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July 07, 2011

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I have one of the other Costco/Amex cash rebate cards and they also reduced their benefits this month -- in this case by increasing the spending amounts required before the higher tier rebates kick in.

Chase Freedom 5% cash back is too hard to get. I usually get gas at Costco, and was excitied to start earning 5% cash back on gas purchases starting 7/1. After a few gas purchases, I noticed that Valero and another gas station that I got gas from were under "vehicle expenses" on my transaction details.
I emailed Chase, and it said the 5% cash back only applies to those gas stations that's coded under "gas" instead of "vehicle expenses". That is just crap and disappointing. I also noticed that Macy's is under "other" instead of "department store" which means I won't get 5% cash back in next quarter too. It just sucks.

Would be helpful to know what gas station is actually coded under "gas", and the price is not typically more expensive than other gas stations and dismiss the 5% cash back advantage.

Kyle --

I know it doesn't help, but FYI I covered this issue here:

http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2011/06/how-to-determine-a-stores-classification-for-cash-back-credit-card-rewards.html

So far, I haven't had any problem with the Chase Freedom card.

And, BTW, some readers have reported that their charges are showing up as "other" but they are still getting the 5%. Example: a reader had this happen last quarter when the 5% cash back was available on hardware store purchases. His Lowes charges showed up as "other" but he still received 5% cash back on them.

Big bummer! While MasterPo doesn't eat out much any more it was nice.

Kyle - Even with Costco Amex some stations show as grocery or food instead of gas.

Oh well. All good things...

I've never had a problem using my Fidelity AmEx at Costco and it gives you 2% cash on everything. That doesn't solve the issue of carrying your membership card though and the Fidelity AmEx is only worth it if you're going to invest with them anyway.

I prefer my 2% back on everything I purchase with AMEX. There is no one dominate item I purchase that could skew it one way or the other.

My sis in law just changed to the 3% for travel and scored $80 when she booked her cruise.

I still have a grandfathered Chase Professional MasterCard that gets me 3% back at restaurants. The Costco card loses all value given that my FIA (former Schwab) VISA is 2% across the board and the new Amex Blue Cash card (thanks again, FMF) gives me 3% back on gas--unlimited. Plus it gives me the same 1% back at Costco I'd be getting with TrueEarnings. And I don't have to wait a year to redeem it.

Well, nothing lasts forever, eh? At least they haven't changed the gas discount...yet. I buy all my gas at Costco, since the nearest store generally has the lowest or near the lowest prices in town. And I rarely eat out, so a percentage point won't make much difference. Betcha eventually all these blandishments go away. When that happens, there'll be no advantage to using credit cards, for those of us who pay off the balance each month. Wonder how many credit card users will switch to cash or debits card then.

If your looking for a card to replace your restaurant purchases, go with the Citi Forward card. It pays 5% for restaurants and has about $85 in bonus money available right now for $250 of purchases in the first 3 months and signing up for paperless billing. It's not cash back but they have a $100 gift cards that doesn't cost a premium in points. And they are at places where it won't sit around gathering dust before it's used ... places like Walmart, Sunoco, Lowe's, Home Depot, CVS,and Kohl's.

Since I last posted on this thread, I canceled my Chase card. Chase has THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE OF ANY FINANCIAL INSTITUTION I HAVE EVER DONE BUSINESS WITH! Sorry for yelling...yesterday I was so mad I couldn't even speak, so today I suppose I too much speaking energy left over.

I wouldn't have another card with Chase if they gave me a 10 percent kickback on every purchase I make. It just isn't worth the hassle and annoyance.

Funny -

Try shopping at Sears. Then you will truly see the worst.

"Not many others (any others?) had 3% cash back on restaurants."

Citi Forward...

Just called Amex to express my dissatisfaction on the reduction of the restaurant cash back. They said the sent me a letter in June (which I don't recall seeing) that it goes from 3% to 2% after my August billing statement.

The CSR took my feedback and tried to get me to switch to the Blue Cash Preferred card ($75 annual fee). I declined. The CSR also said that there might be a new True Earnings program coming out to replace this one, but it would allow current members to retain this one.

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