Practicing What I Preach

A few months ago, I put together a list of credit cards I thought were ideal for the New York City-based traveller, based on some of my own experiences as well as some educated guesses. You can read that post here, but to recap the four cards were:

Then, a few weeks ago, I realized I had all four of those cards, and that maybe I should try to live with my recommendation for a month, to see if it was actually sound advice (NOTE: I do not guarantee that all advice here is sound, take it with as much stock as you like).

Follow the jump to find out what the challenge is!

So, trusty readers, here is my challenge:  For the month of October, I am only going to use these four cards in my daily life. Anytime I go to buy something, it must be one of these cards:  no ifs, ands, or buts. I plan to report back on the process and how many points I am set to earn in the coming month to see if this is something that makes sense for the New Yorkers in the room.

Once I decided on this challenge, I needed to figure out the best places to use these cards, as each of them has different points-earning potential. Below is the point-earning structure, as well as where I plan to use the cards over the month.

Card Point Category #1 Point Category #2 Point Category #3 Use Card For
Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard 3 points per dollar on Amtrak 2 points per dollar on other travel expenses 1 point per dollar on everything else Amtrak, non-IHG travel, non-jetBlue travel
Chase Freedom 5% in rotating quarters (Q4 is drug stores, department stores, and warehouse clubs 1% cash back on everything else n/a drug stores and department stores
IHG Select 5 points per dollar at IHG Hotels 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants 1 point per dollar on everything else IHG stays, grocery stores, and restaurants
jetBlue Plus 6 points per dollar at jetBlue.com 2 points per dollar at grocery stores and restaurants 1 point per dollar on everything else  jetBlue flights, grocery stores, restaurants, and everything else

As you can see, I’ve left some categories out:  I never go to warehouse clubs or buy gas, so we can ignore those. I also made jetBlue my “everything else” card for two reasons:  I am trying to meet the minimum spend for the 30,000 bonus (read more about that card here) and I’m looking to increase my cache of jetBlue points.

Here’s to a challenge–I’ll update in a week to see how well I can practice what I preach!

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