This is a question that I get from time to time – what credit cards do you use on a regular basis and what cards for what purchases?
I always hesitate a little to tell a newcomer to points which I use for which purposes because it is definitely not the perfect combination for everyone. I have particular point goals so some of my spending/card choices are with those goals in mind. Nevertheless, I will highlight which cards I currently use and then give some suggestions of what might be a decent strategy for anyone.
- Airline Purchases – American Express Business Rewards Gold card (I have also used the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card as well) – 3X Membership Reward points per dollar spent (the bonus points post within 5 days after the airfare is purchased, sometimes quicker)
- Hotel Purchases – Chase INK Bold (2X Ultimate Reward points per dollar spent) and Chase Sapphire Preferred (2.14 points per dollar spent). If I stay at particular hotels that I have a hotel branded credit card for (and I’m working on accruing points with that chain), I use that co-branded card (for example, Hyatt Chase card @ Hyatts, Amex SPG @ Starwoods, Hilton Amex @ Hiltons) since they give better than the 2 points per dollar at their own hotels.
- Groceries – American Express Premier Rewards Gold – 2x Membership Reward points per dollar spent (at stand-alone grocery stores)
- Car Rental – I actually use my United Explorer card to reserve it (because of the primary insurance coverage that comes with that card) and then, if I have time, when I return it, I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred card to actually pay for it – 2.14 points per dollar spent
- Telecommunication Services – Chase INK Bold – 5x Ultimate Reward points per dollar spent
- Gas – Chase INK Bold – 2X Ultimate Reward points per dollar and American Express Business Gold Rewards card – 2x Membership Reward points per dollar (at stand-alone gas stations)
- Office Supplies – Chase INK Bold – 5x Ultimate Reward points per dollar spent at office supply stores
- Restaurants – Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2.14 points per dollar spent
- Everyday purchases – If I am not trying to meet minimum spending thresholds on particular cards or top off certain accounts, I use my American Express SPG card. Even though it only gives one point per dollar spent, Starpoints transfer to airlines with a 5,000 mile bonus (when transferring 20,000 points) for a 1.25 point per dollar value. That gives it the edge over the second card I would use for general spending, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gives 1.07 points per dollar because of the annual bonus of 7% on all points earned throughout the year. Of course, these cards are only ones that I use at brick and mortar stores or for online purchases that do not have bonus points through shopping portals.