Part 2 of Earning Points and Miles: Everyday Spending and Category Bonuses

This post will cover how to earn more points and miles by using credit cards for everyday spending. In addition to paying all expenses possible on a credit card, it is important to make sure you are using cards that earn extra points on bonus categories when possible.

The first and most obvious thing I can say is STOP USING CASH! Always use a credit card anywhere credit cards are accepted.  Put all of your spending on a reward earning credit card. If you pay off the balance every month, you will never pay interest.

Bonus Categories

Most airline and hotel co-branded cards offer bonus points for travel booked through the airline or hotel. For example, AAdvantage co-branded cards earn 2 points per dollar if booking a flight on American Airlines.

Some cards offer bonus points for dining, travel, gas, and many other categories.  For example, Chase Sapphire cards offer 2-3 points per dollar on spend at restaurants and on travel, depending on which Sapphire card you have.

Minimum Spending Requirements

Here is a list of ways to meet the minimum spend required for a welcome bonus to be awarded but in many cases it can be done by simply switching all of your spending from cash/debit cards to your credit card.

More on category bonuses

It is important to familiarize yourself with any category bonuses your card(s) earn. As stated above, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns 2 points per dollar on travel and dining and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns 3 points per dollar for travel and dining.  This may not sound like a lot, but it adds up quick because you are doubling or tripling your earnings everytime you use a card that earns a bonus for the category in which you are spending.  Most airline cards will get you at least 2 points per dollar on airfare with that particular airline.

Which credit card should you use for everyday spending?

I put most of my spending on cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points because those are the points I value the most.  If you only use an airline or hotel co–branded card, you only earn miles or points with that airline or hotel program. But if you earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards points, you have the option to transfer to multiple airlines. In other words, you have more redemption options.

Cash-back cards have a purpose in some cases, but you’ll generally get more value out of Amex MR and Chase UR points.

Related post: 4 different types of credit card reward currencies for travel

caymus vineyards, napa valley on miles and points
Spend your money on wine, not airfare and hotels.

The take-aways:

  • Put all of your spending on credit cards
  • Learn your category bonuses for your specific cards
Part 3 will cover shopping portals. This can boost your points quite a bit if you can remember to always use them when possible!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, or if you would like me to write about a certain topic, please feel free to reach out via email, the comment section, Facebook, or Instagram! Thanks everyone for your support so far.

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