Earning the Most on Every Transaction

I am always trying to use the card that will earn the most back on my purchases. I have a team of cards I use to do that. All of them have their own special place in my wallet and as long as they keep earning me more than other options, they’ll stay on the team. When they no longer give me the highest reward, I bench them (no fee cards), cut them from the roster (cards will annual fees), or trade them (convert to no fee option, if available). With so many options, sometimes I can’t always remember in which situation to use which card. Thankfully, there are options to help me!

I’m usually really good about knowing my 5% rotating categories and usually remember which stores or transactions my cards earn bonus points. My wife? Bless her little heart, she puts up with me and this crazy hobby. She knows the cards as: the gas card (which changes about every 3 months), grocery card and Discover. Outside of those options, I usually will get a call or text asking which card to use. Sometimes I have no idea which card is best. So I use the Wallaby App to help me maximize my rewards.

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Wallaby is a free app and is great way for me to make sure I am earning the most rewards. There are other apps available, but they seem to be very similar in function and interface.

Loading your wallet is very simple to do with Wallaby. You can either pick the card you have in your wallet or you can log in to your account and link the card to your account. Linking your accounts will allow you to receive bill reminders, see credit limits, current balance and interest rates.

Small Shot of the Cards in my Wallet. There are many more you don't see here
Small Shot of the Cards in my Wallet. There are many more you don’t see here

After you load your wallet with your credit cards, you’ll see which card would be best used at the gas station, grocery store, hotels, etc. When you click on a particular category, like groceries, it will explain why it chose the card it did. I have found them to be pretty accurate, but occasionally I don’t agree.

These cards could possibly change, especially if you have cards that have rotating categories (Discover, Chase Freedom). It’s always good to check to make sure you’re earning the most back!

Shows "The Best" Card to use at a particular category
Shows “The Best” card to use at a particular category that’s loaded in your wallet

It also will show you the best card to use online at a particular retailer. This has seem to gotten better and most retailers are in their data bank. Looking up any retailer should be easy.

If your location services on your smartphone are turned on, you will see near by stores and which card will be the best at that store. Sometimes stores are coded differently than we think and we could be losing valuable points/ cash back. This should help you avoid that issue.

When looking at your dashboard, Wallaby does a great job showing you where you spend your money. They give you a graph breaking down your spending habits by percentage to each group you spend in. When you click on a group on the graph,you can see which stores you spent money. This will only work if you link your accounts.

If you value your points at a certain value, such as an Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards, you are able to adjust the value of your points. This could change the card that would be option. I would not do this if you are new at this game.

For example, I value Ultimate Reward points at 1.7-1.8 cents each. Since the Chase Freedom is 5% (5 Ultimate Reward points) until March 31st. Wallaby moves this card ahead of my American Express Blue Cash Preferred for groceries (which earns 6% cash back). If I didn’t adjust the value, I would have the American Express Blue Cash Preferred ahead of the Chase Freedom.

One function of Wallaby that stands out to me, is the “Wallet Boost” recommendation selection. If you are in the market for a new credit card or want a better option than what you currently have, this is a must do. Wallaby will ask you a few questions about your goals:

  • What is your credit score (Ranges are listed)
  • If you have a business
  • What you like to redeem your rewards for: Air Travel, Cash Back, Hotels, Merchandise or Concert Tickets
  • If you chose Air Travel, then you are asked for favorite airline, hotel, upcoming international trips (if any)
  • If you’re a warehouse club member
  • Current student
  • Favorite way to shop (online or in-store)

When you finish answering these questions, you will see a list of credit cards that “meet” your goals, along with the amount of money you could earn over the next year. and over 3 years You can play with the answers to see which cards are your “best cards” or if your goals change it can help direct you toward your new goal.

Recommendations for me after answering some questions
Recommendations for me after answering some questions

I have found when I answer sections differently, I get similar, or the same cards for multiple answer selections. It could be what they actually think is best or they receive commission on the links you use. Either way, it’s a very helpful tool, but make sure to do your homework on the card before you apply for one!

Wallaby is a great tool to help make sure you choose the right card on every transaction, to help you earn the most back. Every extra point you earn will bring you closer to that next vacation, so make sure you earn the most!

How do you make sure you are using the right card on any given transaction? Do you write it down? Memorize the bonus categories? Use an app?

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26 thoughts on “Earning the Most on Every Transaction

  1. Thanks for the nice write-up! We appreciate you spreading the word about Wallaby. You may receive different questions in WalletBoost depending on how you answer. Commissions NEVER affect our recommendations and more than 95% of the card we recommend do not provide a commission to us.

  2. Thanks for the nice write-up! We appreciate you spreading the word about Wallaby. You may receive different questions in WalletBoost depending on how you answer. Commissions NEVER affect our recommendations and more than 95% of the card we recommend do not provide a commission to us.

  3. Doesn’t it make more sense to always use your spending towards a minimum spend on a new card? I can’t see how you can feel good about 5% back on buying gas when you could be earning 10%+ on a min spend bonus. Can you help me understand your position here?

    1. My position is if you’ve met your balance and are in between card bonuses. For daily use outside of minimum spending requirements.

      I agree with you, if you are trying to meet a requirement to use that specific card. I personally don’t apply for cards in a cycle. I wait for a big bonus before I apply.

      Also if you do any sort of MS, meeting bonuses are pretty simple to do, so not earning the most in daily transactions in place of that is something I wouldn’t do. But I also don’t MS as much as others.

