Last time I wrote about credit card churning. I want to go over the credit cards we use for cash back and how we optimize their usage to get the most discount. By stacking these with cash back portals and discounted giftcards, we’ve been able to get almost 25-30% discounts on our recent purchases.

For groceries and streaming subscriptions, we use the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. It has a $95 annual fee, and provides 6% cash back for these two categories. The cash back on groceries is limited to $6000 in purchases per year. We typically buy $400 of groceries per month, or $4800 per year. You could also use the card to purchase giftcards at the grocery store, for an instant 6% discount.

For online purchases, we use the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards for 3% cash back. On top of that, we also use Rakuten for additional cash back. I also use (affiliate link) to purchase discounted giftcards, with the BofA card and Rakuten for another guaranteed 4% discount.

We’re also purchasing Costco Shop cards with the BofA card (a la Frugal Professor). But, I’m not sure if it’s worth the trouble. You have to wait for the card to arrive in the mail, and it cannot be reloaded. It might be easier to just stick with the Citi Costco card for 2%. But, I find it hard to give up the extra 1% cash back. The Citi Costco card does have a 2 year extended warranty, which is worth it for electronic purchases. We also use the Citi Costco card for 4% off gas.

Be careful with the BoFA card when buying things online though. It has foreign transaction fees, and if you purchase things from international businesses, this fee will be charged to your account. I’ve made the mistake a few times. Make sure you review the online businesses to see if they’re American or international.

The Chase Flex card gives 3% cash back for dining out and 5% for travel. Occasionally, the Discover or Chase cards will have 5% for dining as their rotating categories. And we use the Amazon and Target cards for 5% off at Amazon and Target.

We use the Citi Double card for 2% back on everything else. With Covid, almost all stores allow you to buy online and pick up in store, so it’s best to use the BofA card instead.

Is it worth it to go through all this effort for a few percent discount? I think it is. Using Rakuten and BofA to buy discounted giftcards, we’ve been able to get almost 25-30% discount on various purchases. I’m an optimizer by heart, so getting these discounts to stack is a fun game I play while also never having to pay full price ever again.

Edit: We’ve downgraded the Amex Blue Cash Preferred to the Blue Cash Everyday. We’re not using the Amex card as often now that we’ve moved back to Michigan. We’re mainly shopping at Costco, and the Asian grocery stores I frequent do not accept Amex (perhaps due to the high transaction fees they have to pay for).