Credit Cards Points & Miles

What credit cards are in my wallet?

Here is an article that is very original 😉

Articles about the cards we use and why actually helped me when I was first starting out in the hobby. So, I do think this could be a good first article for me to write.


The categories

So, I grouped the cards into 5 categories which are called combo everyday, for the benefits, rare, aged, and bye bye. Basically, the first two categories, combo everyday and for the benefits, are the ones I focus on and are willing to pay the annual fee.

Combo everyday cards are used daily unless I am working on a minimum spend on another card. For the benefits are cards that are kept for the benefits, but not used all too often. Rare are cards that have no annual fee and are only used for specific purchases that I just don’t use unless they would be best for that purchase. Aged is just one card, but I never use it and only keep it for my credit score. Bye bye are cards I want to part ways with because of the annual fee unless the bank gives me a retention offer.

I have 17 credit cards, 3 charge cards, and 1 store card which makes the total 21 cards. It is a lot of cards, especially since 14 of those cards I signed up within the last 13 months.

Without further ado, let’s start the wallet showcase thingy… idk what to call it.


Combo everyday

These cards are loved or are used everyday by me. Giving me great benefits or lots of points on things I regularly spend. Having just one of these cards isn’t the best idea, but having them together gives me tons of value out of the points and benefits.

  • American Express Platinum
  • American Express Gold
  • American Express Hilton Aspire
  • Citi Premier
No Game No Life gave us the idea of the name No Travel No Life

These 4 cards together cover everything I care about. While these cards only give me 1 point for non-category spend (except the Hilton Aspire which is 3 points for non-category spend, but that is not as good as 1 Membership Reward or Thank You point) I am not doing a huge amount in non-category spend that will make a difference.

That being said, I would still love to add the American Express Blue Business Plus card to this collection. However, Amex limited me to 5 credit cards and won’t allow me to add another one. So, I need to wait for my Amex credit cards to gain 1 year of maturity before I get rid of one.

American Express Platinum

Maybe I give this $550 annual fee card too much credit, but I do love the benefits since they work for me. 5 membership reward points for each dollar I spend on airfare is amazing. I am also a huge Delta fanboy, so being able to access Sky Clubs makes a huge difference. Fine Hotel & Resorts comes in handy sometimes, but when it does, it’s great to have it. The airline incidental credit is easy for me to use since it works for award ticket taxes and fees on Delta. Priority Pass comes in handy when flying economy.

I know I am giving this card too much credit and maybe I would be better off to get the business version for the lower $450 annual fee. I don’t use Uber credits, which are restricted only to use in the US. But I have my parents and Yuka as authorized users and the business version charges $300 for each authorized user (personal charges $175 for a total of 3 authorized users).

In the end, this card made a difference to how I travel. From the points I get from airfare to Sky Clubs, I am very happy to keep it.

American Express Gold

This card was in the bye bye category about a month ago, but it’s now an amazing mid-tier $250 annual fee card that is all about dining and supermarket category spend. To get 4 membership rewards points each dollar I spend at restaurants and supermarkets ($25,000 cap for supermarkets) is great! The $120 dining credit and $100 airline incidental credit are wonderful, making the annual fee $30.

The only negative thing about the card is the dining credit being a little annoying to use. It’s a monthly credit, so it’s $10 per month and only working in the US. The category spend for points is also limited to the US. While this card is great now living in the US, I cannot see myself holding this card in the future when I am living outside of the US majority of the time.

However, I will enjoy this card till I move outside of the US after graduation this April.

American Express Hilton Aspire

Wow! I never thought I would enjoy a $450 annual fee hotel card. I would say this card has given me more value than the other cards.

Getting 14 Hilton Honors points from each dollar I spend at Hiltons is very nice, it’s about a 20% return when factoring in the diamond bonus. But the other benefits are crazy good. I get one annual weekend night at virtually any Hilton property from the date of the application which can be used at the Conrad Maldives, Conrad Bora Bora, etc. up to 95,000 points in value. (There are some properties excluded, but it’s a very small list and none are aspirational properties.) The $250 resort credit is actually easy to use since it can be used for anything at a resort. The card gives out Diamond status, which is Hilton’s highest status, but next year I am planning to reach Diamond by elite nights. The $250 airline incidental credit is similar to the Amex Platinum and Gold, so I can use it to pay taxes for award tickets.

I can see myself keeping this card for a very long time based on the benefits. I just hope Amex and Hilton don’t devalue this wonderful card.

Citi Premier

Thank You Points are pretty valuable to me. Thank You Points have major transfer partners like Flying Blue and Krisflyer, but I love Thank You Points for their niche transfer partners like Etihad, LifeMiles, Turkish, and Asia Miles.

