Keeping 7 Cards, Downgrading 1, Canceling 2: Meghan’s Plan

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Keeping 7 Cards, Downgrading 1, Canceling 2:  Meghan’s Plan

Million Mile SecretsKeeping 7 Cards, Downgrading 1, Canceling 2:  Meghan’s PlanMillion Mile Secrets Team

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I asked each Million Mile Secrets team member to share which credit cards are in their wallet.  And whether they plan to keep, cancel, or downgrade each card.

We don’t reimburse writers for their credit card fees, so there’s no reason for them to pay them unnecessarily.  And you can trust their honest reviews!

Here’s team member Meghan’s plan.

Meghan:   Thank you Daraius!  Right now I have 10 cards in my wallet.  And because lots of them have annual fees, it’s important to evaluate which are still worth it from time to time.

It’s also crucial to keep track of important information, like the cards’ opening dates, annual fees, and extra perks.  So you don’t pay any unnecessary annual fees or miss the opportunity to use a card’s valuable benefits!

2017 Credit Cards Worth Paying The Annual Fee Meghan
Because of Miles & Points, My Family Can Travel the World for Almost Nothing! Just a Few Months Ago, We Were Chasing Bubbles Near Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf!

I’ll show you which cards I plan to keep, cancel, and downgrade.  And share why I’m planning to get the Chase Ink Business Preferred.

Team Credit Card Inventory Index

2017 Credit Cards Worth Paying the Annual Fee

Like team member Keith and his wife, my husband and I both apply for rewards credit cards and manage our applications accordingly.

For example, I closed my Chase United Explorer card ~1 year ago.  He opened his shortly after so we could still have access to extra award seats you get with the card.  And for the sign-up bonus too, of course!

We also both qualify for small business credit cards, because we sell items on eBay and run a vacation rental.

Having a side-hustle is a fantastic way to earn lots of miles & points, because you can pay for business expenses with your rewards earning credit card!  And certain small business cards won’t affect your chances of being approved for Chase cards in the future.

2017 Credit Cards Worth Paying The Annual Fee Meghan
We Use Rewards Earning Credit Cards to Pay for the Expenses of Running Our Vacation Rental in Montana

Larger expenses can even help you meet minimum spending requirements more quickly.  And earning miles & points for those purchases takes the sting out of having to replace a dishwasher in your rental. 😉

That said, we take our family finances seriously.  So we pay our accounts in full each month and monitor our credit scores carefully.  In fact, contrary to what many folks believe, applying for lots of cards hasn’t negatively affected our credit scores because we’re able to manage our credit responsibly.

Here’s a look at my current credit card inventory:

CardAnnual Fee
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Cardno annual fee
Chase Hyatt Credit Card

$75
Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)$95
Chase Sapphire Reserve
$450
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express$95, waived the first year
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card$49, waived the first year
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
$95, waived the first year
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Expressno annual fee
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN$450

Terms apply
US Bank FlexPerks Business Edge Card$55, waived the first year

Cards I’m Keeping

1.   Chase Ink Cash

Link:   Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

A few years ago, I downgraded a Chase Ink Plus (no longer available) card I had to the Chase Ink Cash, to avoid paying the annual fee.

The Chase Ink Cash card is a great option for small business owners, because you earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 you spend at office supply stores, phone service, internet, and cable purchases.

Plus, because it’s a Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning card, you can transfer the points you earn to travel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Business Preferred, or the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.

2.   Chase Hyatt

I applied for the Chase Hyatt card just before the sign-up bonus changed, so I’ll earn 2 free nights at any Hyatt after meeting minimum spending requirements.  (Again, this offer has changed.)

I’m still working on earning the bonus.  But I’ll likely keep the card even after the annual fee is due, because it comes with a free night at a Category 1 to 4 Hyatt every card anniversary.  That can easily offset card’s $75 annual fee!

2017 Credit Cards Worth Paying The Annual Fee Meghan
My Husband Got the Chase Hyatt Card ~2 Years Ago, and We Used His Free Night Certificates to Stay at the All-Inclusive Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta in Mexico!

And because I can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, I stay at Hyatt hotels pretty frequently.  It really is the best Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel transfer partner!

3.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

The $450 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve might be a turn-off for some folks.  But because the card also comes with up to a $300 annual credit for travel purchases, like airfare and hotels, the annual fee is effectively $150 ($450 annual fee – $300 travel credit).

So the annual fee is worth it to me!  Plus, I’ve already taken advantage of the $100 Global Entry fee credit.  And with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with other cards are worth more.  Because you get 1.5 cents per point (instead of 1 or 1.25 cents per point) on travel booked through the Chase portal with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

4.   Chase IHG

Link:   Chase IHG

I was recently targeted to earn 100,000 bonus IHG points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening a Chase IHG card (no longer available).  And I jumped on the deal!  But the public sign-up bonus is currently 80,000 IHG points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months is still a good offer.

2017 Credit Cards Worth Paying The Annual Fee Meghan
I Plan on Using the Sign-Up Bonus From the Chase IHG Card for a Free Night at the InterContinental London Park Lane During Our Upcoming Trip Across the Pond

I’m still working to complete the minimum spending requirements.  But I plan on keeping this card in the future (just like Daraius!) because it has ongoing perks that will save me lots of money.  Like the annual free night at any IHG hotelPlatinum Elite Status, and a 10% rebate on redeemed points.

5.   AMEX Blue Business Plus

Link:   Blue Business Plus Card from American Express

I got this card at the last minute, before the welcome bonus disappeared.

