Celebrate July 4th with 7.04X fireworks!

How to get 7.04 points per dollar buying fireworks on July 4th (7/04).

Happy Fourth of July!  Today’s post is a silly challenge: how to buy fireworks on July 4th (7/04) and earn 7.04 points per dollar.  This is similar to the Pi day challenge I did in March (see “Pie at 3.14X for Pi day 3/14”), but with an added twist: today we want to use a Chase Freedom card to make the purchase.

On Pi day, I took advantage of the Sapphire Preferred card’s 7% annual dividend to come up with a way to buy a Pie kit for 3.14X.  With the Freedom card, things are a bit more complicated because the Freedom’s reward structure is more complicated….

The Freedom card has two great benefits that I’ll take advantage of here (besides its name).  The first is that the card offers rotating 5X categories each quarter.  This quarter the categories are restaurants and gas stations.  Most gas stations carry firecrackers and the like, so we’ll buy our fireworks there.  The second benefit the card offers is dependent upon having a Chase checking account.  Once you have both the Freedom card and a checking account, you qualify for the Chase Exclusives program.  With Chase Exclusives, your base rate increases from 1 to 1.1 points per dollar AND you get a fixed 10 points per transaction.  Within a 5X bonus category you would earn 5.1 points per dollar plus 10 points.

Algebra

I had to send my brain back to 8th grade algebra to figure this one out:

Given, F = price of fireworks (after tax), our goal is to earn 7.04 points per dollar.  In other words, we want to earn 7.04 x F points.  Our formula then is:

7.04 x F = F x 5.1 + 10, therefore:

7.04 x F – F x 5.1 = 10, therefore:

1.94 x F = 10, therefore:

F = 5.154639

In other words, if we spend $5.154639 to buy fireworks at a gas station, we would earn 7.04 points per dollar.  Unfortunately, most gas stations do not take denominations smaller than a penny, so we need to round down the amount.  When we round down to a payment of $5.15, we see that we earn 36.265 points.  Unfortunately, Chase is likely to round this down to 36 points which completely messes up the math.  After playing with some amounts and accounting for rounding, I found that a payment of $5.11 results in 36 points which comes to 7.045 points per dollar.  Sure, technically this is closer to 7.05X, but I’ll take it.

Buy fireworks for 7.04X

So, there you go.  Simply get a Freedom card and a Chase checking account and register for this quarter’s 5X bonus categories.  Then, go to a gas station that sells fireworks and find some in which the after tax price will come to $5.11.  Easy as pie!

A word to my son

See!  I told you that algebra comes in handy in the real world!  And to think that you doubted me…

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Marriott Business.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.
Chase 5/24 semantics ("Subject to" vs. "Count towards"): Most (but not all) Chase cards are subject to the 5/24 rule. That means the rule is enforced in making approval decisions. In other words, you probably won't get approved if your credit report shows that you opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months. Meanwhile, most business cards (such as those from Chase, Amex, Barclaycard, BOA, Citi, US Bank, and Wells Fargo) are not reported on your personal credit report. These cards do not count towards 5/24.

Examples:

Chase IHG Card is not subject to 5/24 so it's easy to get. But after approval it will count towards your 5/24 total.

Chase Ink Business Preferred is subject to 5/24, so you likely won't get approved if over 5/24. If you do get approved, it won't count towards 5/24 since it won't appear as an account on your credit report.
Amex 5 credit card limit: If you apply for a new Amex credit card, you may get turned down if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards. Both personal and business cards are counted towards this limit. Charge cards, though, are not counted. You can apparently get as many charge cards as you’d like, and the number of charge cards you have does not affect your ability to get up to 5 credit cards. Authorized user cards are also not counted towards the 5 credit card limit. See also: Which Amex Cards are Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards?
Applying for Business Credit Cards

Yes, you have a business: In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it's common for people to have businesses without realizing it. If you sell items at a yard sale, or on eBay, for example, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship unless you form a corporation of some sort.

When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, you can use your own name as your business name, use your own address and phone as the business' address and phone, and your social security number as the business' Tax ID / EIN. Alternatively, you can get a proper Tax ID / EIN from the IRS for free, in about a minute, through this website.

