Top 10 Cards In My Wallet And What I Use Each For

by on October 22, 2013 · 49 comments

in American Express, Chase, Citi, Credit Cards, Top 10

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here. The offer mentioned below for the Business Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

Update:  As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend. View the current sign up offer here.

One of the questions people ask me all the time is how many credit cards I have and which ones I actually use. While the fact that I have nearly 20 open and active credit cards scares some people off, having that many has actually helped boost my credit score over time by lowering by debt-to-credit ratio (I have a lot more credit!) and each card I carry is a strategic choice – whether it’s for a sign-up bonus, the kind of miles or points it earns me, what bonus spending categories and spending threshold bonuses it offers, and a host of other reasons.

So for today’s Top 10 list, I thought I’d talk about the 10 credit cards I use the most and what I get out of them. When it comes to credit cards, I always try to think beyond flashy sign-up bonuses to the long-term benefits of each card and how I can maximize them, and as you’ll see in my list below, each of the cards I use the most has several unique benefits that make it one of my top earners.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred: Probably the card I use the most all-round, the Sapphire Preferred is among my all-time top travel credit cards because it offers really lucrative category spending bonuses including 2.14X points per $1 on travel (including the 7% annual points dividend) – which includes not only airline tickets, hotel rooms and things like that, but also parking garages and meters, taxis, metro transit like the Subway and a host of other transportation options – as well as on dining (and 3.21X points per $1 on dining the first Friday of each month through 2013). At the end of the year, the card also offers a 7% dividend on all the points you accrue during the year (not including the sign-up bonus). The sign-up bonus is currently 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months and the first year’s annual fee of $95 is waived. The card also has some other valuable benefits including Visa Signature perks and it waives foreign transaction fees, so it’s a great card to get if you travel internationally.

In terms of redemptions, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to 10 travel programs: British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, IHG Rewards, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Amtrak, and I personally maximize them by transferring them to United for high-end redemptions such as Lufthansa first class, or to redeem award nights at top-tier Hyatts around the world, which are only 22,000 points.

For more information check out these posts:
Details on the Sapphire Preferred 2X on Travel
The Sapphire Preferred 7% Annual Dividend
Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Top 10 Ways To Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards

2. Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card from American Express: Like the regular personal Platinum card and the Business Platinum, the Mercedes-Benz co-branded Platinum card offers a slew of value-added perks that more than justify the $475 annual fee in my opinion, including an annual $200 airline fee rebate, lounge access to American, Delta and US Airways clubs as well as Priority Pass Select membership, reimbursement of the $100 Global Entry application fee and more. It also has some great purchase and return protections up to $10,000 for any one incident and up to $50,000 during a calendar year, so I use it for large purchases as a safety net in case something goes wrong with what I buy. Right now, the card is offering a 50,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

For more information, see these posts:
The Amex Platinum Card Review
Is the Amex Platinum Worth the $450 Annual Fee?
Maximizing the Amex Platinum $200 Annual Airline Rebate
Understanding the Amex Platinum Lounge Access Benefit
The Amex Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
My Experience Getting Refunded for the Global Entry Application Fee With My Amex Platinum Card

Ink Plus

Ink Plus

3. Chase Ink Plus: Like its charge card counterpart, the Ink Bold, the Ink Plus’s true strengths come in the form of category spending bonuses that can mean up to 5X points per $1. With this card, I earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores (including on retail gift cards I purchase for other merchants), cellphone, landline, internet, and cable TV services – so I put my communications expenses on it to maximize that category as well – and 2X points per dollar spent at gas stations and on hotel accommodations, up to $50,000 annually. I also receive complimentary LOUNGE CLUB membership and 2 free lounge visits each year with access to over 350 VIP airport lounges. The card is also a Visa Signature with all the perks and benefits that come along with that including access to Visa Signature Hotels, wine-tastings in Sonoma and various trip and rental insurance coverage. The card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months.

