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Argyll said:   Here are a few alternatives:

Lake Michigan Credit Union: 3% gas, 2% groceries, 1% everything else

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred: 6% groceries, 3% gas and department stores, 1% everything else ($75 fee)
AMEX Blue Cash Everyday: 3% groceries, 2% gas and department stores, 1% everything else (no fee)

AARP Visa: 5% everything for six months, then 3% travel, 1% everything else.


AMEX Blue Cash Preferred does WalMart Supercenters = groceries?

mikefxu said:   

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred does WalMart Supercenters = groceries?


I'm fairly sure they do not. Only primary grocery stores qualify as groceries.

Who has the highest Cash Back on WalMart Supercenters? Currently use my Fidelity AMEX. Grocery wise do about 80% WalMart, 10% ALDI and 10% Publix.

With the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred, if I purchase gift cards at Kroger (Frys Food) do I still get the discount when I got through the checkout line?

I also have cell phone insurance from paying my wireless bill with the Cash Rewards card. That might be enough for me not to switch.

Miniwallet said:   I also have cell phone insurance from paying my wireless bill with the Cash Rewards card. That might be enough for me not to switch.

Care to elaborate on that? Your phones are insured by paying for the bill with your current Visa Rewards card?

Is the conventional wisdom to switch to the new card, just for the 25000 bonus points? Is the new card worth retaining once you spend the $1000 over 3 months for the bonus?

Miniwallet said:   I also have cell phone insurance from paying my wireless bill with the Cash Rewards card. That might be enough for me not to switch.

Hmm I forgot about that (I was also grandfathered in). I imagine that would change with a conversion... That benefit is handy; I used it just a few months ago.

bigdinkel said:   With the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred, if I purchase gift cards at Kroger (Frys Food) do I still get the discount when I got through the checkout line?

Sure. I do it all the time at my local supermarket. We used gift cards bought at the supermarket for about 80% of our Christmas shopping in order to get the rebate. A lot of our shopping trips involve first stopping at the supermarket to pick up a gift card for whatever store we're heading to.

LordKronos said:   Onenote said:   offer webpage said: you can jumpstart your rewards by earning 5,000 points the very first time you use your card and another 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.

That's ambiguous. Is that 3 months starting today (12/28/11)? Or Feb. 1, 2012? or the first day of the billing cycle after Feb. 1, 2012?


The letter I got says "from the effective date of your switch". While that could mean the date they print your card or the date you activate it, more than likely (and the most conservative guess) it would be the day you submit the form to request the switch.


Has anyone been able to confirm when the "first 3 months" starts that sets the window for when you have to spend the $1,000?

tjguitar85 said:   Has anyone in California received the letter yet? Wonder why they would be targeting some but not others...who knows if I'm even eligible for the bonus if they don't send a letter....

They have arrived in CA.

I just received mine! I wonder if it is for the better.

I am tempted to know what gift cards they offer.

Got mine today also -- hopefully they'll release a list of GCs soon, but $250 bonus is hard to pass up

The letter states that you'll get the 20k bonus points after spending $1000+ within 3 months from the effective date of the switch (which should be the date your new Feb statement starts)

That's $250 that you can use toward merchandise, gift cards, and other rewards. Or, you can use your points for other easy-to-redeem rewards, such as merchandise, Visa prepaid cards, or travel.

I interpret this verbiage to mean that the 25,000 points does not necessarily equal $250 in visa prepaid cards....

I think you guys are being too paranoid about the possible devaluation for prepaid Visa cards. Right from the FAQ page on their website:

Q. The value of Cash Back is easier to understand than the value of points. What would my points be worth in the PenFed Platinum Rewards program?

R. A lot of point rewards programs are tricky but PenFed designed the PenFed Platinum Rewards card to be very simple. Each point you earn is worth $.01 (a cent) in terms of value. For example, 5,000 points would be equal to $50, which you can put on a gift card of your choice, including a pre-paid Visa® card that can be used like cash anywhere Visa is accepted, or use towards brand-named merchandise or travel rewards.

