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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got a Sears credit card when I was 18 years old. A decade or two ago, they changed it to a MasterCard. The main reason I had one was for Craftsman tools, and a $2.95/month, $100k, accidental death and dismemberment insurance policy from Allstate that's on auto-pay. I'm superstitious. I figure if I dropped the policy.... "Splat!" (death) ... or "Ouch!" (dismemberment).

We have about ten credit cards, and we charge about $60k/year on them. I always pay off the balances every month. I don't use the Sears MasterCard much, because their rebate rate (1%) was lower than my other cards, and because the 2018 hurricane flattened the Sears store in Bubbaville.

Citi's gone nuts with crazy rebate offers, with temporary rebate officers on specific purchases. I nailed them for almost $500 last year, and over that this year. Back in June, the offer was 5% bonus rebates if I spend $2000 by August 14th. As soon as my card cycled (so I could play the float for 50 days), I charged $2020. Doing it all in one day (car insurance and water bill), the first day of my credit card cycle was just my way of thumbing my nose at them.

But, Citi's offer I got Friday has been the best yet: 21% (1% normal, 5% statement credit, and 15% in gift cards or a check) on gas, groceries, and restaurants on up to $1000/month, if I spend at least $400/month on those categories in July, August, and September.

We spent $697 in gas, groceries, and restaurants in June. I have to spend $400 in the last 21 days in July. That will be easy. It will be easy to max out the offer ($1000/month) in August and September. Hell, I might still be able to max out the offer for July. This will put a total of $600 in my pocket.

So, if you're looking for a new credit card, there's some craziness going on with the Sears MasterCard lately. I doubt everybody gets all these offers. If they did, Citi would go bankrupt. Like BMW's old credit card, what seems to drive them crazy is having good credit and not using their cards. I only used my BMW card when I got the elevated rebates. They once sent me an offer of 10% on everything during a six-day period. I nailed them for $600.
 

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It's possible to have credit card bonuses as a hobby.

Banks and credit card processors can be abusive to the small business. They love to offer rewards cards but then charge a higher commission, particularly to small businesses, when a customer uses such car. I would not be surprised if there would be a regular 5% bonus offered. They would then charge the merchant 9%. Then swipe fees, settlement fees, incomprehensible fees, PCI fees, commission, etc. The merchant must accept reward cards, no choice. It's easy to be generous with other people's money.

Capital One allows you to submit a photo which occupies the entire front of the credit card. I submitted a photo of a BMW, grille and one front fender and front wheel. They accepted the photo. Now it's my unofficial BMW credit card.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's possible to have credit card bonuses as a hobby.

Banks and credit card processors can be abusive to the small business. They love to offer rewards cards but then charge a higher commission, particularly to small businesses, when a customer uses such car. I would not be surprised if there would be a regular 5% bonus offered. They would then charge the merchant 9%. Then swipe fees, settlement fees, incomprehensible fees, PCI fees, commission, etc. The merchant must accept reward cards, no choice. It's easy to be generous with other people's money.

Capital One allows you to submit a photo which occupies the entire front of the credit card. I submitted a photo of a BMW, grille and one front fender and front wheel. They accepted the photo. Now it's my unofficial BMW credit card.
Yeah, that pretty much describes me. I'll get about $2k back this year.

I also accumulate $500/year towards a GM vehicle, with points lasting for 84 months. If I time it right, I can get $4k back on a GM vehicle. I was going to buy a City Express (rebadged Nissan cargo mini-van). But, they stopped making it. Plan B was to get a Chevy Cruze. But, they stopped making that, too. Plan C was to get a Chevy Sonic. But, they've stopped making that, too. Plan's D, E, and F are: Ford Transit Connect, Toyota Corolla SE 6MT, or have my 535i become my beater. I've only put 2900 miles on my 535i in 2020, and only about 1000 miles on my Cobalt. So, having two cars is making less and less sense.

Square charges merchants 2.6% plus $0l.10/transaction. The credit card issuers make their money by charging interest on consumers. The average household credit card debt is about $6k.

On the whole, the credit card industry loses money on me. But, they more than make it up on the suckers.
 

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Yeah, that pretty much describes me. I'll get about $2k back this year.

I also accumulate $500/year towards a GM vehicle, with points lasting for 84 months. If I time it right, I can get $4k back on a GM vehicle. I was going to buy a City Express (rebadged Nissan cargo mini-van). But, they stopped making it. Plan B was to get a Chevy Cruze. But, they stopped making that, too. Plan C was to get a Chevy Sonic. But, they've stopped making that, too. Plan's D, E, and F are: Ford Transit Connect, Toyota Corolla SE 6MT, or have my 535i become my beater. I've only put 2900 miles on my 535i in 2020, and only about 1000 miles on my Cobalt. So, having two cars is making less and less sense.

Square charges merchants 2.6% plus $0l.10/transaction. The credit card issuers make their money by charging interest on consumers. The average household credit card debt is about $6k.

On the whole, the credit card industry loses money on me. But, they more than make it up on the suckers.
Yeap, I am one of those... LOL!! Been with Amex since 1988...LOL!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The latest craziness from Citi Sears MasterCard is 25% rebates on payment for utilities (electricity, water, gas, cable TV, and garbage service) of $100 or more from now through October 31st.

