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July 11, 2008


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Everyone is always all over this Amex Blue card. I am still supporting the best combination is Citibanks Driver's Edge card (groceries, gas, and something else) and Amex Sky (everything else).

The driver's edge is 3% gas and groceries plus $1 per 100 miles driven on your car. This makes it just about 6% for gas and groceries.

Amex Sky gives a continuous 1.25% on everything. And you can apply it to any travel purchase. This is the next card I am going to pick up.

With my spending I calculated I'd net at least $80 more with this combo than with Amex Blue.

One question: Is the minimum threshold to gain higher percentages based on year to date spending or 12-month cycles from when you first received the card?

I just got back $317 on my Amex Blue card. My percentage wasn't close to 3.7% mostly because I put all of my tuition charges on this card and those get a 1.5% rebate.

To answer your question, it is the 12 month cycles to hit the minimum thresholds.

I'm debating between the Amex Blue and the Costco Amex card. I think I like the Costco card better, but since we're moving I don't know if there's a Coscto near by yet.

My current card only gets 1% back.

I wish I could remember which of your readers was posting a couple months back about investing in the "very safe" stocks of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for those great dividends. Ouch!!

My wife and I just got back $696.44 on our AMEX Blue in our first year using it! We use a combination of the AMEX Blue and Chase Cash Freedom card. We use the Chase Cash Freedom card for our monthly expenses of the following three categories to get 3% cash back: (1) telecommunications; (2) cable/satellite TV/Internet service providers; and (3) gym/recreation memberships. We then use our AMEX Blue for everything else, including of course the Gas, Grocery and Drug store. From the AMEX "Cash Tracker" it appears that for our purchases about 20% where for Bonus Categories, and the other 80% was for regular purchases. I was extremely happy about our bonus program! I am a huge fan of the card and think it is a great way to earn some extra money, while paying off the card multiple times a month, so I never carry any balance.

Wow! The Amex Blue sounds like a great deal. I just have a Countrywide Visa rewards card that gives me 2% back on all my purchases to be applied to my principal balance on my home loan. I try to use this for most everything we buy where they take Visa. I'll probably end up with between $500 and $600 extra paid on my loan by the end of this year.
The problem with the Blue card for me - I only spend around $300 a month on gas, the grocery store in town with the cheapest prices doesn't take credit cards of any sort (and I'd pay pretty close to a 20% premium by shopping at the groceries that do take credit cards), and the amount I spend at drugstores isn't even worth mentioning, so using an Amex Blue would only get me 1.5% on perhaps $4000.

Wow, people spend so much! No wonder you can get so much back in rebates. Excluding my house payment, I probably spend less than $5000 a year. And that includes everything, food, gas, utilities, and entertainment. There's no way I could possibly get $500 cash back.

Wow Rick that is pretty remarkable you only spend $400 a month. I literally charge every item possible to the Amex Blue Cash and pay it off each month. I'd recommend it to anyone who spends more than $6500 a year.

You make a good subtle point in that a lot of people spend more than they should since they think they are getting the cash back. I think all the readers on this site and other p.f. blogs are wise enough to avoid that scenario but the ignorance of most consumers will amaze you sometimes...

That number seems a bit off to me unless all of their money is in gas, groceries, and drugstore purchases. We're over 23,000 in charges -- and at about $430 in cash back.

Like Rick I'm blown away by how much people spend, I could never benefit from Amex Blue. I was using a Fidelity Card at 1.5% that gave me about $75 per year. Now I'm using Chase Freedom @3% for gas and groceries and Household Bank @2% for everything else. I haven't reached the minimum to collect on either yet.

I got $652 for my first year with Amex Blue Cash. The return rate was 2.12%. My wife and I put everything possible on the card and pay it off each month. Our normal expenditures include tithe, gas, groceries, insurance payments, and auto service. We also eat out once every week or two with family and friends. We pay the bill with our card and they pay use cash for their portions of the bill. I need to look into paying my mortgage with the card. That would add another $400 or so to our rewards.

Midg reminds me of a question I wanted to throw out there. Are there any mortgage companies out there that will let you pay your mortgage with a credit card and not charge a fee? I'm sure most do (mine does not accept credit cards at all), just like public utilities, so I'm just interested if anyone has an example of one that does take cards without the fee.

I am using the Amex Costco card and am very happy with it. I would love to make my mortgage payment with it to maximize my cash back, but like 'Strick' I am not sure how to do it. I was playing around with somehow doing it through paypal and their bill pay, but I guess they charge some kind of fee for using a credit card

We got turned on to the blue cash card last year after starting to read your blog... two months ago we reached our 1 yr anniversary w/ a $847 payout. We are now pursuing the two-card option with the addition of the chase freedom card. I really enjoy having the AE/VISA combo as an option, with the additional 3% float for 15-20 days each month, and no free cash in my pocket.

I'm using the "Green" Cashback AMEX and I'm really happy with it. Although our percentage isn't that high, our actual $$ amount is. So far for this year, on $51K in purchases we have earned $818 cash-back through June 31st. I believe it's the same 1.5%/3% split on the first $6K in spending, then 3%/5% after that. My husband and I both use this card for just about everything, including all of our business expenses (one reason why we've spent so much money already this year). I've had excellent customer service with AMEX & I typically receive the cash-back as a credit in December. We pay it off every month & there are no other charges or fees.

If you travel regularly for work, and get reimbursed, this becomes almost a money-making machine.

A typical 3-night business trip consists of a $600 plane ticket, plus $400 for hotel, and another $150 for meals, plus $100 in cabfare. That's $1250 per trip. If you make, say 20 trips per year, you're effectively paying yourself for cycling $25,000 of your company's money through your personal credit card.

Suppose you're also in graduate school, and pay your tuition with your credit card while being reimbursed by work or getting a subsidized low-interest loan. Or, you pay your mortgage/rent through your credit card, and automatically paying the balance each month from your bank account.

You get the benefit of the rewards, without actually spending any more than you normally would.

I'm sorry but I still just don't buy that this is worth the hassle. Unless you are able to cycle your mortgage through it or are a huge business traveler, I suspect people are way overspending to get these measly rewards. Ask yourself this, if you got a return of $400, did you buy less than $400 of stuff you really didn't need? My guess is that the answer is no. That you bought well over that in junk.

Anon --

Think of all the things you buy -- food, clothing, gas, etc. Are you saying you'd rather pay in cash or check and get NOTHING for buying something you're already going to buy?

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