Is there a fee or shipping charges for the gift card or pre-paid Visa?

Interesting info (I don't have THIS PF card though). Many here see this as a positive. PF's facebook page is full of people going crazy over the change.

gremln007 said:   Interesting info (I don't have THIS PF card though). Many here see this as a positive. PF's facebook page is full of people going crazy over the change.

This is why I came to FatWallet first, where posters are generally educated and would give reasoned analysis of the change, rather than assuming that any change = banks trying to screw the customer.

Got the letter. Read it and the FAQ. The 20k points qualification is vague at best and intentionally confusing at worst.

Killjoy1991 said:   I think you guys are being too paranoid about the possible devaluation for prepaid Visa cards. Right from the FAQ page on their website:

That FAQ link wasn't there yesterday. Thanks for pointing that out. Useful info in there. It also says you can keep your current cash rewards, apply for the platinum rewards, and still get the 25k points. I don't think I'll bother with that (old card is inferior in almost every way), but it's an option some might want to consider.

I see many questions on you websire, but no answers. If I switch to PenFed Platinum Rewards what does the points earned equate to in Cash Back or Visa prepaid cards? An example would be beneficial. Is 1 point per dollar spent on a credit card equal to 1 penny of credit that can be applied to a Visa prepaid card redeemable from PenFed? That appears to be the case on the letter you sent me with the paragraph entitled A Special Offer. I read it as 25,000 points is redeemable as a gift card worth $250, but is it also redeemabe as a Visa prepaid card?

Sincerely,
RobertDBrown

From PenFed FAQ:

Q. Do I have to switch to the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card?

R. No, the choice is entirely up to you. We are just providing you with the option to switch, if you are interested.

Q. The value of Cash Back is easier to understand than the value of points. What would my points be worth in the PenFed Platinum Rewards program?

R. A lot of point rewards programs are tricky but PenFed designed the PenFed Platinum Rewards card to be very simple. Each point you earn is worth $.01 (a cent) in terms of value. For example, 5,000 points would be equal to $50, which you can put on a gift card of your choice, including a pre-paid Visa® card that can be used like cash anywhere Visa is accepted, or use towards brand-named merchandise or travel rewards.

Q. How will I be able to redeem my points?

R. You will easily be able to track and redeem your points online or via phone.

Q. Is the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card better for me than my PenFed Platinum Cash Card?

R. Yes, in terms of the ability to earn rewards. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Card not only offers bonus points for gas but it also offers bonus points for supermarket purchases and a point for all other purchases. Remember, the points are worth $.01 so it is like receiving 1% "Cash Back." The biggest difference between the two programs is that the cash rewards program credits you automatically each month in the form of a statement credit while the point rewards program requires you to redeem your points when you are ready. If the automatic monthly statement credit is something that is very important to you, it may be better to keep your existing Cash Rewards card. You can always apply for the Platinum Rewards Card at a later time.

Q. What if I want to keep my existing Platinum Cash Rewards Card AND get the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card?

R. That's great – you should keep your Platinum Cash Rewards Card open and apply for the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card when it is available in February.

Q. Will I still be eligible for the special 25,000 bonus point offer, even if I apply for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card instead of switching to it?

R. Yes, you will still be able to take advantage of the 25,000 bonus point offer.

Q. Can I switch back to cash rewards once I make the switch to point rewards?

R. Unfortunately, you cannot switch back to cash rewards. However, you can always keep your cash rewards card and apply for the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card once it is available in February.

Q. What types of merchandise and gift card items are available for point redemption?

R. There will be over 1,000 brand-named merchandise items and nearly 100 well-known gift card merchants to choose from, including the option to redeem for a generic Visa® prepaid card. Additionally, there will be a wide selection of travel and experiential rewards as well.

Q. Can I see the rewards website so I know what the selection will be before I decide to switch?

R. The rewards website will launch on February 11, 2012.

Q. Can I combine my PenFed Platinum Rewards Card points with my PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card points?