I got the Premier when Citi had the 60,000 welcome offer, which is a good amount of miles that I definitely have use for. It’s a mid-tier $95 annual fee card covers category spend that the other cards don’t. 3 Thank You Points from each dollar I spend for travel (including gas) and 2 Thank You Points from each dollar I spend on dining and entertainment come in handy. I primarily use the card for travel, gas, and entertainment purchases. Unlike the Amex Gold, this card actually gives bonus points for category spend outside of the US. The only downside about this card it does not have any other benefits like travel insurance, but knock on wood I don’t need travel insurance. 🙂


For the benefits

These 7 cards are the cards I keep for the benefits. 6 of the cards are hotel cards, and the lonely 1 card is an airline card. The hotel cards give me an annual free night, which comes in handy when living in a hotel next year. The hotel cards also come with other handy benefits like point rebates or 4th reward night free. The airline card is there for bonus elite miles and the economy companion pass.

These cards aren’t used usually and are collecting dust most of the time, but some offer good point categories or elite qualifications that come in handy to qualify for elite status.

  • Chase IHG Premier
  • American Express SPG
  • American Express SPG Business
  • Chase Marriott Premier Business
  • Chase World of Hyatt
  • Chase IHG Rewards Club Select
  • American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business

The card I would actually use would be the Chase World of Hyatt card just for Hyatt stays. Otherwise, I won’t usually use any of the other cards, unless I absolutely need those points.

Honorable mention to the Chase IHG Premier for fourth reward night free, anniversary free night, and platinum status. Yes, I value IHG platinum status since I am lucky for getting suite upgrades and breakfast. The old Chase IHG Rewards Club Select card is great for the points rebate and the now nerfed anniversary free night.

The Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business was my go to card to get Delta medallion status, but I can earn it by flying since I am flying more. The card does give me a companion pass, so it’s definitely worth it for when I need it.

The SPG and Marriott cards are still fine with the annual free night, but the earning categories for spend suck. So, I use them only to keep them active.


Rare

These 4 cards (yes there are only 3 shown in the photo, one is on its way) are cards that I don’t use unless there is a very specific reason. All these cards have no benefits I care about, but they have no annual fee.

  • Discover IT
  • Chase Amazon Prime
  • Amazon Prime Store Card
  • American Express Hilton Honors (got it yesterday)

The only card from this rare category I will use for the meantime is the Amex Hilton Honors card. I will be working on the $1,000 minimum spend for the 100,000 Hilton points and then I don’t expect to use it much.

The other two 3 cards are rarely ever used. I rarely shop on Amazon, but when I do, I want that 5% cash back. The Discover IT card is my very first credit card and the 5% rotating quarterly spend categories come in handy, but not all the time. Otherwise, I will leave these cards to age and help grow my average credit age since these cards have no annual fee.


Aged

This category is just for one card, the Citi Expedia+. This card is was my third credit card ever after turning 18 and only wanted it thinking Expedia had a good rewards program. It’s terrible, but it’s one of the oldest cards that is almost 4 years old and there is no annual fee. So, all I do is spend a dollar or so every few months to keep it active.

Fun fact, that brick is from 1884.

Bye bye

Self-explanatory, it’s time to get rid of cards. These cards will be gone unless I get lucky with a retention offer. None of these cards have benefits that are worth the annual fee.

  • CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select
  • American Express Business Gold
  • Bank of America Alaska Mileage Plan Business
  • Bank of America Alaska Mileage Plan
  • Barclay AAdvantage Aviator (retention offer)

None of these cards have benefits that are worth the annual fee. The Alaska cards have companion passes, but I never fly Alaska to the destinations I go to. I only value Alaska based on their partners and redemptions.

The only card that I am keeping for another year is the Barclay AAdvantage Aviator. They waived the annual fee for me this year, so I am allowing it to age till the next annual fee and then cancel.


Where are the Chase Ultimate Reward cards?

I am well over 5/24. I didn’t know about the 5/24 rule before starting this game and wasn’t eligible for any Chase 5/24 cards. If you don’t know about Chase’s rule that is called the 5/24 rule, I suggest you read these articles here and here

I once had Ultimate Reward points for being an authorized user, but I transferred all 38,000 (that I earned) to Korean before Chase removed Korean as a transfer partner so I could do a Korean first class redemption.

However, I never went out of my way to collect Ultimate Rewards since my travel plans never matched up with Chase’s transfer partners. For me, I am not missing much since Chase’s transfer airline partners aren’t the best.


Thoughts

There is not much to say besides writing this article helped me organize my cards. Otherwise, I am wondering what you think of my setup compared to your setup.

Thanks for reading!

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Quana OBryan

Great article Steve. Amex HH may be soon to come since there is no AF.