My 10 Favorite Credit Card Bonus Categories

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It’s amazing to see the progression of credit card category bonuses the past few years. When I say “category bonuses” I’m talking about the ability to earn bonus points in specific categories, like on dining, grocery stores, supermarkets, etc.

Back in the day I’d typically earn one point per dollar in most categories, while nowadays I’m typically earning 3-4x points per dollar in the categories I spend most in, 5x points in some categories, and often 2x points in non-bonused categories.

So in this post I wanted to share what I consider to be the five best personal credit card bonus categories, and the five best business credit card bonus categories. This is of course highly subjective, so I’m curious to hear which categories you guys like most.

My favorite personal card bonus categories

Here are what I consider to be the five best bonus categories available on personal cards:

My favorite business card bonus categories

Here are what I consider to be the five best bonus categories available on business cards:

Bottom line

Not only are credit card bonus categories better than ever before, but the best part is that many of the best cards out there are those without annual fees. Nowadays I’m averaging somewhere around 3x points per dollar on my spend across all categories. Since these are transferable points that I value at ~1.7 cents each, that’s like an average of a ~5% return on spend.

What are your favorite credit card bonus categories?

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Comments

  1. Ben

    I’m trying to figure out my 2019 annual fee strategy, how do you justify keeping premium cards that have overlapping benefits?

    I’ve currently got AmEx Platinum and Gold, Citi Prestige, and CSP, considering the change to CSR in the future for the extra 20% value when using points for paid tickets. I feel prestige is the best all around, but I do use the Loyalty perks from Platinum (status at car rental/Hilton/Marriott) and Uber and Lounges and etc. while I never stay someone for long, so don’t use the 4th night free much. Given I have my Bases covered as you do, I’m considering dropping Prestige, even though I’m only paying the he $350 annual fee! Am I an idiot for even considering that?

  2. I think the Hilton Aspire 34x per $1 on Hilton stays (technically 14x but Aspire comes with Diamond status, so you get the Diamond bonus too) is worth at least a mention. This is an incredible return for Hilton stays.

    Obviously, this isn’t as broad as the CSR’s travel bonus, but for Hilton stays its hard to justify using CSR over the Aspire if one has both cards in their wallet.

  3. Have the Aspire and always use at Hilton properties. CSR for all other travel-related charges.

  4. @Lucky
    You should give more credit to Citi Prestige x5 airfare. You can book through OTA and stack cashbacks sites + OTA rewards.
    AMEX excludes OTA.

  5. @Bradley
    This is my 2 cent.
    Amex Plat keep for perks you said.

    Amex Gold keep only if you use 100+120 credits and NOT Warehouse clubs or Superstores.

    Citi Prestige keep for x5 air/dining, you are grandfathered for $350, means just $100 after credits.

    CSP cancel it. But do transfer UR to some airline for premium seats, much better than CSR 1.5 cents. Try to get no AF Ink cards if you rent cars often for business 😉 of course. Wait 4 years from CSP bonus and get CSR/CSP again and transfer your Ink points out.

    Get a Marriott card before 100k bonus expire, you do use it right?

    Bloggers love to sell CSP/CSR. It’s good as your only card but if you carry more cards, they are a bit overrated.

  6. Lucky – what about the AMEX Everyday Preferred card? It’s 50% plus up feature (with 30 transactions a month) beats all your listed cards (at 4.5x MR points) for groceries and is competitive for (at 3x MR points) for gasoline. It’s annual fee beats the AMEX Gold cards by a mile and is competitive with the Citi Premier.

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