I’ve often stated that I like to keep this points and miles hobby as simple as possible. I’m not a huge fan of shopping portals or extreme efforts to manufacture spend. Furthermore, for the last few years, my wife and I have kept a two card rotation for our spending. Historically, that rotation has been a Chase Sapphire Reserve for travel and dining, and the SPG Amex for everything else. Over the last week, I’ve replaced the SPG Amex with the Amex Blue Business Plus for everyday spend. The change left me asking myself a question: Should I add a third credit card to our rotation?
Background: Blue Business Plus Game Changer
I’ve mentioned before how the Blue Business Plus (BBP) became a game changer for everyday, non-bonus spend. While reflecting on our card usage last night, the thought of using a third card with a gas and groceries bonus came to mind. Despite the hassle of rotating three cards, this could make sense for one main reason: The BBP doesn’t have an annual fee. I’ve always felt that reward benefits start to get eaten up by annual fees if more than a couple are in the everyday rotation. The BBP eliminates this hurdle.
Time For The Everyday Preferred?
After a cursory review of the best grocery and gas cards, I’m leaning towards the American Express Everyday Preferred (EDP). Assuming we reach 30 purchases/month to qualify for a 50% bonus, the EDP will net us 4.5X points at grocery stores, and 3X points at gas stations. Of course the one major concern is hitting the 30 transaction threshold each month. Luckily, I found several cool ideas to accomplish this. The best being Amazon gift cards in small increments, and using self-checkout at the grocery store for multiple transactions. Of course, don’t be that guy doing this if people are waiting behind you!
Our New Points Earning Structure
Remember, Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are typically valued at ~ 1.8 cents each. If we go through with this new rotation, our earning structure would look like this:
- Travel & Dining: 3X Points Chase Sapphire Reserve (5.4% Value)
- Gas: 3X Points Amex EDP (5.4% Value)
- Groceries: 4.5X Points Amex EDP (8.1% Value)
- Everything Else: 2X Points Amex BBP (3.6% Value)
That’s not too shabby, and I’d argue might be better than Liz’s “perfect trifecta”. Of course this hobby is constantly evolving, so what might work best one day could change the next. For example, if Amex slapped a $89 annual fee on the BBP, I might re-consider this whole thing.
I’ve got one major hurdle to making this happen. The first is that I’m scared to apply for another credit card right now. That means I’ll have to have a quick chat with my wife about having her apply for the EDP. She’s more of a “go with the flow” participant in my points and miles hobby. I’ll just have to pull some extra weight around the house as a “thank you” for applying, and agreeing to put a third card in her wallet. How many cards do you typically carry in your wallet?