Maximizing Category Spend Bonuses on Credit Card Spend

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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

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 bonuspointsmall.com 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
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: 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
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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.