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My Credit Card Spring Cleaning – Which Cards To Keep, Cancel or Convert

by on March 13, 2014 · 116 comments

in Credit Cards

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Update: The offers mentioned below for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express has expired. View the current offers here – personal, business.

Spring is here, the sun is shining (well, it is in Miami!), and it’s time for another round of credit card applications to boost my points balances. With several new lucrative offers out there like the 100,000-mile Citi Executive AAdvantage World Mastercard, the newly launched 40,000 points offer on the Platinum Card from Amex, the just-launched Barclaycard Hawaiian Airlines World Elite Mastercard, there are some interesting cards on the market at the moment, which got me thinking about my own wallet.

Time for a round of applications? Here are some great current offers.

Time for a round of applications!

As always, that means taking inventory of my current credit card portfolio, giving a long, hard look to the cards I am carrying, and weeding out a few before replenishing my stock with a new set of points-earning credit cards.

Here are the factors I consider in my decision-making process.

1) Are the perks/benefits of each card more than the annual fee?

2) Is there a duplicate/substitute card that can get me similar benefits/perks and a new sign-up bonus?

3) How long have I had the card? Is it worth keeping open to preserve the history of the account?

I go through each card in my wallet and do a quick cost/benefit analysis about whether it’s worth keeping it open. I don’t necessarily need to cancel any cards since my credit is excellent and most card issuers will let you open numerous cards as long as you pay your bills on time and keep your score up. However, I don’t like having unnecessary accounts open if I am not actively using a card or reaping valuable benefits. Plus, if I cancel a card now and give it a year or two, then hopefully I can get the sign-up bonus again down the line (this works for most issuers besides Chase and possibly Amex now, but timelines vary).

Main credit score factors

History is an important factor in determining your credit score.

While it is good to keep accounts open for a long time, the age of your accounts is only 15% of your credit score, so as long as you have a couple old accounts helping to keep the average long, that should suffice though there is really no set formula that will guarantee a high credit score. Learn more about maintaining a strong credit score in this post.

My considerations might differ from yours – especially since I consistently do a significant amount of spending on my credit cards. I put almost every single dollar of personal and business spend on cards, as well as a lot from family and friends. I buy a lot of Vanilla Reload cards to pay all of my mortgage/car/HOA and other bills by credit card (via Bluebird). So I can hit some lofty calendar year spend thresholds to get some of the best perks out there.

When evaluating your own needs, estimate your annual spend on credit cards and then decide which spend bonuses are worth your while and which cards best align to the categories where you spend most of your money.

Keep, Convert or Cancel 

Here’s how my decision-making process played out and how I decided to keep certain cards, cancel others, and convert some to duplicate or substitute cards with the same issuers for even more bonus points and perks. By “convert” I mean canceling my current card and applying for the same or similar one (if an issuer has introduced a new version) to get the sign-up bonus again.

American Express Premier Rewards Gold: Keep - I spend money on airfare, so the 3x per dollar earned on flights booked directly with airlines is the main way I boost my Membership Rewards balance with this card so I can take advantage of their (seemingly more infrequent) transfer bonuses. It also offers 2x points per $1 at US gas stations, so it’s a good everyday option there when other cards like the Freedom aren’t offering higher category bonuses. Plus I get 15,000 points at $30,000 in calendar-year spend, which more than justifies the $175 annual fee in my mind.

American Express Starwood Personal: Keep -  Due to recent United and Hyatt devaluations shrinking the value of Ultimate Rewards points in my eyes, I value Starwood points the highest. That’s thanks not-only to great award night redemptions at hotels, but also the versatility they give me to transfer to over 30 airline partners with a 25% bonus on 20,000-point transfers. I also like the 2 stays/5 nights’ elite credit this card automatically confers every year. All that justifies a $65 annual fee to me.

American Express Starwood Business: Keep - (see above). This business version of the card also offers Amex OPEN business card benefits like discounts at FedEx and Hyatt and more.

Chase British Airways Visa: Keep - Even though British Airways charges big fees on Companion Ticket redemptions, the bottom line is that I can get two business class roundtrip tickets from NY/Philadelphia to London for a total of 80,000 Avios and $800 a ticket (when I find the time to redeem them!). I value business class roundtrip to Europe at $2,500, so I’m coming out way ahead here – even with the fees.

