5 Most Rewarding Credit Cards For Everyday Spend

Filed Under: Credit Cards
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Update: These offers for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® and the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

The primary way I rack up miles & points are through credit cards. That’s primarily through maximizing my return on everyday spend, as well as through the lucrative sign-up bonuses offered by card issuers.

Last month I wrote a post about which credit cards I use for each bonus category. In other words, why earn 1x point per dollar when you can earn double points on dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAmerican Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card, or Citi Premier℠ Card. The same is true for other categories as well — airfare, hotels, gas, groceries, etc.

But what are the best credit cards for everyday spend which isn’t otherwise “bonused.” Most credit cards don’t offer bonus points for more random categories, like purchases from department stores, doctors, tax payments, etc., but many of us still spend money in those areas.

Which credit cards should you be using for those purchases, which otherwise don’t fit into one of the major bonus “categories?” Below are my top five (in order). I should note that I mostly chose cards which don’t have many strings attached. In other words, not cards which offer specific threshold bonuses, but rather ones which can be generally useful for spend, regardless of your spend profile.

With that in mind, here are my top five picks, based on my valuation of the respective points currencies:

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Return on spend: ~2.7%

This is the card I’ve been using the most lately. The card accrues Membership Rewards points, which I value at 1.8 cents each. On top of that you earn:

  • 3x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 2x points at U.S. gas stations
  • 50% more points when you use your card on purchases 30 or more times in a billing period

In other words, assuming you make 30 transactions per billing cycle (which I suspect most people should be able to do, as that’s roughly one purchase per day), you’re earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. At a value of 1.8 cents each, that’s a return of 2.7%.

Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Return on spend: ~2.2%

This card has a pretty straightforward earnings structure, given that you earn 1x point per dollar spent, aside from SPG purchases, where you earn 2x points per dollar spent.

As far as I’m concerned, Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency on a per point basis, and I value them at 2.2 cents each.

That’s because they can efficiently be redeemed for hotels, and also efficiently converted into airline miles. Starpoints convert into airline miles at a 1:1 ratio in most programs, and you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.

In the right increments, that’s like earning 1.25 airline miles per dollar spent.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Return on spend ~2.2%

Assuming you don’t want to pay the (reasonable, in my opinion) annual fee on the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, there’s a no annual fee version of the card, which is also quite rewarding.

It offers:

  • 2x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases
  • 20% more points when you use your card on purchases 20 or more times in a billing period

Much like the premium version of the card, you earn one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent. But if you make 20 purchases per billing cycle, you earn a 20% bonus for a total of 1.2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent.

At a valuation of 1.8 cents per point, that’s like a return of ~2.2%. Not bad at all for a no annual fee card.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite Mastercard®

Return on spend: 2.1%

This card offers 2x miles per dollar spent. Each mile can be redeemed for one cent towards the cost of a travel purchase. That’s basically a return of 2%.

On top of that, you get a 5% refund when you redeem points, which basically means you’re achieving a return of ~2.1%.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Return on spend: 2%

I wrote about this card the other day, as I think a vast majority of consumers would be best off simplifying their credit card strategy and picking up a card like this.

The card offers 1% cash back on every purchase, and then an additional 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases. For a no annual fee card, that’s a really great return.

My pick

Not surprisingly, my pick for credit card spend in the US is the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card. Earning 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (assuming a minimum of 30 transactions) is a great return, and wins by a long shot, in my opinion.

Just to put the return on everyday spend into perspective, earlier this year I wrote about the cards you should consider paying your taxes with.

There are services which will let you pay your taxes for a ~1.88% fee. Being able to pick up 1.5 Membership Rewards points for a 1.88% fee is like picking up Membership Rewards points for ~1.25 cents each. That’s an absolute bargain, if you ask me.

Bottom line

There’s not a single right card to use, given that the value of points is subjective to begin with. It’s pretty straightforward with something like the Citi® Double Cash Card, since 2% is 2%.

