Instead of talking about which rewards cards have the highest sign-up bonuses, today I want to cover which five cards I am actually using the most for my day to day purchases.  Make no mistake, I absolutely get rewards credit cards in part for the sometimes awesome sign-up bonuses, but that is just part of the points earning process for my family.  Another major way we earn points is by strategically using the rewards credit cards that we already have.  We don’t go crazy with signing up for tons of cards each year or rack up lots of charges by “manufacturing” lots of expenses we wouldn’t otherwise have.  Instead we mainly just think twice about which card to use every time we buy gas, head to the grocery store, or pay bills.  You know, boring normal people stuff.

While I have a bunch of rewards earning cards I use from time to time, here are the five I am using the most right now to maximize everyday purchases.

Chase Freedom®

The more things I can earn 5x on the better, so I vigilantly keep up with the Chase Freedom 5x bonus quarterly categories.  The third quarter just kicked off and with it the card earns 5x at gas stations and Kohl’s (be sure to register).  I don’t frequent Kohl’s, but I do frequent the gas station, so this is my current go-to card for gas at 5x points.  Remember that these points can transfer 1:1 to United, Hyatt, Singapore, Southwest, IHG Rewards, British Airways, and more because I also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus card.  If you have the Freedom card, be sure to use it for all your fill-ups and other gas station needs his quarter until you hit the $1,500 quarterly 5x cap.

Ink Plus® Business Card or Ink Bold® Business Card

Again, since I am a 5x fan I use this card as much as I can for its 5x bonus categories including: cell phone bills, internet, landline, internet, cable, and office supply store purchases.  I have many of those bills like cell phone, internet, and DIRECTV set to auto-pay each month to my Ink Bold so I earn 5x without even trying.  This is literally thousands of Ultimate Reward points earned each month without lifting a finger…other than to pay the Ink Bold bill of course.

Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card

This card has won a big spot in my heart (and wallet) since it pays out 3x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year), 2x on US standalone gas stations, and 1x on everything else.  That alone is pretty good, especially at grocery stores, but it also pays out a 50% bonus on all points earned in the billing cycle if you have 30 or more transactions.  This means that grocery stores effectively pay out 4.5x Membership Reward points, which is great!  I have easily hit 30 transactions every month that I have had the card, so I use it for my grocery purchases, as well as little purchases here and there to hit 30 transactions.  That means that even the transactions that would normally be just 1x pay out at 1.5x for me since I have 30 transactions a month.  It sounds uber corny, but this really is one of my everyday cards now.

Amex Everyday Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The good ‘ol Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t get as much play in my wallet as it used to thanks to all the other awesome cards on the market, but it still is my go-to card for dining and travel since it earns 2x Ultimate Reward points on those charges.  It is pretty much the perfect travel card  since it also has no foreign transaction fees.  It will be the stand alone best travel card once it has chip + pin instead of just chip + signature.  This card also gives a 7% bonus on points earned each year, so really your 2x transactions are 2.14x assuming you keep the card long enough to get the bonus that is paid out roughly each February.

Citi Executive AAdvantage Card:

This very popular card pays out 100,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $10,000 in the first three months.  It’s weak in terms of bonus categories at 1x on most everything, but we are still using it almost every day since my husband and I are both working on hitting the 10k spending mark on our respective cards.  Since this will result in another 200,000 miles between the two of us, it’s worth the effort.  Anything we spend money on that doesn’t fall into a bonus category on another card is pretty much going on this card.

That’s our current system with the main five cards we have in rotation right now.  It isn’t overly elaborate, but it is very effective for us.  What is your current spending system?

 

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided. reviewed, or commissioned by any company.

Posted by Mommy Points | 17 Comments

If you ever wanted to go from Texas to Boston in the fall seriously today is your lucky day.  Forget using airline miles, just buy these crazy low fares (or use roughly 10,000 point via your Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®) and go.  I posted earlier today about JetBlue having $108 fares from Houston, Austin, and Dallas to/from Boston.  I think JetBlue is pretty great, but if you are a United gal like I am, then having United match the price out of Houston might be even more exciting.  Plus United operates out of IAH instead of Hobby, so that can make it easier for some.

