What’s in Tim’s Wallet? 2024 Edition

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At the beginning of the year, the Frequent Miler Team gives guided tours through the credit cards that each of us currently has taking up space in our wallets. Greg and Nick started us off last week and Stephen’s post will be following shortly, but today is my chance to open up my billfold and spill the plastic beans.

Before we dive in, let me give the same disclaimer that Greg also began with: this is by no means supposed to be a recommended wallet for anyone besides me. Everyone’s points needs and spending patterns are different; there’s no such thing as a “one wallet to rule them all.” In these posts, we’re simply trying to show the cards that we’re currently using, as well as provide a little bit of the reasoning behind each one.

Like Nick, I actually have multiple household wallets: mine, my wife’s (player 2) and what I’ll call my “virtual” wallet. That last one is meant to cover cards that I usually don’t physically carry with me, but that I am currently using for regular spend. We’ll take a look at all three below.

What’s in my Physical Wallet

Amex Bonvoy Brilliant

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Decent ultra-premium option for Marriott fans, especially those aiming for lifetime status tiers

$650 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 3X airfare -on flights booked directly with airlines; 3X restaurants worldwide, 6X Marriott; 2X on all other eligible purchases
Base: 2X (1.6%)
Travel: 3X (2.4%)
Dine: 3X (2.4%)
Brand: 6X (4.8%)
Card Info: Amex Credit Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Annual Choice Award with $60K calendar year spend
Noteworthy perks: ✦ 85K Free Night Award each year upon renewal ✦ $300 dining credit per membership year ($25/mo) ✦ Platinum Elite status ✦ 25 elite nights credit ✦ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests ✦ Global Entry fee credit ✦ Free premium internet at Marriott properties Note: Enrollment required for some benefits.
  • Uses: Marriott spending, $25 monthly dining credit

The primary reason that I have the Bonvoy Brilliant card is for the annual 85K free night certificate and 25 elite nights (the appeal of which will likely change drastically next year when I hit Lifetime Platinum with Bonvoy). The primary, quite irritating way that Amex offsets the card’s gargantuan $650 annual fee is by providing $300 in annual dining credits…doled out at $25/month. My wife and I just use it for our first dinner out at the beginning of each month and it stays in the back of my wallet until next time (or if I have to pay for anything at a Marriott property).

Amex Business Platinum

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more. Click here for our complete card review

$695 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com ✦ 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (on up to $2 million of those purchases per year) ✦ 1.5x on US construction/hardware stores, US electronic goods, and US shipping ✦ 1X elsewhere ✦ Terms apply.
Base: 1X (1.55%)
Travel: 5X (7.75%)
Other: 1.5X (2.33%)
Card Info: Amex Pay Over Time Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Select one qualifying airline and receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for qualifying charges ✦ Up to $400 a year in statement credits for Dell purchases ($200, twice-yearly) ✦ Up to $120 in wireless services credits per year ($10 per month) ✦ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement.✦ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests and other airport lounge benefits (Centurion and Delta) ✦ Rental car elite status ✦ Marriott Gold status ✦ Hilton Gold status. ✦ $189 CLEAR fee reimbursement annually ✦ 35% Airline Bonus: Get 35% points back after you Pay With Points for flights with your selected airline (or premium cabin with any airline). Enrollment required for select benefits
  • Uses: minimum spend, lounge access

I almost always have at least one card in my physical and virtual wallets that I’m working towards a welcome offer on. I’ll use this card for some of my “everywhere else spend,” as well as spending that I do with buying groups. Currently, that card is another Amex Business Platinum, this time through a 220K combo offer with Amex Business Checking. I’m almost done, so this card will be gone shortly, probably replaced by a US Bank Altitude Reserve.

That said, I always keep some flavor of Platinum card in my wallet for access to Centurion Lounges while we’re travelling.

Barclays Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Excellent earning rate at gas stations and Wyndham hotels. Diamond status plus 15K annual bonus makes this card a keeper.

