Which Credit Cards Are In My Wallet?

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    Last November I wrote a post sharing which credit cards are in my wallet. More accurately I should say which credit cards I currently have “open,” since I sure don’t carry all my cards in my wallet. I figured I’d provide an update of this list, as I’ve changed up my cards a fair bit since then.

    With each card I’ll share:

    • The annual fee on the card
    • Whether I plan to keep or cancel the card when the annual fee comes due
    • If I keep the card, whether I do so for the value it provides for everyday spend or the annual benefits that come with the card

    First, here’s a chart summarizing the cards I have, whether I plan to keep or cancel them, and if applicable, why I plan on keeping them:

    Credit Card Annual Fee Keep or Cancel Why I Keep It
    Ink Plus® Business Credit Card $95, waived the first year Keep Everyday spend
    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Visa Card $95, waived the first year Keep Everyday spend
    Chase Freedom® $0 Keep Everyday spend
    Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® $89, waived the first year Keep Everyday spend
    Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card $75 Keep Annual benefits
    Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card $75 Keep Annual benefits
    Chase Hyatt Visa Card $75, waived the first year Keep Annual benefits
    IHG Rewards Club Visa $49, waived the first year Keep Annual benefits
    Hilton HHonors Card from American Express $0 Keep Annual benefits
    The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® $89 Cancel N/A
    Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card $75 Keep Annual benefits
    Alaska Airlines Business Visa Card $50 Keep Annual benefits
    Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard $450 Cancel N/A
    The Platinum Card® from American Express $450 Keep Annual benefits
    Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express $65, waived the first year Keep Annual benefits
    Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express $65, waived the first year Keep Annual benefits

    With the above summary out of the way, here’s a bit more detailed of a description:

    Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

    Annual fee: $95, waived first year

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: everyday spend


    The Chase Ink cards are the best business cards out there at the moment, in my opinion.

    • You get double points on the first $50,000 spent annually at hotels and gas stations
    • You also get 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cell phones, landlines, internet, and cable TV

    The last category alone justifies the annual fee on the card (which is waived the first year), given that those are fixed monthly expenses for me, and when I add them up and calculate the 5x points I’m earning, I’m already coming out ahead.

    Keep in mind that Chase offers both the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and Ink Bold® Business Charge Card, which offer virtually identical benefits. The major difference is that one is a credit card while the other is a charge card.

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    Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel on Korean Air

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Visa Card

    Annual fee: $95, waived first year

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: everyday spend


    This one is a no brainer, and a card everyone should have.

    • The card offers double points on dining and travel plus a 7% annual points dividend
    • That means you’re earning 2.14 points per dollar spent at restaurants and on just about all travel expenses, including hotel, airline tickets, car rentals, transportation, and even parking

    While I can get a good return on hotels and airline tickets with other cards, it’s the dining and other travel expenses (taxis, trains, parking, etc.) that make this card awesome. Since it has no foreign transaction fees I use it when I’m traveling abroad almost exclusively.

    Chase Freedom®

    Annual fee: $0

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: everyday spend


    The card has no annual fee and offers 5x points in rotating categories for up to $1,500 in spend every quarter. That’s an easy way to pick up 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year. Beyond that, having a no annual fee card is great since you can keep it long term without it costing you anything, which can potentially help your credit score.

    Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

    Annual fee: $89, waived the first year

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: everyday spend


    With airline award charts being devalued quite frequently, it’s nice to earn an alternative points currency to diversify things a bit. The card offers 2% cash back towards travel, plus you earn a 10% refund on your redemptions, which means you’re basically earning 2.22% cash back towards travel. That’s tough to beat for everyday, non-bonused spend.

    Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card

    Annual fee: $75

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    This is probably the single most undervalued credit card out there. I’ve written about the card in the past, and what makes it so special is that every time you redeem an award night you get a second award night free.

    • That means if you redeem for award nights in two night chunks, you’re literally getting 50% off award redemptions
    • Beyond that, you get 40,000 bonus points on your account anniversary each year, which is nearly enough points for a free night at one of their top hotels, and then the second night would be free

    I’m doing lots of travel to Europe this summer, and plan to stay at quite a few Club Carlson properties.

    Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

    Annual fee: $95

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    What makes this card great is that you get HHonors Gold status just for having the card, which gets you what I consider to be the two single most valuable hotel elite benefits — free internet and breakfast.

    You also get a free weekend night certificate when you spend $10,000 on the card in a year, which can be a great value since it can be redeemed for properties that would otherwise cost up to 95,000 points per night. You also get Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on the card in a year — whether or not that that’s worth it probably depends on your travel patterns.

    Chase Hyatt Visa Card

    Annual fee: $75, waived the first year

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    The only time I spend a dime on this card is for international Hyatt stays, since you earn three points per dollar (for domestic Hyatt stays I use the Starwood Business AmEx). Other than that I keep the card for the annual free night certificate, redeemable at category one through four properties. That more than justifies the annual fee, given that it can be redeemed at some great properties.

