Courtesy of Holly Johnson
- Credit card expert Holly Johnson has 26 different personal and business credit card accounts alongside her husband, but she doesn’t carry all the cards at once.
- For her, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a no-brainer for travel and dining expenses since consumers earn 3x points for each dollar they spend.
- She also regularly uses the The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard (which is currently not available publicly), the Chase Freedom, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
I’ve written many times about the fact I have a dizzying number of credit cards — 26 to be exact, although some of them are my husband’s or ones that belong to our businesses.
That’s a lot of cards, and you may be wondering if I carry them all. The answer to that question is no — of course I don’t cram 26 different rewards and cash-back credit cards into my wallet. I only carry a few that I use most of the time.
While I focus most of my efforts on earning flexible rewards currencies, my penchant for travel means I’m constantly using a specific credit card that lets me earn points for miscellaneous travel expenses as well. Of course, I also love cash back!
One of my go-to cards is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, which is a solid travel credit card for anyone who wants flexible travel rewards but is unfortunately not publicly available right now.
But there are four more cards I actually use almost daily that are open to new users:
I love earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points because they can be used to book travel through the Chase portal.
This card lets me get 50% more travel free when I do, but I can also transfer points 1:1 to popular airline and hotel partners like Southwest, British Airways, JetBlue, Marriott, and Hyatt as well. For full disclosure, my favorite Chase transfer partners are Southwest, Air France/Flying Blue, and United MileagePlus.
I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve specifically because it lets me earn 3x points on all my travel and dining purchases (excluding its $300 travel credit) and 1x point per $1 on everything else. Those points add up quickly, especially since I earn them with other cards, too.
Of course, I also love the perks — specifically the $300 annual travel credit and the airport lounge access I receive as a cardholder. This card does have a $450 annual fee, but it’s worth it.
I use my Chase Freedom to earn cash back throughout most of the year, but especially in its bonus categories. This card doles out 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter once you activate, which includes grocery stores and home improvement stores for April, May, and June of this year.
This card doesn’t charge an annual fee and you get 1% back on all other purchases, so it’s a no-brainer for almost anyone.
My husband and I use our Ink Business Preferred account for most of our regular business expenses since the 3x earning categories are phenomenal. With this card, we earn 3x points per $1 on up to $150,000 spent annually on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone purchases, and advertising with social media and search engines.
This is basically a blogger’s dream credit card, and my husband runs our blog for a living. This card does have a $95 annual fee, but there’s a big initial sign-up bonus, too.
I use the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred for supermarket spending because I earn 6% back on up to $6,000 in US supermarkets each year (then 1%), plus 6% back on select US streaming services. You also get 3% back at US gas stations with this card and transit, including parking, tolls, and Uber and Lyft rides.
This card offers a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening as well, so why not take advantage? The major downside is the $95 annual fee that’s not waived the first year, but I think it’s well worth it.
Curious which credit cards I use the most and why? Here are some of my favorites:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve, because I earn three times points on travel and dining.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, because I earn three times points on the first $150,000 each anniversary year in business categories such as social-media advertising and shipping.
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, mostly for the Hilton Diamond status and travel perks.
- Discover it® Miles, because Discover matches all the miles you earn the first year.
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, because I earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 at US supermarkets each year, then 1%.
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, because I prefer flying Delta when I can.
- The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, because I earn two times American Express Membership Rewards points, up to $50,000 per year, then one times with no annual fee.
- Chase Freedom, because I always max out the quarterly five times bonus categories (up to $1,500; activation is required).
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum World Elite Mastercard, because I’ve been beefing up my stash of AA miles.
- CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard, so I can earn American AAdvantage miles on my business purchases.
- AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard, because I earned the sign-up bonus with a single purchase.
- Citi Premier Card, because I love the flexibility of Citi ThankYou Rewards.
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