Best Reward Credit Cards for Monthly Spending

Summary:

  • Best All Around:Starwood Amex
  • Best Visa/MC:Capital One Venture Card
  • Co-Best All Around: Hilton Credit Card
  • Best 3rd Card: Amex Blue Cash Preferred
  • Special Use: The Platinum Card This analysis assumes that you pay your balance off in full each month and spend enough on the card (say over $10k/year) that small annual fees aren’t too relevant. This also focuses on the recurring benefits, not the sign-up bonuses since the sign-up bonuses change from time to time and you also don’t usually have to do your primary spending on them to get the benefits.

Starwood Amex

  • Best all around card
  • Substantial bonus offer
  • 1 Starwood point per dollar spent
  • Starwood points can be converted into Airline points (e.g., American) with a 25% bonus making this card clearly superior to all of the Airline cards
  • Even better is to use it on hotels. My analysis values a starpoint at over 4 cents, meaning this equates to 4% back.
  • You also get Starwood gold status when you spend $30k/year
  • Annual Fee: $65 (waived for first year) Capital One Venture Card

  • Best Visa/MC. Some Amex cards do better, but they aren’t accepted everywhere
  • Ok upfront bonus
  • 2 points per dollar spent
  • Each point is really worth a cent so basically like 2% cash back
  • International: zero currency exchange fees and Visa so accepted widely
  • Annual Fee: $59 (waived for first year)
    • See my post for more details Amex Blue Cash Preferred

    • Best 3rd Card in the Wallet
    • 6% Cash Back on Supermarkets, 3% Cash Back on Gas Stations
    • 3% Cash Back on Certain Department Stores and 1% Everywhere Else
    • This is the best rate you can get on your Groceries. And probably equal (though for many better) than the Starwood Amex for Gas and Department Stores. 1% is just too little for everything else, so this shouldn’t be your only card.
    • Annual Fee $75
    • See my detailed review here Platinum Amex

    • Non-Spending Card
    • For certain people, this is a great card to have in your wallet, and offers a pretty good sign up bonus, but I wouldn’t put my normal spending on it. The Membership Rewards program is clearly inferior to all of the programs listed above.
    • You get 1 Membership Rewards per dollar spent which can be 1 airline point (Starwood converts to 1.25 airline points), which is at least better than their hotel rates. For example, you get 1/3rd of a Starwood Point for each point spent on the Platinum Card, while you get 1 Starwood Point for each dollar spent on the Starwood Card — that just doesn’t make sense!
    • There are tons of great benefits of keeping this card in your wallet (and not pulling it out). See my review for more information.
      • $450 annual fee

POINTS BLOG
American Express capital one credit card Hhonors Platinum Card SPG venture card visa