American Express Card Update: Choosing My Five Places

This post was sponsored by American Express.

When I signed up for the ChoicePlus card from American Express last month, what I was looking forward to the most was choosing my five retailers where I could earn double points.  With five categories and over 100 retailers to choose from, it was tough to narrow it down to just five places.

I want to maximize the rewards I’ll get from my everyday spending.  I’m a creature of habit and so I like to shop at the same stores, get my coffee at the same shop and fill up at the same gas station every month.

But I stayed away from selecting any grocery or gas retailers and instead chose to focus on other categories like recurring bill payments, retail shopping and travel.  I ended up choosing Bell, Telus, Canadian Tire, Toys R Us and Air Canada.

We have our Internet and my wife’s cell phone contract with Telus, and Bell is our satellite TV provider.  I also chose Canadian Tire because we bought a new house last year and we still need to do some work on the yard, so we’ll be spending some money on tools and landscaping.

We have two young kids at home and a lot of our friends and relatives have young children too.  Needless to say we’ll be frequent shoppers at Toys R Us for Christmas and birthday presents.  We also have our eyes on an outdoor playground set for the backyard.

The retailer where we’ll probably spend the most with is Air Canada.

I’ll likely have one or two work related trips this year, and we’ll hopefully get to book a family vacation as well.  Air Canada is the only carrier that flies out of Lethbridge, so they might earn our business by default unless I can find a cheaper flight out of Great Falls with Allegiant Air.

You can make changes to your five places one time per calendar year.  Since I set my five places in December, I’ll be able to make a change at some point this year.

I’ve already started earning double points at my five places with the Choice Plus card from American Express. Which five places would you choose to earn double points?

6 Responses to American Express Card Update: Choosing My Five Places

  1. It’s an odd system but seems like an awesome complimentary card. Some cards, as we all know, focus heavily on rewarding gas and groceries shopping. Then the Capital One Aspire gives a bit of an extra bonus for any non-gas/grocery shopping. This AMEX seems like it’d be a great way to fill in the gaps in a cash-back system by increasing cash-back from stores that wouldn’t otherwise give a premium return to a cardholder.

    • @Joe – Yes, it’s a really good complementary card in that it fills in the gaps really well. Obviously you need an AMEX to shop at Costco (too bad it’s not on the list of retailers – likely because they have their own AMEX card), and I found my “Other” spending category was collectively higher than the core gas and grocery spend.

  2. Are you using another card on groceries? I’m surprised by Bell and Telus. We spend way more a month at Safeway and Superstore than at Shaw (phone, internet, and cable) or our cellphones combined.
    I do miss the days when I could pay my rent by credit card for free! Now they charge $25 for it.

    • @Koala – Yes, I use another card for gas and groceries. This American Express card fills in the gaps.

      I think it’s beneficial to carry all three major credit cards and use whichever card gives you the greatest benefit for each transaction.

  3. American Express burned me years ago. I will never use them again.

    Let me tell you a little story.
    I went to buy my first laptop at Staples for $3,300. – it was awhile ago.
    Upon cashing out I decided to use my American Express card, which I had used before. Due to the amount the cashier had to call AE.
    The cashier confirmed my identity with my drivers licience and verified it with the American Express Agent but then hands the phone, with the American Express agent on the line, to me. By now there were 3 customers behind me.

    “So you are buying a new laptop?”
    “How much money do you have in your bank account?”
    “$3200 and I have more income coming this Friday.” I said.

    “Well I’m sorry but I have to decline that transaction.”

    I’m stupified.
    “Just because I’m $100 short at this actual moment you are declining the transaction?”

    “I see. Thank you very much for that informed decision. Please cancel my card immediately.”

    There was no way for them to see into my chequing account to verify how much money I had at that second or my credit history but because I was honest I was declined.

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