The Premium Ruby

The other day I was looking in my wallet and currently there are 6 cards inside of it. Although, I do not mind carrying 6+ cards at a time to maximize my earnings, but sometimes it would be nice to carry less and still earn plenty of points. Then I wondered “what if,” you could only have 1 card in your wallet? That got me thinking, what would my “perfect” credit card look like?

I know the first thought to many would be 5x or more in every category, but I think that is a bit unrealistic, so I tried to think of the options that would make me give up all the cards in my wallet for “the one” card (even though I’m not sure I could).

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Okay, I know this isn’t a real reason to keep a card, but can anyone argue with the fact we like cool card designs? I would ideally want my card to look like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, because a metal card is just awesome. For me, I would like it to be the color red (like anyone cares what color I want it to be). Lets call it the Premium Ruby. 🙂

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Reward Currency:

Most importantly, I would want the program to earn flexible reward points, like Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, or Thank You Points. These would offer the most flexibility and the most value. This would also shield me from the inevitable devaluations that would occur.

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Sign Up Bonus:

If this card came with a 40,000 point bonus, it would definitely catch my attention. It seems 50,000 points is the new 40,000 points. The Citi Premier and Prestige is currently 50,000 points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is 50,000 points. You can even get the American Express Premier Reward Gold with a 50,000 point bonus.

I think a $3,000 spend in the first 90 days isn’t unreasonable and wouldn’t be hard to hit that requirement. Anything more than that, I would think a little bit more, but hitting the minimum wouldn’t be an issue. I just don’t like the higher spending requirements.

Earning Rate:

A card you would be willing to use everyday, better have solid earning potential or it just falls into the drawer with the other cards you opened for the bonus. This is my own person categories, so I know yours could be different.

As I stated earlier, 5x in all categories is unrealistic, but I think the earning rates I have aren’t too out of this world. Please let me know if you disagree!

I would want the Premium Ruby to earn 3x points at gas stations and grocery stores. This is a big chunk of our budget and this would be a big benefit for us

The Premium Ruby would need to earn 2x points on all travel, dining, entertainment and utilities (internet and phone). These values fall in line with other cards on the market, so I do not think this is unrealistic.

All other non-bonus categories would earn 1.5x points on all other purchases. 

Each quarter you would be able to make one of your bonus categories 5x points for the first $1,500, similar to the Chase Freedom. After that it would go back to the normal earning potential. You could only pick that category once per calendar year as well.

Annual Fee:

This would unavoidable, especially if it comes with plenty of perks and good earning potential. Although I would like it to be fee free, I think an annual fee between $95-$125 would acceptable, with the first year waived of course

Foreign Transaction Fees:

I would expect the Premium Ruby to have no foreign transaction fees!

Transfer Partners:

Since this theoretical card is a flexible point card, which transfer partners would I like to see this card have?

  • Hyatt
  • Wyndham
  • IHG
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • British Airways
  • American Airlines
  • Flying Blue
  • Delta

Hyatt is probably my favorite hotel chain, but I usually book where my points get me the most. Wyndham hotels offer 15,000 point free nights, which could be a great value. IHG, although not a great option for transferring points, has a lot of hotel options and point break redemptions can be a point and money saver.

The airline partners is fairly simple for me. I could have included other carriers, but for our travel needs these work just fine for us. Southwest is probably our go-to since they fly from the small airport near our house. A few others do as well, but there is usually an added connection flight somewhere.

Redemption Options:

At a minimum, if cashing in points is an option, it should be for 1 cent per point, no less. Although this would be lower on my list of ways to use my points, it should still be an option.

Booking travel through the banks travel center, like Chase or Citi, I should be able to redeem at 1.25 cents per point.

If redeeming for gift cards, I would like it to follow Discover’s model for redemption. Redeem 2000 points for $25 gift card, or potentially 4500 for $50. At a minimum, it should be for 1 cent per point.

Now to travel redemptions…

These should all transfer to partners at 1:1. It should be that simple.

It would be nice if there were occasional transfer bonuses to partner airlines or hotels. This already occurs with SPG, American Express, and Citi. If this couldn’t be an option, possibly have transfer bonus when you transfer a certain number of points, similar to SPG. Since these accumulate quicker, I would think for every 35,000 points transferred, you’d receive an extra 5,000 points.

Money Saving Offers:

One benefit I really enjoy is American Express offers. I would want these style of offers to be available for the Premium Ruby. They are a great money saver and it’s very easy to save money with these offers.

Shopping Portal:

I always use a shopping portal, they are such an easy way to earn points or cash back on items you planned to purchase already. I would like it if the Premium Ruby had it’s own shopping portal. I feel this would just be another added benefit for this card.

Other Considerations:

The standard credit card benefits, like warranty and fraud protection would be a no brainer.

Primary auto insurance coverage would be nice, but not a make or break benefit for me.

A program to watch for price drops, like Citi Rewind, would be fantastic.


I don’t think I went too crazy with what my “perfect” card would look like. There is much to consider when looking at a card that is worth keeping and paying the annual fee. This type of card would simplify my strategy and earn points at the programs I would likely use. Many of the items I want took, what I felt, the best parts of different cards and combined them into one.

Now I am wondering, what does your “perfect” card look like? What would make you give up all your cards for just 1 card?

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