$95 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 8X Wyndham & gas ✦ 5X marketing, advertising, and utilities (telecommunications, cable, satellite, electric, gas, heating oil and water) ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (0.88%)
Gas: 8X (7.04%)
Phone: 5X (4.4%)
Biz: 5X (4.4%)
Brand: 8X (7.04%)
Other: 5X (4.4%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: 15,000 points each anniversary year ✦ Diamond status ✦ 10% discount on free night awards ✦ Cardmember discount on paid stays ✦ No foreign transaction fees
  • Uses: 8x Fuel, 5x Utilities

There’s a pattern that you may have noticed with the FM Team’s wallets: the Wyndham Business card is in all of them. The reason is that the card earns 8 points per dollar spent at gas stations. That’s an incredible deal, as we can frequently get 2-3 cents per point value by using Wyndham points towards Vacasa or Wyndham Vacation Club vacation rentals. Additionally, I use it for some of our utility bills, as it also earns 5x in that category. To top it off, the Business Earner card earns 15,000 bonus points on each anniversary, more than offsetting the $95 annual fee. This one is a fixture in my wallet.

Capital One Venture X Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This card offers annual rebates that easily mitigate the fee for those who travel often. Authorized users are free and also get access to perks like Priority Pass, Capital One Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and more. The card earns 2 "miles" per dollar on most purchases just like the Capital One Venture Rewards card, which are worth exactly 1 cent each toward travel. This makes the return on most spend similar to a 2% cash back card (though in this case you must redeem your miles to offset travel in order to get 1 cent per mile). One huge advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles & hotel points. Click here for our complete card review

$395 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel ✦ 5x miles on flights booked via Capital One travel. ✦ 2X miles everywhere else.
Base: 2X (2.9%)
Travel: 10X (14.5%)
Other: 10X (14.5%)
Card Info: Visa Infinite issued by CapOne. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: $300 annual credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel ✦ 10,000 bonus miles each year starting at first anniversary ✦ Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® ✦ Capital One Lounge access ✦ Priority Pass membership w/ unlimited guests (lounges only) ✦ Plaza Premium lounge access ✦ Cell phone insurance ✦ Trip insurance ✦ Primary CDW coverage ✦ Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ✦ Convert "miles" to airline miles & hotel points
  • Uses: 2x everywhere, $300 travel credit, lounge access

The Capital One Venture X card is sort of my 2x “backstop” for everywhere else spending. Since I’m normally working on a sign-up bonus, I don’t use it a ton, but it comes in handy for those times when I haven’t received a new card yet or if I’m working on an Amex welcome offer and I’m somewhere that doesn’t accept American Express. In addition to 2x everywhere earning, the Venture X provides access to both Plaza Premium and Capital One lounges, making it a useful addition to my Priority Pass and my Platinum card. The Venture X comes with a yearly $300 travel credit (which I usually use on car rentals) as well as a yearly 10,000 point anniversary bonus. That combination makes it an easy keeper for me.

Chase Ink Cash

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible welcome bonus for a no-annual-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred. Click here for our complete card review

No Annual Fee
Earning rate: 5X office supplies and cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ✦ 2X on the first $25K in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each cardmember year ✦ 5X Lyft through March 2025
Base: 1X (1.5%)
Dine: 2X (3%)
Gas: 2X (3%)
Phone: 5X (7.5%)
Office: 5X (7.5%)
Other: 5X (7.5%)
Card Info: Visa Signature Business issued by Chase. This card imposes foreign transaction fees.
  • Uses: 5x Office Supply, Utilities, Cell Phone Bill

My wife and have several Ink Cash cards and there’s only one reason why: 5x Ultimate Rewards at office supply stores (on up to $25K per year in purchases), which can make this is an incredible earner. The exact Ink Cash card that’s in our wallets will rotate from time to time, but we always have one. I also use this for our cell-phone bill and some utilities as well, since we also earn 5x Ultimate Rewards in those categories.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Excellent all-around card for frequent traveler. Best when paired with no-fee Chase Freedom Flex, no-fee Freedom Unlimited & no-fee Chase Ink Cash Click here for our complete card review

$550 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 10X hotels & car rentals booked through Chase Travel℠ ✦ 10X Chase Dining ✦ 5X flights booked through Chase ✦ 3X Travel and Dining ✦ 10X Lyft (through March 2025)
Base: 1X (1.5%)
Travel: 10X (15%)
Dine: 3X (4.5%)
Other: 10X (15%)
Card Info: Visa Infinite issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: $300 Annual Travel Credit ✦ Points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel when booked through the Chase Travel(SM) Portal✦ Transfer points to airline & hotel partners ✦ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ✦ Priority Pass Select lounge access ✦ Up to $100 Global Entry fee credit ✦ $5 monthly DoorDash in-app credit through December 2024 ✦ Free DashPass through 2025 ✦ Earn 10X on Lyft spend✦ Free Lyft Pink All Access Memberhsip through December 2024 ✦ $15 monthly Instacart credit ✦ 12 months free Instacart+
  • Uses: 3x travel (taxes and fees, Lyft), 3x dining, $300 travel credit

I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) for most travel purchases, primarily because I can combine marvelous travel protections with a broad 3x travel category, making it very easy to blow through my annual $300 travel credit and be covered along the way. The CSR currently earns 10x on Lyft as well, so I have that loaded as the default card in my Lyft account.

