Why there are no 2X everywhere cards in my wallet

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No 2X Everywhere Card in my wallet

There are two fantastic 2X Everywhere cards available in the US.  No, I’m not talking about Jennifer Garner’s Capital One Venture card.  That’s a good card, and it does earn 2 Capital One “miles” per dollar, but if you want to convert those “miles” to airline miles, you usually end up with only 1.5 airline miles per dollar or less.  Capital One “miles” transfer to airline miles at a rate of 1,000 to 750 (2 to 1.5) or 1,000 to 500 (2 to 1), depending upon the type of miles you want.

Great 2X Everywhere Card Options

The great 2X Everywhere cards that are the focus of this article are the Citi Double Cash and the Amex Blue Business Plus.  Both cards have no annual fee.  Both cards earn the equivalent of 2 points per dollar for all spend.  Both cards offer rewards that are transferable one to one to many different airline programs.  Both rewards programs offer occasional transfer bonuses such that transfer ratios are even better than one to one.

Citi Double Cash

Citi Double Cash 2X Everywhere Card

The no-annual-fee Double Cash card is a 2% cash back card at heart.  That’s pretty good, but the thing that makes it exciting is the ability to convert cash back rewards into ThankYou Rewards points.  This then gives you the ability to convert those rewards to airline miles as long as you or a friend has either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card as well.  For more, please see: Citi Double Cash Complete Guide.

There are a couple of disadvantages to this card that are worth noting:

  • Citi charges foreign transaction fees
  • You cannot transfer points to airline miles unless you or a friend has a card which does have an annual fee (either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige)

Amex Blue Business Plus

Amex Blue Business Plus Card

The no-annual-fee Amex Blue Business Plus card offers 2 points per dollar for all spend for the first $50K of spend per calendar year.  The card earns valuable Membership Rewards points which are directly transferable to a large number of airline programs, and a few hotel programs too.  Unlike the Citi Double Cash, you don’t need a card with an annual fee to unlock the full power of the Membership Rewards program for transferring points to miles.

There are a few disadvantages to this card that are worth noting:

  • Amex charges foreign transaction fees
  • 2X earnings are capped at $50K spend per calendar year (then 1X)
  • This is an American Express card, so it is not as widely accepted as the Citi Double Cash (which is a Mastercard)

The best “everywhere else” cards

Using our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) to estimate how much each point is worth, we are able to use our credit card database to display the cards that offer the best value for “base” spend.  Base spend is any spend that does not qualify for a category bonus.  Here are the top 5:

