Credit Cards

What’s in My Wallet? Figuring Out What Cards to Keep, Churn, or Cancel

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With all my holiday shopping done and 6 months having passed since I applied for any credit cards, this seemed like the perfect time to assess the many (perhaps far too many) credit cards in my collection and what do with them:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX — this is my go-to card and I’ve saved thousands of dollars at this point with Starwood point redemptions. The annual fee is only $65 AND it gives me 5 nights a year towards keeping my brand new platinum status. Decision: Keep.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Business AMEX — this one I was somewhat on the fence about. I have another OPEN card, so it’s not essential to have this card for 5% off Hyatt, 1-800-Flowers, etc. However, it  does give 5 nights towards platinum status for only $65 a year. Decision: Keep.
  • Hilton HHonors Surpass AMEX — Achieved Hilton Diamond status for two years with this card, but won’t be able to hit $40K in spend this year. Not worth the $75 annual fee to me. However, Hilton AMEXs do allow you to book discounted awards of 4 nights or more…Decision: Downgrade to free Hilton AMEX
  • Gold Business AMEX — Even at a $175 annual fee, this was well worth the cost when I was able to take advantage of double Membership Rewards points on Facebook and Google Advertising, but moving away from that at work, so probably not worth it. Decision: Cancel when annual fee comes due.
  • Chase Ink Bold Business Visa — I love this card for the cable/internet bonus alone. 5x points per dollar for spend in that category means I’m earning 12,000+ points a year for only $95. Decision: Keep.
  • Chase Sapphire Visa — loved the sign up bonus, the multiple partners I can transfer points to, and the lucrative Ultimate Rewards Mall for earning additional points. However, I also have the Ink Bold which offers the same things. It does offer double points for travel expenses and restaurants, so could be worth it if my spend in those categories can justify the $95 annual fee. Decision: Keep for now.
  • Citi AAdvantage Personal Visa — got it for the great sign up bonus, but almost never fly American Airlines, so the free checked bag and priority boarding isn’t worth the $95 annual fee. The 10% rebate on redeemed AAdvantage miles (up to $10,000) could be worth it if I wind up booking any award trips (hopefully on Cathay) this year. Decision: Figure out upcoming trips before annual fee kicks in.
  • Chase Mileage Plus Club Card — Got it earlier this year when my BMI gold status went away and the initial $395 fee was waived. $395 is a lot, but the club access and 1.5 miles is valuable. It was more worthwhile before they announced the Avis President Club Status is being discontinued. Decision: Keep for now.
  • Chase United Visa — One of my oldest credit cards, but one I never use. The $60 annual fee is covered by my United 1K status, but the card offers no perks. Decision: Cancel or trade for new chase card.
  • Chase United Signature Visa — One of my second longest running Chase cards, but I prefer to put spend on my Mileage Plus Club card or Sapphire, and at $85 a year, not worth keeping. Decision: Cancel or trade for new chase card.
  • US Airways Premier World MasterCard — Got for the 40,000 mile sign up bonus but have been enjoying the periodic bonus offers throughout the year, like spending the recent 15,000  miles for hitting $750 each month in the fall. I also like the 5,000 mile discount on award tickets, but generally don’t use the $99 companion certificate. The $89 annual fee is a little high. Decision: Cancel when year is up.
And while I was at it, seemed like a good time to think about what other credit cards I should apply for. There’s not a lot of great offers out there right now, but am considering the following:
  • Chase Ink Plus Visa with 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus for $5,000 in spend 3 months
  • Premier Rewards Gold American Express only has a 25,000 sign up bonus but would let me ditch my Gold Business without spending all my Membership Rewards points.
  • Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa is offering 85,000 pts if you hit $2,500 in spend in 90 days. Plus every reward of 2+ nights gets you a free night.
  • Citibank Hilton Reserve Visa offers 2 free nights and Hilton Gold status
  • Chase Hyatt Visa offers 2 free nights in a suite (since I’m a diamond) with $1000 spend in 3 months plus a $100 statement credit.

Stay tuned to hear how my applications turned out!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

8 Comments

  1. Art Carden

    January 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Greetings, Keri and Jeanne. Awesome site. 2 Comments & Question, as I’m new to the credit card game:

    1. The $0 HHonors Amex is awesome. I got a 50,000 point bonus for $750 spend in the first month. That’s 6 2/3 nights at Homewood Suites, which is our go-to hotel for family travel.

    2. Our church is investigating using Amazon Payments, which will apparently allow $1000 in credit card spending fee-free. If you’re a person of faith and a tither, putting your tithes on credit cards could be a great way to meet minimum spending requirements. I’m going to investigate that over the next few months if I can find a way to do it without costing the church anything in Paypal/Amex/whatever fees.

    3. The question: I’m coming up on renewal for my Delta Reserve Amex. The Sky Club + 2 guests access is great–I’ve hosted IHS students at DCA on more than one occasion–as is the fact that it’s apparently a tiebreaker for updates. I wonder if I shouldn’t try to switch to the Platinum Amex. Thoughts?

    • Jeanne

      January 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Art,

      The reason I don’t go after a Platinum Amex personally is because you have to be flying the same airline to enter the club that day.

      I pay for my access, which is seen as a big no-no in the travel game since there’s many ways to get access along with cards. But I like ultimate flexibility, so I have access to all the star alliance ones, whenever I want.

      If you always fly Delta anyway, I’d switch because you get the $200 airline credit, the free Global Entry, and a boatload more stuff.

      If you always fly where there are Delta clubs, but not always on Delta, I’d keep the Delta card.

      • Art Carden

        January 26, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I have to be flying Delta for my Delta Reserve card to get me into the club–in that case, the Platinum Card might be a good option. I’m almost always on Delta as they’re usually my best option in terms of price and departure/arrival times. It’s also pretty nice to be among the first on and off the plane.

        Do you buy an annual membership with cash or points?

        • Jeanne

          January 26, 2013 at 7:31 pm

          I pay cash, but I get a large discount from my elite status (plus I get EQMs along with it).

    • Joe

      January 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Art, the limit for accepting credit card transactions on Amazon Payments is $1000 a month. Not sure how big your church is, but you would need several accounts and that might get you in trouble with amazon.

      • Art Carden

        January 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

        Thanks. Not large at the moment. I thought it was $1000 I could send every month. I’ll have to look into it.

  2. Jeanne

    January 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    “US Airways Premier World MasterCard — Got for the 40,000 mile sign up bonus but have been enjoying the periodic bonus offers throughout the year, like spending the recent 15,000 miles for hitting $750 each month in the fall. I also like the 5,000 mile discount on award tickets, but generally don’t use the $99 companion certificate. The $89 annual fee is a little high. Decision: Cancel when year is up.”

    Keri, you could always use the $99 Companion Cert on me! 😀

  3. Pingback: Applying For 4 Credit Cards At A Time

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