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I got an interesting question from a reader who agreed I could post his question but wished to remain anonymous:

I may very well be making a $100k to 150k purchase soon, which can be made by credit card. I’m not asking you to advise me as to what card to use, but I’m asking you that if you were going to make a purchase that size, and could do it by credit card, what card would give you the most bang for the buck, points wise? I could split the purchase up in to smaller purchases, in order to put it on various cards, if that made any sense, for some reason. Or, maybe it would be much more advantageous to just put it all on one card. What would you do?

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My response

I thought about the question for awhile, and here were some of my general thoughts on the matter.  Of course a lot of it probably depends on your individual situation regarding which cards you already have, which you might be able to get, what this purchase actually is, etc. Here are a few things that I’d think about. I chose to make it a flat $100,000 purchase just to make the math easier – obviously adjust up as needed 🙂

  • At the end of the day, you want to compare it to a straight 2% cashback card. If you put all of it on something like a Citi Double Cash, you’d get $2000 back. So any miles and points you get you’d want to make sure you value those more than $2000
  • Or better yet, the Alliant card which gives 3% cashback for the first year, or Discover It miles which gives 1.5% back but doubles your cashback at the end of the first year (both of those would give $3000 back if you could put it all on those cards)
  • Your best bang for the buck is going to be meeting signup bonuses. For example, the current offer for the Chase Ink Preferred (affiliate link) gives 80,000 for $5000 in spend. So for those $5000, you get SIXTEEN Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent.
  • I think you’re likely to run out of cards to get signup bonuses on before you run out of $100K to spend, so with that said, here are a few cards I’d look at (besides the cashback cards above)
    • Amex Business Blue – no signup bonus but 2x Membership Rewards for the first $50K spent
    • Chase Freedom Unlimited – 1.5UR per dollar spent – in conjunction with a Chase Sapphire Reserve which woudl let you spend them for (At least) 1.5 cents per point (more if you transfer to partners)
    • SPG personal / business cards (only 1x SPG but SPG points are among the more valuable)
    • Other hotel / airline cards depending on your travel plans – see the top credit card offers page

The other thing to keep in mind is depending on what this large purchase is, even if you CAN make it on a credit card, it doesn’t mean that you SHOULD.  I would definitely look into seeing if they will discount the purchase if you pay in cash (so that they don’t have to pay the CC processing fees)

a pile of one hundred dollar bills

What advice do you have?

Given that you don’t know anything about the situation of this particular reader, what kind of advice would you give?  Do you agree with what I said?  Or have anything else to add?

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