Each member of the ToP team has different spending habits and travel goals. Here is a look inside our wallets. We explain how we use each card and why we value it. Limited time offers and promotions can affect which cards make it into our wallets, as we explain below. To see how our cards changed from last time, check out our previous “Cards in My Wallet” post here.
- American Express Gold: With Amex's recent “Three For All” offer, my Amex Gold is earning 7x at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Under this offer, you can earn 3 points per dollar on your card when referring a friend to an Amex Card. With 7x at restaurants, this card dethroned my Citi Prestige as my go-to dining card, which earns 5x.
- Citi Double Cash: This is one of my main cards because it is the only card without an annual fee that earns 2x points on all purchases. Even better, rewards earned through the Double Cash can be used as cash back or Citi ThankYou points, so the flexibility is great!
- Chase Freedom Flex: I have been using this card to earn 5x at Walmart and PayPal for the Q4 bonus. I also use it for the occasional drugstore purchase for 3x.
- American Express EveryDay Preferred: This is a temporary addition to my wallet because of Amex's “Three For All” offer. This card now earns me 4.5x on every purchase whenever I make 30 or more purchases during a billing cycle (instead of the regular 1.5x).
- Citi AT&T Access More: This card is no longer open for new applicants, but earns 3x Citi ThankYou Points on online shopping. I have been switching between this card and the Amex EveryDay Preferred (4.5x) for online shopping, just to make sure I keep earning some valuable ThankYou Points.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: I am an authorized user on Sarah’s account. I use this for 3x on MileagePlus gift cards (I have a Chipotle obsession) and 3x on travel.
- Citi Premier: I keep this card for 3x at gas stations and to pair with the Citi Double Cash card. While we rarely pay for fuel for our vehicles, as we take advantage of gas savings programs at grocery stores, we use this card to buy all our aviation fuel.
- Citi Double Cash: This is my everyday spend card. 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual cap. If you have a Citi Premier or Prestige, you can convert cash back to ThankYou Points. Essentially, I earn 2x ThankYou Points on all purchases.
- American Express Gold: I use this card for all my purchases at U.S. supermarkets (4x Membership Rewards) and most restaurants (4x), when eating alone. The supermarket spend helps offset all fuel costs, as we aggressively earn fuel points during supermarket promotions. Earning 4x Membership Rewards and free fuel is an amazing combo.
- Rotating Card: This spot is reserved for a card with a quarterly bonus, minimum spend or other promotion. Previously, I was utilizing my World of Hyatt card and working towards Globalist status. Now that Sarah is Globalist, I have switched this card to our Freedom Flex. 3x at pharmacies and restaurants is tough to beat!
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: I utilize this card for 3x on dining and travel. Yes, there are cards that earn more on both categories, but I value Chase Unlimited Rewards both for transfer options and the ability to book through the portal. The simplicity of the $300 travel credit is one of my favorite benefits. I also appreciate the Priority Pass lounge access, particularly the Turkish Lounge at my home airport. Additionally, the trip cancellation/interruption insurance has saved the day on multiple occasions.
- American Express Gold: My choice for 4x points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants. Food is one of our biggest budget items, and the Gold card makes it easy to rack up Membership Rewards points. The $10 monthly GrubHub credit is a nice perk on days when I forget to pack a lunch for the office.
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus: I use this card for 2x on everything. This was my first travel-focused card, and I still have a soft spot for it. The “erase” benefit is valuable for when I find a good deal, rent a car or book an independently owned hotel. Sadly, this card is discontinued. This card often takes a backseat when I'm trying to hit a minimum spend. Most recently, it has been the Hilton Honors American Express Business, and I'm eyeing the Chase Freedom Flex once my home refinance is completed.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: The other everyday spend card used in my household. My husband carries this card for 1.5x on all purchases. It’s easy, straightforward and great for those who don’t want to overthink every swipe. Although this card is marketed as cash back, we use the Unlimited Rewards which we value more. I transfer points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve account to maximize value.
- Chase World of Hyatt: For 2x on local transit and commuting. Before the days of social distancing, I commuted to the office by bus and metro. Swiping my monthly transit expense is a quick way to earn a few extra Hyatt points.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: I use this card for 3x on dining and travel. I have been putting the Pay Yourself Back to good use.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: My every day spend card for 1.5x points on purchases that do not fall into any bonus categories. In addition, I am using for 3x on drugstore purchases.
