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

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For this third, and final, part of the Building a Credit Card Portfolio series, I will focus on people who only spend at least $5,000 or more a month on all their credit card bills put together. This is generally for people who will travel a lot or have a lot of business expenses.

If you spend $5,000 a month, let’s say you have following breakdown:

  • $300 on recurring bills (such a phone, Internet, cable)
  • $500 on restaurants and other entertainment
  • $500 at department stores (including clothing and office supplies)
  • $500 miscellaneous (generally one time payments such as car or home insurance, car maintenance)
  • $700 on gas and groceries
  • $2,500 on travel expenses

Unfortunately, I find that in Canada, there are not too many choices for high spenders. That being said, there are still a few credit cards that are worth considering:

Scotiabank Gold American Express Card

  • $99 annual fee
  • $29 for additional cardholders
  • Earn 30,000 sign up bonus after your first purchase (accounts need to be opened before October 31, 2014)
  • 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

American Express Gold Rewards Card

  • $150 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • Earn 25,000 points when you spend $500 in the first 3 months
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on eligible travel (flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc.) purchases, as well as gas, groceries and drug stores.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard

  • $120 annual fee
  • Earn 35,000 sign up bonus points after your first purchase
  • Earn 10,000 anniversary bonus points
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spend on all other purchases

Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn $20 Amazon.ca bonus sign up gift certificate
  • Earn 2% cash back on Amazon.ca purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees

Royal Bank Avion Visa Infinite Privilege

  • $399 annual fee
  • $99 for supplementary cardholders
  • Earn 25,000 sign up bonus points
  • Earn 1.25 point for every $1 spent on all purchases

The $399 fee covers the following privileged benefits:

  • Receive a complimentary membership and 6 complimentary visits to your choice of over 500 airport lounges worldwide through Airport Angel
  • Dedicated VIP security fast track lane at select Canadian airports
  • Airport parking, valet discounts and dedicated taxi limo lines at select Canadian airports
  • Automatic enrolment into Elevated membership status in the Fairmont President’s Club
  • Receive 7 VIP benefits at over 900 prestigious properties
  • Receive $60 in complimentary credits to start the meter at zero on the first 12 taxis you order through Hailo in Canada.
  • Save 20% when you book an Airport Limousine Services through the Visa Infinite Privilege Concierge
  • Personal assistance who can help book event tickets, restaurants, help plan your travels, research your requests and locate hard-to-find items

If you earn 4x points on $500 on restaurants and entertainment, as well as $700 on gas and groceries, you will earn 4,800 points (4 x 500 +4 x 700 = 4,800) with the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card. The 4,800 points is worth $48 in value a month. In one year, that comes out to $576.

If you earn 2x points on travel expenses with the American Express Gold Rewards Card, that will give you 5,000 points per month, (2 x $2,500). American Express Membership Rewards points are worth around 1.8 cents a piece, which would give you $90 in value a month. In one year, that comes out to $1,080. What makes Membership Rewards points valuable is its ability to transfer to multiple loyalty program partners.

If you put all other expenses on the Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard, that would be $500 at department stores and $500 on miscellaneous, that is another 2,000 points (2x $1,000), which is worth up to $20 a month. In one year, that comes out to $240.

Lastly, I would put all foreign transactions on the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card.

In certain cases, depending on your spending habits, I would consider replacing the American Express Gold Rewards Card with the Royal Bank Avion Visa Infinite Privilege instead. The Avion program also offers transferable points and gives many more credit card perks than the American Express Gold Rewards Card. Furthermore, if you already have one American Express (Scotiabank Gold American Express Card) and one MasterCard (Capital One Aspire Travel World MasterCard), it would make sense to have a Visa (Royal Bank Avion Visa Infinite Privilege). If you spend $2,500 on travel expenses a month, that would come out to 3,125 points. Avion points are worth up to 2 cents each (most due to transfer bonuses to increase its value), that comes out to $62.50 a month or $750 annually.

As usual, always do the math before deciding what suits your needs the most. You can also refer to Pointshogger 101 to help you get started.

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