For more information, see these posts:
Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Top 10 Ways To Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner
Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards
Ranking the Top Chase Travel Credit Card Offers


4. Amex Premier Rewards Gold: Although this card currently only comes with a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points when you spend $2,000 in 3 months, it has a few other valuable benefits that make it one of the cards I use the most. First, it has some lucrative category spending bonuses including 3X points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines (4X if you book through Amex travel), and 2X on gas and groceries – those are three major spending categories in any household (and airfare is especially a big one for me for obvious reasons) so racking up bonus points happens fast. Not only that, but when you spend $30,000 on the card in a calendar year, Amex gives you a 15,000-point bonus, essentially giving you a 50% bonus on your spending. One other benefit I enjoy? Cardholders receive a $75 hotel credit and room upgrade at check-in when you book a minimum 2-night consecutive stay with the Gold Hotel Collection.

For more information on these cards and Amex Membership Rewards, check out these posts:
The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
Analyzing Amex Membership Rewards Star Alliance Transfer Partners
Top 10 Lesser Known Amex Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 2.49.44 PM

5. Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard: I recently got this card because the bonus went up to an all-time high of 60,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in 3 months, but more importantly, each calendar year when you spend $40,000 on your card you will earn 10,000 AAdvantage elite qualifying miles which makes this card a powerful tool to help me requalify for top-tier Executive Platinum status. It also earns me 2X miles per $1 on American fares, which I purchase a lot as it’s my main airline program, so that brings in quite a few bonus miles, and then there are other money-saving benefits including 25% off in-flight purchases, and no foreign transaction fees. It does come with Admirals Club membership (hence the $450 annual fee), but since I already get that thanks to my Platinum Amex, I don’t really count that as a huge advantage to this card. It’s really all about earning those valuable elite qualifying miles.

While $40,000 might seem like a lot of spending for just 10,000 miles, those 10,000 miles to me might mean the difference between requalifying or not for top-tier American AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, which comes with a ton of perks including unlimited complimentary domestic upgrades (no more banking on 500-mile upgrade requests), 8 annual EVIP systemwide upgrades on any published paid fare – which can equate to thousands of dollars per flight in value – a 100% elite mileage bonus (Platinums get this as well), waived fees on ticketing and award mileage reinstatement.

Spend $30,000 in a year, to get the British Airways Travel Together ticket.

Spend $30,000 in a year, to get the British Airways Travel Together ticket.

6. British Airways Visa Signature Card: I’ve had this card for a few years now (I got in on one of the periodic 100,000-mile sign-up bonuses a few years ago) and though I do put my BA Avios to good use on redemptions like expensive short-hauls and premium travel on partners like American and Cathay, One of the main reasons I keep this card around is that when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year and receive a Travel Together Ticket good for two years that equates to gettingtwo award tickets for the price of one, no matter which class of travel you book (hello 2 first class award seats!). The card also earns 2.5 Avios per $1 on BA fares and 1.25 points per $1 on everything else, which puts its earning potential higher than a lot of other cards out there. The one other benefit I focus on, however, is the 10% discount it offers cardholders on British Airways tickets – and that 10% isn’t just off the fare, it’s off the taxes and fees, too, which can mean huge savings. The current sign-up bonus is 50,000 Avios with $2,000 spend in the first 3 months

For  ideas on how to maximize British Airways Avios, check out my series. Posts include: Distance-Based AwardsHousehold AccountsUsing Avios to Upgrade Paid TicketsThe Avios and Cash OptionSave Money on Fuel Surcharges by Transferring British Airways Avios to IberiaUsing Avios For Non-Flight RedemptionsUsing Avios to Book Domestic First Class FlightsDirect Flights, London Stopovers and UK DestinationsHow to Redeem British Airways Avios Without Huge FeesUsing British Airways Avios on Aer Lingus to Avoid Huge Fees.

The Starwood Amex is a popular card because it has over 30 airline partners.

The Starwood Amex is a popular card because it has over 30 airline partners.

7. Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express: I have both the personal and business versions of this card because I applied when the sign-up bonus on each was 30,000 points for spending $5,000 in 6 months, which usually comes around once a year. The bonus has dropped back down to 25,000 points for the same spending requirement, but it’s still a great card and one I use all the time not only to earn 2 extra points per $1 when I use them at Starwood properties (not only on the room rate, but also incidentals like room service, restaurant bills and spa treatments), but because each automatically gives me 2 stays/5 nights credit towards elite status each year, making requalification easier, and automatic Gold status for spending $30,000 in a calendar year. However, the main reason I keep this card (and concentrate much of my travel at SPG’s properties) is the opportunity both to redeem Starpoints at great properties all over the world as well as the fact that the program has 31 airline partners you can transfer points to at a 1:1 ratio (a rarity with hotel points) and you receive a 5,000-point bonus when transferring 20,000 points to an airline, all of which make this a great program for my travel needs both in terms of hotel stays and topping up frequent flyer accounts on occasion.

Carlson feat

8. Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card: I got this card during a round of applications I made last spring because it came with a
sign-up bonus of 85,000 Gold Points, 50,000 of which will be earned after your first purchase, plus 35,000 more points once you spend $2,500 within the first 90 days and its other benefits include automatic Gold Status. I don’t use it that much even though you earn 10 points per dollar spent at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels and 5 points per dollar spent everywhere else – but that’s because the Club Carlson credit cards’ most valuable perk is a bonus award night on any award redemption of 2 nights or more, which means that on two-night award stays, you are basically getting a points discount of 50%, which doubles the value of my Club Carlson points.

For more information on the card, check out these posts:
Details on the new Club Carlson Credit Cards from US Bank
The Club Carlson Credit Cards’ Bonus Award Night Benefit

One of the card's benefits is Diamond status for spending $40,000.

One of the card’s benefits is Diamond status for spending $40,000.

9. Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card: Although Hilton majorly devalued its HHonors program earlier this year, I still keep this card around because it came with a valuable sign-up bonus of two free weekend nights after spending $2,500 in the first 4 months, and it earns 10X points per $1 at Hilton, 5X points per $1 on airline and car rental purchases and 3X points per $1 on all other purchases, so it’s earning power is solid. However, the two reasons I actually spend on this card are that I get an additional free weekend night certificate to use at any Hilton when I spend $10,000 annually and if I spend $40,000 in a calendar year, I get Hilton Diamond status. I tried it out this year, and while it definitely improved some of my Hilton stays thanks to upgrades like the one I got at the Hilton Cape Town in January, I find I haven’t been maximizing my status, so I might just go for the $10,000 free night threshold next year.

For more information on the card and Hilton, read my full review of the card here and check out these posts:
Hilton Announces Major Devaluation
Top 10 Ways To Get Value Out Of Hilton Post Devaluation
Hilton HHonors Double Dipping: The Basics

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 3.19.51 PM

The Chase Freedom’s 5X category spending bonuses make it a fixture in my wallet.

10. Chase Freedom: While this might not be the flashiest card on the market and only carries a current sign-up bonus of 10,000 points when you spend $500 in 3 months, the Chase Freedom card is one of the most solid credit cards in my wallet for a few reasons. First, it has no annual fee, so keeping it open is a no-brainer and improves my credit score by lengthening my credit history. Second, although it only earns 1 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on most purchases, each quarter you can activate your Freedom card to maximize category bonuses of 5X points per $1 at certain merchants up to $1,500 per quarter. In Q4 of 2013 you’ll earn 5% cash back at select department stores (including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, Sears and more) and purchases made from October 1 – December 31, 2013, so that’s a great way to maximize holiday gift shopping. Earning 5X Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on up to $6,000 per year (for a total of 30,000 points) is a great way to top up my Ultimate Rewards balance, and since I have a few of Chase’s premium Ultimate Rewards cards including the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus that I mentioned above, I can transfer the points I earn with my Freedom to Ultimate Rewards’ travel transfer partners and maximize them on redemptions like airline tickets and hotel award nights rather than just for cash back.

For more information on long-term credit card strategies and maximizing your cards, check out these posts:

How Many Credit Cards Do You Have Open and How Does it Affect Your Credit?

