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The cards TPG staffers are keeping, canceling and downgrading

Jan. 17, 2022
10 min read
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As we enter our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, some credit card issuers continue to adapt their products to fit the needs of their customers. But sometimes, it's not enough.

The Points Guy staff is not immune from this. In the new year, we're all taking a hard look at the cards in our wallets. We originally did this last spring, but a lot has changed since then, so I polled my colleagues to see what changes they’ve made with their credit card strategies. Here’s what they had to say, in their own words.

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Brian Kelly, The Points Guy

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

It’s no secret that the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of my favorite cards because it gives 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. I can use those miles and transfer them to partners, but I can also “wipe” travel-related charges off my balance (such as Uber, Blade and taxes and fees on award tickets).

However, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is like the Venture on steroids, with so many features (such as travel insurance and lounge access) [that] the perks pay for themselves many times over. Not to mention, a cool 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, never hurts! I will apply new and downgrade my Venture card to the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, which has no annual fee and earns 3% back on entertainment and select streaming services.

Related: The most exciting premium card to come around in years: A review of Capital One Venture X

Katie Genter, senior points and miles writer

Genter likes to use points and miles to book hotels at places such as the Marriott Fiji Resort Momi Bay. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

I currently have 17 open cards. Of them, four are no-annual-fee cards that I plan to keep for the foreseeable future, since they aren't costing me anything and they boost my available credit. However, I have to think harder each year about the cards that charge an annual fee.

Related: Yes, I have 22 credit cards; here’s why

Here's where these cards currently s:tand in my book:

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Additionally, I have five cobranded hotel credit cards, including the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, the World of Hyatt Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. I won't consider closing these cards as long as they continue to provide annual free night certificates that I can redeem for more value than the annual fee.

The information for the Citi Prestige and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Best hotel credit cards

Juan Ruiz, credit cards editor

The Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport (LGA). (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

This is my final year as an Amex Platinum cardmember. Amex's widely unpopular announcement about cardholders losing complimentary Centurion Lounge guest access starting February 2023 means I would have to cough up $30 per child to access their swanky lounges with my family. While I could unlock free Centurion lounge guest access if I spend $75,000 per calendar year, I do not plan on doing that since these new changes make the $695 annual fee (see rates and fees) less absorbable after 2022.

Related: Dear Amex, please don’t charge little kids $30 for lounge access

Stella Shon, credit cards writer

A Delta Boeing 737-900. (Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

I'm keeping my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. With the Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQM) rollover, I'll just need to meet my goal of spending $25,000 on the card in 2022 to keep my Delta SkyMiles Platinum status for 2023.

Related: Earn 20,000 MQMs the easy way: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card review

Madison Blancaflor, travel editor

I’m planning to keep my entire lineup of cards this year (and definitely adding more). My American Express® Gold Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Capital One Venture cards are all staying at the forefront of my wallet as my big three for 2022. They complement each other well, cover all of my major spending categories and help me keep my points stash diversified.

Related: Why right now may be the best time to sign up for a mid-tier credit card

Tom Grahsler, director of video

Entrance to the Centurion Lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy)

I’m dropping my Amex Platinum card since the renewal is up in February 2022. I don’t want to get hit with its now-higher $695 annual fee, especially since I barely used it last year. I only kept it for lounge access but found that [the lounges] were always packed, so I'm no longer inclined to pay up for this benefit. Instead, I'll use my new Capital One Venture X card — which also comes with lounge access — to fill that slot.

Related: Who should (and shouldn’t) get the Capital One Venture X card?

David Slotnick, ​​senior aviation business reporter

Slotnick prefers to use his Delta Reserve card for access to a Delta SkyClub, such as the one at JFK's Terminal 4. (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

I tried to drop my Amex Platinum card this past year, but they offered such a good retention bonus — 40,000 points for $3,000 spend within three months — that I decided to keep it. However, unless they offer a similar bonus this year, I’ll be closing it.

Even if I could make up the $695 annual fee by maximizing all the various credits, I don’t have the patience to basically use up a coupon book in order to justify paying such a high fee. The card has gotten too complex and scattered. I need SkyClub access, though, so I’ll stick with the Delta Reserve, a card that can pay for itself each year with just the companion certificate.

Related: It’s a ‘lifestyle’ card now: A closer look at the Amex Platinum’s 6 new benefits launched in 2021

Steve Romain, TPG engineer manager

I'm canceling my Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card after applying for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card to try and get the Companion Pass for 2022-2023. I’m downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Preferred now that I've dumped most of my Chase points into a bunch of Hyatt stays in Europe this summer. In addition to these changes, I’m considering adding the Amex Gold to my wallet so I can take advantage of its benefits when I travel internationally.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Katharine Leitch, senior associate

An exercise room at the Equinox hotel. (Photo by Melanie Lieberman/The Points Guy)

I'm keeping my Amex Platinum card solely because of the Equinox benefit. It's easy to justify the $695 annual fee with three of the card's larger annual statement credits: up to $200 for airline incidental fees, up to $200 in Uber Cash toward rides and Uber Eats orders in the U.S., and up to $300 toward Equinox membership fees or the Equinox+ app. Without Equinox, I'd probably drop it pretty quick. To Tom Grashler's point above, I’ve only really used this card for lounges, and those have become largely overcrowded and unenjoyable. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: Your guide to using the new Amex Platinum Equinox credit

Jermaine Lecky, associate engineer

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

I plan on keeping my AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard. Even though I don't use my Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, I'll probably still keep it just to keep my credit availability up.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: The many flavors of Barclays’ AAdvantage Aviator credit cards

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

Featured image by Shutterstock
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023