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I remember back in the day when the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express was the (almost) undisputed best credit card out there. It’s still a great card, but back in the day this was the card that many points collectors used for a vast majority of their purchases.
That’s because at the time there weren’t many cards offering bonus categories. Over the past few years we’ve seen so many cards introduced or improved with great category bonuses, making it easy to earn an average of multiple points per dollar spent on purchases.
Year after the year the cards I use for each spend category change, given the number of new options we’ve seen emerge.
With that out of the way, here’s a quick summary of the cards I’m presently using to maximize my spend in each major category, ranked by the number of points offered per dollar spent:
- Airfare purchases: 5x points with The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Cellular phone, internet, and cable purchases: 5x points with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Office supply store purchases: 5x points with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (there are lots of non-office related things you can buy at office supply stores)
- Special rotating quarterly category purchases: 5x points with the Chase Freedom® Card (for example, this quarter the card is offering 5x points at grocery stores and drugstores, on up to $1,500 of spend)
- US supermarket purchases: 4.5x points with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express (though you only earn 4.5x points if you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle)
- Non-airfare travel purchases: 3x points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
- Dining purchases: 3x points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
- US gas station purchases: 3x points with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express (though you only earn 3x points if you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle)
- Everyday, non-bonused spend: 1.5x points with the Chase Freedom® Unlimited (in conjunction with a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, these points can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points), and 1.5x points with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express as a backup (as I try to complete at least 30 transactions per billing cycle)
I really should figure out the average number of points I’m earning per dollar spent. Based on my purchase patterns, I’d guess it’s somewhere around 2.5x points, give or take.
How does this compare to the cards you use to maximize your spend?