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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!
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
- 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
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!
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.
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:
|Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card||no annual fee|
|Chase Hyatt Credit Card||$75|
|Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)||$95|
|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 Express||no annual fee|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||$450
|US Bank FlexPerks Business Edge Card||$55, waived the first year|
Cards I’m Keeping
1. Chase Ink Cash
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 Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.
2. Chase Hyatt
Link: The Hyatt Credit Card
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!
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.
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 hotel, Platinum Elite Status, and a 10% rebate on redeemed points.
5. AMEX Blue Business Plus
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 2 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
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:
- 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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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!