03-08-2013 11:17 AM - edited 03-08-2013 11:40 AM
Again, I know I could be more efficient/focused, but this is what I do and it earns more than 1% while giving me some convenience features and not requiring a spreadsheet to execute a candy purchase.
...Note: I don't have an Ink Bold or Ink Plus because I don't quite feel comfortable getting a business card and putting personal spend on it. I feel like it would be dishonest and might lead to trouble down the road...
I have seven spreadsheets: which one is used depends on where I buy the candy bar. I have separate sheets for chewing gum, crisps, tobacco, and alcohol, etc. etc. ad infinitum. I actually do carry a little shrunk-down laminated card in my wallet, CC-size, with all of my rewards tiers listed on it for all my CCs (which has been largely rendered obsolete by the app Wallaby for Android). I still have to memorize minimum spends and comparative values of points, though.
That still is pretty focused, probably as much as, if not more than me (since I shop almost exclusively through Amazon, which is a matter of convenience, trust, customer service, and ease of accounting, reducing risk of identity theft, etc. since it is a one-stop shop for virtually everything - I even bought my air conditioner and refrigerator on Amazon - I do not take proper advantage of shopping portals such as the UR Mall or ShopDiscover [Note, that as of a few days ago, the Membership Rewards mall was discontinued]).
Your return is hampered only by not staying at Starwood properties, pretty much (I don't think Hilton points are worth as much even as Sky Miles after the devaluation), and by a universal restriction - not being able to buy UR points, which leaves you having to earn to top off a redemption, even if it's only 1000 points away (~$625 in averaged spend, compared to $10-25 buying the top-off straight-up). If I could buy UR points like I can buy MR, SPG, and every miles program points in existence to top off a redemption, UR would be my one-stop shop and the truly "Ultimate" rewards program.
Lastly, I'm a consultant (actually a cleric, but I do consulting) so virtually everything is a business expense. Even for a cleric, everything is a business expense - wine for the Eucharist, a car to take it to the sick, vestments, petrol for the car, food and drink for the priest so he can confect the Eucharist, etc. (Yes, a secular [parish] priest does have to buy the wine and azymes used for the Eucharist out of his own pocket, as does he have to buy and maintain his own vestments. A monk has his robes paid for by the order.) There's a good example of the use of "priestly logic" in classifying business expenses - I can't conduct business without living expenses paid, after all!
Priestly logic: n., sophistry. When wielded by a good priest, such as myself, it is a blinding display of gleaming rhetorical prestidigitation, with excogitations whirling forth from the mind like a thousand samurai swords wielded by Shaolin monks; when wielded by a bad priest, it's the "It's a mystery, my child. God moves in mysterious ways. The Trinity is beyond human comprehension." In the hands of a skilled practitioner, can be used to make young-earth creationism seem like the only tenable position, even to the user, amongst other things.