Chase World of Hyatt Business Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Great for its initial bonus and for Hyatt enthusiasts to spend toward status and rebate on award stays.

$199 Annual Fee
Earning rate: ✦ 2X in the top 3 spend categories each calendar quarter through 12/31/24 (then the top 2 categories after that). Eligible categories include dining; airline tickets purchased directly with the airline; car rental agencies; local transit and commuting; gas stations; internet, cable and phone services; social media and search engine advertising; and shipping ✦ 4X Hyatt
Base: 1X (2.1%)
Brand: 4X (8.4%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: Get 5 elite qualifying night credits every time you spend $10,000 in purchases. ✦ After $50K spend in a calendar year, get 10% back on redeemed points for the rest of that calendar year (Up to 20K points back per year).
Noteworthy perks: Discoverist elite status ✦ Ability to gift Discoverist to up to 5 employees (they do not need to be cardholders) ✦ Up to $100 each cardmember year in Hyatt statement credits: Spend $50 or more at any Hyatt property and get a $50 statement credit up to two times per year.
  • Uses: Hyatt spending, 5 elite nights/$10K spend

I have both the World of Hyatt personal and business cards, but I usually only use the personal card in order to capture the Hyatt Category 1-4 free night certificate that you’re awarded after $15K in spend. I keep the business card in my wallet for two reasons: it gets two $50 Hyatt credits annually and I can easily capture those by always using it on Hyatt stays. Additionally, elite night credits are earned at a rate of 5/$10K spend, slightly beating the personal card’s 2 elite nights/$5k spend (if need to add some to reach 60 total nights and World of Hyatt Globalist status).

Citi Premier Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Very strong earnings for spend. Excellent bonus categories. Points transferable to select airlines. Recommend pairing this card with Citi Double Cash and Citi Rewards+. Sadly, this travel card doesn't provide any travel protections. Click here for our complete card review

$95 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 3X grocery ✦ 3X dining ✦ 3X gas stations ✦ 3X flights, hotels, travel agencies
Base: 1X (1.45%)
Travel: 3X (4.35%)
Dine: 3X (4.35%)
Gas: 3X (4.35%)
Grocery: 3X (4.35%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Citi. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Transfer points to airline partners ✦ $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • Uses: 3x grocery, dining

This is one of the biggest differences I saw when comparing my wallets with the rest of the team. Currently, our primary card for most grocery and some dining is the Citi Premier (outside of short term spending bonuses). I actually don’t even *gasp* have an Amex Gold right now, which is the more common standard for this category combo (although, admittedly, the reason that we don’t have a Gold is due to upgrade offers to the Amex Platinum card that we received last year).

Why the Premier instead of the Gold? Partially, it’s because we have no problem earning copious amounts of Membership Rewards points, because of consistently great business card welcome offers over the last couple of years. ThankYou points are much more difficult to harvest and I like to keep a decent stash, as I really enjoy the mix of transfer partners; especially for hotels where it can transfer to both Wyndham and Choice.

Additionally, the Premier has uncapped 3x earning on grocery spending, as opposed to the $25K yearly limit on the Amex Gold. The Gold is $155 more expensive than the Premier annually, so based on our Reasonable Redemption Values for Membership Rewards, the difference between the two cards’ earnings on the first $10K in grocery spending (40K Membership Rewards vs 30K ThankYou points) is wiped out by the annual fee difference anyway. So, in my mind I’m only sacrificing ~15,000 Membership Rewards on that first $25K in grocery spend.

Lastly, my wife has a strict 3-card limit for her wallet (see more below). Having a $95 card I can put in her wallet that earns 3x transferable points in gas, grocery, dining and transit/parking makes her life (and mine) much, much happier.

Player 2’s Wallet (3 cards max)

Overall, my wife has been an obliging, if somewhat reluctant participant in our little two-player household. Earlier in our shared points and miles journey, I had 7-8 category-labeled cards in her wallet, instructions to double-check with me about shopping portals before making online purchases, etc. You know the type (since you’re reading a post about the credit cards that I carry in my wallet).

