Skip to content

TPG Readers Reveal Which Credit Cards They Regret Getting

April 01, 2018
7 min read
credit cards keyboard
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

One of the keys to earning lots of travel points and miles is through credit cards, both by maximizing lucrative sign-up bonuses and by tracking what you earn for purchases. But that doesn't mean you should sign up for every single credit card, or that you'll always make the right choice on which card to apply for next. Because let's face it: everyone makes mistakes, and many of us have gotten a credit card at some point that we later realized in retrospect wasn't the best choice.

So which credit cards do you regret getting? That's what TPG Lounge member Shateela W. recently asked of her fellow lounge members. The responses were enlightening, to say the least.

"I was young. I needed the card."

As some readers noted, when you're just starting out and you don't know the ins and outs of points and miles, sometimes you sign up for a credit card that doesn't exactly fit your needs. Or perhaps you didn't realize how lucrative sign-up bonuses can be, so you settled for less than you could have gotten. Sometimes for much less...

"In college, I signed up for a grocery store Mastercard to get free cookies. That being said, the grocery points I earned on that card were pretty valuable as a broke college student. I also signed up for a useless college branded MC [Mastercard] to get a free T-shirt...but it was no fee and helped build my credit, so maybe it wasn't all bad in the end?" – Dave M.
"Kohl’s. I didn’t have a clue back then." — Sharon S.
"In the '90s I signed up for--yes--an AOL credit card...the application got hung up so I had to fill it out again. Imagine my shock when TWO AOL Credit Cards came in the mail, both with 10K limits. It was a lot for a twenty-something temp worker to handle. And useless for points of course." — Lisa H.
"A 1FBUSA card. It was my first credit card ever, a card aimed at college students with a ridiculous interest rate. Thankfully, I never carried a balance, but every year they try to charge me a $50 annual fee for absolutely 0 benefits. I would cancel it, but it now has a $20k limit, and I fear the impact that would have on my credit report." — Andrew M.
"I only ever got a Macy's card because my mom guilted me into it because it would save her $1000 on her purchase there. I was 19. I closed the card a few months after she paid off her balance (in my early 20s) and never wanted it again. It affected my credit report FOREVER." — Marc L.

The Right Card for the Right Job

(Photo by Norwegian Bliss)
The Norwegian Cruise Lines credit card wasn't the right choice for at least one TPG reader. (Photo by Norwegian Bliss)

On the other hand, there are TPG readers who chose to get a travel rewards credit card with a solid sign-up bonus, but not the right travel rewards credit card for their needs...

"The Delta card had a high bonus and I knew I was going to be doing a good amount of travel so I got it. Later when I went to use the miles I realize Delta was not the best for travel I had planned. A little bit of research would have prevented me from making this mistake. I used the points eventually but the redemption was not great. I would have been better off getting another card!" — Shateela W.
"British Airways & Barclay Arrival are really tricky to use points on. I’d use them as last options." — Ryan W.
"Norwegian Cruise Lines credit card. Totally useless." — Paul J.
"The Delta Reserve Amex card. Got it to hit Diamond and that did not happen. It does nothing more for me that the platinum and has a hefty $450 price tag. Stupid mistake." — Kathleen S.
"British Airways. Met the spend to get a companion pass and had it expire because we weren’t able to use it in two years even though we flew out of London twice and the surcharges to fly in and out of London are very high. I could find better deals flying to other locations than using Avios. Avios are good to fly around Europe, but they have expensive surcharges internationally." — Christina R.

Annual Fees Aren't the Plague

Nobody likes paying credit card annual fees, and there are plenty of good no-fee options on the market. However, that doesn't mean every card with an annual fee is one to avoid...

"Regretted getting a “no annual fee” card because I didn’t understand the concept that annual fee cards (at least certain ones) give you outsized value." — Albert G.

"The CSP [Chase Sapphire Preferred] one year ago when the CSR [Chase Sapphire Reserve] had the 100k sign on bonus promotion. Stupid me was scared off by the $450 annual fee, not realizing it quickly becomes $150 but you get so much more." — Mike Z.

"I mainly regret thinking that no fee cards were the way to go. Also, my mother and I spent 10 nights in a Hampton Inn about 15 years ago -- and I didn't even sign up for Hilton Honors then.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

" — Jenn W.

5/24? What's 5/24?

Many Chase cards are subject to the bank's 5/24 rule. (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Ever since Chase instituted its dreaded 5/24 rule — denying most of its cards to applicants who apply for 5 or more cards across all banks within a 24 month period — it's important to keep track of which cards you're applying for and when...

"Yes I got a Banana Republic card and added my wife as an authorized user before I had even heard of 5/24. It's finally coming off in April!" — John O.

"Capital One Quicksilver. Almost cost me the 100k sign up for the CSR due to 5/24." — Steve I.

"Well, to a certain extent, the credit card I regret receiving was the last one (whichever that was) I received. It put me over 5/24, and made me miss out on getting the 100k sign-up bonus on the CSR!

?" — Jason L.

That's Not the Card I'm Looking For

Finally, once in a while you apply for a card that you actually want, but your bank doesn't quite get the message...

"Back in college I tried to get a Victoria's Secret credit card, but they insisted that I already had one and would mail it to me. I received a card with my first name, my sister's middle initial, and our shared last name, and my sister's credit card number. I showed the card to her and needless to say, that card was canceled!" — Shana G.

Sounds like a minor case of fat-fingering. Or rather a major case of it.

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images

Top offers from our partners

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.
See all best card offers