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g10ny said: [Q]My fault. You are right.

Still, a time breakdown would be needed. Drivers' Edge is the recommendation for me, but what about the next year? Also, if the caps are obviously taken into account, it is not so obvious that the tiers are considered.

Maybe playing with the simulator for a few more times would help.

Again, with a single trial I was able to prove that the website DOES USE TIERS. I'm not sure why you can't figure this out.

If you want so simulate next year when the Driver's Edge is no longer 6%, you can simply remove it from consideration as I already noted.

So to recap: If you want to prove to yourself that their are tiers, make 100% of your purchases gasoline and make the amount $5,000 monthly. Notice how Driver's Edge is no longer recommended as the single card option (6%>5% so if caps weren't used obviously it would be recommended)? Doing THE SAME SIMULATION notice the amount of the Blue Cash. 6500*.01+53500*.05=$2740 which is the listed TIERED amount.

What is "not obvious" about any of the above? It only took one simulation to figure it out.

It worked now. 2 Ame><, 3 Citi, 1 Chase.
The key is to try it with the purchases as diversified as possible, and also to use higher spending levels.

Best 6 card combo (completely imaginary data): $8020, the 6th only adding a measly $33.33. What I like about this is, and I start to concur with other people around, the cards starting from the third one can be disregarded, it's really not worth the hassle.

OK, I trolled enough this thread.

Edit: answer to asdf: my mistake was to not having used a complex enough expense structure, thus the tiers did not come into effect.

g10ny said: [Q]
The key is to try it with the purchases as diversified as possible, and also to use higher spending levels.

Edit: answer to asdf: my mistake was to not having used a complex enough expense structure, thus the tiers did not come into effect.

No, it wasn't. As I showed above a single category purchase simulation that could not be more simple proves the website's ability to handle caps and tiers.

Edit: By the way, I think discussion about the operation of this website is not trolling. What else is there to talk about on a thread dedicated to a website? I just find your uninformed suggestions and analysis to show that you are not willing to even do the simplest of hypothetical scenarios before you start handing out advice.

Then I'd venture to ask which category was able to put the tiers at work for you from the beginning. (I assume the monthly expense played another role here.)

g10ny said: [Q]Then I'd venture to ask which category was able to put the tiers at work for you from the beginning. (I assume the monthly expense played another role here.)

I already listed exactly how to replicate my simulation in my post a few posts up. Apparently are you not only unwilling to do simulations on the website before making recommendations but you respond to my posts without reading.

Also it is becoming apparent that "tier" means different things to us. I think you are confusing tier with category spending bonuses. Of course by definition a tier (you earn x% for the first amount spend (aka tier), y% for the next amount spent (aka second tier)) then tiers must be influenced by the monthly spending amount. I thought that was obvious.

If you are asking for the author to optimize blue cash by instead of doing monthly spending proportional to the current tiers and instead spend all money on one card until a given tier is reached or pre-buy gift cards to reach a tier then one must consider the opportunity cost of those gift cards sitting their before they can be used. Then one neads the guaranteed rate of return for that time period and it would require so many user configurable option that for a simple website the average user, even average FWF, would be very turned off.

If you want that level of complexity then I recommend you code it yourself like I have.

asdf9876 said: [Q]Hc000 said: [Q]Intresting website... for some reason, I can't seem to get AMEX cards as a recommendation, even when i spent 15,000 a month...

Really? I got it to recommend it no problem. Just put in $5,000 a month in groceries and no card with caps can compare.

The reason why $15,000 in general spending a month doesn't recommend AMEX Blue Cash is because 2%>1.5% <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0> I thought that was obvious. Did you even look at what card it recommened over the AMEX for general spending?
I think I am too stressed.
BTW, I know what tiers are. I just prefer cards with no tiers. And no, Blue Cash is not working for me.

Still, I'd like, as I said before, a tool being able to guide people throughout seasonal switches between cards. It seems that the website's model works, but is not detailed enough.

Any other cards to consider adding to the list?

