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Sallie Mae killing their 5% card

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Old archived topic on the original card https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1129823

Letters are going out that it will be converted to the Commence Mastercard by Sallie Mae on March 1, 2017, with these "great" new benefits and features:
"With the new Commence Mastercard, you’ll earn 2% cash back on grocery store and utility (cable, phone, internet, electric and gas) purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases."

This card has long been unavailable for new applications so I'm not surprised but still disappointed. It has been a great card for an easy 5% on Amazon, grocery, and gas.

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I got the following offer on my Commerce card today.   eta: offer was emailed to me and it have until 8/31/17 to sign up ... (more)

hairybeast (Jun. 30, 2017 @ 3:21p) |

The Commerce card offer sounds like the same deal as the Priceline card, just worded differently. Afraid it's going to t... (more)

irobot (Jul. 01, 2017 @ 12:59p) |

my offer:
spend $750 each month (july - sept), get $10+10+10+20 bonus = $50

50/$2250 = 2.22%
so basically it's a 3.22% card... (more)

yurgreat (Jul. 06, 2017 @ 6:58a) |

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Thanks for the heads up. It was nice while it lasted. Saved me a lot of money over the past few years.

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We saw that coming. They canceled sign-ups for it about a year ago.

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I already have a Citi double cashback card that gives me 2% back on everything, not just a few limited categories. Looks like I'm about to have one less credit card.

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Sad to see this card go, but we all were just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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Got the letter today. I guess its time to dump the card.

I might have to bump up my Amex back to BCP now and use that at grocery stores.

In terms of rewards, I am sitting at 3k points. If you're sub $25 in points on February 28, they seem to carry over? Not sure points are worth the same under the new program.

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(Edited) The new card apparently requires $10  in points to redeem (as someone noted below).  A rep had told me it required $25. If you're sub $25 in points they carry over to the new card. Points are worth the same, you just get less of them (2% unlimited instead of 5% to $250 per month). However, if you're sub $25 right now, and plan on canceling, it would be wiser to use the card the next two and a half months to get to the $25 before Feb. 28.

Something to consider: 2% on groceries, utilities, and gas is unlimited so if you spent more than $1000 one month on these then you would get more rewards from the 2% card than the current 5% up to $250 and 1% after that.

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what's a good replacement

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soulzeng said:   what's a good replacement
  
The B of A "123" card will get you 3% on gasoline.

Beating 2% on groceries is tough.

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Amex Blue Cash Preferred -- 6% on groceries up to $6000 per year. 3% gas unlimited.  And many short-term savings offers.

They have a current sign-up offer where you receive $150 back after spending $1000 in first 3 months. Also 10% back on Amazon for the first six months up to $200.   So, potentially $350 cash back in addition to the regular rewards.

 

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One reason I love this card is it is is not a chip card. Swiping is so much faster.

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lonestarguy said:   One reason I love this card is it is is not a chip card. Swiping is so much faster.  

Mine has chip...

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Argyll said:   Amex Blue Cash Preferred -- 6% on groceries up to $6000 per year. And many other short-term savings offers.

They have a current sign-up offer where you receive $150 back after spending $1000 in first 3 months. Also 10% back on Amazon for the first six months up to $200.   So, potentially $350 cash back in addition to the regular rewards.

 

Hear ya.  But doesn't that card have an annual fee?

Also:

My Amex rewards experience sucks when contrasted with Barclays.  Barclays awards the points straightaway, and you can monetize them straightaway, too, if you have enough points.  Amex holds points back.  You wait, and you wait, and then . . . . more waiting.  Then finally they get around to awarding the points.  It's FUBAR IMO compared with Barclays' promptness.

My opinion:  Amex cannot compete with Barclays when it comes to overall cardholder experience . . and I have cards from both issuers.

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shinobi1 said:   
Argyll said:   Amex Blue Cash Preferred -- 6% on groceries up to $6000 per year. And many other short-term savings offers.

They have a current sign-up offer where you receive $150 back after spending $1000 in first 3 months. Also 10% back on Amazon for the first six months up to $200.   So, potentially $350 cash back in addition to the regular rewards.

 

Hear ya.  But doesn't that card have an annual fee?