On something like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card, the valuation is ultimately based on what you value each point at, so you’ll have to crunch the numbers for yourself.

That being said, it is important to understand that the cards you should be considering for everyday, non-bonused spend might be different than the cards you should use for categories on which you can earn bonus points.

What’s your preferred credit card for everyday, non-bonused spend?

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  1. @Kenny–The Arrival Plus and SPG cards are both no foreign transaction fee cards so either of those would be good fits depending on your needs.

    @Phil–I think the SPG card is available in the UK?

  2. @ Kenny — As noted by Gaurav, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, and then as of next week, the SPG AmEx, as it won’t have foreign transaction fees anymore either.

  3. @Lucky repeats the biggest con in the travel blogosphere: “As far as I’m concerned, Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency on a per point basis, and I value them at 2.2 cents each.”

    That is all well and good within the SPG universe, but the claim is demonstrably bogus ACROSS programs because it fails to take into account both the earning and redemption sides of the mile/point equation, which one must do to compare different programs since loyalty points must first be earned before they can be redeemed [otherwise travel would indeed be free, which we know is another bogus claim].

    if one goes by the bloggers’ best estimates of the REDEMPTION values of loyalty points, we have numbers like:

    Hyatt GP being worth 1.4 cents/point
    SPG Starpoints 2.2 cents/point
    HHonors 0.4 cents/point.

    WITHIN each program, those valuations are, on average, pretty good. What one cannot do is to use them as the basis for claiming, e.g., that starpoints are more valuable than HHnors points. The reason one cannot do that is that on the EARNING side, one earns 6X more HH points a pop than one earns starpoints and that difference in earn rates must be accounted for before programs can be compared. In other words, one must do a “currency conversion” before different loyalty currencies can be compared.

    Thus, while Hyatt GP points may be worth 1.4 cpp, SPG points 2.2 cpp and HHonors points 0.4 cpp, as the bloggers claim, the three currencies are WORTH EXACTLY THE SAME if one takes into the relative earn rate side of things. That puts them on the same scale and thus makes them comparable.

    I earn 3 times more HH points a clip than I do GP points, 6 times more HH points than SPG points and 1.5 more HH points than IHG points, so that

    in terms of GP points, HHonors points are worth 0.4 cpp * 3 = 1.2 cpp (vs. 1.4 cpp by the bloggers)
    in terms of starpoints, HHonors points are worth 0.4 cpp * 6 = 2.4 cpp (vs. 2.2 cpp by the bloggers)
    in terms of IHG points, HHonors points are worth 0.4 cpp * 1.5 = 0.6 cpp (vs. 0.7 cpp by the bloggers)

    See? No difference at all among the point currencies when adjusted for earn rates, which makes sense because, like for real currencies, similar items should cost about the same. Therefore, the next time you read a blog post claiming how starpoints are the most valuable currency because they are worth 2.2 cpp (vs. e.g. 0.4 cpp for HH), remember this simple demo.


  4. The poster above types a lot of irrelevant text. The entire article already multiplies the value of each point by the number of points earned per dollar.

    If you earn 6 Hilton points per dollar then you are earning 2.4 cents per dollar based on a 0.4 per Hilton point. With the caveat that you are stuck with Hilton points and that they have terrible airline transfer rates.

  5. DCS, we discussed this a while back in a blog exchange. The HHonors card earns 6x in certain categories, 3x in others. You told me you use your HHonors card for the 6x categories, and you use an airline card for the categories where the HHonors card would earn only 3x.

    My strategy is to use the SPG card for the categories where the HHonors card would only earn 3x.

    We both agree that using the HHonors card for its 3x categories gives suboptimal value..

  6. @DCS–I don’t want to get into an argument over point valuations. I see many valid models for running calculations determined by the subjective preferences of the people who run them, each with their own weaknesses and strengths.

