With the end of the year comes an opportunity to reevaluate which cards are staying in my wallet, and which are leaving. The best travel credit cards that are the ones that meet your daily spend and goals. forSo, here’s a rundown of my current credit cards. My hope is to give you an idea of what cards work well for me and how I use them in my daily life.
The Newcomers in My Wallet
First, we’ll cover the new credit cards that I opened this year.
1. Chase Ink Business Preferred:
Since Trip Astute is now an LLC, I wanted to make sure to separate my business and personal spending. I decided to get the Ink Business Preferred and I love it. The card not only came with an 80,000 point opening bonus, but it has bonus spending categories that match up with our business spending. This is especially the case when it comes to advertising and travel expenses. Also, I like that the Ink Preferred offers cell phone damage coverage when we pay our mobile phone bill with the card. This card is definitely a “keeper” in my wallet.
2. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus:
I wasn’t planning to get this card, but then Chase and Southwest offered a special promotion for California residents. The promotion allowed us to get a free companion pass with just one purchase. I thought I might now qualify because of Chase’s 5/24 rule, but after I did a quick search on Credit Karma, I found out that I had only four cards in the past two years. So I recently applied and was approved. And now I should be getting a Southwest Companion pass for 2018, which will be helpful for our upcoming trips.
My Every Day Carry (EDC) Cards
Now we are going to cover some of the cards that have become a regular part of my everyday carry this year.
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve:
You all know how much I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I still love my Sapphire Reserve, and it’s probably the most valuable card in my wallet. Since I tend to spend a lot on dining out and travel expenses (especially parking expenses here in LA), this card works really well for me. Also, the $300 annual travel credit makes this card feel like it only has a $150 annual fee, which helps me justify the annual cost.
2. American Express Blue Cash Preferred:
You might be wondering why I carry a cash back card when all I talk about is points and miles. Well, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card gives me 6% cash back on groceries, and 3% back on gas. Even though I love points, it makes sense for me to earn the cash back on these categories of spend, and put that money towards my travel budget.
3. Chase Freedom:
Again, this card a real workhorse in my wallet. I try to take advantage of the 5% quarterly rotating bonus categories, which can earn around 7,500 Ultimate Rewards points every quarter. With no annual fee, this card is definitely staying in my wallet.
4. Chase Freedom Unlimited:
This card is my go-to card for any expenses that are not covered by a bonus category. It earns a flat rate of 1.5 points per dollar. It’s a great no-nonsense card for expenses where I can’t maximize a bonus category.
5. Discover It:
Like the Chase Freedom, the Discover It card offers a rotating quarterly bonus. However, similar to my American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, it earns cash back. I basically allocate the cash back that I earn toward my travel budget.
My “Sit in a Drawer” Cards
I do have a bunch of other credit cards that I don’t necessarily carry with me all the time, but keep active. These are cards that offer some kind of benefit or reward that makes them worth keeping.
1. Chase IHG Rewards Club Select:
I’ve covered this card in several videos. I basically keep it because I get Platinum Elite Status with IHG, and more importantly, a free anniversary night certificate as part of my $49 annual fee. The free night alone is worth so much more than the annual fee.
2. Chase Hyatt Rewards:
Like the IHG Rewards Club card, this card offers a bump in loyalty status, and provides a free night every year with an annual fee of $75. There are a ton of awesome hotels in Hyatt’s portfolio where you can use your annual certificate. We just need a video on the Andaz Mayakoba in Mexico, which is part of the Hyatt umbrella of brands, so there are plenty of luxurious places where you can redeem your annual free night.
3. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer:
I’ve actually contemplated canceling this card, but the reason I keep it is for the lounge passes, priority boarding, and additional award availability. This isn’t a published benefit by Chase, but if you have this card, you’ll actually see more award seat availability for flights. To me, these benefits are worth the $95 annual fee, but since I haven’t been flying United as much this past year, I’m still not sure it will make the cut in 2018.
4. Chase Ink Business Cash:
The Chase Ink Business Cash is another card that I keep and use. I have another side business that I run, so I use the Ink Business Cash for all those expenses. I also charge my internet and streaming services on this card since it earns five points per dollar on purchases from office supplies stores, internet, cable, and phone services. It doesn’t have an annual fee, so it’s a great card to have, especially since it also earns Ultimate Rewards Points.
Cards That Might Be Leaving
And sadly, there are a few cards that I have that I am not planning to keep in 2018.
1. Club Carlson Premier Rewards:
While I have a ton of Club Carlson points thanks to this card, I have to admit that I seem to struggle with finding places to redeem the points. I know that Club Carlson has some incredible resorts around the world, and their Radisson Blu brand is popular and luxurious, but I honestly have not had a chance to redeem the points. So, even though I get 40,000 Club Carlon points every year with my $75 annual fee, I am not sure that it makes sense to keep the card.
2. Citi Double Cash:
This was my go-to cash back card for a long time, and I was using it for non-bonus category spending. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has really taken over when it comes to my non-bonus category spend, so I’ll likely either cancel this card or just keep in the drawer.
What cards are staying in your wallet in the new year? Are there cards that you’re planning to cancel or downgrade this year?
For an up-to-date list of all the credit cards in my wallet, see our Card Offers page.