Where Should You Be Using Each Of Your Credit Cards?

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People always ask me what credit card they should be using to get the most bang for their buck.  Unfortunately there is no best credit card, so the trick is to optimize your spending to earn the most possible rewards.

To figure that you need to calculate the value of a mile, another challenging topic.

You can value a mile by what they sell for on the grey market, but that’s not really fair because those miles are being resold by a broker to someone else at a higher valuation.  So there’s 1 grey market value for what a broker will pay (and even that will depend on the broker and the amount being sold) and there’s another grey market value if you actually know end users.  I know of folks who fly first class internationally just to make contacts with people who actually pay $30,000 to be in the pointy section of the plane.  Of course the airlines frown on all this and some aggressively shut accounts down for selling their miles.

A better way of valuing miles is according to what you use them for as that’s how they’re intended to be used.  The problem with that is the sky is the limit for that.  A last-minute British Airways award for a flight that costs $1,200 is just 9,000 Avios, a value of  over 13 cents per mile. You can fly in a private walled-in Singapore suite to Europe for 57,000 miles one-way. A Cathay Pacific first class flight to Asia on the best bed and seat in the sky is just 120,000 miles on a flight that would otherwise cost $28,000. That would mean your miles are worth more than 23 cents each.  I’ve had redemptions where my miles were worth over 50 cents each.

Of course someone else might redeem 25,000 miles for a $125 domestic ticket where their miles will only be worth half a cent each.

Finally having miles locked into a program is worth less than having points in a flexible currency.  Flexible currencies allow you to wait and see what is available for when you want to travel. And they are a hedge against devaluations.

Determine the value:
Value depends on what YOU will do with the points.

If you’re selling your miles to a broker, realize they need to turn a profit as the middleman, and that means you’ll probably lose between 0.1-0.4 cents off of these valuations depending on the broker and the amount you’re selling.  You’ll never do as well selling to a broker as you will selling directly to someone actually flying somewhere last minute coach or in business or first class or by just using the miles yourself.

I will give the values that I get when I use my points. Often I get several times that value, but let’s call their value the minimum level at which if I can’t attain that value I won’t burn the points. Feel free to plugin your own numbers as this is a highly personal exercise.

-Starwood Starpoints: 2.1 cents (Use for hotels or get a 25% points bonus when you transfer increments of 20K into 25K miles with dozens of airlines like ANA, Air Canada, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, Flying Blue, Singapore, and USAirways. Caveat: Transfers aren’t instant.)
-Chase Ultimate Rewards points: 1.75 cents (Transfer to hotels like Hyatt or airlines like British Airways, Singapore, Southwest, and United)
-American Express Membership Rewards points: 1.6 cents (Transfer to airlines like ANA, Air Canada, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue, and Singapore. Caveat: No good hotel options and transfers to domestic program incur fees.)
United miles: 1.7 cents
American/USAirways miles: 1.7 cents
British Airways Avios: 1.5 cents
Delta miles: 1.4 cents
Barclay Arrival Plus gives 2.11% miles back.
Fidelity gives 2% cash back
Blue Cash gives 1-3% cash back
Blue Cash Preferred gives 1-6% cash back

Let’s take a look at what you can earn for spending on 21 different cards:

Cards with transferable point currencies:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $3K plus 5K for adding an additional user. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for dining and travel.
Chase Ink Plus Business Card
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $5K. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for gas and hotels, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
Chase Ink Bold Business Card
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $5K. Highlights: Signup bonus, double points for gas and hotels, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
Chase Ink Cash Business Card
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 20K for spending $3K. Highlights: Double points for gas and dining, quintuple points for office supplies and telecom, annual lounge passes.
Chase Freedom Visa
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 10K for spending $500. Highlights: Quintuple point rotating categories, 10% checking bonus (ending 12/31/15)
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 25K for spending $5K. Highlight: 25% bonus for converting points into miles.
The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 10K for spending $1K. Highlights: The only free card that allows that allows direct mileage transfers, 1.2-2.4 points per dollar everywhere.
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: $95. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: 15K for spending $1K. Highlights: 1.5-4.5 points per dollar everywhere.
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card
Annual fee: Free then $195. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 25K for spending $2K. Highlights: Double points on gas and groceries, triple points on airfare, 15K bonus points for $30K annual spend.
Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual fee: $450. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, Centurion lounge access, Airspace lounge access, Delta lounge access, Priority Club worldwide lounge access, $200 annual airline fee refund, Starwood Gold Elite status, Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check enrollment fee refund.

Airline cards:
Chase British Airways Visa Signature
Annual fee: $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $2K. Highlights: Signup bonus, 1.25 miles per dollar spent, 10% off BA flights, worldwide companion certificate on award tickets if you spend $30K/year.
Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $2K plus 5K for adding an additional user. Highlights: Signup bonus, free checked bag, expanded saver and standard award availability, never-expiring miles, priority boarding, 2 annual club passes, elite upgrades on award tickets.
Chase United MileagePlus Club (Click on Club card on the right of the page)
Annual fee: $395. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: $100. Highlights: United Club membership including security passes when not flying, 2 free checked bags, waived award last minute booking fees, premier baggage handling, security, and boarding, expanded saver and standard award availability, never-expiring miles, elite upgrades on award tickets.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: 30K for spending $1K plus $50 back for making a Delta purchase. Highlights: Signup bonus, free checked bag, priority boarding.
Citi AA Mastercard
Annual fee: Free then $95. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 50K for spending $3K. Highlights: Signup bonus, priority boarding, free checked bag, 10% up to 10K award rebate.
The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
Annual fee: $89. Forex fee: 3%. Signup bonus: 40K for spending $1. Highlights: Signup bonus, priority boarding, free checked bag, 5K mileage discount on USAir flights

