What’s In My Wallet? Downsizing to 11 Credit Cards
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Every couple of months or so I like to assess the credit cards I currently have and figure what to keep, cancel, or acquire. This has been a crazy year and I haven’t been as strategic as I should have been, making many of the my decisions as annual fees are due or big sign up bonuses have come up.
Comparing my current holdings to last November, I’ve simplified quite a bit, streamlining (somewhat) my credit card holdings as a way of balancing the craziness in other parts of my life:
What I kept
- Chase Sapphire Visa – Tied for first of all the credit cards I have and not just because it’s metal. I love the flexibility of having multiple transfer partners that include hotels and airlines. I also like being able to earn extra points through the Ultimate Rewards Mall shopping portal. What appeals the most is earning 2x points on all travel and dining, making it well worth the $95 annual fee.
- Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX — My long standing go-to card — Starwood point redemptions become easy and cheap when you earn points through their credit card. The annual fee is only $65 AND it gives me 5 nights a year towards keeping my brand new platinum status.
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business AMEX — My third most beloved card. It also gives me 5 nights towards platinum status for only $65 a year and as part of American Express’s OPEN savings, I get 5% rebates on Hyatt and 1-800-Flowers purchases.
- Hilton HHonors AMEX – I downgraded my Hilton Surpass AMEX to this card to avoid an annual fee. While the discounted award night bookings aren’t as valuable as they once were thanks to HHonors inflation, there’s little cost to keeping the card for now.
- Chase Ink Plus Business Mastercard – Worth $95 a year for the 5x points per dollar on cable/telephone expenses alone even before I learned about MasterCard Easy Rewards and the rental car coverage.
- US Airways Premier World MasterCard — For me the opportunity to get 10,000 PQMs with $25,000 in spend is well worth the $89 annual fee and they do a good job of offering periodic bonuses and perks throughout the year, like a free cup of coffee. A little less valuable now that they’ve discontinued the $99 companion cert, but still worth it.
- Club Carlson Business Rewards Visa — I originally got it for the 85,000 pt sign up bonus but my recent trips to Europe have made me a big fan of the program. The free night for every 2+ award nights, 40,000 renewal bonus, and automatic Gold status is definitely worth $60 a year.
- Chase Hyatt Visa — decided to keep it for the free award night at a Category 1-4 property. The $75 renewal fee was much cheaper than paying for a night at the Park Hyatt Gangnam in Seoul.
- American Express Platinum — the $450 annual fee is hard to swallow, but the lounge access, Priority Pass Select, free shop runner membership, and $200 in travel fee rebates is worth it for now!
- Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard – another huge $450 fee, but with the amazing sign up bonus and the only credit card offering access to US Airways and Admirals Clubs, it was worth it this year. Will definitely be reassessing when the first year is up.
What I cut
- Citibank Hilton Reserve Visa — since I get Hilton HHonors gold status through other sources it was no longer worth keeping.
- American Express Gold Business — upgraded it to the American Express Platinum card.
- Premier Rewards Gold American Express — I rarely used it except for the double points at grocery stores and the $175 annual fee was too steep.
- Chase Mileage Plus Club Card — if I still flew United frequently then the travel coverage and lounge access might have been worth the $395 annual fee.
- Chase Ink Bold Business Visa — once I got the Ink Plus, which has all the same benefits, there was no reason to keep it.
- Citi AAdvantage Personal Visa — no reason to keep it once I was approved for the Citi Executive/AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard.
What I added
- Chase Ink Plus Visa — I was able to jump on the 70,000 point sign up bonus and figured it was only a matter of time before my MasterCard was switched to Visa anyway. Will be deciding which one to keep before the next annual fee comes due.
Note: The most important part to my strategy for earning miles and points through credit cards is never carrying a balance on any of the cards or making charges I cannot afford.
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