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Okay, so I might have gone a little rewards-card-crazy, but I think I’m finally happy with my wallet by adding the PenFed Visa and the Citi Forward Visa.

As you may know, I love using rewards credit cards for all our normal bills and paying them off at the end of the month. When Im not using those then I use what I think is the best prepaid debit card offered by our bank for purchases that won’t get us rewards.  By doing this, we usually get back $200-$300 every year in cash and gift cards.  It’s a great idea for anyone who won’t go credit crazy and rack up debt.

Well, I wasn’t happy with the returns I was getting on two of our cards, so I replaced them last month.  Now we seem to be averaging 2-5% cash back on the majority of our purchases and at least 1% on everything else.

We could have made that more by getting a Fidelity Retirement Rewards Card that would give 2% on absolutely everything and put in in our Roth IRA, but that seemed boring.  We made the choice to go with cards that we could use to get gift cards to places we enjoy or cold hard cash.  Yes, that is not the financially sound decision, but we want our “rewards” to be fun.  🙂

None of these cards have an annual fee and I’m only disclosing the APR’s for informational purposes – we don’t carry a balance, so I looked them up just for you.  Please keep in mind, these APR’s are based on an “Excellent” credit rating and just get worse from here.

What Credit Cards We Were Using

Discover More

  • 5% cash back on rotating categories every 3 months and 1% on everything else after you spend at least $3000 each year.
  • We use the cash back rewards to buy gift cards at a discount – like a $25 Bath and Body Works card for $20 or a $50 Starbucks card for $45.
  • Our APR is 12.99%.

Discover Open Road

  • Was 5% cash back on up to $250 a month of gas and car-related expenses and 1% on everything else after you spend at least $3000 each year when I signed up in 2008.
  • BUT it changed to 2% cash back on up to $250 a month for gas and restaurant purchases as the main deal.  Yucky!
  • Our APR is 13.99%.

Bank of America World Mastercard

  • 1 point for every dollar spent, which meant 1% cash back after every $25,000.
  • I never liked this card but only used it as a backup if a place didn’t take Discover.
  • Our APR is 10.9%.

What Credit Cards We Are Using Now

PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) Visa

(It’s the second one on the linked page)

  • 5% cash back on gas, 2% on groceries, and 1% on everything else.
  • Your bonus is applied at the end of every billing cycle automatically.
  • You’ll need to become a PenFed member, which means you will need to meet one of these criteria and make a $5 deposit to your account.
  • We chose to join the National Military Family Association for $20.  You do not need to renew that annual membership to keep the account.
  • The only drawback in my opinion is there is a few things of paperwork you have to sign and send back to get everything going…I hate extra stuff to do.
  • There is a fee if you don’t sign up for paperless statements, but I’m a fan anyway.
  • Our APR is 13.99%.
  • I’d rate their online website as a 7 out of 10 for usability.

Discover More

  • 5% cash back on rotating categories every 3 months and 1% on everything else after you spend at least $3000 each year.
  • We use the cash back rewards to buy gift cards at a discount – like a $25 Bath and Body Works card for $20 or a $50 Starbucks card for $45.
  • Our APR is 12.99%.
  • I’d rate their online website as a 10 out of 10 for usability.

Citi Forward Visa

  • 5 points for every dollar spent for dining, books (including Amazon), and movies (including rentals) and 1 point for everything else.
  • They also give you 6000 points for making at least $250 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • You also can get 2500 points for signing up for paperless statements within the first 3 months.
  • You will get 100 points every billing cycle for paying on time and staying under your limit.
  • They also reduce your APR 0.25% (up to a total of 2%) for paying on time and staying under your limit 3 months in a row. We don’t care since we don’t carry balances, but it is good to know.
  • The points are redeemable for cash back, gift cards, and merchandise, but based on the return, I’d only use them for gift cards. It seems to work out to getting 4%-5% back on dining, books, and movies and 0.75%-1% on everything else.
  • Our APR is apparently 0%…I didn’t know that until I checked our statement, so apparently there is a sign-up special.  🙂
  • I’d rate their online website as a 5 out of 10 for usability.

We’ve had these cards for one month and already received $5.71 cash back on the PenFed Visa for our gas and groceries and 11,214 points on the Citi Forward Visa since we paid the last grad school payment and signed up for paperless statements.  It will probably net us about 400 points a month from here on out.

Well, if anybody here was looking for a little change, I hope this helps!  I am in no way profiting from this post…I even grabbed the links to the cards by Googling them.  I just switched and thought this info might help anyone who’s thinking about changing their cards too.

Do you have any other great rewards cards suggestions?