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My Four New Credit Cards and 205,000 Miles & Points

by on August 5, 2014 · 81 comments

in American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Club Carlson, Credit Cards, Visa

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I currently have 23 active credit cards, and my credit score is consistently in the high 700s. Earlier this year I canceled and applied for 4 new cards for 230,000 miles/points, and recently I did another round of applications to bring my year-to-date sign-up bonus total to 435,000 miles/points. Some people’s eyes pop out of their heads when I tell them this and act like it can’t be real, but I assure them it is, and my travel habits show for it (See also: How credit card applications affect your credit score).

Why?
The answer is simple- these miles and points allow me to travel more frequently and comfortably than if I had to shell out the cash to fly. I don’t mind dropping a couple hundred in fuel surcharges and 62,500 Amex points to fly first class on Lufthansa home from Europe when that seat would have cost (and probably did cost others in the cabin) almost $10,000. Even though I wouldn’t have paid for that $10,000, I still got huge value out of the flight, and when you don’t dread your flights (especially as someone who is 6’7″) you can enjoy your travels more. In fact, sometimes getting there is more than half the fun.

No matter how you value your mileage redemptions- by the retail value of your ticket or by the price you would have willingly paid for a flight, there’s no disputing that miles and points enable you to travel better and more frequently than if they didn’t exist, as long as you know how to maximize them.

62,500 Amex points recently got me first class Lufthansa on the way home from Europe

62,500 Amex points recently got me first class Lufthansa on the way home from Europe

So for my newest round of applications, I snapped up four cards that will allow me to bulk up my points balances and diversify. One will help my Amex Membership Rewards, one will boost my US Airways mileage balance, and two will augment my fixed points balances, which will help defray the costs of travel (and hopefully add some other perks along the way). Here are each of my new cards and a quick explanation of why I got them. At the end of the post I’ll list all of my other current cards and what my long term plan is to keep/hold or cancel.

I received a targeted mail offer in the name of a new business LLC that I started.

I received a targeted mail offer in the name of a new business LLC that I started.

Amex Business Platinum: Amex is sending out lucrative targeted offers for their Business Platinum card- I’ve even heard of up to 150,000 points! I received a targeted offer in the mail addressed to the new LLC I recently started for 100,000 Membership Rewards points after $10,000 spent within 5 months, with a $450 annual fee. Per my July point valuations, I value Amex MR at 1.8 cents apiece, so 100,000 points = $1,800. Even with the $450 annual fee (which I’ll more than make up by leveraging the perks of this card), I’m looking at a gain of $1,350.

Although the big bonuses like 75,000 – 150,000 points are normally targeted, the current public offer that is available to everyone will get you 40,000 points after $5,000 spent within the first 3 months of card membership.

Amex lets you redeem for 1.25 cents apiece when booking travel directly through them, so that should be a base level for anyone who wants to use their points for travel. However, I get more value by transferring to partners like Aeroplan, Delta, Flying Blue, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and ANA. For example, as mentioned above, my recent 62,500 points transferred to Aeroplan got me a sweet ride home from Europe in Lufthansa First Class for $364 in fees.

This card also provides $200 a year in airline reimbursements, which I’ll use to buy four $50 American Airlines gift cards both now and January 1. In the next year I’ll get $400 in airline gift cards, plus access to Delta lounges (albeit now with no free guests), Priority Pass select lounges and Amex Centurion Lounges, where new snazzy clubs are opening this year at my two main airports- LaGauardia and Miami. Many people, myself included, were upset when the news came out at the end of 2013 that Amex Platinum and Business Platinum members would no longer get access to American Airlines Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs. I called American Express to voice my concerns, and was offered a $100 statement credit and 25,000 bonus points, so as I often say – it never hurts to ask.

There are a ton of other perks, like $100 Global Entry rebate (which will be good since my 5 year membership is running out soon) plus free Boingo and other perks like purchase protection and access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. I used to have the Mercedes-Benz Platinum, but I cancelled it once I was approved for the Business Platinum and my 100,000 points posted. This also proves that you can get the Business Platinum bonus even if you’ve had personal Platinum cards in the past (at least in my experience). The major downside of switching from a personal Platinum to a Business Platinum is that each additional card will cost $300 annually versus the personal Platinum card, which lets you add up to 3 additional cards for $175, then pay $175 for each card after that.

