Credit Cards I’m Keeping

Credit Cards I’m Keeping

The credit card world has changed a lot since I started accumulating sign up bonuses about six years ago.  Banks have cut down on the ability to churn (open a card, get the bonus, close it, then reopen it for another sign up bonus).  The pandemic has made travel benefits less lucrative.

Today I closed another card, my Chase IHG+ card I have had for three years.  I just couldn’t justify paying another year of the $89 annual fee when I am not staying at IHG properties and the price of award stays has gone up.

I tend to keep cards that don’t have an annual fee.  I figure I might use them if there is a good offer (Amex & Chase Offers) on the card.

Of the various bank currency, I find Chase Ultimate Rewards to be the most lucrative for me as I can transfer them to World of Hyatt points which I burn through.  I have a small bank of Amex Membership Rewards but rarely find a use for them.  I no longer collect Citi ThankYou points though I did like when you could use them to book flights for 1.25 cents each.  I don’t have experience with other bank currency.

For cash back, I tend to like the Citi Costco and Discover It cards the best.  For co-branded cards, I like Hyatt and Alaska Airlines points.  I really only use my IHG or Hilton cards for spend at those specific properties which is a rare occasion.

Credit Cards I Currently Hold

*Cards that hold a permanent spot in my wallet

  • *Chase Hyatt ($95 annual fee) – Hyatt is my hotel brand of choice.  The annual Category 1-4 certificate typically makes the annual fee worth it to me along with the bonus points on Hyatt properties and in restaurants.  This tends to be the card I keep in my wallet for every day spend.
  • Chase IHG Select ($49 annual fee) – While I closed the higher fee version, the grandfathered $49 version gets me an annual free night certificate (up to 40,000 points).  I’ve been finding that IHG has raised their rates and now it is difficult to find a nice property under the 40k points (in fact I am likely going to have some free nights expire this year unless I do a staycation), but even if it is a Holiday Inn stay once a year, I can make the annual fee worthwhile in most years. This card only ends up in my wallet if I have an IHG stay coming up.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) – This is my newest card that I signed up for when there was an 80,000 Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus (now it is 100,000 points, so I should have waited).  I may cancel it once the year is up, though with the new 10% annual bonus points, I may keep it one more year.  This card is my other every day spend card that stays in my wallet.
  • Chase Freedom (No annual fee) – This was formerly my Chase Sapphire Reserve which I downgraded before the first year to avoid the annual fee in 2017.  Rarely put spend on it.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited (No annual fee) – Rarely put spend on it but no annual fee.
  • Chase Ink Business Cash (No annual fee) – Rarely put spend on it but every once in a while I use it as at an office supply store.  If there was an annual fee I would close it.
  • Amex EveryDay (No annual fee) – Rarely put spend on it, but use it when there is a good Amex Offer and there is no annual fee.
  • Amex Blue Business Plus (No annual fee) – Same as other no fee Amex cards.
  • Amex Hilton Honors (No annual fee) – Same as other no fee Amex cards.
  • *Citi Costco (No annual fee) – Use it for purchases at Costco and gas (4% annual cash back).  This is one that has a permanent home in my wallet since I go to Costco and gas up a few times a month.
  • *Discover It (No annual fee) – Use it for quarterly bonuses.  Typically stays in my wallet if the quarterly bonus is restaurants.
  • Bank of America Alaska Airlines ($75 annual fee) – Keep it for the annual companion fare and for Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • Bank of America Amtrak ($79 annual fee) – just opened this card for the 50,000 Amtrak points plus $100 statement credit.  I am hoping to take more Amtrak trips and this is a great way to do it.  But will close it before the anniversary date.

One thing you may notice is that none of my cards have an annual fee over $100.  That means I don’t have any premium cards that give me access to airport lounges through Priority Pass or the Centurion Lounge.  I might consider reapplying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve once/it the sign up bonus hits 100k again but I just don’t see the long term value in any of the premium cards on the market right now.

Credit Cards I’ve Had But Closed or Downgraded due to Annual Fees

  • Chase IHG+
  • Chase Iberia
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (downgraded)
  • Chase Fairmont
  • Amex Hilton Honors Plus
  • Amex Platinum
  • Amex SPG
  • Amex Delta
  • Barclay Arrival+
  • Barclay JetBlue
  • Citi Prestige
  • Citi Premier
  • Citi Hilton

With all of the cards I currently hold and ones I have closed, I find it is important to keep a spreadsheet of my cards.  I use a simple spreadsheet with six columns that looks something like this:

It allows me to quickly check the anniversary dates of cards (when the annual fee is due) so that I can make sure to close it (or at least evaluate if it is worth keeping for another year).  If the card is open, I shade the cell for closed date as yellow to make it easier to find.

If you can’t remember when you opened a card or the history of cards you have held and closed, you can get a good amount of info off your free credit reports from one of the big three credit bureaus.

What is your plan for opening and closing cards?  Do you have a system for tracking your credit cards?

Notice: I am not a financial expert and do not offer any financial advice.  I do not receive any compensation for any of my posts.

2 thoughts on “Credit Cards I’m Keeping”

  1. Why not have Chase downgrade the IHG Premier card to the Traveller card with no annual fee?

    This would allow you to get 4th night free on points, which will stack with the 10% rebate on points which is offered with the select card.

    If you find yourself staying at more IHG properties, you can always re-upgrade it at a later date.

    • That would have probably been a smart move. However, I am moving my stays away from IHG; I find their program has lost its value for me. I don’t foresee staying 4+ nights at any IHG property.


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