Cashback cards:
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Annual fee: Free then $89 (fee is consistently waived by calling and asking). Forex fee: None. Signup bonus: $400 for spending $3K ($440 accounting for the 10% rebate). Highlights: Signup bonus, 2.11% miles back everywhere.
Fidelity American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 1%. Signup bonus: None. Highlight: 2% cash back everywhere.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Annual fee: None. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: $100 for spending $1K. Highlight: Up to 3% cash back.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Annual fee: $75. Forex fee: 2.7%. Signup bonus: $150 for spending $1K. Highlight: Up to 6% cash back.

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Now that we have a value set for each currency we can translate that into the rewards percentage you’ll get for various types of purchases.  Below are the numbers for regular purchases as well as several common categories where you earn more than everyday purchases.

Everyday purchase (Click here to see how many points are earned and how these calculations are made):
-Ink (general spending made via $200 gift cards bought from Staples at a cost of $6.95): 6.62%
-United Club: 2.55%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 2.4%
-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K per year) 2.4%
-United Explorer (assuming you spend exactly $25K per year): 2.38%
-Barclaycard Arrival Plus: 2.11%
-Starwood: 2.1%
-Fidelity: 2%
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking: 1.93%
-AMEX EveryDay (assuming you make 20 transaction per month): 1.92%
-British Airways: 1.88%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 1.87%
-Ink: 1.75%
-Freedom without checking: 1.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 1.75%
-United Explorer (under $25K spend per year): 1.7%
-American/USAirways: 1.7%
-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30 spend per year): 1.6%
-AMEX Platinum: 1.6%
-Delta: 1.4%
-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: 1%

Amazon.com Purchase:
-Ink (via Amazon gift card bought from Staples): 9.75%
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Airfare:
-Ink (For Southwest flights via Southwest gift cards bought from Staples): 9.75%
-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K in a year) 5.6%
-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend/year) 4.8%
-United Explorer on United flights (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 4.08%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-British Airways on British Airways flights: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-United Club on United flights: 3.4%
-United Explorer on United flights (under $25K spend/year): 3.4%
-American on American flights: 3.4%
-USAirways on USAirways flights: 3.4%
-Delta on Delta flights: 2.8%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Car Rental:
These cards have primary insurance coverage worldwide:
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-United Club: 2.55%
-United Explorer (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 2.38%
-United Explorer (under $25K spend/year): 1.7%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Hotel:
-Starwood at a Starwood hotel: 4.2%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-Ink Bold/Plus: 3.5%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Restaurant:
-Ink (For restaurant gift cards bought from Staples): 9.75%
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month with 7% dividend: 5.62%
-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month without 7% dividend: 5.25%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Ink Cash: 3.5%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Gas:
-Ink (via gas gift card bought from Staples): 9.75%
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 4.8%
-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K in a year) 4%
-Ink: 3.4%
-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend in a year) 3.2%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Groceries (Including gift cards):
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 7.2%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 6%
-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K) 4%
-AMEX EveryDay (assuming you make 20 transaction per month): 3.84%
-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend in a year) 3.2%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Staples purchases including gift cards:
-Ink: 9.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

-Internet/Phone/Cable bills:
-Ink: 8.75%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Department stores:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Uber:
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 4.8%
-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K) 4%
-AMEX EveryDay (assuming you make 20 transaction per month): 3.84%
-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend in a year) 3.2%
-AMEX Platinum: 3.2%
-See everyday purchases for standard percentage back on other cards.

Things to bear in mind:

-If you might need return protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, or dispute resolution on an item you’ll probably want to use an American Express card as their protections are pain-free and amazing. If you have a problem with a merchant you can file an easy dispute online. If you buy a final sale item they will take it back without a fuss, or if it’s under $100 they’ll usually credit you without even needing you to send it back. If your computer breaks in the extended warranty year they will refund it.

-You can change how you value each mileage currency and that will change the results.  Above is a general guideline, but it’s highly variable based on how you use your miles.

-When buying gift cards for spending you will lose the protections that a credit card offers like dispute resolution. You also have to factor in the “pain” factor of getting the gift card and the fact that you can cash out the gift card at Walmart or other stores for free or for a nominal fee.

-Some of the bonuses have spending caps such as:
-Ink Bold/Ink Plus: $50K annual spend in quintuple and $50K annual spend in double point categories.
-Ink Cash: $25K annual spend in quintuple and $25K annual spend in double point categories.
-Freedom: $1,500 quarterly spend in quintuple point categories.
-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: $6K annual spend in grocery category.
-AMEX Everyday/Everyday Preferred: $6K annual spend in grocery category.

-The points from Freedom and Ink Cash can’t transfer directly into real miles. You or your spouse will need an active Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus when you want to make that transfer.

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Read the methodology and calculations behind the numbers in this post after the jump:

In case you are wondering how I came to the value per dollar spent, here is the breakdown.

