rate of 2.05% cashback towards travel everywhere. As a Mastercard, I've been able to link it to my Fuel Rewards card and I earn an additional 3 cents in Fuel Reward per $100 spent at Winn-Dixie.  I also use this card for car rentals because it is a World Elite Mastercard and carries primary rental car coverage (which means I can waive the CDW without sweating).  I may or may not keep this card when my next annual fee comes due, as I plan on depleting my award balance to pay for much of an upcoming trip to England.

Suntrust Delta Debit Card: This is a legacy card that I probably won't renew when the $75 annual fee comes due in June.  Suntrust was an incredible source of Skymiles for years when this card earned 1MPD on debit purchases.  That meant that I could use MS techniques to effectively purchase Skymiles at .07 CPM, an incredible bargain. But, as with all incredible bargains, it couldn't last.  The card is now throttled to 2,000 miles in a month at a .5MPD rate.  I carry it solely for MSing purposes.

American Express Business Gold:  This is another annual fee card, I picked it up for the huge sign-up bonus, but I haven't paid a fee on it yet.  At $175, the fee probably exceeds the card's value and if I'm not offered any sort of retention bonus, I may not keep it.  But for now, I use it for gas purchases where it earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar.  Membership Reward points are very flexible and transfer to a number of useful airlines, including Delta.

Winn-Dixie Customer Rewards Card: Okay, so this is not a credit card, but I needed something to cover up the personal info on my bottom card!  Still, it is important in my current MS cycle.  For a couple of years, I've earned Fuel Rewards points by swiping this card whenever I was doing any MSing at WD.  Points were only earned on the load fees for purchasing Visa gift cards, but every little bit helped.

I have other cards (ED: Lots!), but most of them I hold for specific purposes and not everyday spending.  I'll cover those in a separate post.

PS: Oh, and Lucky's credit score is higher than mine... but not by much!

Friday, April 1, 2016


One of my favorite deals ever was the United State's Mint's "Direct Ship" program.  It allowed you to purchase presidential dollar coins at face value with a miles earning credit card - and the Mint would even ship them to you for free! There was no effective limit to the amount of coins that you could purchase, and many people purchased hundreds of thousands of coins.

Well, I'm happy to announce that you can, once more, buy golden dollar coins at face value!  With free shipping!  Happy days are here again!
100th Anniversary of Women's Right to Vote Coin Pack. A Turning Point In Our History
There's just one teensy-tiny hitch.  They're Canadian dollars.  And you can only buy five of them. And you have to have a Canadian Address. Still interested?  Visit HERE.

By the way, I found this amazing deal after reading a thread on Flyertalk.  Its about the Canadian Mint's $20 for $20 program that sells non-circulating silver coins at "face value."  The program is a terrible deal for several reasons that are explained in the thread.  Happy April Fool's Day, everyone!

UPDATE:  I'll be very disappointed if some Canadian MSer doesn't try ordering one set of these to his home address + "Unit 1A, Unit 1B... Unit 99Z," etc.