As I’ve explained before, there are different factors to consider when applying for credit cards. These include the welcome bonuses, the ongoing perks offered by the cards, and the return the cards offers on everyday spend.
There are cards I keep long term primarily for the benefits they offer, without actually putting much spend on them. Just to give a few examples:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee) is worthwhile for the $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual Uber credit, $100 annual Saks credit, access to Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs, and more
- The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card ($89 annual fee) offers an anniversary free night certificate at a hotel retailing for up to 40,000 points, IHG Platinum status for as long as you have the card, a fourth night free on award redemptions, and more
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95 annual fee) offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at any Category 1-4 Hyatt property, Discoverist status for as long as you have the card, five nights towards status annually, and more
- The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express ($95 annual fees, waived the first year) now each offer an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel retailing for up to 35,000 points
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 of how much I use them:
This card has a $450 annual fee, though offers a $300 annual travel credit that can be applied towards any purchase coded as travel. Therefore I consider this card to really cost me $150 per year. The card also offers several useful perks, including a Priority Pass membership.
However, the real reason I have this card is because it offers triple points on dining and travel, and those are the categories I spend most money in. Both dining and travel are such broad categories. They don’t just include restaurants, flights, and hotels, but include things like coffeeshops, Ubers, train tickets, and much more.
Furthermore, having the Chase Sapphire Reserve® increases the value of the Ultimate Rewards points I earn on all cards, as you can redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase when you have this card.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 5.1% return on dining and travel.
This no annual fee card is the best companion to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. That’s because this card offers a flat 1.5x points per dollar spent with no limits. There are no bonus categories, so the reason I like this card so much is because it’s the best card for earning Ultimate Rewards points on everyday spend.
If you have this card independently then each point can only be redeemed for one cent. However, if you have it in conjunction with the Sapphire Reserve, then you can transfer points to that account, and you’d be able to transfer points to the Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partners, or redeem them for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 2.55% return on everyday spend, in conjunction with the Sapphire Reserve.
The card that I put the third most spend on is a business credit card. Specifically, the no annual fee Blue Business Plus offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually. That makes this the single best credit card for everyday, non-bonused spend.
I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 3.4% return on everyday spend.
When it comes to earning Membership Rewards points, this is the personal card that I consider the be most valuable. The $95 annual fee card offers:
- 3x points at U.S. supermarkets, up to $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 this card offers a return of 7.65% at U.S. supermarkets, 5.1% at U.S. gas stations, and 2.55% on everyday purchases.
I largely use this card to earn 1.5x points on everyday purchases, though the truth is that I spend almost nothing at grocery stores and gas stations, so I don’t get as much value out of this card as I used to.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is great for non-bonused purchases as well, given that it offers 2x points. The only major limitation is that you earn double points on at most $50,000 of spend per calendar year.
These are the cards I spend most on, though they aren’t the only cards I spend money on. I also appreciate the following cards for their bonus categories:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines
- The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card offers 5x points on the first $25,000 spent annually on combined purchases at office supply stores, and on internet, cable, and phone services, as well as 2x points at restaurants and gas stations
- The Chase Freedom® Card offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend per quarter
What are the primary cards you use for your credit card spend?
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AmEx Everyday Preferred has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.