Card Info Name and Earning Rate (no offer)
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card
Base
Earning rate: 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases, up to $50K spend per calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
Discover it Miles (First Year)
Base
3%
Earning rate: 1.5 miles per dollar for all spend. All Miles are doubled at the end of your first card membership year.
Citi Double Cash Card
Base
Earning rate: 2% cash back everywhere (1% cash back for each purchase + 1% when paying your credit card bill for that purchase)
Bank of America Travel Rewards (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards)
Base
2.625X
(2.63%)
Travel
5.25X
(5.25%)
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, this card earns: 2.625X points for all spend (and 5.25X for travel purchased through BOA's travel center)
BOA Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards for Business)
Base
2.625X
(2.63%)
Travel
5.25X
(5.25%)
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, this card earns: 2.625X points for all spend (and 5.25X for travel purchased through BOA's travel center)
Bank of America Premium Rewards (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards)
Base
2.625X
(2.63%)
Travel
3.5X
(3.5%)
Dine
3.5X
(3.5%)
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, earn: 3.5X travel and dining ⚬ 2.625X everywhere else
Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Amtrak ⚬ 2X qualifying travel ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X Amtrak ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Card
Base
2.5%
Earning rate: 2.5% cash back everywhere up to $250 back per billing cycle (Note that some purchases, like those from GiftCards.com, are not eligible for cash back)
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card (with 30 purchases per billing cycle)
Base
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: Earn 50% more points: Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. With 30 or more purchases, earn: 4.5x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1.5x) ⚬ 3x points at US gas stations ⚬ 1.5x points on other purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited (First Year)
Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery
Other
Earning rate: 5X grocery on up to $12K spend in first year, excludes Target & Walmart ⚬ 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Base
Earning rate: 1.5% cash back everywhere in the form of Go Far Rewards ⚬ 1.8% back on Google Pay or Apple Pay purchases for the first 12 months
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Base
Travel
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Chase Ink Business Unlimited
Base
Other
Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases ⚬ 5X Lyft
Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card
Base
0.002X
(2.2%)
Earning rate: Collect 1 $110 stamp for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on Hotels.com and collect 1 stamp each time you spend $500 on purchases with your card. Collect 10 stamps, get 1 reward night.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Base
Other
Earning rate: 2X everywhere. Through 1/31/21: 5X Uber Eats.
Capital One Spark Miles Business Credit Card
Base
Travel
Earning rate: 2X everywhere ⚬ Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car
bookings through Capital One Travel
Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®
Base
Earning rate: 2X Miles on all purchases
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Base
Earning rate: 2X Miles on all purchases
Allegiant World Mastercard® Credit Card
Base
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: 3x Allegiant ⚬ 2x dining
UBS Cash Rewards Visa Business
Base
2%
Earning rate: Earn 2% cash back on your first $100,000 in eligible purchases each year then 1%
Fidelity Rewards Visa
Base
2%
Earning rate: 2X everywhere
Paypal Cashback Mastercard
Base
2%
Earning rate: 2% cash back everywhere
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Base
2%
Earning rate: 2% cash back on all purchases, up to $50K spend per calendar year (then 1% thereafter). Terms apply.
Capital One Spark Cash Business Credit Card
Base
2%
Earning rate: 2% everywhere
Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Virgin Atlantic ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Chase United MileagePlus® Club Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X United ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 3X on Air France, KLM, and SkyTeam purchases ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
United Club Business Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X United ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 10X at CC hotels ⚬ 5X elsewhere.
Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 10X at CC hotels ⚬ 5X elsewhere.
The Amex EveryDay Card (with 20 purchases per billing cycle)
Base
Grocery
Earning rate: Make 20 or more purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points, less returns and credits ⚬ With 20% more points, earn: 2.4X points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1.2x) ⚬ 1.2X on other purchases
Bank of America Cash Rewards (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards)
Base
1.75%
Travel
5.25%
Dine
5.25%
Gas
5.25%
Grocery
3.5%
Shop
5.25%
Other
5.25%
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, earn: 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 5.25% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter
Major League Baseball BankAmericard Cash Rewards card (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards)
Base
1.75%
Travel
5.25%
Dine
5.25%
Gas
5.25%
Grocery
3.5%
Shop
5.25%
Other
5.25%
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program, earn: 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 5.25% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards for Business)
Base
1.75%
Travel
5.25%
Dine
3.5%
Gas
5.25%
Phone
5.25%
Office
5.25%
Biz
5.25%
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, this card earns: 3.5% on dining plus 5.25% on 1 choice from: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services (for the first $50,000 in combined choice/dining purchases each calendar year, 1.75% thereafter) and 1.75% everywhere else.
Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card issued by Barclays
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X at Choice Hotels and on purchases of Choice Hotels points or gift cards ⚬ 2X everywhere else
