The cards TPG staffers are keeping, canceling and downgrading
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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.
Brian Kelly, 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 new Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is like the Venture on steroids, with so many new 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.
Katie Genter, senior points and miles writer
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.
Here’s where these cards currently s:tand in my book:
- Citi Premier® Card: Keep. This card earns 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations, which is extremely valuable while traveling by recreational vehicle.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Card: Keep. Since this card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, it’s a good card for everyday spending when I’m not working toward a sign-up bonus on a new card.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Keep. I love using this card for flights and general travel expenses. After all, I earn 3 points per dollar spent on these purchases (on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year). Plus, the Ink Preferred has solid travel protections, including trip delay reimbursement.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Keep for now. I’ll eventually downgrade it to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve if it offers an elevated sign-up bonus and I’m otherwise eligible.
- Citi Prestige® Card: Unsure. This card has become less valuable over the years, but I do love earning 5 points per dollar on dining. I’ll likely call to see if I can get a retention bonus when my $495 annual fee comes due, as I am tempted to close or downgrade this card.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Probably keep. I am an authorized user on The Platinum Card® from American Express, so having the Business Platinum is somewhat redundant. I expect I’ll keep my Business Platinum for a few more years, though, as I write about it and get value from the biannual U.S. Dell credits. Enrollment required for select benefits.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card: Keep. This is my oldest account, so I plan to keep it open for the foreseeable future. Best of all, it gives me 6,000 points each account anniversary, which helps justify the card’s $99 annual fee.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Keep. I expect this card may come in handy as I work to earn Loyalty Points in 2022.
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
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.
Stella Shon, credit cards writer
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.
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.
Tom Grahsler, director of video
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.
David Slotnick, senior aviation business reporter
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.
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.
Katharine Leitch, senior associate
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.
Jermaine Lecky, associate engineer
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.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
Featured photo by Olleg/Shutterstock.
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