My Purchase Plan

Here is my current spend plan with what I currently have in my wallet.

Purchase TypePrimary CardRebate AmountBackupRebate Amount
AirfareAmex Platinum5x Points = 7 centsChase Sapphire Reserve3x Points = 5.1 cents
Hotel Stays ≥ 4 nightsCiti Prestige3x Points = 4.8 centsChase Sapphire Reserve3x Points = 5.1 cents
Hotel Stays ≤ 3 nightsChase Sapphire Reserve3x Points = 5.1 centsCiti Prestige3x Points = 4.8 cents
GasBank of America Cash Rewards5.25% CashCostco Anywhere4% Costco Credit
Dining OutChase Sapphire Reserve3x Points = 5.1 centsCostco Anywhere or
Citi Prestige
3% Costco Credit or 2x Points = 3.2 cents
Entertainment-Movies, Concerts, Sports TicketsCiti Prestige2x Points = 3.2 centsAmex SPG1 Point = 2.1 cents
Grocery Stores and Wholesale ClubsBank of America Cash Rewards3.5% CashAmex SPG1 point = 2.1 cents
Target StoresTarget Debit Card5% discountAmex SPG1 Point = 2.1 cents
AAFES Food CourtAAFES Star Card10% discountChase Sapphire Reserve3x Points = 5.1 cents
Everything ElseAmex SPG1 Point = 2.1 centsChase Sapphire Reserve1 Point = 1.7 cents

Here is how I came up with my spend plan and how you should do the same to maximize return on your purchases.  First, dig out all of your credit cards and see what you have to work with.  Here is what my current wallet looks like.

Free For MilitaryAnnual FeeNo Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve - $450Citi Prestige - $450Bank of America Cash Rewards
Amex Platinum - $550Citi Costco Anywhere
Amex Delta Reserve - $450AAFES Military Star Card
Amex SPG - $95Target Debit Card

Most credit cards have different rebate categories that make each one ideal for one type of purchase but not for other purchases.  You want to break down all the categories that your credit cards have to offer.

Next, since all points and miles don’t carry the same value, you need to assess how much you value each type of point or mile.  Here is my current valuation.  In a following post, I will explain why the valuation I gave to each point or mile.

Loyalty ProgramValuation Per Point
American Express Membership Rewards1.4 cents
Chase Ultimate Rewards1.7 cents
Citi ThankYou Points1.6 cents
Starwood Preferred Guest2.1 cents

And now you have an apples-to-apples ability to determine how much you are getting back with each card for each type of purchase.  There are several other considerations that eventually need to be considered like inclusive travel, purchase, and accident protect but this is a good start.