What credit cards are in your wallet? Here’s what’s in mine

Credit card wallet

Whenever I grab lunch or a drink with a friend or colleague, I find myself curious of what card they choose to use and why. It kills me if they use cash, but, I digress. So, I thought I’d offer what is in my wallet with no links (affiliate or otherwise), because I think its a meaningful conversation to have. Below I lay out what I believe are the best credit cards for miles and points residing in my wallet and why.

So, What’s in my wallet?

A bunch.

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred – I use this for dining (except on first Friday, because that would be so pas se) I also use this for travel costs, to include occasional overseas charges.
  2. British Airways – I feel like I get good value, at 1.25 Avios points per dollar spent, but increasingly I’m wondering if I’m better just putting those charges to my Starwood Preferred Guest.
  3. Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Personal – 1.25 SPG points for all spend, assuming I can transfer points in 20k increments. Its an easy card to rely on, but not my lead-off card, to use a baseball analogy.
  4. Chase Freedom – 5x quarterly rewards. This quarter its Gas stations and Kohls. It generally spends 4-5 months of the year in my wallet, when I’m home, just so I can hit the $1,500 to get the most of the 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points.
  5. Ink Plus (Visa) – This is a newer card to me. I’ve already gotten my 60k UR points, but I like shopping at office supply stores, so I keep it in my wallet.
  6. Ink Bold – I recently called about my annual fee and got a retention bonus offer to spend $5k and get 10k UR points if that $5k is spent in 3 months. I’m about a month in, I’ll meet it, then the card will become a back-up.
  7. Suntrust Delta Skymiles Debit – I don’t think there’s a whole lot to say about this card. This is in my wallet purely for MS reasons.
  8. American Express Business Platinum – I probably need to start thinking about getting rid of this card, but I got enough value to offset this year’s annual fee. Come next April, I’ll jettison it (unless AMEX can convince me otherwise). Until then, I’ll enjoyed the no foreign transaction fees, access to Centurion Lounges, and the Membership Rewards; but I don’t use it terribly often.
  9. American Express Blue (aka Old AMEX Blue), 1%/5% after $6,500 at supermarkets and gas stations. Its not a bad back-up card, and my first go-to when I’m at a supermarket (for MS or otherwise). If only I got 5% at Costco, then I’d be doing really well (hah!).
  10. Barclay Arrival+ – So this is my lead-off card. My goal next year, is to generate enough rewards with the 2.2% cash back, to cover generation of my status and most of my wife’s (she travels for work a bit which covers a handful of the 100k requirement for Executive Platinum).


Right now, I don’t have any minimum spending thresholds to meet. If anything, its the Chase Ink Bold to get the retention bonus.

Conclusion / Considerations

So, I realize I’m at a disadvantage because I’m not working toward a minimum spend threshold. I’m actually a few weeks off of my next churn, but really at a loss of what to bother with, other than maybe an Ink and an Alaskan card. But really, my focus on this blog has been less on sign-up bonuses, and more focused on how to leverage cards that you already have in your repertoire. The problem is, that for many cards, the bonuses are great, and then, really they just sit in my drawer until its time to cancel or negotiate for a retention bonus.


15 thoughts on “What credit cards are in your wallet? Here’s what’s in mine

  1. Wondering if you have any experience with the uPromise credit card? It is advertised to give 5% or more at 850 online retailers and 8% through its dining program. You can also have it linked to a SallieMae savings account or a 529 plan. I have used their shopping portal and they pay good cash back %, but I am considering their CC for a higher payback. Wondered if anyone has experience with it and if there are gotchas in their program that I don’t see? Of course, there is no sign-up bonus, but I’m thinking it might be a good back-up card.

    • VH, so I don’t have the uPromise 5% card. I try to balance cashback and points, so sometimes I find I’ll go through uPromise for the cashback, but use a points earning card (e.g. get 5% cashback and 5x UR points at Staples using the Ink).

    • Upromise card works for me and my online business purchasing items for resale. The worst merchant is Best Buy for paying, but eventually they paid in some cases more than 90 days late.