    I do however, wish to point out that your method makes sense when used to determine the value of a given program and making a decision about what to choose for your travel needs. However, it does not affect the value of a given unit of program currency. I would compare it to national currencies. If you compare the US dollar to say, an Indian rupee, the rupee is a much more inflated currency. You earn more of them but you also spend a lot more of them to buy similar items. However this does not affect the relative value of the rupee vs. the dollar. One is definitely more valuable than the other.

  7. Interesting angle DCS, but if you’re using the Hyatt Card to earn GPs then you’re doing it wrong. With 2x on CSP and 5x on Ink/Freedom, earning URs is the only logical way to amass GPs. Which ought to adjust your ‘exchange rate’…

  8. @Andy, @UAPhil, @Gaurav and Stannis — I have addressed this issue in a different forum where posting of charts is possible and one can be a lot more expressive. Please start reading at about the link below and follow the ensuing discussion and then call me in the morning if your questions remain unanswered:


    You’ll see why more clearly why the claim that “starpoints are the single most valuable points currency” is simply and demonstrably the biggest con and canard in the travel blogosphere.

    G’day! 😉

  9. @DCS – “Lucky repeats the biggest con in the travel blogosphere”

    And yet again, you insist that anyone having a different opinion from you is a “con.”

    “The reason one cannot do that is that on the EARNING side, one earns 6X more HH points a pop than one earns starpoints”

    Which results in more Hilton points in circulation, which results in devaluations and points being worth less because there are more of them More of something usually means it’s worth less.

    @Andy – “The poster above types a lot of irrelevant text.”


  10. Wanna know what’s really stupid, @Brian L? This is: “Which results in more Hilton points in circulation, which results in devaluations and points being worth less because there are more of them More of something usually means it’s worth less.” It would be stupid even if you were referring to real currencies…


  11. Ummm…I think from a valuation perspective it’s no “con” about Starpoints and their value based on the transfer bonuses, number of transfer partners, and scarcity relative to other currencies. However, as with any currency one needs to factor in the ease of earning and bonus opportunities. With that caveat, they are not my choice and I feel best suited for those who spend a lot at SPG properties…but that doesn’t make the redemption value lower. Just b/c I personally cannot accrue them as easily does not make the redemption value less–these are two separate issues and incorporating this into one equation doesn’t make sense.

  12. @DCS –

    So do you not agree that starpoints are worth 2.2 cents?

    And would you rather have 1 starpoint or 3 hhonors points. Everyone would take 1 starpoint and that is why it is good for NON BONUS SPEND and a hhonors card is not (except for the hilton reserve since you can earn a free night at 10k pushing the return closer to 5% per dollar if you use the night for a worthy hotel).

    No one is saying SPG is better than or worse than HHonors…but their points are worth more…probably because they are harder to earn.

  13. @DCS – “Wanna know what’s really stupid”

    IIRC, this is the second time you’ve lobbed something that could be construed as an insult at me during our exchanges.

  14. @AgelessJen The AmEx Platinum is a great card for the benefits, not so much for earning MR points. You would do better with one of the Everyday cards Lucky mentions.

  15. @All the skeptics — The best way to earn starpoints is through revenue stays at hotels. One gets all of 2 points/$ instead of just 1/$ on the SPG AMEX. The difficulty in earning a lot of starpoints is actually what makes SPG awards the most expensive in terms of “spend per free night.” It also decreases the currency’s touted “transferability” because one does not easily earn enough of them to transfer!

    Hilton Honors points are actually plenty transferable (see the complete list of HH transfer partners below). That, coupled with the ease of earning HH points makes the purported transferability advantage SPG points dubious. Hilton prefers to decrease their point liability by making it easy for members to earn and then redeem their points for stays at Hilton properties. Starwood, on the other hand, decreases their point liability by making it easy for members to redeem starpoints for air miles, while making it tough for them to redeem points for hotel stays! I prefer the Hilton model, by far.

