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Maximizing Category Spend Bonuses on Credit Card Spend

Aug. 23, 2011
4 min read
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.

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
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express - 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.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express - 6% back; then 1% at standalone US supermarkets up to $6,000 in purchases, 3% at standalone US gas stations, and 1% on other purchases. Terms apply.
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 MileagePlus Club Card: 1.5 miles on all spend, 2X miles on United airlines spend
Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants): 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 ThankYou Preferred Card- 2x points on purchases for dining and entertainment, and 1 ThankYou point for every dollar you spend on other purchases.