I earn only a small fraction of my miles and points chasing signup bonuses. There are people who get all the miles they need through signing up for new credit cards, but I have found that strategy leaves me me with large-but-not-large-enough balances scattered across multiple accounts in a way that mitigates most of the value of the points.
For example, after signing up for a Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage World MasterCard and Barclaycard US Airways MasterCard in January, 2014, and receiving 85,000 miles between the two cards, I still have about 38,000 AAdvantage miles remaining (including my 10,000 US Airways anniversary miles).
This isn't because I don't fly American — I fly American fairly regularly, redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cheaper flights and US Bank Flexpoints for more expensive flights, and crediting those paid flights to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. What I don't do is find many occasions to redeem AAdvantage miles — especially such a small number of them.
Instead, I earn miles and points directly in the programs where I get the most value, and where I'm sure to redeem them, by manufacturing spend on the appropriate credit cards.
Nationwide Visa Buxx cards have been around for years
I first wrote about Nationwide Visa Buxx cards in February, 2013 (yes, I've really been blogging that long).
The opportunity offered by these cards is simple: after signing up for a "parent" account, you can add "teen" card accounts, each of which can be loaded with $1,000 per rolling 30-day period from any Visa or MasterCard (although beware of loading using Citi-issued credit cards), at a cost of $2 per $500 load. The "teen" cards, which you'll receive in the mail, are PIN-enabled and have a maximum purchase limit of $800 per rolling 7-day period.
Nationwide Visa Buxx cards are still available for new signups
Two other, more lucrative Visa Buxx products have been limited in various ways over the years: TD Go cards can now only be funded with TD Bank-issued credit cards, and US Bank Visa Buxx cards are no longer available for new signups.
But Nationwide Visa Buxx cards are! So if you don't yet have a card, consider opening an account today. No deal lasts forever, but those of us who opened US Bank Visa Buxx cards in time are still going strong, despite new applications for the card not being available since February, 2014, and I have no reason to believe the Nationwide gravy train will end any time soon.