My current credit card spending allocation

In the miles and points game, sometimes you have to play the cards that you’re dealt, and you have to modify or tailor your spending based on your current situation. Take my particular situation, for instance:

  • I’m in the middle of relocating from Miami to San Antonio
  • I have close to a million frequent flyer miles in my accounts, plus my Southwest Companion pass. I don’t need any more for now.
  • I’m in need to hotel points
  • We are planning to buy a house in the next few months, once I get settled in Texas
  • I’m not working on any credit card minimum spending right now

Because of all of the above, but primarily because of the move and the prospects of home buying, credit card churning is somewhat limited for me. I’m trying to minimize my wife’s and my own credit inquiries so that when we are ready to buy a house, this doesn’t have a major impact on my loan application. Unless some absolutely insane credit card offer comes along, such as this past January’s Amex Platinum 100,000 points offer, I will be taking it easy on credit cards for now. Another reason why I’m taking it easy is because in the middle of an interstate move, my time is limited and I’d rather minimize the amount of credit cards and sign up offers I’m juggling all at once.

My preferred hotel chains right now are SPG, Hyatt and Club Carlson. So that being said, I’m only concentrating on maximizing the amount of points I’m earning on the credit cards I currently have, and I’m restricting our spending to the three credit cards below:

SPG Amex:
I love SPG, and the SPG Amex gets me 1 point per dollar on all purchases, and additional bonus points when used at SPG properties. While that may seem low, SPG points are very valuable and you can redeem for free nights as low as 3,000 points (or even lower for cash and points reservations). With features such as the 5th night free on some reward stays, these points can get you really good stays at some of the world’s best properties. This is my go-to card for day to day spending, unless I can get multiple points per dollar using the next card below.

Chase Ink Plus:
I use this card for day to day spending with a twist, taking advantage of the bonus categories such as 5 Ultimate Reward points per dollar for cable, internet, landline, cell phone and office supplies purchases. All of these expenses I pay for with this card, and I take advantage of several creative ways in which I can get the same 5x bonus for additional expenses, such as gas, restaurants, home improvement stores, etc. Ultimate Rewards points are very valuable to me since they can transferred on a 1:1 basis to several airlines and hotels, such as Hyatt, Southwest, United, Marriott and Priority Club, among others. The card comes with no foreign transaction fees, so this is the card I use the most while overseas.

Hyatt Chase VISA:
I use this card solely for restaurant charges (plus the occasional car rental expenses), since it pays 2 Hyatt points per dollar spent. The Chase Sapphire is a really good alternative to this card, but I do not have it, and you can never have enough Hyatt points. Since I’m just getting into the Hyatt chain after using SPG for a while, I’m building up my points balance for some future stays this year and the next. This card also comes with no foreign transaction fees, so if I’m out of the country and having dinner at a restaurant, this is definitely the card I’ll use.

Club Carlson VISA:
If you noticed before, I mentioned that I only concentrate my spending on 3 credit cards, and this one makes 4 of them. The only reason why I got this card, other than the sign-up bonus, is the ability to get the last night of a minimum two-night stay free of points, and since I have a lot of Club Carlson points, this card will really stretch them out each time I use them. In fact, I will be taking advantage of this feature on three separate stays in the next month.

That being said, sometimes strategy goes out the window when the situation calls for it. For instance, if I’m concerned about purchase protection, when in doubt I will go with my SPG Amex, and if I’m booking flights, I will use my Amex Business Gold card, which pays out 3 points per dollar for flight purchases. Point being that every situation is different, and each person’s goals vary, so think about your own goals and situation and then adjust your spending and credit card use accordingly to maximize your rewards and reach your next free trip a lot faster.

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3 Responses to My current credit card spending allocation

  1. Jorge Caballero says:

    Take it easy but keep send us update of new offers.

  2. Jorge Caballero says:

    Next year I’m planning to stay at Jackson Hole, WY. There is a Hampton Inn over there. I need a hotel credit card to work on. Any suggest? What about the Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express?

    • travelguys says:

      Jorge, find out how many nights you need and how many points are required for that property, and then go from there. Hilton has devalued their points so much over the past couple of years that you might not get enough just from the card. Does it have to be Hampton Inn, or can you work with other hotels that you can get better credit cards for?

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