We (semi-)quickly discovered that this was not the way to a happy and relaxed marriage. So, we’ve settled on the “3 card-rule:” my wife happily agrees to carry up to three cards in her wallet at any one time and will spend on categories accordingly (astute observers will notice that I’ve been able to fudge that…a little).

Capital One Venture X Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This card offers annual rebates that easily mitigate the fee for those who travel often. Authorized users are free and also get access to perks like Priority Pass, Capital One Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and more. The card earns 2 "miles" per dollar on most purchases just like the Capital One Venture Rewards card, which are worth exactly 1 cent each toward travel. This makes the return on most spend similar to a 2% cash back card (though in this case you must redeem your miles to offset travel in order to get 1 cent per mile). One huge advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles & hotel points. Click here for our complete card review

$395 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel ✦ 5x miles on flights booked via Capital One travel. ✦ 2X miles everywhere else.
Base: 2X (2.9%)
Travel: 10X (14.5%)
Other: 10X (14.5%)
Card Info: Visa Infinite issued by CapOne. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: $300 annual credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel ✦ 10,000 bonus miles each year starting at first anniversary ✦ Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® ✦ Capital One Lounge access ✦ Priority Pass membership w/ unlimited guests (lounges only) ✦ Plaza Premium lounge access ✦ Cell phone insurance ✦ Trip insurance ✦ Primary CDW coverage ✦ Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ✦ Convert "miles" to airline miles & hotel points
  • Uses: 2x everywhere, lounge access

This is an easy one. Occasionally, I’m able to slip a card into her wallet on which we’re working towards a minimum spend requirement. Occasionally.

For all other times, I’m safe in the knowledge that she’s getting 2x Capital One miles on all of her purchases. She can also use the card to access Capital One and Plaza Premium Lounges when she’s not with me.

Citi Premier Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Very strong earnings for spend. Excellent bonus categories. Points transferable to select airlines. Recommend pairing this card with Citi Double Cash and Citi Rewards+. Sadly, this travel card doesn't provide any travel protections. Click here for our complete card review

$95 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 3X grocery ✦ 3X dining ✦ 3X gas stations ✦ 3X flights, hotels, travel agencies
Base: 1X (1.45%)
Travel: 3X (4.35%)
Dine: 3X (4.35%)
Gas: 3X (4.35%)
Grocery: 3X (4.35%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Citi. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Transfer points to airline partners ✦ $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • Uses: 3x gas, 3x grocery, 3x dining, 3x travel

This card is marital bliss. My wife loves it, because it’s easy for her to keep the main categories straight. I’m thrilled that we’re consistently getting 3x on most of big bonus categories that she regularly uses…and I can take advantage of the Premier’s uncapped 3x on grocery by having her throw a Visa/MC gift card into her basket when she’s at the supermarket.

The Premier doesn’t necessarily max out our earning potential in any of these categories, but it provides a good earning level on each of them and also allows us to buttress our more modest ThankYou points balance.

Wyndham Earner Business Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Excellent earning rate at gas stations and Wyndham hotels. Diamond status plus 15K annual bonus makes this card a keeper.

$95 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 8X Wyndham & gas ✦ 5X marketing, advertising, and utilities (telecommunications, cable, satellite, electric, gas, heating oil and water) ✦ 1X everywhere else
Base: 1X (0.88%)
Gas: 8X (7.04%)
Phone: 5X (4.4%)
Biz: 5X (4.4%)
Brand: 8X (7.04%)
Other: 5X (4.4%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Barclays. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: 15,000 points each anniversary year ✦ Diamond status ✦ 10% discount on free night awards ✦ Cardmember discount on paid stays ✦ No foreign transaction fees
  • Uses: 8x fuel

P2 has become more and more of a fan of Wyndham Earner Business card as we’ve continued to explore Vacasa vacation rentals. So much, in fact, that she can even remember to pull it out for fuel purchases. This card rotates with an Ink Cash, if we’re working on the $25K yearly office supply category; or a new card if we’re working on a welcome offer. Otherwise, she can feel the satisfaction of knowing that our next vacation rental is partially on her.

