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November 21, 2007


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I got the American Express Blue Cash card a few weeks ago and have racked up about $4000 on it (with furniture purchases). I should hit the $6500 pretty soon.

However, I find that my returns on the card are going to be fairly limited. My usual grocery store chain does not accept American Express. We do not have a Costco around here and Sam's will only take Discover or Mastercard. We do have a $300 a month gas bill but do not have huge drugstore bills. Before you run out and get one of these cards consider whether your grocery store accepts them. From my perspective, most gas stations do accept American Express and large chain drugstores I presume accept them as well.

Our grocery store also does not take Amex.

But best yet, they are a great company. When I was traveling in San Fran, I lost my wallet and all my money (and ATM cards, and any way to get money I could think of). Amex Blue WIRED money to a place near my hotel, and put it under regular expenses instead of cash advances, and they expressed me a new card. Visa, however.... did absolutely nothing. I keep it simply b/c some businesses don't take it (they charge higher fees to merchants).

How about the Citibank Platinum American Express.

$150 bonus for signing up.

For the first two years:
5% back on Gas/Groceries/Drugstores
3% back on everything else

Of course these come in the way of Thank-You points, which convert at $100 for 16000 points. Seems like a lot of $ spent to get $100 but when you are getting 5 and 3 points for nearly everything you purchase, that really adds up. also a $250 statement credit is 35,000 points so that is a little better conversion than the $100 for 1600. They have a ton of other rewards and stuff too.

If you have student loan debt you are really in luck. 10000 thank you points = $100 check sent to your loan. You can use this as your monthly payment or a portion or extra payment, whatever.

If you take the number suggested as "average" (600 g/d/d and 1140 otherwise) you would earn 3.69% using this card for the first two years. In 3 months, excluding my signup bonus, I have earned $136 for spending around 3368 (4% - you can see where I spend my money).

Also, a good hybrid strategy I use is the the Amex by Citi as I mentioned coupled with the Citi Professional Card - 3% back on restaurants, gas stations, certain office supply merchants and on auto rentals. Pretty lucrative with the restaurants. They have thank you point version and a cash back version.

There is a few for the Citi Amex but they wave it for the first year, and the $150 bonus covers you through the next year and a half. But as many of your readers are credit savvy they should have a credit monitoring service. Citi provides this free of charge to its Amex Platinum cardmembers (a $120 yearly value) so that covers the yearly fee anyway!

Chone --

It would be interesting to see a complete spreadsheet analysis on this option like the one I have here:

If you'd be up to doing one, I'd work with you on it (like I did with Chris on the last one) and write a post on our findings.

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