      1. Thanks for the quick response Dustin, as a new follower I appreciate it,

        I agree about MS, signup bonuses don’t really matter when you have the time and patience for that activity. I’m 18 months into this game and haven’t embraced MS since I have haven’t found a good balance with my time and patience to make it worthwhile for me.

        I fell like I’m similar to you in applying for cards in that I don’t follow a 91 day schedule, I apply for cards as I need them (min spend about 2 weeks from being achieved on current card) but I’m not really clear on the ‘big bonus’ that you mention. In these 18 months I haven’t seen these ‘big bonus’ opportunities, sure there is Freedom doubling from 10k to 20k and CSP going up 10k (but not waving the Annual Fee) but other than the 100k for Citi Plat Exec which had a ridiculous $10k spend in 3 months (not to mention the $500 annual fee) I’m not seeing the ‘big bonus’ cards. Am I just not following the game closely enough?

        1. To me “big bonus” are the ones that are higher than usual bonuses. Chase ink 60-70k, US Airways 50k, 100k AA.

          As far as MS have you looked at the Amex Serve? You can easily MS $1k a month. Right from you phone. I have some of it written in my article “earning more cash paying bills.”

          1. Okay, I’m aware of those. I haven’t gotten to the point of “thinking” of starting a business to apply for the Ink, I think the 100k AA is the same thing as the Citi Exec and I did get the 50k US airways mostly because it was going away even though I’m not sure if it was a better value when it was 40k with the waved AF vs the current 50K and $89 AF.

            I *have* looked into Serve and I agree, it looks like a pretty easy entry level MS opportunity, between my wife and I we could pay our mortgage via credit card! After one $200 load I got a request to ‘validate’ the card I was using and just haven’t gotten around to following up with that, a combination of time and just plain laziness. Its on my do list I swear 🙂

          2. I got that as well for my Serve. Very easy to have it validated. Definitely my favorite way to earn extra on my normal bills.

            The 40k US air you still had to pay $89 fee. 50k was great time to get it. The 50k AA platinum select MC would be a great way to have 100k( 50k + 50k) total AA when US and AA are merged :-).

          3. Thanks Dustin, You’ve inspired me to follow up with Serve on this. My this time next week I hope to be well on my way to paying my mortgage with a CC 🙂

            You are probably right about US Air, I wasn’t following it too close at the time, maybe it was only 30k without the annual fee…

  4. Doesn’t it make more sense to always use your spending towards a minimum spend on a new card? I can’t see how you can feel good about 5% back on buying gas when you could be earning 10%+ on a min spend bonus. Can you help me understand your position here?

    1. My position is if you’ve met your balance and are in between card bonuses. For daily use outside of minimum spending requirements.

      I agree with you, if you are trying to meet a requirement to use that specific card. I personally don’t apply for cards in a cycle. I wait for a big bonus before I apply.

      Also if you do any sort of MS, meeting bonuses are pretty simple to do, so not earning the most in daily transactions in place of that is something I wouldn’t do. But I also don’t MS as much as others.

      1. Thanks for the quick response Dustin, as a new follower I appreciate it,

        I agree about MS, signup bonuses don’t really matter when you have the time and patience for that activity. I’m 18 months into this game and haven’t embraced MS since I have haven’t found a good balance with my time and patience to make it worthwhile for me.

        I fell like I’m similar to you in applying for cards in that I don’t follow a 91 day schedule, I apply for cards as I need them (min spend about 2 weeks from being achieved on current card) but I’m not really clear on the ‘big bonus’ that you mention. In these 18 months I haven’t seen these ‘big bonus’ opportunities, sure there is Freedom doubling from 10k to 20k and CSP going up 10k (but not waving the Annual Fee) but other than the 100k for Citi Plat Exec which had a ridiculous $10k spend in 3 months (not to mention the $500 annual fee) I’m not seeing the ‘big bonus’ cards. Am I just not following the game closely enough?

        1. To me “big bonus” are the ones that are higher than usual bonuses. Chase ink 60-70k, US Airways 50k, 100k AA.

          As far as MS have you looked at the Amex Serve? You can easily MS $1k a month. Right from you phone. I have some of it written in my article “earning more cash paying bills.”

          1. Okay, I’m aware of those. I haven’t gotten to the point of “thinking” of starting a business to apply for the Ink, I think the 100k AA is the same thing as the Citi Exec and I did get the 50k US airways mostly because it was going away even though I’m not sure if it was a better value when it was 40k with the waved AF vs the current 50K and $89 AF.

            I *have* looked into Serve and I agree, it looks like a pretty easy entry level MS opportunity, between my wife and I we could pay our mortgage via credit card! After one $200 load I got a request to ‘validate’ the card I was using and just haven’t gotten around to following up with that, a combination of time and just plain laziness. Its on my do list I swear 🙂

          2. I got that as well for my Serve. Very easy to have it validated. Definitely my favorite way to earn extra on my normal bills.

            The 40k US air you still had to pay $89 fee. 50k was great time to get it. The 50k AA platinum select MC would be a great way to have 100k( 50k + 50k) total AA when US and AA are merged :-).

          3. Thanks Dustin, You’ve inspired me to follow up with Serve on this. My this time next week I hope to be well on my way to paying my mortgage with a CC 🙂

            You are probably right about US Air, I wasn’t following it too close at the time, maybe it was only 30k without the annual fee…

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