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Time-Shifting Your Credit Card Purchases to Maximize Rewards

Written by Nickel - 5 Comments

Time-Shifting Your Credit Card Purchases

A few months ago, I provided some tips for maximizing your credit card rewards. I then promptly forgot to take my own advice about labeling our cards for the current quarter. As such, my wife (who does the bulk of our grocery shopping) has continued to put these purchases on our Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express instead of our Chase Freedom card. With the Chase Freedom card you need to remember to enroll each quarter to earn in the 5% cash back bonus categories that change every quarter and there is a quarterly maximum spend limit.

Yes, we’ve still been earning rewards but, if we had used the Chase card for our grocery purchases, when groceries were in the bonus categories we could’ve received 5% cash back up to the quarterly spend limit. Bummer…

Published on June 15th, 2012
Modified on November 25th, 2013 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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5 Responses to “Time-Shifting Your Credit Card Purchases to Maximize Rewards”

  1. 1
    Lance@MoneyLife&More Says:

    This is a great point if you have the money to do it. Will Chase count gift card purchases at grocery stores as grocery purchases? I’ve heard rumor that it doesn’t always work.

  2. 2
    Joni Says:

    Great tip, and I’d love to see the answer to the previous question.

    Also, do you know if Trader Joe’s counts as a grocery store, or should I contact Chase? It should, but it is an oddity amongst grocery stores.

  3. 3
    Carl Lassegue Says:

    This is such a great idea! I think it should work because you get cash back for spending money at a grocery store no matter if they are groceries or not.

  4. 4
    Jonathan Says:

    It is best to check with the card issuer and store if possible. You can also research some of this online. I think the coding is called “MCC code”.

  5. 5
    Nickel Says:

    Lance et al. — Whether or not a store counts depends on how they are coded in the card issuer’s system. I have no idea if Trader Joe’s will report properly, and it might very from location to location. For example, I’ve seen some Super Walmart locations get the grocery store bonus treatment while others don’t. Aside from that, *all* purchases at a store should be treated the same regardless of what you buy. The card issuer has no idea what was in your cart — just that you made a charge at the store in question. So yes, gift cards should be fair game as long as the store you are buying from qualifies for the bonus.

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