I hate this time of year – what cards to use until 01JAN2014

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rene wallet

I know, I know, #FirstWorldProblems. There is no way to write this that does not come across whiney compared to other issues but there you are. As some say, I will have some “whine with my cheese“!

So why do I hate this time of year? I have, as you can see, both Delta AMEX Reserve cards in my wallet. I have spent $60,000 on each so I do not need to spend another penny on either one and what would be the point since I can not earn MORE MQMs (well I do use them to buy Delta tickets now and then for 2x points). Once 01JAN2014 rolls around they will move from back slot to front slot.

Also in the back slot on the primary side is my US BANK FlexPerks card. There are times when I am say at my local food mart or  pharmacy that this card is very useful and so I buy some things with it now and then.

Next level. Chase INK PLUS is always in my wallet. I tend to buy “things” at my local office supply store now and then plus I use it always to pay my cell bill and cable bill and anything else that pays out nicely in Ultimate rewards points. I have spent ½ million total for the past two years for Grand Cayman trips and am already back up to 50,000 total again. Now I can not wait to find out from others if the fact that the INK PLUS is now a VISA card (the old was a Mastercard) makes this a new product so I can get a new card bonus again! On the other primary side, is my SPG AMEX card. Gotta have that as much as I am staying at SPG hotels this year both for extra points when I stay and just to rack up some more points to burn.

Then the front pockets. My Chase Sapphire Preferred does get a workout. Restaurants – you bet. Car rental in the USA, ALWAYS a VISA CARD and the Sapphire works for that very well. I also dump all our points from all our Ultimate rewards card to that account. I use it in Sweden since no international transaction fees. It just always lives in my wallet.

Then over to primary #1 card for the rest of this year. Barclays Arrival. I use this card; I shop all kinds of places with it. It has a home for now but by year end it will be moving to the back slot as I will be all about AMEX for a while to meet my MQD spending exemption. But by then I should have built up to a nice point total to spend to get me from point A to point B!

I do hope your stress and concerns are as trivial as mine. There are an amazing amount of points out there and so many strategies to help you reach whatever travel goals you have. What does your wallet look like this time of year? – René

PS – don’t forget about SWAG Saturday at 1:PM!

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
from American Express®
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  1. Rene, have you ever had problems using your Sapphire Preferred in Sweden because of it not having an EMV chip?

  2. I have a question, René.

    I have both the personal and business AMEX reserve cards. I maxed out MQMs with the personal, but I am about $8K shy of the $60K mark for business. I don’t want to leave this final MQM opportunity on the table, but I suspect I won’t “naturally” hit the threshold by the end of the year.

    So, I have been thinking about ways to push me over.
    The best idea I have come up with thus far is to pay my estimated taxes with the card (I am a sole proprietor). Yes, there is a bit of a surcharge, but it seems an easy way to go. I thought about gift cards but I’m not sure that is really viable.

    Any suggestions?


  3. @Brian – Great question. I get funny looks when I use the Sapphire. I tell them I am American and they just swipe it and look at my DL license and all good.

  4. @JP – I buy AMEX gift cards (starting at <strong>TopCashBack to get the 2% back first) and have no issues of them posting as credit. You can also prepay say your cable bill, HVAC bill, your electric bill and others for say 3-4 months to get extra spend done. Yes you can pay your taxes and there is one that only charges 1.89% with AMEX and I did that this year and just ate the fee (stinks but worth it to me).

  5. I have $7,000 to go until I Max out my Delta Reserve card. Looking forward to another 15,000 MQMs!

  6. Official Payments, which is not the least expensive option, let’s you pay property taxes with a credit card. I am using my Delta Reserve card to claim the final 15,000 mileage boost. The CPM will be lower than a mileage run and more convenient.

  7. Rene,

    I have almost every card that you mentioned, except I only have one Reserve card but I have a Delta Platinum card. After I am done with both Amex cards, I was going to use Citi Dividend card which gives me 5% on Groceries, Gas, Drugstores (this is a targeted offer) and Discover card for online purchase (5%, again it is a targeted offer), and SPG or Arrival for anything else.

  8. @Maya – good choices but keep in mind AMEX Blue cash that gives 6% at Groceries. A nice thing you can sometimes do is buy store GIFT cards if they have a gas pump and that way lock in 6% on gas when you spend the gift card!

  9. Thanks for the info. One correction. Discover card 5% for online shopping is not a targeted offer.

  10. Explain bluebird loaded with vanilla, please. I could advice on how to pay my mortgage and property taxes with my Amex reserve card.

  11. Explain bluebird loaded with vanilla, please. I could use advice on how to pay my mortgage and property taxes with my Amex reserve card.

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