Like any good frequent traveler, I have a lot of credit cards (although I just cancelled 2!) Here’s a list of what I have (and have cancelled) and some preliminary thoughts on what I should get next.
Citi Forward (keep)
This was my first “points” card that I ever got, and I got it while I was in college. It still gets 5x points on restaurants, movies, and bookstores, but I have only used this card very sparingly since I got involved in churning cards since Thank You points can’t be transferred to any decent travel partners. Given the United devaluation, I think I might start using this card for my dining purchases instead of my Chase Sapphire Preferred, so this card might re-earn its place in my wallet for as long as it gets 5x on dining. No annual fee, so no point in closing this.
Citi American Airlines Visa (cancelled) + Citi American Airlines Amex (kept)
I got two Citi AA cards a little over a year ago. When the annual fees came up, I decided to cancel one and see what retention bonus I could get on the other. I wanted to try to hold onto one of them for the 10% rebate on AA miles redeemed up to the first 100k miles redeemed each year, and I chose to cancel the Visa card over the Amex card since Amex runs promotions like the recent Small Business Saturday and $25 off Amazon.com purchases totaling over $75. For the Citi AA Amex, they offered a retention offer of a $95 statement credit (the annual fee is only $85) plus 1000 bonus miles for each billing cycle where I spend more than $1000 for the next 16 billing cycles. Sold.
Citi Hilton Reserve (probably cancel)
I got this card for the sign-up bonus of two free weekend nights at any Hilton, which I used at the Conrad Hong Kong. I previously contemplated whether or not I should spend the $10k necessary to get the annual free weekend night certificate, and I ended up completing the spend, so I’ll at least hold onto the card until the certificate posts next year. Moving forward, I think it’s a little doubtful that I’ll hold onto this card since the spend threshold for the annual bonus is relatively high, and everyday spend of 3x Hilton points is not that compelling.
Chase Freedom (keep)
I haven’t used my Chase Freedom at all recently, but there’s no annual fee, so I might as well hold onto the card. My problem is that I very, very rarely actually buy things that can’t be consumed, so even the 5x points on Amazon right now isn’t compelling to me (prior to this past week when I was buying Amazon.com giftcards, the last time I bought something off of Amazon was in May to send a friend a wedding present; the last time I bought something for myself off of Amazon was over a year ago…). I really only maximize the rotating categories when it involves restaurants or drug stores, which clearly makes me a very bad mileage earner.
Chase Sapphire Preferred (keep for now)
This is generally my default card if I’m not meeting a minimum spend since all I spend money on is food and travel. I recently got a new card with a chip in it, which will be helpful in Europe, and the card is pretty solid all around with good benefits and no foreign transaction fees. I’m not entirely sure what to do with my Ultimate Rewards points now that I’ve essentially abandoned United, but there are still a couple of decent award redemptions on the chart (okay, maybe only one that I’m interested in). I figure I can always transfer to British Airways Avios or Hyatt if I don’t want to do United.
Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Personal (cancelled) + Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business (will cancel)
I cancelled my personal Chase United MilagePlus Explorer card before the annual fee posted, and I haven’t touched my business version of the card since meeting the minimum spend requirement. Why would you when the Chase Sapphire Preferred outearns both cards, even for tickets on United?
Chase Hyatt (keep)
Again, not really much of a reason to use this card given that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is superior in almost every way, except for spending at Hyatt properties themselves. I’ll probably keep this card and pay the $75 annual fee for the free annual night certificate at a category 1-4 Hyatt property.
Bank of America Alaska x2 (one downgraded; will cancel)
I recently got my second Bank of America Alaska Airlines card. My first one was downgraded to a no annual fee card that I will likely never use. Not that I’ve even activated the second card that I got recently, since the 25k sign-up bonus posts just for getting the card, not even for using it for the first time.
Bank of America Hawaiian Airlines + Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airlines (both cancelled)
I called to cancel both of these cards within the past week in anticipation of the annual fees hitting next month. No real reason to get these cards any more since I got them to transfer to Hilton points, but then Hilton had their massive devaluation.
Barclays US Airways x2 (kept)
My 10k annual bonus posted to my US Airways account for my first Barclays card, and the 15k bonus for spending $750+ for three months consecutively also posted for my second Barclays card. These are honestly some of my favorite cards. I’ll continue to hold onto them for as long as the merger makes it possible. I would absolutely love it if we could keep them indefinitely and earn 10k bonus miles each year for paying an annual fee, and if we could still earn 10k elite qualifying miles for spending $25k on the card annually. This of course is also assuming that the AA/US devaluation isn’t a bloodbath…
Discover More (keep)
Isn’t it great when Amazon Payments counts towards the current 5% category? This card is kinda like the Chase Freedom in that it’s not an essential card for mileage junkies to have, but it’s oftentimes a very nice supplement, especially since it comes with no annual fee and doesn’t compete with a Chase/Citi/Amex slot. And given that the trend seems to be increasingly that cash back will be king, there are oftentimes some very good cash back offers with this card.
US Bank Club Carlson Personal + Business (keep for now)
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to ride this gravy train for as long as possible. 5x points on everyday spend is the most compelling non-bonused option for me, considering that the highest redemptions are 50k per night, but with the credit card, 50k gets you two nights. And having the personal and business versions means I could get 4 nights for 100k points. And you can transfer points freely between accounts (assuming that the transferring account has Club Carlson elite status, which can be easily status matched and comes for free with the credit cards). Yes, the footprint is small, and the properties are not particularly aspirational.
Amex SPG (?)
I do not know what I should do with this card, but I have another couple of months to decide. I’m not a big spender, and I don’t really stay at SPG hotels. The points are flexible with their airline transfer partners, but transfers aren’t instant, and I accrue these points so slowly that I think it’s hard for me to hit the 20k increments necessary to get the transfer bonuses. I am a fan of Amex benefits, though.
Amex Platinum (will probably cancel)
I got this card in January 2013 when they were offering 100k Membership Rewards points as a sign-up bonus, which means my annual fee will be posting next month. I am switching to American as my primary carrier, but Amex just announced that the Amex Platinum will no longer provide lounge access to AA lounges while flying American. There are Centurion lounges in DFW and LAS (and SFO in the future, which is more relevant to me), but I believe the Centurion lounge at SFO will be in Terminal 3, not Terminal 2, which is not helpful when flying AA. I got an offer for an additional $200 in AA statement credits due to this benefit change, so I figure that I should hold on to the card at least through the end of March 2014 to take advantage of this offer. Beyond that, I’m not sure what to do. I like Priority Pass, but if I’m switching to oneworld then I don’t really need Priority Pass since I’ll have lounge access through my oneworld Emerald status. I might try doing the alternating churn thing with the business version of the Amex Plat.
I currently have 16 open cards. For my next round of credit card applications, I’ll probably try to push my luck and actually churn some of the cards I’ve already had. It’ll have been 15 months since I last applied for a Citi AA card, so I might try to get one of those, and I might also try to get a third Barclays US Airways card before it disappears forever. Besides those cards, I haven’t quite decided, so I’m open to suggestions.