Cards that are in P2’s wallet that she doesn’t spend on

Chase Ink Cash

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible welcome bonus for a no-annual-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred. Click here for our complete card review

No Annual Fee
Earning rate: 5X office supplies and cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ✦ 2X on the first $25K in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each cardmember year ✦ 5X Lyft through March 2025
Base: 1X (1.5%)
Dine: 2X (3%)
Gas: 2X (3%)
Phone: 5X (7.5%)
Office: 5X (7.5%)
Other: 5X (7.5%)
Card Info: Visa Signature Business issued by Chase. This card imposes foreign transaction fees.
  • Uses: 5x Office Supply

My wife has a couple Ink Cash cards for the $25K in annual 5x earning at office supply stores. When we’re working on one of her cards, I’ll have one in her wallet.

Amex Business Platinum

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more. Click here for our complete card review

$695 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com ✦ 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (on up to $2 million of those purchases per year) ✦ 1.5x on US construction/hardware stores, US electronic goods, and US shipping ✦ 1X elsewhere ✦ Terms apply.
Base: 1X (1.55%)
Travel: 5X (7.75%)
Other: 1.5X (2.33%)
Card Info: Amex Pay Over Time Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Select one qualifying airline and receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for qualifying charges ✦ Up to $400 a year in statement credits for Dell purchases ($200, twice-yearly) ✦ Up to $120 in wireless services credits per year ($10 per month) ✦ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement.✦ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests and other airport lounge benefits (Centurion and Delta) ✦ Rental car elite status ✦ Marriott Gold status ✦ Hilton Gold status. ✦ $189 CLEAR fee reimbursement annually ✦ 35% Airline Bonus: Get 35% points back after you Pay With Points for flights with your selected airline (or premium cabin with any airline). Enrollment required for select benefits
  • Uses: lounge access

We have a great Centurion Lounge in Seattle and, now that there’s no free guests via Platinum cards, I always have a current vanilla or Business Platinum in P2’s wallet so she can access it before flights.

 My “Virtual” Wallet

Listed below are cards that I have in various virtual wallets, primarily for monthly credits or beginning of the year spending.

Amex Business Gold

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This card may be a keeper for those who use the monthly credits, but keep only if you also make good use of one or two 4X categories. Click here for our complete card review

$375 Annual Fee
Earning rate: Earn 4X in combined eligible purchases in the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle (capped at $150K spend per calendar year, then 1x): Electronic goods retailers or software and cloud system providers in the U.S. ✦U.S. purchases at restaurants ✦Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S. ✦ U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ✦ U.S. purchases at gas stations ✦ Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways. ✦ 3x on eligible purchases through AmexTravel.com ✦ 1x on all other purchases. Terms apply.
Base: 1X (1.55%)
Travel: 3X (4.65%)
Dine: 4X (6.2%)
Gas: 4X (6.2%)
Shop: 4X (6.2%)
Phone: 4X (6.2%)
Biz: 4X (6.2%)
Card Info: Amex Pay Over Time Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Earn up to $20 in statement credits each month for eligible purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and office supply stores. Enrollment required. ✦ Monthly Walmart+ Membership credit when you use the card to pay for monthly Walmart+ membership ✦ Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
  • Uses: $20 monthly office supply credit

We always have a few Business Golds lying around because of the stream of terrific welcome offers that Amex has been throwing at us over the last couple of years, albeit at a slower pace recently. This year, Amex added a $20/month “business” credit to the Business Gold that can be used at office supply stores. I have ours loaded into our Staples account and usually use them for $20 in gift cards at the beginning of the month.

Amex Business Platinum

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: This card is absolutely loaded with high end perks. Depending upon your situation, those perks may be worth the annual fee or much more. Click here for our complete card review

$695 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com ✦ 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (on up to $2 million of those purchases per year) ✦ 1.5x on US construction/hardware stores, US electronic goods, and US shipping ✦ 1X elsewhere ✦ Terms apply.
Base: 1X (1.55%)
Travel: 5X (7.75%)
Other: 1.5X (2.33%)
Card Info: Amex Pay Over Time Card issued by Amex. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Noteworthy perks: Select one qualifying airline and receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for qualifying charges ✦ Up to $400 a year in statement credits for Dell purchases ($200, twice-yearly) ✦ Up to $120 in wireless services credits per year ($10 per month) ✦ $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement.✦ Priority Pass membership (Lounges only) with 2 guests and other airport lounge benefits (Centurion and Delta) ✦ Rental car elite status ✦ Marriott Gold status ✦ Hilton Gold status. ✦ $189 CLEAR fee reimbursement annually ✦ 35% Airline Bonus: Get 35% points back after you Pay With Points for flights with your selected airline (or premium cabin with any airline). Enrollment required for select benefits
  • Uses: $10 monthly wireless credit

Similar to the Business Gold, we currently have several Business Platinums in their first year due to welcome offers. These cards have a $10 wireless monthly wireless credit that can be used at any cellphone provider. We have them saved in our T-Mobile wallet and, on the first of each month, I charge $10 on each of them, then put the remainder on an Ink Cash. For those who take advantage of an auto-billing discount with a debit card, note that you usually don’t need to actually charge the bill to your debit card to get the discount…you just need to have a debit card saved as the default payment.