    As promised:

    Hilton Airline Transfer Partners — The Complete List (longer than SPG’s):

    Aeroflot Russian Airlines
    Aeroplan (Air Canada)
    Air Berlin
    Air China
    Air New Zealand
    Alaska Airlines
    All Nippon Airways
    American Airlines
    British Airways
    Cathay Pacific Airways
    China Southern
    CSA Czech Airlines
    Delta Air Lines®
    Frontier Airlines
    Gulf Air
    Hawaiian Airlines®
    Japan Airlines
    Jet Airways
    Kingfisher Airlines
    KLM/Air France (Flying Blue)**
    Malaysia Airlines®
    Mexicana Airlines (kms)
    Miles & More (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines)
    Olympic Air
    Qantas Airways
    Qatar Airways
    Saudi Arabian Airlines
    Singapore Airlines
    South African Airways
    THAI Airways International
    United Airlines®
    US Airways®
    Virgin America
    Virgin Atlantic Airways

    The claim is that SPG offers a better transfer rate to air miles and that is largely true, especially if one can spend enough real money to earn and then transfer starpoints to miles in 20K increments. However, all it is is a difference in philosophy: Hilton would rather have members redeem their points for stays at Hilton properties. However, they [Hilton] still offer the ability to transfer HH points to all the partners above as a “service” to members who may wish to do so, although they do not encourage it like SPG does.

    Does SPG have an edge in the point to mile transfer game? Not for a guy like me who earns HH points through revenue stays at 12/$ on the HH AMEX Surpass.

    For hotel spend, the SPG AMEX awards 2 points/$ (ratio compared to HH hotel stays is 6 HH: 1 SPG).

    For all non-hotel spend, the SPG AMEX awards 1 point/$
    For gas, supermarket and restaurant spend the HH AMEX Surpass awards 6 points/$. That’s again 6 HH : 1 SPG.

    For everything else the HH Surpass awards 3 points/$. But because there is no perfect match since the SPG AMEX has only two categories whereas the HH AMEX Surpass has 3, we must take the median, which would indicate a ratio of about 5.5:1 overall.

    The earn ratio of about 6HH:1 SPG also holds for revenue stays and that is how one calculates the “spend per free night” that shows SPG awards to be the most expensive in the business…BY FAR!

    Bottom line: I earn so many HH points either through revenue stays or through CC spend that I can easily transfer 100K HH points to air miles without sweating. That’s not the case with starpoints, despite their marginally favorable transfer rate.


    Wanna see more? Just follow the link above!

  16. @DCS Again, what you are characterizing is the overall usefulness of one program vs. another, not the value of the currency. If you offered someone a choice of a million starpoints vs. a million hhonors points, 99% of people with any understanding of miles and points would choose the starpoints because each starpoint is intrinsically more valuable than a hhonors point.

  17. @DCS, also btw, Kingfisher Airlines went out of business a couple of years ago. You won’t be transferring Hilton or any other points to it :).

  18. @ DCS

    Your logic is flawed. A point is worth what it gets you, not what you have to do to get it.

    Also, part of SPG point value is precisely the difficulty earning them. I am lifetime Platinum, but never have enough SPG points. I’ve burned through millions of Hilton points, but find them easy to get more if I need them. And I need SPG far more often than HHonors (Platinum on both).

  19. @Gaurav — I have a thorough understanding of the “value” of currencies and no one would just give you such a large number of points. You’ve got to earn them. To earn 1M starpoints on the SPG AMEX @ 1 point/$ in general spend would cost $1,000,000 (you are broke!), whereas 1M HH points would cost 6x less or “just” $166,667. See why one has simply got to take into account how tough or easy it is to earn points in a given currency?

  20. @ Lucky

    That valuation for Amex seems high to me as well. For a flexible currency, I figure 10% above the most valuable transfer partner (assuming 1:1 transfer ratio; easy to adjust the valuation if it’s not 1:1). Which is their most valuable transfer partner (after consideration of transfer ratio)? Are you valuing the flexibility more than 10%?