Chase Freedom Visa: Keep - I earn 7,500 points per quarter by spending $1,500 in the rotating quarterly 5X bonus categories. They are currently gas stations, Starbucks and movie theaters until March 31, 2014 . Since there is no annual fee, I’m going to keep it around, though at some point I may switch to the Mastercard version if there’s another 20,000-30,000 sign-up bonus.

Chase Hyatt Visa: Keep - I don’t put any spend on this card, but the automatic annual free night I get at a category 1-4 hotel as a cardholder far outweighs the $75 annual fee, plus having it often gives me bonuses during Hyatt promotions.

Chase Ink Bold: Keep - This is my workhorse business card. I use it to make purchases at office supply stores where I can buy gift cards for major retailers like Starbucks while earning 5 points per dollar. It also offers 2x points per $1 at gas stations and hotels, and no foreign transaction fees, making it good for travel abroad. I may cancel since I prefer the ink plus (flexibility to pay over time) and benefits are the same essentially.

Chase Ink Plus: Convert – It’s basically the same thing as Ink Bold, but a credit card so you could theoretically run a balance and pay over time. I pay all of my bills off every month so I don’t need this duplicate version. If I were spending more than the $50,000 in some of the 5x categories I’d think about it, but I am focusing spend on other cards to hit bonuses/perks so I plan to let this one go. I like the benefits but want to open a new one for a new business I started to get the 50k boost again!

Chase Ink Exclusives (Discontinued): Keep - Once you spend $100,000 in a calendar year, you start earning 1.2 points per dollar spent. When you spend $25,000 you get a 7,500 point bonus (which is 1.5 points per dollar spent on average), if you spend $50,000, you get another 15,000 point bonus (which is about 1.65 points per dollar spent on average), and if you spend $100,00, it nets you another 25,000 points bonus (which equates to 1.675 points per dollar spent on average). So on large purchases, like tax bills, for me it makes sense to spend the 1.8 cents per dollar in fees for using a credit card to get 1.67 Ultimate Rewards points since I value UR points at about 2 cents each. There is however a 3% foreign transaction fee.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa: Keep - I often use this card abroad because there are no foreign transaction fees and I can earn 2.14x points per dollar on travel and dining. At some point I may switch to the Mastercard version to get the sign-up bonus and enjoy most of the same benefits.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve: Keep - The annual free weekend night at top-tier hotels more than pays for the $95 annual fee.

American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum: Convert - I’m going to switch this card to the Business Platinum version so I can get the current 25,000-point bonus. I value (even relatively restricted now) lounge access and having access to Delta SkyClubs, which saves me from having to pay over membership fees. The $450 annual fee is further justified in my mind by the $200 yearly airline rebate, which I used on buying American Airlines gift cards, so in my estimation, this card essentially it costs me $250 for the lounge access and perks like Fine Hotels & Resorts and reimbursed Global Entry ($100 value) for each cardholder. 

Chase United ExplorerConvert - With this card I like the anytime awards and two annual United Club passes as well as the 10,000 bonus miles after hitting $25,000 in annual in spend. However, I’m going to switch it over to the business version so that I can earn 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants, gas stations and office supply stores in addition to the 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets purchase from United.

US Bank Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa SignatureConvert - My plan is to hit renewal, earn the automatic 40,000 points then get the business version since it only has a $60 annual fee instead of $75 and carries another 85,000 bonus points as well as the last-night free award benefit that means half-priced awards on two-night stays.

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMilesCancel – When I was concerned about maintaining Delta elite status, I liked this card’s ability to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles based on spending and to help me circumvent the new Medallion Qualifying Dollar system by spending $25,000 annually on it instead, but given Delta’s recent devaluations and negative award program changes, I’m dumping the airline. Plus, I need room for the new Amex EveryDay cards that will be launching April 2, 2014.

American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business: Cancel - See above.

Bank of America Virgin Atlantic American Express: Cancel – I got this card for the 65,000 bonus miles (20,000 bonus miles after first purchase, 25,000 additional bonus miles after $2,500 in qualifying purchases in the first 90 days, 5,000 bonus miles when adding two additional Cardmembers and up to 15,000 Anniversary bonus miles if you hit a threshold of $25,000 in spend).

Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCardCancel – I got this card with a 60,000-mile sign-up bonus and have enjoyed the American Admirals Club access it gives me (especially since that benefit of the Amex Platinum cards will be discontinued March 22), and the ability to earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles by spending $40,000 in a calendar year, but I’m going to cancel it and open up a new on in order to get in on the current 100,000 mile offer.

Stay tuned for the results of my latest round of applications – I got approved for 4 cards (some new and some repeats) and I’m excited to watch my accounts diversify and grow!!

Issuer Card Personal/Business Category Spend Bonus Benefits Annual Fee
Amex Premier Rewards Gold Personal 3x airfare, 2x gas and groceries 15k bonus points at $30k spend $175
Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Personal 2x on Starwood 2 stay/5 night elite credit, gold status at $30k spend $65
Amex Business Starwood Preferred Guest Business 2x on Starwood 2 stay/5 night elite credit, gold status at $30k spend $65
Chase British Airways Visa Personal 1.25x on everything, 2.5x on BA Companion Award Ticket at $30k in spend, no FX fees, Chip + Signature $95
Chase Freedom Visa Personal 5x quarterly categories (capped at $6k total per year) $0
Chase Hyatt Visa Personal 2x restaurant, airline, car rental Chip + Signature, no FX fees $75
Chase Ink Bold Business 5x office supplies/internet/phone, 2x gas and hotels Lounge Club, no FX fees $95
Chase Ink Plus Business 5x on office supplies/internet/phone, 2x gas and hotels Lounge Club, no FX fees $95
Chase Ink Exclusives Business 1.2 points per dollar + 7,500 points at $25k+ 15,000 at $50k + 25,000 at $100k $95
Chase Sapphire Preferred Personal 2x travel and dining 7% annual dividend, no FX fees $95
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Personal 10x on Hilton, 5x on airline and car rental Annual free night at $10k spend, Diamond status at $40k $95
Amex Mercedes-Benz Platinum Personal 5x on Mercedes-Benz purchases $200 annual airline rebate additional cardholders for $175, Global Entry refund, Priority Pass Select, Delta SkyClub access $475
Chase United Explorer Personal 2x on United No FX fees, free checked bag, priority boarding, anytime awards, 2 club passes, 10k bonus spending miles $95
US BANK Club Carlson Premier Personal 5x all, 10x on Club Carlson Free award nighst, automatic gold status, 40k bonus points on renewal $75
Amex Business Delta Platinum Business 2x on Delta Companion Pass, ability to earn MQMs, first checked bag free $195 (formerly $150)
Amex Delta Platinum Personal 2x on Delta Companion ticket, ability to earn MQMs $195 (formerly $150)
BOA Virgin Atlantic Personal 3x virgin, 1.5x everyday Ability to earn Tier Points, bonus spending miles $90
Citi Executive AAdvantage Business 2x on American Lounge access, ability to earn EQM’s first checked bag free $450

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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  • Guest22

    I called Chase to close my United Explorer card, citing the annual fee. They immediately gave me a $100 credit to keep my card open. Pretty happy about that.

  • Heath

    You will probably get a lot of criticism from haters for this post, but I personally love ti! Thank you! I am making many similar decisions as I evaluate my card portfolio and this was very helpful.

  • Redcat

    You seem to suggest that you get bonuses when you convert accounts (MB AmEx Plat -> Business Plat and Club Carlson Personal -> Business). Is that actually the case? Every time I’ve done a product change, i don’t even get an annual-fee waiver, let alone the sign-up bonus!

  • Bluesky5

    Hope this is not a dumb question but why no Barclayscard Arrival?

  • thepointsguy

    I’ll explain in a post tomorrow, but I just applied and got approved

  • Justin

    So glad you do this post every once in awhile Bri. I think I need to do the same thing. Sitting with a couple dozen cards now and really need to whittle down what I really need and use (and get the most out of.) Thanks!

  • Chris

    Companion ticket on BA Visa is next to worthless, and you can get Avios through both MR and UR, so no need to keep the card. Also, for someone with average spending patterns these are way to many UR cards. Paying an annual fee for both Ink Plus and Bold is crazy. I could go on. I mean, look, you are spending about $1,500 per year just in annual fees…

  • thepointsguy

    Always apply for a new card.. By convert I just mean that I like the card, but will switch to a different product to get another bonus

  • lmcsawyer

    Where can you find the Chase Freedom MASTERCARD application??