Capital One Spark Miles Select Business Credit Card
Base
Travel
Earning rate: 1.5X everywhere ⚬ Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Base
Travel
Other
Earning rate: 5X flights and prepaid hotels at AmexTravel.com ⚬ 1.5X points per dollar on eligible purchases of $5000 or more (up to 1 million additional Membership Rewards points per year) ⚬ 1X elsewhere
The Platinum Card® from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
Base
Travel
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
American Express® Gold Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery
Earning rate: 3X points for flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com ⚬ 4x points at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) ⚬ 4x at restaurants worldwide ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
Base
Travel
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X at AmexTravel.com ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply.
The Gold Card from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: 2X points for Flights booked directly with airlines and at U.S. Restaurants
American Express® Business Gold Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Biz
Earning rate: Earn 4X on the two categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from the following categories: ⚬ US purchases at restaurants ⚬ Airfare purchased directly from airlines ⚬ U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ⚬ U.S. purchases at gas stations ⚬ U.S. purchases for shipping ⚬ U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. 4X applies to first $150,000 in combined purchases in your two categories each calendar year, 1X point per dollar thereafter and on other purchases. Terms apply.
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express
Base
Travel
Gas
Biz
Earning rate: Earn 3X on one of your choice, 2X on rest. [3X choices: ⚬ Airfare purchased directly from airlines ⚬ U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ⚬ U.S. purchases at gas stations ⚬ U.S. purchases for shipping ⚬ U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. 3X and 2X apply to first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter.
American Express® Green Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X on travel & transit (including flights, hotels, taxis, and rideshares) ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 1X points on other purchases. Terms apply. See
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Base
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: ⚬ 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x) ⚬ 2x points at US gas stations ⚬ 1x points on other purchases.
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Base
Grocery
Earning rate: ⚬ 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x) ⚬ 1x on other purchases
The Morgan Stanley Credit Card from American Express
Base
Travel
Dine
Shop
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X U.S. Restaurants ⚬ 2X select U.S. Department Stores ⚬ 2X Car Rentals Purchased Directly from Select Car Rental Companies ⚬ 2X Airfare Purchased Directly from Airlines
The Platinum Card® from American Express for Schwab
Base
Travel
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Base
Travel
Earning rate: 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X points for prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley
Base
Travel
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel ⚬ 5X prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
Base
Travel
Shop
Other
Earning rate: 5x prepaid hotel & car rental through Altitude Rewards Center ⚬ 3X travel and mobile wallet payments
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® card
Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X restaurants ⚬ 2X gas stations and airlines
Chase Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
Base
Travel
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X office supplies, 5X cellular/landline/cable ⚬ 2X gas and hotels ⚬ 5X Lyft
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® card
Base
Travel
Gas
Grocery
Phone
Other
Earning rate: 2X charity and then 2X in one of the following: cell phone providers, gas, grocery, or airline purchases (whichever category you spend most on each month).
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 2X Travel and Dining ⚬ 5X Lyft (through March 2022)
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Other
Earning rate: 3X travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year) ⚬ 5X Lyft
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 3X Travel and Dining ⚬ 10X Lyft (through March 2022)
Chase Freedom Flex (First Year)
Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery
Other
Earning rate: 5X grocery on up to $12K spend in first year, excludes Target & Walmart ⚬ 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter.
Chase Freedom Flex
Base
Travel
Dine
Shop
Other
Earning rate: 5x travel booked through Chase ⚬ 5X Lyft ⚬ 3x dining ⚬ 3x drugstores ⚬ 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q4 2020: 5X Walmart & Paypal
Chase Freedom Visa
Base
Shop
Earning rate: 5X Lyft ⚬ 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q4 2020: 5X Walmart & Paypal
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Travel Rewards Visa® Card
Base
Travel
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X cell phone ⚬ 2X charity ⚬ 2X gas, office supply, or airline purchases (whichever is most each month).
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft
Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants / cafes / coffee shops, airlines, local transit, fitness clubs and gym memberships ⚬ 4X Hyatt
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® credit card
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: 3x travel (includes airlines, hotels, and car rentals) ⚬ 2x dining
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Other
Earning rate: 3X flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, dining, gas, rideshares, transit, and streaming services
Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card
Base
Earning rate: 5X gas, grocery, drugstore for 6 months
Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card (First 6 Months)
Base
Gas
Grocery
Other
Earning rate: 5X gas, grocery, drugstore for 6 months
Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® card
Base
Earning rate: 5X gas, grocery, drugstore for 6 months