Bubbaville Beach lets me pay my water bill with a credit card and no fee. So does the garbage company. Power and cable companies let me do it with a ~3% fee, but 3% is less than 25%. I'll enter the fees as a negative rebate in my strict accounting process.

This will be good for another $500 or so.
 

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The latest craziness from Citi Sears MasterCard is 25% rebates on payment for utilities (electricity, water, gas, cable TV, and garbage service) of $100 or more from now through October 31st.

Bubbaville Beach lets me pay my water bill with a credit card and no fee. So does the garbage company. Power and cable companies let me do it with a ~3% fee, but 3% is less than 25%. I'll enter the fees as a negative rebate in my strict accounting process.

This will be good for another $500 or so.
So those are Citi Thank You points that do not go away if Sears goes bust?
 

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It is hard to consolidate points from the big 3 (ThankYou, Ultimate, Membership), but some friends who really lived and breathed these actually got honeymoon paid for with points.

That 25% rebate is really unprecedented, except from free money upon sign-up.

The best our household ever achieved was with Sapphire Reserve sign-up, $2.2k benefits for one card(10k points that became $1.5k with 50% [email protected] center after $4k spent, $350 *2=$700 travel credit, $100 global entry), with $450 annual fee for that year.

The PP membership also allowed 100+ airport lounge visits that year($25 per visit for CC?), when our household booked flights with layovers and visited multiple lounges per airport. It was great memory compared to COVID-19 lockdown. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
With all these Citi Sears MasterCard scams, I'll be way past $2k this year in total rebates.

I don't travel much, and when I do I prefer to do it by car.
 

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Which card is that? I have the "Sears MasterCard with Thank You Rewards" and haven't seen that offer.
Yeah. Mine's a "Platinum" one, though. I'm hoping to achiever Plutonium status next year.

There's something about me that drives them crazy and causes them to offer these crazy deals. I've had a Sears card for over 40 years, I usually don't use it, and my FICO 9 score is currently pegged (850).

When I was 18, Sears sent a credit card offer and application to my deceased father. I filled it out and sent it in.

I wish I'd got the 25% rebate on utilities offer a few months ago. I had a lawn sprinkler line rupture and the control valve for that branch stick open. My water bill for two months was $1600.

I suspect me not normally using the card is what gets me all these crazy rebates. I had the old BMW FS Visa and would only use it on car stuff. They'd send me short term offers for crazy rebate rates (e.g. 10% for all purchases in a six day period... ka-ching... $6k in purchases, $600 in rebates).

I've even started taunting them. A recent deal was $100 in rebates if I spend $2000 in July. I had some big bills coming up that I could pay with a card (water, car insurance). So, I charged $2000.31 on July 1st.
 

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My 25X bonus points on utilities has some catches:

I get the 25X on up to $360/month. So, the total rebates (3 months of $360 x 0.25) is $270.

The qualifying utility purchases have to be for $100 or more.

My quarterly garbage bill is $78. Maybe they'll let me pay $22 toward the next quarter. My lawn sprinkler water bill is about $400 every two months in the summer. I can always pay my electric bill by credit card, but with an additional fee.
 

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My 25X bonus points on utilities has some catches:

I get the 25X on up to $360/month. So, the total rebates (3 months of $360 x 0.25) is $270.

The qualifying utility purchases have to be for $100 or more.

My quarterly garbage bill is $78. Maybe they'll let me pay $22 toward the next quarter. My lawn sprinkler water bill is about $400 every two months in the summer. I can always pay my electric bill by credit card, but with an additional fee.
Restrictions like these make chasing CC bonuses into a lifestyle, or probably a life, for some. :yikes:

The time spent to structure expenses to hit the criteria/minimum spent may instead be used to read the wind on, say, KODK, or TSLA, etc, etc. :bigpimp:
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Restrictions like these make chasing CC bonuses into a lifestyle, or probably a life, for some. :yikes:

The time spent to structure expenses to hit the criteria/minimum spent may instead be used to read the wind on, say, KODK, or TSLA, etc, etc. :bigpimp:
Reading the restrictions on these Citi-Sears rebates is like taking an IQ test. They pack a lot of information into as few words as possible. Screwing the credit card companies is one of my "micro-hobbies." So is keeping my cars clean. My dad and his siblings had large vegetable gardens. Their fascination with growing food came from growing up poor and occasionally hungry. The reason these hobbies are enjoyable is that they are productive, creating a tangible benefit, and sense of accomplishment.

I write down my spending at the end of each day on a spreadsheet: date, person (me or Frau Putzer), description, amount, spending category, payment method. By filtering the data I can easily track my spending by spending category and payment method. With a few clicks I can see that I've spent $553.52 so far this month on gas, groceries, and restaurants on my Citi-Sears card. When I get to $1000 (monthly limit for my 20% rebates) in August spending, I'll switch back to my other card that have elevated rebates on those spending categories.