  • lmcsawyer

    …also- does the MasterCard participate in the 5x rewards categories as well?

  • Ryan

    I’m curious what wallet you use to hold all those cards! ;-)

  • SantiHolly Speranza

    I have the AMEX Mercedes Benz Platinum Card right now, I just read your post in my email about converting that one to the Basic Platinum Business Card for 25K Points but in the same post you said that the Sign Up Bonus is now up to 40K for the AMEX Plat Business Card. My question is how do you “Convert” from the Mercedes Type to the Basic Business Platinum and get the bonus of 25K or 40K Points?

  • Danny

    To me, the BA Visa is not worth it. The companion ticket isn’t really a great perk – you have to generate 30K of spend which is a big deal for most people. And even then, availability is spotty, and the rules make it so you’re paying a lot for the tickets anyway. The best ‘value’ is that you end up paying 80K points AND around $2,500 in cash for a couple of tickets – no thanks. You have to be willing to buy something overpriced to get another thing overpriced for free, basically.

    Just because you got a very expensive ticket for free, it’s still not a great deal because you had to spend 30K for that privilege and buy another very expensive ticket to get that ‘free’ expensive ticket.

  • Karla

    Can you do a post describing how to pay university tuition for kids to maximize points but school doesn’t accept credit card payments? That’s what I’m struggling with now – how to maximize this huge expenditure. Thanks.

  • Ben

    Hi Karla, I have no experience in the area, but I saw this post by Hilary Stockton: http://travelsort.com/blog/pay-tuition-with-a-credit-card-worth-it

  • thepointsguy

    Its all about Bluebird! Do some googling and you’ll see how you can make payments for tuition/mortgage/etc

  • Ben Price

    Vanilla Reloads // Bluebird. $5k limit per month, but if you need more, sign up spouse/parent/sibling.

  • thepointsguy

    You need to cancel and wait a year.. or get the Business Platinum. I’ll explain more in my post tomorrow

  • thepointsguy

    I don’t believe they still offer it

  • thepointsguy

    Nice!

  • Ankur

    How long do you need to wait to apply for a similar card once you close the account? Or do you apply for another card first and then close that account?

  • Ethan

    Hey so you said you are canceling and reapplying for the Citi AA Exec under the 100k offer. Did you already get the 60k bonus and how long do you have to wait between offers? I applied at the 75k offer. Thanks

  • Ben Price

    He posted a picture awhile back: Ettinger.

  • Jonathan

    What are your thoughts from a business card perspective? I’m torn which card would be best for our small business…UsAir Barclay or American Citi? I live in Charlotte and am a loyal UsAir dividend miler.

  • smk778

    Re: Mastercard version of Chase Sapphire Preferred (and probably Freedom as well), I don’t know that you’ll be able to switch. I had my CSP Mastercard recently changed to VISA to get the EMV chip; the Mastercard version does not have it. The rep on the phone told me that they’ll be migrating all Mastercard versions to VISA eventually so I doubt they’ll be issuing any more Mastercard versions at this point.

  • imagine002

    Thank you so much for doing an article on cancelling, as most travel blogs recommend applying for a dozen cards a year, but never make note that sooner or later, you’re holding too many cards.

  • iahphx

    I’m curious why you would cancel your personal Club Carlson card to apply for the biz card. Why not keep both? The 40,000 annual miles is definitely worth the $75 fee (especially since you get to redeem BOGO nights), and US Bank is finicky on processing apps so it’s not a card you’d want to churn.
    I also find it odd that you would pay an annual fee to keep other cards just for their category bonuses. Unless a card pays 5x on a useful category, it’s generally impossible for the card to “pay for itself” from category bonuses. Generally, the only cards I’ll pay the annual fee for are those that also give tangible, easy-to-use annual bonuses. The classic example is probably the IHG Rewards Club card. Almost nobody puts spending on it, but since the annual $49 fee “buys” you a night at any of their hotels in the world, it’s clearly “worth it.” Of course, even with that bonus, an argument could be made that you might still be better off cancelling and churning the card (although Chase would undoubtedly frown on churning all your cards).

  • SantiHolly Speranza

    That’s what I thought but I didn’t know if you had discovered some new way of calling the card company up, asking to change to a diff card type and still getting the sign on bonus. Makes sense now… thanks for the info.

