Today, we'll be looking at different credit card combinations and why each card has its own purpose in your wallet. With so many cards to choose from, it could get hard understanding each card's strengths and how to maximize the amount of points you earn. Below are 4 types of credit cards that I would highly recommend each person to have to take advantage of your spending habits.
Card 1: The Workhorse Card (Earner Card)
The American Express Gold Card is one of the best workhorse cards out there. Offering an extremely competitive 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. restaurants and 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). There are also perks with booking directly with airlines at 3X Membership Reward Points and 1X on everything else. To offset the $250 annual fee, you get a $120 dining credit per calendar year and a $120 annual Uber Eats credit. These credits are broken up into $10 each month and are on a "use it or lose it" basis. We recommend using this card for all restaurants and groceries (and maybe even travel). 4X membership points are usually redeemed at a 2 CPP (Cents Per Point) on travel, equivalent to 8% effective value. This is redeemed through transferring your American Express MR points to Airlines/Hotels partnership points and redeeming through the travel partner.
Card 2: The Travel Card
There are many top tier cards in this category and each of them has its own unique benefits. The three premium cards we will be looking at today are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum Card, and my personal favorite, the Capital One Venture X.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium credit card that offers a ton of travel perks. With an annual fee of $550, they offer a $300 Annual Travel Credit, which makes it an effective annual fee of $250. You also earn
10X on travel bookings through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
3X on other travel worldwide
10X on Chase Dining
3X on other restaurants, delivery service, dine in and take out
1X on all other purchases
It is also one of the only mainstream cards that comes with Priority Pass that includes restaurants. The card also comes with a $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA Precheck, or NEXUS. One of the main benefits of this card is their top of the line travel protection and allows you to redeem Ultimate Reward Points at a 1.5CPP ratio, making it easy for beginners to use points effectively.
American Express Platinum Card
The American Express Platinum comes with a hefty annual fee of $695, but if you use their credits properly, you can get an outsized value of up to almost $1,300. The main earners of this card are 5X on flights booked directly with the airlines or Amex Travel, 5X on prepaid hotels booked on Amex, and 1X on everything else.
I treat the Amex Plat as a coupon book with their abundant amount of credits provided:
$200 Hotel Credit
$200 Airline Fee Credit
$200 Uber Cash ($15 per month and $20 on December)
$240 Digital Entertainment Credit
$155 Walmart+ Credit
$100 Saks Credit ($50 every 6 months)
$189 Clear credit
This card also comes with Priority Pass that allows you to bring in yourself and 2 guests at no charge (Restaurants not included), Complimentary access to Delta Sky Hub if you fly Delta, complimentary access to the centurion lounge, Hilton Honors Gold Status, Marriot Bonvoy Gold Elite Status, Rental Car premium status such as Avis Preferred®, Hertz President's Circle status®, and/ or National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive. The card also provides Trip Delay and Trip cancellation protection and access to the Fine Hotels + Resorts booking program.
Capital One Venture X
The Capital One Venture X is the hidden gem among premium travel cards. Running at a $395 annual fee, there is a $300 annual travel credit along with 10,000 anniversary miles each year. This essentially means they are paying you $5 a year to keep the card. If you can get outsize value for your miles at 2CPP, this can run upwards of earning $105 a year to keep the card.
You earn 10X Miles on hotels and rental cars and 5X miles on flights booked through the Capital One Travel portal and 2X on everything else. The 2X back on everything makes it a great card as well for other everyday purchases.
One perk of this card is it's ability to add up to 4 additional authorized users at no cost. Each of the authorized users also gets their own personal priority pass to use and can also bring 2 additional guests. This means that you can potentially bring up to 15 guests at once just with one annual fee card! You and your authorized users also get unlimited access to the Capital One Lounge with up to two guests each. Capital One Lounges are very minimal with only 1 locations so far: Dallas, Texas, with locations such as Washington D.C. and Denver coming soon in 2023. There are also plans for opening in Las Vegas, but dates are not confirmed. Each authorized user also gets Hertz Presidential Circle for car rentals for more points and rewards.
For those wanting a travel card without the hefty annual fees, my top choice is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The card sits at a $95 annual fee with $50 annual credit redeemable through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, making it effectively $45/year. The card does come with decent multipliers at
5X on travel purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards
3X on dining including eligible delivery service and take-out
3X on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
2X on travel purchases
3X on select streaming services
1X on everything else
Similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, there is an easy redemption towards chase points at 1.25 cents/point. Since this card doesn't come with priority pass, its ideal for those who don't travel much but still would like top-of-the line travel protection.
Card 3: Specialist Cards
These cards are mainly used for specialty spending, such as gas and other unique purchases. My top 2 picks for this would be the Amazon Prime Rewards Card, reeling in 5% for amazon purchases. I tend to find myself ordering a lot of miscellaneous goods on amazon and the 5% back does help add up. The Citi Custom Cash provides 5% back up to $500 in spend per billing cycle on the highest spend category. This is one of the perfect cards for gas, locking in 5% value.
Card 4: Travel Perk Cards
These cards are the ones you can keep at home in a binder. They don't necessarily have the best multipliers, but the perks easily make up for their annual fee. This can be made up of airlines that you frequently travel with, or hotels you commonly stay at. There are probably over 20-30 cards to choose from in this category, so I'll try to limit it to what makes the most sense for me, being based off in Seattle.
Delta Skymiles American Express Platinum Card ($250 Annual Fee)
As I mentioned before, the multipliers aren't really the reason why we go for this card. The main reason why I keep this card is the annual companion certificate you get after the first year of having the card. This certificate lets me enjoy what is essentially a BOGO (buy one get one w/ fees and taxes) main-cabin domestic round-trip in the U.S. This certificate helps when I'm making flights with my person 2 to places like Hawaii or New York where it would cost upwards of $400-500 per person. The card also provides 1-free check-in luggage & priority boarding for yourself and up to 8 others on your reservation. Each check bag usually runs me about $60 round trip, multiply that by 2 for 2 people gives me savings of around $120/trip. If you are a solo traveler and don't need to companion pass, there is an alternative option such as the Delta Skymiles American Express Gold at a $99 annual fee with free checked baggage & priority boarding.
This card can be a keeper for those who love staying at the Hilton, or as a way to get 10 priority pass visits. The card automatically gives you gold status which includes room upgrades (up to executive rooms), 80% more points for your stay, and free daily food & beverage credit or breakfast. The 10 priority pass visits also help those who don't travel as often but would still like to have lounge access. If you do end up spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, you can also get a Free Night Reward to all their Hilton properties. This could be useful for those planning a honeymoon or to celebrate an anniversary at properties such as the Conrad or Waldorf Astoraia that can run upwards of $800 a night.
The Link above has a 130,000 point bonus sign up for spending $2,000 in 3 months.
World of Hyatt Credit Card ($95)
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is one of the best cards out there. It comes with complimentary Discoverist status, 5 qualifying nights towards your tier status every year, but most importantly, a free Category 1-4 night stay.
*Photo was taken from Hyatt Regency Downtown Vancouver
I travel to British Columbia, Canada about once every 2 months and love the Hyatt Regency in downtown Vancouver. Their room rates run somewhere around $230/night at a Category 3 hotel. The free certificate for just having the card open gives me outstanding value each year.
The links included are all personally affiliated and registering for these cards will definitely help me and support the channel. Thanks in advance!