Never just 1 point per dollar: Cards that earn 1.5x or more on all purchases
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Some of the most popular credit cards on the market feature a list of merchant categories that are eligible for bonus points, miles or cash back, followed by the well-worn phrase, “and you earn 1x points per dollar on all other purchases.”
One point per dollar might have been OK a decade or so ago, but now there are plenty of ways to earn more than 1x points per dollar on all non-bonus purchases.
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With competition fierce among credit card issuers, many have had to fend off one another and elevate the base earning rate of 1x points per dollar on a number of their credit card offerings. The good news for consumers is that there are now several cards available that offer impressive welcome bonuses and allow cardholders to earn a base rate of at least 1.5x points per dollar on any purchase.
Using a combination of TPG’s latest monthly valuations and the everyday earning rates across some different cards, here’s how you can leave earning just one point per dollar in the past.
Consumer cards that earn 1.5x or more on all purchases
|Card||Everyday spending rate||TPG valuation per point/mile||Value per dollar spent|
|Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card||2x||1.7||3.4|
|Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||1.5x (if you have at least 30 purchases per billing cycle)||2.0||3.0|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||1.5x||2.0||3.0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||2x||1.7||3.4|
The information for the Amex Everyday Preferred credit 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.
You’ve probably seen the commercials — this is the original card that offered double miles on all purchases.
But the value of the miles wasn’t always as high as it is now. The value jumped the first time when Capital One added transfer partners a few years ago. And now, in light of Capital One’s recent addition of new transfer partners, including some at the improved 1:1 transfer ratio, the Venture card offers exceptional value on everyday purchases that normally never qualify for a category bonus. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card.
This was one of the first cards with the potential to offer 1.5x points on all everyday purchases (hence its name), but there’s a significant catch.
You only earn 1.5x points per dollar on otherwise non-bonused purchases if you make 30 charges in a billing cycle to trigger a 50% multiplier. Otherwise, you just earn 1x on everyday spending for that month.
The card has some generous built-in bonus categories, too, that are also increased 50% if you hit 30 or more transactions that billing cycle. This includes 3x points per dollar (on up to $6,000 spent each year, then 1x) at U.S. supermarkets and 2x points per dollar at U.S. gas stations. Terms apply. These bonus categories can become 4.5x and 3x respectively when you meet 30 transactions during your monthly billing period for a 50% points boost. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card.
This card offers a simple 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but your rewards come in the form of Chase points that you can combine with rewards from other premium Chase cards that also earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points. And if one of your other Chase cards has an annual fee, such as the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred, then you can enjoy the opportunity to transfer the points you earn to travel partners or receive 1.25 or even 1.5 cents per dollar toward travel booked through Chase.
Like the Amex EveryDay Preferred, the Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers you some nice opportunities to earn bonus points. You can earn 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, and 3x on drugstore purchases. But unlike both the Amex EveryDay Preferred and the Capital One Venture Rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t carry an annual fee.
The Citi Double Cash Card is another card marketed as a cash-back card but it can do more if you want. Savvy award travel enthusiasts know how to convert their cash back to valuable points that can be transferred to airline partners.
With this card, you earn 1% cash back at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% cash back on all purchases. You can then convert your cash back to Citi ThankYou points and redeem them for maximum value. There’s no annual fee for this card.
Business cards that earn 1.5x or more on all purchases
|Card||Non-bonus offer||TPG valuation per point/mile||Value per dollar spent|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
||2x (on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1x)||2.0||4.0|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||1.5x on purchases over $5,000 (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year)||2.0||3.0|
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||2x||1.7||3.4|
|Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business||1.5x||1.7||2.55|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||1.5x||2.0||3.0|
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
This card offers 2x American Express Membership Rewards points on up to $50,000 in purchases each calendar year, and 1x after that. This is the single most rewarding Amex business credit card for everyday spending as it has a simple rewards-earning structure (no category bonuses to memorize) and doesn’t tack on an annual fee (see rates and fees). It’s also quite unusual in that it is a card with no annual fee that earns fully transferable points all by itself.
While this card normally offers 1x on all non-bonus purchases, you can receive 1.5x on individual purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year). That’s why I used it to charge a recent car purchase. Otherwise, it offers 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel and tons of travel and shopping benefits. There’s a $595 annual fee for this card (see rates and fees).
This small-business card earns the same valuable Capital One miles that the personal Venture card earns. Cardholders earn an unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, with no limit. Those miles can then be redeemed at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point to “pay” for travel purchases going back 90 days on your statement, or transferred to one of Capital One’s airline or hotel partners. It has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
This no-fee version of the Capital One Spark Miles card sneaks into the list as it offers 1.5x miles on all purchases. And since Capital One Miles are worth 1.7 cents each according to TPG’s latest valuations, you receive a total value of about 2.5 cents per dollar spent. That’s pretty good for a small-business card with no annual fee.
Much like a small-business version of the Chase Freedom Unlimited, this card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Still, your rewards come in the form of Ultimate Rewards points when you combine them with other valuable Chase cards that also earn these points. Likewise, if one of your other Chase cards has an annual fee, such as the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred, then you can enjoy the opportunity to transfer the points you earn to travel partners or receive 1.25 or even 1.5 cents per dollar towards travel booked through Chase. There’s no annual fee for this card.
Cards that offer 1.5x or more, but with less valuable points
There are more travel rewards cards that offer more than 1.5x points per dollar spent. But since not all points and miles are valued equally, these may not always be the best choice. However, depending on your own points and miles earning priorities, these are options that earn more than 1x on everyday charges:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card earns 3x Hilton points on eligible everyday charges.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card earns 3x Hilton points on eligible everyday charges.
- Hilton Honors Card from American Express earns 3x Hilton points on eligible everyday charges.
- Hilton Honors Business Card from American Express earns 3x Hilton points on eligible everyday charges.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card earns 2x Marriott points on eligible everyday charges.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card earns 2x Marriott points on eligible everyday charges.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card earns 2x Marriott points on eligible everyday charges.
The information for the Hilton Honors Aspire 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.
It’s easy to get down on earning points and miles when you hear about the latest devaluation of your favorite loyalty program. But don’t forget that you’re also able to earn more rewards per dollar than ever before. While it used to be normal to earn just 1x on everyday purchases that don’t qualify for a bonus, there are plenty of credit cards that offer you 1.5x or more flexible reward points per dollar spent.
These are all cards that you can use for non-bonus purchases, probably including many of your largest expenses. Think of bills like insurance, health care, education, utilities, home improvement, furniture, appliances, automotive purchases, maintenance and repair. By choosing the right card for these kinds of frequent everyday purchases, you can be sure to earn as many points and miles as possible every time you use a credit card.
Featured photo by Astrakan Images/Getty Images.
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