  • cotoneloc

    Brian, is the $200 statement credit that comes with the Executive AAdvantage card an annual benefit? Can the 10k EQM be applied to a Platinum Challenge?

  • Rohit

    Hi TPG, The US Bank carlson card , do you mean to say that for the 40k bonus points you would pay the renewal fees for the personal card and then cancel it and take business card or how does that work ?

  • John

    He does not get criticized for posts like these. He gets heat for pushing affiliate cards with uninformative posts and inflating their benefits and/or value of them.

    Check the post about him claiming that one can transfer UR points to anyone. There is a real risk of shutdown here which is downplayed. Or check the monthly posts about the Chase 3x dining points/

  • Michael

    Is there any benefit for keeping the Starwood personal card if you already have the Starwood Business card, beside the stay/night credits?

  • jmecherul

    i applied and got denied with a 750+ score, by the way can we convert from the personal to a business clubcarlson over the phone with an agent and get the bonus for the business or do i have to apply for the business and just cancel the personal?

  • Mark M

    How do you cancel the AAdvantage Executive and then get it again? Do you have to wait a specific time period in order to be eligible?
    thanks!

  • Darren

    Having the Ink Bold and Ink Plus may be crazy for you (and for those with average spending patterns), but for TPG, it makes perfect sense. I did not see anywhere in here where he recommended that everyone should have the same cards, he just provided the rationale for why he has his cards.
    I have both the bold and the plus and put roughly $70,000/year on them in the bonus categories, so a bonus of 280,000 UR points/year (about 180,000 from the first one and 100,000 from the second), so well worth the fees and not so crazy for me.

    If I had to guess, TPG probably generates at least $100,000/year in travel benefits for his $1500 in annual fees, so not so crazy for him, but certainly could be crazy for others.
    For a post like this, everyone needs to look at his rationale for the cards and decide if that rationale applies to them.

  • Tony

    Why were you going to close the account? Because of the AF or the fact that using UA miles is a waste of time?

  • SL

    With everything going on with Delta (I live in a DL HUB), does
    it make sense to earn Alaska miles via the BOA Alaska Airlines Sig Visa?

  • Tony

    With all of your cards you plan on keeping, how are you making enough points to make it all worth while? I feel this is one of he issues I have with bloggers, you guys write these articles, but don’t really explain how you really uses all these cards after the sign up bonuses. Currently the only card people should be working is the Citi Exce card…

  • ASW

    In my experience it is better to either Keep or Cancel (and then reapply either for a different card or the same card after waiting awhile) because Converting a card won’t give the sign up bonuses that are offered with new card applications. At least that’s how it was when I naively converted my Citicard – no bonus points or miles, just a first month’s statement with the hefty annual fee.

  • FR

    I’m going through some strategy choices right now. Does anyone know if I drop my Chase Ink Plus but the points are combined in with my Sapphire Preferred if I have to worry about losing points when I cancel?

  • Stvr

    TPG there’s a 100K Amex Biz Plat offer floating around. People are even selling them on ebay if you look around. Might be worth the $20 to win the auction if you get 75K extra MR!

  • Justin

    I wanted to add too thanks for the maximizer. That can help with this process by seeing all the cards in one place and what benefits we get from what cards. Yes I sound like a tpg shill…no I’m not a tpg shill. :)

  • chai

    Where can I find aliensnformation about the amex SPG card you mentioned that gives 2 stays /5 nights at 30k spend? Does point accrual jump after certain spend?

  • Stvr

    Also you should mention you have to spend 10K to get the free weekend night with Citi. You’re giving up 2.2% on Barclay Arrival to spend the 10K so that’s like spending $220 plus $95 fee a free night. That’s $315! Hope you’re staying in Moscow or the Maldives for that kind of money.

  • Mike

    I’ve had my United Explorer card for approximately 3 months. How long should I wait before trying to “convert” (cancel then sign-up?) to the Explorer Business to earn the sign up bonus for the business card? Thanks PG!

  • Stvr

    Also questioning your valuation of the Amex Plat. If you already got Global Entry it’s not worth $100 value after the first year. You don’t have to pay for Global Entry every year! You also say you gave up on Delta but you have to have a Delta ticket to enter the SkyClub with Amex Plat. (Not so on US for a few more days.) So you’re paying $250 for Priority Pass and FHR. Assuming you use PP 7x a year and FHR 3x a year, you’re paying $25 per lounge entry or FHR booking.

