People often ask me which travel and cash back credit cards I personally use. Because I frequently add new cards to my arsenal, meeting different spend requirements, etc., my wallet generally looks a little different from month to month.
Below is a list of cards taking up residence in my wallet — at least for November. We’ll also discuss why I have them and how I use each card.
Why I Have This Card: Two features attracted me to the Chase Ink Business Unlimited card.
- No annual fee
- A nice welcome bonus: $500 bonus cash back after spending $3000 on purchases within three months of being approved
Each purchase earns 1.5% cashback.
Where I Use This Card: Places where I don’t usually receive bonuses on other cards. It’s great for Amazon and many other online transactions that normally receive just a point each. None of my other cards have shipping bonuses, so I use it at the UPS store and USPS.
Why I Have This Card: I’m a fanboy of the Business Platinum Card from American Express. The 35% Membership Rewards rebate when purchasing flights through the Amex Travel portal and using the “Pay with Points” option saved me a bunch of money and points on a recent first class ticket purchase.
Finally, I have several trips coming up and will need it for Centurion Lounge access.
Where I Use This Card: This card was targeted for the recent Amex Offer at gas stations, so it’ll get a workout (Especially here in California, where every little bit of savings at the pump helps.)
Why I Have This Card: The American Express Gold Card has fantastic Membership Rewards bonus categories:
- 4X at restaurants worldwide
- 4X at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 in annual purchases)
Plus, the monthly food credit at select restaurants and food delivery services comes in very handy (especially on football Sundays!).
Where I Use This Card: For dining and supermarket purchases!
Especially this month, as our family is hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll be spending a lot of time (and money) at supermarkets. (If only my favorite wine shop were considered a supermarket…)
Most 7-11 stores code as 4X, so that comes in helpful when buying coffee or other snacks, swapping out propane tanks at select stores, etc. 7-11s doubling as gas stations do not credit 4X — only 1X.
Why I Have This Card: Ultimate Rewards are great for many redemptions. I especially like that, as a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder, I can redeem URs for 1.5 cents each for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Also, UR points transfer to Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG — so I’ll always have a stockpile available for hotel rooms.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s Priority Pass Select still offers select airport restaurant benefits — whereas the Platinum Card from American Express and Business Platinum Card from American Express cut theirs.
Where I Use This Card: Rideshare, parking, and anything else travel-related.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s annual $300 travel credit has credited me back most of those purchases. (The Burbank Airport parking lot isn’t listed a parking merchant, unfortunately.)
I also use it when paying tuition at my daughter’s preschool, which accepts Visa cards! (Note to credit card issuers: create a Visa card earning 3X on school spend. I’m yours for the next 20 years.)
If the $450 annual fee is too steep for your budget, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which is $95/year and has a nice welcome bonus right now. You can redeem points for 1.25 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Why I Have This Card: It had a killer sign-up bonus a few months ago and I appreciate the anniversary night, even at the $89 annual fee.
Where I Use This Card: I have a few IHG property stays during the next several weeks and plan to use the card then.
To learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, click the “Apply Now” button on the IHG Traveler Card’s page.
Why I Have This Card: I originally got this card as a complement to my Delta Reserve for Business card so I could rack up more MQM bonuses. But with the new “Status Boost” feature included on both cards, I’ll probably cancel this one and stick with the business flavor.
Where I Use This Card: This was targeted for some nice Amex Offers, such as one at Bed Bath & Beyond and Maggiano’s Italian restaurant. I have a busy travel season ahead and will use my Reserve card for onboard food and beverage purchases when I’m seated in the Main Cabin.
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