Go-to cards for everyday spending

When you play the miles and points game, you end up with a lot of credit cards, and lots of different choices when paying for everyday expenses. As a rule of thumb, if I’m working on a large minimum spending requirement for a bonus, that will automatically become my go-to card for most expenses. Otherwise, I follow a somewhat simple strategy with these cards currently in my arsenal:

Amex Business Gold Rewards card: I use this card for all airfare purchases, at 3x points per dollar spent, and occasionally for gas purchases, at 2x points per dollar spent. The best time to apply for this card is when a large offer reappears, like the 75,000 bonus points deal, as it’s been the case a few times in the past year. You can find additional details for this card here.

SPG Amex (both personal and business cards): This is my primary card for everyday expenses. Even though you only earn 1x point per dollar unless you’re using it at an SPG property, I value SPG points very highly and they consistently yield the best and highest redemption value on hotel stays, like in this example. A good time to apply for this card is over the summer, when the usual 25,000 bonus points offer gets temporarily increased to 30,000 points. You can apply for this card here.

Hilton Honors Amex: I use this card primarily for gas, drugstores and supermarket purchases, since they all earn 6x points per dollar spent (for now). While Hilton Honors points have a very low value, 6x points per dollar spent is still pretty nice, and with my current Hilton Gold status I want to take advantage of Hilton stays until that status expires. You can apply for this card here.

Discover it cash back card: I use this card strictly for the current bonus categories each quarter. The current quarter through March 31st offers 5% cash back in movies and restaurants, and 1% cash back on everything else. Other quarters offer 5% cash back on gas and other categories, plus they have a shopping portal that offers up to 20% cash back. You can apply for the card using this link.

Current promotions: I’m currently working on a promotion from the U.S. Airways MasterCard that awards 15,000 U.S. Airways miles for spending $750 in each of the months of January, February and March. So each month for the next 3 months I get $750 in any way I can, with a combination of regular spending above, and some minimum spending tricks. You can apply for the U.S. Airways MasterCard here.



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