Maximizing Category Spend Bonuses on Credit Card Spend

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Platinum Card from American ExpressSimplyCash Business Card from American Express,The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

TPG reader Tim recently emailed me that he wants to get at least two points per dollar for every single dollar he spends on his credit card. I think that’s a pretty interesting goal and one that’s more attainable than ever as more and more credit cards have added category spend thresholds. Here is a listing of the main cards and their special spend bonuses. Feel free to add your favorite bonus in the comment section. Note: I left out the spend bonuses for spend via shopping portals like and individual hotels/airlines.

I’ve also italicized the cards that have points that transfer to airline/hotel programs, making them even more valuable than cash back-type rewards. I’ve also bolded the cards that either I have or plan to get as part of my overall strategy to maximize my credit card spend. Feel free to share your thoughts/strategy in the comments section!

American Express
American Express Premier Rewards Gold– 3x for airfare, 2x for gas and groceries. 15,000 point bonus with $30,000 in spend each calendar year.
American Express Business Gold Rewards- 3X points per dollar on airfare (on all scheduled U.S. and international passenger airlines), 2X points on advertising with select media (graphic design, tradeshows and advertising services), gas (from stand-alone U.S. gas and commercial fuel stations) and shipping (in the U.S. for courier, postal, and freight services) and 1X points on everything else.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred- 6x at standalone US supermarkets up to $6,000 in purchases, 3x at standalone US gas stations and select major department stores.
American Express Blue Cash Rewards- 3x cash at standalone US supermarkets up to $6,000 in purchases, 2x at standalone US gas stations and select major department stores.
American Express TrueEarnings Costco- Update: The terms of the True Earnings Card from Costco have changed. View the current offer here. 3x on gasoline purchases at standalone US stations and Costco up to $4,000, 2x for dining out at US restaurants and qualifying travel purchases
American Express SimplyCash Business- 5x cash back up to $25,000 in purchases at U.S. office supply stores,  U.S. wireless telephone service providers, 3x cash back on standalone US gasoline gas stations.
American Express Co-Branded Fidelity Cards (Require Fidelity accounts)– 2x on everything

Capital One
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card– 2x on every purchase
Capital One Cash Rewards for Newcomers- 2x on travel
Capital One MTV- 5x on entertainment and 2x on restaurants
Capital One LSU- 2x on gas and groceries

Chase Ink Business – 5x office supplies, wireless and land-line phone and cable (incl internet), 2x on gas and dining
Chase Ink Classic – 5x office supplies, wireless and land-line phone and cable (incl internet), 2x on fuel and lodging
Chase Sapphire Preferred– 2x on travel and dining
Chase United Club Card: 1.5 points on all spend, 2.5 on United airlines spend
Chase Freedom: 5x rotating categories: gas, drugstores, groceries, airfare, hotel, home improvement, home furnishings, lawn & garden, dining, department stores, movie theaters, charities (this card teams up well with Sapphire Preferred as I outlined in a previous post).

Citi Forward Card- 5x on restaurants, books, movies and music
Citi AT&T Universal Business Card- 5x on AT&T Products and services purchased directly from AT&T and 3x on gas station and certain office supplies and professional services
Citi Thank You Preferred– 2x points on purchases for dining and entertainment, and 1 ThankYou point for every dollar you spend on other purchases.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now
  • Get 40,000 points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with your Platinum Card.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status.
  • Get reservations with Platinum Card® Concierge to enjoy an exquisite dining experience with the #AmexPlatinum Dining Program. Learn more.
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Balance Transfer Credit Rating
N/A N/A $450 See Terms Excellent Credit