  21. @beachfan — Points will get you nothing if you ain’t got any. Gotta acquire them first and that costs real money. To ignore that in any valuation is to claim that travel is free!!!

  22. @DCS–the point is not whether someone will offer them to you or not. If it’s easier for you set it up as a lottery where the winner can choose their prize-1million starpoints or 1million hhonors points. Again, 99% of the people here will choose the starpoints. Your argument is like saying coal is more valuable than the Hope diamond because it’s easy to get tons of it or bicycles are more valuable than a Ferrari. Coal works for its intended use but if you take a piece of coal of equal weight to the diamond, there is no doubt which is more valuable.

    You make a very valid point about the relative value of one program vs. another which is lost in your obstinacy in ignoring the difference in relative value between individual units of each currency.

  23. @Gaurav — I do not have to indulge in your fantasy. One must spend real money to earn points, which is why this site has so much traffic. Part of valuing points must be how hard or easy they are to earn. To engage in wishful thinking so that you can decrease the degree of difficulty of earning starpoints won’t cut it…

    Gotta go!

  24. C’mon Ben, you’re better than this. Ever since the RS article, I’ve seen a definite uptick in the number of credit card laden posts, presumably to bait your new audience. Please don’t turn into Gary.

  25. Is there anyone more delusional than DCS? Wow!

    No one cares about which is easier to earn that is for when you decide which hotel you want to be loyal to. This article is about which is worth the most and SPG is it….end of discussion.

    You keep trying to twist the argument to meet your agenda but the plain fact is SPG points are worth 2.2 cents so that is a 2.2% return on your non bonus spend. Go ahead and get your 1.2% back on hilton non bonus spend (3 x .004) and enjoy it. If it makes you happy getting less return then so be it. There is no hilton card that gives you a better return then SPG on NON BONUS SPEND end of discussion.

  26. I actually agree with DCS. I have the AMEX SPG and after getting the bonus I’m trying to figure out how valuable it is. I fly United and the transfer is 2:1 which is horrible. I’ve already tried to redeem the points (a year ahead of time and it’s still almost impossible). The only way to rack up points is to actually stay at a Starwood hotel. Everything else is only 1:1. Why would I use the AMEX SPG when I can get double points on restaurants with the Sapphire and still get 2 points/$1 on ALL hotel stays (and travel in general) not just Starwood hotels.

    I wish I would’ve done more research before I jumped on the AMEX SPG (silly newbie mistake just following the bloggers). It’s all good, lesson learned. Do tons of research before you apply!

    I will eventually “replace” the SPG with something with more bonus categories.

  27. @DCS you absolutely do not have to live in my fantasy. If the example was too hard for you, let’s take off all the zeroes and compare 1 starpoint to 1 hhonors point. Again, the vast majority of people would choose the starpoint.

    Any comparison of value starts and ends with comparing identical examples of the items being compared. Hence you would compare 1 SPG to 1 HHonors point and there is no doubt there as to which is more valuable. Even Ben has made sure to define the value he is quoting on a PER POINT basis.

    If you really believe that an ounce of sand is more valuable than an ounce of gold then you can keep making your argument but I think you know better.

  28. I just reread this post and it’s specifically talking about non-bonus spending I guess. If we’re ignoring bonus categories maybe this post is correct. I don’t know. I just know without the bonus categories it is difficult to earn the points needed to earn free nights, unless this is your only card and/or you have a very high income/spend.

  29. @Marc O — Please do not bring me back in here when I am trying to escape with claims of my purported delusion. Since 2011, I have been doing Big-Time redemptions that no one in their real mind would characterize as ‘delusional’. I will soon be unveiling my 2015 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm) and will provide a link, so please reserve judgement about just how delusional you think I am until after that…

    Delusional like a fox!!! 🙂

  30. BTW, I am a HH Diamond, Marriott Gold, SPG Gold and Hyatt GP Plat, and this year I already have more than 700k HH points on my way to close to 1M, 80k Marriott points, 71k Hyatt GP points and just 12k starpoints precisely because I have done the grade-school level math and determined that starpoints are the least worth having, especially with 0.5M UA miles that I can redeem to fly anywhere on any of the 27 Star Alliance carriers without transferring any hotel points to air miles.

