Using The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card Takes Discipline

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In March I applied for a round of credit cards, including the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card. It’s an awesome new product, and my favorite card for accruing Membership Rewards points. The card offers some great bonus categories:

  • 3X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X), 2X points at U.S. gas stations, 1X points on other purchases
  • Use your card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits

Groceries

That second point is an interesting one. We’re used to bonus categories on credit cards, whereby you earn 2-5x points for spend in certain categories. That’s pretty straightforward, since you can decide which card is best based on each individual transaction.

However, I’ve realized I need to get more disciplined with the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card.

For example, last month I made a fairly sizable tax payment on the card, thinking it would be a good way to pick up Membership Rewards points for ~1.25 cents each. You can pay taxes by credit card for a ~1.88% fee, so if you’re earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent, that’s a pretty darn good rate. Except you have to make 30 purchases per billing cycle to get the 50% bonus.

So I made the tax payment, and then went about my normal purchases as I would. Only when the statement closed did I realize I actually hadn’t made 30 purchases on the card during the billing cycle. 

Since the Chase Freedom® Card is offering 5x points on dining this quarter, I’ve been using it for dining within the US.

I’ve been using the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card for travel and international dining.

The bonus categories on the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card are extremely valuable to the average consumer, given that you get bonus points on gas and grocery purchases, which are among the most common expenses for many people. But those categories are also less useful to me, given that I live in hotels full time.

Credit-Cards

Furthermore the card has foreign transaction fees, and often times I spend more than half of the month out of the country.

Yet I’ve also realized that I need to see the forest from the trees when it comes to this card.

Rather than being focused on maximizing points with every purchase — like wanting to earn extra points on dining for a $10 purchase — I should make sure I’m hitting the targets on the EveryDay Preferred, even if I’m losing points on individual transactions in order to do that.

Bottom line

The Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card is a fantastic card, and one that is perfect for the average consumer. For example, it makes my credit card strategy for my parents very easy. Right now I’m telling them to put all their dining purchases on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and all their other purchases on the EveryDay Preferred. That way they easily hit their 30 purchase “target” while still maximizing points.

Are they maximizing every single point possible? Probably not. But I do think it’s a good, simplified strategy. And one I could probably learn something from.

For those of you with the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Credit Card, how do you ensure that you hit your 30 purchase target every billing cycle?

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Comments

  1. I try to make sure I hit the magic 30 transactions by splitting purchases into two transactions. Especially easy to do at Walmart or places where they have self checkout lanes — in which case I have been know to split the purchase into 3 or 4 transactions. It’s crazy the stuff we do for some extra points.

  2. Why are you telling your parents to put all their dining purchases on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card? They don’t like to get 5x points from Freedom?

  3. I was worried about making the transactions but in my first two months with the card have not had any trouble.

    I’m in the US most of the time, so I haven’t been avoiding the card because of foreign transaction fees.

    Also, my wife is an authorized user so she’s contributing swipes as well.

    Particularly helpful have been parking meters that take credit cards — small charges, sometimes multiple times in a day.

  4. It’s super easy to reach 30 swipes if you know there is an automated checkout station at the supermarket. I usually purchase bunch of items and do a separate transaction on each of them (like $.99 for the kale or $3.99 for a dozen egg). Just try to do these transactions during off-peak hour when there is no one waiting behind you or otherwise you may get weird look from other people..

  5. Thanks for a completely inane posting that offers absolutely no useful advice and just so you can foist credit card affiliate links on your readers. Is the blog having a slow month revenue-wise?

  6. I usually add $1.00 to my amazon.com gift card balance several times a month when i’m short on purchases.

  7. lucky how big was your payment?
    I have to pay my Q2 tax and it is close to 100k but not sure if they will let me do a one time payment. Did you do just one payment? Was it close to 100k? I am just not too sure whether this can work. I may apply for the card later though….

  8. I don’t see that being very hard since you technically don’t have to use it every day. Self-checkout once in the US and you’re good for the rest of the month 😉

  9. In addition to the Amazon trick, you can send $0.02 to someone via Venmo. They charge a percent on top of the amount, but the charge remains $0.02 in this case because it’s such a low amount. Don’t do them consecutive days in a row or Amex/Venmo will batch them into one transaction. Every other day seems to work, though usually I do every three days.

  10. @J: Thanks for a completely inane comment that offers absolutely no useful advice and just so you can foist your ego on other readers. Are you having a slow month attention-wise?

  11. I frequently shop at Amazon and set it to automatically top off my gift card balance with $10.01 whenever it drops below $10 (the smallest threshold allowed for autopay). There seems to be a glitch in their system that if you make a ~$40+ purchase it cycles the gift balance 3-4x. i.e. one $50 purchase suddenly becomes 3 or 4 transactions. I haven’t done a lot of larger purchases but I did one that was $100+ and it only did 4 reloads so it is not topping up for the full transaction value. Anyway, a handful of regular transactions plus 5 or 6 amazon orders and I had easily cleared 30 purchases less than halfway through this billing cycle.