Everyday purchases calculation:

-Ink (general spending made via $200 gift cards bought from Staples at a cost of $6.95): 6.62%
If you buy a $200 gift card for $206.95 at Staples you’ll earn 1,035 points which is worth $18.11 at 1.75 cents each.  You’ll also get a $2.07 automatic cash rebate via visasavingsedge.com which makes the real fee for the card $4.88. Subtract the $4.88 fee and you have a gain of $13.23. Divide that by $200 to see earnings of 6.62%.  Then just use the cards anywhere like you would use your regular credit card to earn 6.62% everywhere.
Sometimes these gift cards go on sale which make them even more lucrative.

-United Club: 2.55%
You earn 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=2.55% earnings.

-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 2.4%
You earn 1.5 miles per dollar everywhere when you use your card 30 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=2.4% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K/year) 2.4%
You earn 1 point per dollar everywhere plus a 15K bonus for spending $30K in a year which means you will earn an effective 1.5 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.6 cents per point=2.4% earnings.

-United Explorer (assuming you can spend exactly $25K/year): 2.38%
You earn 1 mile per dollar everywhere plus a 10K bonus for spending $25K in a year which means you will earn an effective 1.4 miles per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=2.38% earnings.

-Barclaycard Arrival Plus: 2.11%
You earn 2 points per dollar everywhere plus you get 5% of your points back every time you redeem them at a value of 1 cent per point=2.11% earnings.

-Starwood: 2.1%
You earn 1 point per dollar everywhere at a value of 2.1 cents per point=2.1% earnings.

-Fidelity : 2%
You earn 2 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1 cents per point=2% earnings.

-Chase Freedom with Chase checking: 1.93%
You earn 1 point per dollar everywhere plus a 10% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=1.93% earnings.

-AMEX EveryDay (assuming you make 20 transaction per month): 1.92%
You earn 1.2 miles per dollar everywhere when you use your card 20 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=1.92% earnings.

-British Airways: 1.88%
You earn 1.25 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.5 cents per point=1.88% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 1.87%
You earn 1 point per dollar everywhere plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=1.87% earnings.

-Ink, Freedom without checking, Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 1.75%
You earn 1 point per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.75 cents per point=1.75% earnings.

-United Explorer (under $25K spend per year): 1.7%
You earn 1 mile per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=1.7% earnings.

-American/USAirways: 1.7%
You earn 1 mile per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=1.7% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30 spend per year)/AMEX Platinum: 1.6%
You earn 1 point per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.6 cents per point=1.6% earnings.

-Delta: 1.4%
You earn 1 mile per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.4 cents per mile=1.4% earnings.

-Blue Cash/Blue Cash Preferred: 1%
Straight 1% cash back everywhere.

Amazon.com purchases calculation:
-Ink (via Amazon gift card bought from Staples): 9.75%
$200 in gift cards earns 1,000 points and earns $2 cash back via visasavingsedge.com 1,000 points at a value of 1.75 cents per point is $17.50 for a total of $19.50 in rewards. Divided by $200=9.75%

-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere plus a 10% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=9.63% earnings.

-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.75 cents per point=8.75% earnings.

Airfare purchases calculation:
-Ink (For Southwest flights via Southwest gift cards bought from Staples): 9.75%
$200 in gift cards earns 1,000 points and earns $2 cash back via visasavingsedge.com 1,000 points at a value of 1.75 cents per point is $17.50 for a total of $19.50 in rewards. Divided by $200=9.75%

-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K in a year) 5.6%
You earn 3 points per dollar plus a 15K bonus for spending $30K in a year which means you will earn an effective 3.5 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=5.6% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend/year) 4.8%
You earn 3 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=4.8% earnings.

-United Explorer on United flights (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 4.08%
You earn 2 miles per dollar plus a 10K bonus for spending $25K in a year which means you will earn an effective 2.4 miles per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=4.08% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.75% earnings.

-British Airways on British Airways flights: 3.75%
You earn 2.5 points per dollar at a value of 1.5 cents per point=3.75% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

-United Club on United flights: 3.4%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per point=3.4% earnings.

-United Explorer on United flights (under $25K spend/year): 3.4%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per point=3.4% earnings.

-American on American flights: 3.4%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per point=3.4% earnings.

-USAirways on USAirways flights: 3.4%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per point=3.4% earnings.

-Delta on Delta flights: 2.8%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.4 cents per point=2.8% earnings.

Car Rental purchases calculation:
These cards have free primary rental car coverage worldwide.

-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.75% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

-United Club: 2.55%
You earn 1.5 miles per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per point=2.55% earnings.

-United Explorer (assuming you can spend exactly $25K in a year): 2.38%
You earn 1 mile per dollar plus a 10K bonus for spending $25K in a year which means you will earn an effective 1.4 miles per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=2.38% earnings.

-United Explorer (under $25K spend/year): 1.7%
You earn 1 mile per dollar at a value of 1.7 cents per mile=1.7% earnings.

Hotel purchases calculation:
-Starwood at a Starwood hotel: 4.2%
You earn 2 Starpoints per dollar at a value of 2.1 cents per mile=4.2% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.75% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

-Ink Bold/Plus: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

Restaurant purchases calculation:

-Ink (For restaurant gift cards bought from Staples): 9.75%
$200 in gift cards earns 1,000 points and earns $2 cash back via visasavingsedge.com 1,000 points at a value of 1.75 cents per point is $17.50 for a total of $19.50 in rewards. Divided by $200=9.75%

-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere plus a 10% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=9.63% earnings.

