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- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card Application
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
As 2011 draws to a close, it’s time for me to start thinking about my credit card spend strategy for 2012. This isn’t just a function of getting a “fresh start” with the new year, but rather about taking advantage of all of the bonuses that my preferred cards offer based on calendar years.
To start I should say that I probably spend somewhere around $100,000 per year on credit cards, mostly through reimbursable expenses. With that in mind, here’s my strategy:
Hit $30,000 of spend on the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card
While I value Membership Rewards points a lot less than I used to, they do offer a 15,000 point bonus when you hit $30,000 of spend in a calendar year. With that in mind, I’ll put as much airfare as possible on the card, since it earns triple Membership Rewards points.
If I could manage to put $30,000 of airfare on the card, that would translate to 90,000 Membership Rewards points, plus the 15,000 point bonus, for a total of 105,000 Membership Rewards points. Add in a 50% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards to Delta SkyMiles, and we’re looking at ~157,000 Delta SkyMiles, or about 5.2 Delta miles per dollar spent on airfare. While they’re “only” Delta miles, that’s still a pretty amazing return on credit card spend.
Hit $30,000 of spend on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card
British Airways massively devalued their Executive Club program back in November when they converted their miles to Avios points. While I would have just written off the program, the problem is I still have about 400,000 Executive Club miles in my household account, and I need to find a way to spend them.
Now that the program is massively devalued, not only due to the fact that the mileage levels have increased for so many destinations, but also that fuel surcharges have been added to many of British Airways’ partners, I’m finding the best use of those points to be for travel on British Airways. And that companion certificate does allow the second passenger to travel without using any miles, but rather only having to pay taxes and fuel surcharges.
For New York to London in first class we’re talking about 120,000 miles for two passengers, plus around $800 per person in taxes/fuel surcharges. Cheap? Hell no, but still better than the alternatives, and certainly better than letting those miles just expire.
Rest of my spend goes on my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
While the card doesn’t have any threshold bonuses, I’ll put all of my dining, hotel stays, and other travel expenses on this card (aside from airfare, which will go on my Premier Rewards Gold card), since those categories earn two points per dollar.
Anyway, that’s my general strategy as far as cards that I actually plan on using over the coming year not for the sign-up bonuses, but for the points they generate for everyday spend. I’ll also be doing some card churning, though am undecided on which cards yet.
Is anyone else’s spend strategy motivated by threshold bonuses?