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US Airways Premier World MasterCard: This offer gives you 40,000 Dividend miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee. I value US Airways miles at 1.9 cents a piece, so 40,000 miles is worth $760 to me, but you’ll be getting a minimum gain of $671 once you account for the $89 annual fee. Plus, the card has some really valuable perks, which made it a no-brainer for me.

The key perks I plan to use are the 5,000 mile discount on awards for solely US Airways operated flights ($95 value each time I save 5,000 miles), and two $99 companion tickets. Even though these perks will go away next year, I got in now to use them before they’re gone. I have elite status on AA, but the card also now offers free checked bags, which can save hundreds of dollars if you normally pay for bags on US Airways.

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Capital One Venture: The current offer gives you 40,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. 40,000 miles is equal to $400 towards travel, and the $59 annual fee is waived for the first year. This is the primo Capital One card, and the bonus has been as low as 10,000 miles for over a year. They did used to run 100,000 mile deals, but I think those days are gone, so I decided to get in on it now.

Note, Capital One does pull from all 3 credit agencies, so this may not be for everyone, but they generally have great customer service, no foreign transaction fees, and a simple way to redeem miles- you can purchase whatever travel expense- even fuel surcharges on an award ticket and earn miles on those purchases, then go into your statement after the fact and erase the charge at the rate of 1 cent per mile. The card is similar to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, in that you can’t transfer to any frequent flyer programs, but you can use points to cover expenses not covered by typical frequent flyer miles and hotel points- like taxis/Uber/bed and breakfast stays/ boutique hotels/ subways/parking, etc.

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Visa Black Card: This is the wildcard in my latest round of applications. This card has always been a mystery to me (and I always assumed the points and perks were worthless), so my application is really all about getting firsthand experience with a card that very few people have written about- at least in a detailed way.

The current signup bonus is 25,000 points after $1,500 spent in the first 90 days and a $495 annual fee, but the points are worth 2 cents each when redeemed for travel, so basically the fee is covered. While a net-zero bonus isn’t something to brag about, the card has a ton of perks, and I want to see whether it could make sense for someone to use this exclusively if they wanted a solid return on spend (2%) towards travel plus concierge level service and lounge access.

This card is issued by BarclayCard; I applied for it a month after the US Airways card, and had to call the reconsideration line to explain that I wanted this card to see if it could compete with my Amex Platinum. The card is also a fixed value point card that doesn’t transfer to any frequent flyer/guest programs (which I hope changes in the future, especially now that Barclays has relationships with a ton of travel brands like US Airways, Hawaiian and Wyndham). The points are worth 2 cents each, and you earn 1 point per dollar spent, whereas Amex points redeemed through Amex travel only earn 1% back (or 1.25% if you have the Business Platinum).

Visa Black Card also gives you access to priority pass lounges, exclusive gifts and concierge level service. The 25,000 points are worth $500 in travel, so basically the signup bonus covers the $495 annual fee for the first year, and I plan to put the card to the test over the next year to see if all of the benefits warrant paying the fee again. The Black Card has an uphill battle with so many other cards offering strong benefits, but I look forward to testing it out since I get asked about the card so often and have had no personal experience with the rewards system and service benefits.

Current Card Line-Up
Amex feat

American Express

Premier Rewards Gold: Keep - I spend money on airfare, so the 3x per dollar earned with this card on flights booked directly with airlines is the main way I boost my Membership Rewards balance to take advantage of their (seemingly less frequent) 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.

Mercedes-Benz Platinum- Canceled because the Business Platinum is basically the same thing, but gives better redemption for travel, plus OPEN Savings additional earning and credit utilization sits on my business credit report. The main downside is that additional cards cost $300 each, versus $175 for up to 3 additional cards with a personal Platinum.

Starwood Preferred Guest Personal: Keep – Due to recent United and Hyatt devaluations shrinking the value of Ultimate Rewards points in my eyes, I value Starwood points the most. 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 worth of elite credit this card automatically confers every year. All that justifies a $65 annual fee to me.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business: Keep – (see above) This business version of the card also offers Amex OPEN business card benefits like discounts at FedEx, Hyatt and more, as well as an additional 2 stays/5 nights of elite status credit, which have helped push me over the edge to 75 nights (and even 100 nights) for Platinum status in the past.

