Who doesn’t like free money?
High annual fee credit cards with great point multipliers and insane travel benefits that let you fly business class for free are not for everyone.
It requires time, effort, and great discipline to make the system work.
On the other hand, a simple Sign Up Bonus (SUB) with cash-back credit cards can help you earn thousands of dollars with minimal effort.
Let me elaborate.
What is SUB?
Most credit card companies give you SUB or “Sign Up Bonus” when you get approved for a new credit card.
These SUBs can take many shapes and forms. To explain it better, here are a few examples:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
- Chase Freedom Flex: Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
- Wells Fargo Autograph: Spend $1,500 in 3 months to get $300
- Capital One SavorOne: Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
As you can see, the spending requirements, time limit, and reward points vary from offer to offer.
The end goal, however, is the same: Spend X dollars in Y months to get Z dollars back.
In other words, apply for new credit cards with no annual fee, spend on it for a few months, and get free money back.
Key Pillars of the System
I recently wrote about how such a SUB system can mess with your head. It really can!
That’s why in this strategy I have a few strict rules:
- Realistic spend requirement
- No annual fee cards
You won’t see any travel credit cards here.
If you employ the SUB strategy with annual fee travel credit cards, you will get exponentially more money back.
However, that comes at the expense of a much higher spending requirement and the need to actively think about annual fees, as well as go through cancellation processes after the first year of card ownership.
Instead, I will focus on no annual fee, low spending requirements, and cash back cards that will give you the most benefits without needing mental gymnastics.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Theoretically, you can make tens of thousands of dollars given the number of credit card issuers out there.
We will keep things simple here though.
If you apply for all the credit cards I mention in this blog post and satisfy the spending requirements, you will make at least $2,000.
More importantly, this will set you up to continue playing the game, as new credit cards with SUB come out every year.
A Realistic Plan
It’s a simple 3-part plan:
- Apply for a credit card
- Put all your spending on the card for the first 4 months
- Hit the SUB requirement
- Confirm the bonus reward has hit your checking account (or statement balance)
- Repeat (1) through (4) for the next card
Once you do this for the first few credit cards, you will get a hang of it.
To make things even easier to get started, I will walk you through 10 credit card SUBs that you can start the strategy with.
- Wells Fargo Autograph — Spend $1,500 in 3 months to get $300
- Chase Freedom Flex — Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
- Chase Freedom Unlimited — Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
- Capital One QuickSilver Rewards — Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
- Capital One SavorOne — Spend $3,000 in 3 months to get $300
- Citi Custom Cash — Spend $1,500 in 6 months to get $200
- AMEX Blue Cash Everyday — Spend $2,000 in 6 months to get $200
- AMEX Cash Magnet — Spend $2,000 in 6 months to get $200
- US Bank Cash+ Visa Signature — Spend $1,000 in 4 months to get $200
- Wells Fargo Active Cash — Spend $500 in 3 months to get $200
That’s a total of $2,200.
You can do whatever you want with that money — use it as a statement credit to reduce what you have to pay, invest in the stock market, or even go crazy and get yourself a nice new iPhone or Macbook.
Once you hit the SUB for each of these cards, you can just “sock drawer” them. That means, you can just put the card in your closet and never use it again.
You have nothing to keep track of because these cards don’t have annual fees.
What I would recommend though is to create your core credit card setup from these cards once you are done getting SUBs.
Given the high frequency of new credit cards, you will most likely never run out of SUBs to chase. However, it can get exhausting at one point.
That’s why you need a core credit card setup.
When you are not chasing SUB, you can rely on your core setup for 3–4 credit cards.
The 10 credit cards I mentioned above are some of the best cash-back cards in the market. So, you can just create your setup from these cards without looking any further.
You can make a lot for than $2,200 with this strategy.
It all comes down to your patience, tenacity, and whether it’s worth it to you.
If you want the most bang for your buck, and you want to do some aspirational traveling, I would highly recommend steering clear of these cash-back cards and moving to a travel setup with annual fee cards.
However, I know that’s not for everyone. I tried talking my sister into it, and she lost me in the first few minutes.
That’s when I realized that the average person doesn’t want a complex setup.
Instead, use this strategy, and you will earn more rewards than the next person, and do that with minimal fuss and no annual fee.
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