- American Express Gold: I use for 4x points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants. The one issue I have had here in Washington State is Fred Meyer (Kroger) does not code Grocery.
- Chase Freedom: I try to take advantage of the quarterly bonus categories for 5x Unlimited Rewards on Freedom. It only comes out of my wallet long enough to hit the max $1,500 in spend
- Chase Ink Business Cash: I use this card for 5x at office supply stores, internet, cable and phone. I am about to max out the 25k in spend on 5x until my renewal hits in February. Therefore, this card comes out of the wallet.
- Rotating Cards: Chase Hyatt: I have been using this on any high spend for my side hustle/business spend to earn the 2 elite nights per 5k in spend. I am trying to earn Globalist by end of year. American Express Delta Reserve: Also using for my side business and spend to earn status. 15k MQM with 30k in spend and the current Amex offer of 500 MQM per $1,000 in spend. Double dipping
- American Express (Rose) Gold: Like most people, and as Meredith mentioned in a prior blog post , a lot of our spend lately has been on groceries. This card earns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.
- American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant: This card has a limited time offer of 10x Bonvoy points for purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and Marriott hotels up to $7,500 in each category until October 31, 2020. Plus, there is an Amex offer for 10,000 bonus points after $1,000+ spend by 12/31/20. As a result, I'm shifting my spending in those categories to this card during the promotional period which will end soon.
- American Express Blue Business Plus: This card earns 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases, so anything that doesn't otherwise fall into a bonus category on another card gets put on this one.
- Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex: I use these cards for spending in the rotating quarterly 5x bonus categories – this quarter it is PayPal and Walmart. There are lots of ways to maximize spending through PayPal and at Walmart, so I expect to wrap up the spending on these cards pretty soon. Note that the Chase Freedom is no longer available for new applications.
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: This is my go-to card for business expenses right now, with a limited time offer of 5x Ultimate Rewards on shipping and advertising. The regular earning rate of 3x on travel (including things like tolls) also earns it a spot in my wallet.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: I have had this card since it was introduced in August 2016. My favorite things are that I earn 3x on travel and dining and the travel insurance. The $300 travel credit is easy to use, since many types of travel qualify. The ability to book flights through the Chase portal for 50% more value per point is great when I can catch a fare sale, or I don’t have the cash to pay for a hotel.
- American Express (Rose) Gold: I had been thinking about this card as a break from Chase cards and diversifying to Membership Rewards. I snagged the card when a 50,000 welcome bonus was offered. Most people know that I love rose gold and have been obsessed with it for about 15 years, so way before it was cool. It has a permanent spot in my wallet because it earns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants, which is especially beneficial since the majority of purchases for my private practice are at supermarkets.
- Chase Ink Business Cash: I obtained the Ink Cash via a downgrade from the no longer available Chase Ink Plus (this card has been replaced by the Chase Ink Preferred). I utilize 5x points at office supply stores for gift cards for stores I regularly shop at such as Amazon and Sephora.
- American Express Business Gold: I snagged this card last year and it came with a pretty significant minimum spend to earn the welcome offer. However, a big chunk of that spend was from booking a cruise for my mom and I which was then subsequently cancelled. It has now come back into my wallet to make nice to American Express and to spend the refund that is sitting on the card.
- Chase Freedom: The final card in my Chase pyramid. The 5x points back on rotating quarterly categories equals 30,000 extra Chase Ultimate Rewards a year if I max it out each quarter. To be fair, there are some quarters I don’t. However, I typically come pretty close.
- Chase Marriott Premier: This discontinued card made its way back into my wallet after being sock drawered when I discovered I was only four nights away from Platinum Status with Marriott. One of the reasons I never upgraded this card was that you earn one elite night credit after spending $3,000 on the card. Although I have only spent one night at a Marriott this year, I earned 30 nights from personal and business cards, as well as 13 nights due to last year's Gold status. I had begun spending on the card when the grocery bonuses came around. It has now become my “catch-all” card for non-bonus spend to get me those last 4 nights to Platinum status.
The beauty of this game is that there is no prescribed answer. Each member of the ToP team reviewed their individual spending habits and travel goals to determine the cards that add maximum value for them. There are trends among the cards that we carry but plenty of differences too.
What are your travel goals, and which cards are in your wallet every day? Share your thoughts below or in the Travel on Point(s) Facebook group.