Bank of America

Alaska Airlines Visa: Reapply - Given all of Delta’s recent negative changes, including a revenue-based mileage-earning scheme, new elite revenue requirements, and hacking away at elite benefits, I have decided to dump Delta. However, it’s still likely I’ll have to fly the airline and many of its partners fairly regularly. So with that in mind, I was looking around for partners to whom I could credit mileage, and Alaska seems to be the best choice given that MVP elites enjoy benefits on both Delta and American. Also, Alaska has some amazing partners in both SkyTeam and Oneworld, like Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Air France and Korean Air, plus non-alliance partners like Emirates and Fiji Airways – all of whom you can not only redeem miles on but also accrue full mileage and elite-qualifying miles on. All in all, it makes a lot of sense to me, especially after my experience of redeeming Alaska miles for a flight in Emirates first class in November, I’m hooked and want the miles to do so again.

Virgin Atlantic: 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). Virgin Atlantic has high fees on most awards, and if I ever want to boost my account, they’re transfer partners of Amex, Chase and SPG, so I don’t want to put my valuable spend on this card. These perks make sense if you fly Virgin Atlantic and value the tier points you can earn and the half price companion economy award ticket, but Virgin’s fees are too high to make sense for economy award redemptions, even at half the miles.

BarclayCardBarclayCard

Arrival Plus: Keep – I’ve been talking about this card since the new offer launched back in April. The sign-up bonus alone is worth $440+ towards travel purchases, and there’s no annual fee the first year ($89 thereafter). I plan to renew because I like the Chip + PIN capability and the ability to earn 2.2%+ back towards travel purchases. You can put the miles you earn towards a variety of travel purchases, like award ticket fees, train tickets, car rentals, Airbnb rentals (which I’ve been doing a lot more lately), Uber and more.

chase logo bannerChase

Ink Bold: Potentially cancel down the line and instead use the Exclusives/Plus - 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 essentially the same.

Ink Bold Exclusives (Discontinued, but I am grandfathered in): 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 over 2 cents each. However, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee, so I never use it abroad.

Ink Plus : Cancel – It’s basically the same as Ink Bold, but a credit card instead of a charge 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’m focusing spend on other cards to hit bonuses/perks, so I plan to let this one go. I like the benefits of this card, so I recently opened up a new one for a new business I started to get the 50k boost again!

Sapphire Preferred: Keep - I spend a ton on travel and dining (2x points per dollar spent), plus I’m grandfathered into the 7% annual bonus on all points earned (except for sign-up bonus), so in addition to great portal earning, the Sapphire Preferred is one of my main workhorse cards. I’ll be sad to see the 7% dividend go in 2016, but I’ll save some money on auto rental insurance coverage, since they recently added primary collision damage coverage to the card. Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, making it a no-brainer card for travel abroad.

Freedom: Keep - I earn 7,500 points per quarter by spending $1,500 in the rotating quarterly 5X bonus categories. They are currently gas stations and Kohl’s until September 30, 2014 . Since there’s no annual fee, I’m going to keep it around, especially since I’m a Chase Checking customer and get an additional 10%  bonus on all points earned. 

British Airways: Keep - Even though British Airways charges high 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 opportunity 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, and the 1.25 Avios per dollar spent is a solid base earning ratio.

United Explorer: Cancel and open business version when targeted with a high bonus - 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 spend. However, I’m going to switch 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 purchased from United.

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.
Citi logo square

Citi

Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard: Keep 1, Cancel 2 after I reap their retention bonuses since I already paid the annual fee on all 3 - I now have three of these cards open, and the one I most recently opened only came with a $4,000 credit limit. Once I hit the minimum spend on that, I’ll cancel it and keep one of the other two cards open. I got the first 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 on March 22), and the ability to earn 10,000 elite-qualifying miles by spending $40,000 in a calendar year. The other two cards I got with 100,000 mile sign up bonuses, so between the three cards I was able to rack up over 260,000 AAdvantage miles.