How to Keep Earning Credit Card Points Beyond Sign-Up Bonuses

Ranking the Top American Express Credit Cards

Ranking the Top Chase Credit Cards

Ranking the Top Citi Credit Cards

Ranking the Top US Bank Credit Cards

How to Check Your Credit For Free

Maximizing Bonus Spending Categories

Maximizing Calendar Year Spending Threshold Bonuses

The Top 25 Cards With the Lowest Minimum Spending Requirements

Top Current 50,000+ Point Credit Card Sign Up Bonus Offers

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • mariana

    I have a question: I spend around $500 a month on groceries (another $300 in Costco but it doesn’t count towards groceries). Till recently I was using my Amex Hilton (no annual fee) because it gives 5x spent on that category. But those points are hard to redeem easily when Hilton nights are at 50k or more. I also have the amex gold rewards card and the SPG. If you had to choose to put your grocery spending, which card would you favor, give the monthly amount? I am debating that I should probably switch to Amex gold for 2x on groceries (though the annual fee is a bit steep) or the SPG because their points are more valuable. Thanks!

  • mjm122696

    We use the AmEx Business Gold, and I called to find out YTD purchase total when I read about the bonus miles at $30K year spending- learned this card doesn’t give the 50% bonus mentioned in this post. Something about “the old vs the new card”…. Double bummer!

  • smk778

    If you don’t mind a cash back card, the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred gives 6% back on groceries (not including Costco, unfortunately), up to $6,000 in spending each year. If you spend $500/month, you’ll spend exactly that amount and earn $360. It also gives 3% back on gas, with no limit. You won’t rack up points with this card, but it’s one of the best values out there for grocery spend.

  • TONY

    “Cardholders receive a $75 hotel credit and room upgrade at check-in when you book a minimum 2-night consecutive stay with the Gold Hotel Collection.” – I saw on the TC you received it when check out, can you confirm? And how does this work, do they just take the amount off my bill or do I have to use it for dinning/entertainment? Thx.

  • Rene

    I’m looking for a good 1st credit card for my newly graduated and employed DD. I love CSP, but I’m doubting she’ll qualify with her lack of credit at this point. We did check on Credit Karma and it says her approx score is 688. This is mostly due to her being an AU on my Amex, I think. Since that AmEx currently has a high balance, I’m worried that’s working against her and have taken her off as an AU.
    What do you think of the NFCU card, one of the Capital One cards, or Chase Freedom as a good choice for her that she’d have a good chance of being approved for? She does have a Chase checking acct right now. Also, a high minimum spend would be difficult for her right now with her starting salary and minimal bills.

  • Greg Haney

    Chase Freedom would be an easy approval I believe. Nice revolving categories, no annual fee, plus a small bonus for also having a Chase Checking account. Good card for first-timers with little experience on how to yet use credit.

  • Greg Haney

    That might be for the business version of the card. The one referenced above is the personal card, which I used to have and can confirm the annual bonus.

  • Greg Haney

    This card has an annual fee, but it’s completely worth it. I don’t even spend that much in groceries and the 6% return more than make up for the $75 annual fee. In addition to the mentioned 3% back on gasoline, it’s also noteworthy is that this card also gives 3% back when shopping at department stores. Usually clothes are another big spend item for consumers.

    (Note: I do get 5% back on Department stores through my Cash+ card, but this would be a second choice)

  • Rob P

    I have 22 cards. The Club Carlson card has replaced Freedom for my non-bonus category spending. If you can use Club Carlson points, the card gets you more bang for your buck than Freedom’s 1.1X.

  • Claire T

    Great post, esp re Ink Bold/Ink Plus lounge club passes. I am about to do an epic journey in 2014 and these passes will come in handy!!!!!!!!!

  • CC Points

    HI TPG,
    Question – I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and so does my fiance (he signed up for the 50K bonus). When we are married can we transfer all our reward points to one of our accounts (or a joint account)?
    Also, with the Amex Express Platinum, how much is that 100,000 points offer worth?

  • Dieuwer

    I am confused about the Ink cards because it seems there is NO difference between the fee-free and fee-based cards. They all get 5x on office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.