Also:

My Amex rewards experience sucks when contrasted with Barclays.  Barclays awards the points straightaway, and you can monetize them straightaway, too, if you have enough points.  Amex holds points back.  You wait, and you wait, and then . . . . more waiting.  Then finally they get around to awarding the points.  It's FUBAR IMO compared with Barclays' promptness.

My opinion:  Amex cannot compete with Barclays when it comes to overall cardholder experience . . and I have cards from both issuers.

 If there were no bonuses or savings offers and you used the card solely for $6000 in groceries per year, if you subtract the annual fee, that works out to 4.42% back for groceries.  Prescriptions at the grocery store also get the 6%.



 

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I appreciate your input, Argyll.  I do not have your particular Amex card . . mine is the Blue Cash card with no fee.  Posting of rewards is sluggish.  I mean, with BOTH of my Barclays cards rewards go up instantly, right when the charge hits the card, and they can be used straightaway.  There is no waiting until the end of the month or . . as in my experience . . the end of the month following the closing month of the charges.  But I can totally understand your higher grade Amex card might operate differently.

 

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Other than Discover IT rotating categories, I'll probably go to my Amex Blue for 3% Groceries, and Amex SimplyCash for 3% on gas. For 5% on Amazon maybe I will finally get that Amazon card.

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Argyll said:   The new card still requires $25 in points to redeem. If you're sub $25 in points they carry over to the new card. Points are worth the same, you just get less of them (2% unlimited instead of 5% to $250 per month). However, if you're sub $25 right now, and plan on canceling, it would be wiser to use the card the next two and a half months to get to the $25 before Feb. 28.

Something to consider: 2% on groceries, utilities, and gas is unlimited so if you spent more than $1000 one month on these then you would get more rewards from the 2% card than the current 5% up to $250 and 1% after that.

The Rewards Rules on my notice say the minimum cash back redemption amount for the new card is $10 (for all three options: deposit into checking or savings account, statement credit, or pay down a student loan).

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shinobi1 said:   I appreciate your input, Argyll.  I do not have your particular Amex card . . mine is the Blue Cash card with no fee.  Posting of rewards is sluggish.  I mean, with BOTH of my Barclays cards rewards go up instantly, right when the charge hits the card, and they can be used straightaway.  There is no waiting until the end of the month or . . as in my experience . . the end of the month following the closing month of the charges.  But I can totally understand your higher grade Amex card might operate differently.

 

  Amex posts the points on the tatement after the statement where you earned them.

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I have not received this letter yet and have the pertinent Sallie Mae card. Do we know all customers will get the letter and undergo the conversion? I am in TX in case that helps.

EDIT: to comment on rewards experience, I have all 3 cards (Sallie Mae, BCE, BCP). Sallie Mae: each transaction lists number of points as it posts & points available instantly. BCE/BCP: total points per month only displayed on paper/PDF statement only, are not able to be redeemed for 1 month AFTER statement posts (so basically 2 months until redeemed). I have to say the Amex Offers have been exceptional in the past years, with both BCE and BCP having same exact offers of the ones I used (10% of cell phone, 10% off cable, $25 off $100 Verizon, Staples offer I forget amount)

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moneysaver688 said:   I have not received this letter yet and have the pertinent Sallie Mae card. Do we know all customers will get the letter and undergo the conversion? I am in TX in case that helps.
  Everyone is expected to receive the letter. Give it a few more days for the mail to reach you.

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One difference between the old card and the new card is the cash back redemption options:

  • Transfer to ANY student loan (best value) and receive a 25% Student Loan Redemption Bonus
  • Deposit directly into a U.S. checking or savings account
  • Receive a statement credit

If you have a student loan and are willing to redeem cash back to it, this is a 2.5% card on grocery store and utility (cable, phone, internet, electric and gas) purchases.
 

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Wonder if I'll be able to switch to the CashForward card instead.  I think I'd rather have the flat 1.5% than 2/1% tier.  Either way, the card will rarely get used.

Edit:  Never mind.  $50 min to redeem.