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Alaska miles are quite valuable so this offer is better than it appears

$95 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 3X Alaska Airlines ✦ 2x gas, EV charging, local transit, rideshare, cable, and select streaming services purchases ✦ 1X elsewhere
Base: 1X (1.3%)
Gas: 2X (2.6%)
Brand: 3X (3.9%)
Other: 2X (2.6%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by BOA. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: $121 companion pass every year after $6K spend.
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free first checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation ✦ Priority Boarding ✦ 10% bonus on earned miles with eligible BOA account ✦ During 2024, earn 4K EQMs/$10K spend, up to a maximum of 20K EQMs.
  • Uses: 4,000 Elite Qualifying Miles/$10K spend

We have four Alaska Airlines Visa cards that we keep for the (grandfathered) complimentary annual companion fares. This year, Alaska has added the ability to earn 4,000 Elite Qualifying Miles for every $10,000 spent on the card. I’ll be putting a little on it here and there throughout the year, as I’ll probably be 5-10K short of qualifying for Alaska Gold 100K status. Upon reaching 100K, I’ll get a 50,000 miles bonus, which makes the spend a no-brainer for me.

Chase IHG Business Premier Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)

$99 Annual Fee
Earning rate: 10X IHG ✦ 5X travel, gas stations, restaurants and dining, social media and search engine advertising, office supply stores ✦ 3X on all other purchases
Base: 3X (1.89%)
Travel: 5X (3.15%)
Dine: 5X (3.15%)
Gas: 5X (3.15%)
Office: 5X (3.15%)
Brand: 10X (6.3%)
Card Info: Mastercard World Elite issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: 10K bonus points + $100 statement credit after you spend $20K in a cardmember year + make one additional purchase. ✦ Diamond status after $40K in purchases + one additional purchase in a calendar year ✦ Free night certificate (up to 40K points) after $60K in purchases + one additional purchase in a calendar year
Noteworthy perks: Anniversary free night e-certificate good at IHG properties up to 40K points per night ✦ Ability to add an unlimited number of points to a free night certificate to book a higher-level hotel ✦ Fourth night free on award stays ✦ 20% discount on points purchases ✦ Platinum elite status ✦ Up to $50 in United TravelBank cash per year (must register your card with your United account)
  • Uses: IHG Diamond/$40K spend

When I wrote about my elite status plans for 2024, I mentioned that I had plans on New Year’s Eve for what I thought would be a quick and easy way to extend my IHG Diamond status for two years. The trick worked, but unfortunately, I was too engrossed in a board game and completely forgot about doing it (terrific game, though). Now, I’m back down to IHG Platinum as a result.

I really enjoyed having Diamond last year, so I’m going to take a shot at spending $40K on the IHG Business Premier card in the first half of 2024, in order to get it for the second half of 2024 and all of 2025.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)
FM Mini Review: Great card for welcome bonus and annual free night. Might be worth using regularly for additional free night and as a path to status.

$95 Annual Fee
Earning rate: ✦ 2X restaurants / cafes / coffee shops, airlines, local transit, fitness clubs and gym memberships ✦ 4X Hyatt
Base: 1X (2.1%)
Travel: 2X (4.2%)
Dine: 2X (4.2%)
Brand: 4X (8.4%)
Card Info: Visa Signature issued by Chase. This card has no foreign currency conversion fees.
Big spend bonus: One free Cat 1-4 night certificate after $15K spend in a calendar year. ✦ Get 2 elite qualifying night credits every time you spend $5K in purchases
Noteworthy perks: ✦ Free category 1-4 night every year upon renewal ✦ Additional free category 1-4 night after $15K spend in calendar year ✦ Discoverist elite status ✦ 5 elite qualifying nights
  • Uses: Category 1-4 free night cert and 6 elite nights/$15K spend

Each year, I spend almost exactly $15K on my World of Hyatt personal card, in order to get 25-30,000 Hyatt points, a category 1-4 free night certificate and 6 elite night credits. Then, it’s off to the sock drawer for another year.