  • CC Points

    Also, what is the most beneficial way to use Ultimate Reward points – to get the 20% off airline when booking through the UR portal or transferring to a partner like Hyatt or Southwest?

  • Ben

    I would also love to know the answer to this. I know that with the SPG you can transfer points to another person, not sure if you have to be married or not.

  • thepointsguy

    Yep- intra-Chase transfers are allowed for those within the same immediate family/business

  • thepointsguy

    The signup bonus is much better on the fee
    Cards and the 5x categories have a 50k yearly limit vs 25k on no fee

  • thepointsguy

    Transferring to partners gets the most bang per point in my opinion

  • thepointsguy

    Agree with Greg- freedom is a great starter card since
    The points can be “unlocked” to greater potential when you get a sapphire preferred or ink card down the road

  • thepointsguy

    Only the personal Premier Rewards gold gets the 15k bonus

  • josefismael

    I’m partial to the Citi Forward card. While the Citi’s Thank You rewards does not even come close to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, I can more than compensate for that when I get 5x points on Restaurants, Theaters and Bookstores. When restaurants generally include bars and Bookstores (so far) includes, this card is a no-brainer for me.

    However, anytime I get the chance I will use the Freedom or Sapphire Preferred I have in my wallet, no question!

  • Stephan

    I hope youre getting affiliate credit for people singing up from these links. Thank you for the advice!

  • Trav

    Does the signup bonus on the Chase Freedom ever fluctuate? I’ve been thinking about adding this one to my collection, but I would rather wait for a while if there is a decent chance the signup bonus will go up.

  • Dieuwer

    With my tiny cable and phone spend ($100/month), I guess I should go for the no-fee card.

  • Greg Haney

    It’s a great card, but no longer available to the public. There is a differently named card available to students only, but no public offering.

  • Greg Haney

    CapitalOne Quicksilver gives 1.5% cashback as a non-points option.

  • Dieuwer

    And do you need to have a business for these cards?

  • Rob P

    No, at least not for the last 1.5 years that I’ve been monitoring.

  • r0m8470

    TPG, sign up bonus is the main driver/contributors for the rewards program. But after that sign up bonus, what is the next main contributors aside from having to take Intercontinental/Long haul trips?

    I’ve got Chase Shappire Preferred, Chase Freedom and United Explorer. With sign up bonus and everything, I can get 135K points easy which all i can convert to United. That’s 1 biz class ticket from NA to APJ but that’s it. I paid my mortgage with Vanilla Rewards which will net me about 20K points per year, but that’s a far cry from an award ticket – at least the international one.

    If I added Chase Ink, I may net another 50K bonus points – but then the main point contributors – at least the ones on the size of sign up bonus – are gone. I only spend about $1500 or less per mo on credit card, maybe $2K if even that outside of mortgage, so not a lot.

    What are the key to maximize then outside of the sign up bonus and the paid long haul trips?

  • Adam Jakowenko

    I have the Starwood Preferred Amex and called both my Amex and Starwood, and neither have any knowledge of what you mention above relating to Automatic Gold level status if you spend $20,000 in a calendar year. I’d love to know how you’re aware of this or if it was just a special promo when you signed far as they tell me, this doesn’t exist.

  • thepointsguy

    The US Starwood Amex absolutely gives Gold status when you spend 30k in a calendar year. You got misinformed reps- call American Express

  • thepointsguy

    I got it at 30k, but I haven’t seen one of those offers in a long time.. 10k seems standard

  • thepointsguy

    Some are links and some aren’t.. appreciate the support either way!

  • thepointsguy

    Well the 25k signup bonus is way better on the annual fee card- especially since the $95 is waived for the first year.

  • thepointsguy

    Ink cards do require a business

  • Eric N

    Your article mentions $20,000 spent (I realized you fixed it in the parent comment). You might want to change it up there :)

  • Ashker

    Hi TPG, I am thinking about applying for the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard. But 3 months ago I opened a Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa. Do you think, Citi will approve me?

