American Express

Credit cards try to incentivise us to use them in various ways. Some give cash, some airline miles, and many use “points” but what the hell is a point. I did the math on my American Express Platinum card and found the answer; it depends. It depends on what you use the points towards. I applied the points and two ways; towards the purchase of gift cards and towards purchases and what do you know the purchase of American Express promote gift cards is the most valuable use of the points.  I purchased $400 in Gap gift cards for 40,000 points. That is 1 cent per point. Not too bad I guess since you get a point for every dollar you spend. It is the equivalent to 1% cash back. Of course that isn’t too good when you consider cards like the American Express Blue card that gives 3% Cash Back on groceries 2% cashback on gas, and 1% on everything else. But hey lets say you want that Platinum in your wallet because maybe you need to compensate for something and like paying an annual fee. So how much are the points worth if we apply them to a regular purchase, after all that is just like cash back.  Well when I put the points toward purchases I made that 1 cent per point became  .6 cents. Please note the point in there, that is not six cents it is point six cents. What is up with that? I mean look, no one ever got rich off their credit card points, but man a couple extra bucks coming your way would be nice.

So what cards are good to make some extra cash? As I already said the AMEX Blue Card is pretty good. Discover Card has some pretty good deals with 5% cash back (as long as you sign up for the rotating category).  Chase has a pretty good one too that gives 5% cash back for groceries (and Starbucks for some reason). It is important to note that all of these cards have a limit to their cash back. Discover cuts you off at $3,000 of your selected categories and Chase cuts you off at $1,500 in groceries. Who the hell only spends $1,500 a year on groceries. I have two kids so we spend that in about a month and a half.  Even if you are single I would think you would spend that rather quickly in a year.  More importantly, beer doesn’t count as groceries according to these people! Have they not checked the food pyramid? Beer is like the cornerstone of the pyramid.