[Updated September 2016]
For most individuals who are not hardcore business travelers, credit card spend and new account bonuses will be the primary way that you accumulate points and rewards. Before I dive into the cards I use, let me start by sharing a little bit about my spending habits. I spend ~$40,000/year on credit cards and about 75% of the spend is restaurants, travel and Amazon. I do spend about $3500/year on gas. I don't spend much at grocery stores as I mostly use Google Shopping Express or Instacart from Costco or Safeway. If I spent a lot at grocery stores, I would consider getting the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card (6% at grocery stores) or the Bank Americard Cash Rewards (no fee, 3.5% on groceries if you are a Platinum Honors banking customer).
So let's dive into what I have in my wallet:
So, to quickly recap. Before I make a purchase, I go through this decision tree:
Note: Before you sign up for ANY of these cards. Please google the name of the card + "new account bonus". For clicking a random affiliate link, you can get a nice sign up bonus.
Phew, now that I've covered cards that I currently use. I'll quickly cover cards that I've had in the past:
One more quick note. The best new account bonuses for credit cards have been the American Express Platinum 100,000 membership rewards points, the Chase Sapphire 60,000 ultimate reward points and Hyatt's two free nights at any Hyatt Hotel (Maldives is the best redemption). I no longer churn credit cards for new account bonuses as it is not worth the headache. If you want to learn about it, here is an article on the topic and here is a site that has current bonuses. Note, I don't get paid for any of these links and I just choose to link to Nerd Wallet because their site has a clean UX and the founder is a cool guy.
Next: How to Optimize Airline Rewards.
Questions? Comments? Tweet me @RetireOnRewards.
Retire on Rewards