To get every single point takes a “little” work but worth it.

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Photo from mikepauljr.com

I had a client (on my real job) ask me the other day where on the blog I show what credit card to use for what to get the maximum value. I sheepishly said, uhhh, I don’t have one. Time to fix that right now.

I not only get many card but I also use a ton of cards. I rotate what I keep in my wallet. I always have my Delta AMEX Reserve card, also my Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® card and then one I am fulfilling some kind of spend from my latest round. Some cards, like my INK Plus, I use simply for specific things that are set for autopay and forget about them. So let me show some ideas for you.

“wireless/telecommunications services (excluding equipment such as phones and fax machines), cable and satellite television and radio services, office supply stores and wholesale distributors of office supplies.”

So what I do is set my cell phone and cable bills to autobill to my INK card. Simple and max rewards. When I do order office supplies I also use this puppy.

  • Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® card. The Arrival card is hands down one for the best cards for fleabilty and pays you 10u 10% points back when you redeem for travel. Most travel bloggers feel if you can pick just one best card for travel, this is it and a must have card for Delta travelers plus you can spend the points and EARN when flying on Delta – talk about a WIN=WIN!
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Earn triple points (i.e. 3x) on airfare, double points on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, double points (i.e. 2x) at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, and single points on other purchases.

“Card members will receive a 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages, movies, television shows, video games and audio headsets on Delta Air Lines®-operated flights”

This is not instant credit but shows up as a credit back on your account a few weeks later. But still, 20% is not bad! I then use this for most other purchases to meet the spend to get MQM’s each year on my Reserve card.

      • USbank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® card. Charity. One of the great things about Americans is they give to charity. Did you know you can get 3x, basically 6% back since 20k Flexperk points is worth up to $400 ticket! Just like the Barclay’s Arrival card you will EARN Skymiles when you spend these points and fly on Delta!
      • SPG AMEX card personal and SPG OPEN Business cards. Like most hotel programs you get big bonus points for paying for your room etc. with the hotel’s card. The SPG card is the same way.
      • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Being able to get 6% back at most US Supermarkets (max $6000/year) is a great card to just pull each time you buy food for your family. Prices are going up each year so why not get some back!

So there you have it. This is my basic list for maximizing points. Are there other things you do to eeek out a few more points on purchases with cards? Let your fellow DeltaPoints readers know. – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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13 comments

  1. Good Analysis. I just throw in teh Venture card and/or the Citi Thank You Premier card for 2% ‘cashback’

  2. Doesn’t having a ton of credit cards hurt your credit score and end up causing issues for you?

  3. @hugh – no! As you can see from this post the other day (CLICK HERE) my credit score, even with dozens and dozens of cards over the years, is well of the 740 GREAT credit number! The funny part was they day AFTER this latest churn, my score went UP, as a few old inquiries fell off my report and the new ones had not hit yet. My score will go down a few points but in another 3-4 months it will be even higher and ready for my next churn!

  4. A higher available credit, makes debt look smaller (lower debt to credit ratio), those increases your credit score. That said, I would not keep any debt on cards as the interest rate would kill value from your rewards.

    Also, keep at least 3-4 cards for the long term (in my case AmEx Platinum, AmEx PR Gold, C1 Venture, Delta AmEx R). Their value and benefits are completely worth way more than the annual fees and they credit a healthy long term credit history (another key thing when churning cards).

  5. Actually Hilton card pays 3 pats for ALL purchases and 6 for gas grocery and utilities like cable cell and Internet payments.

  6. @Tiffiany – according to the link I have they only pay 6x hotel, 3x gas restaurants, 2x all else. But I have the card on the way after my last churn and will update if the printed info is different than my links – Rene

  7. Rene – Ink Bold also pays 2X on Hotels and Gas.

    I use the Ink Bold for Gas when the Freedom doesn’t have it’s 5X going instead of the Amex just because I value UR over MR.

    I have branded CC’s for Hotels but because I’m always value hunting instead of “status” hunting, thus not always staying at Hotels that I have CC’s at, I’ll just use the Bold or Sapphire for 2X there also.

    As a result I find myself racking up the UR points. Over the last 3 months I’ve gotten over 250K just through bonus categories + sign-ups for Sapphire/Freedom/Bold

  8. If I could close on my refinance I might be able to go get myself some more cards, I only have one from your list. But that does keep things less confusing ;)

  9. I like The penfed travel AMEX. 5x points on airfare purchases. When redeeming point through penfed travel mall 20,000 is worth $250. Making it a 6.25% card on airfare purchases when redeemed for airfare.

  10. The US Bank FlexPerks card gives 3x points for charitable donations. So I keep the card open for that alone. For me it means about one-and-a-half low-level domestic tickets, so for me it is worth the annual fee.

  11. Recently SPG started giving out 4x points for super platinum members, those with 75 nights instead of 50 in the previous year. This makes the earning with the SPG AMEX 5x or 6x.

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