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I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card. As such, I was paid for my services, but tips and opinions shared about American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.
One of the secrets to earning lots of miles and points is to not actually earn them via travel. That is almost certainly old news to those who have been at this hobby for any length of time, but to those new to miles and points it can be a big surprise that you don’t have to travel much (or at all) to earn tons of points you can use on future travel.
In fact, one of the easiest ways to earn a bunch of miles or points is by using rewards-earning credit cards. I don’t mean using them to rack up debt on stuff you don’t want or need, I mean using them on stuff you were going to buy anyway.
It’s possible to rack up valuable points just by charging your everyday expenses. I started small with things like dinner or gas, but quickly realized how many things can be charged easily and without extra fees. In case you haven’t yet had your “lightbulb” moment and realized how many things your family has to pay for in a given month that could be shifted from cash, check, or debit card to a credit card, I thought I’d make an easy list to get you going. So, here are 20 easy everyday expenses that most families could easily pay for with a credit card without any extra hassle.
All of the things listed I have paid without any extra charges using a credit card, but always check with your individual provider to make sure there isn’t an additional fee to use a credit card.
3. Cell phone bill
4. Coffee runs
5. Dry cleaning
6. Car insurance
7. Doctors visits
8. Taxis and toll passes (there is an extra fee in some cities for taxis, but not in NYC)
9. Internet service
10. Cable/satellite/streaming service
11. Utility bills
12. Membership or daily admission to zoos, children’s museums, etc.
13. Post office
14. Homeowners or flood insurance
15. Daycare or pre-school
16. Nail and hair salons
17. Gym membership
18. Drug store purchases
19. Movie theater
20. Dinner out. You earned it after all those errands!
The trick to being successful with this rewarding approach of leveraging your family’s expenses to earn big rewards is to certain to pay off your credit card each month to avoid interest charges. If you start paying interest or spending more than you otherwise would, you are negating the value of the points you earn by using your card.
To take this up a notch, start putting some of these expenses on the credit card that rewards you for certain bonus categories that you frequently spend in anyway. I have cards that pay me 2x, 3x, or even 5x, in certain bonus categories.
For example, a good starter card for those who want to earn points that you can transfer to hotels and airlines (and yet still avoid an annual fee) is The Amex EveryDaySM Credit Card from American Express that awards 2x on groceries up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x). That means you are getting twice the rewards on grocery purchases than you would on cards without that bonus category.
Also, if you use the card 20 times in a billing cycle (which is easy to do given the examples above) then you also get a 20% bonus on all the points earned in that cycle including a bonus on the 2x from groceries!
That’s just one small example, but it is easy to see how charging everyday expenses and using credit cards that pay out valuable rewards (especially with bonus categories!) can start to add up in a hurry to your next hotel or flight award!