Is it OK to use business cards for personal expenses? Legally, it's fine. And, anecdotally, almost everyone I know uses business cards for personal expenses. That said, the terms in most business card applications state that you should use the card only for business use. Also, some consumer credit card protections do not apply to business cards. My advice: don't use the card for personal expenses if you're not comfortable doing so.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are super valuable and super flexible. At the most basic level, points can be redeemed for cash or merchandise, but you'll only get one cent per point value that way. A better option is to use points for travel. When points are used to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, points are worth 1.25 cents each with premium cards (Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, for example) or 1.5 cents each with the ultra-premium Sapphire Reserve card. Another great option is to transfer points from a premium or ultra-premium card to an airline or hotel program when high value awards are available (see this post for details). If your points are tied to a no-fee "cash back" Ultimate Rewards card, then first move those points to a premium or ultra-premium card before redeeming them in order to get better value.
Amex Membership Rewards points can be incredibly valuable if you know how to use them. In general, if you use Membership Rewards points to pay for merchandise or travel, you won't get good value from your points. One exception is with the Business Platinum card where you'll get a 35% point rebate when using points to book certain flights. This gives you approximately 1.5 cents per point value, which is pretty good. If you don't have the Business Platinum card, then your best bet is to transfer points to airline miles in order to book high value awards. More details can be found here: Amex Transfer Partners.
Marriott Rewards points can be redeemed for free night awards, travel packages, airline miles, or experiences. 5th Night Free Awards: When redeeming points for free nights, the 5th night within a single reservation is free. Airline miles: Points can be converted to airline miles at a rate of 3 points to 1 mile. A bonus is added on when you transfer 60,000 points at a time, such that 60,000 points transfers to 25,000 miles. Also, you'll get a 10% bonus when transferring points to United Airlines.
Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by the same guy who showed you how to fly round trip to Africa (DC to Senegal) for 50,000 points, how to book business class to Europe for 80,000 miles roundtrip, and more. You can find John’s website and award booking service here: theflyingmustache.com/awardbooking.
-Greg The Frequent Miler

Amex Application Tips



  • Safe to Apply: Amex is the safest bank for trying your luck at a new welcome bonus. They don’t usually issue a hard pull when denying your application. Plus, they’ll now warn you during the application process if you’re not eligible for the bonus.

  • Lifetime Rule: If you've ever had the same card before, you are most likely prohibited from getting a welcome bonus for the card if you sign up now. Fortunately you'll be warned during the application process if this is the case. Amex is known to "forget" that you've had a card after about 7 years.

  • 5/90 Rule: In general, you can get at most one credit card within 5 days and 2 within 90 days. The 5 day limit is not enforced when your applications are automatically approved. Neither rule is enforced for charge cards.

  • 5 credit card max:Amex usually won't approve applications for new credit cards if you already have 5 or more Amex credit cards open. This limit does not apply to charge cards.

  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.

  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration: 877-399-3083 (new accountholders); 866-314-0237 (current accountholders)



Chase Application Tips


  • Shut-Down Caution: Signing up for new Chase cards can lead to Chase reviewing your accounts. This may lead to Chase shutting down all of your accounts if you appear to be a credit risk. See this post for details and recommendations: Why Chase shutdowns have increased and how to avoid them.

  • 5/24 Rule: With most Chase cards, you won't get approved if your credit report shows 5 or more cards opened in the past 24 months. Details here.

  • 24/48 Month Rule: With most Chase cards, you can get the same card and bonus again 24 months after having received the bonus as long as you no longer have the card open. With Sapphire cards, you must wait 48 months. No wait is required for Chase Ink cards.

  • 30 Day Rule: It is tough to get approved for more than 2 Chase cards within 30 days

  • Get Same Card Again: You can get the same exact card and again if you first cancel the older card and follow the 24/48 month rule. Ink cards are OK to get again without cancelling previous card if you apply with a new business.

  • Better Offers: You may be able to get a better offer than the best available public offer. Details here.

  • Hard inquiries combine into 1 when approved same day (not always true when mixing business and personal)


Call (888) 338-2586 to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here:1-888-270-2127 for both personal and business cards;
or 800-527-7415 for the Ritz card

Citi Application Tips


  • 24 Month Rule: To apply for a card within the same brand, must wait 24 months after opening or closing account.

  • Velocity Rules: Max 1 personal card per 8 days. Max 2 personal cards per 65 days. Max 1 business card per 95 days.

  • Get Same Card Again: Citi allows getting same card again (even if card is still open) as long as you follow the 24 month rule and velocity rules (above).

