I asked Million Mile Secrets team members to share which credit cards are in their wallet. And to let us know if they plan to make any changes. We don’t reimburse writers for their credit card fees, so folks don’t have an incentive to pay unneccesary credit card fees.
Here’s team member Keith!
Keith: Thanks, Daraius! I currently have 16 credit cards in my wallet.
Most of my cards have annual fees. So I’m always mindful to evaluate my credit card inventory to make sure the perks I get make paying the annual fee worth it.
I usually apply for cards to earn valuable sign-up bonuses. This has made it possible to take wonderful trips to destinations throughout the US, and internationally to Amsterdam, Cape Town, Dubai, France, Italy, Singapore, and more! And the vacations have been at a small fraction of what it would cost if I paid cash.
I’ll share my credit card strategy. And let you know which cards I’m keeping, converting, and canceling!
Team Credit Card Inventory Index
- Hello to 3 New Cards, Goodbye to 7, Keeping 8: Joseph’s Plan
- Keeping 12 Cards, Downgrading 1, Canceling 3: Keith’s Plan
- Keeping 7 Cards, Downgrading 1, Canceling 2: Meghan’s Plan
- Keeping 22 Cards, Downgrading 1, Canceling 7: Harlan’s Plan
My Credit Card Strategy & Inventory
My credit card strategy involves a team effort. Because my wife also applies for rewards credit cards.
Sometimes this means my wife and I submit separate applications for the same card to earn 2 lucrative sign-up bonuses. Other times she might apply for a card if I’m unable to because of certain bank application restrictions, like the Chase “5/24 rule”.
My wife and I also qualify for small business credit cards. Because we regularly sell items on eBay and Amazon for profit. This a quick way to help us boost our miles & points balances!
And my wife and I are always keeping an eye on our credit scores and financial health. Before we started in the miles & points hobby, we thought many of the myths associated with applying for credit cards were true.
But having lots of cards and using them responsibly has helped us maintain credit scores above 800!
We pay our accounts in full each month and have never carried a balance. And, we’re careful to only apply for credit card offers that help our travel and financial goals.
Here’s a look at the 16 credit cards I currently have and the annual fees.
|Two Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Cards||$75 each card|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||No annual fee|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||No annual fee|
|Chase Ink Plus (no longer available to new applicants)||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||$450|
|Citi Double Cash||No annual fee|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||$95|
|JetBlue Plus Card||$99|
|Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express||$195, waived the first year|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||$99|
|Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express||$95, waived the first year|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN||$450|
|The Hyatt Credit Card||$75|
The annual fees for my cards total $2,348. But I’m in a “free trial period” on a couple of cards that waive the annual fee the first year. I typically keep these cards until the annual fee shows up on the billing statement and evaluate whether they’re worth keeping.
I’ll let you know which cards I’m keeping, converting, and cancelling.
Cards I’m Keeping
1. AMEX Business Platinum
I’m keeping this card because it comes with $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals on my selected airline.
Similar to Daraius, I picked Southwest and purchased airline gift cards to get the credit. This perk effectively makes the annual fee $250 ($450 annual fee – $200 in statement credits).
This card also comes with 10 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes each year, which save me money. In fact, I’m drafting this post while on a Virgin America flight. I saved $26 by using my free Gogo pass!
I also take advantage of the airport lounge benefits with this card. Like my recent dinner at the AMEX Centurion Lounge at the Las Vegas airport.
While the card has its perks, I was disappointed to see AMEX make negative changes to the Pay With Points perk. But I’ll still hang onto it for at least another year.
2. AMEX Starwood Business
I don’t put much spending on my AMEX Starwood small business card. But I keep it because I get:
- 2 stay credits or 5 night credits toward Starwood elite Status
- Access to AMEX Offers, which can save you money on everyday purchases
- Free in-room internet at participating Starwood hotels
- Access to Sheraton Club Room lounges
And if this card goes away because of the Marriott-Starwood merger, I’m hopeful they’ll offer points or better perks by automatically converting me to a different card.
3. & 4. Bank of America Alaska Airlines Card
I started collecting Alaska Airlines miles in 2017 following the airline’s merger with Virgin America.
It’s easy to earn miles with the sign-up bonus on the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card. Because you can apply for the card and earn the sign-up bonus every 90 days. That’s why I currently have 2 of these cards.
And applying for this small business card doesn’t impact your chances of getting Chase cards in the future. Because the account does NOT appear on your personal credit report!