  2. When you discussed the Barclay card, you mentioned something about 100k spending and executive platinum status; can you expand on what you meant by this? I am reading it as though Barclay offers some sort of status to those that accrue 100k in points, but I have never seen or heard of this before. Am I misreading your statement?

    • Paul, sorry – what I was trying to say is that we pay for my wife’s work travel with the Barlcay Arrival+. What we do is use the cash back from the Arrival+ to offset costs for earning American Executive Platinum status. We still search for cheap deals (e.g. we paid ~$505 for BWI to Shanghai in February), but we use the cash back so it is ultimately less out of pocket.

      Does that clear up the confusion?

      • That clears it up completely. When I first read it I got excited thinking Barclay was linked to someone with status levels. I then quickly looked around and could not come up with anything. Just wanted to make sure.

        • Hah! I wish Barclay could provide status… I know the Citi Exec gives you 10k EQMs after $40k spend, and if you play the Delta cards you could get status… but then you have to fly Delta…

  3. I try and keep my wallet small. That is a big task when you are in this game but here is the list.

    Citi Forward (no longer available) 5x TY point I value at .8 so 4% on Dining, Entertainment, and Books. Unless it is Q2 when Freedom and Discover It has restaurants at 5%

    Amex (old) Blue Cash Gas/Groceries, For MS and Daily spend. I keep and Fort Knox or Sallie Mae in the car for 5% gas at Sam’s Club (no amex)

    CapOne Spark. 2% everything catch all and MS. Carry it for better acceptance than Fidelity Amex (fidelity is great for costco though)

    USAA Debit. My primary bank and they reimburse atm fees up to $15/mo so I don’t think about atms much.

    If I know I am going somewhere and I know another card will be more appropriate I’ll swap it into the lineup or I carry a Loop Pay FOB (now available at Staples) with ALL of my CCs

    • @Ryan – very cool. I didn’t jump on the Citi TY train (kind’ve regret that). I haven’t taken the CapOne Spark dive either, I just feel like the Barclay card gives that little bit more, and has no foreign transaction fee, not sure if the Spark does. I did leave out my USAA cards – I keep 1 CC and 1 Debit card with me as standards. The debit is especially great overseas because you get a better exchange rate and as you note, the ATM fee reimbursement.

      I haven’t tried Loop Pay FOB or the other cards (I think Wallaby offers one too). Do you feel it works out well for you?

    • Ryan, I also have that Citi Forward card. You can actually get 1 cent a point if you redeem it towards airfare through citi. You don’t even have to have enough for the full ticket- if you have 20000 points you get $20 off and can pay the rest in cash. The prices offered are identical to what would be offered through an airline site.

  4. Just thinned out my wallet.

    1. Cancelled CSP as I prefer the Barclay’s Arrival. It’s paid for numerous non-chain hotel rooms, museum membership, theme park attractions, shuttle service, just to name a few. I love that I have four months to earn the points when I’m short points.

    2. Chase Freedom/Discover More card, for the 5% rotating deals and for the Discover shopping portal.

    3. AMEX SPG, using this one for nights and flights

    4. AMEX Gold, just for the membership rewards

    5. Chase Ink Classic and Bold, Office Supply stores

    I have more, but these are my go to cards that I use daily.

    • @Shannon,

      You know, the CSP is the thing I keep trying to decide on. I love the customer service I get with the CSP, but that alone isn’t enough to justify keeping it, when Barclay’s Arrival gives me just as much, if not more of the benefits. More and more I lean toward cancelling next time the AF comes due.

      I do keep the Freedom in my wallet but most often I meet the spend and pull it, no need to carry it if I have no use for it for 2 months. In my experience, you still get the cash back even if you don’t use the Discover card on the Discover Shopping Portal (so that may be an opportunity to squeeze even more out of those online transactions).

  5. Pingback: Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth keeping? - Tagging Miles

  6. Buy PPC at BigC with BC. Load into PPBC, Then buy Costco cash card on Costco.com as credit. After fee, you will net 5.21% @costco store.

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