  • Steve

    Is it possible to pay back student loans from Sallie Mae through bluebird? I wasn’t able to use the debit card when I tried last year and have not experimented with the checks yet.

  • SRT

    Quick question. I currently have the Amex Premier Gold Rewards card and my annual fee is due in a couple of weeks. I called up Amex and told them I want to switch to the SPG Rewards card. They told me that I can only do that if I run a new credit check and close the current Amex Gold account, since Amex Gold is a charge card and they cannot do a ‘transfer’. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want to pay the steep $175 annual fee, at the same time, I want to remain and Amex customer because of their great customer service and my long-standing account with them which is in good standing as well. If I close my Amex Gold account and go for the SPG Rewards Card, I’ll hurt the average age of open accounts. Also, I don’t mind switching to the platinum if they’re willing to offer me a good sign-up bonus. Please advise any strategy if you can. Thanks

  • TJ

    If you’re thinking you can get your 40k points from the Club Carlson card and then cancel, getting your annual fee back, you can’t – the 40k doesn’t post until a full 2 months after the statement where the annual fee gets charged (probably to prevent just such shenanigans). See the flyertalk thread about it where people thought it wasn’t coming at all.

  • r0m8470

    The Citi AAdvantage Platinum cancellation plan and re-open one with 100K miles, so that card is churnable then? I guess there’s a rule of thumb about churning it? Do it only within 4-6 months time?

  • Chris

    Well, he actually writes in the post that it doesn’t really make much sense, and I was also specifically talking about people with average spending patterns.

    Very few consumers put more than $50,000 per year on credit cards, and for those people it does not make sense to have more than one or two cards with an annual fee to put spending on them. The recommendations in this post only make sense if you are spending high six-figure numbers in bonus categories each year. That might be the case for him, but I doubt that many readers are in a remotely similar situation.

  • Chris

    Closing in account as no immediate effect on the average age because closed accounts stay on your credit report for at least 10 years.

  • ed

    Not sure what you mean by convert to the MC version. Chase doesn’t do MC anymore?

  • stuart

    Why aren’t you more of a fan of Virgin’s card? 65,000 miles seems like a good offer.

  • Ben McKelfresh

    Churn baby, churn!

  • MK

    You mention “Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa:Keep – I often use this card abroad because there are no foreign transaction fees and I can earn 2.14x points per dollar on travel and dining. At some point I may switch to the Mastercard version to get the sign-up bonus and enjoy most of the same benefits.”

    Can you just apply for the MC and get the benefits? Do you need to cancel the visa one first?
    Thanks

  • Guest22

    Because of the annual fee. I’m Platinum with United anyhow so the other benefits have no value to me.

  • SRT

    Thanks Chris. Based on your suggestion, you don’t think my Credit Score will be adversely affected if I move from Amex Gold to SPG rewards? Thanks.

  • Darby

    Steve, bluebird checks are the same as a normal check and can be used to pay Sallie Mae. The only main difference is the checks must go through a pre-authorization process between you and bluebird.

  • http://outandout.net/ Harlan Vaughn

    Definitely wishing to cancel/convert my Delta Platinum SkyMiles card to one of the new cards. Is that possible since it’s credit—>credit?

  • ed

    I think the point of this blog is to sell the extremes. Show consumers what they can do with all these points using his strategies, and use that as a model to mimic as close as possible. It might be outrageous to suggest some of his methodologies to someone who has much less spend threshold, but this is how you sell to the masses.

  • ed

    No. There is no hard inquiry involved in this upgrade, nor will it pull any triggers that will cause your score to go down. People do this all the time, not just from gold to spg, but gold to plat, or green to gold, etc

  • ed

    actually, it’s a free night, and depending on your spend on the card, 30~50k in HHonors points, which is worth anywhere from $100 to $250 depending on where you book. Plus, think long term. You ARE paying a fee on the 2nd year on the barclaycard. If you want to compare first year perks, you get 2 free nights on 2500 spend in addition to the 1 free anniversary night for 10k. the 2 free nights easily surpass $440 from the Arrival. I stayed at the Grand Wailea using my weekend certs, which would’ve cost me 1k. If you stay at Hiltons at least a couple times a year, you will easily get north of 3% back on the citi reserve just from the award nights. I’m not even including free wifi or breakfast perks you get for being gold status, which is worth 20~50/day, or even the free room upgrades which I wont bother counting since I’d rather chalk that up to having a good consumer experience. If you’re not a hilton person, that’s fine. If you are, this beats the BarclayCard hands down for the first 10k of spend.

