Credit Cards

Here are the travel cards in my wallet – why they get to live where they do!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


what travel points credit cards are in renes wallet now

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!

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.

Barclaycard Arrival+™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Just got the new Arrival+, so not really used to playing with their points yet. Been using the Chase Sapphire Preferred as my main card for a while now. Wouldn’t that have a similar value to the Arrival+? I wouldn’t redeem Ultimate Rewards directly through Chase for travel, but if you were to do it, it seems like a similar setup.

    • @Garrett – The CSP is a great choice but does not have Chip-N-Pin yet. To me the value of the Arrival+ is a bit higher.
      @Young_Though – Agree.

  2. Young_Tho®ough Reply

    Took the words out of my mouth about the DL AMEX. Since I’ve gotten the Arrival+ I look at it am don’t like seeing it in my wallet. I doubt 2015 will make the card worth while or the MQM boost. especially with MQDs/squashing of mileage run potential, and my work travel isn’t on my DL card anyway. so I will likely get where I need to be without it.

    AMEX offers has been enough to cover annual fees for me on all my MR AMEXs so I keep them retention or not. But UR and arrival points are so much more useful, they get all my spend.

  3. Young_Tho®ough Reply

    Also any idea whether churches are “charity” to US Bank? or which coding category it needs to be to get the 3x points? I want to check what my church codes as for offerings/tithes to see if there US bank is a better giving option.

  4. Interesting philosophy. I agree with most.
    A few items. Rene, It would seem that your F upgrades are much more a function of Diamond status than your card. I realize you pile up MQM’s from the DR card but the card means very little above that(yes, I know the “tiebreaker” idea).
    As an aside, I would argue the Reserve Card(or any Delta card at this point) is good for status runs only. More spend miles/points are accumulated via AMEX PRG.
    The best use of the Delta cards is EXCLUSIVELY for manufactured spend. In fact, AMEX and Delta have essentially sanctioned this behavior by killing MR’s and distance rewards with the 2015 FF plan.
    Until AMEX or DAL shuts me down, I am using Delta Amexes ONLY on One Vanillas. Actual BIS miles mean nothing to either distributor.

    • @Geoff – I quiz DM’s who do not get upgrades around the gate area. Most who miss out don’t have the card. Don’t forget about more low level seats (sometimes) if you have the card. Oh and yes the MQD exemption and bonus MQMs.

  5. Just got Arrival +. Got to get the initial spend + some to use for October trip to NYC.

  6. Young_Tho®ough Reply

    Oh and you forgot/chose not to mention Visa signature perks. I LOVE THIS THING. I know, I’ve told you this already but bonus points and cash back…I wanted to cry.
    Chase and Barclay my how you vie for my attention so effectively.
    AMEX bore my children but these two girls are just so much more fun to be around!

  7. You forgot the Old Amex Blue Cash…. I’ll take my 5% cash and buy my ticket with that versus redeeming against a travel card where I only get 2.2222% return.

  8. Looks a lot lime my wallet (including IN drivers license). If someone can confirm church tithes, may have to get a flex perks card. I also keep a Chase Freedom and Sapphire Preferred. 1 st class MR to STI tomorrow!

  9. @Delta_Points No, not the new one… the old one that gets you 5% back at grocery, convenience stores & gas (up to $400 per trxn) after $6,500 in spend for the year. It’s still available, but they don’t advertise it.

  10. @Rene- that’s not the blue cash Ben’s talking about. You’re talking about the new Blue Cash, he’s talking about the old blue cash.

    That being said, Do you have a AMEX PR Gold card?
    If so, I’m slightly curious why you choose US Bank over Delta PRG at grocery stores (I’d take 2x MR over 2x US Bank points).

    My permanent cards are Citi Forward, OLD Blue Cash, Ink Bold. Everything else (USBank, Delta cards, PRG, etc) rotates in and out.

    • @Steve @Ben – ah. PRG is nice but keep in mind when I spend my FlexPerks I earn Skymiles & MQMs. Redeeming AMEX MR is OK but I have MQM goals. Good to have many choices. Love the game and that it is NOT one size fits all.

  11. You know you don’t need to present the Citi Executive card for Admiral’s Club Access, right? Just give the agent your AAdvantage number, or BP if you find yourself *gasp* not on Delta.

    • @PainCorp – I have been told by several agents you do need the card itself. Then again AA on twitter told me that you had to be flying AA (wrong – you don’t). So, I keep the card with me. I guess I could put in my CPU bag now that I think about it and free up a space for my AMEX gift cards that I forgot to mention I almost always have one of in my wallet! 😉 Txs!

  12. @Rene that’s true. I can’t wait to not look like a fool signing a receipt while everyone waits. Germany is next and that’s where I’ve always had the most trouble with not having a pin. Do we know when Chase will switch the CSP over?

  13. So the Delta Reserve card won’t get you into the Centurion lounges for free, even though it costs the same as a normal Amex Platinum?

  14. Shana Gainey-Lewis Reply

    How does the Barclays card get you upgrade s on Delta? Thanks!

    • @Shana – it does not but my Medallion status with Delta does and I can buy a revenue ticket with my Barclays card that does qualify for upgrades. As far as Delta is concerned I am just paying for the ticket even though I am paying myself back with Arrival points! Win-Win!

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