-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.75 cents per point=8.75% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month with 7% dividend: 5.62%
You earn 3 points per dollar plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=5.62% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred on the first Friday of the month without 7% dividend: 5.25%
You earn 3 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=5.25% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.75% earnings.

-Ink Cash: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

Gas purchases calculation:
-Ink (via gas gift card bought from Staples): 9.75%
$200 in gift cards earns 1,000 points and earns $2 cash back via visasavingsedge.com 1,000 points at a value of 1.75 cents per point is $17.50 for a total of $19.50 in rewards. Divided by $200=9.75%

-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere plus a 10% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=9.63% earnings.

-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.75 cents per point=8.75% earnings.

-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 4.8%
You earn 3 miles per dollar on gas when you use your card 30 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=4.8% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K in a year) 4%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 15K bonus for spending $30K in a year which means you will earn an effective 2.5 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=4% earnings.

-Ink: 3.4%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend in a year) 3.2%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=3.2% earnings.

-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
You earn 3% cash back.

Groceries (Including gift cards) purchases calculation:
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month): 7.2%
You earn 4.5 miles per dollar on groceries when you use your card 30 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=7.2% earnings.

-Blue Cash Preferred: 6%
You earn 6% cash back.

-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K) 4%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 15K bonus for spending $30K in a year which means you will earn an effective 2.5 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=4% earnings.

-AMEX EveryDay (assuming you make 20 transaction per month): 3.84%
You earn 2.4 miles per dollar on groceries when you use your card 20 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=3.84% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend in a year) 3.2%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=3.2% earnings.

Staples purchases including gift cards:
-Ink: 9.75%
$200 in gift cards earns 1,000 points and earns $2 cash back via visasavingsedge.com 1,000 points at a value of 1.75 cents per point is $17.50 for a total of $19.50 in rewards. Divided by $200=9.75%

-Internet/Phone/Cable bills:
-Ink: 8.75%
You earn 5 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=8.75% earnings

Department stores:
-Chase Freedom with Chase checking during promo quarter: 9.63%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere plus a 10% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=9.63% earnings.

-Chase Freedom without Chase checking during promo quarter: 8.75%
You earn 5 points per dollar everywhere at a value of 1.75 cents per point=8.75% earnings.

-Blue Cash Preferred: 3%
You earn 3% cash back.

Uber:
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month: 4.8%
You earn 3 points per dollar on Uber when you use your card 30 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=4.8% earnings.)

-Premier Rewards Gold (assuming you can spend exactly $30K) 4%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 15K bonus for spending $30K in a year which means you will earn an effective 2.5 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=4% earnings.

-AMEX EveryDay (assuming you make 20 transaction per month): 3.84%
You earn 2.4 miles per dollar on Uber when you use your card 20 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=3.84% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred with 7% dividend: 3.75%
You earn 2 points per dollar plus a 7% annual dividend at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.75% earnings.

-Sapphire Preferred without 7% dividend: 3.5%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.75 cents per point=3.5% earnings.

-Premier Rewards Gold (under $30K spend in a year) 3.2%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=3.2% earnings.

-AMEX Platinum: 3.2%
You earn 2 points per dollar at a value of 1.6 cents per point=3.2% earnings.
———————————————————————

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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106 Comments On "Where Should You Be Using Each Of Your Credit Cards?"

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cards

For someone who never had yet a Credit card only additional AU by Amex and chase should first try chase or first a store card like Gap?

david

How do you get the value of @ 1.75 ultimate rewards when transferred into hyatt curious how you get to that number.

Dan

@cards:
A store card or discover card is probably the best way to start.

More info here: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/41582

@david:
All depends on the hotel.
Some hotels you can get 5 cents a point, others will be 1.2 cents a point.

Also depends if you use straight points online or if you call and book cash and points.

I wouldn’t value Hyatt points at 1.75 per se, but I value the flexibility of Chase UR at that level and depending on the Hyatt I would transfer points there.

HesderGuy

A dream list!

THANKS

That was nice of you to take so much time to write this up! I often wonder if I’m using the right card or not for purchases, considering I have too many to even fit in my wallet at this point. I’m gonna print this and keep it on me for sure!

new yorker

I always thought using INK for gas cards at staples is 5 X points per dollar, why do you write 9.75%

Mark

Thanks. I’ve been in need of a refresher for a while.

Quick question: How do you make 30 purchases a month on Amex Everyday? Is there a work around because even though I’m very credit card friendly I doubt I could do that. Would it be worthwhile buying a bunch of sub $1 amazon purchases for the video credit?

Dan

@THANKS:
Enjoy!

@new yorker:
I break down the calculations here: http://www.dansdeals.com/archives/50312#more-50312

@Mark:
The everyday needs 20, the everyday preferred needs 30.

The preferred is a really good deal for 1.5-4.5 points everywhere.

A parking meter is an easy way to get transactions.

You can buy 30 Amazon gift cards for 50 cents each on the 1st of every month: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LLIKVU/gcrnsts?ie=UTF8&tag=cl03f-20

Daniel

The problem with this analysis is that the value of a point varies significantly by person.