    Yup, delusional like fox!

  31. @DCS – (my initial comment didn’t get approval to post for some reason). I agree with you. I have the AMEX SPG and I’m trying to figure out how to get some real value out of it after the bonus points. I fly United (2:1 transfer, horrible). With only 1 point/$1 it takes too much spend to get any real points. I don’t travel for work so I don’t spend enough on hotel stays to really rack up points. And once you get the points trying to redeem the points seems to be pretty difficult (even a year in advance).

    I will need a replacement. After having the AMEX SPG I don’t get why it’s seen as so valuable.

  32. @Mark O – “Is there anyone more delusional than DCS?”

    His problem isn’t that he’s delusional. His problem is he refuses to acknowledge that other people will have different opinions than he does, that he mocks and talks down to people that don’t agree with him, and that he drowns people in minutiae.

  33. Well at least HHonors has one diehard follower. Good for him! We all need to use those programs that serve our needs best. One person’s “ounce of sand” is anothers “ounce of gold” I guess. I’ll stick with my Starpoints and my AMEX Gold card.

  34. @Stephan: I honestly believe that HHonors offers value. The problem with demagogues like DCS on the internet is that they spew a bunch of stuff which seems to have equal validity to the uninformed when they are taking umbrage over nothing.

    What Ben specifically said was “Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency on a per point basis”. The crucial part here are the words the PER POINT BASIS. Despite having been asked three times DCS refuses to answer a simple question about what has more value: 1 startpoint or 1 HHonors point. Instead he obfuscates with his status on airlines, his redemptions, and a whole bunch of irrelevant stuff. In the real world where the laws of economics hold true, things hold value depending on their supply and demand and he in fact in some ways proves the point of why starpoints are so valuable: They are hard to acquire, versatile, and prized by people for their airline transfer ratios to airlines. Just because something is hard to acquire does not diminish it’s value. We can consider examples of currencies, cars, and finally sand and gold. Iphones sell for huge markups when they are hard to get at release. Making them easier to get doesn’t increase their value. Real life just doesn’t work the way DCS envisions.

    His concerns about earn and burn rates are program/credit card issues which are very valid. We can in fact hold both things to be true at the same time. On a per point level, SPG points are more valuable, but on a program level people can find better fits in other programs.

  35. @Gaurav sez with a straight face: “The problem with demagogues like DCS on the internet is that they spew a bunch of stuff which seems to have equal validity to the uninformed when they are taking umbrage over nothing”.

    You are a very silly man. The question about which is more valuable between 1 starpoint and 1 HH point is precisely what I have been answering this whole. You do not compare loyalty points without taking into account both sides of the mile point equation. I will quote a blogger who gets it on this very simple point:

    “A mile is not a mile, and a point is not a point, if different programs award more or less of them for the same size transaction. As a result, one can’t easily compare the award charts of two different programs and say that one is “more expensive” than another. Perhaps the program that requires twice as many points for a free night also hands out four times as many to begin with.

    Airlines have pretty standard rules for awarding miles based on distance flown and fixing the cost of a domestic award at 25,000 of those miles. These rules have been breaking down for years in a process that is now accelerating. But I can’t think of a time when hotels have ever had comparable award programs.”

    So, do you wanna continue to spew garbage like how “demagogic” I am or do you wish to you get your head from out of the arses of travel bloggers, who make claims that are often designed to promote their business but may be demonstrably bogus?

