Every once in a while, I like to go over which cards Sharon and I are carrying in our wallets. Doing so gives you a look behind the scenes of how to put a plan of earning points and miles in practice. We each have a different approach to earning miles and points. I try to earn the maximum points for each transaction without too much effort, and her desire to exert the least amount of thought into the process (Note from Sharon: Hell yeah! LOLOL!), the cards we carry are different.
There’s a method to my madness, as I manage to balance the two approaches and come to a plan where we maximize earning while minimizing effort (and still keep our marriage together). (Note from Sharon: Again. Hell yeah!)
Writing this post also forces me to evaluate if I’m actually doing what I say I’m going to do or seeing that I’ve gotten a little lazy (which I had). After some shuffling, here are the cards that now reside in our wallets.
Joe’s Wallet – Maximizing Every Spending Category
For the moment, the American Express Everyday Preferred has taken over the top spot in my wallet. As its name implies, it’s a solid card to use for everyday purchases. You get 1 Membership Reward point per dollar spent and if you make 30 purchases in a billing cycle, you earn a 50% bonus on points earned.
I also use this card on during my occasional trips to the supermarket, because this card earns 3x Membership Points per dollar (4.5X if you get the 50% bonus). While I’m not the primary shopper for groceries in the family, I occasionally find the need to stop and pick up a necessary item on the way home from work that we need for dinner (Note from Sharon: That translates to when I text him and say I forgot to buy an onion and could he stop and pick one up).
I’m also using this card for my gas station spend, mainly because I don’t buy gas that often and I’m happy earning 2X Membership Rewards points for those purchases (3X with the 50% bonus).
I signed up for the Citi Rewards+ card as part of my changing strategy towards Citi cards that earn ThankYou points. Instead of doing a product change, I recently applied for the card and was working on reaching the $1,000 spending requirement to get the 15,000 ThankYou point bonus.
I’m keeping the card in my wallet because of its unique feature of rounding up the points earned on each purchase to the next multiple of 10. So buying a $2 water earns 10 points. It also earns 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations, but I already talked about the card I use for those categories.
The Sapphire Reserve is the card I use for all of our restaurant purchases as it earns 3x Ultimate Rewards per dollar. That even includes interplanetary purchases made at Oga’s Cantina on Batuu in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. I also use this card when we travel because it earns 3X points on all travel expenses (hotel, taxi, rental car).
I’ve had a Discover card for, like, as long as I can remember. I never got rid of it because of the 5% bonus categories (and because it has no annual fee). Right now, Discover is paying 5% back on restaurant spending until the end of September. I’ve taken advantage of this category in previous years but I’ve stuck with the Sapphire Reserve this time because I need to replenish my miles balances instead of earning cashback.
Sharon’s Wallet – Simplified Points Earning
When we first started this blog, we joked in our bio that we were a husband who was into miles and points and a wife who didn’t really care. That’s changed a bit as Sharon’s now much more involved with writing articles for the blog and running our Facebook group. However, she still doesn’t want to worry about which credit card to use for each purchase (Note from Sharon: truer words were never spoken). If I put a card in the front of her wallet, she’ll use it and that’s about as far as I’ve been able to get.
This is the card currently on top of Sharon’s wallet. Now before you think I’ve totally lost my mind, there’s a reason for my action. It’s thanks to you that Sharon’s getting to use her “favorite” card again even though it only earns 1X Membership Reward point per dollar spent. When you sign up for a credit card using one of the links on our page, we will often get a referral bonus. Said bonuses show up as statement credits on our accounts so she’s using the AMEX card to spend the bonus cash (and thank you to those who use our links, we really do appreciate it when you do).
I mentioned above that this is the card currently on top of my wallet and the one I will normally use for grocery store spending. For Sharon’s needs, It is a fantastic “one and done” card to have in your wallet and if it’s your main card you shouldn’t have any problem hitting the 30 transaction mark every month to earn the 50% bonus. It will likely go back to the top of her wallet once she’s done spending the AMEX credits.
One thing you learn when you use American Express cards is that they are not accepted everywhere. The Citi Premier is the backup card in Sharon’s wallet right now. I know the third card back in her wallet will never get used but it’s there.
I also have Sharon’s Discover card in her wallet. Well, just because we’ve had times when traveling when Citi or Chase has decided that one of our purchases was fraudulent and locked all of our accounts. So I think it’s a good idea to carry a card from another bank, just in case.
The cards I mentioned are good for us but they might not be the best for every situation. For instance, the AMEX Everyday card only counts grocery spending done at supermarkets. If you go grocery shopping at Target, Walmart, Costco or BJ’s Wholesale Club, you wouldn’t get any extra points. In that case, you might be better off getting a card like the Citi Costco Anywhere card that gives you 4% cashback on all gasoline purchases, including Costco, and 2% back on all Costco purchases. If you spend a bit of time outside of the United States, most of these bonus categories are only for U.S. purchases so for you it would be most important to have a card with no foreign transaction fees. Everyone’s situation will be different; just make sure the plan you choose works for you.
I had become rather lax at keeping our wallets in line because I kept doing the “Wallet Shuffle” before our trips over the summer. Now that I had some time to look it over, I’m happy, for now, with what we have in place.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary