Last night was a great time for baseball fans in Arizona. Our hometown team the Arizona Diamondbacks took down the Colorado Rockies in a win or go home wildcard game. While the game was a back and forth nail biter, points and miles are never far from my mind. While waiting in the concession line with Liz and my brother, we wondered aloud how the purchase would be coded. Would it be dining, or perhaps a general retail purchase? Our experience highlighted another reason why the Amex Blue Business Plus is such a valuable card. It’s a great card when you don’t know the category it will be classified under by the processor.
Background: My Card Rotation
Remember, Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points are typically valued at ~ 1.8 cents each. My household uses a three card rotation for all of our purchases: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Amex Everyday Preferred, and Amex Blue Business Plus. As a result, our earnings structure looks 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)
The Card When You Don’t Know The Category
Incidentally, I reviewed my Chase Sapphire Reserve statement earlier this week and noticed that a concession charge from a football game a few weeks back didn’t categorize as dining. As a result, I only earned 1 point per dollar spent. Of course that kind of return is unacceptable. Flash forward to last night and we again wondered how this type of purchase would code. The options were to gamble and hope we’d get 3X points from the Sapphire Reserve, or get a known 2X points with the Blue Business Plus. Given my experience at the football game a few weeks back, I think the Blue Business Plus is the way to go in these situations.
Uncertainty of how your transaction will ultimately be coded isn’t limited to concession stands at sporting events. Another example of a purchase I struggle with are “stores within stores”. For example, we have a Starbucks inside our local Fry’s grocery store. The Starbucks uses the Fry’s point of sale system and rewards program. Does that mean it’s going to be a grocery purchase, or dining? I theoretically could use all three of my cards in this situation. With the Blue Business Plus, it might not be a maximum bonus, but it’s at least a known quantity at 2X points.
I know I hype the Amex Blue Business Plus card a lot on this blog, but it’s for a reason. First, the card doesn’t come with an annual fee so there’s no reason not to carry it. Furthermore, at 2X points on all purchases, there’s not a better option for everyday non-bonus spend out there. The fact that it’s great for unknown categories is just icing on the cake.