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stanolshefski said:   
shinobi1 said:   I appreciate your input, Argyll.  I do not have your particular Amex card . . mine is the Blue Cash card with no fee.  Posting of rewards is sluggish.  I mean, with BOTH of my Barclays cards rewards go up instantly, right when the charge hits the card, and they can be used straightaway.  There is no waiting until the end of the month or . . as in my experience . . the end of the month following the closing month of the charges.  But I can totally understand your higher grade Amex card might operate differently.

 

  Amex posts the points on the tatement after the statement where you earned them.

  
Agreed.  Green.  You said it a lot more clearly than I did.

I just know it's one hell of a wait compared with Barclays nearly instant posting and availability.

There is at least one other Amex inferiority, compared with Barclays.  Barclays allows me to specify my statement closing day (i.e., day of the month), and their system works flawlessly.  When I approached Amex for that same service, first they got it wrong two or three times.  Finally one rep told me they do not have that capability in their system.  An Amex customer CAN specify his payment day . . but not his statement closing day.  This is simply inferior IT work at Amex, not at the leading edge.  

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I had this card but didn't really use it much, especially lately. I'm cycling through sign up bonuses about every three months without doing MS. It's more work, but 17% cash back on average is better than 5%.

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Aw, this is really sad. I love this card for Amazon, gas, and groceries.

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stanolshefski said:   
moneysaver688 said:   I have not received this letter yet and have the pertinent Sallie Mae card. Do we know all customers will get the letter and undergo the conversion? I am in TX in case that helps.
  Everyone is expected to receive the letter. Give it a few more days for the mail to reach you.

  I'm not checking my mailbox anymore so the conversion never happens.

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Very sad to see this card go.  It's earned me over $800 in the time I've had it.  But as others have posted, we all knew it was only a matter of time.

For me, gas will go on the Citi/Costco Visa (4%), Amazon will go on the Chase Amazon card for 3% or the USBank Cash+ for 5% (when not using gift cards I acquired at 10% discount or better).  Groceries will probably go on my Consumers Credit Union Visa for 3%, and that spending will help me get to $500 spend per month on the CC, which bumps the interest on my checking account from 3.09% on $10k to 3.59% on $15k.

Chris.
 

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Do we have to cash out the rewards from the Sallie Mae Rewards card before it is converted to the new Commence Card or will the rewards points be transferred to the new card?

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Aren't we forgetting the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards card is still 5% on gas?  I see 5 people accepting less than 5% on gas. 

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shinobi1 said:   
soulzeng said:   what's a good replacement
  
The B of A "123" card will get you 3% on gasoline.

Beating 2% on groceries is tough.

Well, I guess I have good timing since I'm in the process of moving money to Merrill Edge to get their $1000 bonus, and as a result will get a 75% payout bonus on credit cards. Thus the 3% gas rebate becomes 5.25%. Sadly, I won't be able to get that on groceries, only 3.5%. I don't spend nearly enough on groceries to justify the $95 for the AMEX 6% card, and don't feel like buying gift cards and other MS to do so.

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billrubin said:   
shinobi1 said:   
soulzeng said:   what's a good replacement
  
The B of A "123" card will get you 3% on gasoline.

Beating 2% on groceries is tough.

Well, I guess I have good timing since I'm in the process of moving money to Merrill Edge to get their $1000 bonus, and as a result will get a 75% payout bonus on credit cards. Thus the 3% gas rebate becomes 5.25%. Sadly, I won't be able to get that on groceries, only 3.5%. I don't spend nearly enough on groceries to justify the $95 for the AMEX 6% card, and don't feel like buying gift cards and other MS to do so.

  
Same boat as you...  BoA card is the best bet for gas and groceries if you don't use the Amex Blue setup.  

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I had a scheme for getting 5% back almost anywhere I actually shopped until 2016. I used Citi Forward for restaurants and Amazon.com. I used this for gas and groceries (groceries also covered WalMart and Target, though I usually use Redcard there anyway). And I used US Bank Cash+ for department stores and a category in which I anticipated making a big purchase in the quarter (absent of any such plans to make a big purchase I always went with cell phone bill). For everything else, Citi Double Cash did the job, but I could usually arrange getting most of the money I spent onto a 5%-er somewhere.