Take myself. I don’t travel a lot but would travel a little more if it were more affordable. But even then I have limited vacation days to use and kids that need watching at home. So we’re still not talking more than 2 flight opportunities a year. Then you can throw out first/business class values because I’m not going to fly first/business. I’m not going to spend 60,000 points for first class when I can spend 30,000 for coach, even if value per point is incredible for first class. Those values are irrelevant because I never would have spent that money in the first place.

So my best bets are the short haul flights on British Airways for 9K-15K miles round trip. But those can be hard to find and therefore difficult to use. But I agree that if you can get them there’s pretty good value. A 15K flight to Miami instead of a $300 ticket is 2 cents a point and really good.

Where’s the value for United? How did you get 1.7 for them?

Anonymous

I have 50k delta miles now i wanna fly begining 2015 domestic like MIA would i be better off transferring the miles to an other airline if possible which one?

Bryce

Hey Dan,

First of all, this is great. I just sent it to a bunch of family members so thanks! Secondly, how does the Citi Prestige card fare, especially in regards to airfare/hotel/restaurant?

Daniel

Also, the Fidelity card technically gives you Worldpoints which can be used to book travel and therefore can be worth more than 1 cent per point. Therefore the Fidelity card can be worth significantly more than 2%.

max

Hey dan,

Any insight on which card to use at home depot…… ?

Daniel PEikes

Great Breakdown!

Dan

@Daniel:
Obviously business class has the best value, but even in coach when you need a last-minute ticket or a short-trip can be a great value.

But if you only redeem for coach in advance then a card like Barclay Arrival will make the most sense.

A United coach flight from Cleveland-NYC can cost anywhere from $300-$1,200 and costs 20,000 miles as it’s a short-haul award.

A United coach flight from NYC-LA can cost anywhere from $400-$1,000 for 25,000 miles.

I’m not sure why you find British Airways hard to use. Availability isn’t bad at all. And if you can’t find something out of NYC you can also look into flying from PHL where availability is great.

@Anonymous:
Only transferable point currencies can transfer points.
Once it’s in an airline it can’t be transferred.

@Bryce:
I think it will be very hard to justify the $450 fee on that card.

@Daniel:
I never really looked into the card much as I love my miles too much precisely because the sky is the limit on the value, but guess I need to dig deeper into that card’s rewards system.

Though the lack of a signup bonus hurts as well.

@max:
Use Ink to buy Home Depot or Lowe’s gift cards at Staples for 9.75% back.

@Daniel PEikes:
Thanks!

INK

@max: Buy gift card with Ink in staples

moshewoodmere

@dan
I’ve tried twice unsuccessfully to get approved for an ink card
Do you have any tips as to the nitty gritty of getting chase to approve a business card for an “online resale busines” aka sole proprietorship?

Anonymous

Slightly off topic, but How have you maximized the $1 back on $1 transaction or more with Isis/Serve?

new yorker

So if I do not have visasavingsedge then its just as good getting gas with the freedom this quarter right?

JamesIV

Wow if there was an award for detailed posts

Daniel

@Dan
Here‘s a detailed post about taking advantage of the Fidelity Worldpoints system.

I tend to like the Fidelity card better than the Barclay one since the 2% is pure cash that can be used on non-travel whereas the Barclay money must be used on travel cost. Sometimes I have travel expenses that don’t get coded as travel.

DH

Which gift card can be purchased from Staples for gas?

Avi D.

Terrific article!!!!

Dan

@moshewoodmere:
Start actually selling stuff on eBay and you’ll have a legit business.

@Anonymous:
Self checkout at the local grocery?

@new yorker:
Why can’t you enroll in that?

@JamesIV:
😀

@Daniel:
The killer is the lack of a signup bonus.
The Arrival card gives $440 and you can get the bonus every time you get approved for another card.

And it’s not too hard to get cash from your points even if you don’t travel at all…just book a Southwest Anytime fare.

Personally though none of that stuff is going to come close to the value I get from real miles.

@DH:
BP, Shell, etc.

@Avi D.:
Thanks.

stbaum

will this list (FANTASTIC BTW!!) be stickied anywhere on ddf? or is it there already?

D.

I’d been referring to your prior post on this topic frequently, and I’m thankful to you for updating and enhancing it!

One note that you may wish to add is that the Amex Blue Cash Preferred now has a $6,000/calendar-year cap for the 6% cash back on groceries (it used to be uncapped, but now that’s over unfortunately). After grocery spend reverts to the 1% level.

Personally I’ve already hit that limit this year, so am now switching to Ink-bought Staples Visa Gift Card spending at grocery stores, which arguably I should have done all along.

Thanks again!

Dan

@stbaum:
Not yet.
Thanks.

@D.:
Right, I really should make some of the caps more clear.

Have you looked into the AMEX Everyday Preferred card yet?

new yorker

just not sure how visa savings edge works and if its worth for the $2

Dan

@D.:
I’ve added the caps in the bear in mind section.

@new yorker:
Take 2 minutes to signup and you automatically get the cash rebated to your card.

Couldn’t possibly be easier.

D.

@Dan: I’d initially dismissed the Everyday Preferred because of the transaction requirement (your solution here is intriguing 🙂 ) and annual fee. The signup bonus is solid so I may grab it for a year in a future app round but I don’t know if the extra %0.8 over VGCs can overcome the $95 in years 1+.