Wells Fargo Rewards Visa (First 6 Months)
Base
Gas
Grocery
Other
Earning rate: 5X gas, grocery, drugstore for 6 months
UBS Visa Infinite Business
Base
Travel
Phone
Office
Biz
Earning rate: 3x for air travel and hotel stays, 2x for eligible business expenses (office supplies, business cable/internet, shipping, business phone and advertising), 1X everywhere else
Chase Hyatt Visa Signature
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants, airlines, car rentals ⚬ 3X Hyatt
UBS Visa Signature
Base
Earning rate:
UBS Visa Infinite
Base
Travel
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: 3x for commercial air travel, 2x for gas and groceries, and 1X everywhere else
Bank of America Travel Rewards
Base
1.5X
(1.5%)
Travel
Earning rate: 1.5X everywhere; 3X for travel booked through BOA's travel center
BOA Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard
Base
1.5X
(1.5%)
Travel
Earning rate: 1.5X everywhere; 3X for travel booked through BOA's travel center
Discover it Business - Double cash back your first year
Base
1.5X
(1.5%)
Earning rate: 1.5% cash back for all spend.
FNBO TravElite Credit Card
Base
1.5X
(1.5%)
Travel
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Travel ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Capital One Spark Cash Select Business Credit Card
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5% everywhere
Discover it Miles - Double Miles your first year
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5 miles per dollar for all spend.
Bank of America Premium Rewards
Base
1.5%
Travel
2%
Dine
2%
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X travel and dining ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else
Barclaycard CashForward
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5% everywhere
Schwab Investor Card® from American Express
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5% on all eligible purchases
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5% on all eligible purchases
Capital One Quicksilver
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5% everywhere
Wells Fargo Business Platinum Visa® card
Base
1.5%
Earning rate: 1.5% cash back everywhere if you choose the cash back program (note that you must opt in to the cash back program at account opening to get the signup bonus and 1.5% everywhere. If you choose points, this card earns 1x everywhere and a bonus 1,000 points in any statement period that you spend $1,000 or more.
Citi Business ThankYou Card
Base
Other
Earning rate: 3X rotating quarterly categories
Citi ThankYou Prestige Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: 5X airfare, dining, and travel agencies ⚬ 3X hotels and cruise line ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Citi Premier Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: 3X grocery ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 3X gas stations ⚬ 3X flights, hotels, travel agencies
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
Base
Dine
Other
Earning rate: 2X dining and entertainment
Citi Rewards+ Card
Base
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: 2X at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year ⚬ Round up to nearest 10 TY points on all purchases
Citi Rewards+ Student Card
Base
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: 2X at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year ⚬ Round up to nearest 10 TY points on all purchases
AT&T Access More Card
Base
Travel
Shop
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3 points per $1 on products and services that are purchased directly from AT&T ⚬ 3 points per $1 on all purchases at online retail and travel sites ⚬ 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
AT&T Access Card
Base
Travel
Shop
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2 points per $1 on products and services that are purchased directly from AT&T ⚬ 2 points per $1 on all purchases at online retail and travel sites ⚬ 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 6X Marriott ⚬ 2X on all other eligible purchases
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 6X Marriott Bonvoy ⚬ 2X everywhere else
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Earning rate: 6x at Marriott Bonvoy properties ⚬ 4x U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased from U.S. suppliers and on U.S. purchases for shipping ⚬ 2x on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: 3X airfare charged by airline; 3X US restaurants, 6X Marriott; 2X on all other eligible purchases
Chase Ritz Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 6X Ritz & Marriott.⚬ 3X airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, at car rental agencies and at restaurants ⚬ 2X everywhere else
Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business
Base
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Earning rate: 6X Marriott ⚬ 4X dining, internet, cable and phone service ⚬ 4X gas stations and shipping ⚬ 2X everywhere else.
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Card
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest
Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 2X at at participating Rapid Rewards® hotel and rental car partners ⚬ 2X Southwest
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Southwest ⚬ 2x on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 7X Hilton spend ⚬ 5X US restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ⚬ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 12X Hilton spend ⚬ 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases (flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel; car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; US restaurants; US gas stations; wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service provider; US shipping purchases) ⚬ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 14X Hilton spend ⚬ 7X US restaurants, flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, select car rental companies ⚬ 3X on all other eligible purchases ⚬ Terms & Limitations Apply.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 12X Hilton spend ⚬ 6X U.S. restaurants, US Supermarkets, and US gas stations ⚬ 3X on all other eligible purchases
Barclays JetBlue Plus Mastercard
Base
Dine
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants and grocery ⚬ 6X JetBlue ⚬ 1X everywhere else
JetBlue Business Card
Base
Dine
Office
