I had a fun and quick conversation over dinner last night about credit cards and points: I met a couple who are probably going to get engaged in the near future and they were fascinated by the idea of using credit cards to pay for their wedding and earning sign-up bonuses in order to pay for their honeymoon. I told them it’s what I did with my wife and it’s how we paid around $1,500 for a variety of flights/hotels instead of around $46,000.
In that regard, I often get asked what credit cards am I currently using because – as those in this game know – you don’t use all the cards you have all the time. So, here is a brief summary of what I am currently carrying.
The first thing to note is that I am currently using the Secrid Miniwallet. While in Paris over our honeymoon I went into a store that sold a variety of leather goods and got a chance to hold it in mind hands. I love the fact that it is slim, it carries multiple cards, has space for some cash, and has a handy flicking tool that extends five cards into your direct reach at any moment. I find this immensely useful in daily life.
I’ll start from inside-out:
- Citibank Debit Card. I don’t feel completely beholden to one bank or another but I do find it useful to have this Citibank account since there are ATMs in both Philadelphia and New York (two cities I frequent). Because my wife and I signed up for a joint account three years ago I haven’t gone through with any kind of change. But, I keep it in order to take money out of ATMs and because the Park Slope Food Coop doesn’t take credit cards (more on that later).
- Chase Ink Plus Card. I got this card when the sign-up bonus was 60,000 points (usually it’s 50,000) and keep it because it yields some amazing returns on office supplies and technology expenses (5x!). Since I’m a teacher I am constantly buying office supplies (paper, pencil sharpeners, letter trays, etc) and so I maximize the use of the points. It also gives 2x the returns on gas purchases without foreign transaction fees (useful when renting a car abroad, which I do frequently in Toronto). Despite it’s $95 annual fee, I am fairly certain I get the returns necessary to make it worthwhile. Plus, I can refer others to the card and get a hefty bonus.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is by far the most used card I have for travel and restaurant expenses since it earns 2x returns on all of those purchases. Whenever we go out to restaurants, stay at hotels (as long as I don’t have a hotel card for those stays), go flying with bookings through Orbitz or Momondo, this is my go-to card. I find it incredibly useful in order to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to variety of airline partners (not so much the hotel ones) and love the fact that when I call the number on the back of the card I get a person without a wait or computerized menus. Finally, this card came in handy this year for me to get back quite a bit of money (around $600) from hotel stays and plane tickets we couldn’t use during our honeymoon because I got sick.
- AMEX Business Gold Card. I am currently putting most of my spending on this card in order to earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to a variety of airlines (including American Airlines, which is my plan). In addition to the bonus and spending on the card, AMEX is currently running a promotion offering 2x the points for small business purchases. I just signed up for Plastiq in order to pay our rent a bit cheaper through a credit card and it actually counts as a small business! By the end of this time, I should have about 90,000 points to play with.
- Park Slope Food Coop Membership Card. My wife and I are members of the Park Slope Food Coop, a grocery store and community that has been supportive of us in sickness and health. They sell some amazing produce and food at very low prices and are almost entirely membership run. You simply volunteer 2.75 hours of your time once every 4 weeks (or you can bank time in advance, like I do) and you can get access. It’s a great deal.
I have a variety of other cards that I use sometimes and am constantly reevaluating whether it’s worth it to keep them. I’ll keep you updated as things change.