Edit: coding abilities is one of my (many) weaknesses, although I am definitely willing to work on this. It would be a nice and useful exercise.

g10ny said: [Q]
BTW, I know what tiers are. I just prefer cards with no tiers. And no, Blue Cash is not working for me.

I don't like tiers either, that is why (plus no Costco within 20 minutes of my apartment, sigh) I don't own Blue Cash. But that doesn't mean I can't see the benefit for other people.

[Q]Still, I'd like, as I said before, a tool being able to guide people throughout seasonal switches between cards. It seems that the website's model works, but is not detailed enough.

I disagree but that is your right to think that. Seasonal switching would probably interest less than 10% of FWFers and FWFers (the mentality, not actual users) are probably less than .5% of the general population. Seasonal switching would only confuse most people who use this website. As I said, if you are so advanced that you want to do seasonal switching you can probably figure it out yourself and don't need a website to spoonfeed you.

I find combinations of 2% and 5% cards to be superior for me. I would have to spend over $24,000 (Rewards Plus, Cash Plus, Cash Plus) a year just on 5% purchases (used to be $36,000 before Dividend ended) before I would run out of 5% cards and I could use Blue Cash. Add to that the fact that I get 2% on every day purchases versus .5%/1.5% and I like my cards. Even if I lived near a Costco I think Blue Cash is only 1% at Costco where as there is a Costco card which is 2% at Costco.

However, I realize many people don't have $24,000(cap) in 5% cards so for them I can understand if you are a huge spender I see why some people might like the simplicity of Blue Cash.

The nice thing about AoR is you pick up so many CCs that after the promo is over you usually have plenty of dormant cards to get as many Cash Back cards as you can handle. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

g10ny said: [Q]

Anyway, don't invest too much in that; for the average Joe what you've already done is more than enough. For this upgrade you'll only have the FWers as customers (but they'll sign up through cardoffers anyway). Or you could do it as a project if you are aiming a well-paid quant career at the big banks.

Exactly my point.

You are a bit ahead, considering the HH 2%, since I only deal with 1.25%, but (am I dreaming too much?) I just saw a recent soft pull from HH in my EQF report, so it can be a nice effect of my mini bump-o-rama. So I use Dividend 5% (still active), PenFed 1.25% and Discover 5% Get More (wow, another seasonal effect, impossible to predict months before). Next month I will put the MTVU in the wallet, since its 0% APR will end. I'd only want an Advanta 5% to complete the picture and I'll kinda have a full house.

Good point, reusing old cards for CashBack by reusing them, instead of going for Blue Cash likes. Unless you hunt sign-up bonuses.

g10ny said: [Q]g10ny said: [Q]

Anyway, don't invest too much in that; for the average Joe what you've already done is more than enough. For this upgrade you'll only have the FWers as customers (but they'll sign up through cardoffers anyway). Or you could do it as a project if you are aiming a well-paid quant career at the big banks.

Exactly my point.


Hahahaha, did you just quote yourself and agree with yourself?

By the way what you were quoting was about tiers and caps which you were wrong about so my point was different than yours.

Compare with:

asdf9876 said: [Q]

I disagree but that is your right to think that. Seasonal switching would probably interest less than 10% of FWFers and FWFers (the mentality, not actual users) are probably less than .5% of the general population. Seasonal switching would only confuse most people who use this website. As I said, if you are so advanced that you want to do seasonal switching you can probably figure it out yourself and don't need a website to spoonfeed you.

Edit: added bold where needed.

g10ny said: [Q]Compare with:

I was talking about optimized, time dependant spending using a hybrid of cards. You were talking about adding caps and tiers.

I remembered the old parable of the elephant. So you are sensing something, I sense something, but is it really a different animal?

g10ny said: [Q] It seems that the website's model works, but is not detailed enough.

One last time. You said the author should add caps and tiers. I said if you had done any type of elemntary testing of the website you would have realized it already had caps and tiers.

We both agree that seasonal spending is of limited use to non-FW members. I also say it is of limited use to 90% of FWF users who aren't in extremely niche cases. The fact that if you are so niche to even realize you need it then you should be smart enough to calculate (by hand/calculator with pencil and paper if you wish to avoid "coding").

