Which Credit Card Is Best for Avid Shoppers?
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TPG reader Katie tweeted me to ask:
@thepointsguy—"I currently have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but I do a lot of shopping, so what other credit card(s) should I get?"
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of my favorite credit cards because you get double points on all travel and dining. The travel category includes all sorts of expenses you might not expect, like tolls and parking. It's the perfect card to have if you travel a lot and dine out often, which is pretty much what I love to do!
If you already have this card and (like Katie) you love to shop, there are some other options. If you love high-end shopping, there isn't one specific card that offers a good bonus. However, some cards will occasionally offer bonuses on department store shopping, like the Chase Freedom card (No longer open to new applicants) or the Discover It Cash Back card. Sometimes you can also get bonuses for shopping on Amazon.com.
Aside from the above cards that may offer you bonuses for shopping at specific retailers, I would suggest using the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express for your shopping expenses. In my most recent monthly valuations, I list Starpoints at 2.4 cents apiece, making them the most valuable points out there, especially if you value hotel stays and the flexibility to transfer to airlines. You can also redeem Starpoints for experiences, which I recently did when I took my dad to see a Knicks game in the SPG Luxury suite.
Basically I love the SPG program, and I also love Amex for shopping because they offer strong purchase protection and extended warranty programs. I've always had very positive experiences when it comes to Amex protecting my purchases. So, added protection plus highly valuable points makes shopping with the SPG Amex a win-win.
Another tip is to make sure you do any online shopping through shopping portals. Many stores offer big bonuses, especially around the holidays, back to school, Mother's Day, or just randomly. This holiday season we saw some retailers (like Neiman Marcus) offering up to 10 miles per dollar spent through portals. We've recently seen some gift and flower retailers offer up to 35 miles per dollar spent.
An easy way to maximize your earnings through shopping portals is by using EVReward, which tells you how much you can earn at a given retailer through all the major portals. This way, you're double dipping and getting as many points or cash-back rewards as possible for your purchases.
Finally, you could simply get a card that offers a big sign-up bonus, like the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points you get after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Chase Ink Plus card. If you know you're going to spend that amount anyway, the sign-up bonus should offer a greater overall return than you could get otherwise.