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There are so many cards to sign up for, but only certain cards fit best for our individual goals and for the way each of us uses them. What is right for me, most likely will not be right for you. So use this a guide to help determine why a specific card may belong in your wallet!
That being said, here are the cards that I keep in my wallet… and the others that I use for specific purposes.
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What’s In my Wallet
Chase Southwest Premier Visa
Southwest is my favorite domestic airline, and the love affair continues to grow as they expand into Caribbean and Central America destinations. This is my primary card because I LOVE the Companion Pass, which you can earn without even paying for one flight on Southwest!
Chase Ink Plus Mastercard (Business)
This is a business card, so doesn’t show up on credit reports besides initial credit inquiry. I keep this in my wallet because I buy a lot at Staples, which gives 5x Ultimate Reward Points on first $50,000 spent at Office Supply, Phone, Internet, and Cable TV services. A great way to boost points is by buying gift cards at stores and restaurants you normally frequent from Staples or other office supply stores.
American Express Platinum
The Amex Platinum card provides access to the Centurion Lounges when you travel, which have to be some of the best domestic lounges around. And when your airport doesn’t have Centurion Lounges, you can access Delta Sky Clubs, Airspace Lounges, and Priority Pass lounges. You also receive a $200 a year airline credit.
The Citi Prestige card provides access to American’s Admirals Club Lounges when flying American. You also get 3 complimentary rounds of golf each year! I’ve golfed over $1200 worth of rounds the past couple of years.
Besides these primary cards, I rotate cards in and out of my wallet to hit minimum spends on new cards or annual thresholds on cards that provide benefits for meeting minimum spends. For instance, Citi Hilton Reserve provides a free weekend night after $10,000 and Hilton Diamond after $40,000 in a calendar year. And the US Bank Club Carlson cards (personal and business) provide a free domestic night after $10,000 in the 12-months from annual fee.
I’m constantly re-evaluating which cards belong in my wallet. What cards are in your wallet? Should I switch one of these cards for something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Other Cards I Own, But Don’t Always Carry
American Express Starwood
When transferring points to 30 airline partners, 20,000 points gets you 25,000 miles. Very useful for Points & Cash reservations with Starwood hotels (W, Westin, Sheraton, Aloft, etc.), which allows you to minimize cash outlay and extend the life of your points.
American Express EveryDay
The Amex EveryDay provides a 50% bump in the points earned each month when you use the card 30 or more times in a statement period. So, I put a few vendors (ie: Netflix) on autopay with this card to ensure I hit the minimum transactions.
American Express Hilton Surpass
I’ll be closing out this card or downgrading it when the annual fee hits because the Citi Hilton Reserve provides similar benefits (ie: Hilton Diamond after $40k spend) but also provides an annual free night after $10k spend for only $20 more in annual fee.
American Express Delta Business
I needed a business card for one of my rental property businesses, and I wanted some Delta points for Caribbean flights, so I got this card. Will seek to swap it out when the annual fee hits.
Bank of America
Bank of America Alaska Airlines
I love this card for the annual Companion Pass benefit. I flew Timmy down to Costa Rica for $99 + tax with this benefit. Aside from getting the sign-on bonus, you may not want to put much spend on this card given the value you can get from other cards.
BankAmerica Rewards (x2)
These cards are old and were converted from a bank that BofA acquired long ago. They help keep my average account age high. I put a couple charges a year on them to keep them active.
Good card for every day spend because you can earn 2x points on all spend, then get a 5% rebate when redeeming for travel expenses.
Barclay Aviator Red
This is the old US Airways card that converted when American bought US Airways. I’m grandfathered in to get 10,000 American AAdvantage miles each year when I pay the annual fee. And when I redeem AA miles, I get a 10% rebate.
Barclay JetBlue Plus
I got this card for the JetBlue points, which are great for Caribbean flights. You get 5,000 JetBlue points each anniversary and a 10% rebate when you redeem points. Checked bags are free for cardholders as well.
Chase Marriott Visa (personal and business)
I keep this card for the annual free night, which has even more value now that Marriott bought SPG. Cardholders automatically get Marriott Silver status.
I keep this card for the annual free night, which can be used at ANY location anywhere around the world! And cardholders automatically receive IHG Platinum status. Such an amazing deal for $49.
Great card to earn a lot of Ultimate Rewards points with the 5x quarterly bonus categories. No annual fee.
Chase British Airways
Avios are valuable points when redeeming on partner airlines. You can redeem for as little as 7500 points for domestic or 12,500 one-way to Hawaii.
Annual free night that we’ve used at the Hyatt Andaz Papagayo, a beautiful resort in Costa Rica. Cardholders get automatic Hyatt Platinum status.
Citi Double Cash
This card provides 1% cash back when you buy and another 1% cash back when you pay on the card. This is a great 2% cash back card with no annual fee.
Citi ThankYou Preferred
No annual fee card that is good for ThankYou points, which are becoming more valuable as Citi adds airline transfer partners.
Citi American Airlines AAdvantage (personal and business)
The Citi AA cards provide free checked bags and priority boarding. You also receive a 10% rebate on miles redeemed (up to 10k points back each year). There are also quarterly flight promotions where you can redeem for discounted flights to select cities.
Citi Hilton and Hilton Reserve
I keep the basic Hilton card for credit longevity, but the Hilton Reserve provides Hilton Gold automatically, a free weekend night after $10k in annual spend, and Diamond status after $40k annual spend.
I only have one card from Discover, the “it” card. Normal 1%-2% cash back isn’t much of a focus for me, but I like taking advantage of the 5% cash back quarterly categories. For instance, I stock up on Amazon credits at 5% cash back, which is basically a $75 rebate on my $1500 spend.
US Bank FlexPerks
FlexPerks are one of the hidden gems in the travel world. There are two versions of this card, Visa and Amex, each with their specific perks. Overall, points are redeemed at up to 2% value and you can get nice bonuses on grocery spend and charitable giving.
Club Carlson (personal and business)
You get automatic Gold status and an annual bonus of 40,000 points, which is almost enough for a stay at most top-tier properties. Tier 1 properties start at 9,000 points a night. Most of the Club Carlson properties in the US are not that exciting (think Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, Park Inn), but their international properties are usually nice. Their nicest brand, Radisson Blu, has properties in Chicago and Minneapolis in the US, but the best ones can be found all over the globe. I’ve stayed at Radisson Blu’s in Sydney, London, Dublin, and Rome and have been impressed.
The opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed or endorsed by any company or third-party, unless clearly stated otherwise. The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the advertiser. It is not the advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.