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants and office supply stores ⚬ 6X JetBlue ⚬ 1X everywhere else
JetBlue Card
Base
Dine
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants and grocery ⚬ 3X JetBlue ⚬ 1X everywhere else⚬
Capital One Venture One Credit Card
Base
1.25X
(1.31%)
Other
Earning rate: 1.25X everywhere. Through 1/31/21: 5X Uber Eats.
AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business MasterCard®
Base
Travel
Phone
Office
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X AA, office supply, telecommunications services, and at car rental agencies ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Emirates ⚬ 2X airfare, hotel, and car rentals ⚬ 1X everywhere else
United℠ Business Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Other
Earning rate: 2X at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores ⚬ 2X United ⚬ 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services
United Gateway Card
Base
Gas
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 2X United ⚬ 2X gas stations ⚬ 2X local transit and commuting
Chase United Explorer Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: 2X United ⚬ 2X restaurants ⚬ 2X on hotel stays
United Club℠ Infinite Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 4X United ⚬ 2X dining & travel
Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business
Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Earning rate: 2X at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores ⚬ 2X United.
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Alaska Airlines ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Alaska Airlines ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Virgin Atlantic White Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Virgin Atlantic ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Asiana Airlines Visa Signature
Base
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X gas and grocery ⚬ 3X Asiana.
Asiana Airlines Visa Business Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2X Asiana
Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Emirates ⚬ 2X airfare, hotel, and car rentals ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business Credit Card from American Express
Base
Travel
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 3X purchases made directly with hotels ⚬ 1.5X on purchases of $5K or more (max 50K extra miles per year)
AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver World Elite MasterCard®
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X AA ⚬ 2X hotel and car rentals ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Korean Air SKYPASS Business Visa issued by US Bank
Base
Travel
Gas
Brand
Earning rate: 2X miles on Korean Air, Gas Stations, Hotels
Avianca Vuela Visa Card
Base
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Avianca ⚬ 2X gas & grocery ⚬ Free bag for travel between US & South America
Avianca Vida Visa Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2X Avianca
Korean Air SKYPASS Visa issued by US Bank
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2X Korean Air
Korean Air SKYPASS Select Visa issued by US Bank
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 2X miles on Korean Air, Other Airlines, Car Rental, Hotels
Delta SkyMiles® Blue Credit Card from American Express
Base
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: 2X restaurants worldwide ⚬ 2X Delta ⚬ 1X on all other eligible purchases
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Credit Card from American Express
Base
Dine
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 2X Delta ⚬ 2x restaurants worldwide ⚬ 2x US supermarkets
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business Credit Card from American Express
Base
Dine
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 2X Delta ⚬ 2X U.S. purchases for advertising in select media ⚬ 2X U.S. shipping purchases ⚬ 2X restaurants
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X AA ⚬ 1X everywhere else
TD Aeroplan™ Visa® Credit Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2X Aeroplan miles per dollar spent on Air Canada purchases
CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard
Base
Travel
Gas
Phone
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X AA ⚬ 2X certain telecommunications merchants ⚬ 2X car rental merchants ⚬ 2X gas
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card
Base
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 2X grocery ⚬ 2X AA ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Credit Card from American Express
Base
Travel
Dine
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 3X purchases made directly with hotels ⚬ 2X restaurants ⚬ 2X US Supermarkets
JAL USA CARD
Base
Earning rate:
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve for Business Credit Card
Base
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 3X Delta ⚬ 1.5X on all spend per calendar year after spending $150K
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
Base
Dine
Gas
Brand
Earning rate: 2X restaurants ⚬ 2X gas ⚬ 2X AA
PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express Card
Base
Travel
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X or 4X Travel ⚬ 1.5X everywhere else ⚬ 4X travel for Access America
Checking account holders and military members
Best Western Rewards Premium MasterCard issued by First Bankcard
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 10X at Best Western properties ⚬ 2X elsewhere
Radisson Rewards Visa Signature Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 6X at CC hotels ⚬ 3X elsewhere
HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card
Base
Travel
Earning rate: 2x travel (includes airlines, hotels, and car rentals)
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X airline, hotel, taxi, limousine, rental car, train bus, restaurant, fast food and takeout food and dining purchases ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X British Airways. Iberia, and Open Skies purchases ⚬ 2X hotels ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Chase Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Aer Lingus, Iberia, British Airways, LEVEL and OpenSkies ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Chase Iberia Visa Signature® Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, LEVEL and OpenSkie ⚬ 1X elsewhere
Cathay Pacific Visa Signature card
Base
Dine
Brand