Hilton HHonors Reserve: Keep - The annual free weekend night at top-tier hotels after $10,000 in spend more than pays for the $95 annual fee, and Diamond status at $40,000 in spend is a nice option to have, though I’m rarely staying at Hiltons these days, so I probably won’t strive for Diamond, since Gold has good enough perks like free breakfast.
usbanklogo

US Bank

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

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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  • http://remixinglife.blogspot.fi/ lr52185

    Do you (or anyone else) have experience with the REI Visa card? I know it’s not a travel card, per-say, but if any of your travel requires outdoor equipment, it always looked like a good deal for when you might need to make major equipment upgrades (new skies/snowboard/bike/kayak/etc).

  • Patrick

    Does the US Airways card give you the bonus if you cancel your current one and re-apply?

  • Jenny

    I apologize that this question has nothing to do with your post.

    I am new to all this so I am very confused by the United award system. I really hope that you can give me some instructions on how to book my upcoming flight.

    I live in San Francisco (SFO). I have to go to Hong Kong(HKG) first, then to Buenos Aires (EZE). I only use Economy Saver awards. I will be flying in September.

    What do you think is the most efficient way to book my upcoming trip using United miles?

    I have played around with the United site and now I wonder if the following two routes are legal and miles-efficient:

    1.

    SFO-HKG

    HKG-(stopover at EZE)-SFO

    Total: 80,000 miles

    or

    2.

    EZE- (stopover at SFO) – HKG

    HKG- EZE

    Total: 100,000 miles

    Using this second itenary, can I fly out my stopover from SFO to HKG first?

    Please advice.

    Thank you.

  • shay peleg

    So the visa black card is basically a weaker version of the platinum? what’s the point also arrival gets 2.2% anyway.

  • dcsells

    Can you comment on how many of your 23 active cards are personal, and how many for business? As I understand it, applying for and canceling business cards have no effect on your personal credit score (but maybe I am wrong about that). If so, it’s a little misleading to suggest that one can have 23 cards with no material effect on a credit score, because if someone really had 23 personal cards, I can’t imagine their credit score would be that good. For those of us without businesses–and who are concerned about any effect on our very good credit scores–it would be helpful to know how many personal credit cards a “pro” like you carries. Thanks.

  • Steve

    I’ve considered the REI card, but a $100 sign-up bonus and 1% on purchases outside REI is not very enticing compared to other cards. I’ve noticed REI gift cards at office supply stores, so if I wanted to buy from REI, I’d get a GC using my Ink card that gives 5 UR points per $.

  • Steve

    sorry, this was a response, to lr52185.

  • Blake

    I’ve had the B of A Alaska card open for two years now. To get the bonus again do I need to cancel first, then sign up again? Or should I apply, get approved, then cancel? Thanks for any responses!

  • http://www.tylerbrownvisuals.com/ Tyler Brown

    ~$2,300 in annual fees per year seems to be about where you’re at….Too rich for my blood! I’m already whining about ~300/year…

  • Mike

    I heard that Business Cards from Capital One, Bank of America, Barclays, and US Bank all report on your personal credit history. The other major cards apperently do not.

  • zila

    ny son and his wife use the REI cc a lot and love it. It makes sense if you buy from them regularly, have an REI store near you and con’t like to bother with tangled FF rules and availability etc.

  • TS

    How do you decide whether to use the Sapphire Preferred or the Barclay Arrival Plus?

  • iamright

    Why no discussion of Doscovercard? The 5% shopDiscovercard bonuses are much better than any other portal. Sign-up bonus of up to 20,000 points happen often. They have rotating 5% bonus and you can get 10%-20% extra when you cash out via credit cards.

  • Redpanda

    Points are more valuable than cash back in my opinion. I’d rather get 5 UR points per dollar instead of getting 5 cents back per dollar. Not to mention the chase freedom usually has better rotating categories than the discover it

  • Redpanda

    I don’t have the arrival plus, but the general idea is to use the sapphire on bonus categories like travel and dining and arrival on 1x categories. I tend to substitute the arrival card with the spg card for 1x spending, but it’s the same idea

  • Diamond Vargas

    It doesn’t matter if you close your existing one before applying, except for the slight risk that you could be denied for already having the max available credit line with B of A.

  • Diamond Vargas

    Yes

  • Ed

    Points guy is sticking that $2300 to the IRS.

  • Ed

    I am sure all cards are used for business purposes as that way you can stick it to the IRS.

