Several months ago, I swapped out my Citi Thank You Premier card for a Citi Forward card. There was no substantial sign-up bonus to be had for the Forward card and I was not using my Premier card to book flights, so I didn’t try to get a new bonus. I just asked Citi to swap them out for me. It took two months, but am I glad I made the swap.
One of our big category spends is dining and the Forward card pays five points per dollar spent in this category. Last month I paid for a dinner for eight in Hawaii and paid in advance for $500 of dining at a local restaurant here on Hilton Head island. My total spend was $1,342 in the bonus category and I earned a whopping 7,000 Thank You points. Now, I won’t spend that much every month on dining, but this is a bonus category I can really score with.
Between my sign-up bonuses for the Premier card, Preferred card, and spending on the Forward card, I’ve racked up 93,997 Thank You points. That’s almost a $1,000 of gift cards or maybe more in airfare? (I’ve got to double check that feature,) And I still have a 25,000 point second bonus for $5,000 in spend once my Preferred card is in its second six months of activation.
The point of my post is to remind you to look closely at your spending patterns and don’t get locked down to one or two general category cards. Imagine a truck driver, paying for his own gas, not using a card that bonus-ed the heck out of gasoline purchases. He’d be crazy not to carry a card that offered the biggest bonus for gas. I think it is the Hilton Surpass card, but it may be the Citi Preferred card as well.
It is early in the year and time to take a look at your particular spending pattern. Do you have a big time category you are not taking advantage of?
If you care to comment on big category bonuses you are aware of and using, help your fellow travel crazy buddies by posting them in the comments section for all to see.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95