Ignoring Credit Card Spend Categories


Generally, I make a point of ignoring credit card spend categories. Say what? Isn’t that a huge thing to take into consideration when you choose a card? Don’t you want to always be using the very best card to give you the most earnings in each category? Groceries, gas, dining, etc?

There are two reasons that I am usually ignoring credit card spend categories. Let’s go over them.

Meeting MInimum Spend

Most of the year I am working on meeting minimum spend on a new card to get the signup bonus. I get many more points this way than by using my American Express Gold Card for earning 4% spend on groceries. Let’s say I spent $4000 on groceries. That 4% would net me 16,000 AMEX Membership Rewards. If I spend that same $4000 on meeting the minimum spend of our favorite card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I will earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards. I prefer that big chunk of points.

I probably open a new card for myself 4 times a year and my husband opens up a new card 2-3 times a year. That is a lot of minimum spend (and a lot of signup bonuses) so I am almost always working on a minimum spend.

There is a general travel hacking misconception among beginners that you open a couple of cards and then just put all your spending on these cards all year. That will certainly get you a vacation the year you get those signup offers. But, the next year, you will be wondering how to get more points.

Paper bags of food

I usually pay for groceries on the card I am meeting the minimum spend on!

Earning 5x On Purchases

Yes, occasionally, I am not meeting a minimum spend. In those times, I prefer to make a flat 5x on all my purchases. I do this by using my Chase Ink Business Cash Card and purchasing gift cards at office supply cards when they waive the activation fee which is quite often. This lets me earn 5x per dollar spent in Ultimate Rewards, my favorite currency on all my other spending. It takes a little organization to keep track of what is left on each card, but I keep a sharpie in my backpack and update it on the card.

Using a gift card at the pump earns 5x per $1 with this strategy.

Bottom Line

If you want to earn a ton of points/miles then ignoring credit card spend categories might work for you too. By concentrating on meeting the minimum spend to earn multiple welcome offers a year and using a card that earns 5x on gift cards for my other purchases, I can earn a ton of points each year. What are your thoughts on my strategy?

blue water and sand

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