However, at the end of the day you call the website is "not detailed enough". While I say the website is detailed enough and adding premptive spending, time value of money for such spending, seasonal hybridized spending, etc would be net negative and would require so much work to understand that you'd be better off not using a website but instead doing it yourself because you would need to self calculate anyway because understanding the proper input would put you 90% of the way their to calculating it anyway.

Can we put this to bed now?

too bad my favorite restaurant doesn't take AMEX. this is the only reason I switched back to my Chase MC.

LustfortheMoment said: [Q]Joel, THANK YOU for your excellent site.

Question regarding AMEX Blue Cash.......... How does your algorithm factor spending up to the $6500 tier? If folks plug in monthly expenditures for both EDP and non-EDP, how do you allocate each of them in reaching the tier?

Thanks,

That's one thing the creditcardtuneup.com tool doesn't do as deterministically or as thoughtfully as it could.

I'm interested in hearing what kind of allocation you would prefer.

asdf9876 said: [Q]g10ny said: [Q]My fault. You are right.

Still, a time breakdown would be needed. Drivers' Edge is the recommendation for me, but what about the next year? Also, if the caps are obviously taken into account, it is not so obvious that the tiers are considered.

Maybe playing with the simulator for a few more times would help.

Again, with a single trial I was able to prove that the website DOES USE TIERS. I'm not sure why you can't figure this out.

If you want so simulate next year when the Driver's Edge is no longer 6%, you can simply remove it from consideration as I already noted.

So to recap: If you want to prove to yourself that their are tiers, make 100% of your purchases gasoline and make the amount $5,000 monthly. Notice how Driver's Edge is no longer recommended as the single card option (6%>5% so if caps weren't used obviously it would be recommended)? Doing THE SAME SIMULATION notice the amount of the Blue Cash. 6500*.01+53500*.05=$2740 which is the listed TIERED amount.

What is "not obvious" about any of the above? It only took one simulation to figure it out.

Asdf9876's evidence certainly stands on its own merit.

As one who is familiar with the inner workings of the creditcardtuneup.com tool, I can tell you that it does take into account tiers (both cross-category YTD tiers (e.g. Blue Cash) and intra-category tiers (e.g. Discover Gas)) and annual caps.

[Q]I'm interested in hearing what kind of allocation you would prefer.

Tough question, Joel. I think that you'd be safest in allocating spending up to the $6500 tier on a strictly proportional basis. That is, if folks spend 40% on EDP and 60% on non-EDP, one would suppose that they'd reach the tier by spending $2600 for EDP and $3900 for non-EDP.

As I noted earlier, I use a two card model. I charge ONLY non-EDP to Blue Cash until reaching the tier and use HSBC for EDP until shifting over to Blue Cash when I can start getting 5%. However, I would guess that most casual Blue Cash owners DON'T use "combination" cards.

Love your site,

ABBY

LustfortheMoment said: [Q][Q]I'm interested in hearing what kind of allocation you would prefer.

Tough question, Joel. I think that you'd be safest in allocating spending up to the $6500 tier on a strictly proportional basis. That is, if folks spend 40% on EDP and 60% on non-EDP, one would suppose that they'd reach the tier by spending $2600 for EDP and $3900 for non-EDP.

As I noted earlier, I use a two card model. I charge ONLY non-EDP to Blue Cash until reaching the tier and use HSBC for EDP until shifting over to Blue Cash when I can start getting 5%. However, I would guess that most casual Blue Cash owners DON'T use "combination" cards.

Love your site,

ABBY

Thanks!

I was thinking that maybe the ideal would be a blend of both approaches you've described.
For the single-card results (first column of dollar amounts), the annual reward for Blue Cash would be based on a "strictly proportional basis" as you called it. Then for the multi-card results, the tool would suggest combinations like your "two card model" (in which the over-$6500-YTD spending on Blue Cash is as much EDP as possible and the up-to-$6500-YTD spending is as little EDP as possible).

This would take some doing. : )

Thanks for the suggestion.

g10ny said: [Q]asdf9876 said: [Q]Hc000 said: [Q]Intresting website... for some reason, I can't seem to get AMEX cards as a recommendation, even when i spent 15,000 a month...