  • Hard inquiries DO NOT combine into 1 when approved same day

Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration here:800-695-5171 (personal); 800-763-9795 (business)
If reconsideration # doesn’t work, try the Citi Credit Card Executive Office: 423-477-6858

Bank of America Application Tips


  • 2/3/4 Rule: Max 2 consumer cards per rolling 2 months, 3 per rolling 12 months, and 4 per rolling 24 months.

  • 5 card limit: You will not get approved for a new consumer card if you already have 5 consumer BOA cards open

  • Get Same Card Again: Yes, even if you still have the previous card open.

  • Hard inquiries are usually combined into 1 when initiated within 30 days but there have been reports of TransUnion not combining.


Click here to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here: 800-354-0401 (8am-7pm ET Mon-Fri); 866-695-6598 (business cards);

Barclays Application Tips


  • 5/24 Rule Arrival+ Only: Difficult (but not impossible) to get approved for Arrival+ if you've opened 5 or more cards with any bank in past 24 months.

  • Get Same Card Again: Must wait 6 months after cancelling previous card.

  • Hard inquiries are combined into 1 when approved same day. Most inquiries issued through TransUnion.


Consumer: Click here to check your application status
Business cards: Click here
If denied, call reconsideration here: 866-408-4064

Capital One Application Tips


  • 6 month rule: Must wait 6 months after applying for a Capital One card before applying for another one.

  • 2 card limit: You can have at most 2 Capital One consumer cards

  • Get Same Card Again: There is no known rule against getting the same card and bonus again even if you still have the card open.

  • Hard inquiries usually get issued through all 3 credit bureaus


To check application status, call (800) 903-9177 or (877) 277-5901
If denied, call reconsideration here: (800) 625-7866

Discover Application Tips


  • 2 card limit: You can have a maximum of 2 Discover cards.

  • 12 month rule: Must wait just over 12 months after previous card was opened before applying for another Discover card.

  • Get Same Card Again: No known rules against getting same card & bonus again.


Click here to check your application status
If denied, call reconsideration here: 888-676-3695

TD Bank Application Tips


Call (888) 561-8861 to check your application status

US Bank Application Tips


  • Get Same Card Again: No known rules against getting same card & bonus again.

  • Hard inquiries may be combined into 1 when approved same day.


Call (800) 947-1444 to check your application status.
If denied, call reconsideration here: 800-947-1444 or 800-685-7680

Wells Fargo Application Tips


  • Bank first: Wells Fargo usually requires having a bank account open before you can apply for a credit card.

  • 16 month rule: Limit of one signup bonus per 16 months

  • Get Same Card Again: No known rules against getting same card & bonus again.

  • Hard inquiries are combined into 1 when approved same day.


Check application status here.
If denied, call reconsideration here: 1-866-412-5956

Caution: Plastiq has announced a temporary change to the way Visa credit cards are handled:
  1. Payments using personal Visa cards issued by Chase will be subject to a lower limit of 20% of your credit limit.
  2. Payments using personal Visa cards from other issuers (other than Capital One) will code as a cash advance. That means you’d incur cash advance fees and wouldn’t earn any credit card rewards.
  3. The following types of Visa cards are not affected by these changes: Capital One personal Visa cards, Visa business credit cards, Visa corporate, debit and prepaid gift cards.
Full details about Plastiq can be found here: Complete Guide to Plastiq credit card payments.
In order to meet minimum spend requirements, people often look for options to increase spend in ways that result in getting the money back. These techniques are often referred to as "manufacturing spend". American Express has terms in their signup offers that exclude some manufactured spend techniques from counting towards the minimum spend requirements for the welcome bonus. For example, most signup bonuses have terms like this:
Eligible purchases to meet the Threshold Amount of this offer do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchase of travelers checks, purchase or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments, or other cash equivalents.
That said, many techniques for meeting minimum spend are perfectly fine. Here are some techniques that are safe for meeting Amex minimum spend requirements (click each link for more information):

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Serion
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You’re too funny. Thanks for the entertaining post. Happy 4th to you and yours!

al613
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al613

“A word to my son

See! I told you that algebra comes in handy in the real world! And to think that you doubted me…”

This post has nothing to do with real world 🙂

Ollie
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Ollie

Nice post with the nice complexity we love from FM

Chris
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Chris

Beautiful! Nice to see real world applications! Now, if only the high school textbooks would follow your example: “If Johnny had to get 7.04 poitns per dollar spent, how many firecrackers could he buy, and how many fingers would he have left over?” 🙂 Funny!