Don’t let your lust for rewards points make you penny-wise and pound-foolish
Re: “Don’t Let Cards Trip You Up,” On the Spot, by Catharine Hamm, April 22. Assuming we are pinching pennies, paying your property tax is not the lowest-cost option, as Los Angeles has a service fee of 2.25% of the payment amount. Better use the credit card for car and home insurance, DMV fees, cellphone and utilities bills.
Some additional tips:
--In terms of churning, you don’t have to cancel the credit cards after receiving the rewards in order not to pay the annual fee. With some cards, you can, after using the rewards, ask to change the card to a no-annual-fee card. You keep the same credit-card number and credit limit with no annual fee.
--The effect on your credit score is minimal (just a few points).
--When your taxes are due you can pay them online with a credit card for a small additional amount.
In 2016 I applied for two co-branded credit cards: JetBlue and Total Rewards (Caesars Entertainment Group). I sporadically use both cards and accumulate rewards points.
I saved my points for a special occasion. That moment occurred in fall 2017. I used my JetBlue credit-card points to book a round-trip New Year’s Eve weekend flight. Additionally, as I checked out of the Flamingo Hotel, I accumulated enough “comps” using the Total Rewards credit card to pay off the remainder of my hotel bill.
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