Finding a Points Strategy: Part 4

In part 4, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at my credit card picks from my third post in this series. I’ll take my projected spend in all of the categories and match that up against the annual fees of those cards. This line up of credit cards involves 5 different credit cards:

  1. American Express Business Platinum – $450 annual fee, $200 travel credit
  2. American Express Everyday Preferred – $95 annual fee
  3. Chase Ink Preferred – $95 annual fee
  4. Chase Ink Cash – $0 annual fee
  5. Chase Freedom – $0 annual fee

Total annual fees: $630

Total travel credits: $200

Total cost of credit cards: $430

In this analysis, I am going to first assume that I will not be manufacturing spend at all. I also will not take into account the rotating category bonuses of the Chase Freedom credit card. If I did take this into consideration, I would come out even further ahead.

Airfare: $1500

Cash Tickets ($1200)

For this, I would use the Business Platinum card to book at AmexTravel and earn 5x points.

Resulting Points: 6000 MR Points

Award Tickets/Gift Card Tickets ($300)

The problem with getting gift cards from the Business Platinum’s annual travel credit is that I will need to book directly with the airlines to use them and thus not be able to use the Business Platinum’s 5x bonus at AmexTravel. I will put those tickets booked directly with airlines on my Chase Ink Preferred. I will also put taxes/fees from award tickets on the Chase Ink Preferred.

Resulting Points: 900 UR Points

Other Travel Expenses (Excluding Gas): $1000

I’ll put this on the Ink Preferred and earn 3x points.

Resulting Points: 3000 UR Points

Gas – $2000

I’ll put this on the Everyday Preferred card and earn 3x points.

Resulting Points: 6000 MR Points

Groceries – $3000

I’ll put this on the Everyday Preferred card and earn 4.5x points.

Resulting Points: 13500 MR Points

Restaurants – $2000

I’ll put this on the Ink Cash and earn 2x points.

Resulting Points: 4000 UR Points

Amazon – $1000

I’ll put this on the Ink Cash (by buying Amazon gift cards at office supply stores) and earn 5x points.

Resulting Points: 5000 UR Points

Telecommunication – $800

I’ll put this on the Ink Cash and earn 5x points.

Resulting Points: 4000 UR Points

Other Spend – $4000

I’ll put this on the Everyday Preferred and earn 1.5x points.

Resulting Points: 6000 MR Points

Point Totals

MR Points: 31500

UR Points: 16900

Now that I have projected point totals for how much you can earn in a year with these credit cards, I need to assign cash values to those points. I will be assigning the 2 cent a piece value to the MR points because my Business Platinum Card allows me to do that. For the UR points, I’ll use The Points Guy’s most recent valuation for them. He values them at 2.1 cents a point and I think that is a fair value.

MR Points Value = 31500 x $0.02 = $630

UR Points Value = 16900 x $0.021 = $355

Total Points Value: = $985

Adding It Up

To get this number, I’ll take the total point value I will earn in a given year and then subtract the cost of having those credit cards.

Total Point Value – Cost of Credit Cards = $985 – $430 = $555

Conclusion

Making $555 annually off of your credit cards is a pretty good deal. This lineup of cards certainly did better than the $428 I would have made with the first lineup. I am pretty happy with this lineup and do not think I could do much to improve upon it.

The biggest flaw in my calculations so far is that they have assumed that I will not be doing any manufactured spending. This likely won’t be the case. Next, I’ll dig into ways I may want to alter this lineup for manufactured spending opportunities.

Stay tuned for the 5th part of this series!

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