    Who am I? I am full university professor, with a Ph.D. in Medical Physics and joint appointments at the medical schools of two Ivy League universities in Manhattan (there are only two so it is obvious what they are). I do very complex research and modeling in medical imaging and neuroscience for a living AND I just LOVE traveling to exotic places. For the latter hobby, I have learned a lot about the mile/point game, using my background in numbers to model what are simple problems in loyalty travel and share the results with like-minded people. Often my results contradict long-held travel blogosphere dogma like the demonstrably bogus claim that “Starpoints are the single most valuable points currency on a per point basis”.

    Lastly, to prove that I put everything that I learn to great use, please check out the report below on my last Big-Time Redemption, after which please stop the garbage about how “demagogic” I am. I am one of the good and real guys! The proof is in the pudding and here is mine:



  36. Very entertaining exchange here 🙂 But I actually find myself agreeing w/ DCS and Momof2. I got the SPG card mainly for the bonus to transfer to AA. It turns out that I already have a surplus of AA miles so I don’t need to transfer them now. The lack of category bonus makes it hard for me to reach for this card whenever I pay for something. I may use it again when I’m really pushing for AA or Alaska miles for an upcoming trip

    Also, SPG hotels don’t really appeal to me. I prefer smaller, more mid-range boutique hotels, that tend to be more convenient, location-wise especially when staying in a city, and more unique. Plus, I’m usually out and about when travelling anyway, and do not spend much time in the hotel.

    I have about 31K SPG points at the moment, so I guess that’s reason to enough to somehow get to 40K and transfer out 50K miles to one of the partners (most likely Alaska)

  37. @Kenny, @Momof2 valid points, see above re: program value. If you lived in, say, Ghana, the US dollar would be useless to you. However, no one will argue that 1 US dollar is therefore worth less than 1 Ghanian cedi.

  38. I have been a huge advocate of the Everyday Preferred since it first came out. Just to put into perspective the difference in earning between the Preferred vs the no-fee Everyday, look at return on groceries. Most studies presume that the average family of 4 will spend at least $150 a week on groceries (most presume more). Assuming that is the case, the average family of four will spend $7,800 a year on groceries. But, for easy math, just look at the $6,000 max spend on card for bonus. These calculations assume required # of swipes per month met also.

    Preferred: 4.5 x $6,000 = 27,000 MRs
    Everyday: 2.4 x $6,000 = 14,400 MRs
    Difference = 12,600 MRs! Even if you did CASH BACK, you come out ahead of your annual fee. And this doesn’t even take into account the effective 3x return on gas for preferred vs the 1.2 on Everyday.

    People complain about having to have 30 swipes. I never got that complaint. People who read these blogs will go at incredible lengths to find every last bonus point–whether it be driving all over town back in the day looking for Vanilla reloads, making an extra stop to stock up on gift cards at an Office Depot, etc. Yet, for some unknown reason, asking a grocery store cashier at the end of a month to break up your transactions into multiple swipes is somehow overboard??? I just don’t get why THIS is where people draw the line on easy points.

  39. I often stay in expensive cities like New York and London. I find points earned with the SPG Amex card extremely valuable as a way of paying for those stays. For example, at 2.2 cents/point, when I stay at Cat 5 hotels, I’m effectively paying $264/night (12,000 points * 2.2 cents/point). If I use “5th night free”, my price goes down to $212/night. Much of the time, that is at least a 25-50% discount compared to available revenue rates. (Random check: Park Lane Hotel London, night of August 20, 279 pounds ($435) revenue rate, or 12,000 points ($264 value) – a discount of nearly 40% paying with points.)

    (In New York and London, it’s hard to find well located, “reasonable” properties at prices much lower than SPG’s. That’s not nearly as true in many other cities that have a reputation for being “expensive”; for example in Vienna and Amsterdam there are reasonable properties for $150/night or less; and even in Paris I can often find good well located lodging choices for $220 or less.)

    (I put my travel and restaurant spend on the CSP precisely because with the 2x bonus it yields more than 2.2 cents/dollar. But I have a lot of spend in other categories that are generally not bonused, so even at 1 point/dollar I have no trouble earning enough SPG points to have them when I need them and get good value out of them.)

