While admittedly I’m still getting a hold on the nuances of the credit card miles game I’ve decided to join in on, my wallet has started to fill up. So what is in my wallet at the moment? Why did I get these cards? Here’s a quick breakdown of the wallet, and what each one of these cards is used for.
These first four cards I’m going to run through quick because these were the cards that were wallet side before starting on the miles journey.
Bank of America Platinum Plus Card
This was the very first card when I was out of college and on my own. Being my first card, Bank of America naturally took advantage of me and jacked the rate of the card up really, really high. By high I mean 20% or higher. After a while I switched cards, but not before requesting that they lower the rate on this card. Since they outright refused, I took all of my money out of their bank, and left them high and dry. I have never used a BoA card since then, and really don’t like this company much.
Citi Diamond Preferred
This one was my second credit card after giving up on the Bank Of America card. To this date, the name of the original card escapes me, and honestly I have no idea what the reason was that Citi changed the card to the Diamond Preferred. This one ended up being another mistake, but a learning experience. The rewards were some of the worst out there, and I still haven’t used a single reward on this card because of how badly it is implemented… stay far away from this thing.
Does this card have a name? Venture Card? Magical plastic card of doom? No idea, but it’s a Capital One card, so I had some use with it but ultimately it’s just not the way forward. We covered why the Capital One cards should be used very sparingly in a previous post if you want to know why you should drop this sucker.
All of the cards above are in my wallet for account age. Account age is a part of your credit score and the longer the average account age is, the better… a small factor, but one to keep in mind.
Fidelity Investment Rewards
This has the potential to be a good card for those who don’t want to pay a fee for the card, or who don’t want to use travel points for anything. The original reason I got it is still valid, 2% back straight to an investment account, but really not going to give me the return I can get from other better cards. So at this point there has been no decision made on keep it or cancel it.
Travel Rewards Card Time!!!
Citi - AAdvantage Platinum
This card is excellent for a number of reasons. It’s point structure only has a bonus on purchases made for American flights or American related purchase (i.e. onboard food). While the earning structure isn’t the best, it does give a discount of 25% for food bought on board. If you aren’t elite, this card will give one free checked bag, and priority boarding. The big one, 10% back on spent points up to 10,000 points. So if I use 100,000 points for a business class fare to Europe and back, I get 10,000 points back… so ultimately the trip cost 90,000 miles.
Yeah, covered this one a few days ago. Not at all impressed with this little thing, so we’ll be kicking it to the curb at the end of the year. Bye bye little card, come back with a better program.
Chase - IHG Rewards
Great card, like the AAdvantage Platinum card it gives 10% points back when used. Elite Status, and a free night every year once you pay the fee. On top of all of that, the yearly fee is one of the lowest you will find on any rewards card at $49 per year. Really just that one free night a year is well worth the fee.
Alaska Airlines Card
Yep, another Bank Of America card… but I promise, I never spent a dime on this sucker other than the yearly fee. This is a good card only because you can apply multiple times, there is no minimum spend to get the 25,000 bonus points. Just sign up, pay the $75 fee and you get 25,000 points. Aside from that, it includes a $99 companion fare, meaning that flying anywhere in economy on Alaska Air allows you to bring a guest for only $99… no matter the fee of the original ticket. Good card for the perks, earning structure won't win any awards. Like the American Airlines card, only earns 1 point normally, 2 points on Alaska Airlines charges.
Chase - Sapphire Preferred Card
This one is still being worked on for me to hit the minimum spend. The minimum spend is a bit high at $4000, but the flexibility of the points are well worth it. 2X Bonus points on travel, and restaurants with a triple bonus on first friday restaurant visits… be aware the first friday bonus is going away at the beginning of 2016. This card also has tons of other perks from travel insurance, to extended warranty service on electronics. Far and away the biggest deal is the rental car insurance. Chase counts this as a primary insurance, where most cards are secondary. Secondary insurance means that your personal car insurance must cover the damage first, meaning your car insurance rates will be dinged by an accident being added to your account. Chase makes this primary, which means your personal insurance is bypassed and Chase covers everything on this card. The card also made of metal… which isn’t a good reason to get it, but is a cool additional feature.
American Express - Starwood Preferred Guest
This is another valuable one that brings award points at the normal 1 point rate, unless used at Starwood hotels, where it is bumped to 2 points. This is valuable because Starwood points transfer to partner airlines at 1:1 ratio for over 30 airlines. Aside from that are some additional perks, one of which is free Boingo wifi access. Any of the over 1 million Boingo access points are at your fingertips for no additional cost. Last but certainly not least, this card gives you a boost toward elite status counting for 5 nights and 2 stays toward elite stays.
It’s also good to mention that not all of these cards are equal for foreign transaction fees. The cards that have no foreign transaction fees are as follows:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Starwood Preferred Guest
These cards are the ones to use when traveling internationally so you don’t get nailed by additional fees. While there are many other cards out there with this benefit, these are the current cards i own with that feature.
So that’s what is sitting in my wallet at the moment. Many more planned for the year. What cards do you all own?
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8