Dan

@D.:
Just add AUs to make the +$95 become -$95 thanks to the various SBS and Twitter promos…

It’s also 1 less step than VGCs, though like I wrote, that’s something that can’t be quantified.

Chesky

When you say a 25% bonus on transferring starwood points does that mean I need to transfer the points to an airline or can I get it by booking it through the starwood website?

HDS

I’m a little confused about the calculations.

Like for Ink, you divide $13.23 (your profit after fees) by just $200, not $204.88, which was your actual outlay. Put another way, you needed to spend $204.88 in order to recoup your money and then make $13.23. So I would think you’d divide $13.23 by $204.88 and get 6.46%.

Anonymous

@Dan:

Are you sure Staples sells BP gas cards? I havent seen them

Dan

@Chesky:
You need to transfer the points to an airline.

@HDS:
Outlay for GC: $200
Outlay for fees: $6.95
Out of pocket total: $206.95
Visa rebate: $2.07
UR points rebate: $18.11
Total rebate: $20.18

My equation uses the $6.95 of that rebates to get the cost basis for the gift card back down to the $200 and then uses the rest of the rebate to figure out the percentage earned for that $200 purchase.

There is a total of $20.18 rebated, so lopping off $6.95 of that leaves you with a $13.23 profit on the $200 purchase.

$13.23/200=6.62%

I’m more than open to correct my math if needed, but in your equation you don’t account for the full amount rebated.

@Anonymous:

I thought I did recently at my local Staples, will have to check again and see.

clear thinker

@Anonymous:
Me neither but they definitely sell shell.
Maybe (probably) different staples sell different cards.

clear thinker

Excellent work done by a real pro as always!
2 quick questions 1) can master card GC only bought online not in store (to save the $1 shipping)
2) how do I go.about buying on Amazon via GC what if the total is more then the balance I have on the GC can I divide the purchase on more then 1 card?

Dan

@clear thinker:
1. They charge the same $6.95 fee in store for the $200 cards.

2. You can save all of your Amazon gift cards to your Amazon account and the total just accumulates all of the cards so you can use as many cards as you want on an order.

Your GC balance never expires.

Stevelb

Dan – Thanks for an amazing piece of work. But it seems that you have ignored the Old Blue Amex. Am I correct? And if so, why?

Dan

@Stevelb:
Left out a lot of old cards like the old Ink Bold Exclusives, the old Freedom that earns 10 points per purchase+10%, old blue cash.

Can’t cover everything!

clear thinker

Keep in mind
buying gas on freedom (in promo quarter) vs on ink via gift card, on freedom you’ll pay a more expensive “credit card price” for gas (by most stations except for BP & I assume there are others) as opposed to buying it with a gift card they’ll charge you cash price.

Dan

@clear thinker:
True, though in good ole’ CLE there’s no extra cost to use credit at the pump.

Eli Lidsky

Can i buy cavs tickets with my points?

RM

What a fantastic summary. You should name this post as “Bible of Credit Card Spending”!

As a person who mostly fly United and its Star Alliance members, is it reasonable to conclude that I should buy Visa gift card from Staples and use it for anything that gives me less than 6.62% back?

Anonymous

@Dan:
Ooh yet another reason to move.
Lol

laibel

Dan – does it make a difference is i get the visa GC or the amex, by staples ?

Joe4007

Awesome post!

I believe there’s one mistake though CMIIW:

Uber:
-AMEX EveryDay Preferred (assuming you make 30 transaction per month: 4.8%
You earn 3 miles per dollar on gas when you use your card 30 times in a month at a value of 1.6 cents per mile=4.8% earnings.)

Doesn’t Uber only get 2PPD on Amex cards?

Dan

@Eli Lidsky:
Sure, give me your points and I’ll get you Cavs tickets 😀

@RM:
Thanks!
Makes sense to me.

@Anonymous:
😉

@Joe4007:
On the everyday card you get a 50% bonus for making 30 transaction in a month, so that’s 4.5x on groceries and 3x on gas and Uber.

HDS

Dan, just trying to understand. You subtract the $6.95 (or $4.88) cost out of the rebate (gross profit) because you are arriving at your net profit, but I don’t think you should be taking the fees off the initial outlay, since you needed to spend it. If I buy one GC at Staples, my Ink bill will be $204.88. My profit after costs will be $13.23.

The $2.07 rebate from VSE you can look at as a price discount, or factor it in the same way. Either $13.23/$204.88 or $15.30/$206.95 make sense to me.

chased

I just had to many pulls on my expirian cr which agency does barclay pull from?, and do their points transfer to anything else?

Dan

@HDS:
You’re double billing yourself.
You’re knocking off part of the rebate in the numerator and not including that deduction in the denominator.
The rebate is covering your fees, and that’s why you knock them off of both halves of the equation.
Outlay: $206.95
Rebate: $20.18
Bringing the $206.95 down by cutting out $6.95 of your rebate leaves you with $13.23 rebate after knocking the outlay down to $200.
Hence the 6.62% rebate.

Either way, I just ran my numbers past my father-in-law and he agrees with my method.
Don’t run your numbers past your FIL? Then your FIL probably isn’t a college math professor 😉

@chased:
Transunion.
No, their best cards are the Arrival (which gives 2.2% cash back) and USAirways.