Really? I got it to recommend it no problem. Just put in $5,000 a month in groceries and no card with caps can compare.

The reason why $15,000 in general spending a month doesn't recommend AMEX Blue Cash is because 2%>1.5% <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0> I thought that was obvious. Did you even look at what card it recommened over the AMEX for general spending?
I think I am too stressed.
BTW, I know what tiers are. I just prefer cards with no tiers. And no, Blue Cash is not working for me.

Still, I'd like, as I said before, a tool being able to guide people throughout seasonal switches between cards. It seems that the website's model works, but is not detailed enough.

Any other cards to consider adding to the list?

Edit: coding abilities is one of my (many) weaknesses, although I am definitely willing to work on this. It would be a nice and useful exercise.

Hi g10ny. I'm not sure I understand what it would look like to "guide people through seasonal switches between cards". Would that be sort of a month-by-month picture of spending and which cards were used for the spending?

An example would help clarify this idea for me.

Hi Joel,

Just wondering whether you have plans to add the Chase Cash Plus Rewards Card Visa (and/or MC) that has the 5% groceries, drugstores, gas and 1% on all other purchases or whether these were considered and excluded?

The creditcardtuneup.com site works great! Thanks!

AAZZZ, I agree. Joel already has the HSBC card which is similiar to my Chase Plus Rewards, though for non-EDP you only receive 0.5% on HSBC until a $3000 tier; with Chase, you get 1.0% on non-EDP from the "get-go". Of course, the problem with HSBC and Chase Plus are their ceilings on annual rebates. That's why I prefer AMEX Blue Cash........

AAZZZ said: [Q]Hi Joel,

Just wondering whether you have plans to add the Chase Cash Plus Rewards Card Visa (and/or MC) that has the 5% groceries, drugstores, gas and 1% on all other purchases or whether these were considered and excluded?

The creditcardtuneup.com site works great! Thanks!

Hi AAZZZ. Thanks!

I added the Chase Rewards Plus Visa. (I couldn't find the MasterCard as being available any longer. I think Asdf mentioned that in another thread.)

Great find OP

Thanks for the website, joelmeu. One bug I have noticed is that if you list too many different expenditures in different categories, you get no result. I don't know if this is a problem on my end or if your engine can't handle it when it requires to analyze more than 5-card combos.

samko said: [Q]Thanks for the website, joelmeu. One bug I have noticed is that if you list too many different expenditures in different categories, you get no result. I don't know if this is a problem on my end or if your engine can't handle it when it requires to analyze more than 5-card combos.
Thanks samko. Oddly, that doesn't happen when I run the engine on my own local system. It only happens on the system that's hosting creditcardtuneup.com. I've successfully tested the engine up to 11 card combinations in the past. Thanks for alerting me to the problem.

I heard a rumor over on the flyertalk forums that after the mbna merger, the Fidelity cards might be going away. Has anyone else heard this? Any confirmation?

joelmeu said: [Q]I heard a rumor over on the flyertalk forums that after the mbna merger, the Fidelity cards might be going away. Has anyone else heard this? Any confirmation?

Do you have a link?

Was this general, "all co-branded banks won't do business with BoA because they are a competitor" talk or was it Fidelity specific?

joelmeu said: [Q]
Hi g10ny. I'm not sure I understand what it would look like to "guide people through seasonal switches between cards". Would that be sort of a month-by-month picture of spending and which cards were used for the spending?

An example would help clarify this idea for me.

Joel,
As asdf said, I was referring to a more in-depth look. I mean, as a math model, your product is great. It's the detail which I am concerned with, although you can say it's anyone's guess (the most important result of your work was to show that we don't need a large number of cards to achieve the maximum amount of rebates (aside of scenarios like 10 cards of the same type, to get 10 times the $300 cap).
What I wanted to say is about modeling this switch from one card to another after you reached the rewards cap or you reached another rewards tier (of course, capping the rewards means you reached the zero rewards tier). A little bit of this dynamic would help, in the sense that it would complete the general view provided by the "dry" mathematical verdict.
This was what I meant by the expression "seasonal switch between cards". Of course, you can't factor in the Discover's Get More, but if you factor in, for instance, the Advanta 5% ($25 a month) with my 5% Dividend (still alive) plus a Blue Cash, this picture can become quite complicated. Still, some general guidelines can be of real help.

