We’re seeing credit card companies more competitive than ever before, and I tend to think that nowadays on average we have the opportunity to earn more miles per dollar spent than at any point in the past. While credit card category bonuses have been around for a while, we’ve seen some great new ones introduced lately.
With that in mind, I figured I’d share the six credit card category bonuses that I like most. I’d love to hear what your favorite bonus categories are in the comments section.
5x points on airfare
This is a fairly new bonus category. As of last week, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines. I spend a lot of money on airfare, so this is huge for me.
I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like a return of ~8.5% in the category.
5x points at office supply stores and on cell phone bills
The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offer 5x points on purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services on the first $25,000 spent annually.
Being able to earn 5x points on things like your cell phone bill, cable bill, etc., really can add up.
I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like a return of ~8.5% in those categories.
4.5x points at grocery stores
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express offers 3x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 of spend per year. On top of that, the card offers a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle on the card.
In other words, that means you can earn a total of 4.5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at grocery stores, assuming you make 30 transactions on the card per month.
I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so that’s like a return of ~7.65% in the category.
3x points on dining and travel
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is the newest lucrative card to be introduced, and offers 3x points on all dining and travel purchases. That covers a huge array of purchases, ranging from Uber to parking to trains to flights to hotels. So while I use The Platinum Card® from American Express for airfare nowadays, this is my go to card for all other travel purchases.
I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like a return of ~5.1% in the category.
3x points on gas
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is not only rewarding for supermarket spend, but also for spend at U.S. standalone gas stations. The card offers 2x points in that category. On top of that, the card offers a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle on the card, for a total of 3x points on gas spend.
I value those points at ~1.7 cents each, so that’s like a return of ~5.1% in the category.
1.5x points on everyday spend
Perhaps this isn’t a bonus category at all, but rather covers the rest of your spend. Rather than earning one point per dollar spent on your non-bonused spend, you can earn 1.5x points:
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express offers a 50% points bonus when you make 30 transactions per billing cycle, for a total of 1.5x Membership Rewards points
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers 1.5% cashback, which can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points in conjunction with a card accruing Ultimate Rewards points, like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Given that I value Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, that’s like a return of ~2.55% on everyday spend.
I think it’s interesting to reflect on just how far credit cards have come in terms of the return they offer on everyday spend. I remember when I earned an average of a little over one point per dollar spent, while nowadays I’m averaging around three points per dollar spent.
While everyone will have different favorite cards and category bonuses, the above are my “go to” cards that help me maximize my spend.
Are there any category bonuses that I left out that you especially like?