5. Barclaycard JetBlue Plus
Link: Barclaycard JetBlue Plus
The JetBlue Plus card comes with 5,000 JetBlue points (worth ~$70 in JetBlue flights) each year on your account anniversary. This perk makes the card’s annual fee effectively $29 ($99 annual fee – $70 in flights).
And I quickly earn JetBlue points paying for Mint Business Class tickets with this card when my wife and I fly between Los Angeles and New York. Because you earn 6X points per $1 you spend on JetBlue purchases with the card.
And it’s easy to redeem JetBlue points for award flights because the airline has no blackout dates!
6. Capital One Quicksilver
I’m keeping the Capital One Quicksilver card because there’s no annual fee! I don’t use it often, but when I do, all purchases earn me 1.5% cash back!
There are also certain promotions that make this card worth keeping. For example, using this card in 2016 saved me money with the Uber promotion. And I use it now to pay my monthly Spotify membership because I get 50% back through April 2018!
7. Chase Freedom Unlimited
Link: Chase Freedom Unlimited
I use my Chase Freedom Unlimited for just about every purchase that’s not in the travel or dining category. Because I earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 for every purchase!
And this is another card with no annual fee. So I’ll keep it forever!
8. Chase Hyatt
Link: The Hyatt Credit Card
I might use it to book an award night next June at the Grand Hyatt Washington, DC when I’m in the area for a friend’s wedding. The same night costs ~$448 if I pay cash, so the free night is an unbelievable perk!
9. Chase Ink Business Preferred
Plus, I earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines!
The bonus on shipping purchases is a great benefit with my eBay side business. So this card isn’t going anywhere!
10. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve
This card gets the most use, so I’m definitely keeping it! Because I often spend on travel & dining and earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for these purchases!
This card also comes with a $300 annual credit for travel purchases, such as airfare and hotels. So it effectively makes the annual fee $150 ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit).
And when you pay for travel with the card, you get amazing trip protection benefits!
11. Citi Double Cash
Link: Citi Double Cash
This is another no annual fee card that I’ll keep forever. Plus, the rewards are nice with up to 2% cash back! You earn 1% cash back on all your purchases AND another 1% cash back on payments.
It’s nice to earn miles & points. But there’s nothing wrong with having a cash back card in your wallet too! I recently used the cash back to offset the cost of a private jet flight!
12. Citi Prestige
Link: Citi Prestige
In 2016, I saved $1,650 with this perk. And in 2017, I’ve already saved more than $1,000! So continuing to pay the card’s $450 annual fee is a no-brainer.
The card also comes with $250 in annual statement credits for airline purchases such as airfare and baggage fees. This is a terrific perk to offset the annual fee expense further.
Cards I’m Downgrading
1. Chase Ink Plus
I’m downgrading the Chase Ink Plus to the no annual fee Ink Business Cash Credit Card. Because I’ll save $95 without annual fee. And I’ll still continue to earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on certain purchases, including at office supply stores.
Plus, I still have flexibility to combine points from the Ink Cash to my Sapphire Reserve account and transfer them directly to Chase travel partners!
Cards I’m Canceling
1. AMEX Premier Rewards Gold
The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card has been in my wallet for ~11 months. This means the $195 annual fee will appear on a billing statement soon.
The card has a $100 per calendar year airline incidental fee credit, which offsets the annual fee. And savings from AMEX Offers also help with the fee.
But I rarely use this card, which is why it’s time to go. I prefer to use the cards in my wallet that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
2. AMEX Green
With a $95 annual fee and very few perks, I can’t think of a reason to keep this card. It’s only in my wallet after I downgraded an old personal AMEX Platinum card so I could keep my AMEX Membership Rewards points active.
But because I now have the AMEX Business Platinum, I don’t have to worry about losing my points as long as I keep the card.
3. Chase Southwest Premier
But I don’t put much spending on this card. So I can save $99 by getting rid of the annual fee expense with this card.
Plus, I have several cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And I can transfer these flexible points directly to Southwest. So it’s not necessary for me to have a card that earns Southwest points directly.
After taking a closer look at the 16 credit cards in my wallet, I plan to keep most of them.
While my annual fee expense on the cards I’m keeping exceeds $2,000, I get amazing perks like free hotel nights or annual travel credits with several cards. For example, in 2016, I saved $1,650 using the 4th night free perk with the Citi Prestige.
There aren’t any other cards I’m considering at the moment. But my wife and I will take advantage of future offers if they helps us achieve our travel goals!