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X Cathay Pacific ⚬ 1.5X dining ⚬ 1.5X purchases outside of the US ⚬ 1X everywhere else
BB&T Spectrum Rewards
Base
1.05X
(1.05%)
Earning rate: 3% cash back on all net qualified purchases for the first 90 days, then 1%
Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2x Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara
TD First Class Visa Signature® Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: 3X travel & dining
Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard®
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 3x Norwegian cruise line purchases ⚬ 2x air and hotel
Royal Caribbean® Visa Signature® Credit Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2x Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara
U.S. BANK ALTITUDE® GO VISA SIGNATURE® CARD
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Earning rate: 4X take out, food delivery (including apps like GrubHub, UberEATS, etc), and dining ⚬ 2X grocery (including meal kit delivery), gas stations, and streaming services
BBVA
ClearPoints Credit Card
Base
Earning rate: Choose one of ten categories for 3x and one for 2x each quarter, then 1x everywhere else. Must choose 3x and 2x categories before each quarter starts or all purchases will default to 1x. You may select your categories as early as the first day of the preceeding quarter. Bonus categories are not capped.
Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard®
Base
Travel
Dine
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X Miles for travel and dining ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Discover it®
Base
Shop
Earning rate: 5X in rotating categories, up to $1500 spend per quarter. 2020 Q4: 5% Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com
Discover it® for Students
Base
Shop
Earning rate: 5X in rotating categories, up to $1500 spend per quarter. 2020 Q4: 5% Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com
Amazon Business American Express Card
Base
1%
Dine
2%
Gas
2%
Grocery
5%
Shop
5%
Phone
2%
Brand
5%
Other
2%
Earning rate: Prime Members: 5% in Amazon rewards on US purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com, Whole Foods. 2% Back in Amazon rewards at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on US wireless telephone services
“Old” Blue Cash Card from American Express
Base
1%
Grocery
5%
Other
5%
Earning rate: ⚬ Up to 5% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations & select U.S. drugstores (Everyday Purchases) ⚬ Up to 1% Cash Back on other purchases. ⚬ For your first $6,500 in purchases in a reward year, you will earn 1% on Everyday Purchases (5% thereafter), and 0.5% on other purchases (then 1%) ⚬ Terms Apply.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Base
1%
Gas
2%
Grocery
3%
Shop
2%
Earning rate: ⚬ 3% cash back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) ⚬ 2% cash back at US gas stations and select US department stores ⚬ 1% cash back on other purchases ⚬ Terms apply.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Gas
3%
Grocery
6%
Shop
3%
Other
6%
Earning rate: ⚬ 6% cash back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) ⚬ 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. ⚬ 3% Cash Back on transit (includes taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 3% cash back US gas stations ⚬ 1% cash back on other purchases ⚬ Terms apply.
Upromise World MasterCard® issued by Barclays
Base
1%
Shop
2%
Brand
5%
Other
2%
Earning rate: ⚬ 5% cash back on eligible Online Shopping through Upromise.com (in addition to portal cash back) ⚬ 2% cash back at eligible in-store department stores and movie theaters ⚬ 1% cash back on all other purchases
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Gas
3%
Phone
5%
Office
5%
Biz
3%
Earning rate: ⚬ 5% US office supply stores and US wireless phone services ⚬ 3% your choice from list of categories (e.g. airfare, hotels, car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, select media buys, shipping,computer) ⚬ 1% other purchases. 3% and 5% rebates are capped at $50,000 per rebate year and then earn 1% thereafter. Terms Apply.
AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature Card
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Gas
2%
Grocery
2%
Shop
2%
Brand
3%
Other
2%
Earning rate: 3% travel & AAA ⚬ 2% gas, grocery store, wholesale club and drugstore purchases ⚬ 1% back everywhere else
Costco Anywhere Visa
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
3%
Gas
4%
Earning rate: ⚬ 4% gas (up to $7K spend / year) ⚬ 3% restaurant & travel; 2% Costco ⚬ 1% everywhere else
Citi Dividend Platinum Select
Base
1%
Other
5%
Earning rate: 5X on rotating categories each quarter. 5% limited to $6K spend per year. 2020 Q1 = Fitness Clubs and supermarkets
ABOC Platinum Rewards
Base
1%
Shop
5%
Other
5%
Earning rate: 5x in rotating categories, up to $1500 spend per quarter. 2020 Q4: Department Stores, Target (in-store & online), Walmart (in-store & online), Costco (online only), Electronics stores, Amazon.com
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World EliteTM Mastercard
Base
1%
Gas
3%
Phone
3%
Office
3%
Earning rate: 3% back at gas stations, office supply stores, and cell phone/service providers ⚬ 1% back everywhere else ⚬ Note: purchases of gaoline greater than $200 will not be deemed to be a purchase of automotive gasoline and will therefore earn only 1%.
Huntington Voice
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
3%
Gas
3%
Grocery
3%
Shop
3%
Office
3%
Biz
3%
Other
3%
Earning rate: 3% cash back on up to $2K in spend in the category you choose each quarter: gas stations, travel & entertainment, restaurants, discount & warehouse stores, grocery stores, utilities & office supply stores, electronics and computer and camera stores, department and apparel and sporting good stores, auto parts & service, and home improvement stores
U.S. Bank Cash+
Base
1%
Travel
5%
Dine
2%
Gas
2%
Grocery
2%
Shop
5%
Phone
5%
Other
5%
Earning rate: Each quarter, choose two 5% cash back categories (capped at $2K spend per quarter combined) and one 2% category (uncapped). 1% cash back everywhere else. 5% Categories: Home Utilities ⚬ Ground Transportation ⚬ Select Clothing Stores ⚬ Cell Phone Providers ⚬ Electronic Stores ⚬ TV, Internet & Streaming Services ⚬ Gyms/Fitness Centers ⚬ Fast Food ⚬ Sporting Goods Stores ⚬ Department Stores ⚬ Furniture Stores ⚬ Movie Theaters. 2% Categories: Gas Stations ⚬ Restaurants ⚬ Grocery Stores
Affinity Cash Rewards Visa® Signature Credit Card