I knew I could meet the minimum spending requirements and that applying would NOT count against my Chase 5/24 count, so I figured it was an easy way to earn 20,000 more AMEX Membership Rewards points.

Plus, the card earns AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year.  And has NO annual fee!  So it will be a good option for everyday spending if I decide I need more AMEX Membership Rewards points.

6.   AMEX Starwood Business

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

I applied for the AMEX Starwood small business card late last year, so my annual fee hasn’t come due yet.  But I’m going to keep the card because it comes with perks like:

I’ve been able to make the most of certain AMEX Offers.  And sometimes the card offers great spending promotions!

Because Starwood points can be incredibly valuable but are hard to earn, we recommend keeping the AMEX Starwood personal or small business cards open.  Even after the annual fee is due!

7.   AMEX Business Platinum Card

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

I’m bummed by the negative changes to the AMEX Business Platinum’s Pay With Points perk, because I’ve gotten a lot of value from it.

But I plan to keep my AMEX Business Platinum for at least another year, because it comes with other valuable benefits like lounge access and $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals on your selected airline.  These help offset the hefty $450 annual fee.

Plus, I was targeted to earn up to 50,000 bonus AMEX Membership Rewards points through a recent spending bonus offer.  So it’s worth it for now!

Cards I’m Downgrading

1.   Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)

Like team member Keith, I plan on downgrading my Chase Ink Plus to another no annual fee Ink Business Cash Credit Card once the annual fee comes due.  Because I’ll still continue to earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on certain purchases, including at office supply stores.

Plus, with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, I’ll still have the ability to combine the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with the Ink Cash with my Sapphire Reserve account, and transfer them for Big Travel with Chase’s travel partners!

Card’s I’m Canceling

1.   US Bank FlexPerks Small Business Card

Link:   US Bank FlexPerks Business Edge Visa

I applied for the US Bank FlexPerks Business card in September 2016, to earn the bigger sign-up bonus the card usually offers during the Olympics.

I plan on closing the card before the annual fee is due, because with FlexPerks’ tiered redemption structure I had a hard time making the most of the FlexPoints I earned.

2017 Credit Cards Worth Paying The Annual Fee Meghan
The Annual Fee on My US Bank FlexPerks Business Card is Coming Due Soon, so I Recently Used My FlexPoints to Visit My Sister in Sunny Santa Barbara. And She Loved Seeing Her Niece!

Currently, 20,000 FlexPoints is worth up $400 in airfare, 30,000 FlexPoints is worth up to $600 in airfare, and so on.  So if I can’t find a ticket that’s just under $400 or $600, for example, I don’t feel like I’m making the most of my rewards.

That said, the FlexPerks program is changing.  Starting December 31, 2017, US Bank FlexPoints will be worth a flat rate of 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for airfare, hotels, and car rentals.  This will make redeeming points more straightforward!

2.   AMEX Gold Delta Business Card

Link:   Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card from American Express

I have a stash of Delta miles I earned from paid flights over the years, and to top-off my account, I decided to get the AMEX Gold Delta small business card.

I took advantage of the recent limited-time increased welcome bonus on the card.  And because applying wouldn’t hurt my chances of being approved for Chase cards in the future, it was a great time to get the card!

But I’m going to cancel it, because I’d rather put most of my regular spending on my cards that earn more flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Wish List

1.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

With the Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.  And you’ll get 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, telecommunications, shipping, and advertising on social media and search engines (to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year).

80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points is worth $1,000 in travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal.  So the sign-up bonus alone is a good reason to get the card!

Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so flexible, it’s my go-to points currency in the hobby of miles & points.  And I plan on signing-up for the Ink Business Preferred card once I know I can meet the minimum spending requirements!

Bottom Line

After taking inventory of the 10 cards I currently have open, I’ve decided to keep all but 2 of them and downgrade one.

A few that I plan to keep, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and AMEX Business Platinum cards, have high annual fees.  But for my personal travel goals, the cards’ perks outweigh the fee!

And hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of the great offer on the Chase Ink Business Preferred sooner rather than later. 😉

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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This is very timely. Thank you. I have a question. I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve AND the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The annual fee is due for the Sapphire. Is there any logical reason to keep it if I plan to keep the Reserve? It doesn’t seem at all necessary and there is no way I am letting the Reserve go.
Thank you for your input.

Great question, Anne! There isn’t much of a reason to keep your Chase Sapphire Preferred open if you want to keep your Chase Sapphire Reserve.

And like reader RF mentioned, you could downgrade your Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited to avoid an annual fee.

You won’t earn a sign-up bonus when you downgrade. But it won’t trigger a credit pull either! So downgrading could be a good option if you want to take advantage of the Freedom card’s rotating 5% bonus categories, for example.

Probably not. May make sense to downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Freedom Unlimited or a regular Freedom (to take advantage of the rotating 5% categories).

You can have multiple Freedom cards so even if you already have one, you can still downgrade to that and have double the 5% earning power each quarter.

Thanks so much to the MMS team for this series. It can be so mind-boggling (especially for people new to this) looking at all the cards out there and trying to figure out which ones to keep, get rid of, downgrade, etc., but this series of articles has been SO helpful! Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the awesome feedback! Being able to help y’all is the best part of the job. 😉

Why don’t you do an article based on a non-business owner, someone over the 5/24 and who not been targeted for any additional offered.. I’m really tired your efforts to impress us with the number of cards you have and the offers you get. Why should I bother reading these articles.

Always some articles will be more useful to some readers than to others. I do think it would be helpful to note applicability of 5/24, but otherwise I think the article is a solid one. And of course you don’t need to read articles you don’t find pertinent.