August 17, 2022

The 8 Credit Cards I Use Most For Spending

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The 8 Credit Cards I Use Most For Spending
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I have over two dozen credit cards, though I hold onto these cards for a variety of reasons. I have some of these cards because they help me maximize my everyday spending, while I have other cards because of the ongoing perks that they offer.

In this post I wanted to share the cards that I spend the most money on, as there has been a surprising shift there in the past year.

Credit cards worth having for the benefits

There are cards I keep long term primarily for the benefits they offer, without actually putting much spending on them. Just to give a few examples:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) has a $695 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and is worthwhile for all of the credits that it offers (for airline fees, Uber, hotels, CLEAR, etc.), plus the lounge access, including access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, and more
  • The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (review) has a $450 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and is worthwhile for the $300 annual Marriott credit, anniversary free night certificate, and 15 elite nights toward status annually
  • The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (review) has a $99 annual fee and offers an anniversary free night certificate, IHG One Rewards Platinum status, a fourth night free on award redemptions, and more
The 8 Credit Cards I Use Most For Spending
I appreciate the Delta Sky Club access offered by the Amex Platinum Card

Credit cards I spend the most money on

With the above out of the way, I figured I’d talk a bit about the cards I use most for everyday spending, including personal and business purchases.

Which cards are at the top of my wallet, and under what circumstances do I use them? I use some cards because they maximize my return on everyday spending, while I use other cards because they have valuable category bonuses, ranging from dining, to groceries, to gas stations.

Below are the eight cards that I’m spending the most money on, roughly in the order of the amount that I spend on them annually.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

This $395 annual fee card has become my go-to card for everyday personal spending. The card offers 2x Venture miles per dollar spent with no foreign transaction fees, and I consider Venture miles to be just as valuable as other transferable points currencies, given all the great transfer partners.

While some people may initially be put off by the card’s annual fee, personally I don’t view this card as actually costing much to hold onto, given that it offers a $300 annual travel credit, 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, and much more.

I value Capital One Venture miles at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 3.4% return on all spending.

Read a full review of the Capital One Venture X, apply for the Capital One Venture X.

Redeem Capital One miles for travel in Emirates business class

Capital One Spark Cash Plus

This $150 annual fee card is now my go-to card for everyday business spending. The card offers 2% cash back on all purchases with no foreign transaction fees. While this is a cash back card on the surface, the beauty is that in conjunction with another card earning Capital One miles (like the Venture X), cash back can be converted into Capital One miles at the rate of one cent per mile. So in reality this card can also earn me 2x Venture miles per dollar spent.

I value Capital One Venture miles at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 3.4% return on all spending.

Read a full review of the Capital One Spark Cash Plus, apply for the Capital One Spark Cash Plus.

Redeem Capital One miles for travel in Turkish business class

Citi® Double Cash Card

This no annual fee card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase (in the form of ThankYou points).

That’s a good return for a no annual fee card in and of itself, but what makes this card more exciting is that rewards earned on that card can be converted into airline miles and hotel points, assuming you have it in conjunction with a card like the Citi Premier® Card (review).

I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 3.4% return on all spending. For all practical purposes, this offers the same return as the Capital One Venture X (except this card has foreign transaction fees), but sometimes it’s nice to diversify the points you earn, which is why I also put spending on this card.

Read a full review of the Citi Double Cash, apply for the Citi Double Cash.

Redeem Citi points for travel in Virgin Atlantic business class

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

This is my backup business card for non-bonused spending. Specifically, the no annual fee (Rates & Fees) Blue Business Plus offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually (1x after that). That makes this the other card that earns me 2x transferable points for my business spending, allowing me to diversify my points a bit.

I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 3.4% return on everyday spending.

Read a full review of the Amex Blue Business Plus, apply for the Amex Blue Business Plus.

Redeem Amex points for travel in Etihad first class

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This card has a $550 annual fee, though offers a $300 annual travel credit that can be applied toward any purchase coded as travel, making it one of the easiest to use travel credits. Therefore I consider this card to really cost me $250 per year. The card also offers several useful perks, including a Priority Pass membership.

When it comes to spending, this card offers 3x points on dining and travel. The travel category is particularly useful for me, and this card gets most of my non-airfare travel spending. On top of that, what’s great about this card is that it’s an excellent “hub” card that allows you to maximize the Ultimate Rewards points you earn across all cards.

I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers a 5.1% return on dining and travel.

Read a full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Sapphire Reserve is my go-to card for most travel purchases

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While I primarily have the Amex Platinum for the perks that it offers, it’s still a card that I spend a significant amount on. That’s because the card offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines (up to $500,000, and then 1x), and it also offers excellent travel coverage. I value Amex Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers an 8.5% return on airfare.

I spend quite a bit on airfare, so earning 5x points on those purchases while having solid travel protection is great.

Read a full review of the Amex Platinum Card, apply for the Amex Platinum Card.

The Amex Platinum offers 5x points on airfare purchases

World of Hyatt Credit Card

While I wouldn’t ordinarily say this is the best card for everyday spending, I put $15,000 of spending on the Hyatt Card for a reason.

The card already offers five elite qualifying nights plus a Category 1-4 free night certificate annually just for paying the $95 annual fee.

On top of that, you get an additional two elite nights toward status annually for every $5,000 you spend, and you also get a second Category 1-4 free night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card in a cardmember year.

This means that if you spend $15,000 on the card you’re getting an incremental six elite nights (which helps me earn Globalist status) plus a second free night certificate, which I find to be well worth it. I also try to make as much of my spending be at Hyatt hotels (where I earn 4x points).

Read a full review of the World of Hyatt Card, apply for the World of Hyatt Card.

I consistently get outsized values from Category 1-4 certificates

Citi Prestige Card

This card isn’t nearly as valuable as it used to be, between the fourth night free benefit being watered down, as well as travel coverage being removed from the card.

However, this is a card I continue to use for the 5x points that it offers on dining. Not only does the card earn 5x points when dining out, but you can also earn 5x points on restaurant takeout and delivery, which is pretty awesome. I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me this card offers an 8.5% return on dining.

The card does have a $495 annual fee, though the card’s $250 annual travel credit helps offset that. Furthermore, this card allows me to maximize the value I get with the Citi Double Cash, which is a vital part of my Citi credit card strategy.

The Citi Prestige is no longer open to new applicants, so if you’re looking to get into the Citi ecosystem I recommend picking up the mid-range Citi Premier® Card (review) instead, with a lower annual fee but compelling bonus categories and maintaining the ability to maximize the Citi Double Cash.

Read a full review of the Citi Prestige.

The Citi Prestige is my go-to card for dining spending

Other credit cards I spend money on

The above are the eight cards that I’ve been putting the most spending on, though there are some other cards that I put spending on for specific reasons:

All of these are cards that I find useful as well, though I don’t put $15,000+ of spending per year on any of those cards.

Bottom line

I’d like to think I have a pretty good credit card setup, as I’m earning anywhere from 2-5x points per dollar spent on my credit cards. When you factor in all the cards, I’m earning over 3x points per dollar spent on average, which I’d value at a return of over 5%. That’s excellent if you ask me.

To recap:

What are the primary cards you use for your credit card spending?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees).