For years credit cards paid 1 mile per dollar or point per dollar for hotel cards. Then, if I recall correctly, Delta Skymiles cards began offering double miles for their flights and some other categories like grocery store purchases. Others followed suit offering double miles on their flights or hotel stays and more bonus categories.
The first card I remember to offer bigger than double bonuses was the Hilton American Express card which offers 5 points per $$$ on hotel stays, gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases and 3 points per $$$$ on other categories. We have now have literally hundreds of cards suited to fit your personal or business needs and your categories of spending.
My wallet carries the following cards:
Amex Platinum Business Card or Starwood Preferred Guest card. I owe 5K in Amex points that were advanced to me, so the Plat card is in there now. I will go back to the old stand by SPG card when that shortfall is covered. I actually got $2000 worth of coins from the mint to cover 2000 of the shortfall.
Then I have 3 different Thank You point cards in my wallet:
- The Professional Card which earns me 3 Thank You points per $$ on restaurants. It has other bonus categories, but I carry it as we eat out alot.
- The Premier Pass Elite card for purchasing airline tickets and other general spend items. I use the Elite card as that one gets me the fixed flight option that makes the Thank You point program the big winner, and gives me 1 point per $ and one matching point for every flight mile I buy for myself or somebody else. Look this card up for more details. It is a must if you fly.
- My third Thank You point card is the AT&T Universal Charter Member Card which is no longer available. It gives me 5 points per dollar for lifetime on gas, groceries and drugstores. For those that did not get this card the alternative is the Citi Drivers Edge Options card which give 6 points per $ on gas, grocery and drugs for the first two years plus more thank you points for each mile you drive your car. My two years with the Drivers Edge card just passed so it is in the safe deposit box for now. Alternatively we now have the new Citi Amex Platinum Card which has a $125 fee second year, but gives all the big bonus categories for the first two years.
So instead of 1 point or mile per $, I get 2 on the Premier Pass card as I have more miles that I fly than spend points, 3 points on the Professional card, and 5 points on the AT&T Universal card. I’m going to guess that my average is 3 Thank You points per $$$ spent.
90,000 Thank You points if you have the fixed flight option offered by the Premier Pass Elite card or several others, earns you a Domestic or Canada Business class ticket that has a value of up to $2700 or 3 cents per point.
If I’m earning 3 points per $$$, and 90K gets me $2700 in value, it seems to me that my yield is 9 cents per $$$.
Now most of you that wrote are in the beginning stages of collecting miles and points and in most cases I recommended the Starwood Preferred Guest card and the American Airlines cards from Citicards as the spend on that card counts towards lifetime status, plus there are several other benefits to those cards. Those are the best cards to start out with, no doubt, but these bonus category cards are the hot ticket if, you fly alot, and have a high spend in certain categories.
Chase Bank even has credit cards that give you 3 points per $$$ in the categories you just happen to spend the most on in any given month and that can change, each and every month.
Bank of America has a similar program as well. US bank, no to the best of my knowledge.
It is only through a quirk or two in the Thank You Points program that makes it valuable to very frequent flyers. The normal redemptions without the fixed flight option are a $50 gas card for 6,000 points as an example or slightly under 1 cent per point.
But if you are earning consistently 3 points per $$$, then Bonus Category Cards may be something for you to consider.
I hope you enjoyed the credit card series. It was fun for me to do, as I score very well with credit cards. If you ever have questions, please don’t hesitate to write. Helping out is just as much fun for me as gaining miles and points for myself.