Here Is My Current Credit Card Rewards Strategy

Here Is My Current Credit Card Rewards StrategyNote: This post was written in 2012 by the previous owner of this blog.

Capitalizing on credit card rewards is such a simple task, that I’m surprised by the number of people who don’t do it.   For those who do, I’m surprised by the low returns they’re getting when there are so many options out there.  I will outline my credit card strategy below:

1.  American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Earn 6% cash back at supermarkets.

Earn 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores.

Earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Now, this one has a $75 annual fee, but it more than pays for itself with the amount of groceries that we purchase.  Additionally, the grocery stores now have a ton of gift cards to other stores, so if you know you’ll be spending $500 at home depot, buy the gift card at the grocery store and get 6% back ($30).  You can also buy gas cards at the grocery store for 6% back on gas.  Our store also has Chili’s gift cards, Macy’s gift cards….all will get 6% back.

2.  Chase Freedom

Earn 5% cash back on bonus categories each quarter

Earn 1% cash back on everything else

We use this card only for the quarterly bonus.  For the 1st quarter of 2012, they are offering 5% back on gas and purchases.

3.  Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card

Earn 2% back on all purchases

There is no annual fee so we use this for everything that doesn’t fit within the strategy of the cards above.

Its been a while since I’ve searched for better options, so are there any cards out there with better rewards?

About The Author

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at I Am 1 Percent. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.


  1. Michelle

    I’ve been wanting to take more advantage or rewards, thanks for the list!

  2. photohunts

    If you like to travel internationally, these cash back/miles/points have a much higher ROI when redeeming on travel. Chase Freedom has the Ultimate Rewards Mall. If you couple it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, points are 1:1 transfer to partner programs. Hyatt is one of them. I think 22k pts is equal to one night stay at any of their properties, which includes a $2000 a night Maldives property. Not exact numbers, but hope you get my point.

    1. iam1percent

      I never looked into the travel rewards cards because we don’t travel much right now with 2 small kids. Thanks for the tip!

  3. CultOfMoney

    I’ve been using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card since December, and I do like it. Primarily it was the sign-up bonus that got me to try it ($625 in travel credit or $500 otherwise). I do miss having my credit card spending in the same account as my other banking, as I have to log in to separate accounts to see each. In fact, the difference between this card and the normal card that give me 1% cash back isn’t great enough for me to keep the card.

    Nice blog, and good to have you as a fellow challenger!

  4. PK

    Why the Blue Cash Preferred over the Blue Cash? I have the plain BC, and I hit the cap by putting my car insurance payments on it… then I just use that for supermarkets.

    I also use a Citi Forward for Amazon purchases and restaurants. I was going to get a 2% rewards card – I was thinking the Fido after the Schwab card went to BOA. Decisions, decisions!

    1. iam1percent

      I think I signed up for the Preferred because there was a $150 or $200 sign-on reward at the time.

      1. PK

        I should have mentioned, you might want to look at the PenFed rewards card for gas. It’s 5% everywhere, but only .25% on normal purchases.

  5. csdx

    Citi Forward has been good wit 5% for dining, movies, music, and bookstores (Amazon) purchases. I know most of this could be repalced with 6% with the AMEX via gift cards but it’s still nice for being able to eat at non-chain places and less advance planning needed.

  6. Savvy Scot

    In the UK we can get a max of 3% back from groceries! Cannot believe you get 6!!

  7. JoeTaxpayer

    Someone once wrote “no well off person bothers with credit card rewards, that’s not how they got rich.”

    So I quietly use the Fidelity card that puts 2% into my daughter’s 529 (as the above card offers) the current value ended 2011 at $12,000 and should be $20,000 by the time she enters school. It should be enough for a full semester tuition, and for no effort on my part it’s nearly 6months median income. No one gets rich leaving $20K untaken. Nice other offers above.

    1. iam1percent

      I agree! My Fidelity rewards go into an investment account and has been growing steadily as the market grows. No reason to leave cash on the table and no reason to not put it to work!

  8. Z

    wow, 6% on groceries? and the gift card idea is brilliant.. and i can get my dry cleaning done at the grocery store… i’ll be looking hard at this one.

    1. iam1percent

      I would just check with AMEX and your grocery store to ensure that American express recognizes your store as a “grocery store”. I’m not sure if a Walmart with grocery store or Costco is categorized as grocery with AMEX

  9. Miguel (The Rich Miser)

    If just for cash back, the Citi Double Cash pays back 2%, with a host of useful benefits like price protection and extended warranty on purchases.


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