Go Curry Cracker > Travel hacking

How do you determine which cards you use for day-to-day usage?


I can understand how to pick a card for travel based on sign-up bonuses, but with all these cards how do you determine which ones to use for everyday purchases?  For instance, does it make sense to have a "grocery card", a "restaurant card" and an "point on all purchases" card?  It seems like with so many cards it would take a while to gain enough points on them (aside from the sign-up bonus).  I have just one card for hotel points, spend a fair amount monthly and barely get to the numbers I've seen in your blogs (it's possible my card is just terrible). 

Is there an optimal way you use to determine which card you use for everyday use? 


As you noted, the sign-up bonuses are where the best ROI comes from.

My everyday spend card is most often the most recent card I applied for, the one I'm currently trying to meet the minimum spend on.

When this doesn't apply, our everyday spend card depends on the purchase - we use the Sapphire Reserve for restaurants/uber/travel, the CapOne Venture when booking on hotels.com, the United card when booking United flights, the Marriott Bonvoy when staying at Marriott hotels, etc...

I also use the Chase Freedom card on the special quarterly categories (5 pts per $1), and in the US for generic spending I might use the Chase Freedom Unlimited as it earns 1.5 points per $1.

There are cards I have which I would never use for general everyday spending.

One example:
I have the IHG hotel credit card in my desk drawer. I pay the annual fee every year for the annual night certificate, so I spend $89 for a $150-$200 hotel stay.

That card currently has a signup bonus of 140,000 points after spending $3k.

To get that same number of points later, with just general spending, would require spending $140,000! 1 point per $1. NO THANKS!

But when we use the night certificate I'll pull that card out of the drawer and use it for food or general expenses at the hotel, as it earns 25 points per $1 at the hotel.

Make sense?



Makes perfect sense.  Thank you.  I was thinking this would be spreading yourself too thin (ie, having too many cards and not generating enough points for each individual one) but it sounds like that system works just fine!  Appreciate the reply.


As Jeremy mentioned, it's totally reasonable to have multiple cards that earn various bonuses for specific category spend. The only thing I would add is that the cards you use for these categories will change depending on whether or not you're meeting a minimum spend for a new account or which cards you currently have. I use the following priority when making a purchase: 1) card I'm meeting a minimum spend on, 2) card that has a category bonus for whatever I'm buying, 3) 2%/2x cash back card.

Hope that helps!


Thanks Brandon!  I think that sums it up quite nicely!


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