What’s In My Wallet? (Gulp…) 16 Credit Cards…

That sounds insane doesn’t it? If it helps, one of the cards is Lilly’s.  Points and Miles aren’t for the faint of heart…and my credit score must be awful, right?

Looks good to me.  Credit Cards are tools and I NEVER carry a balance.  That’s the secret. Each Credit Card in my wallet is there for a reason and when needs change, so do the cards, sometimes…Here is the list and yearly fees:

  1.  Chase Sapphire Reserve      $450
  2.  Amex Blue Business Plus    $ 0
  3.  Marriott Business                 $99
  4.  IHG Hotels (Holiday Inn)    $49
  5.  United Airlines Explorer     $95
  6.  Delta Platinum                      $195
  7.  Hyatt Hotel                             $75
  8.  Amex Business Platinum    $450
  9.  Amex Personal Platinum    $450
  10.  Starwood (SPG) Business    $95
  11.  Ritz-Carlton                            $450
  12.  Citi American Airlines         $95
  13.  Amex Hilton Surpass           $75
  14.  Amex Business Gold            $175
  15.  Amex Business Plat-Lilly    $450
  16.  Edward Jones World            $0

That’s a long, scary and expensive looking list; and when you add up the fee’s, $3203.00 per year!  Two important points: 1. Some of the above cards waived the 1st year fee and 2. It’s time to thin the herd before the fee comes due.  So who stays and who goes?  Each card offers benefits, some of which I don’t use.  I’m only going to list what’s important to ME, not everything the card offers. Starting at the top:

  1.  Sapphire-Keep: 3x UR points on Travel and Meals.  $300 Travel Credit,  Airport lounge access.  Xlnt Travel portal.  All meals go on this card+most Travel
  2. Amex Blue Business-Keep: No Annual Fee, 2x Amex MR points on everything.  This card gets used on everything that isn’t Meals and Travel.
  3. Marriott Business-Keep, grudgingly.  You get a free night (cat 1-5) each year which can far exceed the card fee.  I don’t carry this card around.
  4. IHG-Keep. Free night each year (Huge value potential here, think Las Vegas Palazzo) plus Platinum Status.  Low fee.
  5. United Explorer-Bye. Other non-airline cards cover benefits of this card
  6. Delta Platinum-Bye.  See #5
  7. Hyatt-keep for free night feature.
  8. Amex Business-Keep. $200 airline credit, 35-50% points return on airline. 5x on MR airline ticket purchases and lounge access.  Gold status with SPG, Marriott, Ritz and Hilton.
  9. Amex Personal-Bye. Use Amex Business.
  10. SPG Business-Keep. Max point return at Marriott, Ritz and Starwood.  Free WiFi
  11. Ritz-Bye. This is a hard one.  $300 “any travel” credit.  It’s that last $150 ($450 annual fee) I just can’t find the value.  I don’t stay at Ritz-Carlton that often.  I got the card because of the 3 free night promo.  These are gone after the first year.  I received HUGE value in the last year from that promo.
  12. American Airlines-Bye. See #5
  13. Amex Hilton Surpass-Keep. Hilton treats me like a king. 12 Hilton pts per $ at Hilton Hotels
  14. Amex Business Gold-Keep. This is my Travelinggump.com card.
  15. Amex Platinum (Lilly)-On the fence
  16. Edward Jones World card-Keep. It’s a lousy card but my oldest and has no fee. Good for credit report, not much more.

That’s 5-6 Byes and keep the rest.  I’m not a fan of the airline cards as their benefits are very narrowly focused.  They are most valuable to those seeking airline status.  Having said all that, as each card hits it’s anniversary, I’ll call customer service who will occasionally waive fees or offer Points/Miles to keep you for another year.

With my current card choices, I rarely pay for airline tickets, lounge access, rental cars or hotel rooms.  Whether I use Points, Miles or pay out of pocket depends on the math. Either way, I love having the option to choose.

Where do I go now?  What is my next card?  The Chase Ink has me salivating but alas, thanks to their 5/24 rule (loosely stated, 5 cards opened anywhere within last 24 months=No Go on Ink at Chase, Ugh) not an option today.  So do your due diligence and let me know “what’s gonna be in your wallet?”



About Travelinggump

Avid World Traveler who uses Points and Miles to enhance the Travel Experience. If you want to learn how, follow my Blog for Tips, Reviews and Ideas to get started.

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