  • SuperKirby

    The QuickSilver is probably the best non-hassle cashback card out there. However, mentioning a cashback card in a travel blog is blasphemy to us travelers ;)

  • SuperKirby

    Is there a reason to keep the Amex Plat past year one, if one already has the Citi Executive AA card? Essentially you’re just paying a $250 AF (after incidentals) for Priority Pass Select. I guess it’s good incase one flies DL and US once in a while, for the lounges?

  • liverpoollegal

    What would you say is the best card for business owners who have never opened up a line of credit in the business name (unsure of whether the business can get approved, never had any credit)?

  • Carolina Amaya

    I am thinking of getting the Barclay Arrival World MasterCard, but I don’t see it on the list. Is there a reason for this?

  • escs

    I am about to jump on some new cards. I live in DFW so AA is a big player. I have a business offer for Amex for 100,000 points, I was about to get along with the British Airways 100,000 offer. I am trying to think through a Dallas- Tokyo and return Tokyo – HNL stopover (because really what is a vacation without a beach) – DAllas. AA allows me to do this on their booking system for award flights. I would also be depending on British Airways miles and American Express points to do this for individual tickets. Will they allow the same stopover in Honolulu? My alternate choice would be to wait for a good AA business card offer and continue accruing points there- so it would be more straight forward. Just hate to miss those 100,000 offers. Thanks for keeping my family of five vacationing!!!

  • jtgray

    I don’t understand why you pay for the Ink Bold/Plus when you have the Sapphire. Why not just get the free Ink Classic? It includes the 5x/2x categories and lounge club access, and the only thing it doesn’t have the bold/plus have is transferable ultimate rewards points. But since you already have the Sapphire, you already have it…

  • Chucks

    I was confused about that as well. The Ink Bold does come with a big signup bonus, but it seems a bit silly to keep it around considering the annual fee.

  • Chucks

    When you see a card that good, you’ve got to hop on it! I’ve had 3 of my cards discontinued.

  • Chucks

    I just got the Barclay Arrival and it looks absolutely great. With 2.2% rewards on everything (when redeemed for travel) it beats every card’s base rate rewards and a lot of cards category rewards. Makes a perfect go-to card for non-category purchases.

  • Chucks

    It seems like some of these cards are so redundant or limited that it doesn’t seem worthwhile having most of them. Why have a British Airways card card for 2.5 points on BA flights or a Citi AA card for 2x points when your Amex gold gets you 3-4% on flights? And where is your general purchase card? Barclay’s Arrival gives 2.2% on every purchase (so long as you reimburse it for a travel expense). Unless you spend all of your money on flights and hotels, it seems like your non-category rewards are pretty poor. Or am I missing something?

  • jtgray

    Exactly. I churned both the bold and the plus for the signup bonuses, cancelled each and then got the classic to keep permanently.

  • Dustin

    I’m curious what your system is for maintaining activity on so many credit cards. I’m aware that closing accounts has a negative impact on your credit score, so keeping accounts open has two positive impacts: increasing your available credit, and increasing credit history. The general advice seems to be to buy something with each card every six months in order to keep it from being closed, but to double check the terms for each card to see what the policy is. The question then becomes how to keep it all straight in your head, especially once you have more cards than you can mentally keep track of, in terms of when they were last used. I’ve considered creating 6-month reminders on my iPhone or on Google Calendar for each card to remind me to use them.

    Secondly, I’m curious how you keep track of which cards are best to use for each purchase, in terms of getting the most points. Say you’re at the Home Depot, or you’re buying something on Amazon, or you’re at the movie theater. Those all fall under different merchant categories and a different card would probably be best to use at each to maximize points gained. I’ve considered making a laminated, credit card sized cheat sheet for my wallet listing all my cards and a summary of their perks.

    Would really appreciate you weighing in on this topic.

  • Dustin

    Just for clarification, I’m typically a one-card guy for the sake of simplicity. I don’t want a George Costanza wallet full of cards. The only reason I’m starting to take on more cards is for the award points and the benefits to my credit score. So all but one of my cards are stashed in drawer, out of sight. Thus the need for a system to help me remember to use them in order to keep them active.

    I do need to start carrying two or three on me, however, if I’m going to try to cater my specific card usage to the merchants I spend with.

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