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I’ve recently across upon a number of credit card inventories on different blog sites, so I thought I’d do my own, as they seemed pretty interesting. Everyone has their own reason to apply for a credit card and everyone’s credit card strategy differs. I currently have a total of 15 credit cards, though I only use 11 of them on a regular basis. The others are primarily to maintain the average age of my credit card accounts, which is a major factor on your overall credit score. I will conduct a credit card inventory at least annually to keep you all informed.
Credit Card Inventory
Summer is here, and a plethora of amazing credit card sign-up bonus deals with that. Just in time for summer vacation. Delta has had several sign-up bonus increases with their SkyMiles Gold and Platinum cards this year. I took advantage of both, so those are my newest additions. Although, the Gold version offers nothing to me that the Platinum version doesn’t already, so that one is on my chopping block.
My current credit card inventory:
Rewards Credit Cards I’m Keeping (Go):
|Amex Mercedes-Benz Platinum||$550 AF||SCRA|
|Amex Premier Rewards Gold||$195 AF||SCRA|
|Amex Everyday Preferred||$95 AF||SCRA|
|Amex Starwood Preferred Guest||$95 AF||SCRA|
|Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum||$195 AF||SCRA|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||$95 AF|
|Chase Freedom||$0 AF|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||$0 AF|
|Chase IHG Rewards Club||$49 AF|
|Citi ThankYou Preferred||$0 AF|
Cards I’m Not Keeping (No-Go):
|Amex Delta SkyMiles Gold||$95 AF||SCRA|
I also have the Military Star card, Citi Government Travel Card (GTC), USAA Cash Rewards Card and Service Credit Union Platinum card. I use the GTC for Temporary Duty (TDY) and Permanent Change of Station (PCS) travel and keep the other 3 around simply for their age.
Why I carry them:
Mercedes-Benz American Express Platinum
$550 Annual Fee, SCRA
This card has been my bread and butter for its amazing benefits. Though the annual fee was recently raised to $550 (exempt through SCRA), I still think this card is untouchable. I regularly stay at Delta SkyClubs and Priority Pass lounges, max out the airline fee credit year after year, rent exclusively at National, and really enjoy the complimentary hotel status upgrades. I don’t use this card for any other spending than airline tickets (directly with the airline), which earns me 5x points. Unless I sign up for a specific offer from Amex. There is currently a 10x points offer on FedEx purchases (in-store) that I took advantage of today.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold
$195 Annual Fee, SCRA
I really used to love this card. The 3x points on airfare were its trademark, but now also unfortunately its downfall. Why earn 3x points when I can earn 5x points with the Platinum card? The only reason I keep this card around is due to the SCRA benefit and the $100 airline fee credit. So it’s hanging on by a tread. You may not see this card on my credit card inventory next year.
Go/No-Go?: Go (For now)
American Express Everyday Preferred
$95 Annual Fee, SCRA
While I do eat out quite a bit, I also enjoy cooking at home. The 3x points at supermarkets make this card a must have for me. Double points at gas stations are also nice, but I usually fill up at Costco. Costco dropped their contract with Amex last year and switched to Visa, but the wholesale chain still sells the cheapest Top Tier fuel around, so it’s hard to pass up.
American Express Starwood Preferred Guest
$95 Annual Fee, SCRA
I replaced my SPG Amex card as my non-bonus category spending card with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5x points on all purchases, versus the 1x points that the SPG card offers on all purchases outside of SPG and (as of late) Marriott transactions. But I still use this card when staying at SPG and Marriott properties and on non-bonus category transactions abroad, especially since the Everyday Preferred and Premier Rewards Gold cards limit their bonus earning to domestic purchases only (with the exception of the PRG 3x points on airline tickets). Starpoints are extremely valuable, so this card has a permanent slot inside my wallet. Unless Marriott discontinues it, which I hope does not happen.
American Express Delta SkyMiles Platinum
$195 Annual Fee, SCRA
I just applied for this card this month due to the 70,000 miles sign-up bonus offer. This card had been on my wish list for a while, so the offer was too good to pass up. While I likely won’t put $25,000 a year on this card (too many bonus points to pass up on other cards) to earn the bonus MQMs and bonus miles, I do value the Priority Boarding and Annual Companion Certificate this card offers. I don’t really care much for the free checked bag feature, as I receive 2 free checked bags when showing my military ID at the counter.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
$95 Annual Fee
This one is probably my most valuable card. Besides the very generous bonus spending categories and free primary rental car coverage, this card turns the points I earn with the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards also into Ultimate Rewards points. It then gives me a 25 percent discount in the Ultimate Rewards portal when I use points. This feature alone makes Chase UR more valuable that Amex MR in my opinion. Definitely a keeper.
$0 Annual Fee
This was actually my very first rewards card. I got this card initially before I joined the military, but cancelled it a few years later because I really didn’t know what to do with it. Big mistake! While I did get a nice refund from Chase when I inquired about SCRA benefits a few years back (even though the account had been long closed), I shouldn’t have ever closed it in the first place. The only reason I was eligible for the SCRA benefits with that account was because I had opened it prior to enlisting into the Army. I did get this card again about a year and a half ago however, so I learned from my mistake. This card earns me a ton of UR points, due to the 5x points rotating bonus categories. The current bonus category is restaurants and movie theaters, but I’m still working on my Amex SkyMiles Platinum sign-up offer, which requires me to spend $4,000 in 4 months, so I mainly use that card at the moment.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
$0 Annual Fee
This card was introduced just let year and I applied for it immediately after it was announced. It earns 1.5x points and doesn’t have an earning cap. That makes it the perfect non-bonus spending card, especially given the value of UR points. Definite no-brainer.
Chase IHG Rewards Club
$49 Annual Fee
While IHG points aren’t the most valuable ones out there, this card gives me a 15 percent discount when I pay with Points & Cash. That makes a Holiday Inn stay a lot more affordable. This card also gives me complimentary Platinum Elite status and a free anniversary night at any IHG property. That complimentary stay alone can pay for the annual fee ten fold.
Citi ThankYou Preferred
$0 Annual Fee
This card was my introduction into the Citibank’s ThankYou Rewards system. I got this card for its 15,000 points sign-up offer and the double points I earn on all entertainment purchases. I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred for all dining purchases, so I don’t really need it for that. ThankYou points have been becoming more and more valuable lately, so I may end up investing more in them.
American Express SkyMiles Gold
$95 Annual Fee, SCRA
I just got this card a few months back when I received a sign-up offer for 60,000 miles in the mail. While I like this card and all of its perks, It does nothing for me now that I have the Platinum version. Since it’s a new account, it won’t hurt my average account age to close it and that also frees up an American Express slot for me. American Express limits the number of credit and charge cards you can have.
I currently have me eyes on the Amex SkyMiles Reserve and the free First Class Domestic Companion certificate it offers. The Platinum version only offers a Main Cabin certificate. I’m also interested in the Amex Hilton Honors Surpass card, Amex Blue Business Plus card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card.
It’s very important to have a solid credit card strategy that works for your unique spending habits. This strategy works for me and it helps me maximize my points earning potential. While there are still a few cards on my wish list, I don’t want to expand my portfolio too much more. At the moment I’m just curious about the faith of my SPG card once the SPG/Marriott merger is 100 percent complete. Marriott mentioned that the two rewards systems will merge this year. I really hope they don’t mess this up for us.
Have you recently conducted a credit card inventory? Tell me a little about your credit card portfolio.