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howie888 said:   
lonestarguy said:   People gripe about the $75 annual fee of Amex, but you do get benefits like free Shoprunner, Amex Offers and particularly small business Saturday. Those save me more than the annual fee.
  All those exist on the BCE as well w/o the 75 annual fee.  In other words it depends on how much you spend on groceries.  For large families, it might make sense to carry both sallie mae and BCP, for my family of 5, I come out ahead w/ 2 Sallie Mae Cards + the 5% quarterly grocery Cash Back bonuses that discover /chase/ citi occasionally put out.

  Note the Chase Freedom has 5% on groceries for this quarter. Since they have 0% on purchases for the first year, a new Freedom becomes the best card for groceries (up to their limit of $1500). If you have a large family, this can free up the AMEX $6,000 limit on groceries card for use in later quarters

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ProfessorEd said:    Note the Chase Freedom has 5% on groceries for this quarter. Since they have 0% on purchases for the first year, a new Freedom becomes the best card for groceries (up to their limit of $1500). If you have a large family, this can free up the AMEX $6,000 limit on groceries card for use in later quarters
  Yup.  And it's sweet.  I gave my Sallie Mae card a rest today and used instead my Freedom card to buy groceries.  Gonna free up some stranded rewards on the Freedom card this way.  You gotta love 5%!

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I've recently received the BCP and then both my wife and I applied for and received the SM MC (which doubles the cap). I think the best card depends on annual grocery spending as follows:

  • $0-3000/yr: one SM
  • $3000-6300/yr: two SM's
  • $6300-9000/yr: SM + BCP


Notice that I see no instance where the BCP by itself makes sense. We fall into the 3000-6300 range so we will use two SM's. Once we qualify for the BCP promotion we will convert it to a BCE and avoid the annual fee going forward. One advantage of SM that may not be emphasized is the definition of grocery store. It turns out that the SM definition is much broader than BCP. For example, we get 5% at WalMart with SM, but not BCP. Also Save-A-Lot accepts our SM card, but not our BCP AmEx. The SM does take a bit more work tracking monthly caps, but (for us) it's well worth it when we consider purchases at Amazon, WalMart, and Save-A-Lot.

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kd4p said:   I've recently received the BCP and then both my wife and I applied for and received the SM MC (which doubles the cap). I think the best card depends on annual grocery spending as follows:

  • $0-3000/yr: one SM
  • $3000-6300/yr: two SM's
  • $6300-9000/yr: SM + BCP


Notice that I see no instance where the BCP by itself makes sense. We fall into the 3000-6300 range so we will use two SM's. Once we qualify for the BCP promotion we will convert it to a BCE and avoid the annual fee going forward. One advantage of SM that may not be emphasized is the definition of grocery store. It turns out that the SM definition is much broader than BCP. For example, we get 5% at WalMart with SM, but not BCP. Also Save-A-Lot accepts our SM card, but not our BCP AmEx. The SM does take a bit more work tracking monthly caps, but (for us) it's well worth it when we consider purchases at Amazon, WalMart, and Save-A-Lot.

  Just incase someone looks at your post in a vacuum, it is not up to $3,000 a year per card.  It is up to $250 a month in grocery purchases per card that earns 5%.  So if you have a big holiday feast or unpredictable grocery spend the BCP should be considered.

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Right it's $3000/yr average based on a cap of $250/mo. The biggest disadvantage of SM, in my opinion, is for those that have large variations in grocery spending from one month to the next. One way to average things out would be to buy a grocery gift card in those months that one is low and use it the next month when spending might be up. In our case the 2nd SM gives us a lot of flexibility since we will probably average $300-400/mo.

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6% is better than 5% every day of the week. And since BCP usually gives you a $100-$200 bonus for first using the card, the annual fee is paid for a year or two. I received a $150 bonus when I got the card, which paid for two years of the annual fee, so I'm getting a real 6%.

If you pay the annual fee and only buy $6000 worth of groceries per year, minus the annual fee the percentage works out to 4.75%, so it is still much better than the BCE card which pays just 3%.  Even if you use  BCP for just $3000 of groceries, your average minus the annual fee is 3.5%, so I don't see any real point to the BCE unless you don't use it much.

Since I buy prescriptions, cleaning supplies, and other items at the grocery store, it's well worth it to me.

One also needs to include the other AMEX discount bonuses for buying at certain stores or gas stations. They frequently have a $5 reward for using particular gas stations and are currently running an extra 2% off buying at Whole Foods (i.e. you are getting 8% for a limited period).

Last year I had an additional $75 in savings that included discounts at WalMart, Amazon, Exxon,BP, etc.