  • Justin

    I’m actually still trying to plan out our company’s credit card plan. We put $500k annually on credit cards (and probably more if the programs suit our needs.) We can really leverage a lot of these programs to use the award travel when we have teams travel to job sites and for sales. $100k of that is travel. If we’re already spending it might as well try to cut down as much of that travel expense as possible.

  • oplibh

    Stating TPG provides “uninformative posts and inflating their benefits and/or value of them” is subjective at best.

    Suggestion: if you don’t like this blog, don’t read it.

    It’s a matter of opinion… and as they say, opinions are like like b**holes: everyone has one.

  • michelejkiss

    Regarding the Citi Executive AA card – I too signed up under the 60,000 mile offer. Rather than cancel and open a new account for the 100,000 mile offer, I just called them, and they honoured the 100,000 mile offer for me. I have it in writing and everything. I would recommend trying that before going to the trouble of cancelling …

  • hayeah

    only an envious and jealous competitive blogger to TPG would write such nonsense. If your travel blog isn’t working, seek employment. There is life outside of your mom’s basement.

  • stvr

    Yeah, but you’re talking about Year One. This is Year Two. The Arrival could be the Fidelity Amex or any number of 2% cards without an annual fee.

  • SRT

    Thanks Ed! I will follow up with Amex and see what they say.

  • -

    While I only have the Bold, I’ve been cleaning up on buying gift cards at Staples for things I buy anyway, groceries, gasoline, fast casual dining spots, Amazon, Groupon, even Southwest. Chase has not made money on me, that’s for sure.

  • Glaire

    Not sure why you would convert United Explorer to business card instead of cancel. You get 3 MR for airfare or 2.14 UR with CSP and UR is transferable to United.

  • ed

    I think the point is that the BarclayCard for 2x everything is not a no fee card. The no fee version is 2x only for limited categories. If you are going to say the arrival is better on the premise of a waiver that doesn’t exist, then it’s kind of hard to make discussion…

  • ed

    In addition you don’t need to stay at the expensive locations either. At the low end, you could book category 2 stays at 1 cent per point. At 30k points, that’s $300 plus one free night. This will easily offset the fee if the BC waived the 2nd year fee. 400+ on the citi vs 220+95 waiver is still less. Furthermore the 3% rate of return exceeds the 2.2% far beyond 10k spend.

    But as I mentioned it only really makes sense for people who stay Hilton. Worthless if you don’t stay at Hilton properties or use the cards status perks. But you can make up for the fee just with perks within several nights. And if you spend just 400 at a Hilton with your reserve, you could get 10k points, which is a free cat 2 stay worth $100. 25% return is not too shabby as far as hotel stays go.

  • sandy

    Hi TPG, Regarding the citi executive AAdvantage card, coudl you just cancel your previous one , and try to get the current 100000 miles offer ? Would they only offer it to first time applicant ?

  • Edward

    Yeah. I spoke to the executive office in February and she said ALL Chase products are now Visa.

  • Edward

    I think this is very confusing usage but he clarifies that he is cancelling and reapplying. In this sense, a “conversion” (with quotation marks) is not the same as a “product change” or “PC,” which you correctly note does not include a signing bonus.

  • j

    You guys sound like children

  • Steve

    Thank you, strange paying WITH the actual check never crossed my mind, I was just thinking of setting up the account so I could make payments from it but this should work.

  • Mark B.

    I’ve heard Chase is increasing the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Card from $95 to $149. Does anyone know anything about it?

  • Eric

    Stop posting pictures of yourself. Very douchey

  • Adam173

    Hey TPG, how long after you cancel a card can you apply for an offer in the Same “family” of cards? Thanks.

  • thepointsguy

    I highlighted the risk of transferring in the post/video,but the bottom line it can be done to family and employees.

  • thepointsguy

    I want to get the business version because the signup bonus is lucrative- I’m targeted with a 55,000 mile offer. Won’t use it for airfare!