Final Thoughts

There’s the big picture of the current state of Team Steinke’s wallets. Like most folks, it’s a non-perfect combination of multi-player convenience, points optimization and having what we need for lounge access and travel protections. We could get slightly higher category bonuses with some additional tweaks, but I don’t sweat that too much as the lion’s share of rewards I earn are through credit card bonuses and techniques to increase spend (also, I want my wife to like me).

We’d love to hear what’s in your wallet (no pun intended) as well! Send us an e-mail or leave a comment…it’s always fun to hear how other folks optimize their day-to-day spending. And, if you’re having trouble deciding what should be in your wallet, we have a small mountain of resources to help you out.

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Larry S

Tim- Like Arthur, I also also enjoyed your post and found it very useful. I am wondering- how do you have multiple Ink Cash cards? My wife and I both have all three Inks off of our personal and an EIN for an actual company. How can we get more Inks (and thereby more SUBs)?

Last edited 2 months ago by Larry S
Bob Turner

You just apply. You can have more than one of the same Ink card for the same company.

Arthur Leyenberger

Tim, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and it gave me some ideas (for me, your post was the most relevant of the team).

Like many others, my P2 tires of complex CC spend rules so I think going forward I will recommend to her (per her approval of course) a 4 card strategy – Citi Premier for 3x gas, dining, grocery, travel (we need to build up our Citi points since we are flush w/Amex MR), Citi doubleCash for everywhere else (we used to have a Venture X but I downgraded it to Venture One to avoid high AF since I have more useful Sapphire Reserve for big travel spend), and her Amex Plat for lounge access when she travels alone.

One question – can you provide more detail on using Wyndham Biz for utilities?

Jana

Which Amex card would you start with. Currently using Freedom Chase for dbl points all year.

Arthur Leyenberger

Start with the Gold so later, if you’re interested, you can get the platinum. If you start with Plat, you cannot later get the gold.

Joe

I’m a minimalist at heart and really like to travel light. That said, around me, mobile wallet acceptance is high, and that shows in my wallet. I carry 2 cards regularly:

  1. Bilt – Dining. I used to swap after 5 or so transactions, now I’m just leaving it in.
  2. Citi Double Cash – Non-Category, non-mobile wallet transactions (Rare for me. Could be the Blue Business Plus but I’m hurting for MRs less at the moment).

Just about everything else in my day-to-day life is easily covered by my mobile wallet, which contains:

  1. Curve (linked to a Custom Cash, Citi Premier, and a couple Freedom Flexes) – Groceries and Drug stores. Groceries I can thus move around as needed based on Freedom calendars and 5x caps on the Custom Cash.
  2. USBank Altitude Reserve – General non-category.
  3. Supercharging account is linked to a Wells Fargo Autograph, building a meager 3x points stash should their upcoming transfer partners be any good. It’s not a lot of spend anyway.
  • Missing categories come in on an as-needed basis. When I travel, the appropriate travel/lounge/hotel cards fall in, as well as the Wyndham Business earner if renting a car, but I don’t need that stuff with me day to day.
  • Likewise, sign-up bonuses and high-spend bonuses that I’m chasing will shuffle in and out as needed, but won’t stay in past their need, so I don’t consider them to be permanent wallet residents.
  • Ditto, office supplies, or other specific use cards come with me on a case-by-case basis. (I live in a city, so if I’m going to drive over to big box land for a gift card run, these trips are premeditated enough I don’t really need to keep them on me for contingency cases).

P2’s not really that different. Like others, I attempt to keep things straightforward so as not to be difficult. It’s either a sign-up bonus, or else:

  1. USBank Altitude Reserve in the mobile wallet
  2. BofA Premium rewards with Platinum Honors for a physical card.
  • We don’t tend to do much significant spend without both of us being there anyway, so I’m mainly striking a balance of ease/reasonable return on a pretty modest amount of spend.
Jan W

I’m interested in the Wyndham Biz card, but find we save significantly on gas thru Kroger’s Fuel Points program. By chance does Kroger gas count as “gas” on this card? I know it doesn’t on most cards. Or maybe folks are primarily buying VISA GCs?

Joe

Yes at Ralphs (local flavor of Kroger). Can use your fuel points and it codes.

