What Am I Going to Do About My Credit Cards?

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee, CC BY 2.0.

As soon as I decided that I was going to move from Seattle to Cedar Rapids, I switched all of my spending from my Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card to my Capital One Quicksilver card.

At this point I’ve fully transitioned to “putting all of my spending on the credit card—unless I need to use debit to get cash back at the register—and paying the credit card off every month,” which means I have to figure out which credit card is best for my new life in Iowa.

Especially because I’m probably going to be doing a lot of spending in the next month.

The Capital One Quicksilver card gets me unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, and I always redeem my cash back as a statement credit because that’s just… easy. (It’s also probably what Capital One wants me to do.)

I have a Discover card that gets me 5 percent cash back on rotating categories (currently Amazon and Target) for up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, plus unlimited 1 percent cash back on everything else. I could do the thing where I used Discover for everything that fit into that quarter’s 5 percent category, for up to the first $1,500 in purchases, and then used Capital One for everything else—but 5 percent of $1,500 is only $75, and I’m not sure that’s worth all the extra work.

Of course, if I put that same $1,500 on the Capital One card, I’d only earn $22.50. Maybe it is worth the extra work.

Or maybe I should apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card right now.

I really should have applied for it yesterday, before I booked my holiday flights, because the only way to get all of the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonuses is to put $4,000 on the card in the first three months.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also comes with a $450 annual fee, which… I know I could get $750 to put towards travel if I earn all my bonuses and book the tickets through Chase Ultimate Rewards, plus a $300 statement credit towards travel purchases after having the card for a year (plus other rewards and perks), but the part of me that is thinking about all the money I’ll be spending in the next two months does not want to think about adding another $450 to that.

I do wonder if I should get another airline card to replace the Alaska card that I am going to have to cancel (after using up all the points to book my SEA-ORD-CID flight on November 30 and the round-trip flight between Cedar Rapids and Seattle I’m planning in May) because of its $75 annual fee.

Maybe a United or an American Airlines card, since those are the two airlines that fly in and out of CID. (The last leg of that SEA-ORD-CID flight will be on American.)

Or I could just run everything through my Capital One Quicksilver card and not worry about it. The best way to save money is by spending less money, not by getting cash back. Right?

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