  40. @DCS – “You do not compare loyalty points without taking into account both sides of the mile point equation.”

    Maybe YOU don’t but other people apparently find value in doing so. What’s it to you?

    “or do you wish to you get your head from out of the arses”

    Again with the personal insults.

    “two Ivy League universities in Manhattan (there are only two so it is obvious what they are).”

    According to Wikipedia, and the Ivy League website (http://www.ivyleaguesports.com/landing/index), there is only ONE Ivy League school in Manhattan.

    “I am one of the good and real guys!”

    If you were such a good guy, you wouldn’t take such a dismissive and arrogant attitude towards people who don’t share your opinions.

  41. I do not spend money at hotels and only use points (which I think a lot of people on these blogs are this way) so worrying about how many points I earn on paid stays is pointless and your argument is worthless to me.

    The value of the return on my credit card spend is most important and for non bonus categories SPG is the best. For bonus categories Hyatt is the best because of UR transfers. On the rare occasion I pay for a stay I often go with hilton because of the gold status I get with the reserve card and they usually tend to be the cheaper hotels around.

  42. Did you know, that you can earn status miles with Air Berlin credit card? I love this German credit card and spend so much for my business with it. I have to fly twice a month to Florida and love to have Air Berlin Platinum status which is oneworld Emerald status, too.

  43. @Mark O said after I quit this thread in disgust: “According to Wikipedia, and the Ivy League website (www.ivyleaguesports.com/landing/index), there is only ONE Ivy League school in Manhattan.”

    I am glad I escaped when I did because all sign of intelligent life had definitely disappeared.

    Anyway, Mark O, let me help you out here. It looks like the wiki entry you based your conclusion that “there is only ONE Ivy League school in Manhattan” on is for Ivy League sports. However, just reread my post. I’d said medical schools of Ivy League Universities. Since you are unable to do even a simple search, let me help you out: The medical school of Cornell University — an Ivy League School — is located on York Ave and 68th street in Manhattan, and the medical school of Columbia University — also an Ivy League School — is locate on Broadway and 168th Street in Manhattan. The hospitals that are associated with medical schools — Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and New York Hospital — joined in 1997 to become the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the joint teaching hospital of Cornell and Columbia and the largest non-sectarian hospital in the US. No, Cornell has no sports team in Manhattan, because, unlike Columbia whose main campus is also in Manhattan, Cornell’s main campus in in Ithaca, in update NY. That ‘s why your wiki entry returned an entry suggesting only one Ivy League school in Manhattan 🙂

    In sum, your attempt to prove that I had lied about my affiliation has ended up showing you for the dope that you are and come out as every time you post. If I were you, I would lay low!

  44. I think you should review the MileagePlus Explorer Card from Chase that credits to United MileagePlus. First, there are targeted ads for 50k miles after a $2k spend. But that’s not everyday spend.

    For everyday spend you can use MileagePlus X (a mobile app tied to your card). It gives you between 2X and 5X points on both local and online retailers. At the moment, any Amazon purchases are 2X points and any Overstock.com is 5X points.

    While not good for “any” everyday spend, I now look at MileagePlus X before making any online purchase. I also check before buying anything local (including restaurants); it will list distance from you, but not cost of merchandise, so since I know where I like to dine/shop and see it in the list, I go and get 4X or 5X points. I got 5X points dining at Oceanaire Seafood last week.

    Not a lot of United-centric stuff here, but I think this is worth a look.

  45. I use the Mileage Plus X app very often. I shop on Amazon a lot and I never place an order without using the app. I’ve also gotten 5X on pizza many, many times. I tend to order pizza for my kid’s school (teachers and staff) so using the app I get 925 miles (5X) instead of the normal 370 miles (2X just using CSP). I would make these purchases anyway so at least I’m getting many more miles just from using the app.

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