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Burning miles and points to take awesome trips is the fun part of this hobby, but to burn them you have to earn them. Earning them isn’t always as fun, but it isn’t that bad when you just integrate it into daily life as we have. We aren’t doing anything super fancy or exciting to earn points right now (I’ll leave that excitement to the more kid-free or more organized folks than me), but that’s okay because if an earning style doesn’t fit into your life right now, then it simply doesn’t fit. Do what works for you without it become too much work.
With that said, here are the five primary rewards credit cards my family is using right now to earn as many miles and points as we can without over-complicating our life…plus one more card we really need to start using more.
1. Chase Freedom®: We are huge on using category bonuses to up our mileage earning, so we are making sure to maximize the Freedom first quarter bonus 5x categories of (primarily) grocery stores and (secondarily for us) Starbucks. Movie theaters are also 5x, but the only movie theater that we (rarely) make it to doesn’t actually code as a movie theater, but instead codes as a restaurant since it also serves food.
2. The Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card: This card actually is a very prominent card in my wallet right now as I find myself wanting access to Membership Reward points more and more. From the current 40% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios, to Delta miles becoming more useful, to favorable award charts like ANA, I just can’t get enough MR points right now. I like this card because it gives 3x at US grocery stores (up to $6,000 annually) and 2x at US gas stations + a 50% points bonus on everything if you use it 30 times in a billing cycle. This bumps the totals up to 4.5x at grocery stores and 3x at gas stations, and 1.5x on most everything else, which really works well for us. This is actually my husband’s “assigned card” to use for most purchases these days, and I frequently use mine as well.
3. Chase Ink Plus for 5x on cell phone, cable, internet, and at office supply stores. It isn’t new and exciting, but the 5x Ultimate Rewards powers of the Ink Plus are still important to my family as we have lots of our telecommunication bills are set to auto-pay to our Ink each month so we earn 5x without even thinking about it. I also have been known to visit the gift card rack of our local office supply store from time to time (as well as Staples.com) to bump up our earning a little more.
4. Starwood Preferred Guest Personal Credit Card from American Express: Many of our larger purchases (when we aren’t working on a minimum spending requirement) go on our SPG Amex cards as we just can’t ever have enough SPG points since they are so valuable, and not that easy to earn outside of SPG hotel stays and credit card usage.
5. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: The final card that is getting regular action in our wallets right now is the Chase Sapphire Preferred as we still grab take-out more than I wish, and it earns 2x transferable Ultimate Reward points on those dining charges. The card also gives 2x on travel charges, which we certainly benefit from with some regularity as well.
The Card We Need to Use More:
I’m pretty happy with our primary credit card plan as it has served us well, but the reality is there is one card we really need to add into more regular rotation. With as low as air fares have been recently (thanks @theflightdeal for sharing some real winners), we really need to earn more points using the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to take advantage of those low fares. That card earns 2x points on everything and you can use those points to pay for travel charges on the card at a rate of one point = one cent, and also get 10% of points redeemed for travel back to use again.
You aren’t tied to award availability and you will earn elite qualifying miles and dollars when you purchase your tickets using points from that card. This card isn’t great for tickets that are usually expensive, but it is the perfect way to jump on low fares while still keeping your money in your wallet.
What are the rewards credit cards your family is using the most right now to rack up miles and points?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.