HTH.

asdf9876 said: [Q]joelmeu said: [Q]I heard a rumor over on the flyertalk forums that after the mbna merger, the Fidelity cards might be going away. Has anyone else heard this? Any confirmation?

Do you have a link?

Was this general, "all co-branded banks won't do business with BoA because they are a competitor" talk or was it Fidelity specific?
There doesn't seem to be much information regarding this rumor/allegation. Here's a link to the FlyerTalk forum topic:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=621702

[Q]I heard a rumor over on the flyertalk forums that after the mbna merger, the Fidelity cards might be going away

I hope not<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-confused.gif" border=0>. I just applied for the Fidelity 1.5% MC..........

g10ny said: [Q]joelmeu said: [Q]
Hi g10ny. I'm not sure I understand what it would look like to "guide people through seasonal switches between cards". Would that be sort of a month-by-month picture of spending and which cards were used for the spending?

An example would help clarify this idea for me.

Joel,
As asdf said, I was referring to a more in-depth look. I mean, as a math model, your product is great. It's the detail which I am concerned with, although you can say it's anyone's guess (the most important result of your work was to show that we don't need a large number of cards to achieve the maximum amount of rebates (aside of scenarios like 10 cards of the same type, to get 10 times the $300 cap).
What I wanted to say is about modeling this switch from one card to another after you reached the rewards cap or you reached another rewards tier (of course, capping the rewards means you reached the zero rewards tier). A little bit of this dynamic would help, in the sense that it would complete the general view provided by the "dry" mathematical verdict.
This was what I meant by the expression "seasonal switch between cards". Of course, you can't factor in the Discover's Get More, but if you factor in, for instance, the Advanta 5% ($25 a month) with my 5% Dividend (still alive) plus a Blue Cash, this picture can become quite complicated. Still, some general guidelines can be of real help.

HTH.
Ahhhh, yes, I understand you perfectly. Thanks for clarifying this for me. A close friend suggested/requested this as well -- a chronological picture (within a hypothetical 12-month period) of one's spending and earning and card usage and switching.

Interestingly, a friend recently built a different kind of simulator we'd been discussing that shows both the dry mathematical summary verdict as well as the month-by-month picture of activity over a hypothetical 12-month period.

Thank you for the suggestion.

(Ooops. I'd somehow posted the same message twice in a row, so I deleted this dupe.)

ProfessorEd said: [Q]This is a valuable site. Even if not perfect this Credit Card Tuneup site gives a good starting point for someone looking for cards to use for spending.

One mechanical problem seems to be that if you click on a card application (perhaps to read the terms and conditions), the back button does not seem to let you return to the screem where you had put in the numbers. You might want to enter the numbers once, copy the worksheet, and then go to the cards of interest.

Thanks again for your thorough analysis ProfessorEd.

I did address this first observation you made about the mechanical problem of not being able to get back to the worksheet. Now when you click on a link, it opens in a new browser window, leaving your worksheet intact in the original browswer window.

In time, I will be addressing some of your other observations such as the ability to specify that certain cards will be in the solution (because you have them or because you specifically want them).

I've got a question about the Discover Gas card.

It's the only card I know of that pays a >1.5% Cash Back percentage for vehicle maintenance expenditures (in addition to expenditures at gas stations). Does anyone use the Discover Gas card specifically for the 5% Cash Back on vehicle maintenance?

(5% of $1200 (the category limit is $1200) of vehicle maintenance is a potential $60. The typical 1% you'd otherwise get would only be $12 (or $18 if using the 1.5% Fidelity card). So it's a difference of $48 or $42.

