Free-Quent Flyer made a great post about Amazon Allowance with excellent uses and I wanted to take it a step further. He is suggesting using Amazon Allowance to hit the minimum transactions per month in order to hit certain bonus thresholds or to waive maintenance fees. This is an excellent idea to automate those small charges. It’s like putting your credit card on cruise control.
I never signed up for the American Express Every Day credit cards because I did not want to put 20 to 30 charges a month on the card, that might mean I would not be maximizing my spend just to meet the transaction floor. Yes, prior to Amazon Allowance, you could buy the Amazon gift cards yourself, manually. No thanks.
Where We Differ
FQF recommends sending yourself $5 a month with a Bank of America Better Balance Rewards card. I don’t suggest that at all. Instead, spend a little more and subscribe to his newsletter, it’s worth it. At the end of the year, you’d basically get a free subscription to the hidden content.
About two weeks ago, I was able to successfully product change my Travel Rewards card to a Better Balance Rewards card and just signed up for the monthly service for Evernote. Any service that I think is worth paying for, I will use the Better Balance Card. Again because at the end of the year, the service becomes free or near free. This is also why when Wandering Aramean announced he was changing to a monthly fee cadence I was excited. While I only have 2 BBR’s, when I add a third to my portfolio, I will cut over from using my Discover card to a BBR. Seriously, if a bank is paying you to use the credit card, you need to fully utilize the benefits. This isn’t even manufactured spending, it’s just being a smart customer.
On the BBR, one day I hope to be like Rapid Travel Chai
@travelwithgrant I am up to 6 of ’em now, my new approach is don’t waste time if a quarter doesn’t post, got prorated AS fees back
— Rapid Travel Chai (@rapidtravelchai) June 25, 2015
The man has 6 Better Balance Reward cards, that means at a minimum he’s getting back $600 back per year. And I thought having 3 Chase Freedoms in my own name was nice, but 6 cards of one product type is impressive.
Another Idea, Or Two
I am set in my ways in where I use my credit cards because I’m trying to maximize my return on all the card spend. Remember how I told you how I signed up for a second Discover card? I love their portal even more. More times than not, I do not use the Discover card at least 1 time a month. In my experience, if I don’t use the credit card my portal cash back does not post. Amazon Allowance will help me out on that aspect so I have a tiny charge going to my card, automatically.
For those that have a Barclay’s Lufthansa credit card, this avenue could be a great way to keep your miles alive. The rules are, so long as you have 1 transaction per month using your Lufthansa card your miles will not expire. Otherwise, they will expire in 5 years. Unfortunately for me, there were a few months in between where I didn’t have a transaction so my miles will expire. Here’s to hoping that I’ll use them up before they expire. But for those that have been keeping up with it, Amazon Allowance will put you on autopilot. To have a small charge on the card, I signed up for Google’s 100 GB service for $1.99/month, but I don’t find it especially useful since I don’t need all the space.
Really You Can’t Go Wrong
Amazon Allowance has definitely helped us automate small charges, and this is great. I love being able to focus on other things. Whatever you choose to do with the Amazon Allowance, you really can’t go wrong these “micro transactions” will go a long way. I suggest doing $.75 instead of $.50 because there’s various rules with these credit card companies that will round down and you’ll miss out on a mile.
Interested to know how you were able to product change to BBR? I tried many times and they said no can do, only apply new. I did get one rep to do it, but they ended up converting it to Cash Rewards, no good. What number did you call? What time of day? Did you have to try many times? Thanks!
Ted – you have to keep trying. I tried earlier in the year (can’t remember when, some time Jan to Mar) and wasn’t able to PC. So I tried it again, and it worked. I called the number on the back of my at the time Travel Rewards card
I recommend applying for a few Bank of America cards on the same day and product changing them all after you get the bonus. You can get a few different cards on one pull. You’ll pull closer to Rapid Travel Chai very quickly.
I love the BBR card. Automatic money. I have 4 and my wife has 3. I plan to get a few more for each of us soon.
Thanks Oren! I was thinking about that also – get a couple of “nice” BAC cards, like 1 Alaska Air, and whatever else then product change all into a BBR
Thanks for the tips, @chasingthepoints and @oren. My next AoR will be all BoA apps.
Just make sure the apps are all for different products: http://www.doctorofcredit.com/alaska-airlines-shutdowns-transfers-no-af-multiple-applications-what-you-need-to-know/
“My recommendation: Don’t apply for multiple Bank of America Alaska Airlines credit cards on the same day. Keep in mind Bank of America has lots of different cards, so if you want to get multiple applications combined just apply for a few different cards.”
Thanks for the tip, @star. AS miles are not very useful for me, so I won’t do multiple AS applications. I will probably do one Alaska card, one FIA and one BOA better balance rewards card.
Great post. I’m definitely signing up for FQF as soon as I get my Alaska card PCed to BBR 🙂 Can’t wait!! Hopefully won’t have too much trouble PCing, though I heard it’s definitely harder now. 🙁
I signed up for Google’s $1.99 plan too, but I was trying to find a card that would waive a small balance every month. Unfortunately, looks like Discover and one other card were the only ones I had that would waive a $1.99 charge (most of the others were <$1), and I use those cards too much since their categories are so useful.
Thanks, I highly recommend it for both! FQF has some great nuggets and BBR literally pays you to be a customer
Star, didn’t you use the Discover card this month to maximize the third quarter 5% bonus? I am thinking on such months, you will have to pay the $1.99 as well. There is no way they will waive it since it will be one of the many charges on your card (assuming you used it at Sears/Kmart/Macy’s as well)
@Yeshu – yeah, so I was saying it was unfortunate I can’t use my Discover. 🙂 I ended up putting the $1.99 on my Arrivals+ even though 2% is less than a nickel…
(I had to sign up because I ran out of email space on my primary accountand was not willing to change my primary email address)
You ran out of space in your inbox? Wow. That’s the first time I’ve heard anyone say that. Do you use one email for everything – coupons, newsletters, etc?
No, it was my personal email account that became full, not my junk emails (I have 3 junk email addresses and they’re fine, plus I can always change them!). I’ve been on gmail literally since day 1 with this email address, so after all these years it’s finally full. Also some people insist on sending me large attachments instead of using Dropbox… -_- Gmail needs to have a feature to just remove the attachment without deleting the text of the email…and a bulk button for doing so haha.
I ran out of space last year but always managed to use FindBigMail to delete enough large attachments to keep going for another few months, but I finally ran out of the biggest items to delete, and am too lazy to go through the rest of the smaller attachments to process them.
I also had the Lufthansa card but just closed it after not using it for a year (was not offered any retention) and moved the balance to Arrivals+. I will have to remember to use up my miles in the next 4 years.
Surprisingly easy to use Lufthansa miles. I found award space on United and jotted down the flights and times. Phoned Lufthansa (must phone but no phone fee) and booked. The fees were slightly higher than the $5.60 United charges but still cheap. Easier than I thought to do this. Figured my miles would go the way of the dodo bird since I didn’t know where to use them. Now I do. 🙂 You can also donate 1000 miles to reset the 5 year expiration.
Very helpful! Thanks for the tips! Are the miles required for an award flight the same as United’s?