Building a Credit Card Portfolio (around $5,000 spending per month)

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Back in 2014, we built a suggested credit card portfolio for people who spend about $5,000 per month. With all the changes in the credit card industry, it was time for me to update that post.

For the people who fall under this category of monthly spending ($5,000 or more), more than likely they are frequent travellers. So I will be going with the following monthly spending breakdown:

  • $300 on recurring bills (such a phone, Internet, cable)
  • $500 on restaurants and other entertainment
  • $700 on gas and groceries
  • $1,000 all other expenses
  • $2,500 on travel expenses

Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card

  • $99 annual fee (first year fee waived if you apply before May 31, 2016)
  • $30 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and grocery purchases (on your first $25,000 of annual spending on these categories)
  • Earn 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments (on your first $25,000 of annual spending on these categories)
  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases made above the $25,000 threshold on the categories listed above
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Be sure to take advantage of the 2% (recurring bills) and 4% (gas and groceries) spending categories only, so it would look something like this:

  • $300 recurring bills x 2% = $6
  • $700 gas and groceries x 4% = $28


Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • $29 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn 20,000 sign up bonus (if you apply before May 31, 2016)
  • Earn 4 points for every $1 you spent on gas, grocery, dining and entertainment purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

If you keep your restaurant and entertainment bills low on a monthly basis, then stick with the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card. Otherwise, as an alternative, take advantage of the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card’s 4 points per dollar (which is essentially 4% cash back to be used on travel expenses) spending bonus. The breakdown would look something like this:

  • $500 restaurant and entertainment x 4% = $20
  • $700 gas and groceries x 4% = $28

American Express Platinum Card

  • $699 annual fee
  • $175 fee for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 50,000 sign up bonus points or 75,000 when referred by a friend (after spending $1,000 in the first three months)
  • Earn 25,000 points for each approved referral (to a maximum of 225,000 points per calendar year)
  • Earn 1.25 point for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • Receive a $200 Annual Travel Credit
  • Receive a complimentary and discounted companion tickets and upgrades
  • Airport lounge access worldwide
  • Premium hotel program membership
  • Extensive insurance coverage

Generally, people with such high travel expenses usually have work cover their travel bills. Therefore, it is not as important to look for a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. As a result, the American Express Platinum Card is pretty much the best travel charged card to have in Canada. I would pretty much put all my travel expenses on this card and be sure to take advantage of all the features and benefits that come along with it.

  • $2,500 travel expenses x 1.25 points = 3,150 points

Other Travel Credit Cards

I have already written an extensive post (entitled: Building a Credit Card Portfolio for Frequent Travellers) listing all the travel credit cards that frequent travellers should consider. I would consider a combination of credit card depending on which frequent flyer programs and hotel chains you use mostly. But, since you will already have the American Express Platinum Card, I would only be signing up for these other credit cards for sign up bonuses and using those credit cards for specific purchases that give a higher earning ratio. For example, the MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite MasterCard would be good to use on Alaska Airlines purchases where you earn 3 miles per $1.

All Other Purchases

For all other expenses that do not give you at least a 2% earning ratio, you can look into getting a fixed rewards credit card.

  • MBNA World Elite MasterCard ($89 annual fee, earn 2 points per dollar on all spending)
  • BMO World Elite MasterCard ($150 annual fee, 2 points per dollar on all spending)
  • Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite MasterCard ($150 annual fee, 2 points per dollar on all spending)

I would pick the credit card that gives you the highest chance of waiving its annual fee (or at least a good enough rebate). Otherwise, just go with the MBNA World Elite MasterCard. For all these options listed above, you are earning 2 points per dollar on all purchases, which comes out to 2% cash back to be used on travel expenses.

  • $1,000 all other purchases x 2% = $20


So there you have it! This also concludes our series on building a credit card portfolio to optimize monthly spending. I would probably look into redoing this post in the future when there are changes to the credit card industry.


  1. Thanks for sharing.I already have a person Amex Plat and need a business card but not sure if I should take advantage of increased reference bonuses on Business Plat. Lots of benefits are redundant. Do you think it’s worth?

    1. If you also get the business version, it will mostly be for the sign up bonus. $399 annual fee for 75,000 sign up bonus points is a pretty good deal! But it will highly depend on whether you can make sure of the points.

  2. Interesting article. While my travel budget isn’t quite $2500, I can see the value of the post. Being military, I love the idea considering that Amex will waive the annual fees for credit cards and in some cases, reduce the interest rates. I think I have a new blog to follow!

    1. Awesome to hear! Welcome aboard Curtez! I would like to share my Remembrance Day post with you, which lists out some of the deals offered to military personal year round. Feel free to let me know if I am missing anything!

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