ProfessorEd said: [Q] ...................Somebody in one thread even stated he wrote convenience checks to his relatives to be cashed in the event of his death (on a credit protected card) and hence got free life insurance. Sounds like a lot of trouble, but perhaps there are few dedicated “fat wallet” members who upon being told they have only a short time to live, will think immediately to run up their credit card debts on a suitable card . It would be nice to have the card already with the credit protection feature in place. Obviously, such a card should not be one you normally carry a balance on, since such plans are grossly overpriced for the limited insurance they provide. Hopefully such people are not merely “cheap” but those with families to provide for, or a favorite charity in their wills.

.... these relatives should be instructed to come back and make a final post in FW on behalf their deceased FW guru ....

germanpope said: [Q]ProfessorEd said: [Q] ...................Somebody in one thread even stated he wrote convenience checks to his relatives to be cashed in the event of his death (on a credit protected card) and hence got free life insurance. Sounds like a lot of trouble, but perhaps there are few dedicated “fat wallet” members who upon being told they have only a short time to live, will think immediately to run up their credit card debts on a suitable card . It would be nice to have the card already with the credit protection feature in place. Obviously, such a card should not be one you normally carry a balance on, since such plans are grossly overpriced for the limited insurance they provide. Hopefully such people are not merely “cheap” but those with families to provide for, or a favorite charity in their wills.

.... these relatives should be instructed to come back and make a final post in FW on behalf their deceased FW guru ....
LOL!

Yeah, that section of ProfessorEd's post was amusing when I read it, so was the little bunny trail about berries. : )

germanpope said: [Q]ProfessorEd said: [Q] ...................Somebody in one thread even stated he wrote convenience checks to his relatives to be cashed in the event of his death (on a credit protected card) and hence got free life insurance. Sounds like a lot of trouble, but perhaps there are few dedicated “fat wallet” members who upon being told they have only a short time to live, will think immediately to run up their credit card debts on a suitable card . It would be nice to have the card already with the credit protection feature in place. Obviously, such a card should not be one you normally carry a balance on, since such plans are grossly overpriced for the limited insurance they provide. Hopefully such people are not merely “cheap” but those with families to provide for, or a favorite charity in their wills.

.... these relatives should be instructed to come back and make a final post in FW on behalf their deceased FW guru ....

I don't know if this strategy was meant to be humorous or not. It is hard to tell one person's joke is another person's actual method. However, I would be extremely leary about trying to do this. If the CC companies find out that you cashed them after you had knowledge that the person had died that may constitute fraud. I mean even though they signed the checks before they died the fact that you waited until after they died knowing that CC debt dies with the person pretty much means your intent was to defraud the issuer.

Note that the new Orchard Bank 2% Cash Back cards have been added to the Credit Card Tune-Up: Maximize Your Cash Back Rewards tool.

Previously these cards were only available by invitation.

There is a platinum version of the card with a $59 annual fee (so you have to spend over $5900 per year to outperform a 1% card or $11,800 per year to outperform a 1.5% card (Fidelity)).

There is also a secured version of the card with a $35 annual fee.

joelmeu said: [Q]Note that the new Orchard Bank 2% Cash Back cards have been added to the Credit Card Tune-Up: Maximize Your Cash Back Rewards tool.

Previously these cards were only available by invitation.

There is a platinum version of the card with a $59 annual fee (so you have to spend over $5900 per year to outperform a 1% card or $11,800 per year to outperform a 1.5% card (Fidelity)).

There is also a secured version of the card with a $35 annual fee.
I stand corrected. Apparently, the annual fee can vary from one person's online offer to the next. For example, some people have seen a $39 annual fee for the Platinum card. Some have even seen a $0 annual fee for the Platinum card.

[Q]Some have even seen a $0 annual fee for the Platinum card

I was only offered the $39 fee in spite of a FICO of 804. Perhaps their criteria for the $0 fee is not a function of credit risk. Only the shadow knows.

I charge around $40K/year in non-EDP goods, so the extra 0.5% would mean $161 in my pocket ($200 minus the $39 fee). However, I'm just a stubborn babe and am not willing to fork over an annual fee to any issuer.

I also don't know what kind of CLs they provide with these Orchard cards.



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