Base
1%
Dine
7%
Gas
2%
Grocery
2%
Other
5%
Earning rate: 5% back at all bookstores, including Amazon (note: this is capped at $3500 in purchases per month) ⚬ Extra 5% back in rotating categories (Q3 2020: Clothing & Home Furnishings) ⚬ 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets
Rakuten (formerly Ebates) Cash Back Visa issued by Synchrony Bank
Base
1%
Brand
3%
Earning rate: 3% cash back on qualified purchases made through the Ebates portal ⚬ 1% cash back everywhere else.
BBVA Compass NBA American Express Card
Base
1%
Gas
2%
Grocery
2%
Brand
3%
Other
5%
Earning rate: 2X gas and grocery ⚬ 3X NBA purchases ⚬ 5X on all purchases during the NBA All-Star Weekend and two weeks of the NBA finals
TD Cash Visa Credit Card
Base
1%
Dine
3%
Grocery
2%
Earning rate: ⚬ 3% dining ⚬ 2% grocery stores
TD Business Solutions Visa
Base
1%
Dine
2%
Gas
2%
Phone
3%
Earning rate: ⚬ 3% phone, internet and cable services ⚬ 2% dining and gas stations
AARP Credit Card from Chase
Base
1%
Dine
3%
Gas
3%
Earning rate: 3% restaurants and gas stations.
U.S. Bank Business Leverage® Visa Signature® Card
Base
1%
Other
2%
Earning rate: 2x on top two categories where you spend the most each month.
Disney Visa Card
Base
1%
Earning rate:
Marvel MasterCard from Synchrony
Base
1%
Brand
3%
Other
3%
Earning rate: ⚬ 3% cash back for dining, select entertainment, and Marvel purchases
(Select entertainment = Movie Theatres, Video Rental and Game Stores, Theatrical and Concert Promoters, Amusement Parks, Digital Entertainment, Games and Software, Music, Books and Newsstands, Toys and Hobby Stores)
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
2%
Gas
3%
Phone
3%
Office
3%
Biz
3%
Earning rate: 2% on dining plus 3% on 1 choice from: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services (for the first $50,000 in combined choice/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% everywhere else.
Capital One Savor One
Base
1%
Dine
3%
Grocery
2%
Other
3%
Earning rate: ⚬ 3% on dining & entertainment ⚬ 2% on purchases at grocery stores ⚬ 1% everywhere else ⚬ Through 1/31/21: 5% Uber Eats.
Bank of America Cash Rewards
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
3%
Gas
3%
Grocery
2%
Shop
3%
Other
3%
Earning rate: 3% back on your choice of the following: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drugstores, home improvement & furnishings (can choose a new category monthly). ⚬ 2% back at grocery stores & wholesale clubs ⚬ 1% back everywhere else. 2% and 3% rewards are capped at $2500 in combined purchases per quarter
Capital One Savor
Base
1%
Dine
4%
Grocery
2%
Other
4%
Earning rate: 4% cash back on dining and entertainment ⚬ 2% at grocery stores ⚬ 8% back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020 ⚬ 1% everywhere else ⚬ Through 1/31/21: 5% Uber Eats.
BBVA Compass Select
Base
1%
Other
3%
Earning rate: Choose one category (e.g. Airlines) to earn 3x points; Choose 2 categories (e.g. Dining & Hotels) to earn 2x points ⚬ Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
Major League Baseball® BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ MasterCard® credit card
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
3%
Gas
3%
Grocery
2%
Shop
3%
Other
3%
Earning rate: 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 3% on one category of your choice between gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings (can choose a new category monthly) up to the first $2,500 in combined 2% and 3% category purchases each quarter, then 1%.
Costco Anywhere Business Visa
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
3%
Gas
4%
Brand
2%
Earning rate: ⚬ 4% gas (up to $7K spend / year) ⚬ 3% restaurant & travel ⚬ 2% Costco ⚬ 1% everywhere else
Frontier Airlines World MasterCard®
Base
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: 5X at FlyFrontier.com ⚬ 3X restaurants
Uber Visa Card
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: 5% Uber Cash for Uber spend (including UberEATS) ⚬ 3% Uber Cash for dining, hotels, and airfare ⚬ 1% Uber Cash everywhere else
The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® issued by Barclays
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Hawaiian Airlines ⚬ 2x gas, dining, and grocery stores ⚬ 1x everywhere else
Sonesta World Mastercard
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: 2X airfare, car rental and dining ⚬ 3X Sonesta
The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® issued by Barclays
Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Hawaiian Airlines ⚬ 2x gas, dining, and office supply stores ⚬ 1x everywhere else
Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card
Base
Travel
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Marriott Bonvoy ⚬ 2X travel ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier
Base
Travel
Dine
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X airline, car rental, & restaurants ⚬ 5X Marriott.
Citi® Expedia+ Credit Card
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Expedia purchases
Citi® Expedia®+ Voyager Card
Base
Dine
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 4X Expedia purchases ⚬ 2x restaurants & entertainment
Wyndham Rewards Visa issued by Barclays (no annual fee)
Base
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 3X Wyndham ⚬ 2X gas, utility & grocery ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Wyndham Rewards Earner Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X Wyndham & gas ⚬ 2X restaurants & grocery ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 6X Wyndham & gas ⚬ 4X restaurants & grocery ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Card
Base
Gas
Phone
Biz
Brand
Other
Earning rate: 8X Wyndham & gas ⚬ 5X marketing, advertising, and utilities (telecommunications, cable, satellite, electric, gas, heating oil and water) ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Wyndham Rewards Visa issued by Barclays
Base
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X Wyndham ⚬ 2X gas, utility, & grocery ⚬ 1X everywhere else
Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: 10X IHG ⚬ 2X gas, grocery, and restaurants.
Chase IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X IHG ⚬ 2X gas, grocery, and restaurants
Chase IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X IHG ⚬ 2X gas, grocery, and restaurants
LATAM Visa Signature issued by US Bank
Base
Brand
Earning rate: 2X on spending with LAN & TAM
BOA Platinum Business Visa
Base
0%
Earning rate:

