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Building a Credit Card Portfolio (around $2,000 spending per month)

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Back in 2014, we built a suggested credit card portfolio for people who spend about $2,000 per month. There have been enough changes to the credit card industry to warrant an update to my post. This category of people are generally for small families of about 4 people, (2 adults and 2 children). The following is an approximate spending breakdown that I will work with:

  • $300 on recurring bills
  • $300 on restaurants and entertainment
  • $400 all other purchases not otherwise listed
  • $400 vacation (generally on hotel and/or airfare, averaged out for the entire year, budget of $4,800 per year on vacation)
  • $600 on gas and groceries

Keep in mind that the above numbers are averaged out throughout the year.

I would recommend the following credit cards to consider:

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

Keep it simple, take advantage of the 2% (recurring bills) and 4% (gas and groceries) spending categories only. I would also put my airfare on this credit card to take advantage of the travel insurance coverage. The rest of the foreign purchases will go on another credit card instead.  It would look something like this:

  • $200 airfare x 1% = $2
  • $300 recurring bills x 2% = $6
  • $600 gas and groceries x 4% = $24

OR

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. Just like the credit card above, I would put my airfare on this credit card to take advantage of the travel insurance coverage. The rest of the foreign purchases will go on another credit card instead. The breakdown would look something like this:

  • $200 airfare (for travel insurance coverage purposes, the rest of the travel budget will be listed below) x 1% = $2
  • $300 restaurant and entertainment x 4% = $12
  • $600 gas and groceries x 4% = $24

AND

Rogers Bank Platinum MasterCard

  • $29 annual fee (waived the first year or waived so long as you have pre-authorized Rogers payments set up)
  • Earn $35 cash back sign up bonus
  • Earn 1.75% cash back on all purchases
  • No foreign exchange fees
  • Apply cash back to purchases made in Rogers branded stores or monthly Rogers bill

If you are a Rogers client (home phone, cable, Interview or personal cellphone), then put that bill on the Rogers Bank Platinum MasterCard to get your annual fee waived. Then I would put the remaining purchases on this credit card to get 1.75% cash back:

  • $100 Rogers bill x 1.75% = $1.75
  • $200 foreign purchases (approximated from the travel budget, airfare is paid in Canadian currency) x 1.75% = $3.50
  • $400 all other purchases not otherwise listed x 1.75% = $7

OR

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

If you are not a client of Rogers, then go with the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa Card. I would only put Amazon.ca purchases and foreign purchases on this credit card.

  • $50 Amazon.ca (approximately $300 per year on Amazon.ca) x 2% = $1
  • $200 foreign purchases (approximated from the travel budget, airfare is paid in Canadian currency) x 1% = $2

AND

Capital One Platinum MasterCard

  • No annual fee
  • Exclusive to Costco members
  • Earn 3% cash back on restaurant purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on gas purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on the first $3,000 of all other purchases (0.5% thereafter)

If you are a Costco member, this is a must-have in your wallet. In which case, I would probably not have the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, and put all my restaurant purchases on this credit card instead:

  • $300 on restaurant purchases x 3% = $9

AND/OR

Scotiabank Scene Visa Card

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 2,000 sign up bonus Scene points
  • Earn 5 Scene points for every $1 spent at participating Cineplex Entertainment theatre or online
  • Earn 1 Scene point for every $1 spent on all other purchases

By not having the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, I would get the Scotiabank Scene Visa Card to put my Cineplex purchases on this credit card instead to take advantage of the 5 points per dollar spending ratio.

Other

Once the Tangerine credit card is launched publically, I would add that credit card to this portfolio, and take advantage of the 2% cash back on categories that are not otherwise getting me at least a 2% return through the other credit cards listed above.

This portfolio pretty much covers all the monthly expenses. If you want to take advantage of huge sign up bonus miles or points, I would not keep those other credit cards for very long to daily spending.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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