Step One, Sign up for American Express Serve, do it twice if you're a couple, do it three times if you can.
Now every month, follow these steps:
1) Go to CVS five times, use your credit card to put $500 (the max) on your American Express Serve account. Do it twice (the max) each time you go there. This is annoying, but I work across the street from a CVS and walk past another one on my walk to the train. Many people live or work near a CVS.
2) Send your significant other $1000 on your Amazon Payments account. Don't have her or him send it back. Withdraw it from their account into checking.
3) Use American Express Serve Bill Pay to pay whatever bills you have (mortgage, rent, water, whatever) or just mail a check to your significant other.
Using this technique, your spend of $6000 can get $136.80 back from your Barclay's Arrival card or 9000 United points from your United Club Card or 7500 BA miles on your Chase BA card. Couples can get $11000 in spend. A couple pursuing this strategy with a Barclay's arrival card will earn an extra $11000*0.0228*12 = $3009.60 in real cash income every year or 165,000 British Airways miles or 198,000 United miles. With an American card, a couple will get 132000 miles, which is enough for a 130,000 mile around the world trip in Business class. You can get 660,000 Club Carlson points with 11k in monthly spend, enough points for over 3 weeks in a category 3 hotel.
This is just from this technique, all the rest of your shopping should be going on your card as well. You might want to spread your CVS spending around on different cards and work towards multiple mileage goals at the same time.
This is all for the low low cost of $1 a month in fees from American Express, waived for billing addresses in New York. Ignore all the travel blogger advice about Bluebirds and Vanilla Reload cards or whatever until you have maxed out this strategy. The only possible addendum to it is buy $5000 in American Express gift cards through Top Cash Back or Big Crumbs on your card and load your Serve at CVS with those instead of your card (this is what I am doing this month).
7500 BA miles each month is nothing to scoff at, it is enough for a one way on US Air or American up to 1151 miles. This is amazing. Suppose you are in DC, this means you can get 6 flights a year as one person on this strategy to New Orleans, Montreal, Florida, Bermuda, or the Bahamas. You can find out
how far you can go by looking at the BA award chart and using this tool http://www.freemaptools.com/radius-around-point.htm
|1151 miles around DCA|