At the time of this writing, the Amex Blue Business Plus offers the best “everywhere else” value (3.1%); next is the first year of the Discover It Miles card (which offers the equivalent of 3%), and the Citi Double Cash comes in third (2.9%).  The only reason that the Blue Business Plus and Double Cash cards aren’t tied is that we somewhat arbitrarily set the value of Amex Membership Rewards points a little higher than Citi ThankYou points.  If you’re interested in the full background on this, please see: A big change to Frequent Miler’s point values.

Premium Rewards with Platinum Honors

Bank of America Card

Another card that shows up in the top 5 list (at the time of this writing) is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards.  This card offers only 1.5% cash back for base spend, but with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards status, cardholders get a 75% bonus on rewards earned.  This combination turns the card into a 2.62% everywhere powerhouse.  For details, see: Bank of America cards: awesome if you’ve got $100K lying around.

I’ve posted elsewhere that this is my “everywhere else” card (see: What’s in Greg’s Wallet?).  And readers have asked why.  Why use a card that offers 2.62% returns when I could average 2.9% with the Citi Double Cash or 3.1% with the Amex Blue Business Plus?

Reader question: Why do you continue to use the BoA Card?

2x Everywhere Cards and Diminishing returns

The 2X Everywhere cards from Amex and Citi offer better than 2.62% rewards when using our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) to estimate point values.  Let’s consider what that means.  RRVs are estimates of the value at which it is reasonably easy to get that much value or more.  When transferring points to airline miles and booking awards, it’s reasonable to assume that you can get equal or better than 1.45 cents per point value with ThankYou points and equal or better than 1.55 cents per point value with Amex Membership Rewards.

The problem with blindly using the above numbers is that there’s a diminishing return to earning more points once you already have many.  If you already have enough points to cover trips you are likely to take in the foreseeable future, then any additional points you accumulate become less likely to be used towards good value, or at all.

This concept may be easier to understand if we take a very specific points currency as an example.  Consider Amtrak points.  Amtrak points are worth up to 2.56 cents each on Acela trains and up to 2.9 cents each on other routes.  So, a card that earns only 1 Amtrak point per dollar, actually offers a decent rate of return towards Amtrak trips.  In fact, at the time of this writing, Amtrak credit cards made it into our top 10 list of the best cards for everyday spend.

With that background, imagine now that you’re planning an Amtrak trip that will offer 2.9 cents per point value.  The more concrete your plans, the more sensible it would be to earn points through Amtrak credit card spend.  But, suppose too that this is a “one and done” trip.  You don’t expect to ride Amtrak again afterwards.  In that case, it makes sense to use an Amtrak credit card to earn the required points, but it makes no sense at all to continue using the card once you’ve earned enough for this trip.  Advanced players may note that Amtrak points have another good potential use (converting points 1 to 3 to Choice points), but that complicates my story so pretend that’s not a factor for this discussion.  Or, see this post to understand why Choice is not as good of a deal as you thought.

Deciding how many transferable points you want or need is not nearly as straightforward as with Amtrak points, but the general concept is similar.  It makes sense to keep earning until you get to the point where you’re less likely to use extra points.  I can’t tell you how many you need to feel like you’re there.  In my case, I have enough in either program (Amex Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou Rewards) for several international first class trips or even more business class trips.  Plus, I have many points in specific loyalty programs (AA, Alaska, ANA, Avianca, BA, Delta, United, Virgin Atlantic, …) such that I don’t even need to dip into transferable points for a very long time.  So, I’m there.  I’m at the point where acquiring new transferable points is no longer a priority.  I’ll happily take them when they’re easy pickings, but I won’t pay a lot for them…

Buying points, inadvertently

I’ve written about this concept many times in the past, so I’ll just touch on it quickly here.  When you have both a points-earning credit card and a cash back credit card and you opt to use the points-earning credit card, the result is functionally equivalent to buying points.  For Nick’s coverage of this topic, see: How much do you pay for your miles and points?

In my case, I can choose to earn 2 Amex or Citi points per dollar or I can earn 2.62% cash back.  If I choose to earn points, that’s functionally equivalent to buying points for 1.31 cents each.  When comparing to most airline mile sales, that’s a great deal.  But, if I don’t need additional points (as I explained in the above section), it’s suddenly a bad deal.  It simply doesn’t make sense for me to invest in acquiring more points.

The exception is when I have the opportunity to buy points for less than the cash-out value.  Since I have the Schwab Platinum card, I can cash out Amex points for 1.25 cents each.  And since I have the Citi Prestige card, I can cash out Citi points for 1 cent each.  If I had the opportunity to buy Amex points for less than 1.25 cents each or Citi points for less than 1 cent each, I’d do it because it would be a money making deal.  Put another way, if I didn’t have a cash back card that offered 2.5% back or better, I’d use the Blue Business Plus card.  And if I didn’t have that Amex card and didn’t have a better than 2% cash back card, I’d use the Citi Double Cash.

Other factors

It’s not the focus of this post, but it’s worth pointing out that points have two major disadvantages over cash:

  1. Cash can be invested.  Points can’t.
  2. Points devalue more dramatically than cash.  Cash devalues with inflation, but you can partially offset that problem by investing it.  If your investment results outpace inflation, then you win.  Points devalue when airline programs increase award rates.  Holding onto transferable points rather than specific airline miles helps alleviate devaluations because they support many programs and some devalue less often or less harshly than others.  And sometimes an airline program introduces new options that make the miles more valuable.  With transferable points, there’s a reasonable chance that such a program is a transfer partner.  But, still, the general trend over time is toward less value rather than more.

Conclusion

Point programs, and especially transferable points programs, have the ability to offer outsized value.  Our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs) give you a mid-point idea of what value you should be able to expect.  With the best transferable points programs and a bit of research, you should be able to get much more value than the RRV.  That’s why I love these transferable points programs.

On the other hand, there are diminishing returns to earning more and more points.  Once you have all of the points that you are likely to use towards good value, any additional points may be used for worse value or never used at all.  Once you have a comfortable pile of points, my advice is to focus elsewhere on other valuable points.  Once you have a comfortable pile of each of the transferable points currencies, it makes sense to focus instead on cash back.  That’s where I’m at.  And that’s why my Bank of America Premium Rewards card with Platinum Honors is the “everywhere else” card in my wallet.

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