One of Mama Putzer's hobbies was investing. She was a secretary with an associate's degree in accounting. But, she figured out the potential of a generic drug manufacturer before almost anybody else, and made a seven-digit fortune. She'd cashed out as she got older, saying she had enough money and didn't want to risk losing it. But, she had about $60k in the stock left, not selling it because she lost records of what she paid for it. I inherited the stock and it doubled in value in the 370 days after her death, being the object of a friendly takeover. Because I'd had the stock for over a year, I only had to pay the long-term capital gains tax rate.

The stock, PRX, was a rollercoaster, with a low of about $1/share and the final price of $100/share. When my cousin got married for the second time, Mom gave him 1000 shares as a wedding present when it was about $1/share, and told him to put it aside and forget about it. He sold it the next week. Mom also gave 1000 shares to his sister, as a "not ****ing your classmate in law school, and divorcing your first wife to marry the tramp you met in law school" present, with the same advice. His sister followed Mom's advice and turned ~$1000 into ~$100,000. My lawyer cousin's pissing away $99k by not listening to my Mom's advice was the most enjoyment she ever got out of spending $1000.

I saw the process Mom used in investing, and I need to get off my ass and attempt to duplicate it. Most of our wealth is in retirement accounts. So, the tax hassles of frequent trading would be eliminated. But, it's way too easy to just ride the Trump bump with mutual funds and go wash a BMW or two.
 

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Reading the restrictions on these Citi-Sears rebates is like taking an IQ test. They pack a lot of information into as few words as possible. Screwing the credit card companies is one of my "micro-hobbies." So is keeping my cars clean. My dad and his siblings had large vegetable gardens. Their fascination with growing food came from growing up poor and occasionally hungry. The reason these hobbies are enjoyable is that they are productive, creating a tangible benefit, and sense of accomplishment.
CC incentives usually are setup to entice spending for typical US customers that carry huge balances, so the banks figure supporting the micro-hobbies of a few is justified for their bottom lines. :)

As far as investing, there are lots of different schools and strategies. Over the years seeing experts/PhDs making boatloads for years and then going bankrupt in just one down cycle tells me that your Mom's strategy to exit while still ahead is one of the few proven strategies.

E.g. my old E39 was paid by exiting sky-high tech stocks that plummeted 99%, so in a way that E39 only costed me $500. :)
 

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I saw the process Mom used in investing, and I need to get off my ass and attempt to duplicate it.
I felt ethically constrained from buying Cisco in the early 90's when they had the market sewed up. I was buying $150-200K per from them and I knew my business had nothing to do with the stock price.
https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/CSCO/cisco/stock-price-history
I was at VFC and their stock compensated that moral transgression.

I bought some LabCorp at 2 back when the company was being re-capitalized.

QCOM had an employee purchase program so I loaded up after maximizing my 401K.
https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/QCOM?p=QCOM

My remaining shares are in the teens or less. These kinds of things let me maintain a respectable Bourdeaux cellar. :)
 

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My cousin the socialist, tree-hugging hippie had a big score recently. A medical equipment factory is near her house. She noticed the parking lot was getting more full every week. Then it started being full from 4 p.m. to midnight, too. She did her research and bought stock in the company. She was already part of the "Two Comma Club" (net worth of over $1,000.000). The funny thing is that she's lusting for a Range Rover, not normal behavior for a socialist, tree-hugging hippie.
 

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Are you saying she's doing a Jerry Rubin?
Sometime in the mid-1970s Rubin reinvented himself as a businessman. Friend and fellow Yippie Stew Albert claimed Rubin's new ambition was giving capitalists a social consciousness. In 1980 he began a new career on Wall Street as stockbroker with the brokerage firm John Muir & Co. "I know that I can be more effective today wearing a suit and tie and working on Wall Street than I can be dancing outside the walls of power,"[1] he said.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Rubin

Range Rovers are a status symbol??? :yikes:
 

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Are you saying she's doing a Jerry Rubin?
Sometime in the mid-1970s Rubin reinvented himself as a businessman. Friend and fellow Yippie Stew Albert claimed Rubin's new ambition was giving capitalists a social consciousness. In 1980 he began a new career on Wall Street as stockbroker with the brokerage firm John Muir & Co. "I know that I can be more effective today wearing a suit and tie and working on Wall Street than I can be dancing outside the walls of power,"[1] he said.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Rubin

Range Rovers are a status symbol??? :yikes:
Yeah, pretty much. For a while, she stuck to residential real estate, sort of "Normal Rockwell capitalism." But, that was a big PIA.

She's doesn't care about status symbols, except maybe tree-hugger, hippie status symbols. She currently has a Smart and a Honda Element. Like Frau Putzer, she's mesmerized by the looks of a Range Rover, and I can see why. This old Range Rover ad pretty much sums it up:

https://youtu.be/Wu4AxKBJLoY

I wish BMW and kept the brand and just kept the stylists and fired everybody else, and built Range Rovers with BMW mechanical, electrical, and electronics parts.
 

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She noticed the parking lot was getting more full every week. Then it started being full from 4 p.m. to midnight, too. She did her research and bought stock in the company.
Been there done that a few times, literally almost got flattened when trucks kept streaming in and out. :D.
 
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