  • thepointsguy

    I may get a Discover card one day, but as redpanda notes, my main focus these days is on transferable points and valuable perks. Strict cash-back is nice, but not really game-changing for me.

  • thepointsguy

    I use Sapphire Preferred on all travel (including Uber/parking/tolls/hotels/etc) and dining and Arrival Plus for non bonus categories on other cards. I split my non-bonus spend between Arrival Plus and SPG for the most part, unless I’m hitting minimum spend or trying to hit a spend bonus on another card.

  • thepointsguy

    There are a lot in fees, but also a ton in perks as well. The BA Companion Ticket is worth ~$1,000 to me and the annual Hyatt night $200, $200 in Amex annual rebates and more.

  • thepointsguy

    It shouldn’t matter.. I know many people who have gotten multiple cards even while existing cards are open.

  • http://www.tylerbrownvisuals.com/ Tyler Brown

    Ed, are these fees tax deductible?!

  • thepointsguy

    Applying for a business card does impact your personal score because small business credit cards are still guaranteed by your personal credit (if you default, your personal score will take a huge hit).

    http://thepointsguy.com/2013/01/travel-tuesday-top-10-reasons-to-get-a-business-credit-card/

    Where it does not impact your score is on utilization, because they sit on a business credit report, which is separate from personal.

    As for my 23 current cards, only 5 are business cards.

  • Steve

    Another great benefit of the AMEX business is Emerald Executive status with National Car Rental. This offers free upgrades and has easily saved me $100′s per week when we go skiing in CO and can pick up an SUV at DIA for the cost of a mid-size care.

  • thepointsguy

    Well, head on to Platinum, the Visa Black has a stronger earning ratio- same 1x per purchase as Platinum, but points are worth 2 cents towards travel vs. 1 cent on personal Platinum and 1.25 on Business Platinum. Of course, platinum cards also allow points transfers, but for someone looking to redeem for flights that earn miles, Black Card has the edge. I’ll be doing a closer look into the other benefits of each card after I get used to the benefits of the Black card.

  • thepointsguy

    I do not- I could only see it making sense if you spend a TON at REI and want REI perks, but for general travel/cashback there are plenty of more lucrative options out there.

  • Blake

    Awesome. Can i keep both cards open to get multiple companion passes each year?

  • JL100

    I have

  • JL100

    I don’t have 23 cards but I do have 14 personal cards with a credit score of 800 so it may be possible. The key is to have low % usage and high credit lines. Any time I have a lot of usage on one monthly cycle I try to prepay to keep the balance under 30% when the statement closes. I think this helps a lot.

  • Lana

    How often do you have the cc application rounds : every 3 months, every 6 months?

  • thepointsguy

    That is the key- utilization and paying on time are the biggest factors of a FICO score.

    It’s annoying, because even if you pay on time, the credit card can and will report your balance so it shows a high utilization. Paying early is the best bet to minimize the chance of a spike in utilization- even if you pay on time.

  • dcsells

    Got it. Thanks for responding and explaining.

  • thepointsguy

    No set time- but usually once a quarter or when there several compelling offers that I don’t want to miss out on

  • boohoo

    only for biz cards. Ed is one of those people that is envious of anyone who works hard and is successful — and lives in a perpetual attitude that life is unfair and that everyone is sticking it to the “little guy”.

  • uhmldf

    “yawn”

  • ocvagabond

    Is there a limit to how many business cards any single business can have open? I recently setup a new business to which I’m getting many offers. I didn’t take it seriously since I’m not that serious about the business yet. But, I recently discovered this whole new world and now realize I can take advantage of the situation since I technically have 3 different business ventures.

    Also, does it matter if the majority of offers are with a single bank (Chase seems to be compelling for most offers)? Should I just apply to what looks compelling and worry about the details (call the reconsideration line) as needed?

  • ben

    Don’t forget amexeveryday preferred. 1.5 miles on everything after 30 transactions a month it is a nice companion to the gold Card

  • Never

    Yes obviously 5 to 5 the choice is clear but 1 point to 5% which is the usual toss up. …5% is pretty good

  • BiT

    I recently was approved for a few of these cards. Do you (or anyone) know if using your Credit Card to send money via Western Union (online) to a direct Bank Account would work when trying to reach spending requirements? Or does Western Union actually post this as a Cash Advance? …which would not count.