Sam

Lol. UR for 1.75? What world are you living in?

Dan

@Sam:
Read the post before commenting. Values are personal, I wrote down my personal valuations.
If you can’t get 1.75 value out of your UR for your own travel then you’re not playing the game right.

If you’re just in this to sell, then I wrote to adjust the number to what your broker pays you. Probably 1.55 or so.
Or find someone who’s traveling who will pay you more than a middleman will.

Yossi

@Dan
YU offers to accept credit card at 2.5%. Is it worth it to use my United Explorer or pay cash

Kumar

Excellent compilation, Dan. Couple of points:

1. Not sure why you left Chase Southwest card in your analysis. It too has bonus categories and certain value for each point.
2. As per this article from another blogger Grant, it is possible to get almost 25% off on southwest flights. Any comments?

TB

Thanks so much for this!!! Very much appreciated.

HDS

Dan, I understand why you want to pull the fees out of both the numerator and the denominator, and I think it’s awesome that you ran the numbers past your FIL, on several levels. But the expense of the fees doesn’t go away from your input just because you ended up paying for it with your profit. Same as the $200 itself, which you also get back. Maybe the margin should be infinite because you make $13.23 and have NO expenses (kidding).

Forget the value of the GC for a minute. You invest $206.95 in order to get back $220.18. No matter how much you get back at the end, you still need to invest $206.95 (or $204.88 🙂 ).

The net margin is your net profit (after paying the fees) divided by your total investment (including fees). $15.30/$206.95.

Again, if you want to pull out the VSE rebate from both sides that makes a kind of sense, since it comes out before you need to pay the CC bill, but it Would still be $13.23/$204.88.

Mohammad

@Dan Where is Club Carlson?

LoLo

Not flying domestically usually, so sold my United miles at 1.1 each, and person would pay me 1.425 for chase points, 1.4 for amex

Staples

Is it possible to buy $500 gift cards with ink cc at staples stores by that ill only pay $6 per $500 not on $200?

Lucy

Hi Dan,
I have 130,000 points with visa HAS,
Unfortunately I can’t transfer them to EL AL anymore,
Unless EL AL will honor them again (hopefully),
Can you give me an advice of what is the best
Thing to do with those points?

Skor

This is amazing! Thanks Dan

Peregrino

A much needed and appreciated post! I am sharing with some family members who have been inquiring how I compiled over a quarter million chase points in just a few months. GO Chase Ink!!!

BRo

Two questions about the Chase Freedom 5% rotating categories:

First, we have two Freedom cards one for me and one for my spouse) on our account. Is the $1,500 limit for each card, or for our account?

Second, do all purchases at gas stations get 5% back, including gift cards and drinks?

Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving

Dan, I was reading your post & all I was thinking is.. wow, you have a real “klurkeit” in the inyan! good stuff & very accurate.

Dan

@Yossi:
The math is in the post.
The explorer card does not earn more than 2.5% on general purchases.

@Kumar:
1. I should have included it, though Southwest has a fixed value of about 1.7 cents, so it rarely ever make sense to spend on that card.

And you’ll do way better to purchase Southwest flights via gift cards from Staples via Ink than with a Southwest card.

But it’s still good for the signup bonus and potential companion pass.

2. Out of date article, that stuff is dead. Plink for Staples is dead and cash back for Southwest gift cards is dead as well.

@TB:
My pleasure.

@HDS:
I hear both sides.
At any rate 15.30/206.95 would be a 7.39% return.

I guess we need some more accountants and mathematicians to chime in, but for now I’m comfortable enough saying that it’s a great deal no matter how you slice it 😀

@Mohammad:
Never had the card nor do their hotels really interest me.

@LoLo:
Those are all very lowball numbers.

@Staples:
No.

@Lucy:
Cash out at 1% and cry for not listening to me preach against cards like that.

@Skor:
@Peregrino:
Thanks!

@BRo:
1. It’s $1,500 per primary account.
2. You sure do.

@Happy Thanksgiving:
Thanks!

andre

@Dan
Awesome job with the site.Do you know how I can pay my car loan if my lender does not accept credit cards? Thank you

Mark

What is the best card to use for water and electric bills

Dan

@andre:
http://evolvemoney.com/

@Mark:
That would be an everyday purchase.

new yorker

the reason why I cannot enroll in visa savings is my ink is a mastercard

Dan

@new yorker:
Time to get an Ink Visa.

new yorker

they told me gotta wait till chase decides to change it

Dan

If you apply for a new Ink card it will be a Visa.

new yorker

ya but got already 2 cant apply for more

Dan

@new yorker:
News to me. I have 7.

andre

@Dan
at evolvemoney it says: Pay with cash, Visa and MasterCard debit cards, and prepaid cards. No credit cards…?!?

Dan

Use gift cards from Staples.

Anonymous

@Mark: @Dan: Many water and gas companies charge fees to accept credit card payment so Evolve Money funded with gift cards is a good idea for those bill.

new yorker

ya but last time they gave me a problem opening so many cards, me they will ask more questions than you 🙂

HDS

Definitely a great deal. Just sweating the small stuff, I guess. 🙂 Methodology has some value, but probably not three comments worth. 🙂

I certainly appreciated this great post. It gives me a lot to consider.