I just got the Sallie Mae card primarily because I had $6000 in grocery spending halfway through October last year  and want something that helps fill the gap.

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Argyll said:   6% is better than 5% every day of the week. And since BCP usually gives you a $100-$200 bonus for first using the card, the annual fee is paid for a year or two. I received a $150 bonus when I got the card, which paid for two years of the annual fee, so I'm getting a real 6%.

If you pay the annual fee and only buy $6000 worth of groceries per year, minus the annual fee the percentage works out to 4.75%, so it is still much better than the BCE card which pays just 3%.  Even if you use  BCP for just $3000 of groceries, your average minus the annual fee is 3.5%, so I don't see any real point to the BCE unless you don't use it much.

Since I buy prescriptions, cleaning supplies, and other items at the grocery store, it's well worth it to me.

One also needs to include the other AMEX discount bonuses for buying at certain stores or gas stations. They frequently have a $5 reward for using particular gas stations and are currently running an extra 2% off buying at Whole Foods (i.e. you are getting 8% for a limited period).

Last year I had an additional $75 in savings that included discounts at WalMart, Amazon, Exxon,BP, etc.

I just got the Sallie Mae card primarily because I had $6000 in grocery spending halfway through October last year  and want something that helps fill the gap.

You are correct that the optimum annual grocery spending of $6000 with BCP earns 4.75% which is always less than 5% using two SM's. Grocery spending rates less than or greater than $6000 earn even less. In our case we will probably average around $400/mo in grocery spending. In that case, our two SM's earn the full 5% while BCP would earn only 4.4%

As background, we applied for and received BCP before we heard about SM. Now that we have compared the two it was easy to determine that there was no situation in which BCP by itself made sense. Depending on one's level of grocery spending, the optimum choice would be one SM, two SM's, or an SM+BCP. For our level of grocery spending two SM's make the most sense. Our analysis may not apply to those who don't wish to balance spending between the two SM's each month or who have highly variable grocery spending from month to month. The OP of this thread, includes a graph showing the Cash Back reward for different card combinations as a function of annual grocery spending.
https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/comments/2e7efa/i_made_a_graph_comparing_blue_cash_everyday_blue/ 

It was a real eye opener for us. The final variable which made the decision a no-brainer was how grocery stores are defined between the two cards. SM offers the full 5% at WalMart, Save-A-Lot, and Amazon. None of those merchants qualify with BCP. In fact Save-A-Lot doesn't even accept AmEx. Once we earn the BCP promotions we will convert it to BCE to avoid the annual fee going forward. They do offer a pro-rata refund on the annual fee which is nice. We're also retiring our PenFed Visa since SM earns the same 5% on gas and allows us to reduce the number of cards we carry. The Citi Double Cash MC will earn 2% Cash Back for everything else.
 

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I usually get at least $75 in the savings offers from BCP which pays the annual fee so I'm more or less getting a real 6% on groceries up to $6000, and sometimes more than 6% if you include bonuses.

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Argyll said:   I usually get at least $75 in the savings offers from BCP which pays the annual fee so I'm more or less getting a real 6% on groceries up to $6000, and sometimes more than 6% if you include bonuses.
Thanks. Are those same bonuses available with BCE? If so it's a win-win for those spending less than $6300/yr (ie, bonuses without the annual fees). However, in your case with annual grocery spending over $6300, your SM+BCP should be optimum per our analysis. As mentioned, I'm earning 5% Cash Back at my local WalMart superstore. I wonder if it's also available from WalMart.com. Does anyone know? My biggest concern with both our SM and Citi Double Cash is that they reduce the benefits down the road. For that reason we won't close out our Fid AmEx for 2% everywhere and PenFed Visa for 5% gas Cash Back.

 

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Argyll said:   I usually get at least $75 in the savings offers from BCP which pays the annual fee so I'm more or less getting a real 6% on groceries up to $6000, and sometimes more than 6% if you include bonuses.
  And how many of those savings offers would you get if you had the no-fee Everyday version of the card?

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I got both BCP and SM because at one point they may not be offered, or may get discontinued. I used to have 5% grocery cards from Citi, Chase, HSBC, and one other bank I forgot the name of and all of those stopped offering it. Once HSBC announced the ending of the 5% I got the BCP and SM.

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Argyll said:   Last year I had an additional $75 in savings that included discounts at WalMart, Amazon, Exxon,BP, etc.

 

  I had every one of those offers on my no-fee BCE.

$80 from Amex Offers in 2014, $95 in 2013 and $15 already this year. 

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devyanks90 said:   
Argyll said:   Last year I had an additional $75 in savings that included discounts at WalMart, Amazon, Exxon,BP, etc.