  • Gui

    It is funny how you guys can earn hundred thousands of bonus points just with credit cards applications. Being non american and living in South America, I have the same American Express platinium with the same 500 dollars fee and I got no bonus point at all. Doesnt matter if you spend 10 bucks or 200k dollars a year, the max you get is 2 points per spent dollar.

  • dcsells

    Your snark doesn’t even make sense. Lowering your tax bill is a function of what expenses you report on your tax return as business expenses. The IRS could care less whether you use a personal or business card for business expenses. It only cares that what you report are legitimate business expenses, which has nothing to do with how you paid for them. Please learn something, anything, about tax law before you comment further. Thanks.

  • dcsells

    Well, yeah, if the expense is a deductible business expense. That’s kind of how taxes work. Do you not get that?

  • Nate

    @TPG do you think it makes any sense to consider a “transfer of spending limits” before cancelling cards. For example I have 4 Chase cards and am currently considering cancelling two. I could transfer the limits before the cancellation to the two cards I would keep. I do plan to apply for other Chase cards in the future so this may be a factor?

  • Santastico

    I know many friends in South America that have their Amex Platinum for free from their banks. You have to be a top client but that does not happen in the US since Amex cards are not issued by banks.

  • Joseph Alberts

    i’m curious how many of your cards you use on a monthly basis. like how many CC payments do you make each month? seems tough to track 23 statements, payments, etc. i have 6 and only use 3 on average and it can be a hassle.

  • stvr

    FYI… there are really good American Express Business Platinum offers on eBay right now!

  • TG145

    To your point of applying for Club Carlson Business card, this is what the terms say: “Neither New Account Bonus is available to applicants who have had this
    Card or another Club Carlson credit card product within the last 12
    months.”

  • Jonny Cox

    @thepointsguy:disqus
    “plus I’m grandfathered into the 7% annual bonus on all points earned”
    Any explanation on this? I was under the impression we will all receive the bonus until 2015?

  • Wildcat1

    I too am very interested in hearing what the black card can offer as it certainly has been on the negative list of many bloggers for a long time and the site doesn’t seem to help promote it very well. Exclusive gifts doesn’t mean much and the concierge and hotel collection I assume is like Visa Signature concierge and hotels or something different ?

    Again very interested to hear your thoughts on this as you move forward.

    Thanks

  • Blake

    How long do you have to wait between approvals to get the bonus again?

  • Diamond Vargas

    The last two times I’ve gotten the card (the second and third overall) I’ve waited until the second calendar month after the month in which I canceled the prior card (so about six weeks). No specific reason for that approach, it just felt safe, and I was approved both times.

  • B Miris

    Thanks TPG just picked up the 100K Platinum Business offer!

  • ocvagabond

    Is it only on everything after 30 transactions or does the bonus rate then apply to all transactions that month (including the first 30)?

  • thepointsguy

    It’s retroactive so once you hit, all transactions count for the bonus. I plan on snagging an everyday card at some point!

  • ocvagabond

    That’s what I thought, which is why I asked. My interpretation differed from how I read the comment.

  • stvr

    Are you putting $40,000 a year on the Barclay Arrival to justify the $89 annual fee above and beyond the 2% Fidelity Amex? Not understanding your logic.

  • matt

    I used Moneygram a year ago with a Citi card and it posted as a cash advance.

  • KetchumResident

    I cancelled my United business card because I found the statements very hard to read. No annual statement either.

  • Traderlatino

    Guess you work for Fidelity…

  • Mike

    How are you managing to hit the minimum spends without the use of vanilla reloads?

  • Night_Solstice

    Did you have the Amex Plat Business previously, or have you never had it before? I find that for any application I attempt, I’m told I’m already a member, and no bonus for me since they made the change to their policy, even for cards I did not have (recently tried the Blue and Gold cards). I have the Amex Plat Business from awhile back, and would drop it if they still allow future bonuses on the biz side.

  • Willy

    Steve, I have the REI card that I use to purchase at REI. I’ve used it for ski boots, skis, and other big ticket items I’d be purchasing anyway, have ended some years with $300+ REI Dividends so it’s worth doing if you regularly shop at REI.

