Small card transactions lead to big rewards: 17 ways to earn even more points
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When using a rewards credit card, you typically earn points based on the total amount of your purchase. Spend more money, earn more rewards. But in some cases, you also earn rewards based on the actual number of times you use your card. As such, well-timed small transactions can actually lead to big rewards.
For example, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express and the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express offer 20-50% in bonus rewards when you use your card a set number of times during each billing cycle. This is also particularly relevant right now because for February 2021, cardholders of the World of Hyatt Credit Card can also earn bonus World of Hyatt points after hitting specific transaction thresholds. If you’re close to a tier, you still have time to knock out a few easy items and maximize your earnings.
Today I’ll take a closer look at how to earn bonus rewards by hitting transaction thresholds with these cards. Then, I’ll describe some ways to meet these transaction thresholds and earn bonus rewards.
The information for the Amex EveryDay and Amex EveryDay Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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Amex EveryDay Card
Cardmembers of the no-annual-fee Amex EveryDay Card generally earn 2x Membership Rewards points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases) and 1x points on all other purchases. However, these earning rates are boosted by 20% each billing period in which you use your Amex EveryDay Card 20 or more times.
As such, when you make 20 or more purchases on your card in a billing cycle, you’ll earn 2.4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases) and 1.2x on all other purchases. Based on TPG’s valuation of Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, this means you can get up to a 4.8% return on purchases at U.S. supermarkets and up to a 2.4% return on everything else.
These returns are pretty impressive for a no-annual-fee card. As such, it can be worth going out of your way to ensure you hit the transaction threshold each billing period.
Amex EveryDay Preferred Card
In exchange for a $95 annual fee, cardmembers of the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card can get even higher earnings. Specifically, Amex EveryDay Preferred cardmembers earn 3x Membership Rewards points on groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 2x points on gas at U.S. gas stations and 1x points on all other purchases. But, you’ll earn 50% more points each billing period in which you use your Amex EveryDay Preferred Card 30 or more times.
During billing periods in which you achieve the 50% bonus, you’ll earn 4.5x points at U.S. grocery stores, which equates to an excellent 9% return based on TPG’s valuations. And with the 50% bonus, you’ll earn 3x points at U.S. gas stations for an effective 6% return. As such, getting to 30 transactions each billing period is a priority for many Amex EveryDay Preferred cardmembers.
Last chance: World of Hyatt Card promotion
Through February 2021, World of Hyatt is offering a promotion to encourage cardmembers to use their World of Hyatt card. Specifically, cardholders must register for the promotion by Feb. 28, 2021, and use their World of Hyatt Credit Card to make purchases of $1 or more between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28, 2021.
Cardholders will earn bonus points as follows:
- 1,000 bonus points after making 10 purchases
- 1,500 additional bonus points after making 25 total purchases
- 2,500 additional bonus points after making 50 total purchases
As such, if you register and make 50 total eligible purchases with your World of Hyatt card that post to your account in February 2021, you’ll earn a total of 5,000 bonus points. Based on TPG’s valuations, 5,000 World of Hyatt points are worth $85. It’s important to remember that these bonus points are on top of the World of Hyatt card’s standard earning rates.
As mentioned above, if you’re close to hitting that next tier, you still have time before the Feb. 28 deadline to knock out a few easy items and maximize your earnings.
How to meet transaction thresholds
The cards and promotions I discussed above require you to put between 20 and 50 transactions on your card during a billing period or month. Depending on your current shopping habits, this may be far more transactions than you usually make in a month or billing period.
But, with some planning, you can likely hit the transaction threshold without incurring any additional costs. For example, before I started traveling full-time as a digital nomad, I’d go to the grocery store most days on the way home from work. I’d use my Amex EveryDay Preferred Card on these supermarket runs. As such, I’d often rack up 15 to 20 of the 30 transactions I’d need each billing cycle with these grocery store trips.
Frequent or reoccurring purchases can also help you reach transaction thresholds. For example, if you buy a coffee each morning or a smoothie each afternoon, you may want to put these purchases on your card.
Another approach is to use your card as your everyday spending card until you reach the transaction threshold each month or billing cycle. Here are some other ideas if you find yourself running a bit short on your transaction count as the end of the month or billing cycle approaches:
- Buy a drink using your card
- Get a snack from a vending machine that accepts credit cards
- Use self-checkout and separate your purchases by spending category (for example, alcohol, groceries and household)
- Eat at a food truck court and buy each item from a different truck
- Do your laundry at a laundromat that takes credit cards
- Use your card for a few new ebooks
- Buy a couple of gallons of gas for your vehicle
- Download some new songs
- Use a gas station tire pump that takes credit cards
- Reload your Starbucks card
- Donate to your favorite charity
- Wash your car at a car wash that takes credit cards
- Reload your Amazon account
- Use your card for anything you usually purchase with gift cards, stored value cards or rewards
However, remember that transactions usually need to post to your account within the month or billing period. So, it’s best not to wait until the last few days of the month or billing cycle to boost your transaction count.
You can earn big rewards with the help of well-planned — and often small — transactions on credit cards that offer bonuses based on transaction thresholds. For example, if you’re willing to make 20 or 30 transactions on your card each billing cycle, the Amex EveryDay and Amex EveryDay Preferred can provide excellent returns. And World of Hyatt cardholders can earn bonus World of Hyatt points after reaching set transaction thresholds in February 2021.
If you decide to work toward one of these transaction thresholds, keep track of your transactions and ensure you hit your goal. After all, you don’t want to learn after the fact that you missed earning bonus rewards by just a swipe or two.
Featured image by AsiaVision/Getty Images.
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