  12. This is the main reason I haven’t gotten this card. What a pain. It also doesn’t help that groceries (maybe $200 a month) and gas ($0) just aren’t great bonus categories for me. I suppose with this card I would get 3x on Uber, but I’m not sure it’s worth counting swipes for.

  13. @J If you don’t have something relevant to add please do not leave a reply. It is a waste of my time to read your complaint. You need to be grateful for the work Lucky does or go figure it out on your own. This is how he earns a living. You can either pay him directly for his work or have the option of using or not using his links. Bad karma will put you in coach.

  14. At first when I got this card, I would buy Amazon gift balance refills of 0.50 or 1.00 a few times a month to make sure that I reach 30 transactions. But then later I got my wife a card on my account and since then there has never been a problem reaching 30 transactions per month. Heck, most of the time we are near 100 transactions!

  15. Groceries are useful places to buy VGCs. Even at $5.95 for $500 you are getting 4.5x for 2250 MR at only 0.26 ¢pm. Problem is that it’s capped at $6k per year. What are you supposed to do with the remaining 11 months at Target.

  16. Do they ever boost the sign up bonus on this card? I want it, but trying to hold out for more than 15k.

  17. I missed my 30x the first month too, so I’ve been more careful since then. I make sure to do a handful of Amazon $0.50 gift cards to myself at the end if I’m running short. This has been a lucrative card for me the past few months since I made this change.

  18. This is why I got off the rewards checking train. I have to remember to do too many transactions or else I don’t maximize the bonus.

  19. For those of you that reload transit cards, many providers and kiosks allow small transactions as well. Helpful to add in small values too!

  20. @Kenny, I got 30k via cardmatch.com earlier this year. First time Amex, course by picking up this offer…. I’ve kinda screwed myself from other pretty decent bonuses temporarily. There were other Amexes to choose from and 30 transactions monthly seems like a chore now.

    There are various favors, you can also get it with Amazon Prime in some cases, but I haven’t seen any recently.

  21. Ken just won my coveted Best Post of the Day prize! It made me laugh, anyway.

    So I guess that proves that humor is possible even when the target is itself completely not funny.

    On the merits here, I’d never have the patience for the 30-swipe game. Also, as a real-world matter for me, the opportunity cost would be too high — which is admittedly just a different way of making the first point over again.

  22. @ Ivan Y — Mine was just a quarterly payment, so wasn’t nearly as high. All depends on the credit line, though.

  23. @ Lantean — Yes, for this quarter they put dining on the Freedom, but for other quarters the Sapphire Preferred. Was talking more about general advice.

  24. Assuming your provider lets you, it’s a simple task to split up utility bills into multiple payments. One of my cellphone lines, for example, is a prepaid service. I simply setup the auto-refill tool to charge the card once a week for an amount that’s 1/4 of the monthly fee.

  25. Is there an easy way to see how much you’ve spent at supermarkets so far this year? That information would signal whether to switch to another card for groceries or whether to boost supermarket spending by buying gift cards.

  26. remmebering to manage the 30 min transactions a month sounds like a pain in the butt but potentially much easier if I get my wife a secondary card.

    Right now I’m using only two cards:

    Chase sapphire preferred for dining and travel.

    Amex Starwood for everything else.

    Wondering if I should be switching from the Starwood card to the Amex Everyday instead. We spend about $400 a month in groceries and $200 in gas.

  27. I’ve used both the Amazon gc trick and the grocery store self checkout trick. I also decided I would give some money to charity: I found 5 different charities that did recurring credit card donations that would take as low as $1/month donations.

  28. I tracked my number of transactions over the last year and consistently every month (with the exception of maybe December\January\February) I’ve done anywhere from 60-80 transactions. I just got the Amex Everyday Preferred card not that long ago because of it so it will end up being a lot more lucrative points wise. I’m single and will never spend anywhere near $6k at the grocery store! If I think I’m not going to make the # of transactions, I will split my grocery purchase into 3 transactions per trip. That can make 12 grocery swipes per month since the store doesnt lump them together due to the fact that a lot of people that use coupons have to split up their transactions to maximize savings. I don’t know any grocery store that would want to prohibit people from shopping effectively. Especially extreme couponers. 🙂 All in all, I love the card. The offer to upgrade the card came literally on the heels of a promotion offer to lower my interest rate in half for a year, so now I have both promo interest rate AND preferred card. I’ve accrued about $6 total interest charge in the last 3 years, so my interest rate isn’t a huge deal for me.

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