  • http://aztc.co James Kallof

    What wallet do you use?

  • SophieS

    Thanks so much for this. My biggest problem is when to cancel cards. I would love it if you could write more about that. I get the cards but then I keep them for years. I know this is not the proper way to accumulate points. How soon can I apply for a second card of the same loyalty bran, like a Marriott or United?

  • parker

    on that said I have United explorer personal for last 4 years, I have score of 780, can I cancelled my existing card and apply for new explorer card since they are running promo for 50k + 5k for add on, what is your take on this? And how to go ahead with this?

  • ben b

    what about the southwest card? 8000 pts for 89 renew fee worth it?

  • Asian_Bro

    This definitely beats my rotation. I’m currently sporting the following:

    1. AMEX SPG Personal – keep AMEX offers more than pays for the card

    2. AMEX SPG Open – keep AMEX offers more than pays for the card

    3. AMEX Platinum Open (under the 100k bonus)

    4. AMEX Costco (cause I actually shop at Costco and like the gas rewards)

    5. Chase JPM Palladium (most worthless card, I got it cause it looked cool and “prestigious” biggest waste of $1200 in 2 years of annual fees – getting rid of it)

    6. Chase Ink Bold (just signed up for the 70k bonus, had this card under a different entity 2 years ago)

    7. Capital One Basic card – keep, no fees, never use it

    8. Chase Hyatt – keep, the free night offsets the 1 year fee easily

    9 . Citi Forward – keep (grandfathered into the 5pts/dining)

    10. Citi AA card – keep, 10% off miles redemption more than makes up for the fee that gets waived every year

    11. Citi AA executive card – canceling after this year, signed up for the 100k promo only.

    12. Citi Dividend – keep, never use this card though

  • Joe

    These are all great suggestions, but a normal person with income of $100K or less will not find it feasible to accrue so many cards….

  • tee

    Can you please confirm if i can get a Van or an SUV as an upgrade? I’ve a business platinum card & was told by National that i can only upgrade to a next size up & not a Van or an SUV? BWI location

  • thepointsguy

    Not true at all

  • Edward

    I’m not a pro but I have 19. 11 currently have balances. I just use autopay for all of them.

    I find MS much harder to keep track of than credit cards!

  • Steve

    The key issue is whether or not the National vendor has an “Emerald Executive” aisle. If not then you probably can’t. When they do, I’ve been able to get SUV’s and minivans almost always.

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  • http://www.lmfao.sssr/ Willie The Shake Speare

    34 tradelines on credit report. Bankcard industry FICO(R) score of 838 via Barclays Card website. During last year, score has gone up by over 40 points, as I have racked up about 5 more (reportable) cards. Reasons: (a) average age increase: paradoxical, I know, but possible to achieve using some shenanigans, (b) mortgage and car loan sufficiently seasoned, (c) inquiries fell, (d) fairly large credit lines.

    I think crossing 20 (maybe also 25) tradelines actually increased score. Also, App-O-Ramas from 2005 to 2008 are finally paying off in terms of scores, as these credit lines are very seasoned at this point.

  • http://www.lmfao.sssr/ Willie The Shake Speare

    Completely disagree. Plenty of grad students with 30-50K income can get a lot more than that:

    - diversity across issuers,
    - open business cards,
    - optimize credit lines.

    At 100K, you can pretty much do anything.

  • http://www.lmfao.sssr/ Willie The Shake Speare

    Always call and ask for cancellation to avoid annual fees. Might or might not work, but worth a try.

    Cancel if absolutely necessary. Can get full or partial credit.

    If annual fees are getting you points at less than 1c per point, or lower, perhaps well worth it.

    Also, you are talking about a travel blogger. Surely, it is worth it for his research, writing, travels, etc.

  • Sheena Ricarte

    23 credit cards – wow ! How do you manage that? I am curious. I have 8. I like it if there is no annual fee.

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  • Rick Ohler

    Enjoy your website PG, great information. Question, how is it you can meet the minimums required for bonuses when you open 3-4 cards at a time? I opened a Venture card and Barclay Arrival + in July and just recently a Chase Sapphire Preferred, but can only meet the bonus minimum on the Barclay and Chase cards. Kills me I’m going to lose out on the Cap One bonus. Thanks!

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