Daniel Alexander

Thanks for the post! Inspired me to take a 3 card approach with P2, who similarly tires of complex credit card use rules. Sharing my plan for P2 and my wallet.
For starters, we’re often working on SUBs and given our spend isn’t too high that becomes our everything card until we meet the SUB.
P2 wallet plan
Amex Gold – 4x at groceries and restaurants
Wyndham Rewards Earner Business – 8x gas
Venture X – 2x everything else
Visa GC (purchased by me with 5x office supply Ink Cash) – use for everything except gas

My wallet
Amex Gold – 4x at groceries and restaurants
Freedom – quarterly 5x category $1500 spend
Ink Cash – 5x at office supply to get gift cards
Ink Preferred – 3x travel
Venture X – 2x everything else, $300 travel credit, lounge access
Sapphire Preferred – rental cars, 3x restaurants where Amex isn’t accepted
Amex Platinum – coupon book purchases, 5x flights when not using co-branded card for free bags, lounge access.
Visa GC – use for everything
*need to get the Wyndham Rewards Earner Business

Limited use cards
Hawaiian Air – flights to get free bags
Alaska Air – flights to get free bags
Marriott Bonvoy – Marriott
P2’s Ink Preferred – cell phone, it’s only 3x but TMobile continues to process the payments without the threatened added fees, so we don’t want to mess with it.

Biggie F

Very much concur that Citi Premier is a reliable workhorse for P2s in particular when the marginal utility of a few extra points here and there is low. Also works overseas where, e.g., Amex Business Gold does not (or does, but with foreign transaction costs).

My optimization mentality keeps saying to get rid of it each year, but the intangibles have kept this card toward the top of P2’s wallet for years now.

Johnny

How to redeem Wyndham points on Wyndham Vacation Club?

Johnny

Thank you Sir 🙂
There’s a Wyndham VC in Japan, going to try to book it. Btw, got all and more coming on all credit cards from FMs 🙂

LSP

Great post, Tim. I am somewhat in awe of your total CC annual spend ($40k for IHG here, $15k for Hyatt Cat 1-4 Certificate there, some $10ks for Hyatt nights, Amex Platinum Biz SUBs….).
You mentioned using the Ink Business Cash card for cell phone and “some utilities”. Can you clarify if you just mean home internet or are there any other utilities that qualify for 5x here? Thanks!

LSP

PS – My own wallet is very simple – SUB card (or occasionally a spend bonus card outside of SUB) is in #1 position for me and P2, Amex Gold for groceries and dining, Ink Cash for Cell Phone/Internet Streaming and OD/OM/Staples Visa GC for Costco.

Biggie F

Some weird stuff like Netflix code(s) as utilities.

Saul

I thought the $20 monthly Flexible Business Credit on Amex Business Gold wouldn’t work on gift cards, I’ll try it now.

The $10 monthly Wireless Credit on the Amex Business Platinum doesn’t work for me on AT&T because my wireless account is bundled with my internet apparently.

Jules

It would be great if someone else can confirm that spending $20 on staples.com for an e-gift card triggers the credit.

Sheng

I’ve been doing it since they introduced the credit.

Lee

To insert a little humor: Luxury Card Gold and the Amex Plum (for business).

John M

My wife applied for the Wyndham earners Business card and what a PIA it was. Our business has $0 debt, buys $1.5millon+ per year on credit cards, clears $150k a year. Her credit score is 845, no late payments, no bankruptcy, no debt, etc. Over the course of 2.5 months after applying for the card, Barclays would send a letter asking for information which we provided. 10-15 business days would pass and another letter asking for more information, usually a mixture of the same and maybe some new information requested. They actually asked my wife to open a bank account somewhere, as they said our brokerage account (where we have our checking account and its a major brokerage) was not considered by them to be a bank. They approved her for a card after the 2.5 months of information gathering then sent another letter asking for yet more information. We spoke with them yet again about the approval and they said “oops” its pending. After repeated phone calls and letters they just stopped responding. What a crappy experience. As a result we cancelled all our Barclay’s cards.

Lee

I previously held a business card with Barclays. Last year, I applied for a new card under the same business name and tax ID. Received a similar run-around and decided to punt early on.

Joe

Barclays has some odd and inconsistent outcomes. We had to send in a 4506 and their status check site was contradictory (saying it was denied the whole time but getting the 4506 request/approval via snail mail), but that’s far from the most Bizarre Barclays story. Meanwhile on the personal side I’ve never had a single issue with their AA cards.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joe