Maximizing Credit Card Spend Part 3
- Part 1 – Small Purchases, Dining, and International Spend
- Part 2 – Hotels, Airlines, and Rental Cars
- Part 3 – Office Supplies, Groceries, Gas
- Part 4 – Department Stores & Summary
For regular readers of the blog, this one should be pretty easy, but it’s worth reviewing – especially for those of you that are newer. The Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards are the best cards in the business for office supply spending. The 5X points they each get you at office supply stores such as Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max is a great way to earn a lot of points. One of the easiest ways to earn is through Staples’ Free After Rebate (FAR) items. The Frequent Miler discusses FAR items a lot and I always try to include them on the daily deals post when they’re available. The gist of the idea is that there are sometimes items on the Staples website that are free after a mail-in rebate offer. This means that you can buy 10 copies of a piece of software for $300 then receive a check in the mail for $300 from Staples, allowing you to earn points on the $300 you put on your card. Using the Ink Bold card, you’d be able to get 1,500 UR points for free! Even better, sometimes Chase offers bonuses at Staples.com when you go through their shopping mall, which means that the 1,500 points can easily become 1,800 or even 3,000 free points! Like I said before, I always try to include them in my daily deals post because it’s a really great way to earn free points.
[EXPIRED] The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is going to be the top card in this category. The card offers a huge 6% cash back at grocery stores, meaning all the gift cards at grocery stores get you 6% cash back as well. The best part? There are no limits to the amount of cash back that you can get from grocery store spending. That means that if you have a big family with lots of young kids, who eat a lot, the thousands of dollars that you spend on food will all be 6% off. The card does carry a $75 annual fee that is not waived for the first year, but if you’re a heavy spender at grocery stores, it will easily pay for itself. To break even you have to spend at least $1,250 a year on groceries. The card also gets 3% cash back at gas stations, which can make it an even better card and leads us to…
As I said before the Blue Cash Preferred card offers 3% cash back on gas station purchase. However, I don’t think that’s the best choice. Year-round the Ink Bold card offers 2X points at gas stations and hotels up to $50,000 per year. This should have most everyone covered if you use it exclusively for gas. I value 2 UR points at about 3.6 cents, which offers a slightly better value than the 3% cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred. Finally, the Chase Freedom card often times will offer 5% cash back at gas stations as part of a quarterly bonus. When that’s in effect, the Freedom card will be your best bet up to the $1,500 maximum that each quarter has.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day FlyerTalk is giving away A FlyerTalk Luggage Tag & Hoodie combo for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (with your First Name, Last Initial, and 3 letter airport code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.
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