Fair warning – this is a mega-long post. So much has happened in the points and miles credit card world these past few months that I am just starting to catch up. Along with my “catching up” on current offers, I spent a fair deal of time going through what’s in my wallet – deciding what cards to cancel, what cards to keep… you know the drill.
Last year I also wrote a pretty lengthy post titled: Year in Review: Examining the “Health” of My Credit Score With 11 Active Credit Cards – consider this a follow up (this time around I have 14 cards and an even higher credit score). This week alone, I filtered through my cards – said goodbye to some and got lucky with others to have my annual fees waived. I also added two new babies to my collection. You’ll find all of that info below, so grab a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever tickles your fancy and enjoy!
The Quest for Retention Bonuses
As much as I hate doing card-cancellation calls, it has to be done. I think it has more to do with me hating to talk on the phone, period. Here’s how I did this year:
Cards I Said Goodbye To:
- Chase Continental OnePass MasterCard: Since I already have top-tier elite status with United and I book all of my travel for double points using the Chase Sapphire Preferred, I really didn’t see much value in paying the annual fee or keeping this card. Sadly, I was not offered any retention bonus of any kind when I called the cancel; however, the agent did move the vast majority of my credit line over to another Chase account, so it wasn’t a huge loss. I might consider applying for the United MileagePlus Explorer Card next year (I have been frequently getting 50,000-point targeted offers in the mail) because with United’s new stinky elite minimum spend requirement in place for 2014 (example: $10,000 + 100,000 flown miles for 1K), the only way I would ever come close to achieving elite status again would be to be a cardholder so that the premier qualifying dollars requirement would be waived (only up to Platinum level, but that is a sufficient status).
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express: Shocking, right? Well in my defense, I had both this card -and- the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card. My logic was: if I can’t get the annual fee waived, then I’ll cancel the card and keep the business version of the card. When I called American Express to cancel, they offered me a $10 retention bonus. I declined, and a friendly agent moved the majority of my credit to another AmEx account to preserve the credit lines I had been approved for.
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card: I was fortunate to have this card’s annual fee waived in 2012, but I wasn’t realistically expecting to get another free year, so I kind of knew my fate when calling. I was not offered any retention bonus, so I closed the account while moving my credit line to another Chase account.
Retention Bonus Success:
- Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card: Back in July 2011, I applied for this card and the Citi Business AAdvantage Visa simultaneously when the sign-up offer was at a lovely 75,000 miles per card. When it was almost time for renewal, I called Citi and was offered an $85 statement credit to neutralize the annual fee if I kept the card open. I somehow lucked out again – the friendly agent offered me a $95 statement credit to cover the annual fee if I used the card 5 times within the following 30 days. Easy peasy.
- The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®: I opened this card in August of 2012 to get the 30,000 free miles that came with the card after the first purchase. I rarely used the card after that and wasn’t planning on keeping the account open or paying the $89 fee. After a quick call, I was able to get the agent to waive the fee for me so I could have the card account open for another year.
- Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card: By paying the $95 annual fee up front, I was able to unlock the ability to get 2-free weekend stay certificates at any Hilton property worldwide after meeting the minimum spend; however, we all know that the HHonors program faced a major devaluation earlier this year and there’s just no incentive for me to chase Hilton points anymore. So to avoid paying the annual fee this time around, I had the account specialists convert this card to the no-annual-fee Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card this way I won’t lose any of my credit.
What’s in My Wallet Now
Here’s the crazy list of what I’ve got in my wallet at the moment:
- Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card (soon to be Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card)
- Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® Visa Signature® Card
- The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®
- $400 Cash Back NFL Barclays Card (related post)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN (related post)
- Blue Sky from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card
- Ink Plus® Business Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Hyatt Credit Card
- Chase Freedom®
- Southwest Airlines® Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Visa *NEW Addition* (came with a great 80,000-point sign-up bonus with a $49 annual fee starting the second year that nets me a free night at any IHG property)
- Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card *NEW Addition* (probably the best hotel co-branded credit card out there, in my opinion)
So there it is, all things credit cards laid out on the table – can’t believe I’m up to 14 cards (PS – my credit score is 783 as of the time of this post)! How does your collection compare? What cards did you open, say goodbye to, and have on your radar for this year and next? Please feel free to share and discuss below in the comments!
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