With October 1 around the corner, it’s time to make sure you’ve activated your credit cards’ quarterly bonus earning categories.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, Chase Freedom cards earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent, up to $1,500, at department stores, wholesale clubs, and on purchases made using Chase Pay.
When I saw Chase Pay on the list I was briefly optimistic since I’ve started using Apple Pay for a lot of my purchases, but it turns out Chase Pay is a much more limited service that seems to only be accepted at fast-casual restaurants near me. The iPhone app functions terribly, so I may be missing an obvious opportunity here; do your own research if you’re interested in exploring this option.
Department stores is a good category for resellers and folks who actually shop at department stores, but the manufactured spend opportunities in my experience are typically limited and expensive.
If you have a wholesale club membership you should be able to buy $500 prepaid Visa or MasterCard debit cards and get good value even with relatively high liquidation costs. It’s a shame the current Plastiq fee-free promotion ends before the start of next quarter.
In the fourth quarter Discover it (and legacy Discover More) cards offer 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at Amazon.com and wholesale clubs. It’s a marginal play, but Amazon now sells $200 Visa prepaid debit cards with a $6.95 purchase fee. Seven $200 cards would cost $48.65, plus liquidation fees, earning $72.43, for a total profit of a bit less than $23.78.
For wholesale club members the obvious solution, as above, is $500 prepaid debit cards.
Sign into your Discover account and register here before the start of the quarter, since Discover doesn’t award bonus cash back retroactively.
Citi has had a weak lineup of Dividend cash back bonuses all year (depending on how much you can spend at gas stations), but department stores and Best Buy are decent categories for actual spend or resellers.
US Bank Cash+
I recently had my Cash+ account closed, not for abuse, but for inactivity, which I guess speaks to my overall opinion about the card’s value. Nevertheless, the card exists and if yours hasn’t been closed for inactivity, you should check out the current 5% bonus categories, on up to $2,000 in purchases during the fourth quarter of 2018:
Home utilities is actually a decent option if you can both overpay your utility bills and ask for a refund of the overpayment. Otherwise, you’re probably best off either using the Cash+ for reselling purchases or leaving it in the sock drawer.