Anyway, for $106.50 you can go round trip from Houston to Boston and back on United this fall and earn at least 3,195 MileagePlus miles in the process.  Dates are limited and likely match the Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday pattern of most of the cheap JetBlue flights.  I’ve seen (and flown) some very good fares from Houston – Boston, but I think this one might be the best.  If you wanted to turn it into a “vacation run” I saw some options from around $111 – $118 that route through Dulles or O’Hare for additional miles – coming out at about 3 cents per mile.

United Fare Boston

I won’t be shocked if American or others matched on some of these routes, but for now United matching out of Houston is all I have seen.

Thanks to theBOSman for this find!

 

Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links.  As always, thanks for your support!

Posted by Mommy Points | 2 Comments

In recent times, the price of oil often seems to work against travelers to drive the cost of airfare higher, but having a barrel of oil close for $108 yesterday means that today JetBlue is having a Blue Barrel special where tickets are as low as $108 round trip between Austin (AUS), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Houston (HOU) and Boston (BOS). 

JetBlue Sale Fare

That means you can fly round trip from Houston (or Dallas or Austin) to Boston and back for just $108!  Remember that on JetBlue your first checked bag is free, the on-board TV is free (bring your own headset), and there are even snack that are…. you guessed it, free.

Fares including taxes and fees are available starting at $108 roundtrip through July 11 at 11:59 p.m. local time at jetblue.com. These fares are valid for travel between August 4 – November 20, 2014.  The $54 fares are valid on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturdays (though I swear I saw them some other days, too).

Availability for these sale fares is pretty decent right now, but not all flights are just $54 each way, so don’t wait if you want to try and snag one of these truly awesome fares!

So, who is heading to Boston in the fall on some cheap JetBlue fares?

Posted by Mommy Points | One Comment

A resort with an awesome water park, tons of children’s activities, massive aquarium, beautiful beach, on-site restaurants, and the ability to earn and use points for the stay, what could be better?  This mythical paradise is no longer mythical as the massive Atlantis resort in the Bahamas is becoming a part of the Marriott Autograph family as of this fall.  This means you will be able to earn and redeem… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 6 Comments

If you fly with kids you know how essential it is for them to have something to do on the flight to keep them happy (and quiet).  I’m all for story books, small toys, activity books, etc, but honestly electronics are a very easy way to keep them settled, too.  Whether you have limits with “screen time” on the ground or not, I say all bets are off at 36,000… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 3 Comments

Even though air travel is simply amazing if you think about it, we all have airline gripes and horror stories these days about too many fees, delayed or cancelled flights, rude service, long lines, etc.  Now the airline everyone loves to hate, Spirit Airlines, is rewarding our gripes by handing out 8,000 Spirit miles to anyone who wants to fuss about them or any other airline in 140 characters or… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 7 Comments

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that pretty much all family travelers like to spend less and get more.  I guess that is actually a universal in every arena, but in this case I mean spend less money on hotel rooms while at the same time getting extra space for everyone to spread out.  A discount hotel booking site I have used for a few months… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 6 Comments

With almost everything in life, you will usually be better and more knowledgeable about something if you do some research and/or practice.  For example, if I headed out the door this muggy morning with my rainbow colored Asics laced up tight and tried to run a marathon, I would likely die…or at least would want to die and pass out from exhaustion at some point along the way.  However, if… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 10 Comments

Being a family traveler I am always on the lookout for ways to make family travel cheaper and/or easier. Sometimes those two desires are mutually exclusive, and thankfully sometimes they are not. Recently something was introduced that makes family travel easier, safer, and can be pretty budget friendly if you take advantage of promotions. Any guesses as to which improvement I am talking about? One word, or is it two? … Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 6 Comments

Alaska, North to the Future, The Land of The Midnight Sun, The Last Frontier, the location of one of our favorite family trips of all time.  While we absolutely used hotel points to keep the cost of the trip to a minimum, we weren’t about to go to the Last Frontier and only stay in traditional chain hotels.  There is a time for hotel points, and there is a time… Read the Rest.

Posted by Mommy Points | 2 Comments

The Chase Freedom® credit card is one of my absolute favorite rewards credit cards as it has no annual fee but still earns 5x points in rotating categories that most families can easily take advantage of such as restaurants, gas stations, and more.  The only things I didn’t love about the card was that the 5x earning is capped at $1,500 per quarter, and it isn’t the easiest thing in the… Read the Rest.

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