Credit Card Basics

At first glance this site might be overwhelming, but the point (#DadJokes) is simple. This site organizes how I leverage credit cards to help get to more parks and also how I save money at the parks.

First off - We pay our cards each paycheck and don't carry balances. If you do this, then there are only benefits.

There are two categories: Regular Bonuses or cash back and Sign-on Bonuses

Regular Bonuses or cash back are the standard bonuses that you get just for using a credit card to make payments. For me, that first card was a Discover, and it was all about the cash back. Now there are lots of categories and they even change deals from month to month, so you will see two things on this blog:

1) My Defaults are Chase and Hilton

2) Current Deals, for [x] time frame you can do a temporary bonus - These are also called promotions

On this blog you will see Deals sprinkled by date as I look into them or use them.

Sign-on Bonuses

Signup bonus are most commonly pitched to you during checkout on Websites ranging from Amazon to Airlines, each pushing use of their own credit cards. Now I don't look at them unless there is a significant value, as they usually have terms to meet or a ‘minimum spending requirement.’ An example of these terms would be, “Spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and get an extra point bonus."

Ok, that's the basic lingo to get you started.  Now let's walk through an example.


You click this link to sign up for a Chase Freedom card.  Depending on your personal spending, this card could lead to significant value.  Here are the perks:

Sign-on bonus:  Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn cash back

  • Earn 5% on up to $1,500 on combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate 
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
  • Earn 3% on drugstore purchases.
  • Earn 1% on all other purchases.

You could use this sign-on bonus for a hotel room and 2 season passes to Six Flags.   Right now the 5% bonus categories are gas stations and home improvement stores.  If you spent the 3-month required $500 on gas/home improvements, you'd have an additional $25 to spend on gas for your trip.  Note -- the categories change every quarter, but it's easy to look them up, and you always get at least 1%.

In this example. you just got a hotel room and 2 season passes by being intentional about the card you used to purchase items you would have bought anyway.

On this blog you will see good Sign-on bonuses as I find them.