R. Unfortunately, you cannot combine your points between programs at this time.

Is there a fee or shipping charges for the gift cards or pre-paid Visa?

also can rewards be redeemed only in set tiers like $50,$100 etc ? that would be a bummer.

The free cell-phone insurance on the current card more than pays for the 'whoopee one-time $250 bonus' of switching to the new card (roughly a $150 value for each occurrence). Credit-card issuers change reward programs into points so THEY (not the cardholder) get more flexibility with valuations and T&C. I'm in the not switching camp as of right now.

kriskos4 said:   Miniwallet said:   I also have cell phone insurance from paying my wireless bill with the Cash Rewards card. That might be enough for me not to switch.

Care to elaborate on that? Your phones are insured by paying for the bill with your current Visa Rewards card?



Yes, that was one of the benefits offered by the card when I originally signed up for it but it's no longer offered. It sounds like there are several of us grandfathered into that benefit which to me is worth more than the bonus for switching, even though I've never had to take advantage of the insurance.

Argyll said:   Is there a fee or shipping charges for the gift cards or pre-paid Visa?
Have redeemed points for gift cards with both Citi and Chase. There has never been a fee. I assume PenFed would not assess a fee as well.

MeraNamJoker said:   also can rewards be redeemed only in set tiers like $50,$100 etc ? that would be a bummer.

There has to be some tier if your only options are gift cards etc. That is the other reason these cc companies have gone to points only programs. They don't pay out as fast as under a direct Cash Back program. The tiers are usually tied to the merchant on the gift card.

Kudos to PenFed for adding a FAQ. I went for the product change.

"Q. What if I want to keep my existing Platinum Cash Rewards Card AND get the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card?

R. That's great – you should keep your Platinum Cash Rewards Card open and apply for the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card when it is available in February.

"Q. Will I still be eligible for the special 25,000 bonus point offer, even if I apply for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card instead of switching to it?

R. Yes, you will still be able to take advantage of the 25,000 bonus point offer."

A no brainer, having both cards, end of discussion, or am I missing something?

larry33 said:   "Q. What if I want to keep my existing Platinum Cash Rewards Card AND get the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card?

R. That's great – you should keep your Platinum Cash Rewards Card open and apply for the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card when it is available in February.

"Q. Will I still be eligible for the special 25,000 bonus point offer, even if I apply for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card instead of switching to it?

R. Yes, you will still be able to take advantage of the 25,000 bonus point offer."

A no brainer, having both cards, end of discussion, or am I missing something?


Well, I don't need a new credit hit, so I'll take the 25k points without it.

Miniwallet said:   kriskos4 said:   Miniwallet said:   I also have cell phone insurance from paying my wireless bill with the Cash Rewards card. That might be enough for me not to switch.

Care to elaborate on that? Your phones are insured by paying for the bill with your current Visa Rewards card?



Yes, that was one of the benefits offered by the card when I originally signed up for it but it's no longer offered. It sounds like there are several of us grandfathered into that benefit which to me is worth more than the bonus for switching, even though I've never had to take advantage of the insurance.


I initially was hesitant to give that up, but I've had the card for 3 or 4 years now and have only had to use it once (and that was the wife's fault...she now has the ATT iPhone insurance plan). I'll just consider the $250 a cash out...that's enough to cover the benefit for one lost phone and all but $50 for another lost phone. In other words, enough to last me the next 3-8+ years at the current rate. Unless you lose your phone frequently, I think the $250 is worth it.

One advantage that hasn't been mentioned is the intro rate on balance transfers.

For the past few months, PenFed has been offering 4.99% balance transfers for two years with no BT fee. That offer ends today, 12/31.

The new Platinum Rewards Card offers 1.99% balance transfers for two years for transfers made through March 31, 2012. The fee is usually 3% (min $10, max $250) but it's reduced to 1% through March 31st.

