No doubt about it: this is an expensive month for many of us. Holiday gifts, parties, heating bills, traveling — there’s a lot of spending money and earning points going on!
Here are the credit cards I’m actually using this month — and why.
Chase Freedom Flex (New Name)
Why I Have This Card: I love the Chase Freedom card’s quarterly 5X cashback bonuses. This quarter, I received 5% back (up to $1,500 in combined purchases) on PayPal transactions, Chase Pay, and a plethora of department stores. You can still apply for the Freedom card now and register for the 5X bonus before December 14.
Plus, I received a $150 cashback bonus after spending only $500 within three months of receiving the card. (Thanks to holiday deals and other transactions, I eclipsed that pretty quickly.)
Oh — there’s no annual fee. So if you don’t already have a Chase Freedom card and are under 5/24, I highly recommend considering it.
Even though the term “cash back” is associated with this card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points — which you can convert to travel, cash, statement credit, or gift cards.
Keep in mind if you can enjoy more value from your Ultimate Rewards points if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Combine your points and redeem for travel (through the Ultimate Rewards travel site) for 1.25 cents each (Preferred) or 1.5 cents each (Reserve).
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: Man, I love the American Express Gold Card‘s fantastic Membership Rewards bonus categories:
- 4X at restaurants worldwide
- 4X at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 in annual purchases)
I’ve used the airline incidental credit to purchase Flight Fuel (premium snacks) when upgrades haven’t cleared.
Plus, the monthly food credit at select restaurants and food delivery services is great, too.
Where I Use This Card: It’s my go-to for dining and supermarket purchases. My family has a big Christmas trip coming up and we’ll burn through the rest of incidental credit buying lots of fruit and cheese plates ;-).
Purchasing gift cards this holiday season (or ever, really)? Keep in mind many supermarkets sell Amazon, Starbucks, Delta, and other gift cards. Use your American Express Gold Card and receive 4X on those purchases.
Why I Have This Card: 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 few travel purchases this year.
(If you’re reading this on December 4, you have only a few hours left to apply for the 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards promotion expiring later today.)
I also love the Centurion Lounge and Escape Lounge access that comes with this and the personal Platinum Card from American Express.
Where I Use This Card: This card was targeted for the recent Amex Offer at gas stations, so it’ll get a workout.
Why I Have This Card: The CSR’s 3X on travel purchases — and annual $300 travel credit — are fantastic.
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:
I primarily use the CSR for
- Hotel charges
- Cash overages on Pay with Miles tickets (because the card has great travel interruption coverage)
If the $450 now $550 annual fee is too steep for your budget, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which is $95/year and has a nice welcome bonus. You can redeem points for 1.25 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Why I Have This Card: I originally got this card to complement my Delta Reserve for Business card so I could rack up more MQM bonuses. The new “Status Boost” feature being introduced next month pretty much makes this card redundant. So I called American Express to see if we could make a deal.
Where I Use This Card: Once I run out of airline incidental credit on my American Express Gold Card, I’ll use this for any onboard purchases with Delta (20% statement credit).
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