2015 and 2016 Credit Card ReEvaluation

This post is more of the long range plan that I have for my credit cards, hence the long winding road picture. Earlier this year, I wrote about my latest credit card applications, and I don’t like the idea of closing cards and opening cards unless I don’t find a use for the card like what I did to the Chase United Explorer card. Because of that, I open only cards that I think I would have a long term use and manufactured spend for the points.

My open cards with annual fees:

  • Chase Ink Bold ($95)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95)
  • Chase British Airways ($95)
  • American Express Starwood Preferred Guest ($65)
  • US Bank Flexperks ($49)
  • Barclay’s Lufthansa Miles and More ($89)

I recently readded the Barclay’s US Airways. I originally thought I’d make good use of the Barclay’s Lufthansa Miles and More card more than I do now, the reason I keep the card is Lufthansa’s miles bargain and can save lots of miles if my travel needs line up and having this credit card would be great to have to pad the account without using any SPG points.

I decided to go back with the US Airways card because I saw the news about current cardholders will be switched to either the Aviator Red or Silver card and the benefits were a compelling reason to grab the card again. While the rebate limit is kind of low, 10,000 miles, it is a great benefit to get back some miles for the annual fee. However, if you keep the Barclay’s US Airways card with the potential 10,000 anniversary miles would be easier than the 10% rebate especially if you have a light year of travel or can’t spend 100,000 miles in the year.

For a recap on why I keep the other cards: Ink Bold, 5x at Office Supply and Lounge Club access. British Airways, companion pass + short haul flights with the Avios. American Express Starwood Preferred Guest for the SPG points. Flexperks because of the unique ability to redeem up to 2 cents per point for flights.

For the long time readers, you will see my Citi AAdvantage card disappeared from the list, I followed Kenny’s advice and downgraded for the Dividend Select card so I have another avenue for 5% cash and before it goes away permanently because of the Double Cash card. When the time comes again, I will apply for the AAdvantage card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred:

This card is getting tougher to keep. The loss of the 7% dividend after 2015 and the fact that I have an Ink Bold which gives me the ability to transfer points to the travel partners.

I used to use the Sapphire Preferred because of the 2x on dining, then Citi introduced transferrable partners and I have the Citi Forward for 5x on dining. That leaves travel for 2x, but I now have the Fidelity American Express for 2% cashback. Sure, Ultimate Reward points could be worth more than 2 cents per points, but I would need to spend a pretty penny to make up for the $95/year annual fee. Unfortunately, my membership year is in November. I am thinking of waiting until after the points dividend of 2015 hits my account, and hoping to see if I fall within the grace period of the annual fee before changing the product. If not, then I’ll use it through 2016 before the annual fee hits again and do the shift to the Fidelity AMEX.

Premium Cards:

I want to sign up for a >$300 annual fee credit card for the benefits, but I haven’t decided which one is right for me.

The American Express Platinum sounds compelling with the Fine Hotels and Resorts, free SPG gold, and gives me the ability to transfer my Membership Rewards to travel partners as I currently don’t have that ability.

The Citi Prestige for similar reasons to transfer out my Thank You Points and added TYP worth when redeeming for American Airline flights

The Chase United MileagePlus Club card for free Hyatt Platinum, Avis status, and plethora of United benefits. Fortunately, I am not hub captive so I could benefit either the Club card or the Prestige.

The Diner’s Club elite for it’s 3x bonus in the important categories as well as the point transferability. Unfortunately, that’s the only benefit I see with having this card.





12 comments… add one
  • You can’t keep the US Airways card, everybody will be transitioned to either the Aviator silver or red (silver is invite only, invites have already gone out but maybe they’ll send out more before the transition). If your card currently has an anniversary bonus, it will keep that benefit in addition to the benefits of the silver/red Aviator cards.

    So you’ll get the refund benefit as well as the anniversary bonus benefit. I confirmed this with Barclay yesterday.

  • All the premium cards have advantages but the decision depends on personal variables.

    If UA/AA clubs are equal value to you, I’d go with UA for the 1.5X everyday earn unless your spending is high enough in the Citi 3X categories to push that ahead (I mainly fly on points so limited use to me).

    Amex Plt is a good card to have for benefits but no bonus for spend. I’d spend on SPG for transfer at 1.25X in most cases.

    Diners is only a value if you spend enough in the 3X categories to offset the fee.

    Like most things, the decision comes down to personal spend patterns and preferences.

    • Agreed, this will come down to personal patterns and preferences, still have a little while to go to figure it all out. I can’t say I fly much using cash, but I’ve amassed a decent amount of TYP’s and the Prestige could help me unload some of it

  • I’d say to get the Citi Prestige before the year ends, to get the $250 airline credit x 2 = $500, which is greater than the $450 annual fee, plus the AA + Priority Pass Select Lounge capabilities.

    • I don’t think I have enough time for the Citi Prestige – signed up for a couple of cards last month and need to let things cool a bit

  • Most of the UA perks come with the Explorer save for lounge access… you can buy United Club passes for ~$15 each on eBay, and $25,000 in spend on the Explorer gives a 10,000 mile bonus. As far as car rental benefits, the Club Card used to give Avis President’s Club (with some decent perks) but that was downgraded to Avis First (with fewer perks but the ability to earn free days) back in April of last year. Now I believe Avis has been dropped entirely in favor of Hertz: http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/products/travelproducts/car/pages/hertzoffer.aspx

    I don’t have the Club Card now but I have eaned my way to President’s Circle. I have noticed very little as I went from general member to Five Star and President’s Circle with Hertz, but I have encountered a series of increasingly common issues such as wrong fuel levels, being charged drop fees by accident even with a return to the same location. On one recent rental at an HLE in Detroit I was given a car with a pile of ashes on the back seat, and the guy’s only response was that he would “make a note of it.”

    There aren’t a ton of perks that Hertz is giving me over a general member or a Five Star renter. In terms of recognition, they didn’t even send me an email letting me know I made it to PC and I can’t recall ever being so much as thanked for my ongoing loyalty. There has been on occasional honest-to-god upgrade but I feel like it was more due to operational need than a real benefit… (Last time I reserved a “premium” car I was given a Subaru Legacy.)

    • Thanks for the analysis and details, Hua. Doesn’t sound like Hertz status is worth it. Another thing I forgot in the post about the Mileage Club card that I liked was all the “status” features that come with it. I don’t travel enough to earn status and things like no change fees to award tickets and priority boarding sounds compelling

  • Why not get the AMEX Everyday? 4.5 on groceries and at least 1.5 everywhere. I definitely wouldn’t go with the AMEX Plat unless you can use Centurion access.

    • Thanks Joe, for a very good point that I missed. I would still be able to transfer out my Membership Rewards and still be flexible on the premium card I choose


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