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Credit card rewards review, good news on job benefits, other news tidbits

November 8th, 2011 at 08:35 pm

MonkeyMama turned me on to the Chase Southwest credit card, which has a deal where you make ONE purchase and get 2 free flights OR $500 in gift cards. There's a $69 annual fee, so you net $431.

We all have or recently had Chase cards, and NT and AS have even been turned down for smaller rewards. But I thought what the heck, this is too good not to try. I wasn't sure who should apply, so I had each of us apply separately.

I applied first and got an immediate note that I had been approved. AS and NT didn't get that note, so I figured they didn't get approved.

Then bam, last night, they got their cards in the mail! So we've got three cards, and after the fees, we'll get $1293 worth of cards for making three purchases!

Time to add up what I've gotten so far and what we will get soon:
Chase Sapphire $1000 Received
Chase Sapphire $1000 Received
Citi MasterCard $150 Received
American Express $15 Received ($100 minus $75 fee minus $10 late fee on 1st payment)
Citi MasterCard $200 Expected
Capital One $100 Expected
Chase Southwest Visa $431 Expected ($500 minus $69 fee)
Chase Southwest Visa $431 Expected ($500 minus $69 fee)
Chase Southwest Visa $431 Expected ($500 minus $69 fee)

Grand total this year, if we get those last 5 as expected? $3758! And that's not counting the 6% statement credits for grocery purchases we get on the Amex card. We easily spend $600 per month at eligible stores, so that means $432 in rewards. Minus $75 annual fee, we'll still get at least $357 per year.

We also get minor (1% to sometimes 5%) rewards on all other CC purchases, but I don't keep track.

Isn't that crazy? My raise was less than $5000 and the income was taxable, so I'm thinking I netted more on CC rewards, on purchases I would've made anyway, than I did from my raise!

***

More good news on the job front, though! We had our benefits presentation and there was lots of good news. For one thing, no premiums going up except for vision coverage, which I don't opt to get. We're getting a new dental provider with more in-network dentists and 100% free checkups and better rates on other dental care.

They announced an initiative to encourage preventative care. If we do 7 things from a list -- all of which are 100% covered -- we'll get $200 added to our flex spending accounts January 2013. It's basic stuff like annual exams, cancer screenings, flu shots, etc. At least 4 or 5 things I would've done anyway, so it's basically $200 for scheduling 2 or 3 extra doctor appointments over the course of a year.

And, most exciting for me, they didn't promise (but I don't think they would've brought it up if they weren't going to do it) but said if they were going to bring back 401(k) matching, they'd announce it in a few weeks. They haven't even mentioned 401(k) matching as a possibility since they took it away about 4 years ago, so I'm hugely encouraged by this! Could be getting one step closer to meeting our desired retirement contribution levels.

***

Other quickie news flashes:

- This Friday we're all taking off work and getting our first carshare to go see the lawyer and sign our wills. We found some mistakes and potentially big omissions, but I emailed them and the paralegal is going to try and get everything fixed before the meeting. We had our lawyer friend look over it (he gave us a great hourly rate, so we've really lucked out in this process) and he confirmed what we thought about what was good and what needed changing.

- I'm not tracking my eating or exercise anymore since I reached my weight goal, but I still have to weigh in once a week to make sure I don't gain it all back. Last Sunday I weighed in and had lost another pound! Down to 138. I wasn't even trying, but I think my renewed housecleaning efforts are paying off with more than just a tidier house.

- AS had her first real ultrasound, where they did all the measurements, and our baby is doing fantastic. All the important stuff checked out; no cleft palate, no sign of Downs, all fingers and toes there, all organs and bones looking good. AS's blood pressure is OK, so they think chance of pre-eclampsia is very remote. The baby is super active, and the tech had to keep chasing it to get the pictures he needed! It was very cute.

- NT's student loan payment is STILL not posting!! It left my bank account Oct. 17. The rep said when it does post, it'll be retroactive in terms of interest; so they'll fix our interest charges as if our payment had hit Oct. 17. It better! We've accrued $5-$8 more than we would have if the payment had hit on time. I want to send another payment next week, but I'm not going to until this one hits.

What else? Oh, I don't know. The holidays are barreling toward us and it feels like a ton of things need to be done, but I feel so busy with regular stuff every day that I'm just not getting to any of it. It's all fun good stuff, though, so I'm not worried. I rarely let the holidays stress me out too much. Besides, if we get these gift cards from Southwest in time, there's Xmas pretty much taken care of!

5 Responses to “Credit card rewards review, good news on job benefits, other news tidbits”

  1. laura Says:


    Good news all around, and BEST news about the baby! When will #2 appear?

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Great news!!

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    The annual fees should also be refunded if you close the cards. (I read they should pro-rate the fee. In my case they just refunded the whole thing since I closed it in the first 2 months or so).

  4. Petunia 100 Says:

    I hadn't heard about this particular offer. I just applied, but was told I will be notified via mail. What sort of giftcards are available? Anything on Chase's "Ultimate Rewards" site?

    That is great news about the baby. Smile

  5. Jerry Says:

    Wow, it is rare to see an increase in benefits in dental insurance benefits ever, but without anything that leads to an increase in premiums? That is almost unheard of! Awesome.
    Jerry

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