 

  I had every one of those offers on my no-fee BCE.

$80 from Amex Offers in 2014, $95 in 2013 and $15 already this year. 

Thanks. That's good news. Guess it will be worthwhile hanging onto it (as planned) after I convert my BCP to BCE after earning the promotions.

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lonestarguy said:   I got both BCP and SM because at one point they may not be offered, or may get discontinued. I used to have 5% grocery cards from Citi, Chase, HSBC, and one other bank I forgot the name of and all of those stopped offering it. Once HSBC announced the ending of the 5% I got the BCP and SM.
What do you figure your annual grocery spending to be? I'm just wondering if the BCP annual fee is worth it. My analysis suggests that it's not worth it for annual spending less than $6300.

You reinforce my concern that Sallie Mae or Citi Double Cash reduces the rewards going forward.

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kd4p said:   
lonestarguy said:   I got both BCP and SM because at one point they may not be offered, or may get discontinued. I used to have 5% grocery cards from Citi, Chase, HSBC, and one other bank I forgot the name of and all of those stopped offering it. Once HSBC announced the ending of the 5% I got the BCP and SM.
  What do you figure your annual grocery spending to be? I'm just wondering if the BCP annual fee is worth it. You reinforce my concern that Sallie Mae or Citi Double Cash reduces the rewards going forward.

  
It's only worth it if you spend over about $230. a month on groceries. 

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phototristan said:   
kd4p said:   
lonestarguy said:   I got both BCP and SM because at one point they may not be offered, or may get discontinued. I used to have 5% grocery cards from Citi, Chase, HSBC, and one other bank I forgot the name of and all of those stopped offering it. Once HSBC announced the ending of the 5% I got the BCP and SM.
  What do you figure your annual grocery spending to be? I'm just wondering if the BCP annual fee is worth it. You reinforce my concern that Sallie Mae or Citi Double Cash reduces the rewards going forward.

  
It's only worth it if you spend over about $230. a month on groceries. 

According to my analysis you need to spend at least $6300/year to make BCP worth considering when compared to one or two SM's

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kd4p said:   
phototristan said:   
kd4p said:   
lonestarguy said:   I got both BCP and SM because at one point they may not be offered, or may get discontinued. I used to have 5% grocery cards from Citi, Chase, HSBC, and one other bank I forgot the name of and all of those stopped offering it. Once HSBC announced the ending of the 5% I got the BCP and SM.
  What do you figure your annual grocery spending to be? I'm just wondering if the BCP annual fee is worth it. You reinforce my concern that Sallie Mae or Citi Double Cash reduces the rewards going forward.

  
It's only worth it if you spend over about $230. a month on groceries. 

According to my analysis you need to spend at least $6300/year to make BCP worth considering when compared to one or two SM's

  
This is true. I was comparing the Amex Blue Cash Preferred to the Blue Cash Everyday (no fee).

I mostly use the Sallie Mae card though since it gives 5% on groceries and no annual fee!

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Also consider the Sallie Mae rewards on Amazon. For our family, this is the major source of rewards since many purchases are made there.

Even though I have multiple Forwards for 5% in points, I find these points are much less valuable than the Cash Back from Sallie(I am watching it to make sure expenditures over $750 in a month are made on a Forward).

The assorted bonuses on the Amex are valuable. So far this month it has been possible to make two Verizon payments of $75 and get back $25, a puchase at another store of $100 and get back $20, buy gasoline for $30 at Shell and get back $5.00.

Notice these are per card holder, and if a spouse has a card, they can be doubled (she needs a separate log in with her card put into it).Of course you can get many of these with a non-fee American Express, but with multiple cards you may be able to get several offers (open all the windows before accepting any, or cookies will be placed that prevent the offers from being presented on another card. It is nice to have a number of opportunities to pay Verizon $75 and get $25 back, or to break large purchases into $100 chunks that get $20 back.

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We received the 5% reward using our SM at our local WalMart superstore. Does anyone know if you also get the 5% from WalMart.com? We do a fair bit of site to store ordering there.

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kd4p said:   We received the 5% reward using our SM at our local WalMart superstore. Does anyone know if you also get the 5% from WalMart.com? We do a fair bit of site to store ordering there.
  I did not get the 5% on the 1 order I made from WalMart.com w/ the Sallie Mae card.

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Does Barclays allow conversions into Sallie Mae from other cards (such as NFL)?

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kd4p said:   We received the 5% reward using our SM at our local WalMart superstore. Does anyone know if you also get the 5% from WalMart.com? We do a fair bit of site to store ordering there.
  
