My Dentist’s Take On Credit Card Rewards [They Talk About Me When I’m Not There]

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

I was in the dentist chair recently. I’d had some tooth pain, but we didn’t actually find anything. Best I can tell it was actually somehow just a side effect of my Moderna booster shot but wanted to be sure (the pain had resolved after a couple of days, and before I wound up in the dentist chair).

They did find that I had a very small cavity forming, my first in 20 years. I had them fill it on the spot though they said I didn’t need to be in any rush. One of the other dentists in the practice had time to do it on the spot, and would take just about half an hour, and I was already there.

My usual dentist, it turns out, reads this site, and had given the new one customized advice on what rewards credit card to get. They had been talking about me mere days before (not knowing I’d be coming into the practice). That’s sort of a strange feeling, in a way. I never think about people actually reading what I write, which is actually how I’m able to write things that offend so many people in the travel industry. I also never consider my dentist thinking about me as anything other than a set of teeth.

The new dentist who would be taking care of my filling rarely travels, and only travels domestically, so she got a no annual fee 2% cash back card: Citi® Double Cash Card.

  • It has a limited time offer to earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

  • It has a $0 annual fee and earns 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you you pay for those purchases. There’s no caps on the cash back you earn, and the full rebate applies regardless of spending category.

The really smart thing here isn’t just strong cash back, which means she can spend the money on travel – or something else – and likely means better rebate value than she’d get for domestic flight redemptions in any case. It’s the optionality later. Since she doesn’t need to redeem the points for cash right away, if her use case changes she should be able to apply for a Citi Premier® Card and combine those points, meaning the Double Cash’s points would become transferrable to airline miles.

  • Premier as a limited-time offer to earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

  • Earning on this $95 annual fee card is 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets, 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels; 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at – or points can be transferred to a variety of frequent flyer programs, including:

  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico Club Premier, Air France KLM Flying Blue

  • oneworld: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club

  • Star Alliance: Avianca LifeMiles, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

  • Non-alliance: Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The two card pair incredibly well. You can earn 3x on restaurants, supermarkets, air travel, hotels and at gas stations with the Citi Premier® Card – and 2x on everything else with the Citi® Double Cash Card.

I was really impressed, actually, by the advice my dentist had offered to her colleague (and that her colleague took it!). That’s doubly true because she follows a different path for her own spend.

My dentist uses the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card and has just earned a Companion Pass.

Currently this premium Southwest Airlines business card has an offer to earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

  • Ongoing earn is 4X points on Southwest® purchases; 3X points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners; 2X points on rideshare; 2X points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services and 1X points on all other purchases.

  • Cardmembers receive 9000 bonus points each year after cardmember anniversary; a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees every four years; reimbursement for four upgraded boardings per year (A1 – A15 boarding purchased at the airport) when available; plus inflight wifi credits. That’s a package that makes the card’s $199 annual fee well worth it.

A Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is earned after 125,000 points in a year, and the initial bonus and points from spend on a Southwest co-brand credit card count. It allows you to travel with a person that you designate, whenever you are flying Southwest Airlines on a paid or points redemption ticket. The companion’s travel only costs taxes. Right after finishing up her Companion Pass she booked her honeymoon trip – her flight on points with her fiance’ as her companion. And she loves that the companion now gets boarding priority based on her A-List status.

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