There are cards I get just for the new card bonus points and then never use them again. I fully understand by just meeting the minimum spend and then NOT using the card ever I will have almost zero shot at a good retention bonus before the fee hits the next year (tip: be sure to put a reminder in your phone to call 11 months after you activate your new card). Even a waived fee, like Michael W. got on his Chase INK card, can be a real value as a retention bonus.
But why do I have the cards I have in my wallet? Also, to be clear, these are my “every day” cards not ones I may have and use to meet some spend to get a bonus. Starting on the left:
- US Bank Flex Perks (personal card or business card) – All you have to do is look at this post to see why this lives in my wallet. That and when I do shop for groceries it is the card I pull. I also use this for charitable contributions I make to get 3x points that is up 6% back. I never give points as a contribution; charities like “cash” and we like points. Simple.
- Barclays Arrival+ Card – For many Delta Medallion flyers this is a card you must look at. Why? Upgrades. As a Diamond Medallion I am 90% this year on 54 segments. So, I can buy a coach class ticket on this card, use the arrival points to pay myself back, and most times fly in 1st class. I have found I am pulling this card out more and more to get 2.2% over other cards.
- Delta AMEX Reserve – I have to say I use this card less and less. Yes, I have to have it as a Diamond to get more upgrades plus the BOGOF cert makes it a more or less free card to hold for me each year. No, it does not HAVE to live in my wallet but I like to mix up my spend as I don’t want all $60,000 of my yearly spending to be on AXGCs 🙂
- Citi AA 100k card – I am really shocked how long this amazing deal has held on and it makes me really scared to be holding so many AA points. I will be booking a bunch of trips next year on AA points. I will never spend 1 cent on this card (after the $10k minimum that is). Why – what would be the point? It lives in my wallet just so I can get into the AA lounge when I want to. I will dump the card before the fee hits next year.
- Chase INK BOLD (e-Mail me for a link ) – If you do not have an INK card you are missing out. I like the BOLD as it is a charge card, but basically the plus and bold are very similar cards. Both get me 5x on so many things that I must have it when I need it and find a deal.
- AMEX Membership Rewards Platinum – This one is simple. 40k bonus when I got it (after spend), $200 credit this year buying 4x$50 Delta e-Gift cards and will get another $200 after 01JAN2015. Oh, and the main reason, to get into Centurion lounges free. I really like those places – SO much better than ANY Skyclub!
- SPG AMEX card – I stay at SPG hotels. When I am not paying on points, or paying for say a restaurant charge billed to my room, I use this card. Not for every day spend, but now and then to gain some extra SPG points when I need them.
So there you are. That is my list of cards that have found a current home in my wallet. I am not one to say there is “one best card” but the one I do pull the most – Arrival+! – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.