I have over two dozen credit cards, though I hold onto these cards for a variety of reasons. I have some of these cards because they help me maximize my everyday spending, while I have other cards because of the ongoing perks that they offer.
Credit Cards Worth Having For The Benefits
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 has a $550 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and 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; read a full review of the card here
- The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has a $95 annual fee and offers an anniversary free night certificate valid at a hotel retailing for up to 35,000 points; read a full review of the card here
- The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card and Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Credit Card have $75 annual fees and offer an annual $121+ companion certificate; read a full review of the card here
I appreciate the Delta SkyClub access offered by the Amex Platinum Card
Credit Cards I Spent The Most Money On
With the above out of the way, I figured I’d talk a bit about the cards I use most for everyday spending. Which cards are at the top of my wallet, and under what circumstances do I use them? Here are the six cards that I’m spending the most money on:
Some significant changes have been made to the Citi Prestige in 2019, for better and worse. The card has a $495 annual fee, but offers a $250 annual credit that helps offset that.
While the card no longer offers the generous fourth night free benefit that it used to (at least not in its original form), the real reason I love this card is because it offers 5x points on airfare and dining purchases. As a result, this is my go-to card for those purchases.
I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, this card offers an 8.5% return on dining and airfare.
The Citi Prestige is my go to card for airfare purchases
This no annual fee card is my new favorite personal card for everyday, non-bonused spending. The card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.
That’s a good return for a no annual fee card in and of itself, but what makes this card more exciting than ever before is that as of recently rewards earned on that card can be converted into ThankYou points.
I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, this card offers a 3.4% return on all spending.
Redeem Citi points for travel in Virgin Atlantic business class
This card has a $550 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 $250 per year. The card also offers several useful perks, including a Priority Pass membership.
When it comes to spending, this card offers triple points on dining and travel. In the past, this was my go-to card for those spending categories, though with the Citi Prestige I no longer use the Sapphire Reserve for dining and airfare.
However, I still use the card for virtually all other travel purchases, ranging from hotel stays to Ubers to car rentals.
I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, this card offers a 5.1% return on dining and travel.
The Sapphire Reserve is my go-to card for most travel purchases
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 spending.
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 spending, in conjunction with the Sapphire Reserve.
So why do I use this card at all anymore when I also have the Citi Double Cash? To be honest I haven’t been using the card much in the past couple of months since I got the Citi Double Cash. However, I could see myself still using the card going forward, because sometimes it’s about using a card that offers the points that you value most, so if I needed Ultimate Rewards points I’d be using this card.
Redeem Chase points for travel in JetBlue Mint
This is my favorite business card for non-bonused spending. Specifically, the no annual fee (Rates & Fees) Blue Business Plus offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually. That makes this the single best business 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 spending.
Redeem Amex points for travel in Etihad first class
While I wouldn’t ordinarily say this is the best card for everyday spending, I put $15,000 of spending on this card for a reason.
The card already offers five elite qualifying nights plus a Category 1-4 free night certificate annually just for paying the $95 annual fee.
On top of that, you get an additional two elite nights towards status annually for every $5,000 you spend, and you also get a second Category 1-4 free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card in a cardmember year.
So if you spend $15,000 on the card you’re getting an incremental six elite nights (which helps me earn Globalist status) plus a second free night certificate, which I find to be well worth it.
I also try to make as much of my spending be at Hyatt hotels (where I earn 4x points) or on fitness and gyms (where the card earns 2x points).
I consistently get outsized value with the Category 1-4 certificate
Other Cards I Spend Money On
The above are the five cards that I’ve been putting the most spending on, though there are some other cards that I put spending on for specific reasons:
- I use the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card at Hilton properties, as it offers 14x points
- I use the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express at supermarkets and gas stations, though frankly, I don’t spend much at either of those
- I use the Chase Freedom® Card for spending in rotating quarterly categories
- I use the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card for the 5x points bonus categories
All of these are cards that I find useful as well, though I don’t put $15,000+ of spending per year on any of those cards.
I’d like to think I have a pretty good credit card setup, as I’m earning anywhere from 1.5-5x points per dollar spent on my credit cards. When you factor in all the cards, I’m earning over 3x points per dollar spent on average, which I’d value at being a return of over 5%. That’s excellent if you ask me.
- I love the Citi Prestige for earning 5x points on airfare and dining
- I love the combination of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited for my travel and everyday spending
- The Citi Double Cash is my new favorite card for everyday, non-bonused personal spending
- I love the Blue Business Plus for earning 2x points on $50,000 spent annually
- I think it’s worth spending $15,000 on The World Of Hyatt Card every cardmember year for the additional six elite nights plus free Category 1-4 certificate
What are the primary cards you use for your credit card spending?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).