These Are The 4 Credit Cards I Use Most

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UAs I’ve explained before, there are different factors to consider when applying for credit cards. These include the sign-up bonus, the ongoing perks offered by the card, and the return the card offers on everyday spend.

There are cards I keep long term exclusively for the benefits they offer, without actually putting much spend on the cards. Just to give a few examples:

With that in mind, I figured I’d talk a bit about the cards I use most for everyday spend. Which cards are at the top of my wallet, and under what circumstances do I use them? Here are the cards I use, roughly in order:

Credit-Cards

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

This is my default card for spend in the U.S. Unless my spend falls in another bonus category, this is my go to card. The Amex EveryDay Preferred offers:

  • 3x points at U.S. supermarkets, up $6,000 per year
  • 2x points at U.S. gas stations
  • A 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 purchases per billing cycle

Given that I make 30 transactions per billing cycle, I earn:

  • 4.5x points at U.S. supermarkets
  • 3x points at U.S. gas stations
  • 1.5x points on everyday purchases

I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me the return on spend is worth:

  • 7.65% at U.S. supermarkets
  • 5.1% at U.S. gas stations
  • 2.55% on everyday purchases

While the supermarket and gas station return is of course awesome, earning a return I value at 2.55% on everyday spend is incredible.

Groceries-8

Citi Prestige® Card

This is a card I have for many reasons, and find to be worthwhile for the benefits alone. That being said, it can make sense for everyday spend as well. The card offers:

  • 3x points on hotel and airfare
  • 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • 1x points on everyday spend

I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like a 5.1% return on my airfare and hotel purchases, which is a big part of what I spend money on. A nice added benefit is that the card offers great travel coverage in case something goes wrong during your travels. I also use this card for dining purchases, as it offers double points there.

If you’re using this card internationally, it’s worth noting that it’s a MasterCard, which generally offers better foreign exchange rates than Visa cards.

Singapore-A380

Chase Freedom® Card

This is a great no annual fee card that offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter. So I use this card very selectively for the bonus categories.

Right now I can earn 5x points on restaurants, which is pretty awesome. In conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Credit Card, these points can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, and transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

On a per point basis, I consider Starpoints to be the most valuable points currency out there. As of last year, the card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees anymore, so for me it’s my “go to” card for international, non-bonused spend. I also sometimes like to mix up the points I earn through credit card spend.

I also often use this card in the US, when I’m not using the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card for my everyday purchases.

St-Regis-Bali-Pool-Suite - 17

Bottom line

Sometimes I’m a bit inconsistent with my credit card strategy, as there’s not just one right approach to take. Often my spend preferences are motivated by what my points balances look like in different currencies. For example, at the moment I have a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, while my balance of Amex Membership Rewards points and Citi ThankYou points is a bit lighter, which is why I’m directing more spend onto those cards.

What are the primary cards you use for your credit card spend?


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Comments

  1. Ink Bold to buy $300 VISA cards at Staples and then I get (almost) 5 UR points per dollar EVERYWHERE 😉

  2. I learned quite a bit from reading your posts about credti cards. Thanks. Just out of curiosity, how many credit card do you have?

  3. What about the chase sapphire? I’ve been using it as my go to for a number of years with the points dividend (going away), 2 points on travel and restaurants (restaurants are particularly beneficial for me), but have been debating moving my spend to the prestige.

  4. I use the exact same combination of cards, except that I also use the Chase Shappire Preferred for dining (except this quarter, I’ll use my Chase Freedom obviously). I also tend to use non bonus spending on my Amex SPG rather than my Everyday Preferred, but maybe I should rethink that.

  5. Lucky do you buy gas or groceries? I think it is a great card but not sure how it is good for you…I would think the Amex Gold would be better for you with the 3x airfare bonus (and still 2x grocery and gas). Although the amex everyday preferred is probably the best all around card for most people I just don’t see how it fits with your lifestyle.

    My favorite card is the ink for gift cards and paypal digital gifts!

  6. @ Mark O — The key benefit of the EveryDay Preferred for me is that it offers 1.5x points on everyday, non-bonused spend. That’s a majority of what I use the card for. The Premier Rewards Gold is great as well (and I have that card too), but it doesn’t get me much marginally. I also earn triple points on airfare on the Prestige, and also earn double points on dining on that card. The difference is that it only offers one point per dollar spent on everyday purchases, vs. the 1.5x I get on the EveryDay Preferred.

  7. @ Chris — At the moment I don’t see much upside for that card based on my own personal spend patterns. I get the double points on dining with the Prestige, and do better on airfare purchases with the Prestige as well.

  8. @ Roamamore — I value Starpoints at 2.2 cents each, so the return there is 2.2%. Meanwhile I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so if I’m earning 1.5x points per dollar spent, that’s a return of 2.55%. So I come out a bit ahead with the EveryDay Preferred.

  9. Can you transfer MRs to Amex airline partners with the Everyday Preferred card as with the Amex Gold? I assume so, but their application page doesn’t advertise the fact, and MR transfers are buried pretty deep in the benefit terms. Thanks!

  10. I split nearly all my spend on Amex Gold Premier Rewards, Chase Ink, and Chase Freedom Unlimited. I can cover a lot of bonus categories between those three. I don’t love the idea of minimum 30 transactions with Amex Everyday Preferred.

    Airline spend is a top category for myself so the Gold Amex or Citi Prestige benefit best there. However, I do not have any Citi cards.

  11. @Lucky – What about your Chase Sapphire, I though you used to use this one mostly for travel related. On a pure Points Program basis, do you feel Thankyou Points is better than Chase UR?

  12. @lucky I’ve seen 3 SPG cards in your collection in the pic from the other post, how’s that possible?

  13. Does the spend from additional cardholders on my account count towards the 30 transactions per month?

  14. Our go-to card is the AMEX Everyday Preferred Card too. Hard to beat for normal day-to-day spending in terms of accumulating miles we use on Delta.

  15. As a single guy I really don’t get the allure of the Everyday Preferred. Unless you are just spending a ton on groceries I don’t get how the math makes this a very compelling card to hold on to. In Lucky’s case I would be even more surprised given how much you are on the road and probably not cooking at home (and your claims you do not MS) — ie my boat as well.

    Sure perhaps its a good card for the families who are out to feed a whole gaggle of kids but I just struggle to see how most people can get their money out of the annual fee even. You need to spend about $3k on groceries in a year (at the 4.5% rate) to break even.

    Lucky, you make the point that it is a good card for everyday spend but that argument doesn’t hold up when it comes time for the annual fee since you are only getting 1.5% while at the same time you can get 1.5% back via Chase Freedom Unlimited which you value at a similar 1.7 cents or you can get 2% back via Citi DC, both of which have no annual fees. Those seems like the more sensible choice to be a “go to”.

  16. How do you keep track of ~30 cards! Impressive organization and time usage being able to update this blog so frequently with your travel and work.

  17. Nothing beats the Chase quadfecta for spending! Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Cash, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited…

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