A Look Into My 19 Credit Cards

I have been rewarded tremendously by learning the ins and outs of credit card, hotel, and airline loyalty programs. To take advantage of all of those programs I needed huge sums of points. As a result, I have opened a ton of credit cards. I want to give you a look into what cards I currently have. I’ll tell you why I have that credit card, if I spend with that card, and if I’ll be keeping it.

Chase

Chase Ink Plus ($95 annual fee) – This is a business card that Chase no longer offers. It offers 5x the points at office supply stores and telecommunication services, and 2x the points on gas and hotels. I keep this card because it is my only premium Chase credit card and without it, I could not transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to different loyalty programs. As a bonus, I occasionally make use of the 5x bonus categories.

Verdict: Keep

Chase Freedom (No annual fee) – This card offers 5x the points in rotating quarterly categories. This sometimes includes restaurants, gas, and grocery stores, which are amazing bonus categories. I’ll keep this card forever as it has no annual fee.

Verdict: Keep

Chase Freedom Unlimited (No annual fee) – I got this card from downgrading my Sapphire Preferred in order to avoid the annual fee. This card offers a flat 1.5x points on all purchases. I use it sometimes to make purchases in “unbonused” categories. I’ll keep this card forever as it has no annual fee.

Verdict: Keep

Chase Hyatt ($75 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus of two free nights at any Hyatt property in the world. I keep this card for the annual free night it gives that is good at any category 1-4 Hyatt in the world. I never put any spend on this card.

Verdict: Keep

Chase IHG ($49 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus. I keep this card for the annual free night at any IHG property in the world. I also occasionally use this card to earn 5x points when staying at IHG properties.

Verdict: Keep

Citi

Citi Prestige ($450 annual fee) – I originally got this card for the sign up bonus. I ended up keeping it for another year because Citi offered me a generous retention bonus when I called them and told them I was thinking of closing the card. It also offers some cool benefits like Priority Pass Select membership and 4th night free at hotels when you book through Citi. I have another card now that also offers Priority Pass select membership, so that benefit is not as good to me anymore. It also has decent categories of 3x points on airfare and hotels and 2x points on dining. I am not sure if I will be keeping this card for another year.

Verdict: Cancel/Downgrade unless offered retention bonus

Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) – I got this card purely for the bonus. It does have some nice bonus categories like 3x points on travel and 2x points on dining. I was going to cancel or downgrade the card, but when I called Citi, they offered me a nice retention bonus. I will most likely cancel the card next year if they do not give me another retention bonus.

Verdict: Cancel/Downgrade unless offered retention bonus

Citi Hilton (no annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus. I’ll keep the card because it has no annual fee. I never put any spend on it.

Verdict: Keep

Citi Double Cash (no annual fee) – I downgraded my Citi AA Platinum Select to this card in order to avoid the annual fee. It’s my oldest account with Citi. I’ll keep it open forever. I don’t put any spend on it.

Verdict: Keep

American Express

Premier Rewards Gold ($195 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus. This card offers a $100 airline credit that I can easily take advantage of to drop the annual fee to $95. The card offers 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores, which I take advantage of. It also gives me another card to use with Amex Offers. I think I’ll be keeping this card another year.

Verdict: Keep

SPG ($95 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus. SPG points are the most valuable points currency. Having this card gives me a way to earn SPG points. It doesn’t have any other benefits that I use. I am not sure if this card if worth keeping for another year. I am leaning towards canceling.

Verdict: Cancel

Hilton Surpass ($75 annual fee) – I got this card by upgrading my no annual fee Hilton card because American Express offered me some bonus points to upgrade my card. I kept this card open for another year after that because it offers Hilton Gold Status and that gives free breakfast when staying at Hilton hotels. However, I now have another way of getting Hilton Gold Status. The card also offers a nice 6x points at grocery stores. No longer having the need for the status benefits means I will likely downgrade this card back to the no annual fee Hilton card that I originally had.

Verdict: Downgrade

Business Platinum ($450 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus and the ongoing benefits. When I get back to the States, this card will become the centerpiece of my miles and points strategy. Having this card allows me to redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for 2 cents each towards airfare. It also offers a host of benefits like Priority Pass Select Membership, Delta Sky Club Access, Hilton Gold Status and SPG Gold status. Starting at the end of March, it will also have 5x points on airfare when you book at AmexTravel. That makes the card even more valuable.

Verdict: Keep

Business Rewards Gold ($175 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus points.

Verdict: Cancel

Barclays

AAdvantage Aviator ($89 annual fee) – I keep this card because it gives you 10% of your miles back (up 10,000) a year when you redeem American Airlines awards. They also give out nice spending bonuses on the card every year allowing me to rack up easy American Airlines miles. It also has Chip and Pin technology so I can use it in places that require Chip and Pin.

Verdict: Keep

Bank of America

Alaska Airlines ($75 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus points.

Verdict: Cancel

Alaska Airlines Business ($75 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus points.

Verdict: Cancel

US Bank

Club Carlson ($75 annual fee) – I got this card for the sign up bonus points and the benefits the card used to offer (but no longer does). This card earns 5x for all purchases, which is pretty good. It also offers 40,000 bonus points each year you renew the card. This card used to be a killer card, but they recently killed all of its best benefits. I think I’ll keep this one, but I’m not 100% positive.

Verdict: Keep

Discover

Discover It (no annual fee) – This is my oldest credit card. I keep this card because of the no annual fee and because it improves my credit score by being my oldest account. I never put any spend on this card.

Verdict: Keep

Conclusion

19 credit cards is a ton of cards. Most credit cards I have are just for the sign up bonus and I plan on canceling them before the annual fees are due. Some credit cards offer great benefits that make the annual fee worth paying. It’s always wise to examine your credit cards a few times a year in order to evaluate which cards are giving you value and which cards you should cancel. I hope reading about how my mind looks at different credit cards will help you in your future credit card decisions.

Have any questions about my thought processes or my credit cards?

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