I lost restaurants on Citi Forward (technically I can still get 5% on fast food from Cash+ and will likely do that from time to time). Now my grocery and gas 5% card is being nuked. At least for Amazon, the Prime store card still exists. My likely strategy moving forward will probably be buying gift cards for groceries, gas, and restaurants using special offers and possibly even some of the online resellers, as much as I have had problems with some of them.

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Argyll said:   Amex Blue Cash Preferred -- 6% on groceries up to $6000 per year. 3% gas unlimited.  And many short-term savings offers.

They have a current sign-up offer where you receive $150 back after spending $1000 in first 3 months. Also 10% back on Amazon for the first six months up to $200.   So, potentially $350 cash back in addition to the regular rewards.

 

  Do you know if WalMart Supercenters show up as grocery stores for BCP as they do with the Sallie Mae card?  Thanks.  

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BCP explicitly excludes superstores and warehouse clubs from the bonus - you would only get 1%.

Are Target and WalMart grocery stores for Sallie Mae?

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Argyll said:   BCP explicitly excludes superstores and warehouse clubs from the bonus - you would only get 1%.

Are Target and WalMart grocery stores for Sallie Mae? I didn't know that.

For most Target and WalMart stores, it counts as groceries for a lot of Visa/MasterCards, for Sallie Mae for sure. They don't even have to be supercenters, just large stores that sell a substantial amount of groceries. The only exceptions I've found were older WalMart and Target stores that haven't been remodeled in this century, stores that have just a small grocery department that sells chips, cookies, and soda (not the newer ones that dedicate an entire side of the store to groceries and carry fresh produce, canned goods, etc.). Meijer also counts as grocery for Sallie Mae, though that is less surprising since their evolution was the opposite of Walmarts (Meijer started out as a grocery chain and added the discount store goods to their selection, so much that the grocery is only a small part of the store now, whereas WalMart was a discount store that added groceries).

American Express, on the other hand, drives me crazy on how they don't even count WalMart Neighborhood Market as a grocery. They pretty much sell nothing BUT groceries.

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qcumber98 said:   Aren't we forgetting the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards card is still 5% on gas?  I see 5 people accepting less than 5% on gas. 
  
True, and that's a good bet for those who already have that card.  But it would be hard to justify a hard pull just for that card, at least for me.  I use about 35 gallons of gas a month, so at $2 per gallon, that's $70/month.  At a difference between 5% and the 4% I get on the Citi Costco card, that's a savings of $.70 per month or $8.40 annually.  Factor in that gas will be covered for 5% for at least a quarter (so far for 2017 both Freedom and Discover in Q1), then I'm really down to just over $6 per year benefit to applying for the PenFed card.  Not worth it, IMO, when there are other cards I can apply for that will give me a $400+ signup bonus instead.  Now if PenFed decided to promote this card with a $400 signup bonus, then I'm on board!

Chris.
 

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qcumber98 said:   Aren't we forgetting the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards card is still 5% on gas?  I see 5 people accepting less than 5% on gas. 
  Penfed charges extra for using the points so effectively it comes out to be about 4%, about same as Costco Visa card.

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sdskees said:   American Express, on the other hand, drives me crazy on how they don't even count WalMart Neighborhood Market as a grocery. They pretty much sell nothing BUT groceries.
 They also exclude a lot of gas stations that are attached to a grocery store as they deem them non-independent.

But for groceries, BCP is still gonna be tough to beat for us compared to other offerings. Problem is, we spent more than $6k/yr on groceries so Sallie Mae was great supplement. For Amazon, I'll probably get Amazon gift cards when Discover has the 5% cashback on it since it includes gift cards specifically.

But yeah compared to the Citi Doublecash that gives unlimited 2% cashback on everything, there's no polishing this tur.... err new Sallie Mae card.

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Oh, dear.  I think my "we're doing away with your Sallie Mae windfall" letter came today . . . well . . . actually yesterday.  But there is so much snow out there I didn't wade through and reach my mailbox until today.  I have not had the courage yet actually to open the letter;  need to fortify myself first.  

Skipping 286 Messages...
rated:
my offer:
spend $750 each month (july - sept), get $10+10+10+20 bonus = $50

50/$2250 = 2.22%
so basically it's a 3.22% card for this promo

Suggestions on what to manufacture spend?
already have lots of gift cards for Amazon, walmart, and Costco from other credit card offers.

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