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    Pool at Grand Hyatt Beijing, where I redeemed my annual free night certificate

    IHG Rewards Club Visa

    Annual fee: $49

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    This card is also a no brainer simply for the benefits you receive for keeping the card long term. You receive an annual free night certificate valid at any IHG property, plus Platinum status, for as long as you have the card. For a low annual fee of just $49, that’s tough to beat.

    Hilton HHonors Card from American Express

    Annual fee: none

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    This is a no annual fee credit card that used to be worth keeping solely for the ability to redeem for Hilton’s AXON awards. However, Hilton devalued AXON awards in June after devaluing the rest of their program in March, so the card isn’t as useful as it used to be.

    • Maybe I’ll need an AXON award in the future, though for me a card without an annual fee is worth having just for the positive impact it has on my credit score.
    • One of the things that factors into your credit score is the average age of your accounts, so this card helps since I have no intentions of using it otherwise.

    I transferred most of the credit line from this card to the Starwood American Express, so there’s really not much opportunity cost to keeping the card.

    The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®

    Annual fee: $89

    Keep or cancel: cancel


    Why I keep it: N/A


    I signed up for this card simply because it will likely be going away at some point due to the merger. It’s an easy 40,000 US Airways miles which will eventually be converted into American miles. Beyond that, there seem to be quite a few targeted spend bonus offers for this card, so in many cases it can even make sense to put spend on the card.

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    Redeem US Airways miles for Cathay Pacific first class

    Alaska Airlines Visa Card

    Annual fee: $75

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    I actually have several of these cards at the moment. The sign-up bonus on the card is presently 30,000 miles upon approval. As a matter of fact the miles usually post before you even receive the card, which is pretty awesome. Alaska miles are incredibly valuable since they allow stopovers on one-way awards and have some amazing redemption opportunities on carriers like Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

    But also I value the fact that the card comes with an annual $118 companion certificate for travel in coach on Alaska. The companion still earns miles and is upgradable, so as far as I’m concerned, the more of these cards I can pick up the better. I know people that have a handful of these cards active, so I’ll likely pick up another one in a few months.

    Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card

    Annual fee: $50

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    The Alaska Business Visa only has a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus after the first purchase, but is still a great card since it also comes with a companion certificate. For me, the card is worth keeping long term for the companion certificate.

    Citi Executive AAdvantage World MasterCard

    Annual fee: $450

    Keep or cancel: cancel


    Why I keep it: N/A


    For much of this year the card has come with a 100,000 mile sign-up bonus. That was an absolute no brainer, so I picked up a couple of cards under that offer. While the card comes with Admirals Club access, I don’t see a whole lot of other long term value in the card.

    The Platinum Card® from American Express

    Annual fee: $450

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    This card is expensive but worth every dime to me. It offers lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass, and even their own Centurion Lounges, which are pretty awesome.

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    American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas

    But beyond that you get an annual airline fee credit for $200, which in practice can many times be used to purchase airline gift cards. So I’m able to purchase $200 in American Airlines gift cards per year and have it reimbursed. What sweetens the deal even further is that the annual fee is based on a rolling 12 month period, while the airline fee credit is based on a calendar year. So that means with your first year’s annual fee you can actually pick up two airline fee credits, worth $400.

    The other thing that makes this card awesome is access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts.

    Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

    Annual fee: $65, waived the first year

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    On a per point basis, Starwood points are probably the most valuable points currency out there. I value SPG points at about 2.2 cents each, and they’re actually the only points currency I value at over two cents per point. So I put all my Starwood hotel stays on this card, along with some spend in categories that don’t earn bonuses on other cards.

    That being said, I’d keep the card alone for the fact that it offers two stays and five nights towards Starwood status annually. In the past I’d qualify for Starwood Platinum on 25 stays instead of 50 nights, but now I’m qualifying on nights given that you don’t get the 10 suite night awards annually if you qualify on stays. That’s basically like picking up night credits towards status at $13 each. Perhaps this is less of an incentive now that I live in hotels full time, though.

    Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express

    Annual fee: $65, waived the first year

    Keep or cancel: keep


    Why I keep it: annual benefits


    I like this card for exactly the same reasons as the personal card. They both offer the same bonuses, so the one reason to have both of them is because they each offer you two stays and five nights towards status annually. Between the two cards that’s four stays and 10 nights towards status, a very nice head start each year.

    Bottom line

    Anyway, that’s a summary of the cards I have. While they represent quite a bit in annual fees, I’m also getting tons of annual benefits out of each card, be it from everyday spend or for the annual bonuses they offer.

    How many cards do you have in your wallet?

    (In the interest of full disclosure I earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the above links. They’re all for the best publicly available offers for each card. Neither this post, nor the comments, are provided nor commissioned by Chase. The comments below have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser, and it is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Thanks for your support! )

    The post Which Credit Cards Are In My Wallet? appeared first on One Mile at a Time.

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