If you’re looking to really maximize the number of bonus miles and points you’re getting when you use your credit card, you’re going to have to carry a couple of cards. Me, I use the Starwood Amex for everyday spend, Amex PRG for Airfare (because of the 3X bonus) and Chase Sapphire Preferred for other travel spend because of the 2X bonus. I could certainly maximize more by carrying a few other cards but honestly, I’m too lazy for that.
But you don’t need to be that lazy. I’ve put together the chart below to show which credit card gives you the best bonus for many categories of spending. As always, anything I’ve forgotten just note it in the comments.
In general, I’m assuming most points are worth something in the 1-2 cent range (it varies, and certainly some points are more valuable than others. But it also varies widely based on what you use the points for – I just booked a trip where I’m getting about 10 cents in value for each point. Points become much more valuable, for example, when you’re booking premium cabin travel). For the chart below, I’ve suggested a cash back card when the value of the cash back outweighed the value of the points, assuming a 2 cent point value.
|Category||Best Credit Card to Use||Bonus You Receive||Annual Fee|
|Airline Tickets||American Express Premier Rewards Gold or the Business version||3x Membership Rewards Points||Free first year, then $175|
|All Other Travel||Chase Sapphire Preferred||Double Ultimate Rewards|
Points (transferable to
Korean Air, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt and Priority
|Free first year, then $95|
|Gas||PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa||5% Cash Back||Free|
|Groceries||American Express Blue Cash Preferred||6% Cash Back||$75|
|Restaurants||Citi Forward||5x ThankYou points|
(essentially you can get
3.1% cash back in the
form of gift cards)
|No Annual Fee|
|Business Services (Office Supplies, Wireless Access, Phone, Cable)||Ink Bold℠ with Ultimate Rewards||5% Cash Back||Free first year, then $95|
|Advertising||Amex Premier Rewards Gold Business||2X Membership Rewards Points||Free first year, then $175|
|Shipping||Amex Premier Rewards Gold Business||2X Membership Rewards Points||Free first year, then $175|
|Straight Cash Back||Fidelity American Rewards Express and Capital One Spark Cash Business or Priceline Rewards Visa||2% Cash Back||No annual fee for Fidelity or Priceline, $59 for Capital One|