With so many different credit cards circulating, it’s important to have a good strategy. As the saying goes, you have to have the right tools for the right job. Well the job is your everyday spending and the tools are your credit cards. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that the 3 credit cards I carry in my wallet are the following:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature (SP)
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold (PRG)
- American Express Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
This lineup covers my most important needs – Dining, Travel, Gas, Groceries, and Airfare.
I use the Chase SP to earn double points on all my dining expenses from Starbucks to fancy restaurants. It also earns double points on travel category. This is great because ‘Travel’ encompasses several businesses – EZ Pass tolls, airline tickets, and even a helicopter tour that we’ll be taking on our honeymoon. For some extra icing, the Chase SP will earn you triple points on Travel booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.
The Amex PRG serves an even more specific range of categories. It earns double points on gas and groceries. A nice thing about these 2 categories is that they fit my daily routine very well. If I need to pick up a soda or a Blimpie sub at the Hess Express, those purchases will earn double points because they are charged as Hess gas station. Similarly, I sometimes eat lunch at Wegmans which is a regional supermarket chain akin to Whole Foods. The Amex PRG also earns triple points on anything in the Airline category. I purchase all my airline tickets with this card. A nice thing to note is that Priceline is categorized as Airline so you will earn triple points on anything on that site!
For everything else that doesn’t fall into any of the spending categories I mentioned above, there is the Amex SPG. For you, this could be any card that you’d like to earn points or miles with. For me, I am pretty well stocked with airline miles so I choose to earn some hotel points. After all, the 2 most expensive items in travel are airfare and lodging so I want to be well off in both areas. Also, Starpoints have efficient flexibility that no other hotel credit cards have – you can redeem 20k Starpoints for 25k miles at one of Starwood’s many airline partners.
Overall, I know not everyone can have a card for each category of spend but you should know where most of your daily/monthly/yearly spending goes. I use Mint.com to track all my spending across my multiple credit cards. Every month, I reevaluate my top spending to make sure I am capitalizing on all these credit cards’ bonuses. So find out what you spend most of your budget on and get a card that will earn you the most points/miles/cashback as possible!