So if you're currently paying 4.99% for an existing BT, get the new card, pay off the BT, start a new one for 1.99%, pay an extra 1% fee (max $250), and pocket the extra 25,000 points which will be worth about $250 at the start. It's a no-brainer in my opinion.

It would be better to keep the current card and apply for this one, but I don't know how easy it will be to get the new card while keeping the current one as well. PenFed is fairly generous in giving multiple credit lines in my experience, so it might be best to wait a while until the new card is offered online and look for the experiences of others to determine whether to switch or apply for it without switching.

I'd guess that PenFed is switching from cash to points because of the option of degrading the value of the points, as BofA and Citibank have done this year. But I'd expect a point to be worth about a penny for the first six months of this offer at least.

Happy New Year all!

Actually received two letters I have two cards since a fraudulent Apple Store purchase resulted in cancelled cards and no CC for a week. So if I convert both, we're looking at 500. Not bad, I think.

Getting visa gift cards is inferior compared to a statement credit or direct Cash Back because then you need to use the gift cards for purchases that you otherwise could charge on your rewards card to earn more rewards. I think I'll go with both cards.

I started a separate topic today. Guess I am really late

Another vote for waiting until Feb 1 and applying for the new card. Unless you have a particular credit report or FICO score reason for not wanting to apply for new credit, I can't see how you can go wrong with owning both cards.


To me, keep using your 5% gas Cash Back for now, only for gas. Don't covert.

Feb 1, get the new card, charge $1K and get your $250 Cash Back.

Sock drawer new card. After the free $250 it won't be worth using in any category. Use AMEX Blue preferred for 6% off groceries. Use your old Penfed for 5% instant Cash Back on gas (and cell phone insurance for some). Use another "everything else card" of your choice. Fidelity 2% or Cap1 1.5% cards are decent candidates.

The demise of the Schwab 2% got me to be less lazy about this. I've gone for and applied for a few cards to shore up my categories. The Chase Ink Business cards come in 2 flavors and have some very useful categories like 5% off phone cell and internet bills, 3% at restaurants, home improvement, 5% off office supplies etc.

Check the "Which Credit Card" sticky for all the rundown.

It doesn't seem very hard for the average household consumer to make around $1K a year with this strategy. You should be able to get a weighted blended average of at least 3% on your annual purchases. Personally I'm willing to do the "work" of picking the right card for the right category. I think this is what sets FatWalleters apart!

Back to Penfed, you can't predict future changes to either old or new card programs. No reason not to participate in both.

Take a look at the Capital One Cash Credit Card. It fills the void nicely.
It requires "Excellent Credit".
In for one.

The FAQ link on PenFed.org/MoreRewards answers most of the questions asked above.

jimmyrules712 said:   LordKronos said:   Onenote said:   offer webpage said: you can jumpstart your rewards by earning 5,000 points the very first time you use your card and another 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months.

That's ambiguous. Is that 3 months starting today (12/28/11)? Or Feb. 1, 2012? or the first day of the billing cycle after Feb. 1, 2012?


The letter I got says "from the effective date of your switch". While that could mean the date they print your card or the date you activate it, more than likely (and the most conservative guess) it would be the day you submit the form to request the switch.


Has anyone been able to confirm when the "first 3 months" starts that sets the window for when you have to spend the $1,000?


I would guess this would be from when the "switch becomes effective in February", but would be nice to get an official answer.

To everyone wondering, I was able to get official answer from PenFed regarding when the $1000 minimum spending starts...if you requested to switch ahead of time, the spending clock starts 1/28/2012 when the new card is launched and your card actually switches.

highrisk said:   To everyone wondering, I was able to get official answer from PenFed regarding when the $1000 minimum spending starts...if you requested to switch ahead of time, the spending clock starts 1/28/2012 when the new card is launched and your card actually switches.

So, if your cycle date is not until say 2/12 and you signed up, your time starts 2/13. Which is what I would expect. You aren't earning under the new rewards until after the first cycle date after 2/1.



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