I have a prime membership and get much of my stuff from Amazon. They have delivery options and other features that fit well in the vanliving thang.
Chase has a CC they issue with Amazon. You get 3% back from Amazon (5% if prime), 2% from gas stations, and 1% on other stuff. I already had a Chase account for checking which made it easy.
You can either use the points as cash on Amazon, or you can apply it to your card balance if you have at least $25 worth.
That’s actually for two months; I didn’t have enough in the previous month to hit the $25 minimum. Let’s consider the Amazon store credit vs. cc account credit decision.
If someone were to carry a balance (which I rarely do), applying the credit to their card would help reduce the amount of interest they pay.
reducing cc balance might keep one under some magic utilization percentage for credit score calculation
Amazon gives the cashback for cc purchases but not for store credit purchases. Applying the amount to the cc account effectively makes it elegible for future 1-5% cash back. Admittedly this is only $0.37 to $1.85 in future cash back, but every bit helps.
I don’t see any upside to keeping Amazon rewards balance > $25, although if I have very little in a month (like $5) I’ll probably apply it to an order because it’s easier.
Pretty much everything I buy goes on this card (except cash-only stuff). I get daily updates on the balance and it helps me gauge how close I am to my ($1000/mo plus the van payment) budget. The rest goes into pretax retirement accounts and a bit of emergency fund. The idea is that after the van is paid for I will be trained to live on $1000/mo and will rollover the van payment into the emergency fund. I live simply on $1000/mo but have no sense of hardship.