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Am I Better Off Earning 4x Amex Points or 5x Citi/Chase Points?


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Answers (2)

Am I Better Off Earning 4x Amex Points or 5x Citi/Chase Points?

I guess the Title speaks for itself.

I get 4x Amex. points for groceries and restaurants.

I get 5x Citi points for restaurants.

I get 5x Chase points for purchasing an Amazon gift card from Office Max and then using the credit for groceries at Whole Foods.

I know that many of us value points differently, but I’m just curious to know others’ opinions on which program to credit points to for groceries and restaurants. I know, generally speaking, that many think Amex. are the most valuable, and I’ve been going with Amex. for the past few months.

That said, am I missing something? Am I better off switching to Citi and/or Chase for the extra earnings?

  1. JJH

    This really depends. Lucky’s valuation is that Amex/Citi/Chase points are all worth the same; if you agree with that, you should just use whichever card gives you the most points on that transaction.

    Personally, I consider Chase points most valuable because I like redeeming for hotels and Chase has Hyatt, the only hotel program where you can transfer points and get a good valuation. Chase also “backstops” the value, in that if you have Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can *at a minimum* get 1.5 cents of value per point by redeeming for “travel.” That’s a pretty good minimum valuation. Chase also defines “bonus” categories very broadly so if you’re expecting to get bonus points you’ll basically always get them with Chase — whereas AmEx often categorizes merchants as something different than what you would expect, so even if you use your AmEx as like a very standard sit-down restaurant, they might have it in their system as a “bakery” and not give bonus points.

    AmEx would be second place for me because of the huge number of transfer partners they have.

    I’d put Citi a bit behind AmEx because their partner roster is more limited, but the difference isn’t really big.

    I would think if you want to keep it simple just going with the one who gives the most points on the kind of transaction you’re doing is best. But if you find that you’re burning through points from one issuer more quickly, while generating a larger balance with another issuer, then you could use the card where you’re low on points (at least where the difference in earnings isn’t too large). For example if you seem to burn through your AmEx points more quickly it could totally make sense to use an AmEx card where you earn 4X instead of a Citi card where you earn 5X. Generally earning and burning points on valuable redemptions you’re happy about is the best way to derive value from the program, so if you accumulate a balance in one program that you’re having trouble burning, I wouldn’t continue accumulating more in that program unless you’re building toward some specific redemption in that program.

  2. TravelinWilly

    Thank you, JJH, for that very comprehensive reply. I used to value Amex points the most, but I kind of agree with how you break down the value, esp. w/regards to Hyatt. With the pandemic and lack of any travel (meaning no work and no holiday trips anywhere), I’m now more “back in the game” on the miles and points front and re-visiting what to accrue and how to spend, etc.

    Again, thank you for sharing your perspective. People like you are one of the reasons I so enjoy this blog.

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