WalMart.com does not qualify for the 5%.  What I do instead is buy WalMart gift cards at my local WalMart which does qualify for the 5%.  I then use those gift cards at WalMart.com (also at Sam's Club) to effectively get 5% CashBack where I otherwise wouldn't.

Chris.

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cpaynter said:   
kd4p said:   We received the 5% reward using our SM at our local WalMart superstore. Does anyone know if you also get the 5% from WalMart.com? We do a fair bit of site to store ordering there.
  
WalMart.com does not qualify for the 5%.  What I do instead is buy WalMart gift cards at my local WalMart which does qualify for the 5%.  I then use those gift cards at WalMart.com (also at Sam's Club) to effectively get 5% CashBack where I otherwise wouldn't.

Chris.

  Thanks. That's very helpful. I had figured that out for Sam's Club, but not WalMart.com

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kd4p said:   
lonestarguy said:   I got both BCP and SM because at one point they may not be offered, or may get discontinued. I used to have 5% grocery cards from Citi, Chase, HSBC, and one other bank I forgot the name of and all of those stopped offering it. Once HSBC announced the ending of the 5% I got the BCP and SM.
What do you figure your annual grocery spending to be? I'm just wondering if the BCP annual fee is worth it. My analysis suggests that it's not worth it for annual spending less than $6300.

You reinforce my concern that Sallie Mae or Citi Double Cash reduces the rewards going forward.

  
Annual grocery spend is probably a little above $6000 but since my wife doesn't like keeping track of multiple cards, it is just easier not dealing with needing two SM cards.   

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GamingG said:   
Argyll said:   I usually get at least $75 in the savings offers from BCP which pays the annual fee so I'm more or less getting a real 6% on groceries up to $6000, and sometimes more than 6% if you include bonuses.
  And how many of those savings offers would you get if you had the no-fee Everyday version of the card?

  I don't know, but even assuming they are the same offers, 6% up to $6000 is much better than 3% up to $6000.    Also, the BCP gives 3% back on gas and department stores instead of the 2% of the BCE card.

The offers seem to vary as I've seen others mention offers I did not get and I received offers others did not. 

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lonestarguy said:   Annual grocery spend is probably a little above $6000 but since my wife doesn't like keeping track of multiple cards, it is just easier not dealing with needing two SM cards.   
 

  This situation is common. With one Sallie Mae card, an occasional grocery shopping trip by the one who does keep track of these things (perhaps the one who pays the bills) can get 5% on some grocery bills, leaving the other to earn 6% on her spending (without having to worry about a second card).

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*Edit*

Statement said 1 point but online said 5.

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Do 7-11s get coded as gas for in store purchases?

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ProfessorEd said:   
lonestarguy said:   Annual grocery spend is probably a little above $6000 but since my wife doesn't like keeping track of multiple cards, it is just easier not dealing with needing two SM cards.   
  This situation is common. With one Sallie Mae card, an occasional grocery shopping trip by the one who does keep track of these things (perhaps the one who pays the bills) can get 5% on some grocery bills, leaving the other to earn 6% on her spending (without having to worry about a second card).

We've taken it a step further, but must wait awhile to see how it works out. We have a shared BCP and a SM each. At the beginning of the billing cycle we'll each have the BCP and my SM (we're authorized users on each other's SM). When I determine that we've reached the monthly cap on my SM, we'll switch to my wife's SM to start earning the 5% on her card. We'll use the BCP for Publix and Winn-Dixie to earn 6%. We'll use the SM for WalMart, Save-A-Lot (which doesn't accept AmEx) and both Sam's Club and WalMart.com via WalMart gift cards.
 

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freeka said:   Do 7-11s get coded as gas for in store purchases?
  I don't have direct experience but everything I've read says that gas and inside are coded differently.

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donotdrinkPBR said:   
freeka said:   Do 7-11s get coded as gas for in store purchases?
  I don't have direct experience but everything I've read says that gas and inside are coded differently.

  No experience with 7/11 but Wawa and Quick Chek (mid-Atlantic convenience store chains) both code as gas inside and at the pump, even if the store doesn't have a gas station.

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freeka said:   Do 7-11s get coded as gas for in store purchases?
  Don't know how general this is, but my local 7/11 (which does not sell gasoline) appears to be coded as a gas station by Visa.

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freeka said:   Do 7-11s get coded as gas for in store purchases?
  You will have to check your own store (which is easy with a small purchase).  My local stores though code as gas on all of my cards (Amex, MasterCard, Visa, & Discover)

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Got a mailer today for a offer of 2 bonus points per $1 spent on travel, dining and home improvement store purchases, up to 2500 points.

There is a code so I assume this is targeted.

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