  • thepointsguy

    I got the offer last year. Virgin miles are much less valuable than most other currencies so I don’t use the card for day to day spend

  • thepointsguy

    I started to feel like a credit card hoarder!

  • thepointsguy

    You have to apply for anew card and cancel the personal if you want the signup bonus

  • thepointsguy

    It would make sense if you max out the 50k bonus categories.. which most people won’t do, but that doesn’t mean some won’t

  • thepointsguy

    You’d be surprised though- you’re huge new amounts of spend on their product vs. a competitor definitely helps in a large sense. The credit card industry is extremely competitive

  • thepointsguy

    I’d wait at least 6

  • thepointsguy

    Statement credit is just a one-time signup bonus. EQMs do not work for challenges, because they’re based on Points, not miles

  • thepointsguy

    I use points for trips all the time- like my recent first class to Australia and business class to Maldives. Being able to take $20k trips for a fraction of the price is why I continue to do all of this

  • thepointsguy

    Depends on the issuer… Amex is usually a year.. Chase you can apply for any card as long as you haven’t had it before (or have a new business if it is a business card)

  • thepointsguy

    Have not heard anything from Chase directly, but have heard rumors. We shall see!

  • thepointsguy

    Per the post, I got automatically approved for a second card, while my original one was still open.

  • thepointsguy

    Nice! Though I’d rather have 100k plus 60k :-)

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, but you probably won’t get the signup bonus if you convert so you still may want to cancel and reapply

  • thepointsguy

    There is no Sapphire Pref MC anymore, unfortunately

  • thepointsguy

    It was churnable for me.. i got the second card while the first was still open

  • thepointsguy

    Just make sure you get the signup bonus for SPG instead of them simply opening an account for you

  • thepointsguy

    Point accrual jumps 50% on starwood stays when you get SPG gold status at 30k in spend per year. the 2 stay/5 night benefit is part of the standard card offer

  • thepointsguy

    I wouldn’t advise buying credit card offers off Ebay.. seems a little shady to me!

  • thepointsguy

    You’re not taking into account the 10k base earning you’d earn on Hilton. You can’t use 2.2% and attribute 0% to earning on the Reserve, which is 5 Hilton per dollar, so 50k hilton points = 1 free night in NYC + the free weekend night anywhere could be much better than 2.2% on Arrival (which also has an annual fee, btw)

  • thepointsguy

    Why aren’t you including the year 2 Arrival annual fee in your calks?

  • thepointsguy

    No. but to be safe you should combine them into your Sapphire Preferred before cancelling- this can all be done online instantly UltimateRewards.com -> Manage -> Combine

  • thepointsguy

    Convert simply means I want to keep that product line, but cancel and then get the business version for the signup. You have to apply as a new card applicant to get the bonus

  • thepointsguy

    I find Alaska Miles to be far more valuable than Delta miles, but when you bank to Alaska you don’t get Delta MQMs, so there are tradeoffs to consider

  • thepointsguy

    I didn’t even cancel my Exec Aadvantage card- i had one open and still got approved for a second

  • thepointsguy

    Not really.. to me the 2 stays/5 nights is worth the $65 though

  • thepointsguy

    Correct- I love the card, but will cancel and get the business card at some point since that is another 85k signup bonus and basically the same perks

  • thepointsguy

    That is a good point.. maybe I’ll keep both just for the anniversary benefit. Something to consider!

  • thepointsguy

    I’d get both, but if only one I think the Citi 50k offer is a better deal

  • thepointsguy

    I didn’t even cancel- I had my 60k offer open and I still applied for a new one and automatically got approved

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, it is a normal check.

  • Justin

    Yep! I have 3 of these guys filled up for me and the Mrs. They actually make it easy to keep track of them all…somewhat! http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Leather-Zipper-Wallet-Business/dp/B0067FKCQ4/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1395231908&sr=8-5&keywords=credit+card+holder

  • HowardL

    Brian,

    For a brief time this morning, the barclaycardus site showed a message relating to the card switching to an AAdvantage MasterCard by Barclay, effective April 30. Do you have any information related to this message? I no longer see it when I go to the USAirways MasterCard site.

  • Daniel Ferrara

    I just called Chase to try and convert my Mileage Plus Explorer to the Mileage Plus Business Explorer car and they told me it couldn’t be done. I have to cancel it an reopen. Is this what you meant?

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