How did you go about quantifying the values for each currency? I know it is a personal thing, but did you actually go back and average your real redemptions? Or look up typical prices for typical flights?

moshewoodmere

@dan
I do have a legitimate resale business over multiple online channels. Fairly high revenue for a side job and nearly 25 HUCAs on each card of each pull yielded no results… I applied for the bold and the plus simultaneously both times could that have been my mistake?

andre

@Dan
can I use multiple gift cards to pay one bill or I have to load everything on one GC? from your experience does any GC work? Thanks again

andre

@dan
Do you know a site where I can pay my assessment without a fee or a minimal one? Thanks

Thanks dan

I have read the post and still wandering; I am going to israel with my wife in November I only have one way tickets (gr8 deal btw -thanks) so for the way back ;
I have united about 60k miles aaadvantege about 120k ink about 180k and Starwood about 130k what would b my best way to go (what travel company,what card and how to book) honestly if I don’t use for fly I’ll sale to a broker…so? 😬

CV

All these numbers make my head spin. Get a couple 5% cards and just buy GC’s. Use them for all your spend. Buy points/miles if you need them.

Dan

@Anonymous:
My local water company doesn’t charge and my gas company charges just $3 per transaction to use a cc and you can prepay for future months…

@new yorker:
You can apply for the Visa and say you want the Visa and no longer want the MC.

@HDS:
Based on years of redeeming those are just the minimum numbers that I strive to hit.

@moshewoodmere:
Seems very odd. Anything bad on your credit report?

@andre:
Just make multiple payments from multiple GCs until the bill is covered.
Any Visa/MC GC should work.

@Thanks dan:
Tons of options, just depends on what’s available.
AA can book on El Al and you can get more AA from SPG.
UR transfers to United where you can fly on any Star Alliance flight.
Etc.

@CV:
Ultimately that’s the bottom line, the Ink 5x is a great return.

Anonymous

@Dan: 5X on any card is great. The problem for us average Joe is finding availability. You can do it in your sleep. Spending days trying to get the right flight or even all on the same flight is a pain. I guess like anything after you do it a few times it starts to become easier.

Thanks dan (again)

So when is the best time to book now or closer to the date (or no diff)

chuck

how about a bank of America credit card?
1 – 3% instant cash back NO FEE ever. unless your late with payments

Dan

@Anonymous:
Join DDF 🙂

@Thanks dan (again):
It’s fluid, gotta check daily.

@chuck:
You can do far better than 1-3%.

moshewoodmere

@dan
I’m glad to have validation from an expert 🙂
Nothing derogatory
I’m on my way to an 800+ I’m 20 so I’m just waiting for my numbers to catch up bc I have low numbers in age and total accounts but I still fluctuate in the high 700s

T

Evolve will be putting new limits on their payments, what other options do we have?

Anonymous

Dan just came back from staples store manager said they do not sell shell gas cards anymore(did not sell well) and never had BP gas cards

checked online too no gas cards

there goes 5X on gas???

Dan

@T:
Amazon, Bluebird, Serve, prebuying gift cards to use for regular purchases, etc, etc.

@Anonymous:
Go to another location.

Anonymous

@Dan:

manager said all staples have stopped ordering shell gas cards

Ash

Great summary Dan. Also, given that Citi Thank You Points have become somewhat more valuable now given their transferability, can you consider adding Citi Thank You Premier Card to your list. With its 3x points for dining, I sometimes consider using that card over my Sapphire Preferred.

Would be great to get your take on this

Dan

@Anonymous:
Unlikely.

@Ash:
Thanks.

Seems very hard to justify the $125 annual fee on that card given that their transfer partners are far weaker than SPG/MR/UR just for a little extra on dining.

T

Forgot to mention, great post btw.
Any of those alternatives (aside from Evolve) good for mortgages or auto?
I’m having a hard time justifying prepaid cards cost that can be used for Bluebird.

bubba

Whats the next best place to buy gift cards, for highest value, when you don’t have a Staples in your area?

Avi

@dan
Thanks for the calculations and refresher! I recently moved to Israel and am desperately trying to figure out which cards to go with. Obviously the forex fee plays a big role but out of them, is there a certain card which you recommend for daily life in Israel over others? Do the CC companies properly rank the category of local purchases in Israel (gas,groceries,phone etc)?

Anonymous

@Dan:

No gas cards on their list of gift cards either

joe

the car rental insurance is not for Israel

a dan fan

Thanx dan for this great post i was wondering how do you get a 1200 dollar last minute ba flight for just 9000 avios

yitzy

so i just purchased 5 staples $200.00 gift cards with my chase ink bold card (i applied for the visa savings edge). so my question to you since its a gift card and not a credit card could i just charge the cards at my business credit card terminal and after credit card fees charged to my business still be ahead of the game by 3%+? Is this illegal or against my agreement with processing company or credit card provider?

yy

I’ve been going into my local Staples and buying $200 Visa gift cards with my Ink card for $206.95. Sure enough, the VisaSavingsEdge discount of -2.07 shows up on the statement each time, but so does a foreign transaction fee of -.06. I’m not complaining (after all, think of what an extra six cents can buy!), but I am baffled. Is anyone else getting this? Any explanation?

TB

Re: Barclay Card. I tried calling to get fee waived for second year and they told me that its not possible. They even transferred me to a ‘specialist’ to inform me that its not possible. Any advice?

wpDiscuz